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Products Get High-Tech Twists

CBS News Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum had some fun checking out new technology devices tailored to everyday products, ranging from bicycles to baseball cards.


Automatic bike gear shift control: The latest piece of equipment for bicycles is an automatic shift control. Developed by a Japanese company, the Shimano Auto-D shifts a bike's gears based on how fast the cyclist is going.

The Auto-D is targeted at people like me, baby boomers who haven't been on a bike for a while because we just find shifting all those gears way too complicated.

"They took the idea of the car, [and] went with the auto transmission in a bike. You just get on it, and it shifts for you," says Bob Ludeman of Raleigh USA bike company.

Right now, only a few bike makers such as Raleigh are using the Auto-D technology. But this should become more widely available in the future. Check with your favorite bike store for more details.

Look ma, no cords.
The Microsoft Cordless Wheel Mouse is a computer mouse without a tail!

It doesn't need one because it transmits a radio signal to a little receiver plugged into the PC. Costing $45, it will work from a distance of up to five feet away.

Optical tracking mouse: Microsoft has also just come out with another new mouse. The Intellimouse Explorer is more than sleek; it's doesn't have a roller ball because it uses an optical tracking system to figure out where it is. The sleek silver model is top-of-the-line and priced at around $75.

Talking trading cards: Some new sports trading cards have a high-tech twist. They talk. Push the button, and you'll hear about a memorable moment in sports history, such as Mark McGwire's record-setting 70th home run.

Just out in time for the World Series, these Protalk Voice Cards have voice chips so they can play a 15-second game highlight. Each comes with a cutout standup figure of the player.

There are also cards featuring NASCAR racing greats such as Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin. At $8 each, they are available at Eckerd drug stores nationwide or at www.talkingcards.com.

Hose assistance: Tired of wrapping up the hose after you're done with it? You'll never have to do it again if you get a Coil Hose. It's made from colorful translucent polyurethane and it really stretches.

When the job's done, Coil Hose goes back to place.
It looks like those oiled hoses used in the repair bays at a service station. Just pull it to where you want it. When you're done, simply let go and it goes back in place.

You can find the coiled hoses in some boat stores such as West Marine and Boats US. Also check the Dover Saddlery catalog (800-989-1500) and the Tack in a Box catalog (800-456-8225) or call the company, Water Coil Hose (1-888-443-3842).

For more High-Tech Wonders, click here.

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