Connected WHAT? 10 Of The Strangest Smart Gadgets Of 2014
By Nicholas Greene, The Coolist, 21 November 2014.
By Nicholas Greene, The Coolist, 21 November 2014.
Over the past few years, professionals and innovators in just about every industry have been making a concerted push to make their tools and products ‘smarter’ by equipping them with computer chips. These gadgets have taken the market by storm - today, just about every field is positively awash in smart devices. Naturally, that’s led to a few…unusual products, particularly over the past year.
Here for your enjoyment are just a few of the strangest (and strangely useful) and best smart gadgets for 2014.
1. The Savory “Steaklocker” is an App-Connected Steak Chiller
For the tech-savvy consumer who’s tired of buying aged steaks exclusively from butchers and upscale restaurants, meet the Steaklocker. It’s the first commercially-available dry aging fridge in the world, and it equips its owner with the power to decide exactly how their meat is aged, tweaking the end result so that it gives them exactly the flavour and tenderness they desire. Of course, something this ground-breaking won’t come cheap - the Steaklocker retails at somewhere between US$500 and US$700. [More at Steaklocker]
2. Vessyl’s Smart Cup Tells You Exactly How You Drink
If you’ve ever wondered how many liquid calories (and other stuff) you consume on a daily basis, then Vessyl’s the perfect cup for you. Using an array of internal sensors, Vessyl detects and analyzes the beverages poured into it, detecting, among other things; caloric content, sugar levels, and the type of drink you’re downing. Through its companion app, you can see if you’re drinking too much salt or fat, and enter in any drinks you consumed using a different cup; it’ll even inform you if you’re not hydrated enough.
In addition, it can be synced up with an array of different fitness trackers, allowing you to factor your drinking habits into your dietary regime. Vessyl’s available for preorder right now at US$99, and will ship in early 2015. [More at Vessyl]
3. WhistleGPS’s Dog Tracker Keeps You Connected With Fido
WhistleGPS is a product so brilliant that it’s a wonder no one came up with it sooner. Instead of having to rely on a name-tag with the owner’s details attached, this collar is equipped with an internal GPS and a bunch of sensors that allow it to track your pet’s activity. What that means is that no matter where your pet ends up, you’ll be able to track them down - no more worrying about losing Fido when you leave the gate open. [More at Whistle Labs]
4. Jibo’s A Friendly Little Robotic Family Assistant
Designed first and foremost with user-friendliness in mind, Jibo bears a striking resemblance to a high-tech version of The Pixar Lamp. This little robot is able to recognize faces, names, and voices; it can further associate a bevy of preferences and personality traits with each one. In addition to its more endearing qualities, Jibo can set reminders, tell joke and stories, surf the web, contact friends or family, play music, take photos and videos, and even track down somewhere to eat. Basically, it’s the most adorable robotic assistant ever made. [More at Jibo]
5. KOR FX Vest Brings Connected Feeling to Video Games
Imagine you’re playing a video game, and your character gets attacked from behind. Ordinarily, you’d see some sort of on-screen indication that they’ve taken damage. With The KOR-FX Vest, you’ll actually feel the attack connect with your own back. Using the award-winning 4DFX technology, KOR-FX is capable of providing directional, contextual feedback based on what’s happening on-screen.
It doesn’t just work with games, either - you can just as easily strap on the vest if you’re watching a movie or listening to music. [More at KOR-FX]
6. The Nod Gesture Ring Controls Your Connected World
Gesture control is awesome - and the Nod Ring is all about it. Once it’s hooked up to another smart device through Bluetooth, Nod can be configured with an array of different gestures that’ll allow the user to control that device. Everything from turning on the lights in a room to changing the channel on a TV can be done with a flick of the wrist or a snap of the fingers. [More at Nod]
7. Sense Sleep Monitor Is Smart Tech For Insomniacs
Sense is a device designed to help people get their sleep habits back in check. It consists of two components - a small globe that goes on one’s nightstand or desk, and a tiny disc placed under one’s pillow. Together, the two devices track their owner’s sleep, monitoring when they sleep, how they sleep, and for how long they sleep. All this information is made available through a companion app for one’s smartphone, which allows the user to review how well they slept and nail down any disturbances. The app also allows the user to configure a smart alarm, which will wake them up at a time that coincides with their natural sleep cycle. [More at Hello]
8. Spire Will Guide You to A Less Stressful Life
How one breathes plays a major role in how one lives - at least, that’s the theory behind Spire. It’s a new form of tracking device; one which monitors a user’s ‘state of mind,’ determining their well-being based on how they breathe. Users who are stressed, maintain the gadget’s inventors, tend to experience shallow, fast breathing, while those who are relaxed breathe much deeper and more slowly. Through a companion app, Spire will notify its owner when they’re getting a bit too out of sorts, and remind them to take a few deep breaths in order to calm themselves down.
The team’s currently working on developing features that will allow the Spire Activity Tracker to monitor how you breathe during sleep, offering suggestions on how you might go about getting a more complete night’s rest. [More at Spire]
9. Amazon Echo Is Probably The Smartest Speaker Ever
Amazon’s latest foray into the world of computer tech is known as the Echo, and it’s likely one of the most powerful smart speakers ever created. Retailing at US$199, the Echo is equipped with voice recognition software that has an impressive grasp of both language and syntax. It’s also cloud connected, allowing it to be used as a personalized digital assistant that seeks out radio stations, belts out reminders, tells jokes, brings up weather reports, and even controls one’s TV. It gets better - at this early stage, we’ve only scratched the surface of what Echo can do; it’s likely capable of much, much more. [More at Amazon]
10. Emotiv Epoc Lets You Control Gadgets With Your Thoughts
Emotive’s Epoc + is probably the coolest headset you’ll ever see - it’s one of the world’s first brain-computer interfaces. In other words, it lets you control your computer (and a wide array of other devices) through thought alone. It’s easy to set up and even easier to use, allowing even those who are completely immobile to enjoy the benefits of modern-day technology.
There’s this thing that’s been taking the world by storm lately, especially in the past year. It’s called the Internet of Things, and it means that pretty much every industry you can think of is completely awash in smart devices. This has, in turn, led to some pretty unusual products - like those seen above, for instance. Still, it’s an inarguably awesome trend, and one can’t help but imagine what sort of smart devices we might see as we move from 2014 into the new year.
Whatever they are, you can bet we’ll be right on top of them.
Top image: Vessyl Smart Cup. Credit: Vessyl.
[Source: The Coolist. Edited. Some links added.]