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20
Aug

Facebook patent reveals more details about its AR glasses


Mark Zuckerberg showed off a render of the AR glasses Facebook is working on last year, but he didn’t reveal a lot of details about the device. Now, we finally know a bit more about it, thanks to a new patent application filed by members of Oculus’ advanced research division. The application, obtained by Business Insider, is for “waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner” that “may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements.”

Based on the info in the documents, the glasses will use a waveguide system that projects images and light into the user’s eyes. That’s similar to the technology behind Microsoft’s AR headset, the HoloLens, and Magic Leap’s still-mysterious mixed-reality device. In fact, as BI points out, one of the application’s authors is Pasi Saarikko, who worked on HoloLens before joining Oculus.

In addition to being able to superimpose photos and videos on top of a live image of the real world, the glasses will also be capable of playing audio when connected to a pair of headphones or speakers. It also seems like Facebook wants to make them look like ordinary glasses rather than adopt the chunky look of most VR headsets today. That means the company has to find or develop components small and slim enough to fit into them.

Zuckerberg made it pretty clear during last year’s F8 conference that he wants to use the device’s capabilities to put Facebook on your face. The Facebook chief admitted that it could take a while to make that happen, but he believes the next generation will share personal moments like their babies’ first steps through AR or VR for a more immersive experience.

Via: Fast Company

Source: Business Insider, United States Patent and Trademark Office

20
Aug

The best ice cream maker


By Marguerite Preston and Lesley Stockton

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After researching for 95 hours, testing 16 machines, talking with pro ice cream makers and a food scientist, and churning gallons of the frozen stuff over the past four years, we think the Whynter ICM-15LS is your best bet for making consistently great ice cream at home. It’s not cheap, but because it’s so easy to use and it essentially guarantees success, it would likely get a lot more play in your kitchen than cheaper, more finicky machines.

Who should get this

An ice cream maker isn’t an essential kitchen tool, but if you love ice cream and like experimenting with unique flavor combinations, investing in one is worthwhile. Which type you should buy depends largely on how often you plan to use it and how much you want to spend. Generally, you’ll find three styles of ice cream makers: ice-and-salt, prefrozen bowl, and compressor. Of the three, we think most people should get a compressor because they’re the easiest to use, produce the smoothest textures, and are self-refrigerating, meaning you can make back-to-back batches. However, compressor machines tend to cost more than ice-and-salt or models with prefrozen inserts.

How we picked and tested

The compressor-machine contenders, clockwise from bottom left: Whynter ICM-15LS, Ariete Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker, Whynter ICM-201SB, Lello 4080 Musso Lussino, Breville Smart Scoop. Photo: Michael Hession

The primary task of an ice cream maker is to produce creamy ice cream with few ice crystals. The faster the mixture freezes, the less time ice crystals have to form, which is why compressor machines tend to make smoother textures: They churn and freeze the ice cream base faster than those that rely on prefrozen inserts or ice and salt.

In our original 2014 test, we made a relatively low-fat recipe from Ample Hills Creamery using nine ice cream makers of all types. But for our 2015 and 2017 updates, we considered only self-refrigerating compressor ice cream makers. These models produced the highest-quality ice cream in our first test, and in surveying our readers we found that most respondents were looking to buy a compressor machine. We also decided to use a higher-fat vanilla ice-cream base, and experimented with making lemon sorbet and chocolate ice cream. The chocolate ice cream test was particularly helpful in testing how well each machine handled mix-ins added toward the end of churning.

Our pick: Whynter ICM-15LS

The Whynter ICM-15LS. Photo: Michael Hession

We like the Whynter ICM-15LS because it made smoother ice cream in a shorter amount of time than most of the other models. Although it didn’t create the absolute smoothest texture in our tests, it does hit the sweet spot of great results at a reasonable price. It’s also one of the quieter machines we tested, and one of the simplest models to use, scoop from, and clean. The simple, compact design makes it easy to store, as well. And because this Whynter model is a compressor machine, no prefreezing of any kind is required.

The ICM-15LS is simple to use. The 1½-quart removable bowl is easy to lift out, thanks to a built-in handle, so you can scrape out all the ice cream with ease. In our tests, setting up the Whynter machine was effortless and took less than three minutes.

