The Momento Pearl Is Reinventing The Locket

The Memento Pearl stores digital memories, accessible by any NFC-enabled smartphone.

The Memento Pearl stores digital memories, accessible by any NFC-enabled smartphone.

Lockets are meant to store precious memories, an occasion or person that shouldn’t be easily forgotten. But in a digital world, the locket hasn’t gotten much of a redesign – until now.

Galatea has created The Momento Pearl, a modern locket that digitally stores pictures, audio, or text. Using an app, you can record a message on a high-tech ‘pearl’ that can be played on any NFC-enabled smartphone.

The Memento Pearl smartphone app.

The Memento Pearl smartphone app.

The app looks simple, and the concept is brilliant. The question is whether the technology will be around as long as a picture in a locket.

However, it could be worth a try since the sterling silver necklaces start at $130. If a sterling silver necklace doesn’t sound appealing to you, the company is also putting the technology into various materials and styles, including rings and earrings.

Their Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded last week, with the original shipment scheduled to go out in time for Mother’s Day (awwww). They’ll also be sold on pearls.com later this year.

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Learn To Cook With Gifs (And Pictures)

KitchenBowl shows you how to make recipes step-by-step.

KitchenBowl shows you how to make recipes step-by-step.

Although you can’t eat them like Jif peanut butter, gifs can still be a handy tool when learning to cook meals for the first time. That’s why Kitchenbowl is a great startup for those who want to try making something new in the kitchen.

The website, which raised $1 million in funding last week, shows you how to cook meals step-by-step with pictures and gifs. The images help to make sure you’re following more complicated recipes to a tea.

A step of ethanstowell's homemade gnocchi recipe.

A step of ethanstowell’s homemade gnocchi recipe.

A good example is a featured recipe for homemade gnocchi. The instructions show you how to do things like mill potatoes using a gif, which not only looks cool, but also taught me what the fudge a food mill was and how to use it.

And if you’re a cooking pro or perhaps just an enthused amateur, you can create your own recipes with pictures and gifs to post on the site. It also works like a social network, where others can like and share your recipes.

Kitchen bowl launched last November and was rated as one of the best new apps in December 2014. You can download for the app from the App Store or check out recipes from their website.

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Gyroscope Is The Creepiest Tracker Yet… But I Still Want To Join

 Screen shot of Gyroscope, a new website that combines your data to provide a complete picture of you.

Screenshot of Gyroscope, a new website that combines your data to provide a complete picture of you.

Gyroscope would be House of Cards’ Rachel’s worst nightmare – the website tracks all your data and shares it publicly on the Internet. Learn more for this week’s #FitnessFriday.

Gyroscope is not a wearable or an app, but it uses information from your wearables and other smartphone applications to give yourself, and the rest of the Internet if you so choose, a complete picture of you. It reveals where you are now, what you’ve been doing, as well as your health and life stats from your devices.

Founder and CEO Anand Sharma started the concept as a personal project under the domain April Zero. It is a site he created to learn more about himself and make himself a healthier and happier human (sound familiar Reebok?).

The thing is, he made the data public. As I’m writing this, he is at his home, which is located at latitude 37.77793 and longitude -122.432433. I can see that he’s visited cafes six times thus far during the month of March, and I can also view the names of the cafes and the exact days and times he was there. I can see that on Sunday, March 1, he woke up in the wee hours of the morning for a day-long ski trip.

Is it too much public information? While I may think so, many do not. After launching a new version of April Zero, Sharma got so much interest from people wanting their own sites that he decided to make the platform public under the name of Gyroscope.

Gyroscope automatically sets your information to private, probably because Sharma realizes that many people don’t want the whole Internet to know where they are and what they’re doing.  You can still make your information completely public if you so choose.

The website breaks your life into “stories,” so you can see and analyze how you spend your time. It also breaks down your life into three categories:
1. Sport – health and fitness tracking
2. Explorer – adventures around the world
3. Digital – photos and other media

Gyroscope is compatible with many popular apps, including Moves, Instagram, Fitbit, Up, and RunKeeper.

I love the idea of being able to track everything about myself, and, yes, I did sign up to get early access to the site. Right now I don’t think there’s a better designed way to track your patterns, see your progress, and analyze where there’s room for improvement.

But I still have concerns. For instance, personal safety if the data gets hacked and released. I may be paranoid — but am I really?

If you want to give Gyroscope a try, like I do, you’ll have to get in line. The website is currently testing, so you’ll have to sign up for early access to see if the program is as great and/or terrifying as it sounds.

Two Technologies Making The Roads Safer

New Teen Driver features. Image copyright General Motors.

New Teen Driver features. Image copyright General Motors.

I’m sure everyone has been personally affected in some way, shape, or form by automobile accidents. Whether it’s teens who were still new behind the wheel or someone who was trying to sneak in a quick text, we are all familiar with tragic stories of those who died or were seriously injured in a car accident.

Fortunately, there are new safety features coming to cars that may make the roads a little bit safer for everyone.

