For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Tag Archives: smartphones

FretPen Is A Pen… And A One-String Guitar At The Same Time

fretpen1-620x320

What on earth can you possibly do with one string and 3 frets? Not much of course, unless there’s a bit of digital magic thrown in. The FretPen is a fully functional writing instrument, but it’s also a smartphone-connected one-string guitar. You clearly won’t be able to recreate Slash’s solos from November Rain, but a tiny D-pad on the pen does allow you to switch strings on the fly, giving you the ability to play scale-like runs and some forms of rudimentary melodies. If you watch the video below you’ll get a sense of the device’s capabilities. There’s a Kickstarter campaign launching on the 22nd, so if this piques your interest, feel free to give them your email address to be notified when they’re ready to accept your pledges.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ ChipChick ]

Smartphone Batteries That Charge In 30 Seconds May Be Just Around The Corner

storedot-590x330

StoreDot is an Israeli startup that’s been working on making our batteries better. They’re created a prototype that can go from 20% to 100% in about 30 seconds, and then discharge at the same rate as a regular battery. This is accomplished by using organic “nanodots”, or 2 nanometer wide “bio-organic peptide molecules” that fundamentally alter the way the batteries work. The company has even received $6 million in funding from an undisclosed Asian smartphone manufacturer to further work on the technology, because as exciting as this is, it isn’t ready for prime-time. For one, the current prototype is huge. Secondly, capacity is still an issue, since even at this size the battery doesn’t even equal that of a Galaxy S4. But these are hurdles that could potentially be overcome, and StoreDot is hoping to have something commercially viable by 2016.

Stay tuned.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

Smartphone Connected LED Bulb Also Streams Audio

AirBulb-Smart-LED-Bulb-with-Wireless-Speaker

LED lightbulbs that can be controlled with your smartphone are nothing new. But the AirBULB adds one extra feature that could make a big difference when comparing similar products: it streams audio from your connected smartphone through its integrated speakers. This means you can have audio throughout your home without having to pass any cables anywhere. Granted you’re only getting a 3W output, but that should be sufficient for some background music.

The LED bulb’s colour can be adjusted through the app, and it can be set to flash when you get a call or notifications. An $89 pledge will get you yours, with shipping expected around May if the campaign reaches its funding goals.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ WalYou ]

Miracle Machine Turns Water Into Wine

Miracle-Machine

Jesus may have performed this trick some time ago, but he didn’t do it with technological panache. The Miracle Machine pictured above however claims to turn water into wine using sophisticated electronics… only not really. See, it does make wine and it does use water as a starting ingredient, but then you have to add “grape concentrate, yeast, and a finishing powder that imbues the liquid with barrel-aged flavour.” Ok, that’s not quite as impressive as Jesus’ magical trick of yore, but it is arguably less painstaking than making wine the traditional way. The Miracle Machine uses an array of “electrical sensors, transducers, heaters and pumps”, and churns out what’s being called a “$20 bottle of wine” from $2 worth of ingredients in about 3 days. Using a smartphone app, your job is simply to select the type of wine you want, add the ingredients and wait. You’ll get a notification when your wine is ready to drink.

There’s going to be a Kickstarter soon, with the expected retail price at around $500, though the early adopter figure should be much lower. You can register on their website to be notified when the campaign goes live.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Mashable ]

Boost Your Reading Speed To Broadband Levels With Spritz

Spritz-2-820x420

Spritz is a new smartphone application in development that could dramatically increase your reading speed in as little as a few minutes. Instead of teaching you to silence your inner voice (which is a skill needed for effective traditional speed reading and is a common bottleneck), it presents the words to you in a completely novel format: flashing them one after the other at a preset speed. In this fashion, you don’t have to scroll your eyes from side to side; you just look at the same spot and the words come to you. Eventually, your inner voice ends up disappearing, and you simply understand the words without vocalizing them. It’s counter intuitive but extremely effective, boosting reading speeds up to 500 words per minute very quickly. Some people are even able to blaze at up to 1,000 wpm, allowing them to read an 80,000 word novel in less than 2 hours.

