In the Pipeline

Vacuum away pests

"Bzzzzz." It's a familiar sound of summer: the hum of a stealthy mosquito's whirring wings in your ear, sending you into a fit of arm-flailing.

Enter the Mosquito Magnet, successor to those blue, glowing "bug zappers" that provide low-budget fireworks at many a suburban family picnic.

This new 40-pound device converts propane gas into an emission of carbon dioxide that mimics the breath of a human. The scent attracts mosquitoes, as well as a handful of other biting bugs, within a half-acre radius. They are then vacuumed into a net inside the device.

The manufacturer, American Biophysics Corp., says the machine is environmentally friendly because it uses no pesticides. The device requires a 20-pound propane tank, which costs about $10 a month to replenish.

Suggested price: $795

Soap management

Tiny shower corners are often poorly suited to accommodate the myriad plastic bottles and slithery soaps that accumulate in the typical family bathroom. (And sometimes soap on a rope just doesn't cut it.)

Now, a catalog-sales company called Frontgate extends a sudsy hand, offering multisoap dispensers equipped with three or four 15-ounce chambers.

Users need only lift the cover of the wall-mounted device to fill dispensers with shampoo, conditioner, or lotion. The doors even come equipped with holsters for razors and tooth brushes.

Worried about overuse? Don't. The dispenser buttons have been tested, says the manufacturer, to handle six strokes a day - for 130 years.

Suggested price: $60

Wear your air conditioner

The Sharper Image's Personal Cooling System puts a new twist on portability.

Powered by a tiny motor and loaded with a few ounces of water, the device is an evaporative cooling system with aluminum plates that fit around your neck. (It's adjustable to suit a variety of sizes.) The "LO" setting allows the user to feel up to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding hot summer air, Sharper Image says.

The device cools for up to four hours on a AA battery and weighs only 14 ounces, fully loaded.

Suggested price: $50

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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