One gripe we have with the ICM-15LS is that the opening for adding mix-ins is almost comically tiny at just 2½ by 1 inches. But because you can remove the lid entirely and the motor keeps turning, adding mix-ins is pretty easy without fussing with the opening in the lid.

Runner-up: Breville Smart Scoop

The Breville Smart Scoop. Photo: Michael Hession

For the price, we think the Whynter ICM-15LS is the best ice cream maker for most people, but the Breville Smart Scoop is a good—albeit substantially more expensive—option if the ICM-15LS sells out. In our tests the Breville model made slightly creamier ice cream than the Whynter, but we don’t think that makes it worth the price jump.

What the Smart Scoop really has going for it are more automatic options—basically a lot of extra bells and whistles that most people probably don’t need. It has an auto mode that lets you choose from 12 hardness settings, from soft sorbet to super-firm ice cream, and alerts you when it’s time to add mix-ins or when the the cycle is done. It also has a unique cool-down function that brings the temp of your base and the machine down to the perfect turning temperature before it starts to churn.

Upgrade pick: Lello 4080 Musso Lussino

The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino. Photo: Michael Hession

The Lello 4080 Musso Lussino is truly the most luxurious home ice cream maker we’ve ever used, and it was the favorite of nearly all our taste testers. For the price, however, it’s worth the investment only if you’re a serious connoisseur or you have cash to burn. The design of the Musso Lussino is sleek and simple with no bells and whistles, and it has just two buttons: one for freezing and the other for churning.

In our tests, this machine posted the quickest churning time of all the models we tested. What does that speed get you? Less ice-crystal formation and an intense creaminess that’s reminiscent of store-bought premium ice cream, thanks to a more powerful compressor that freezes the mixture faster. The difference is evident when you scoop out the finished product, as it’s stretchy, like gelato, and visually smoother.

Budget pick: Nostalgia ICMP400

The Nostalgia requires plenty of ice and salt. Photo: Lesley Stockton

If you’re not ready to commit to an expensive compressor machine, the Nostalgia ICMP400 offers good results, although it requires more work and won’t produce the creamiest textures. Of the two models we tested that required ice and salt, the Nostalgia was the winner. This simple machine can make up to 4 quarts of ice cream, easily twice the capacity of the others. Though the final product was a bit icy, it wasn’t the biggest offender in our testing lineup, and the flavor of the cream really came out in the finish. Keep in mind that this machine isn’t designed for you to add mix-ins while it’s running. In our tests the ice cream took about 30 minutes to churn, but the bucket was only a quarter full; at full capacity, the process would’ve taken longer.

For KitchenAid stand-mixer owners: KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH

Though we were not impressed with other prefrozen inserts, we found that the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker KICA0WH attachment was the only frozen-bowl model that worked well consistently. It made perfect, fluffy ice cream, every time, and was faster than any other ice cream maker we tested. It’s a space-saving, affordable alternative if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer from 1990 or later.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

20
Aug

Here is where and when to watch Microsoft’s Gamescom conference this weekend


Why it matters to you

Microsoft will reveal pre-order information for the Xbox One X at Gamescom.

This weekend marks the ninth annual Gamescom Germany. While the trade show is not at the E3 level in terms of showing off and announcing new games, it represents one of the last public get-togethers before the big games rush in the fall. AAA developers and publishers will be on hand, including Microsoft. In 2016, Microsoft ditched a traditional press conference in favor of a Fan Fest event which let gamers take the company’s latest games for a spin before launch. This year, Microsoft will continue on with its Fan Fest, but prior to that, Microsoft will take the stage to offer up some news on its upcoming Xbox One X. Here’s how to watch and what to expect from Microsoft’s Gamescom showing.

How to watch

The action kicks off Sunday at noon (PT). Microsoft will stream the conference on Mixer, which you can download the app for on iOS, Android, or your Xbox One. We also have the stream in this post, so you can keep it right here and watch with us.

On Monday, at noon, a live-stream dedicated to the Age of Empires franchise will occur. Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the original, was revealed at E3 earlier this year. The Gamescom live-stream will give fans their first peek at gameplay. Also hosted on Mixer, you can tune in for the Age of Empires steam here.

What to expect

As far as the Sunday press conference goes, the main bit of expected news pertains to the Xbox One X. Microsoft plans to officially unveil pre-orders during the press conference. According to The Verge, pre-orders for the Xbox One X will be made available following the press conference’s conclusion.

