All about the phones

“It was my ex-girlfriend on the line.”

“It was my ex-girlfriend on the line.”

Phone games
The U.S. may have led in medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing with 110 awards (36 gold, 38 silver and 36 bronze), but we came up empty at the ninth International Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships at Narva Castle in the northeast of Estonia. Estonians took gold in the men’s and women’s category.

The junior winner was a 12-year-old boy from Finland and the freestyle winner was a dog … as in four legs and barks. But you don’t need to travel to Eastern Europe to showcase your mobile-phone throwing skills; South Hadley, Mass., just started hosting the Official United States Cell Phone Throwing contest.

A true feel-good story
But stories like this one truly bring a human tear to my eye. Amit Goffer, the founder of a small Israeli high-tech company, has developed a robotic suit designed to help people paralyzed from the waist down to walk.

Goffer himself is paralyzed, and developed the robotic exoskeleton not only to relieve wheelchair users of the medical complications of always being seated but also to allow people to talk eye-to-eye with their peers. Users of the prototype say it is life-changing. There are similar, though larger and bulkier, devices used in rehab centers, but Goffer is designing this for everyday use.

Want to sport wood?
It will be a tough choice between the current love of my life, my iPhone, and the Maple Phone when it finally hits the market. The phone, designed by Hyun Jin Yoon and Eun Hak Lee, is made with two pieces of sliding maple. It’s also touch-sensitive, and has an MP3 player and digital camera phone. The Maple Phone took a silver at this year’s International Design Excellence Awards, and the humorously translated promotional brochure claims it “helps heal get-stressed people.”

“Does this mean I won’t get cancer?”

Kill those dead spots
I have too many friends who don’t get good cell-phone reception in their homes out in the boondocks. It’s a hassle trying to reach them. But for about $300 those hassles can be gone forever (I should write for infomercials). The Cellphone Signal Extender, which I found on, claims that the device will expand reception over 2,500 square feet of prime signal area, or enough cover for two to three rooms on two different floors.

Wonderful Web Site of the Week
YES! I have wanted this collection for some time. I have often thought the opening credits of a film are better than the 90-odd minutes following. Here is a site that also believes: Forget the Film, Watch the Titles. I love that it also gives “year of production,” “film director” and “title designer” information.