Canadian company Neurio, based in Vancouver, BC, has just announced an innovative, easy-to-use and money-saving smart home technology, that can, in minutes, make any ordinary home “smart.” Neurio is an intelligent, open platform that with just a single sensor brings smart home capabilities to the entire home, with future versions providing intelligence for all existing appliances. As the brain of the home, Neurio connects both older appliances and newer smart devices to allow users to easily track, monitor and better understand how their home is operating, such as letting the user know when their kids come home, or if they forgot to turn something off before leaving for the day. Neurio makes it simple, affordable and practical to bring smart home technology, and its benefits, to the masses. Successfully funded via a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign, Neurio is now shipping to backers and is currently available for pre-order at www.neur.io. The Neurio Sensor costs $249 and users have the potential to save money quickly by recognizing energy use patterns and habits. The Neurio platform, which features a single sensor attached to a home’s circuit box, allows for home intelligence and monitoring right out of the box. For complete details and a video, check out our sister site www.canadahifi.com.
Like the idea of gazing up at the stars with that special someone, but didn’t care enough to learn which stars go where? In your defense, there are a lot of stars out there. The NexStar Evolution Telescope gets rid of the guess work by automatically adjusting to the correct constellation when you select it on the app. At just ten inches in length, it may seem too small to have your lady seeing stars, but trust us ten inches is more than a lot of us have to work with…when it comes to telescopes. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that powers the computerized GoTo Mount and it can also charge your smart device. Make sure that one of you is really into astronomy (or at the very least astrology) because you’ll be dropping $1,600. celestron.com
If you were never able to make one of those paper fortune tellers, this origami microscope might be a little tough to wrap your head around. The Foldscope is made from a single piece of paper, though not really; that can be folded into a working 2,000X magnifier. There are some lenses and other tech attached at the back, but the Foldscope still only costs about fifty cents in materials and manufacturing. This microscope can project the image onto a wall with built in LEDs and there are some models configured specifically to spot certain diseases (like having a filter that helps spot Malaria). The engineering behind the design is pretty crazy considering a paper mechanism is used to make microscopic adjustments. The low cost of the Foldscope will certainly help both education and disease detection in underdeveloped countries, unless the creators give it a huge mark-up. $TBA. foldscope.com
Thank you science for making the world a little bit more like a comic book, yet again. We know you’ll all recognize this nifty piece of tech from the pages of Spiderman. The developers of the Bionic Handling Assistant say the device is designed after the trunk of an elephant, but elephant’s don’t have three-pronged hands. Festo’s arm is capable of very delicately gripping object and pneumatic actuators give it a previously unseen (in real life) level of flexibility. Some possible applications for the BHA would include: factory assembly, handling of deadly materials, assisting paraplegics and attaching four of these to your spine and becoming an octopus themed villain. Makes us wonder if Obama really is building an Iron-Man suit. For more info check out festo.com.
Controlling your dreams sounds like a totally wild idea, but it is something that most people experience once in a little while. Lucid dreaming is any dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming, and are able to exert some degree of control over your participation within the dream. In the mid 90s, it was scientifically validated that lucid dreaming can be induced using lights during the REM sleeping stage. The iWinks Aurora is the first device of its kind that capitalizes on this idea and induces lucid dreaming. The Aurora is a headband equipped with EEG (brainwave) sensors, an accelerometer to measure movement and notification lights. It works by using the EEG and accelerometer to recognize the REM sleep stage, and then uses lights and sound to notify the dreamer. The dream sounds are actually played by a smart phone app, which also stores and manages your sleep data. The Aurora can be used with your smart phone or as a standalone device. Lucid dreaming is not just a lot of fun, it is also believed to offer a number of therapeutic benefits. $199. www.iwinks.org
Most of us will hopefully never need to use this item, but for millions dealing with Parkinson’s and other ailments which cause tremors; the Liftware Stabilizer will mean the difference between feeding yourself and the embarrassment of needing to be fed by others. The Stabilizer counters tremors of up to two inches by constantly adjusting the position of the spoon in the opposite direction of your tremor. Two inches may not sound like a lot, but it is. Each kit comes with a charging kit and a spoon attachment, with the promise of more attachments to come soon. The battery takes about three hours to charge and will last for several meals. It may also be useful to those of you suffering from alcohol withdrawals after this long St. Patty’s weekend. $295. liftlabsdesign.com
Flying cars may still be a little off in the future, but here’s something that makes a connection between cars and flying that got us pretty excited. The Renault Kwid is a concept car that comes outfitted with a little quadrocopter drone, mounted in a special compartment of the roof. So what could this flying companion do for you, the driver? Controlled autonomously or by a tablet it could fly ahead of the car and warn you of dangers ahead. It could also help to navigate you out of dirty traffic jam. But it’s best use perhaps would be to create badass video footage of your sometimes illegal driving adventures. Imagine video-game style driving footage of your own car? We love the idea! Check out a video of the design process at www.youtube.com
I know what you’re thinking and no, this won’t be some Google Glass contact lens. While that would be awesome, Google’s new smart contact lens project is actually quite a bit better for those of you suffering from diabetes. I have a couple diabetic family members that have struggled with the condition their whole lives and monitoring your blood sugar is kind of like having to be conscious of your breathing all of the time. The Smart Contacts are intended to measure the glucose in your tears and alert you when there is a spike or drop in your levels. There may be some tiny LEDs involved, but it shouldn’t be obtrusive to the wearer’s vision. This whole thing may be years away, but it is nice when big companies are actually looking to help people instead of becoming some kind of Skynet level corporation. I’m sure the Smart Lenses will cost an arm and a leg once they come out; though so can diabetes. For more info check out googleblog.ca
This could be the best gift idea ever – whether it’s for yourself or your love one! You’ve always dreamed of someone making an action figure of you… but realistically that just isn’t going to happen. However now you can do it yourself, for a very reasonable price. 3D technology company Artec Group has revealed a new service called Shapify.me that allows Xbox 360 and Windows users (who also own the Xbox Kinect) to scan themselves, upload the scan to the company’s website – and they will send you a small figurine of 1/20 scale. The figure will come to you in a white or multicolored plastic and you can use your artistic skills to paint it. When done, you’ll be able to recreate all the epic battles of your wildest dreams – like you fighting a giant robot. $59. www.shapify.me
I’m calling it now. Amazon.com buys Pizza Hut in three to five years and we shove stuffed crust down our gullets faster than ever before. Porn featuring a pizza delivery drone showing up with extra sausage will surely follow. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently revealed the company’s Amazon PrimeAir octocopter drones in a 60 Minutes interview. The octocopters are expected to carry items up to five pounds (which is 86% of the items Amazon sells) within a ten mile radius of a distribution centre. The drones likely won’t be around for a few years due to a lack of proper safety rules but hopefully the idea won’t get held back. This quick and easy shopping may finally divert consumers from the dangers of a Wal-Mart Black Friday Massacre; but if a big screen TV is what you desire, you may need to be prepared to get stabbed. Check out a video of the process on www.youtube.com.
You’ve probably heard this before but I had this exact idea back while studying at university – seriously. Wireless charging could revolutionize the way we think about and interact with our electronic devices, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, portable video gaming system, etc. Induction charging gave us a glimpse of this a couple of years ago but it never caught on big because it still required contact between the charger and the device, plus a hefty add-on for the device. The Cota, made by Oassia, sends power from the source to your devices using the airwaves, the same 2.4 GHz spectrum that WiFi networks and Bluetooth communication use. Like these two wireless standards, Cota does not require a line of sight and is capable of charging multiple devices at once. Imagine your smartphone automatically being charged whenever you’re at home, without having to plug it in? Cota is said to have a range of up to 30 feet. Currently only about 10 percent of the power source arrives at the device that’s being charged, so the efficiency isn’t very good at all. But as with any other new technology, we expect this to be boosted significantly in the future. Cota is currently being reviewed by the FCC for approval and the company hopes to license the tech to consumer electronics manufacturers by 2015. We can’t wait for this tech to arrive!
3D printing just got a whole lot easier with the new Digitizer from the team over at Makerbot. Until now there has been a need for some level of skill with CAD software. With the Digitizer, you can simply scan any item you want replicated by placing it on the turn-table. Makerbot has also created an incredibly user friendly software wherein designing your own models is as easy as dragging a scanned top hat over the head of a scanned gnome and the program will do the rest. There are also a number of sculpting tools allowing you to make changes to your pre-existing item. Maybe you want to lengthen the shaft of your screw driver or miniaturize some gears to make the world’s smallest plastic watch you’re working on without having to design them all individually yourself. Point is if you already own a 3D printer, this will be a great addition to your workshop. $1,550. makerbot.com
Billionaire Elon Musk is a visionary and a futurist, and also one of our biggest idols. His SpaceX company is helping get private spaceflight off the ground (pun intended), while his Tesla company has developed some of the coolest electric vehicles to date. On August 12, Musk revealed his latest dream called the Hyperloop, a super-fast travel concept that shoots passenger pods through tubes at about 760 mph (1,220 km/h) using energy derived from the sun. He envisions the Hyperloop to use electric motors to accelerate 6.5 foot wide pods to nearly supersonic speeds. The pods travels through long tubes, mounted on pylons to keep construction costs low, while reducing earthquake risks. Musk believes that a Hyperloop system could link cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco – with a travel time of just 30 minutes between them. He estimates that such a system could be built for about $6 billion, which is a small fraction of the proposed $70 billion high-speed rail system between the two cities. While Musk says that he doesn’t have the time to work on the project himself, he hopes that other innovators and entrepreneurs will run with his idea – he’s even willing to build a demonstration model to help get the project started. What a guy! More over at www.space.com
How much time does your USB flash drive spend every day plugged into the USB port of your computer? What if it could server another purpose while sitting idle? This great concept combines a USB drive with a rechargeable battery. Like a typical USB stick, this guy will allow you to save documents, pictures and music but you can also use it as a double-A battery to power your favourite devices like your digital camera, flash light or even your lady friend’s sex toys. www.yankodesign.com
If you want to feel a little more like Tony Stark when you jump on your motorcycle next time, here’s a helmet that will help you do just that. Reevu, the company that wowed the world with its “rear vision” helmet, is doing it again with its new intelligent helmet which offers an internal heads up display (HUD). The current model, designed for the motorsports sector, is capable of displaying such information as diagnostic engine data or GPS but a future consumer model will connect with your smartphone and feature communication capabilities. We dig it! $TBA. www.reevu.com
Snake pits of cables are unavoidable around computers, TV sets and audio systems. Or are they? One company making strides toward a completely wireless future is Powermat. And now thanks to a partnership between DuPont and the Power Matters Alliance, Corian countertops will soon be embedded with Powermat wireless charging. Corian is a solid surface, a synthetic granite alternative, used for countertops everywhere from kitchens and meeting rooms to hospitals and research labs. The embedded Powermat technology will allow you to wirelessly charge your smartphone, tablet and other electronic gadgets simply by placing them on the counter. All you need to do is plug in a small device into the charging port of your gadget, which sits there permanently. How awesome is that? $TBA. www.corian.com
We’ve all see the scene in Star Wars where an eight inch Princess Leia appears out of thin air. Well, these guys have already made that. It’s mostly just used for advertisements, but you got to make money somehow. Holovision creates 3D images that float independent of the screen – without the use of mist, fog or 3D glasses like other techniques. How do they accomplish this? Magic is our best guess. Now they want to create the first life sized hologram and you can help by pledging to their Kickstarter campaign. Keeping in mind that it’ll cost the full million to make one life sized hologram, pledge $299 or more and get a three inch hologram; $7,500 or more and get a seventeen inch hologram of yourself and a whole bunch of other sweet perks. www.kickstarter.com
You never know what to expect from a new apple product. Sometimes it just feels like they keep re-releasing the same thing every few months making a marginally better product each time. Fortunately, the new MacPro has a lot going for it, even with a few shortcomings with compatibility (this is Apple after all). I was immediately drawn to the unique look of the hardware; sporting a sleek cylindrical frame that stands less than 25cm tall. Then I saw some of the specs. With up to twelve cores of processing power, the new MacPro will easily be two times faster than its predecessor. Capable of 40Gb of bandwidth speeds and 20Gb/s data transfer speed, the most tangible measure of the MacPro’s power, is its ability to output 4K video to three monitors simultaneously. That’s a lot of HD. More news via www.extremetech.com
How often do you run into a situation where a custom-shaped piece of plastic could solve your problem – like making a “universal” tablet mount actually fit your car? Or maybe you’ve dreamed of an action figure of yourself? Now all of your 3D printing dreams can finally come true! The days of expensive 3D printers that only engineers know how to use are coming to an end. The Buccaneer 3D printer is the world most affordable home 3D printer that everyone can use. It comes fully assembled and calibrated and will let you start printing your first 3D objects in minutes of cracking the box open. And forget about learning how to use complicated 3D design software, this printer offers its own Smart Objects software which will let you choose from thousands of designs created by others from an online repository, and customize them to your liking. Those who have 3D design software or coding skill can also easily design their own objects using the company’s Smart Object API. Let your imagination run wild $347. www.pirate3d.com
We featured the Oculus Rift a little while back; a virtual reality headset that makes the Virtual Boy look like… well, a Virtual Boy. A new Kickstarter campaign called OMNI is taking virtual reality to a whole other level with its realistic stationary walking controls. While wearing special motion tracking shoes, the player stays in one spot even though it feels like they are walking. This is thanks to the clever design where the shoes lock into tracks and slide back to the center. The device is compatible with Kinect, any virtual reality head set and can be calibrated to any system with a keyboard interface. The cost of your own virtual reality setup is quickly adding up, but it’ll all be worth it when we can get all of our exercise chasing innocent bystanders down the streets of Liberty City. Minimum pledge (at this point) is $429. www.kickstarter.com