Outside of the Xbox One X and Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, we know from a July update that Microsoft will discuss and show Forza Motorsport 7 and Sea of Thieves. Forza Motorsport 7 is right around the corner with its October 3 launch date, while Sea of Thieves is on the horizon for 2018.

Throughout the rest of the week at Gamescom, Microsoft will let the press and fans play 27 different games coming to Xbox One in the future. While we don’t know what all will be playable, there is a chance some will be discussed during the press conference.




20
Aug

7 Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks to make you a better photographer and more


Lenovo’s latest, top-of-the-line smartphone is just as modular and powerful as its predecessor. But in addition to retaining support for the ever-expanding portfolio of snap-on Moto Mods, the Moto Z2 Force packs a powerful dual camera, a high-end processor, and software that lets you fine-tune its appearance. The Moto Z2 Force may not look all that complicated on the outside, but there’s plenty lurking beneath the surface if you know where to look. Here’s a handy list of Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks, including camera tutorials and directions for utilizing voice commands.

How to take DSLR-like bokeh shots

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is an upgrade from last year’s model. It packs dual, 12-megapixel sensors and comes with sophisticated camera software to match. One of the coolest features is Depth enabled, which is kind of like the iPhone 7 Plus‘ Portrait Mode. The Moto Z2 Force uses the dual cameras to mimic the bokeh, or blur effect, you see on DSLR cameras, with the foreground subject in focus and the background blurred.

It’s pretty easy to use. Open the Camera app, tap the three-button Settings icon in the bottom-right corner of the app, and select the Depth enabled option. Afterward, tap on an object to bring it into focus, and tap on the shutter button to take the shot. Don’t like the result? Not to worry — the Moto Z2 Force’s editing tools allow you adjust the “blur” effect after you’ve taken the shot. You can adjust the intensity, location, and depth of focus using the Depth Editor

How to capture the world in black and white

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is good for more than just applying bokeh effects. One of its dual sensors shoots in monochrome, meaning that the pictures it captures come out in black and white. This makes it easy way to make any moment more dramatic, and it’s better than using an Instagram filter.

To capture black-and-white images with the Moto Z2 Force, open the camera app and tap the Settings icon. Then, tap on the True B&W option, and enjoy the world in high-contrast monochrome.

How to shoot photos like a pro

The Moto Z2 Force’s cameras are a powerful pair, but you wouldn’t know it from the phone’s barebones camera app. If the default settings have you feeling a bit constrained, try Professional Mode, which exposes a lot more of the camera’s settings for you to tweak.

Open the camera app, tap the settings button, and tap Professional Mode to turn it on. Now, you’ll see a wealth of adjustable menus on the right-hand side, letting you change everything from white balance and exposure to ISO and focus. It’s every smartphone photographer’s dream.

How to use Moto Actions for quick access to the flashlight and more

Moto Actions have become a staple of the company’s Moto-branded smartphones, and the Z2 Force is no exception. With Moto Actions enabled, you can switch on the flashlight by making a chopping motion with your arm, twist your wrist twice quickly to open the camera app, and flip the phone face down to silence notifications and calls. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To switch on Moto Actions, tap the Moto icon in the Moto Z2 Force’s app drawer and tap Moto Actions. Afterward, scroll down the list of options and enable whichever action you want. A few of our favorites include one button nav, which lets you navigate the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen and apps by using the fingerprint sensor, and swipe to shrink screen, which lets you swipe down to the left or right to make the phone’s interface smaller for one-handed use.

How to use Moto Display to save battery — and your sleep

Moto Display, another component of the Moto Z2 Force’s Moto app, optimizes your phone’s screen depending on how you’re using it. When it’s night, the Moto Z2 Force’s screen automatically adjusts to warmer tones that are less likely to interfere with your circadian rhythm. When your phone’s sitting face up on a desk unused, new notifications fade in and out, allowing you to save battery life.

Tap the Moto app shortcut, followed by the Moto Display menu. Afterward, toggle the Moto Display mode you want to enable: Night Display, which enables the Moto Z2 Force’s night filter, and Moto Display, which shows notifications on the lockscreen.

Don’t want all of your apps showing up on the lockscreen? Tap Moto Display to block individual apps from appearing. Tap Night Display to set the mode’s start and end time.