You can try it yourself at the link below. It’s really fun. And it’s a little different from other applications (like Spreeder) in its implementation. For instance Spritz “places each word at the “Optimal Recognition Point (ORP),” which is the placement in front of our eyes that’s best for reading comprehension of each individual word (multisyllabic words are read differently monosyllabic ones).” And it flashes a blank screen at the end of each sentence, preserving the essential rhythm of ideas.

It’s a great little program, but it’s not ready for primetime. The plan is to launch on Android first, although the company is working on iOS, web, and Microsoft phone SDKs. We’re not clear on the timeline, but keep an eye out: this one’s pretty awesome.

[ Try Spritz ] VIA [ DVice ]

Glider Gloves Are Entire-Hand TouchScreen Gloves

glider-gloves-2

Winter is in full swing, but your obsession with your smartphone doesn’t take the cold months off. Waiting for the bus in the middle of a blizzard? No matter, you have to whip that phone out and check out who liked that picture you took of your breakfast half an hour ago. Better get the Glider Gloves. Unlike some other touch-enabled gloves on the market that feature conductive tips on some of the fingers, the entire glove (and all ten digits) can be used to press things on capacitive touch screens. They come in various sizes and colours, and prices start around $20.

glider-gloves-1

[ Product Page ] VIA [ TheGreenHead ]

Blackphone To Be First Cellphone To Focus On Privacy

blackphone-lead-3

It may be 2014, but it sure feels like 1984. With the NSA snooping on every phone call and keeping track of your every move, privacy is at the forefront of a lot of minds. Which sounds like the time is ripe for Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone to introduce the Blackphone, the “world’s first smartphone to put privacy and control ahead of everything else.” Featuring an Android-based OS, a “top performing” processor, and a modem that will be unlocked and compatible with any GSM network, the phone is sure to appeal to those who haven’t completely given up on the notion of privacy. It’ll run “a skin called ‘PrivatOS’ that will allow you to make and receive secure phone calls and text messages, store files securely and browse the web privately through an anonymous VPN.” It’s being revealed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month, though the price hasn’t been announced yet.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Don’t Take A Selfie, Measure Your Cholesterol Level Instead

cholesterol-app

The selfie truly is the defining activity of the last few years; it is the one thing future historians are sure to note about human behaviour in the early 21st century. But with the development of the above device by researchers at Cornell university, you can use your phone’s camera for more than narcissistic self-indulgence: you can test for your cholesterol levels without going to a specialized laboratory. As long as you don’t mind drawing a bit of blood and putting it on a reagent strip, the device is then able to use your phone’s flash and camera to accurately measure cholesterol levels. This is something that normally would take expensive equipment and had to be performed by professionals. One day soon however, you might be able to perform these tests routinely at home and email the results to your physician for closer tracking.

There is no word on pricing or availability, but the researchers are also allegedly working on improving the device so that it may track vitamin D levels as well.

[ Full Research Paper ] VIA [ Mashable ]

iPhone Controlled SmartPlane Is A Welcome Change From Quadcopters

smartplane_HD

It seems that flying devices with multiple rotors are all the rage these days. This is especially true in light of Amazon’s announcement to deliver your goods using quadcopters in the near future. But there are times when all an RC enthusiast wants is a good old flying plane, one that he can control with the accelerometer in his iPhone. Right? These people exist, don’t they? Because how else to justify asking $94 for the above SmartPlane? Its 1g battery keeps the entire rig light enough to fly for 5 minutes on a 15 minute charge, getting its fully-proportional instructions through your iPhone’s Bluetooth 2.0 connection. On your display you’ll get a horizon, so you can keep the plane flying level, and on-board software takes care of other details that normally make the experience more challenging for beginners. Its construction and relatively low flying speed also mean that the SmartPlane is crash proof and is even safe to use in an office environment.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ WalYou ]