Mini movie maker: Panasonic knows the virtue of small cameras. Its latest contribution to the cause is the SDR-S7, a digital camcorder that fits in your palm and weighs a mere 160 grams, including the rechargeable battery. About the same height and width as a small can of coffee, the SDR-S7 includes a 10x zoom and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. It records in the MPEG-2 format at a resolution of 640×480 onto either SD or SDHC memory cards (not included) for up to 13 hours of video on a 16-gigabyte card. The tradeoff is on battery life: 70 minutes of use sends you back to the recharger. Available in either black or silver, the camcorder will sell for ¥44,800 when it comes out April 25. panasonic.jp/

TV on the go: Opting for a vastly different approach to watching and recording TV is Buffalo, with its cryptically named DH-KONE4G/U2DS, out last week for ¥15,700. Ostensibly a modest-size USB memory device, the gadget is also a 1Seg (one segment broadcast) TV tuner USB dongle. It can record up to 20 hours of TV on to its 4-gigabyte internal memory for playback on your computer. buffalo.jp/products/new/2008/000681.html

Finding new ways: Using a compass to navigate is just so 20th century. Portable navigation systems (PNS) started out as must-have accessories for your car. They have since become multifunctional gadgets that you can carry around with you. Sanyo’s two new Gorilla PNS devices multitask by including a 1Seg TV tuner to go with their navigation abilities. The NV-SB360DT has a 4.5-inch touch-screen, with its big brother, the NV-SD700DT, offering a 7-inch screen. The pair can each play MP3s and show JPEG photos, have 4 gigabytes of flash memory, a 400MHz CPU and an SD card reader. The NV-SB360DT will cost ¥83,790 and the NV-SD700DT ¥104,790 when they hit stores this month. www.sanyo.co.jp/koho/hypertext40804news-j/0408-1.html

Health care for gamers: Playing video games might not be detrimental to your health per se, but doing it for hours on end is going to make your body pay. Online vendor Cyber Gadget has come to the rescue with Game Suppli vitamins, in two different versions. The Blue Berry supplements are claimed to refresh you after a gaming session, while the DHA variety are supposed to boost your attention span while playing. The health kicks cost you ¥880 a packet, with details at www.cybergadget.co.jpgsupple/index.html

Keyboard culture: Conformity is the curse of computers: Beyond a few stylistic tweaks by Apple and a few others, they all look so similar. In particular, keyboards march to nearly identical beats. Breaking step is a set of five keyboards hand-decorated in traditional Japanese motifs from online retailer GeekStuff4U.com. Put simply, there’s not a single bland white, beige or black key on the devices. Priced at ¥15,900 are the Kara-Kusa keyboard, decorated in a green and white pattern with splashes of red; the Nishi-Ki, with its bright floral appearance; the Usa-Gi, covered in stylized white rabbits on a pinkish floral background; and the Waza-Kura, sporting a cherry blossom motif. At the top end is the Zip-Ang at ¥22,000, which, while similar to its colorful siblings, is decked out in gold-colored keys. www.geekstuff4u.com

Blu-ray’s new front: Having dispensed with the rival HD-DVD format, Sony is focusing on the more difficult battle to convince consumers that they need to move on from DVDs. Its latest shot is the new pair of BDZ Blu-ray recorders. The BDZ-A70 and BDZ-T90 can record broadcasts to either their built-in hard drive or direct to Blu-ray discs or DVD. They each feature two digital TV tuners and one analog tuner, as well as HDMI outputs. The 320-gigabyte A70 can easily convert videos into formats suitable for hand-held devices such as the PlayStation Portable, while the 500-gigabyte T90 is optimized for recording high-definition television. Both models are priced at ¥168,000 for their April 30 release. www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200804/08-0408/

Cool mask: Hardly more useful than mere decoration is online novelty vendor Thanko’s latest contribution to the power of imagination: a USB-powered mask fan. Although it looks like a regular flu mask, it has a the 130-cm cable that you plug into a powered USB port. A built-in fan blows air out of the mask and keeps your nose and cheeks cool by pulling in air from the sides. The mask, which sells for ¥2,480, is made of a soft silicon material. The fan has variable speeds and operates quietly. www.thanko.jp/usbmask2/

Dial-a-scent: Banking on the alluring virtue of pleasing scents, NTT DoCoMo is experimenting with the Mobile Fragrance Communications Kit. It is similar to a scent-delivery technology that NTT has sold for home- and movie-theater use. The kit starts with “fragrance playlists” that are downloaded onto a DoCoMo handset, then transmitted to a portable “aroma generator” that is preloaded with base fragrances. The generator then releases the requested scents with musical accompaniment. NTT will assess commercial possibilities after consumer tests end this month. www.watch.impress.co.jp/avdocs/20080407/nttcom.htm

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