Rumors Have Google Planning to Open Nationwide Retail Stores

In their constant bid to do what they do every night and try to take over the world, Google is reportedly planning to open their own chain of brand specific retail stores.

Usually reliable Google centric blog 9to5 Google broke the news, saying their sources claim the web giant will be expanding past their occasional Best Buy and special event pop up Chrome stores, and will be looking at a nationwide retail store model similar to that of competitor Apple. The stores would also be used in much of the same fashion as Apple stores, as Google would use them to show off their latest and greatest gadgets, and also offer technical support.

While a reasonable, even sane, argument can be made that Google looking to get into a dying industry late is a costly business failure waiting to happen, the truth is that Apple still does very well at their retail locations, and Google is consistently cited as being at least as popular, if not more so, than Apple is. The real reason this could work though is Project Glass, as Google is set to launch what could potentially be the next great invention, and a physical retail store that lets people practically try it, could be a big draw.

We’ll know more as the rumored holiday 2013 US openings of these stores draws closer, but the one thing we know for sure is that if Google has as much fun designing the stores as they did their offices, we’re all in for a treat.

From the “About Time” File Comes a Sink…That Also Dries Your Hands

With necessity being the mother of invention and all that, how the hell has a sink that also dries your hands not been introduced before?

Thankfully the good folks at Dyson are a step ahead of the game and have introduced an all in one bathroom sink  called the Dyson Airblade tap that allows for you to wash and dry your hands via one convenient fixture. It’s not exactly rocket science either, as the setup simply includes the traditional motion sensing faucet, only equipped with wing jettisons that also respond to movement, and dry your hands when you’re ready with little more than a simple flick of the wrist in either direction.

More than just a handy case of common sense inspired design though, the hand dryers themselves are much improved over the classic models as they blow cool air which actually disposes of the water naturally instead of evaporating it. Not only that but the air is more purified for less chance of potential germs, and the Dyson powered motor shoots out air at 430 mph, ensuring a drying time of around 12 seconds.

There’s not much more to the new Dyson design, and that is, of course, a big part of its brilliance. Not only does its simple ingenuity help to eliminate the mostly hated paper towel use, but also does away with the incredibly inefficient traditional blow dryer and cuts down on the amount of awkward bathroom lines you’ll have to face in your lifetime.

Truly, for us public bathroom aficionados, this is a case of heroic design.

And the Dumbest Gadget at CES 2013 Is…

Trying to nitpick, analyze, highlight, and discuss the Consumer Electronics Show with any kind of totality is a maddening proposition, unless you’re willing to devote a significant amount of research time and several posts to doing so. I considered doing just that briefly, before I decided to step back and remember that the CES is really supposed to be fun. And while part of that fun is seeing what we’ll be able to buy in the coming year (and what we’ll never, ever afford), another, more entertaining, part is mocking the most absurd inventions that had no business on the show floor in the first place.

It’s those that I wanted to focus on, and specifically I wanted to find the most ridiculous of them all. For a moment, I thought it would be the iPad training toilet (not only because it teaches kids they don’t need to stop using their gadgets, even while on the toilet, but makes me realize there are kids who can’t even stop pooping their pants that somehow have iPad access and knowledge), or the Motorhead sponsored headphones designed to more or less be dangerously, annoyingly loud.

In the end though, there was only one clear winner.

A fork? Yeah, but of course it’s a smart fork. How can a fork be smart? When it’s designed for stupid people of course.

In this case, the Hapifork (as its known) measures your eating habits (particularly how fast you are eating) and through an app (of course it has an app) allows you to monitor statistics like how long your meal was, how many fork servings you had per minute, and the time between bites. The data is then analyzed to help you find ways to become a healthier eater. It can also provide visual cues while eating to let you know when things are getting out of hand.

Now, I am aware that obesity and over eating are huge problems, particularly in America. However so is stupidity, and it’s frightening to believe there are people speaking of this fork like it is somehow a good idea, or noble weapon on the war against not eating so damn much. It’s neither. It’s a device that attempts to eliminate common sense and reduce personal responsibility in a field (dieting) that requires a great deal of both to be successful.

So instead of considering spending the $99 on the Hapifork when it is released (or put on Kickstarter), allow me to present an alternative. Hire me. Seriously, if you must have an eating tattler, rent me for $5 during your meal, and when I see you attacking a plate of pasta like it violated a peace treaty I’ll say “Dude”. You’ll say “Oh, right” ,slow down, and hopefully, neither you, me, or any of us will have to hear about this smart fork again.

Are Interactive Restaurant Tables the Wave of the Future?

I’m constantly torn between my love of technology, and of the more classic ideas. I couldn’t live without my Galaxy SIII, but refuse to use an e-reader over print books, for instance. I’m particularly adamant about limiting technology when it comes to the kitchen, restaurants, and food in general, where I just think that containing the number of technological advances produces a better atmosphere.

But even I’m finding it hard to not love the e-table designs currently employed in a few restaurants across the world. The most interesting of which belongs to an Asian-Fusion restaurant in the SoHo district of London called Inamo. It looks like a touch screen table, but actually works off of an interactive projection concept that would allow for diners to, among other things, view menus, access a live camera in the kitchen (a somewhat pervy extension of the open kitchen philosophy), play games, change the digital tablecloth, and even project an image of the food onto their plates.

A similar idea from designer Clint Rule places a greater emphasis on social features that would aim to turn the café environment to a much more integrated place with options like voting on music, or sharing what you are reading with others around you and elsewhere.

Neither of these are entirely unique, as this idea has been a popular science fiction mainstay for decades and restaurants here and there for years have employed similar designs. But I believe that one of, or more realistically a combination of, these two ideas represent a real trend that could be seen soon in many more restaurants. Worldwide, eating out is becoming more of a cultural phenomenon than it has ever been as chefs become rockstars, and dishes become worthy of pilgrimage. In that growing environment a certain amount of technological expansion is almost inevitable just as it has been everywhere else. As long as the food remains the draw though, and waiters and waitresses keep their jobs, I see no harm in exploring the benefits and uses of this idea, if for no other reason than it looks pretty damn cool.

An Auto Pet Feeder for the Busy/Lazy Among Us

Pets really are great for many, many, reasons, the least of which being that they really don’t require much. Some water, some food, and the occasional toy are nice, but what any expert will tell you is that in the end what they really need is a healthy amount of love and personal attention.

Of course, if you’re being practical, if it is between personal attention and food, you should probably go with food.

Which is why there is an idea like the Pintofeed out there that recognizes you can’t always be around to feed your pet. For those times, it provides 5 and 10 pound storage areas that allows you to automatically feed your pet in pre-set portions via a mobile app.

The Pintofeed is smartly designed to function as a perfect “while you are away” feeder, with features like the ability to control several at once via your mobile app for multiple pets, being able to set food measurements down to the half cup, and even receiving an alert once the feeding is complete. The device works off of your in home wireless network, is available for multiple users, and is currently attempting to reach its $50,000 donation goal on indiegogo.com, with 29 days to go if you are interested.

It’s a shame when you can’t be around to feed your pets like you want to be, but when those times do happen, it’d be great to have the ability to still insure they’re fed with complete ease. Because in situations like that, the only other option is to trust your neighbors to do it, and really who knows what those weirdos are up to.

Oh He’ll Feed Your Pet, The Question Is To What?