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A Couple Cool Gadgets

I’ve come across a couple interesting devices recently.

  • Icop VESA PC, the eBox 2300 and eBox 4300.  These PC’s mount to the VESA mounting holes on the back of most LCD displays.  The Icop models are actually affordable, unlike many mini PC’s. The 2300 is very cheap (starts at about $100), but not very powerful (200MHz or 300MHz CPU).  The newer 4300 is much more interesting, with a 500MHz Via CPU, and a reasonable price (about $250).  If you need a Panel PC, but don’t need a tough industrial case, these can make a great lower cost alternative – just get a regular monitor (<$200 for a pretty nice one) or touchscreen (~$650 for a 17″ Planar touchscreen LCD), and mount the eBox 4300 on the back.  The 4300’s performance should be good enough for HMI use (assuming you’re not running Vista…)
  • The Olympus Micro Four Thirds system could lead to some very interesting cameras – cameras that combine SLR performance, image quality, and interchangeable lenses with digicam size.  Check out the pictures at DPReview.  They won’t replace Digital SLR’s (heck, Leica is coming out with a “super-sized” D-SLR with 30x45mm sensor), but I’m very interested in one as a complement to my D-SLR for everyday picture taking (instead of a pocket digicam).

Comment 8/24/2011: the mirrorless interchangeable lens category is really taking off, with many models from Olympus, Sony (NEX series), Panasonic, Samsung, etc.  However, with a decent zoom lens they’re still a lot bigger than a compact super-zoom.  Sony also has an interesting twist with their SLT cameras: a SLR with fixed mirror that always direct some light for focusing and the EVF (electornic view finder).  The smallest SLTs aren’t much bigger than a Sony NEX. 

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