We live in exciting times. The pace of technology’s development and advancement is truly remarkable. To think that only 20 years ago, cell phones were rare and barely anybody carried them around is truly mind-boggling. From smart (or super) phones, to drones, to connected appliances, to gesture-recognizing wearables, to self-driving cars, year after year we are amazed by new developments, new technology, and new toys that make us repeat Futurama’s Fry’s famous quote: “shut up and take my money!”.
Most new gadgets are announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place annually in Las Vegas, Nevada and showcases the newest breakthrough technologies and innovations being introduced into the marketplace. Here are this year’s hottest and coolest gadgets, and we can’t wait to get our hands on them.
Just when you thought there was no other inanimate object that could be made “connected”, Pacif-i comes along. Pacif-i is a smart pacifier that monitors a baby’s temperature in real-time and transmits the data to a paired iOS or Android smartphone. Like most other connected devices, Pacif-i uses Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth 4.0. Pacif-i also features a proximity sensor to alert you when a child wanders off, and a built-in buzzer alarm can also be activated via the smartphone app in case the child misplaces or hides the Pacif-i.
2. Air2 Floating Speaker
Bluetooth speakers are nothing new, and admittedly there’s nothing special about the audio capabilities of the Air2, but the coolest and most obvious feature of this speaker is the fact that it floats while it plays your music. The levitating speaker features USB charging and hands-free call features as well. It is the first of its kind, but there will likely be many imitators to follow.
3. Amazon Echo
It’s essentially Siri for your home. Although it may look like a fancy Bluetooth speaker, the Amazon Echo is actually much, much more. Echo is connected wirelessly to the cloud, which allows it to continuously learn and provide better answers to anything you ask it, including (but not limited to) reading the news, checking sports scores, checking the weather, searching wikipedia, controlling your connected home devices (like the Philips Hue), checking traffic conditions, and more. It also performs all normal functions you’d expect like playing your music and setting alarms.
4. IO HAWK
The IO HAWK is part skateboard, part Segway. Some have dubbed it the handle-less Segway. It’s a self-balancing personal transportation device. It’s battery-powered and uses sensors that detect slight directional pressure from your feet to determine the direction in which to go. By shifting your body’s balance, the IO HAWK will respond and change direction accordingly. This is a contender for the top spot on our list, but it is also the priciest; one of these babies will set you back $1800.
The concept behind the Kube is simple. It combines a Bluetooth speaker with an insulated container in one very beautifully designed package. It claims to play music crystal clearly even at a distance of 500ft, and offers 20 hours of playback. It also boasts a storage volume of 33 quarts.
Ring is a gesture-recognizing wearable device you sport on your index finger. Using customizable finger gestures, you can do things like play/pause music, take a picture, or most excitingly, control third-party connected devices and appliances. With the flick of your wrist you can turn your household lights on/off, control your Bluetooth speaker, and activate a vast array of other devices like a smart TV, smart toaster, and even a smart cappuccino machine. It comes with a lithium-ion battery that has up to 3 days of operational time, or 18 days of standby time, and takes 3 hours to fully charge.
According to the manufacturer’s website, Melomind trains your mind to relax and reduce stress levels using neurofeedback techniques, features that the company claims are scientifically backed by the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) and the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. It consists of a headset that measures your relaxation index in real time and transmits the data to a Bluetooth connected smartphone where it is analyzed and made available for you to visualize. The accompanying app comes with a library of relaxation music that is meant to be used with the device in order to help you eliminate stress.
The Skylock is the world’s first smart bike lock. The Skylock is solar powered (but can also be charged via USB), and when connected to your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, it will unlock automatically when you approach your bike. You can also manually unlock it from within the accompanying app. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the Skylock is also equipped with an accelerometer that can detect when you’ve been in an accident and alert emergency services accordingly.
Quell dubs itself is wearable 100% drug free pain relief technology. Quell electrically stimulates your nerves as you wear it at any time of the day and provides pain relief that is associated with several medical conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, sciatica and osteoarthritis among other conditions. It works by delivering electrical pulses to your brain that trigger pain relief symptoms by blocking pain signal pathways.
As if the stereotype of being overweight makes a person lazy needed any re-enforcement, Belty aims to increase your health awareness by monitoring and adjusting your waist line. Well, sort of. Belty features an actuator that automatically loosens when you sit or when you’ve become bloated after a big meal, and tightens when you stand, striving to maintain your comfort throughout the day. Belty also monitors your activity, the trend of your waist line, as well as the number of steps you take, so it is billed as fitness coach to help you meet your goals. As an example, you can ask Belty to give you a nudge via built-in tactile-feedback mechanisms if you have been inactive for an hour.
We’ve heard of smart shoes, but have you heard of smart insoles? Digitsole would be the first. An obvious feature you might have guessed is the ability to track your steps throughout the day and transmit the data to your smartphone, thereby acting like a fitness device. However, much more cooler than that (at least in our opinion) is the ability to warm your feet with one simple tap in the accompanying app. If you have cold feet (literally, not figuratively), then this is the perfect smart device for you.
We have smart phones, smart fridges, smart toasters, smart tooth brushes, so it’s about time we have smart homes. Notion aims to accomplish just that. With a single Notion sensor, you are able to monitor your home from anywhere. Specifically, Notion enables you to check if a door was opened/closed, monitor the temperature in a room, be notified right away in the event of a water leak, know when your windows are opened/closed, and it can even act as a smoke alarm. One Notion sensor is great, but in order to truly protect and monitor your home, you may need to use several Notion sensors in tandem, depending on how large your home is.
Skully is the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet. It features a full 180-degree rear-view camera, projected heads up display, and GPS navigation capabilities. Skully aims to reduce distractions for motorcyclists on the road by allowing them to focus solely on the road ahead. Skully eliminates blindspots by allowing riders to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
The Quitbit lighter sells itself as the first smart lighter that will help you quit smoking. Ironically, the ultimate purpose of this gadget is to get you to stop using it. It uses a powerful heating coil to light cigarettes, so no gas or flames are required. The rechargeable battery lasts 1 week, and the lighter syncs with your smartphone with Bluetooth Low Energy. Quitbit tracks all of your smoking and transmits the data to your smartphone which then provides you with feedback to help you make healthier decisions, with the hope of eventually getting you to stop smoking.
15. Apple Watch
We could not put this article together without mentioning what is probably the hottest gadget of 2015: the Apple Watch. Apple claims the Apple Watch is the most personal product they’ve ever made. It syncs effortless with your iPhone, and can be loaded with a plethora of watch-specific apps. Much of the information you used to pull out your iPhone to access can now be easily obtained simply by looking at your wrist. It would take several pages to describe all of the features of the Apple Watch, so we’ll just take comfort in the fact that if you haven’t heard all about the Apple Watch already from the media coverage it’s received, then you probably stumbled across this post by accident
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