Retro Gadgets Go High-Tech

  • Get Your Nostalgia Fix

    Tired of reading about the new iPhone 4 or hearing rumors about all the companies looking to redefine the computer? We hear you. Sometimes all of this can just make you long for an old, faithful gadget. With that in mind, we decided to hunt down a few older technologies that have been given a hi-tech makeover in recent years. Hopefully these 10 gadgets will satisfy your nostalgia for the past and perhaps even make you nostalgic for the future… if that’s even possible. Fair warning: Many of these are not cheap. Photo Credit: ceslava.com
    USB Typewriter
  • USB Typewriter

    Jack Zylkin, a member of an online community called Etsy, which is popular for selling handmade crafts, recently began to advertise an exciting “new” invention: the USB typewriter. For $75, Zylkin will mail you a do-it-yourself kit of electronics that you use to turn your typewriter into a “USB-ready keyboard.” Essentially, you are installing sensors beneath each of the keys which then connect to a digital screen so everything you type pops up there. This screen is hooked up to a USB cable that can connect to your computer or even your iPad so that you can save or print what you type. As Gizmodo joked, this gadget will make it even harder to type on an iPad, but then again, efficiency isn’t really the point. This gadget makes it possible to enjoy the feel of using a typewriting while preserving the benefits of having your documents available on a computer. If you’re intimidated by the prospect of assembling this yourself, Zylkin will sell you a pre-assembled model for between $300-$500. Photo Credit: usbtypewriter.com
    Crosley Record Player with CD Recorder
  • Crosley Record Player with CD Recorder

    During the past few years, records have become popular again. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that some companies are looking for ways to modernize record players. Crosley now makes several standalone turntables that look like beautiful wooden antiques fit for a spot in the Smithsonian. Except this turntable comes equipped with a tape player, radio and, best of all, a CD player that can record the album onto a CD-R. The device sells for $314 on Amazon. Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    Moleskine Case for the Kindle
  • Moleskine Case for the Kindle

    I’ll admit I’m one of those people who has refrained from buying an e-book reader because I just like the feel of regular books. But oddly enough, this item almost makes me reconsider. Moleskine is known for making notebooks (ones that you actually write in, not laptops), but they recently came out with a nice cover for the Kindle, which comes with a writing pad on the inside. This way you can read your books digitally but take notes the old fashion way. The cover costs $40 on Amazon, but keep in mind that Amazon just slashed the price of the Kindle by $70, so if you buy the Kindle and the case now, it’s kind of like you’re getting the accessory for free. Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    Moving Picture Frames
  • Moving Picture Frames

    Usually when someone says you should digitize your photos, they mean you should upload them onto the Internet, but one company has something else in mind. FrameWizard has come out with a new gadget called the digital picture frame, which lets you store up to 2 gigabytes of photos in an actual picture frame. Each picture will be displayed for a certain amount of time before switching to the next, much like a screen saver, except that this one can sit on your mantel. But most unusual of all, FrameWizard has come out with special software that lets you put the image in motion. So if you have a picture of your house in the snow, you can actually see the snow falling in the picture frame. It’s really a stunning tool for landscapes, but from what I’ve seen, it gets a little creepy when used with portraits. An 8-inch digital frame plus software lists for $199. Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    Polaroid Digital Camera
  • Polaroid Digital Camera

    Nothing says vintage photograph like Polaroid, but in recent years, the company has teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Now Polaroid is trying to remake itself as a more digital-friendly company in order to remain relevant. One result of this is the Polaroid PoGo, a digital camera that has a built-in printer so you can take a digital picture and enjoy Polaroid’s famous trick of printing your photo instantly. Photo Credit: Polaroid.com
    Rotary Cell Phones
  • Rotary Cell Phones

    Remember the days when every home had a rotary phone? I don’t, but I still think they look really nice. These days, they are pretty impractical to use (unless, of course, your power goes out) but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel nostalgic for them. SparkFun Electronics currently sells a special rotary phone that has been “modified” so you can insert a SIM card in there, and use it like a cell phone. However, the gadget costs about $300, which is a lot for what it is. So if you’re really interested in getting the feel of a rotary phone, but don’t want to spend too much, there are several apps that you can download for $1-$2 that will display the rotary wheel when you want to dial a number from your smartphone. Photo Credit: Apple.com
    Retro Kitchen Appliances
  • Retro Kitchen Appliances

    Big Chill currently sells refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves that are all modeled to look like 50s-style vintage appliances. Yet, while these appliances may look old, Big Chill promises that they each come with all the most “modern amenities.” But again, be warned, these items can cost you several thousand each. Photo Credit: bigchillfridge.com
    Pocket Projectors
  • Pocket Projectors

    Drive-in theaters may be on their last legs, but that doesn’t mean consumers can’t enjoy watching a movie on a big screen projector. Wowwee sells a portable projector that you can hook up to your iPod, digital camera or video game console to broadcast movies and video clips onto the nearest wall or ceiling. This gadget lists for $299. Photo Credit: Wowwee.com
    Library e-books
  • Library e-books

    Libraries are quickly realizing that they must embrace the digital world if they want to remain relevant. As CNN reported last year, more libraries across the country are becoming multimedia communities where people can do research on the Internet and even record music and videos. As part of this effort, several libraries including the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries have begun to rent out e-books. As with normal books, it’s free to rent for a limited amount of time. Photo Credit: victoriapeckham
    Renovating Your Old Macintosh
  • Renovating Your Old Macintosh

    Most Apple fans this week are busy ogling the new iPhone 4, but there are a few out there who have their sights on an older Apple device. As we’ve mentioned before, one techie liked the look of the old Macintosh computers from the 90s so much that they decided to use the frame of one to house the much newer Mac G4 Cube. Find out how they did it at Technabob.com. Photo Credit: Clemson
    Dead Technology Discounts
  • Dead Technology Discounts

    For more outdated technologies that you can buy now for dirt cheap, check out our list here. Photo Credit: boboroshi
  • Join us on Facebook

    Join the MainStreet team and other readers on our lively Facebook page! Discuss our newest stories and get links to breaking content, automatically. Click here to add us. Photo Credit: lawtonchiles
Show Comments