1. A dashboard designed specifically for teen drivers. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. – that’s a scary statistic. In the U.S. alone, an average of seven teens die in a crash every single day. These deaths are preventable, too, and Chevrolet is hoping to bring the rate of reckless teen driving down by adding new safety features to their 2016 Malibu.

Through the Teen Driver mode, parents can set a maximum speed limit. If a teen goes over that allotted mph, they get a warning, and soon the car will also be able to alert parents when their child speeds.

Additionally, the radio will not start until the driver’s seatbelt is buckled. This is especially important because 55% of teens who die in a crash are not wearing seat belts.

The safety features also include statistics about the distance teens drove, any over-speed warnings issued, forward collision alerts, forward collision braking events, and antilock brake events. Teen Driver is set to launch on April 1.

Teen Driver will be available in 2016 Chevrolet Malibus. Image copyright General Motors.

Teen Driver will be available in 2016 Chevrolet Malibus. Image copyright General Motors.

2. A device that won’t let you drink and drive. If you thought the teen driving statistics were scary (and they are!), they’re just as – if not more – grim for driving while impaired. In the U.S., an average of 30 people die per day because of impaired driving. That’s one death every 51 minutes.

A new study found that 59,000 lives could be saved by adding a required safety feature that shuts off an engine if the driver’s blood alcohol content is over the U.S. legal limit of .08*. That’s an 85% decrease in the amount of deaths by drunk drivers.

All of this is why a Congress-backed program called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS)  is so important. The program is a collaboration by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to research technologies that will detect if a driver’s BAC is over the legal limit and prevent their car from starting.

DADSS was started in 2008, but in 2013 it began a new phase that will field test two different types of technologies to prevent drunk driving.

The first is a breath-based system that measures carbon dioxide and alcohol concentrations from inside the vehicle. As their website says, “The system will be designed to take instantaneous, unobtrusive readings as the driver breathes normally and to accurately and reliably distinguish between the driver’s breath and that of the passengers.”

The second is a touch-based system that uses spectrometry and light absorption to detect blood alcohol levels. DADSS says, “The goal is to integrate this system into current vehicle controls, such as the start button or steering wheel, and to take multiple, accurate readings in less than a second. “

The goal of the project is to get these technologies developed, tested, and put into cars for drivers who want them, helping to make the roads safer for everyone.

Screenshot of the DADSS website.

Screenshot of the DADSS website.

While all of these impending technologies are great, it’s always best to do things like not text/drink and drive, wear seatbelts, and not speed anyway. *Drinking and driving is never a good idea, and in many countries it is illegal to drive after drinking at all. Even though the U.S. even has one of the highest permissible BAC levels in the world, please, for everyone’s sake, don’t drink and drive.

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The Wearable You Draw On Yourself

Image courtesy of dextroannie.

Image courtesy of dextroannie.

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, developed a smart ink that becomes a functional sensor when drawn on the body or other objects, essentially creating a wearable that’s more body art than machine.

The researchers filled off-the-shelf ballpoint pens with high-tech bio-inks that react with various chemicals. The ink then acts as a sensor that is able to determine blood glucose levels when on humans or the amount of pollution on plants.

Right now the prototype can measure glucose and pollution levels, and that’s a good start. There are already wearables that can allegedly track the amount of calories taken in by measuring your glucose levels, and the potential for wearable ink seems endless. The researchers foresee it being used by physicians, consumers who want to health data, and the military.

Currently this ink is in the research stage, but the engineers do have a track record for getting word out about their innovations. The same team of the engineers are behind the temporary tattoos that can also detect blood glucose levels, which made rounds on popular medical technology and science websites earlier this year.

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Handiii: The Bionic Arm That Costs Less Than $300 To Make

Handiii, the bionic hand that may change the industry. Image courtesy of Exiii.

This bionic hand may shake up the whole industry. Image courtesy of Exiii.

The future is here my friends, and it looks like Handiii, a robotic arm that can be 3D printed and controlled by the electrical activity in your muscles.

Handiii demoed at Maker Faire 2014. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii demoed at Maker Faire 2014. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii can perform simple tasks, like handshakes, pointing, or holding and releasing a ball. In a demo video with Ruptly TV, a representative says that the arm can be programmed with additional commands.

The electronic arm works through a smartphone connection and a EMG sensor, a device that can read the signals your body sends when you intend to move a muscle. You may have seen or heard about EMG sensors that work with video games or health technology.  Your smartphone then interprets these signals, causing the arm to perform different motions.

Exiii, the Japanese technology behind the arm, demoed it at this year’s SXSW. According to Exiii’s website, the creators wanted to design a reasonably priced, but still useful prosthetic limb. Most bionic arms with the amount of Handiii’s functionality cost $10,000 – $40,000, but Handiii was able to manufacture theirs for under $300.

Handiii is customizable. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Handiii is customizable. Image courtesy of Exiii.

Because Handiii is 3D printable, you can customize the colors, texture, and other aesthetic features of the bionic arm, and new parts can be reprinted as necessary.

You also don’t need to be an amputee to use the device. Handiii can be remotely controlled; however, the practicality of that is questionable.

The problem? Handiii isn’t available for sale yet. Exiii has yet to set a consumer price and is currently only selling their product to research institutions. BUT being able to even create a functional bionic arm for under $300 is a big step forward, and a sign that the prosthetic industry might be about to get a major overall.

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Now There Is A Pizza Vending Machine

Let's Pizza is a pizza vending machine. Image courtesy of Let's Pizza.

Let’s Pizza is a pizza vending machine. Image courtesy of Let’s Pizza.

An Italian company called Let’s Pizza has launched a vending machine that can create a pizza from scratch in two and a half minutes flat. Now that’s what I call fast food.

The machine kneads, stuffs, leavens, and cooks your pizza almost instantly, and the pie is served on a cardboard box. It currently comes with five different types of pizzas programmed, including classics Margherita and Pepperoni.

Although pizza is not the healthiest food choice to say the least, Let’s Pizza does advertise on its website that its pizzas are light, healthy,  and well, of course, delicious. While I don’t know how accurate it is to call a pizza light or healthy, Let’s Pizza’s pies are thin-crusted, so that alone makes them healthier than most. According to their website, each pie has an average of 676 calories.

According to a Fast Company article, the machine’s founder had the idea for the machine while visiting a U.S. food court. As of now, there’s no date as to when these pizza-making machines will hit the U.S.

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Zwift Takes Cycling To The Next Level

Zwift is a social fitness game that takes indoor cycling to the next level.

Zwift is a social fitness game that takes indoor cycling to the next level.

One reviewer described Zwift as ‘Strava meets World of Warcraft.’ The indoor cycling game/social fitness network is one of the latest programs to join the social fitness market, and it’s been getting great reviews even before it publicly launches. That’s why it’s the focus of this week’s Fitness Friday.

Cycling is becoming a big trend, with some saying the sport is the new golf, but it’s also a relatively isolated activity. That’s about to change thanks to start-up and cycling gaming platform Zwift, who is adding a social component to stationary cycling.

Zwift looks like other racing games – the graphics aren’t great, but they’re manageable once you get into the competition. But unlike other cycling games, you can compete against people from the around the world, pushing your limits.

One reviewer started the game just to make sure his equipment worked and ended up completing a full lap around the virtual track in his jeans because he got sucked into the competitive play.

Like other games, you can also play (erm, I mean work out) with friends or get to know strangers. You can talk as you race or you can focus on the track ahead.

You can’t just grab your bike from the garage and go though; you need some equipment to get yourself ready for the game. You’ll need supported ANT+ devices, and in case you had any doubt that Swift must be a fun company, you should check out the list of items they don’t support on their website.

You also need an Internet connection and computer to run Zwift. You can use your mobile phone to second-screen the experience and get more detailed statistics, but tablets aren’t supported yet.

Zwift is not open to the public, and the company is still beta testing. it is expected to launch globally soon, but in the meantime, you can request an invite to be a beta tester.

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Kolibree Makes Brushing Your Teeth Fun

Kolibree's app and smart toothbrush.

Kolibree’s app and smart toothbrush.

Let’s face it. Brushing and flossing are a boring but essential part of keeping healthy, and most parents say it’s easier to get their young ones to eat their veggies than brush their teeth. However, now there is a new toothbrush that literally turns the whole process into a game.

Go! Pirate app for the Kolibree toothbrush.

Go! Pirate app for the Kolibree toothbrush.

Kolibree is a smart toothbrush that pairs with mobile apps to create a better brushing experience. The apps, which are timed for a full two-minute brush, instruct where and how you should brush in visual, creative ways.

While some apps are more basic (read boring), others are interactive games where your brushing directly effects your experience. For example, Go! Pirate is a Temple Run-like game where you move your character and collect coins by properly brushing different sections of your teeth.

The toothbrush syncs with your phone over Bluetooth to store your brushing info and game data. And if you have a particularly competitive housemates, the app features a  leaderboard featuring those with the best brushing skills.

The brush isn’t available for pre-orders just yet, but you can still learn more at their website. The brushes, charges, and one head will retail for $199, and according to CNET, it will be available this fall.

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The Wearable To Communicate With Your Dog

image

Researchers at North Carolina State University are working on a dog harness that will allow us mere humans to communicate with our furry, four-legged friends. The vest-like harness rests on the canine’s back and is equipped with varies technology to help us interpret dogs’ behavioral cues and respond in a way they understand.

The device can monitor a dog’s behavior even when he’s not in sight, and owners can even remotely respond to their pet through a series of speakers and vibrations. The harness also includes additional sensors like a body temperature and heart rate monitor to measure Fido’s physical and emotional well-being.

And if that wasn’t enough, the researchers are also adding other features to the harness for working canines and puppies. The harnesses for search and rescue dogs include a carbon monoxide detector, and they are working on minimizing the technology to help with training pups.

The harness is still in the research stage, but I believe it’s likely we will see more technology like the harness being commercially released in the next few years.

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