Tuning a guitar is a monotonous and thankless task that any real guitar player must learn to love, at least until that day they finally get that crew of roadies. While the purist will tell you the only real way to do this is by ear, many know there is no shame in using a digital tuner to help you get the perfect sound, especially if you are just starting out.
Of course if you truly hate having to constantly tune your guitar the old fashioned way, then consider the upcoming Gibson Min-Etune.
The Min-Etune is a very impressive piece of technology that goes behind the head of your guitar, and with few strums will automatically physically tune your pegs. Battery operated, and featuring both pre-set and programmable tuning specifications, to truly appreciate exactly how quickly this incredible device functions, you have to view the video demonstration.
While the Min-Etune may appear to be blasphemy to some, this is the kind of technology you used to theorize about existing (possibly while high), and its impressiveness on function alone is hard to deny. While the price tag hasn’t been revealed yet, for the right person this is a potentially invaluable tedium eraser.
There’s a compulsive activity I do almost everytime I leave somewhere, where I pat my front pockets for my keys, wallet, and phone, and don’t proceed until all three are accounted for. It’s a common impulse used to make sure your most necessary items are on you, but is far from infallible. For instance, sometimes you are running especially late, or are just hammered drunk, and don’t remember to take the usual precautions.
There’s been a variety of tracking devices over the years that help you keep tabs of your valuables in situations like that, but I’ve never considered one until the SmartWallit.
The SmartWallit is a small device that you slide into your wallet, and link to your phone via Bluetooth and an app. From there, if you leave your phone behind, the device in your wallet will beep as a notification. Similarly, if you snag your phone, but forget the wallet, the phone will beep, and even provide an approximate proximity to the wallet. While there is a keychain option for the device to keep the “band together” so to speak, there’s no way for it to notify you you’ve left them all, because, as in all things, at a certain point, you’re just screwed.
The SmartWallit isn’t just a high tech game of marco polo between the necessities, though, as there are additional app features. The most intriguing of which has to be the one that reads sensors from the device to know when you opened your wallet last to make a payment, and keeps a loose record of it that will show you the time and exact location it was used, meaning you’ll never forget where that twenty went to again. You can even import more advanced financial features to keep closer tabs on your active spending habits.
Looking for just under $7,000 to finish its Kickstarter campaign, the SmartWallit isn’t the first of its kind, but is among the least invasive, and most versatile, of the tracking devices I’ve seen yet. Plus you can never really have enough gadgets that help you never have to know the horror of replacing the contents of your wallet.
By that rationale, the pedestal stand by CTA Digital is brilliant in an as seen on TV way. It’s a modern day take on the toilet paper holder, as it holds not just a roll of toilet paper, but your iPad 2,3, or 4 as well through an adjustable neck. Not only does it offer a space saving alternative to your magazine rack and other bathroom installments (I’ve heard an idea of downloading a mirror app, for double duty touch-ups), but it allows you the freedom to use your favorite tech device while…on the job without any of that unfortunate hand fumbling, or cumbersome need to set it down.
The asking price of $42.50 may be kind of steep for a device that probably has a number of homemade alternatives available, but if you’ve ever experienced the burden, and occasional horror, of trying to use your iPad on the toilet in a manner befitting a supposedly intelligent human being, you’ll immediately recognize the value of a professionally crafted aide.
Just be warned that this will make you appear to be a pretty serious pooper to visitors.
How comfortable are you letting technology into your life?
A company called Neurowear is hoping many of you answered “very,” as they get set to roll out a unique pair of headphones designed to read your brainwaves and pick the music that matches your mood.
Using what is called electroencephalography sensors, the “Mico” headphones detect your subconscious and works with its native app to select the track based on your evolving mood and feelings. The headphones even indicate your general outlook through a visual setup built into the sides.
The goal of the Mico is to create what the developers are calling “Music Serendipity,” where you never have to consciously decide on, or physically choose, your music, but can rather sit back and enjoy the perfect playlist, as chosen by your brain.
Debuting to the public at SXSW this year, details on the release timeframe and pricing are scarce. Further questions abound regarding the variety of the music selections, or how your personal music can be integrated, among other functionality queries.
