Try wearables before you buy
Every fitness wearable does something well…but that doesn’t mean it’ll work great for how you exercise. Well, now you can try a whole slew of them before you commit. Lumoid, who already had rent-to-own camera equipment, now lets you choose five wearables to try at home for seven days. If you like one, you can just pay for it and return the rest. If you don’t like any of them and choose not to buy, you pay $20 and send them all back. You can try devices from Jawbone, Misfit, Garmin, Samsung, Pebble, and more. Great idea!
Autonomous turtle-shaped robot creates pretty cool sand art
Beachbot, a sand-drawing autonomous robot, is the result of a collaboration between Disney Research and a Swiss engineering school. Perhaps because it’s partly from Disney, this isn’t some ugly robot—it’s cute and turtle-shaped—and was developed to draw art using the beach as both its medium and canvas. It draws the designs it’s programmed to (like Nemo!) by dragging a special rake attached to its backend. The rake can be adjusted to make wide lines or lines as thin as 5cm. Kind of a novel application of robotics but we’ve already got Roombas, why not this?
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop getting a test track
Musk says he’s going to build a five-mile test track for his Hyperloop transportation concept. He said it is likely to happen in Texas, but in tweets he implied it would be an open testing ground, “for companies and student teams to test out their pods.” The project still has many obstacles to overcome, but as The Verge pointed out, it’s nice to see the Musk hasn’t abandoned the project. No reports yet on a construction timeline yet.
Google Glass getting spun off
When Google introduced Glass, the hope was that the early adopters would find a myriad of uses for the device and it would become the next “must have” wearable. Alas, that has not come to pass. In an attempt to revitalize the project and product, Google is spinning off Glass into it’s own independent company with Tony Fadell at the helm. Fadell developed the iPod at Apple and later left to develop the Nest thermostat. As of yesterday, the Google’s Explorer program was cancelled the first version of Glass is now discontinued. The question becomes whether Fadell can revitalize the consumer applications for Glass or if he’ll take it in another direction such as focus on business/medical uses. Wired has a good analysis of this topic, if you’re interested in reading more.
Google Translator just got WAY better
How cool is this: Google Translate app is now not only faster so you can speak at a more conversational pace, it also has what they’re calling World Lens—you can take photo of a sign, for example, and Translate will show you what it says in your native language (assuming that language is French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish…for now, anyway).
For more details about the update, you can read Google’s blog about it (but I’ll admit now having an urge to travel internationally just to try it out—as long as I have some Pluggage luggage, of course [see below]).
Fridge with a built-in Keurig in the door
Having a water and ice dispenser in your fridge door is just so yesterday. Why settle for only water when you could have a Keurig coffee machine too?? GE Café Series fridges now offer a Keurig option! There will be a built-in LCD screen to control the warm beverage machine, and everything you make will use the fridge’s filtered water. Oh, and apparently you can control the fridge via an app so you can schedule times to have the water pre-heated and ready for you. The technological marvel will hit the market sometime this fall for the low, low price of $3,300.
The best touchscreen gloves
If you live anywhere that gets chilly in the winter, you’ve probably struggled to find gloves that work well with your smartphone. Kinja Co-Op, crowdsources to get opinions about products and services and they’re currently seeking votes about touchscreen gloves. So far, Glove.ly’s gloves are winning with the North Face Etip running in second, so they may be brands worth checking out. On the other hand (ha!), Glider ones aren’t getting many votes so you might want to avoid those. Those of us who live in the tundra would appreciate your input, so if you have any experience to share, please do vote!
Smart luggage can charge your phone, play your music—and even tell you if it’s on the plane
The luggage maker Delsey rolled out (see what I did there?) a new connected suitcase they’ve named Pluggage. Although only in prototype phase, Pluggage could include a lot of really awesome features both on the luggage and via an app. The luggage could offer an inside lighting system and speaker, fingerprint lot, and charger for your phone. Via an app, Pluggage may tell you how much it weighs and whether it’s on the plane, and even the local weather and flight updates (if you enter your info). You can help vote what features make the final production model on their website. I myself think I’d vote for, “All of the above” if they have such an option. The promo video doesn’t offer a lot of details, but it does make it look sexy!