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15
Oct

After Math: Everything sucks


It’s another week down and we’re all a bit closer to death. Huzzah. While the moron-in-chief continues to systematically dismantle everything good and decent about our country, the tech industry did its part to help hasten that process along. The heads of Twitter and Facebook respectively showed that they’re not just spineless incompetents but also tone deaf stooges, Tesla had to recall a metric shit-ton of Model Xs because sitting in the middle seat could kill you, and Porsche rolled out a new service to make the lives of the 1 percenters that much more luxurious. Numbers, because screw it, nothing matters.

15
Oct

The best 4K TV on a budget


By Chris Heinonen

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read the full article here.

After spending 80 hours testing new models for 2017, we found that the 55-inch TCL 55P607 is the best 4K TV if you’re on a budget. Not only that, but it’s also our pick for the best TV, period. Even when viewed side by side with TVs that cost two and a half times as much, the TCL won over our viewing panel. It’s simply the greatest value we have ever seen in a TV.

Who should get this

If your TV works and you’re happy with it, stick with what you have. If your TV is dying or has already died, or if you’re looking for something larger, these TVs offer great performance at a budget-friendly price and support all the important new standards that will keep your set relevant for at least the next few years.

Specifically, the TV industry is promoting three new features, all of which we think you should actually look for when buying a TV. Ultra HD resolution offers four times the pixels of 1080p HDTVs. HDR allows your TV to produce brighter, more lifelike highlights without degrading shadow details. And wide color gamuts let you see shades of colors that exist in real life but that earlier TVs couldn’t display.

How we picked and tested

All our TVs, ready for testing. Photo: Chris Heinonen

What makes a good TV? Easy: a combination of both picture quality and features. But for about $500, it’s hard to find one TV that does it all. So in addition to reading reviews from sites like Rtings and Reviewed.com and talking with David Katzmaier, CNET’s resident TV testing expert, we polled more than 1,500 of our readers to see what they wanted most in a TV.

We found that most people want a TV that’s 50 to 60 inches in size, will last at least three to five years, and has at least three HDMI inputs. They placed picture quality above all other features, and thought performance in a bright room is just as important, if not more so, than in a darkened room. Finally, they didn’t care that much about streaming features, and they really don’t care about 3D.

The best way to compare TVs is to put them side by side and actually look at them with the same content, so we did just that. First, we called in all the possible contenders and set each one up. Then, we calibrated each TV to the best of our abilities, and took some measurements of color temperature, light output, and more. We used an HDMI distribution amp to send the same signal from a Blu-ray player or Roku to each TV.

However, according to our survey, less than 2 percent of people will spend the $300 (or more) it costs to get a TV professionally calibrated, and with a budget TV, that number is probably closer to zero. As such, we returned each TV to its factory settings before making comparisons, and adjusted only the basic user-menu picture settings. We tested each TV in a group of three, looking at each display straight-on and from an angle. We also watched each TV with the lights on and with them off.

Our pick: TCL 55P607

Photo: Ashley Courter

Although the TCL 55P607 fits squarely in the price range of what we’ve considered a budget TV over the past few years, it also ticks off almost all of the required boxes for a high-end TV today. In fact, we recommend it as the best TV no matter what your budget is. It produces image quality that matches much-more-expensive TVs while also offering better media streaming services and some extra features that costlier TVs don’t have.

The TCL’s 72 zones of full-array local dimming provide deep blacks without washing out shadows and also produce bright HDR highlights. The set’s HDR support covers both HDR10 and Dolby Vision protocols. Streaming apps come in the form of a built-in Roku, which has the widest selection of apps along with an easy-to-use interface. The remote even offers a built-in headphone jack for listening without disturbing others. The TV’s preset movie modes make it simple to get good picture quality without much fuss, and the iOS and Android app offer the ability to do more-advanced image calibration for those with the necessary tools.

