High tech is often an arena for innovation, and this year is no exception. A noise-suppressing cell-phone earpiece that employs military technology, the Aliph Jawbone, is just one example. Hewlett-Packard Co.'s vertical Scanjet reinvents the flatbed scanner by turning it on its side and making the device mobile. It's a new paradigm for the product. The Taiwan-based BenQ made an LCD monitor that also breaks the mold. Its butterfly-wing design is a departure from conventional LCD screens. Panasonic's Toughbook laptop PC is different as well -- it's designed to withstand the mud, rain, and dirt of heavy construction sites or combat zones around the world. Herewith, a host of new designs for new technologies.
This cell-phone headset allows people to talk in a bar, restaurant, or any loud environment while suppressing most extraneous noise. A sensor rests on the jawbone so that when someone is not talking and just listening, surrounding sound is dampened. Rectangular shape looks cool. $129.
HP SCANJET 4670
Designers: Smart Design; Hewlett-Packard
A vertical design takes up little desk space. The Scanjet sits in an easel holder. Open it, drop in a document, and scan. The removable frame can scan oversize books or even a picture hanging on a wall. $199.
Designer: Matsushita, Japan
Tight-grips on the screen and body ensure a secure hold. Metal clasps make it easy to attach a shoulder strap. $3,300.
BENQ LCD MONITOR
Designer: BenQ Corp.; Taiwan
An elegant butterfly-wing design departs from conventional liquid crystal displays. $495.