While apps like Moodagent have been performing this same function for years, the idea of it being incorporated into a piece of hardware is somewhat more original. If the user is able to work off a diverse playlist, the pricing and sound quality of the set is right, and the program accomplishes the majority of its promises, then this headset might just be more than an intriguing idea.
Bartenders are truly some of the greatest people a man can know.
They listen to your problems, always know at least one good joke, will help you scope the girls (and provide useful information on the regulars), and most importantly, disperse sweet lady alcohol in a variety of creative and enticing concoctions.
The one downside? They are usually relegated to just the bar.
Party Robotics is looking to change that by bringing the drink dispensing skills of a bartender to your home through robotics. Their idea is called the Bartendro (because that’s exactly what a robot bartender should be called), and it lets you put a series of tubes into the liquor or mixer bottles of your choice, and then use your tablet or smartphone to send a Wi-Fi drink order to the machine based on the available liquids.
The “how” of the device is complex, but the why should be immediately evident. Coming in designs of 3, 7, or 15 (!) dispensers (a somewhat superfluous single shot model is also available), Bartendro is designed to make the perfectly mixed cocktail at any time, everytime. It’s ideally useful for social gatherings, though honestly once you’ve invested in a cocktail making robot, every day is a party.
Invest early on the device through Kickstarter, and for a full unit it will run you $699 for the 3 tube model, $1,299 for the 7 tube, while $2,499 gets you the 15 tube behemoth in all of its glory.
Bartendro may not be designed to tell jokes and listen to your troubles (yet…) but even at the heavy asking prices, is an incredible representation of the glorious and golden age of alcoholic technological possibilities we live in.
Without trying to sound like they’re cutting me a check for saying so, I love JetBlue. Not only do they provide noticeable amounts of more leg room, but they also give you a personal TV screen with basic cable, and overall provide the best service of any airline I’ve ever used.
The reason for this shameless shilling is to get across the point that JetBlue really do have an eye on making drastic improvements to the flying experience. That is now evident more than ever, thanks to the recent Google sponsored contest asking people to come up with their own uses for the upcoming Google Glass device through the twitter hashtag campaign #ifihadglass. While some amazing concepts have already spawned from the contest (such as 911 liveview assistance), one of the more complete visions of the Google Glass future comes from JetBlue.
Essentially they are envisioning a world where you can stay on top of your flight, and the airport experience in general, without ever breaking stride thanks to using Glass to do everything from the expected but awesome (check live flight status, know when your baggage will arrive, get a cab fare estimate) to the “HOLY CRAP, REALLY?!?!?” ideas such as viewing the capacity of the nearest parking garage and a tracker for the nearest available electrical outlet in the terminal.
This is all of course just a concept, and a very early one at that, but it not only shows how much more pleasant the flying experience could be with Google Glass, but is also slowly showing the world exactly the type of things this device is truly capable of, and why its upcoming release is set to be the biggest gadget release since the iPhone.
Considering that the average person can pull out a device smaller than their hand and access the collective general knowledge of the world, and that a group of above average people managed to shoot a remotely operated vehicle on a planet hundreds of millions of miles away, it takes a lot for a new technological idea to make you take notice.
But that is the case with Ikei Laboratory’s Virtual Body Technology, as it explores that age old fascinating concept of virtual reality in an exciting and new way, where the user is allowed to see, hear, smell, and feel what another person would be seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in a completely different part of the world.
It’s not quite stepping into someone else’s shoes, especially as the avatar isn’t real and the experience is predetermined, but what’s impressive is the sheer set up of the device, which revolves around a motion capable chair facing a 3D monitor, surrounded by fans that simulate smells and sensations (like the wind), while the user wears a pair of high quality headphones and fits themselves into a foot rig that’s motion and vibration can simulate walking and running. It’s extremely comprehensive in recreating genuine physical experiences.
Honestly, this kind of thing has been around for a while, and is even used in high-tech movie theaters and theme parks as an attraction. This design is slightly different though in how many sensations and experiences it can recreate and, more importantly, how accurately it can recreate them. Even with all of our technological advancements, virtual reality is still an idea that eludes us in the classic sense of the term, but this device is a practical step forward in closing in on the idea.