How to use voice commands with Moto Voice

Moto Voice lets you open apps or check the weather just by using the phrase “Show Me.” To set it up, find the Moto app in your app drawer, and tap on Moto Voice. Hit Set up Voice, and make sure the toggle for Voice Control is on. Tap Change or improve voice enrollment, and the tutorial for Moto Voice will begin. Follow the instructions on the screen — you’ll need to be in a quiet environment for the set up process. Once set up, say “Show me Chrome,” or “Show me the weather,” to open apps or check the weather hands-free. You can even use this feature when your phone is on standby.

You can also use Moto Voice to read calls and texts aloud when you are driving. To set it up, launch the Moto app and tap Moto Voice. Tap the Talk to me menu, and enable activities during which you want the phone to talk to you (i.e., when you’re driving or wearing a headset). You can also add places where Talk to me will automatically activate, like your house or work.

How to disable the Google Now activity stream

Google Now, Google’s AI-powered assistant, is accessible from the left-hand side of the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen by default. It’s where you’ll see the weather forecast, sports scores, packages bound for your address, flight statuses, and articles related to the news you’ve been reading. But if you don’t use it, you’re under no obligation to keep it on your home screen. Disable it by pressing and holding anywhere on the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen until you see a settings menu with three buttons: Wallpapers, Widgets, and Settings. Tap the Settings menu, and then tap Swipe Access. To disable the Google Now feed, tap Nothing. That’s it. The next time you swipe to the left-most part of the lock screen, you won’t see the Google Now interface.




20
Aug

Ben Heck’s ‘IoT on Wheels’


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Ben and Felix are taking part in element14’s IoT on Wheels design challenge with help from a local electrical engineer, Bob Baddeley, to use ST Microelectronic’s Nucleo microcontroller board and Bluetooth module. The team decided to work on an Internet-of-Things project for use with a bicycle, perhaps to notify your local council about potholes found in the street. This project required Ben to do some 3D modeling and printing to create the mount, while Felix programmed with mbed to get the microcontroller working as planned. You can enter the IoT on Wheels design challenge, or give the team feedback over on the element14 Community.

20
Aug

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Stackable grills and laser engravers


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

STCKBLS — stackable grill system

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If car camping and tailgating are your thing, then drop what you’re doing and check out STCKBLS: a modular, portable grilling system that just launched on Kickstarter. The grill promises to revolutionize outdoor dining by providing an efficient, powerful, and easily transportable way to make meals at the campsite, big game, or anywhere else you might want to go. The STCKBLS system consists of three individual units, each of which plays an important role in cooking.

At the heart of this modular approach is a portable gas grill capable of producing up to 12,000 BTUs per hour. The grill, which comes in both propane and butane versions, gives chefs 280 square inches of cooking space, which is sizable enough to cook plenty of food to feed a hungry crew. The other two STCKBLS modules include a utility storage unit for stashing cooking utensils and supplies, and a rugged cooler for keeping fresh food and beverages chilled.

What makes the STCKBLS system unique is how all of the different modules have been engineered to work together. The three components share the exact same 18-by-18-inch footprint, which makes them highly stackable. Get it?

Cubiio — ultracompact laser engraver

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Laser cutters/engravers are arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have in your workshop. With the right laser diode, they can do everything from etching patterns into leather, to cutting super-precise shapes in wood. They can handle a massive range of materials and can be used in a wide variety of different ways. Unfortunately, there aren’t many such devices on the market that are designed for the casual tinkerers and novice DIY types among us. If you want to fiddle with laser cutters, you typically need to know your way around all kinds of complex software and calibration procedures.

Not so with the Cubiio. This beast has been designed from the ground up to be ridiculously simple to use. Simply connect your PC, Mac, or tablet via Wi-Fi, choose the design you’d like to cut/etch, and hit go. The software makes it nearly foolproof, and the machine has presets for just about every material under the sun. Wood, leather, fabric, and even mirrors or anodized aluminum are no problem at all. The integrated software allows for pictures to be engraved directly onto your material, no matter what picture or material you choose.

Modius — Neurostimulation wearable for weight loss

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What if you didn’t have to work out to lose weight? What if there was a magical device that you could put on your head for just a few minutes every day, and the pounds would melt away from your body? Sounds pretty far-fetched, right? Well, despite the fact that it defies logic and reason, that’s exactly what the Neurovalens Modius can allegedly do. It’s a neurostimulation headset that essentially tricks your brain into thinking you’re exercising, decreases appetite, and helps you reach your weight loss goals without lifting a finger.

“Suspend your disbelief for a second,” Digital Trends reporter Andy Boxall says. “Here’s how it works. The Modius is a headset worn like a pair of headphones, just without the cups over your ears. Instead, two pads sit just beneath your ears and zap low-power electrical impulses to your vestibular nerve, activating the hypothalamus. This, Neurovalens says, fools the body into thinking you’re a physically active person, even though you’re sitting down watching Netflix. The nerve stimulated by the Modius prompts the metabolism to kick in and burn more fat, while also decreasing appetite so you don’t reach for the cookies — all of which should mean your body fat falls without having to listen to your stomach growl all day. In its FAQ, the company says this will happen without exercise or diet, but results will be improved if you do both. However, if you’re eating enough to feed several children on your own, then it’s unlikely to make a lot of difference.”

Brid: next-gen air filtration system

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Air filters are great. With the right setup, they allow you to filter out bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and even viruses — ensuring that nothing but clean, pure air enters your lungs. The only downside? They tend to get clogged up after a while, and when that happens, you typically have to buy a new filter. Old, clogged-up filters can cause a lot of problems: reduced air quality, higher energy bills, and potentially even HVAC system issues and failures if ignored for long enough. But what if there was a filtration system that didn’t require replacement filters and constant upkeep?

That’s where Brid comes in. Using patented nanostructured, honeycomb-shaped ceramic filters, the Brid air purifier breaks down harmful particles in the air. With a porous ceramic surface that has nano-titanium particles fixed into its structure, the filter is also extremely durable. While other filtration systems generally require owners to purchase additional filters, Brid’s will last virtually forever. Once it gets clogged, all you have to do is pull it out, run it under a faucet, let it dry, and put it back inside the Brid unit. No more filter replacements, no more hassle.




20
Aug

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Stackable grills and laser engravers


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

STCKBLS — stackable grill system

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

If car camping and tailgating are your thing, then drop what you’re doing and check out STCKBLS: a modular, portable grilling system that just launched on Kickstarter. The grill promises to revolutionize outdoor dining by providing an efficient, powerful, and easily transportable way to make meals at the campsite, big game, or anywhere else you might want to go. The STCKBLS system consists of three individual units, each of which plays an important role in cooking.

At the heart of this modular approach is a portable gas grill capable of producing up to 12,000 BTUs per hour. The grill, which comes in both propane and butane versions, gives chefs 280 square inches of cooking space, which is sizable enough to cook plenty of food to feed a hungry crew. The other two STCKBLS modules include a utility storage unit for stashing cooking utensils and supplies, and a rugged cooler for keeping fresh food and beverages chilled.

What makes the STCKBLS system unique is how all of the different modules have been engineered to work together. The three components share the exact same 18-by-18-inch footprint, which makes them highly stackable. Get it?

Cubiio — ultracompact laser engraver

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Laser cutters/engravers are arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have in your workshop. With the right laser diode, they can do everything from etching patterns into leather, to cutting super-precise shapes in wood. They can handle a massive range of materials and can be used in a wide variety of different ways. Unfortunately, there aren’t many such devices on the market that are designed for the casual tinkerers and novice DIY types among us. If you want to fiddle with laser cutters, you typically need to know your way around all kinds of complex software and calibration procedures.

Not so with the Cubiio. This beast has been designed from the ground up to be ridiculously simple to use. Simply connect your PC, Mac, or tablet via Wi-Fi, choose the design you’d like to cut/etch, and hit go. The software makes it nearly foolproof, and the machine has presets for just about every material under the sun. Wood, leather, fabric, and even mirrors or anodized aluminum are no problem at all. The integrated software allows for pictures to be engraved directly onto your material, no matter what picture or material you choose.

Modius — Neurostimulation wearable for weight loss

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

What if you didn’t have to work out to lose weight? What if there was a magical device that you could put on your head for just a few minutes every day, and the pounds would melt away from your body? Sounds pretty far-fetched, right? Well, despite the fact that it defies logic and reason, that’s exactly what the Neurovalens Modius can allegedly do. It’s a neurostimulation headset that essentially tricks your brain into thinking you’re exercising, decreases appetite, and helps you reach your weight loss goals without lifting a finger.

“Suspend your disbelief for a second,” Digital Trends reporter Andy Boxall says. “Here’s how it works. The Modius is a headset worn like a pair of headphones, just without the cups over your ears. Instead, two pads sit just beneath your ears and zap low-power electrical impulses to your vestibular nerve, activating the hypothalamus. This, Neurovalens says, fools the body into thinking you’re a physically active person, even though you’re sitting down watching Netflix. The nerve stimulated by the Modius prompts the metabolism to kick in and burn more fat, while also decreasing appetite so you don’t reach for the cookies — all of which should mean your body fat falls without having to listen to your stomach growl all day. In its FAQ, the company says this will happen without exercise or diet, but results will be improved if you do both. However, if you’re eating enough to feed several children on your own, then it’s unlikely to make a lot of difference.”

Brid: next-gen air filtration system

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Air filters are great. With the right setup, they allow you to filter out bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and even viruses — ensuring that nothing but clean, pure air enters your lungs. The only downside? They tend to get clogged up after a while, and when that happens, you typically have to buy a new filter. Old, clogged-up filters can cause a lot of problems: reduced air quality, higher energy bills, and potentially even HVAC system issues and failures if ignored for long enough. But what if there was a filtration system that didn’t require replacement filters and constant upkeep?

That’s where Brid comes in. Using patented nanostructured, honeycomb-shaped ceramic filters, the Brid air purifier breaks down harmful particles in the air. With a porous ceramic surface that has nano-titanium particles fixed into its structure, the filter is also extremely durable. While other filtration systems generally require owners to purchase additional filters, Brid’s will last virtually forever. Once it gets clogged, all you have to do is pull it out, run it under a faucet, let it dry, and put it back inside the Brid unit. No more filter replacements, no more hassle.




20
Aug

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Stackable grills and laser engravers


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

STCKBLS — stackable grill system

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

If car camping and tailgating are your thing, then drop what you’re doing and check out STCKBLS: a modular, portable grilling system that just launched on Kickstarter. The grill promises to revolutionize outdoor dining by providing an efficient, powerful, and easily transportable way to make meals at the campsite, big game, or anywhere else you might want to go. The STCKBLS system consists of three individual units, each of which plays an important role in cooking.

At the heart of this modular approach is a portable gas grill capable of producing up to 12,000 BTUs per hour. The grill, which comes in both propane and butane versions, gives chefs 280 square inches of cooking space, which is sizable enough to cook plenty of food to feed a hungry crew. The other two STCKBLS modules include a utility storage unit for stashing cooking utensils and supplies, and a rugged cooler for keeping fresh food and beverages chilled.

What makes the STCKBLS system unique is how all of the different modules have been engineered to work together. The three components share the exact same 18-by-18-inch footprint, which makes them highly stackable. Get it?

Cubiio — ultracompact laser engraver

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Laser cutters/engravers are arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have in your workshop. With the right laser diode, they can do everything from etching patterns into leather, to cutting super-precise shapes in wood. They can handle a massive range of materials and can be used in a wide variety of different ways. Unfortunately, there aren’t many such devices on the market that are designed for the casual tinkerers and novice DIY types among us. If you want to fiddle with laser cutters, you typically need to know your way around all kinds of complex software and calibration procedures.

Not so with the Cubiio. This beast has been designed from the ground up to be ridiculously simple to use. Simply connect your PC, Mac, or tablet via Wi-Fi, choose the design you’d like to cut/etch, and hit go. The software makes it nearly foolproof, and the machine has presets for just about every material under the sun. Wood, leather, fabric, and even mirrors or anodized aluminum are no problem at all. The integrated software allows for pictures to be engraved directly onto your material, no matter what picture or material you choose.

Modius — Neurostimulation wearable for weight loss

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What if you didn’t have to work out to lose weight? What if there was a magical device that you could put on your head for just a few minutes every day, and the pounds would melt away from your body? Sounds pretty far-fetched, right? Well, despite the fact that it defies logic and reason, that’s exactly what the Neurovalens Modius can allegedly do. It’s a neurostimulation headset that essentially tricks your brain into thinking you’re exercising, decreases appetite, and helps you reach your weight loss goals without lifting a finger.

