Dance Like a Robot

Dance Like a Robot

As you manipulate TinkerBots by hand, the “power brain” records the movements and repeats them when activated. A mobile app can also be used to steer and control the movements of TinkerBots.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Know Who’s Knocking

Know Who’s Knocking

DoorBot. Ringing the bell can initiate a video call with the homeowner, but the visitor does not need to know if someone is watching.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Spotting Speed Traps

Spotting Speed Traps

Passport Max from Escort is a radar detector that uses info from a database to alert drivers to traffic cameras. The device uses GPS to compare its location with data on speed and red light cameras across the U.S. and Canada. The device comes loaded with the latest available locations of traffic cameras, which is public information.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

A Light to Grow By

A Light to Grow By

The iGrow helmet uses low-level lasers to, over time, reinvigorate hairs. Anyone who is “shiny bald” with no living follicles is out of luck, though.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Analog Meets Digital

Analog Meets Digital

The Martian Notifier, from Martian Watches, combines traditional aesthetics with smartwatch features. The analog watch face includes a slender digital readout that shows alerts from a paired smartphone. The watch can show social media updates, text messages, and caller IDs on the tiny OLED display.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Biometric Access

Biometric Access

Myris, from EyeLock in New York, brings the technology of iris scanning to computer access. Rather than use passwords to unlock a computer, Myris checks a person’s irises. Both eyes must be seen by the device, which EyeLock claims puts Myris one rung below DNA in terms of confirming identity.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Putting Life Back into Digital Music

Putting Life Back into Digital Music

The folks at Harman make high-end headphones and speakers; however the company has been less than satisfied with the compressed digital sounds flowing through its products. So they came up with Clari-Fi, software that analyzes compressed digital music and fleshes out the missing audio.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Adding Audio TLC When Needed

Adding Audio TLC When Needed

The Clari-Fi software is supposed to be more responsive than a simple audio equalizer. The software works more aggressively on lower quality sound sources, yet leave CD-quality music untouched. Harman plans to license the software to makers of smartphones and other devices.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Get Fit with Wearables

Get Fit with Wearables

Polar continues to roll out fitness tracking devices that offer more features than mere step-counting. Aimed at serious amateurs and professional athletes, the company’s latest offerings include the V650 computer for cyclists (on the left) and the wrist-worn V800 computer (on the right).

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

An Around the World View

An Around the World View

Giroptic showed off a new version of its high-definition 360-degree panoramic camera. The device is equipped with three fisheye lenses to capture a full field of view. The camera is Wi-Fi enabled, has GPS built in for geo-tagging images, and can be set up to remotely monitor one’s home.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Seeing It All

Seeing It All

Video images from the different Giroptic lenses are “stitched” together by devices for playback. The comany said it plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in about 30 days to support development of the camera.

photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

If you needed more evidence that hardware is a “thing” again, a peek into last week’s DigitalFocus show in New York might convince you.

Digital showcase organizer Pepcom hosts such technology events every season, giving electronics makers a chance to impress analysts and the media. Gadgets that have already been around the block turn up at these things, but a few novel devices also come through. The slideshow above features a few of the devices that caught my eye at last week’s show.

More and more toys seem to be about creating and controlling new devices. TinkerBots are pieces and blocks that connect together in whatever shape the user can devise. Then the bot can be “taught” how to move around. TinkerBots have what its maker, Berlin-based Kinematics, calls a “power brain” built in that learns to repeat movements shown by physically twisting or rotating the different parts. An app can also be used to remotely control TinkerBots via Bluetooth signal. Passive building blocks such as Lego bricks can be snapped onto TinkerBots.

TinkerBots can work with Arduino open-sourcemicrocontrollers, but does not require any programming by the user. “You can code [Tinkerbots] but you don’t have to,” said Matthais Bürger, CEO of Kinematics.

Just last week, Kinematics launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for TinkerBots—and has already exceeded its goal with some 40 days still on the clock.

Fans of the show “Shark Tank” may recognize a connected device from Santa Monica, CA’s DoorBot. With a built-in camera, the DoorBot lets homeowners use their smartphones or tablets to see who is visiting. The device connects to homeowners’ Wi-Fi networks, and in turn allows mobile devices with the app to link up with DoorBot. When someone rings the bell, the homeowner can see a live video stream of the visitor and speak to them with two-way audio through their mobile device.

DoorBot can be combined with Apigy’s forthcoming Lockitron, a device that lets homeowners use smartphones to lock and unlock the door it is attached to.

From afar, iGrow looks like some sort of protective gear from the future. Taking a look inside, though, reveals an array of red lights, low-level lasers and LED diodes, designed to help regrow hair. The device is designed to be used at home, in 25-minute sessions every other day.

While lasers have been used for sometime as a means of hair removal, Apira Science’s iGrow uses a different wavelength that the company claims will stimulate hair follicles. The helmet is also equipped with headphones so the user can listen to tunes while sitting for treatments. Apira Science in Boca Raton states results should appear within six months. But the company says the device cannot restore hair if there are no live follicles left to stimulate. Sorry, Mr. Clean.iGrow helmet

 

The Author

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth.