And Now For Smart Water Pitchers

April 19, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Smart beds, smart suitcases, smart belts and now…joining the lineup…smart water pitches, writes Lauren Goode:

  • Brita’s pitcher water filters are meant to be replaced after they filter about 40 gallons (150 liters) of water.
  • The pitchers used to be at the mercy of their owners’ willingness to follow instructions.
  • Now they’ve announced a new water pitcher that will automatically order a replacement from Amazon when it detects that it’s time to switch out the filters.
  • The pitcher itself costs $45, and a pack of three replacement filters costs about $20.
  • This is all powered by two non-rechargeable batteries that should last about five years.

Read more here. You can buy it here. And read our entire series on the smart future ahead of us here.

Source: The Verge

They’re Working On Smart Beds

March 25, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

A smart bed with an array of smart features

James Vincent wrote about a smart bed:

  • The Balluga Smart Mattress is expected to retail for $3,299. Its creators are requesting $50,000 for the project on Kickstarter.
  • The mattress is made of air-filled cells. With the app you can choose how to fill each one for your sleeping pleasure.
  • A built in snoring detector will change the pressurization of the cells to tilt your head back and hopefully assist your breathing.
  • The mattress has a massage function and built in air-conditioning to make sure the temperature under the covers is just right.
  • It also has soft night lighting that will automatically turn on if you get up to go to the bathroom.

Read Vincent’s impression of the mattress and see more photos here.

Source: The Verge

Interesting Technologies Showcased At The 2016 CES

January 12, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The 2016 CES is behind us. Here are some of the more interesting inventions that were showcased:

  • A smart belt that will alert you if your stomach is actively expanding as a result of having over-eaten. (Source)
  • A wall clock that will show you how much you slept, and will display important notifications along with Uber arrival times. (Source)
  • An exoskeleton that uses weights, lenses, and earphones to help you experience what it feels like to be old. (Source)
  • A smart sock for infants that can monitor heart rate and oxygen levels. (Source)
  • A paintball helmet with a heads-up display that shows battlefield information like ammo, allied positions, and map topography. (Source)

Many of these are concepts or still somewhat pricey. Amazon has currently available gadgets that are far more affordable here.

They’re Trying To Bring Barbie To Life

September 20, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Barbie will soon have a type of proto-consciousness James Vlahos wrote:

  • Adults have come to expect smartphone voice assistants like Cortana and Siri to engage in short, lifelike conversations.
  • It’s really more a feature suited for children, and now the company behind Barbie is trying to give the (in?)famous doll similar capabilities.
  • Just like Cortana, Barbie will also remember conversation items. If she finds out that a child has a sibling Barbie will frequently ask about them. If she finds that a grandparent has passed, Barbie will avoid the subject.
  • Barbie is also being programmed as a learning tool. In one demonstration Barbie told a child that she had had a fight with a friend. The child told Barbie to apologize. Barbie approved.
  • There are multiple concerns. Since this is a Barbie the first is the influence the toy will have on self-image. If the Barbie is asked if a child is pretty Barbie will respond yes – but also note that they’re “smart, talented, and funny”.
  • Kids are pretty good at imbuing inanimate objects with consciousness and personality. The fear is that such a Barbie could act as a brake on a child’s imagination because the child no longer has to create a personality for the doll.
  • And then there is the fear that Barbie will become such a good friend, children will have less of a need to make real friends.
  • Moreover it’s a one sided relationship, with the toy fulfilling all of the child’s needs, no matter how badly the child acts. This ‘domination model’ could serve children poorly when they try to make real friendships.
  • But Mattel is aware of these problems and is programming around them with the help of experts. And anyway such concerns are usually overblown. People used to be worried about smartphones and tablets but kids adjusted to them without becoming social outcasts.

Read more about the Barbie, what happened the last time they tried to get her to speak, her unlikely position as a proto-feminist, where the idea came from, and much more over here.

Source: The New York Times

The Smart, Connected Suitcase

December 16, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Zainab Mudallal wrote about the next “smart” device – a suitcase:

  • Travelers can control “Bluesmart” luggage through a smartphone app which can unlock, weigh, and track the location of the suitcase.
  • Wander too far away from it and it can be configured to alert you.
  • It has a built in battery that can be used to charge other devices.
  • Its sensors collect data such as distance traveled, time spent abroad, and airports visited. This data can be viewed in real time from a smartphone.

Read about the suitcase, how its makers are working to ensure that TSA is okay with it, how you can get a 40% discount, and more over here.

Source: Quartz