“Suspend your disbelief for a second,” Digital Trends reporter Andy Boxall says. “Here’s how it works. The Modius is a headset worn like a pair of headphones, just without the cups over your ears. Instead, two pads sit just beneath your ears and zap low-power electrical impulses to your vestibular nerve, activating the hypothalamus. This, Neurovalens says, fools the body into thinking you’re a physically active person, even though you’re sitting down watching Netflix. The nerve stimulated by the Modius prompts the metabolism to kick in and burn more fat, while also decreasing appetite so you don’t reach for the cookies — all of which should mean your body fat falls without having to listen to your stomach growl all day. In its FAQ, the company says this will happen without exercise or diet, but results will be improved if you do both. However, if you’re eating enough to feed several children on your own, then it’s unlikely to make a lot of difference.”

Brid: next-gen air filtration system

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Air filters are great. With the right setup, they allow you to filter out bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and even viruses — ensuring that nothing but clean, pure air enters your lungs. The only downside? They tend to get clogged up after a while, and when that happens, you typically have to buy a new filter. Old, clogged-up filters can cause a lot of problems: reduced air quality, higher energy bills, and potentially even HVAC system issues and failures if ignored for long enough. But what if there was a filtration system that didn’t require replacement filters and constant upkeep?

That’s where Brid comes in. Using patented nanostructured, honeycomb-shaped ceramic filters, the Brid air purifier breaks down harmful particles in the air. With a porous ceramic surface that has nano-titanium particles fixed into its structure, the filter is also extremely durable. While other filtration systems generally require owners to purchase additional filters, Brid’s will last virtually forever. Once it gets clogged, all you have to do is pull it out, run it under a faucet, let it dry, and put it back inside the Brid unit. No more filter replacements, no more hassle.




20
Aug

Google tests tools that encourage you to pay for news


It’s no secret that Google and conventional news outlets have a fraught relationship, and that’s in no small part due to the problems publishers have turning Google searchers into paying customers. Why subscribe when you just read an article for free? It might soon give you more incentives to sign up, though. The company is conducting tests with the New York Times and Financial Times that would encourage and streamline subscriptions. They’re not necessarily good if you prefer free news, but they might influence your decision if you’re sitting on the fence.

Most notably, Google would help publishers find out who might subscribe, determine how much those people are willing to pay and accelerate the subscription process. While it’s not clear exactly how this would work, the company tells Bloomberg that it would involve both ad targeting and mobile payment services. Don’t be surprised if you can skip some of the usual hassles involved in paying for access.

Google is also experimenting with lowering the number of articles you can read for free on a given site when you click its stories in search results. The internet giant currently requires that news sites offer at least three free articles per day if they want to sign up for more prominent positioning, but it’s testing lower numbers to see how well they work. You should hear more about this in September.

There’s no guarantee that any of this will help, of course — there’s a good chance that many people will simply avoid reading subscription-focused sites altogether instead of reading the few pieces they do today. However, this might help ease tensions with those publishers who argue that Google has a grudge against any content it can’t show (and run ads against) on its search pages. If nothing else, it’ll help answer whether or not there’s much Google can do to cajole you into subscribing.

Source: Bloomberg

20
Aug

Apple Uses Hidden Web Page to Recruit for a ‘Critical’ Company Role


A hidden web page has been discovered on Apple servers containing a job description for a “talented engineer” to work on a “critical infrastructure component” and an invitation to apply for the position at the Cupertino-based company.

The web page, originally located at us-west-1.blogstore.apple.com but since taken down, was discovered on Saturday by ZDNet’s Zach Whittaker and describes a role within Apple that involves “exabytes” of data and “tens of thousands” of servers, as well as “millions” of disks. The introductory text reads:

Hey there! You found us. We are looking for a talented engineer to develop a critical infrastructure component that is to be a key part of the Apple ecosystem.

Applicants for the role must have the ability to design and implement scalable apps and web services, and be familiar with Java 8, distributed systems, and modern servers, according to the job description. The exact nature of the job is not given, but given that it relates to web services, it could have iCloud, Apple Music, iTunes or the App Store in mind.

It’s unclear when the role was actively being sought, but the fact that it is a hidden page suggests Apple was betting on the possibility that potential candidates for the job would have no difficulties uncovering it.
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