Runner-up: Vizio M50-E1

Photo: Chris Heinonen

We tested the 2017 Vizio M50-E1 and think it’s worth the money if you need a new TV and our other picks are unavailable. The M-Series packs local dimming, HDR and WCG support, and integrated streaming. Its image quality is exceptionally good, but the integrated streaming interface isn’t as smooth or full-featured as others out there, and the HDR performance isn’t quite as good as some other displays. It also lacks an HDTV tuner, so people that watch over-the-air content will need an external one to use an HDTV antenna.

The M-Series supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and can produce highlights up to 750 nits in brightness. Using a full-array local backlight, it can do bright highlights while keeping shadows dim, and makes both HDR and SDR (i.e., non-HDR) look better. It doesn’t quite cover as much of the DCI color gamut as some other displays, but can produce 271 million different colors, which is the same as some other similarly priced TVs. It also uses local dimming to produce deep blacks and a huge contrast ratio. Using the preset calibrated modes, you get an image that is accurate out of the box and needs very little adjustment.

Budget pick: Vizio E48u-D0

The 50-inch version of the Vizio’s 2016 E-Series TVs. Photo: Chris Heinonen

The Vizio E48u-D0 is a slightly smaller version of the Vizio E50u-D2—our now widely unavailable 2016 top pick. When we tested the 50-inch model, we found it offered the best contrast ratios and darkest blacks of the models available at the time and it has lots of inputs, good daytime and nighttime performance, and can stream content from almost any source using Google Cast. The superior black levels and contrast ratios give the image better pop than competing TVs and make it stand out in daytime and nighttime viewing. However, though the E48u-D0 does support 4K, it lacks HDR and WCG, which the TCL P-Series and 2017 Vizio M-Series both have. Four HDMI inputs, more than most competitors, offer enough connections for almost any AV system.

That contrast ratio is thanks to a combination of a VA-type LCD panel and a full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight system. This lighting system, usually found only in far-more-expensive displays, allows adjustment to the brightness in 10 individual areas of the image. This lets bright parts of the image be bright while shadowy areas stay dark. Our objective measurements find that the contrast ratio is almost three times higher with the local dimming enabled, and much higher than most competitors’.

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

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

15
Oct

20 Android and iOS apps for kids to keep them entertained (and quiet)


Children are able to use and understand technology at an early age. They know how to operate smartphones and tablets correctly and get into their favorite apps before they can speak. There are a sea of apps available for every platform, but not all of them are appropriate for children. We have compiled a list of apps for kids, some are silly games while others are educational, but all of them are completely child-safe and fun.

Many of these apps come with in-app purchases. If your children don’t understand that they are paying with real money every time they tap one of these, it can cause real problems. Before handing a phone or tablet over to a kid, make sure they don’t know the password for your account, and that they need to ask before they click. You can also avoid any mishaps by following our guides to turn off in-app purchases in iOS or disable in-app purchases in Android.

If you’re thinking about buying some toys here are our picks for the best tech toys and the best STEM toys for kids.

Educational (Programming)

Tynker Coding for Kids (free/in-app purchases)

Tynker is quite simple to work with, as it’s very visual — you move the blocks to build your code. With Tynker, you can play coding games, take courses to learn to code, and you can even program drones. This app works with connected toys such are Sphero, Lego WeDo2.0, and even the Philips Hue and Lux lighting systems. You can download Tynker for free, but if you pay for the subscriptions, you will have access to mobile courses, more than 350 puzzle levels, a private Minecraft server, 18 online courses, and over 100 guided tutorials. If you want your kids to get serious about programming, then Tynker should be on your shortlist.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Nancy Drew Codes and Clues Mystery Coding Game (free)

This app is a great way to learn the basics of coding. Instead of just learning to code with out-of-context isolated commands, you will need to use the code to move along a story. It’s interactive, it builds reading comprehension skills, and kids will have a lot of fun trying to find the clues to solve the mystery. Some of the skills learned are sequences, loops, pattern recognition, and algorithmic thinking. Follow the story, find the clues, and collect the charms to finish a great adventure. The first chapter is free, and if you like it, you can unlock the entire game with a one-time purchase of $4.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar (free/$4)

A little caterpillar, named code-a-pillar, needs your help to make it to the end of the maze. Can you help? The game encourages kids to think through obstacles that will get harder as you finish each level. It helps kids with learning things like planning and sequencing, problem-solving, and number recognition.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Bee-Bot (free)

Bee-bot is very simple app that helps children develop skills in directional language and programming. Use directional arrows to move forward, backward, left, and right. The app has 12 levels that encourage you to get better and faster, as faster you can finish a level the more stars you will get. It’s suggested for children age 4 and up.

Download now for:

iOS

Kodable – Coding for kids (free/in-app purchases)

Here’s a coding app for kids that is designed to teach computer science to children from ages 4 to 11. Help the furry aliens through a maze and explore planet Smeeborg. Teachers and parents can use this app, and it doesn’t require the adult to have any programming knowledge. It includes more than 40 scripted lesson plans, more than 200 activities, and it even has Google Classroom integration. The app aims to encourage children in kindergarten to start thinking like programmers and have them writing JavaScript by grade 5. Kids will learn concepts such as syntax, classes and subclasses, variables, and a lot more. It’s compatible only with the iPad.

Download now for:

iOS

Educational (Math, Science, and Language)

Shapes Toddler Preschool (free)

This app gets kids ready for preschool with puzzles and games involving shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. The app is laid out so that a young child can click around without getting out of the game or ending up at a menu, and the controls are easy enough for anyone to use. There are four ways to play but all of them are educational and should help with development. Shapes Toddler Preschool features over 30 categories, which include shapes, colors, money, symbols, colors, and numbers. The game has puzzles, games, and flashcards to make learning easy.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Endless Alphabet (free Android, $9 for iOS)

Endless Alphabet is a unique, interactive, educational app that teaches kids their ABCs. The app uses adorable, colorful monsters to teach kids the alphabet and build their vocabulary. There are more than 50 words to explore and learn, each of which features an interactive puzzle with talking letters and short animations designed to illustrate the definition. Endless Alphabet is a fun and engaging way to teach your kids the alphabet without any pressures or limitations. The app allows kids to learn at their own pace, without any stress or pressure.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Rosetta Stone Kids (free)

Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds is a fun, educational app that teaches preschoolers how to read and speak. This game is perfect for parents looking to teach their child more than one language, as the Rosetta Stone app reinforces English reading skills while simultaneously introducing Spanish. The app casts the child as a savior for trapped toys. Kids have to speak Spanish to control the actions of different characters on screen, matching the correct starting letter sound to release each toy. It’s a clever way to get them interested in speaking Spanish.

Download now for:

Android iOS

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week (free/$3/$7)

This app brings you different animated movies every week with related quizzes and learning activities. The app is made for children ages 6-8, and the movies cover many topics from Science to Social Studies, Math, Reading & Writing, Arts, and Technology. The app aims to get kids to develop their critical thinking skills, ask questions, and make connections. For older kids, you can also download the BrainPOP Featured Movie app. You can pay $3 per month for an Explorer subscription which includes the Movie of the Week, plus unlimited access to all the movies and bonus features at any time. There’s also a Full Access subscription at $7 per month.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Ubooly (free)

Ubooly, which can be described as a less terrifying Furby, is essentially a far more advanced version of a Teddy Ruxpin. But rather than cassette tapes, you can insert your iPhone or iPad into the Ubooly plush toy ($30), which will interact with your kids. It can learn names, birthdays responds when spoken to, and walks kids through various lessons and games. Kids can enter math problems into the iPhone/iPad and Ubooly will work with them toward the correct solution. Ubooly also teaches children science by walking them through easy at home experiments, which make hands-on learning at home easy and fun. The toy covers a range of lessons from the human body to Spanish and has enough content to keep a kid of any age interested.

Download now for:

Android iOS

15
Oct

Tablo Tuner lets you scan and record broadcast TV to your NVIDIA Shield


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Get the best of streaming and over-the-air TV channels with a Tablo Tuner for your NVIDIA Shield.

The NVIDIA Shield Pro is the most reliable and powerful Android streaming box for adventurous cord cutters, but it’s easy to forget about the other methods for avoiding a costly cable bill. A digital over-the-air (OTA) antenna lets you relive the bunny-ear days of TV by scanning the airwaves for channel signals available in your area.

Tablo-Tuner-NVIDIA-Shield-Press_0.jpg?it

Now you could always use your NVIDIA Shield to stream content the various services then switching over and use the antenna to see what’s on live TV is on — but the Tablo Tuner accessory takes things a step further, allowing you to connect an antenna to your Shield and use the Tablo Tuner app to watch and record your favorite shows or local newscasts.

Depending on the number of OTA channels available in your area, the Tablo Tuner offers the best perks of a digital cable subscription without the expensive DVR set box.

Setup is very easy

You only need three components to get everything set up: a NVIDIA Shield, the Tablo Tuner accessory, and an indoor or outdoor digital antenna. If the idea of setting up an antenna and DVR on your NVIDIA Shield seems daunting, don’t worry. The Tablo Tuner easily plugs into one of the available USB ports in the back of the Shield, and the hardest part might be experimenting to find the perfect placement for the digital TV antenna. I used a Philips indoor digital TV antenna, but you can find a good selection of indoor TV antennas on Amazon for under $30. Your best practice is to place the indoor antenna near a window.

Once you’ve got the hardware hooked up and have the antenna cable plugged into the Tablo Tuner, it’s time to get the Shield set up. Download Tablo Tuner Engine app and go through the setup process, which will use the antenna to scan for available channels and then populate a channel guide as you’d find on a cable set-top box.

Tablo-Engine-screens-01_0.jpg?itok=Fp4WJTablo-Engine-screens-02_0.jpg?itok=LqbxCTablo-Engine-Screens-03_0.jpg?itok=y9SF9

The user interface is clean and easy to navigate — if you’ve ever watched digital cable before you’ll have no issues. You can browse through the channels and select a show to get more information about it, including the option to set a recording. The DVR functionality is the real hero here, as you’re able to manually record shows or set a series to be automatically recorded.

Tablo offers a TV guide subscription as a free trial when you first set up Tablo on the Shield. The service lets you set Tablo to record an entire TV series — whether that’s all airings of a show you want to archive or all new shows that just aired — and also adds cover art, episode and series synopses and other metadata that’s really useful when perusing through your recorded content. The service costs $4.99 a month and it might be worth it depending on how many TV shows you want to record. The good news is you don’t need to subscribe to watch live TV or manually set Tablo to record individual episodes.

The value will depend on what you can pull in

The Tablo Tuner works great, but its usefulness hinges on one crucial factor — the quantity and quality of HDTV broadcast signals in your area.

Be sure to check the availability of broadcast TV signals in your area first!

Don’t know what free broadcasts are available in your area? Check out this online tool for locating TV signals which will give you specific results for your exact address. I live in a medium-sized Canadian city and was able to pull in three channels. All three channels came in crystal clear, but only one carried shows I was interested in watching or recording. Your results may vary, so be sure to check what channels are even available in your area, lest you be disappointed.

Final thoughts

The NVIDIA Shield Android TV is a fantastic tool for cord-cutters looking to stream, and the Tablo Tuner is a great way to legally watch and digitally record the HDTV channels being broadcast over the airwaves in your area. shows. The physical accessory costs $69.99, which is comparable to an average month cable bill. Even with the premium subscription, you’ll be saving money in the long run and use your NVIDIA Shield as the ultimate DVR and streaming box.

See at Tablo TV

15
Oct

Chill out in this Sunday’s comments thread


A friendly atmosphere in the middle of an internet at war.

This is your spot to kick back and talk with your friends. We see the same regular faces here in our little corner every week, and it’s interesting watching everyone get to know each other a little better. It’s also great to see the new faces, even if it’s just for a single visit. And let’s be honest — it’s nice to find something besides phones to talk about online once in a while. I sit here with Rex, my old dachshund, every weekend and read through the comments when I have a minute and find it oddly relaxing. So does Rex, I think.

Rex_0.jpg?itok=9h4AdFSO Rex just turned 14 but still drags out all his toys. And loves his bean bag throne

It’s been a tough week. The world seems to be coming apart at the seams; we’re still reeling from the tragedy that happened in Las Vegas, people in the Caribbean are dying before our eyes, and we’re actually fighting over politics instead of just yelling at each other. Seems like a lot of weeks have been tough weeks as of late.

Someone can chime in about safe spaces, but I find a need to just shut everything out for a while and try to find some inner focus. Hearing how you have to wash your car or that you’re going to see a movie or whatever else reminds me that we’re all the same once you whittle away at the outer shell a little. That’s awesome.

So take a minute and let us all know about the mundane boring things you’re doing this weekend as well as anything really cool. I’m buttoning up some things to prepare for a busy busy week at work, but I’m being chill as can be while doing it. Just me and Rex.

15
Oct

Ben Heck’s Super Glue Gun: Integrating mechanisms


59e06044f7766f2800c4ff83_o_F_v0.jpg

The super glue gun project is starting to come together. After designing the automatically deploying stand, the team is now combining it with the trigger so that it can deploy when you grab onto it using capacitive touch sensing. Putting together these mechanisms means joining up the code for the extrusion using the ATTiny20 microcontroller — but this introduces its own problems. What do you think of the build so far? What should the team do differently? Let the team know over on the element14 Community.

15
Oct

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Go-anywhere washers, stoves, adventure tape


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.

Kappa — folding 3D printer

3D printers have come a long way in the past few years. Today, they come in an absolutely massive variety of different shapes, sizes, and configurations. And though it might seem like innovation in this category has slowed down, clever new 3D printing ideas abound on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Case in point? This new printer from Singaporean startup Ionic3DP. Rather than sticking with the standard cartesian or delta configurations, these guys developed a printer that uses a completely different style of motion.

The Kappa, as it’s called, is a 3D printer that uses something called the Scott Russell Straight Line Mechanism. This mechanism (which is widely used in the automobile industry and pick-and-place robots in manufacturing industries) boasts high precision and reliability.

Due to the machine’s unique design, it’s not only capable of printing very tall/long objects, but also folding up for easy transport. Not to mention, since it’s relatively simple in terms of operation and construction, the Kappa is also highly affordable. You can get your hands on one for just $359 on Kickstarter right now.

Adventure Tape — multipurpose, reusable tape

Duct tape has enjoyed a cult following pretty much since it was first invented — and for good reason. As you’re no doubt aware, the cloth-backed polyethylene adhesive can be used for just about anything imaginable: patching a leaky raft, making a tuxedo for junior prom, or even saving the Apollo 13 mission from disaster. But the thing is, duct tape was invented during World War II — so by all rights, the world is long overdue for a newer and more capable adhesive. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the next revolution in multipurpose tape to arrive, we have good news for you: duct tape 2.0 is here, and it goes by the name Adventure Tape.

“Adventure Tape can be used for many things, but currently we are targeting outdoor and travel enthusiasts and survival or extreme sports lovers,” Anthony Cooper, co-founder of Adventure Tape, told Digital Trends in an interview. “The biggest advantage it has over duct tape is that it won’t leave any sticky residue, so it can be removed from your kit without any damage. That’s especially handy for not ripping up your bubble wrap. The advantage it has over string and rope is that it’s very strong and stretchy, so it won’t tear — and because it’s self-tacky, it can easily be fastened with a simple tuck, meaning no complicated knots.”

“It can [also] replace existing items: our favorite has to be the snowboard binding fix,” Cooper continued. “There’s nothing more annoying than being stuck at the top of the mountain, and no way to get down. It won’t damage your boots or boarding pants, and most importantly, because of its stretchy properties, it will still have a little give in it, and thus allow for a wider range of movement.”

Sonic Soak — ultrasonic washing machine

If you’ve ever done any long term traveling (be it for business or for pleasure), you know firsthand just how annoying and inconvenient it can be to wash your clothes in a foreign place. If you can’t find a laundromat nearby, your only option is to wash your garments by hand in a sink or bathtub, which is both time consuming and laborious. But not to worry — there might be a solution to this problem. The Sonic Soak, as it’s called, is a portable ultrasonic washing machine that promises to supercharge your sink-bound laundry sessions.

So how does it work? First, fill your sink with water, detergent, and your soiled clothes — then just drop in the Sonic Soak. The device’s transducer sends out ultrasonic vibrations, creating powerful water micro-jets as the resultant bubbles implode. Essentially, these jets do all the cleaning, so you don’t have to. This exact same technology is used at a larger scale in chemistry laboratories, where it’s known as sonication.

The device actually plugs into the wall, but uses 80 percent less energy than its appliance counterparts, according to the Telegraph. The transducer requires a high voltage to operate, which is likely why it isn’t battery-powered. Still, the entire thing is easily transportable, though it doesn’t solve the problem of drying the clothes afterwards.

GoSun Go — ultraportable solar stove

Harnessing the power of the sun and concentrating its energy to generate heat is something that humans have been doing for millennia. Back in the second century AD, it’s said that Archimedes used a giant parabolic mirror array to set approaching warships on fire. People were likely experimenting with solar energy long before that, as well. And here we are 2,000 years down the road, still doing it the same way. Our equipment, however, has gotten considerably more advanced.

Take GoSun’s new solar cooker, the Go, for example. This gizmo is basically a miniaturized version of the same parabolic mirror array, but designed for the sole purpose of cooking food and boiling water. Rather than being forced to fiddle with charcoal briquettes or build a roaring fire to prepare your food/water in the backcountry, the GoSun Go allows you to cook quickly and completely with nothing but a few rays of sunshine. Best of all, it’s smaller and more portable than GoSun’s previous products, which means you can easily pack it along on camping trips, backpacking trips, and even the occasional picnic.

Eta Clock — analog location display

Remember that clock that the Weasley family had in the Harry Potter movies? You know — the one that magically kept track of the whereabouts of each family member via multi-handed display? If you’ve been waiting for that clock to enter the world of muggles, then we’ve got good news for you: it’s finally here. The Eta Clock is a clever location tracking device that syncs with an app on your smartphone and displays the whereabouts of your friends/family via a multi-handed analog display.

“The idea for the Eta Clock started two years ago when we wanted a way for our parents to feel connected to our lives without sacrificing our privacy,” co-founder Kristie D’Ambrosio-Correll, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumna, told Digital Trends. “For my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, we decided the perfect gift would be a device that gives them peace-of-mind; something that keeps them connected to their adult children without requiring invasive tracking. The Eta Clock concept was born! As we spent the next year building the clock and honing our design, we realized that there were many people who wanted a similar device, sparking us to launch our first Kickstarter campaign.”




15
Oct

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Go-anywhere washers, stoves, adventure tape


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.

Kappa — folding 3D printer

3D printers have come a long way in the past few years. Today, they come in an absolutely massive variety of different shapes, sizes, and configurations. And though it might seem like innovation in this category has slowed down, clever new 3D printing ideas abound on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Case in point? This new printer from Singaporean startup Ionic3DP. Rather than sticking with the standard cartesian or delta configurations, these guys developed a printer that uses a completely different style of motion.

The Kappa, as it’s called, is a 3D printer that uses something called the Scott Russell Straight Line Mechanism. This mechanism (which is widely used in the automobile industry and pick-and-place robots in manufacturing industries) boasts high precision and reliability.

Due to the machine’s unique design, it’s not only capable of printing very tall/long objects, but also folding up for easy transport. Not to mention, since it’s relatively simple in terms of operation and construction, the Kappa is also highly affordable. You can get your hands on one for just $359 on Kickstarter right now.

Adventure Tape — multipurpose, reusable tape

Duct tape has enjoyed a cult following pretty much since it was first invented — and for good reason. As you’re no doubt aware, the cloth-backed polyethylene adhesive can be used for just about anything imaginable: patching a leaky raft, making a tuxedo for junior prom, or even saving the Apollo 13 mission from disaster. But the thing is, duct tape was invented during World War II — so by all rights, the world is long overdue for a newer and more capable adhesive. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the next revolution in multipurpose tape to arrive, we have good news for you: duct tape 2.0 is here, and it goes by the name Adventure Tape.

“Adventure Tape can be used for many things, but currently we are targeting outdoor and travel enthusiasts and survival or extreme sports lovers,” Anthony Cooper, co-founder of Adventure Tape, told Digital Trends in an interview. “The biggest advantage it has over duct tape is that it won’t leave any sticky residue, so it can be removed from your kit without any damage. That’s especially handy for not ripping up your bubble wrap. The advantage it has over string and rope is that it’s very strong and stretchy, so it won’t tear — and because it’s self-tacky, it can easily be fastened with a simple tuck, meaning no complicated knots.”

“It can [also] replace existing items: our favorite has to be the snowboard binding fix,” Cooper continued. “There’s nothing more annoying than being stuck at the top of the mountain, and no way to get down. It won’t damage your boots or boarding pants, and most importantly, because of its stretchy properties, it will still have a little give in it, and thus allow for a wider range of movement.”

Sonic Soak — ultrasonic washing machine

If you’ve ever done any long term traveling (be it for business or for pleasure), you know firsthand just how annoying and inconvenient it can be to wash your clothes in a foreign place. If you can’t find a laundromat nearby, your only option is to wash your garments by hand in a sink or bathtub, which is both time consuming and laborious. But not to worry — there might be a solution to this problem. The Sonic Soak, as it’s called, is a portable ultrasonic washing machine that promises to supercharge your sink-bound laundry sessions.

So how does it work? First, fill your sink with water, detergent, and your soiled clothes — then just drop in the Sonic Soak. The device’s transducer sends out ultrasonic vibrations, creating powerful water micro-jets as the resultant bubbles implode. Essentially, these jets do all the cleaning, so you don’t have to. This exact same technology is used at a larger scale in chemistry laboratories, where it’s known as sonication.

The device actually plugs into the wall, but uses 80 percent less energy than its appliance counterparts, according to the Telegraph. The transducer requires a high voltage to operate, which is likely why it isn’t battery-powered. Still, the entire thing is easily transportable, though it doesn’t solve the problem of drying the clothes afterwards.

GoSun Go — ultraportable solar stove

Harnessing the power of the sun and concentrating its energy to generate heat is something that humans have been doing for millennia. Back in the second century AD, it’s said that Archimedes used a giant parabolic mirror array to set approaching warships on fire. People were likely experimenting with solar energy long before that, as well. And here we are 2,000 years down the road, still doing it the same way. Our equipment, however, has gotten considerably more advanced.

Take GoSun’s new solar cooker, the Go, for example. This gizmo is basically a miniaturized version of the same parabolic mirror array, but designed for the sole purpose of cooking food and boiling water. Rather than being forced to fiddle with charcoal briquettes or build a roaring fire to prepare your food/water in the backcountry, the GoSun Go allows you to cook quickly and completely with nothing but a few rays of sunshine. Best of all, it’s smaller and more portable than GoSun’s previous products, which means you can easily pack it along on camping trips, backpacking trips, and even the occasional picnic.

Eta Clock — analog location display

Remember that clock that the Weasley family had in the Harry Potter movies? You know — the one that magically kept track of the whereabouts of each family member via multi-handed display? If you’ve been waiting for that clock to enter the world of muggles, then we’ve got good news for you: it’s finally here. The Eta Clock is a clever location tracking device that syncs with an app on your smartphone and displays the whereabouts of your friends/family via a multi-handed analog display.

“The idea for the Eta Clock started two years ago when we wanted a way for our parents to feel connected to our lives without sacrificing our privacy,” co-founder Kristie D’Ambrosio-Correll, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumna, told Digital Trends. “For my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, we decided the perfect gift would be a device that gives them peace-of-mind; something that keeps them connected to their adult children without requiring invasive tracking. The Eta Clock concept was born! As we spent the next year building the clock and honing our design, we realized that there were many people who wanted a similar device, sparking us to launch our first Kickstarter campaign.”




15
Oct

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Go-anywhere washers, stoves, adventure tape


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.

Kappa — folding 3D printer

3D printers have come a long way in the past few years. Today, they come in an absolutely massive variety of different shapes, sizes, and configurations. And though it might seem like innovation in this category has slowed down, clever new 3D printing ideas abound on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Case in point? This new printer from Singaporean startup Ionic3DP. Rather than sticking with the standard cartesian or delta configurations, these guys developed a printer that uses a completely different style of motion.

The Kappa, as it’s called, is a 3D printer that uses something called the Scott Russell Straight Line Mechanism. This mechanism (which is widely used in the automobile industry and pick-and-place robots in manufacturing industries) boasts high precision and reliability.

Due to the machine’s unique design, it’s not only capable of printing very tall/long objects, but also folding up for easy transport. Not to mention, since it’s relatively simple in terms of operation and construction, the Kappa is also highly affordable. You can get your hands on one for just $359 on Kickstarter right now.

Adventure Tape — multipurpose, reusable tape

Duct tape has enjoyed a cult following pretty much since it was first invented — and for good reason. As you’re no doubt aware, the cloth-backed polyethylene adhesive can be used for just about anything imaginable: patching a leaky raft, making a tuxedo for junior prom, or even saving the Apollo 13 mission from disaster. But the thing is, duct tape was invented during World War II — so by all rights, the world is long overdue for a newer and more capable adhesive. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the next revolution in multipurpose tape to arrive, we have good news for you: duct tape 2.0 is here, and it goes by the name Adventure Tape.

“Adventure Tape can be used for many things, but currently we are targeting outdoor and travel enthusiasts and survival or extreme sports lovers,” Anthony Cooper, co-founder of Adventure Tape, told Digital Trends in an interview. “The biggest advantage it has over duct tape is that it won’t leave any sticky residue, so it can be removed from your kit without any damage. That’s especially handy for not ripping up your bubble wrap. The advantage it has over string and rope is that it’s very strong and stretchy, so it won’t tear — and because it’s self-tacky, it can easily be fastened with a simple tuck, meaning no complicated knots.”

“It can [also] replace existing items: our favorite has to be the snowboard binding fix,” Cooper continued. “There’s nothing more annoying than being stuck at the top of the mountain, and no way to get down. It won’t damage your boots or boarding pants, and most importantly, because of its stretchy properties, it will still have a little give in it, and thus allow for a wider range of movement.”

Sonic Soak — ultrasonic washing machine

If you’ve ever done any long term traveling (be it for business or for pleasure), you know firsthand just how annoying and inconvenient it can be to wash your clothes in a foreign place. If you can’t find a laundromat nearby, your only option is to wash your garments by hand in a sink or bathtub, which is both time consuming and laborious. But not to worry — there might be a solution to this problem. The Sonic Soak, as it’s called, is a portable ultrasonic washing machine that promises to supercharge your sink-bound laundry sessions.

So how does it work? First, fill your sink with water, detergent, and your soiled clothes — then just drop in the Sonic Soak. The device’s transducer sends out ultrasonic vibrations, creating powerful water micro-jets as the resultant bubbles implode. Essentially, these jets do all the cleaning, so you don’t have to. This exact same technology is used at a larger scale in chemistry laboratories, where it’s known as sonication.

The device actually plugs into the wall, but uses 80 percent less energy than its appliance counterparts, according to the Telegraph. The transducer requires a high voltage to operate, which is likely why it isn’t battery-powered. Still, the entire thing is easily transportable, though it doesn’t solve the problem of drying the clothes afterwards.

GoSun Go — ultraportable solar stove

Harnessing the power of the sun and concentrating its energy to generate heat is something that humans have been doing for millennia. Back in the second century AD, it’s said that Archimedes used a giant parabolic mirror array to set approaching warships on fire. People were likely experimenting with solar energy long before that, as well. And here we are 2,000 years down the road, still doing it the same way. Our equipment, however, has gotten considerably more advanced.

Take GoSun’s new solar cooker, the Go, for example. This gizmo is basically a miniaturized version of the same parabolic mirror array, but designed for the sole purpose of cooking food and boiling water. