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Little gizmos you'll love

Markets are flooded with products that make life simpler. We tested four such items that are cheap, fun and, come to think of it, pretty useful. Read on for a detailed update.

entertainment Updated: Mar 06, 2010 13:36 IST
Nivriti Butalia

Markets are flooded with products that make life simpler. We tested four such items that are cheap, fun and, come to think of it, pretty useful.

USB massage ball

Imagine you’re at work. You’ve had it with looking down and typing. Your hands need a break, and there’s only so much relief you can get from stretching and cracking your knuckles.

Here’s where the massage ball comes in. A handy little gadget, this blue ball can be plugged into the USB port of your computer (or your car). It may just be the thing to vibrate your stress away. It has acupressure points and can be used on your shoulder, back, knees... but let’s not
get carried way.

For one, you can’t massage your head with it — hits too hard. But the cord, at a meter and half, is long enough to massage your palms and feet. And with pressure points designed to increase blood flow in your body, the ball is best used for your palm and feet. Neck is good too.

Vibration that penetrates muscle tissue and provides relief from fatigue
On/off button, with low voltage of 4.0-5.5V
No batteries needed ( USB plug and play)
Easily portable
Cable length: 1.5 meter
Weight: 147gm
Price: Rs 249

Bottom line: Go for it.

Heated eyelash curler

Ignore the population (mostly male) that might squeal, “Why do you have a bottle opener glued to your face?!” when they see you use a heated eyelash curler. Lighter than a cell phone, this nifty gadget gives your lashes a distinct curl, and could be what you need before a party (discounting lip gloss, but that’s not a gadget, is it?)

The curler doesn’t take up space in a handbag and you can look in your car’s rear view mirror and do the deed (at a red light, of course).

Operated on 2 AAA batteries, this accessory has a silicon pad that changes colour, from red to white, when it is ready to use. Keep your lashes pressed on the curling pad for 10-15 seconds depending on the degree of curl desired. Nowhere is there a risk of burn, but don’t do anything silly like put it in water.

Basic rule of thumb: Like dessert after meal, mascara after curling.

Price: Rs 399

Bottom line: If owning one will make you feel like Barbie, why not?

Bark stop collar

Do you have a Labrador who goes to town barking at 3 am? Is it futile to get sleep, with or without a pillow on your ears? ‘Have no fear! Help is here!’ You didn’t train the guy well, but turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The bark-prevention collar uses ultrasonic and audible sound emissions to soothe dogs when they are agitated and barking loudly. When it’s working, beeps go off, the dog gets distracted, and voila! — no bark.

Triggered by heavy throat-vibrations (which preempt those sometimes maddening-woof! sounds), the collar is a humane way for owners to keep their pets from creating a racket without being cruel.

Think of the collar as a necklace for your pet — regular collar except for the attached cookie-size device. It’s humane and you can always turn it off.

Adjustable stretch collar
Waterproof & ultrasonic/audible selection
Power on/off button
Cannot be activated by other dogs
Power supply: 2 x AG10 batteries

Price: Rs 449

Bottom line: It was tried on an adolescent Labrador and it seems to work.

USB drink cooler

Warm beer is nobody’s idea of fun. For times that you’re craving chilled beer (or diet cola) but don’t have a thermocol icebox or a fridge in which to cool your can, the drink cooler could bail you out.

It’s meant for a work environment. Using a ‘semiconductor technology’, this product functions both as a drink cooler and heater.

To use, it has to be plugged into a computer USB port. Unless you have one in your car in which case, your road trips just got better. The drink cooler works best on cans — metal to metal. Chilling a 250 ml glass bottle of tonic water was a complete failure.

Three-way control switch: off/cold/hot
Low-noise, energy-saving
Temperature range: -20 to 18 degrees celsius
Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 13cm
Unit weight: 0.9 kg

Price: Rs 1,599

Bottom line: For Rs 1,600 it’s not worth it — especially not if you have a fridge.