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February 9, 2012

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Cool items to stay hot, hot, hot

EVEN though we've entered spring according to the Chinese lunar calendar, beware that it's still cold.

The first rule in staying warm is to dress properly. While a hat, ear muffs, scarf, gauze mask, gloves and lots of layers can make you look like a fully stuffed dumpling, they do keep you warm.

But there are boatloads of easy and interesting gadgets that can help keep you warm.

One of the most popular is a portable "digital hand warmer." It can easily be recharged from the USB port on a computer. Safe and small, the hand warmer can also be put on the neck, shoulders or knees.

The digital series of warmers includes blankets, scarves, gloves and mouses that can be recharged by being plugged into a USB port.

These gadgets make it comfortable when working on the computer on a chilly night.

"Digital gloves" are specially designed to keep your hands warm while typing on the keyboard. The digital scarf stays warm for one to two hours if fully recharged.

There's also the digital cushion. These warmers can be used almost everywhere around the world. Easy to use and light, they are becoming a must item when people pack their bags for a trip.

Hot-water bags are coming back into style as people are more environment conscious. The water is usually sealed airtight in the bag. Some hot-water bags are heated by wires installed inside. They can be reused about 500 times. With only 15 minutes of charging, the bag is fully heated and can work for four to five hours, even the whole night if put under the quilt.

If that doesn't give you the warm fuzzies, then perhaps this will.

A Japanese company has invented a microwavable hot-water bag. Just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and, presto, the bag will keep you warm for hours.

The same company also sells a bag for the neck and a bag for quilts. Its latest product is a knee-blanket tailor-made for the office.

Many people suffer with chronic cold feet during the winter. But a pair of microwavable shoes can solve this. Just stick the shoes in the microwave for two minutes on high heat and the shoes stay warm for two hours. Now that will keep your toes a tapping.

There are also coasters that keep hot beverages, you guessed it, hot. These electric powered gadgets can make the beverage in the cup stay at about 35 degrees Celsius. It's a good item for parents who need to warm milk for infants and for old people who love drinking tea.

For something more elaborate, there is a bed-chair invented by a British designer. The bed-chair is a combo of a sleeping bag and a chair. Zip it up and the chair is turned into a mini bed, where you can read or watch TV comfortably.

Many people love to read in bed before sleeping. This inspired designer Andrea Ayala Closa created a quilt with gloves. The highlight is that there are two holes for both index fingers so you can turn the page easily.


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