Some call it seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Others just call it the winter blues. But whatever you call it, if you happen to be one of the millions of poor schmucks who live in colder northern states, you may be aware that you're hitting the peak gloomy season, and it's not particularly fun.
One way to combat SAD is simply to get outside and absorb as much sunlight as you can during the daylight hours. However, sometimes it's just flat out too cold outside or that little thing called a job--if you're lucky enough to have one--keeps you in the office cave.
That's where something called light therapy comes in, and several companies sell small light boxes to combat the winter blues. The product I've been testing out in my windowless office in New York is called the GoLite Blu, which is made by Apollo Health but has the Philips brand on it (Philips Respironics bought Apollo in 2007).
The GoLite has been out for a while and uses something called Bluewave technology. Philips describes the glow the GoLite produces as a low-intensity blue light (470nm), but it's actually quite intense at the brightest setting. You're not supposed to look directly at the device, but instead shine it more at the side of your face for about 15-30 minutes a day (you can adjust the timer as well as the intensity of the light).
According to Philips, "using the right wavelength of light, you can trigger your active hormones naturally, boosting your mood and overcoming those down feelings, whatever the season."… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Last year we reviewed a few new portable DTV units from no-name manufacturers that did OK in our tests, but fell short in terms of battery life and resolution. That's why we're intrigued with Philips' upcoming PET749, which combines a portable DVD player and DTV in a $179.99 (list) unit with a higher resolution 800x480 display.
While that's not HDTV resolution, it is a notch up from the 480x234-pixel resolution you see on many of the generic portable DTVs cropping up on Amazon and other sites (we reviewed the Envizen Digital Duo Box Pro ED8850A). … Read more
Philip McKinney is vice president and chief technology officer for the Personal Systems Group at Hewlett-Packard, where he oversees the group's long-range technical strategy and research and development. At the Showstoppers press event at CES, McKinney was walking around with a couple of new latops PCs and a new portable VGA pico projector.
Larry Magid and McKinney talked about these products, but Magid couldn't help but ask about HP's slate PC prototype that Microsoft Steve Ballmer showed off during his keynote address. McKinney wouldn't go into much detail about this unannounced product, but Magid got at … Read more
Philips' DirectLife fitness tracker, which monitors one's daily activity levels by tracking the duration and intensity of movements, has been doing so well since its release in October 2009, according to a company representative, that it is about to be released in Germany and the U.K. Moreover, Philips has just announced a companion gadget that might actually rival the iPod.
The "program" associated with DirectLife, which costs $99, plus a $12.50 monthly membership fee, is three-pronged: wear the small, waterproof monitor with 3D accelerometer technology (think Wii) to track your movements; go online to get … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Wishing that your MP3 player would act more like a personal trainer? Me neither, but Philips is banking on finding an audience of motivation-starved fitness types for its newly announced Activa MP3 player ($129), available worldwide in April.
To put a new spin on working out with your MP3 player, the Activa gives gym rats real-time voice feedback on their performance. Only time will tell if the voice is more in step with the Wii Fit style of chipper encouragement, or with the Tony Little brand of aggressive shouting.
Assuming that the voice can be switched off for those … Read more
Cardiac patients undergoing procedures at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) starting Thursday may find themselves either immersed in a Disney World setting or the African Savannah, with accompanying audio playing in the background. It's part of a testbed project by the center involving Philips' Ambient Experience to soothe patients through the intimidating clinical process of preparation, examination, treatment, and post-procedure.
The Ambient Experience takes patients on a multimedia ride, letting them personalize the lighting, projected images, and sounds in the examination or lab room. The 10 themes can be selected via a menu on a wireless touch-screen tablet, with more themes on the way. Once picked, the patient's choice is projected on the walls and ceilings and through TV screens, wrapping the user in a multi-sensory setting of his or her own choosing.
So far, the Ambient Experience appears to have had a positive impact on the three patients who earlier sampled it. According to 75-year-old Neo Bee, who was at the cardiac catheterization laboratory to have angioplasty to open her blocked arteries, "I saw birds and kangaroos on the ceiling and there was soothing music, too. I felt calm and relaxed."… Read more
If you're looking for a small, tasteful, portable iPod speaker for less than $100, you could do a lot worse than the unfortunately named Philips SBD7500. Its sound quality is middle-of-the-road, yet still sounds pleasant, and its operation is about as simple as it gets--with a power switch, volume control, and a bass boost switch.
There's nothing fancy about the specs or features--no radio, no Bluetooth, no clock, and no remote. It is iPhone-compatible, though, and there's something to be said for keeping things simple. That said, if you have an extra $50 to throw at a … Read more