Right now the main motivation behind the device is to allow elderly people who may be unable to do so traditionally the chance to explore new places in the most complete way possible. However, it is also capable of scenarios like recreating the sensation of running like world champion Usain Bolt. In other words, it has the potential to provide a uniquely entertaining experience for anyone who straps themselves in.
Well, unless they choose the Jay Cutler simulator.
As the success of companies like Instagram (well, recent terms of service controversy notwithstanding) is proving, even an increasingly hi-tech world will grow nostalgic for the simpler, sometimes uglier, tech of days gone by. One consistent example of this has been the love for the classic design of the vinyl record, which some still insist just sounds better, even as the much more diverse, convenient, and technically higher quality world of digital audio becomes the undisputed music listening method.
However, programmer and inventor Amanda Ghassaei, a user on the site Instructables, has found a new and exciting way for the two to coexist. By using the consistently awesome technology of 3D printing, she has been able to convert an audio file into a 3D printed record that can be played on any traditional record player. The process of creating one is very complex (requiring some serious programming skills and, of course, a 3D printer), and the sound quality is even less than that of a traditional record, but as you can see in the video below, it does truly work.
To anyone with the set up and know how, the instructions can be found via video and text over at Instructables. As someone that can only admire the work and thought put into this process though, I find myself wanting to see this idea grow into a consumer good (with maybe a little higher quality on the final product) as with the addition of some custom artwork, and the right personal set up, this is an awesome idea that provides the opportunity to turn the best of your all-encompassing digital music library into a stylish, and classic, physical record collection.
The amount of content this gives the streaming powerhouse is nothing short of incredible. Not only will they be gaining access to the Disney classics collection (my inner child is freaking out), but they will also be securing new Disney releases during the same time that cable services get them (estimated to be about 6 to 9 months after theatrical releases), and starting in 2016 Netflix will become the exclusive provider of Disney films as they become available. Oh and, in case you were wondering, this means they gain the rights to the entire Disney family of films which includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Walt Disney (classics), and Disneynature.
My not so professional opinion? Yowza.
The timing couldn’t be better for the acquisition since Netflix has started to get behind their Just For Kids section in a big way, and the recent loss of Starz caused some to question if they could handle the impact of the missing content. Not that there was ever a bad time to acquire the films of one of the largest and most cherished production companies in the world mind you, and now the pressure is on the competition more than ever. While Amaon’s deal with Epix, and Hulu’s with Criterion have provided each some worthy bragging rights, they now may be forced to humbly admit that neither of them had the ability to pull off a deal of this magnitude, and they must now retreat to the drawing boards to formulate an effort that will match the even greater attention, and subscriptions, that Netflix will garner from the exclusive rights to one of the most widely regarded and beloved collection of movies available from a single source.
It’s a game changer with no hyperbole possible in describing its implications.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must patiently await the arrival of “Heavyweights” on Netflix Instant.
I would have thought that umbrellas might be another, but there’s a couple of inventors named Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon working on a pretty cool idea for an upgrade in the invisible “Air Umbrella”. Essentially it is just a baton like object that takes air from the base of the device and shoots it to the top to create a barrier between the user and the elements that spreads for full coverage. Features allow the user to adjust the air flow to compensate for how heavy a rain (or snow) is present, and the baton itself is retractable for ease of carry.
The more you think about the idea behind the air umbrella, the more you see the advantages. For one thing, if you’ve ever been in a crowded public area with everyone carrying an umbrella, then you know the often comical, but sometimes dangerous, problems it causes which this device could theoretically eliminate. Also the low maintenance design of the air umbrella makes the other worst part of owing a traditional umbrella, lugging it around indoors, irrelevant.
While a really cool idea, it’s not all singing in the rain though when you look at the design, as I still wonder how the device would hold up in strong winds, and about the potential trouble it could cause for passerby hats (or short skirts if directed improperly). Finally much like the dome umbrella, or a Snuggie, this is a look that isn’t meant for everyone despite how practical it may be, as some people will always just feel out of place carrying a giant baton functioning as an invisible umbrella instead of the classic design.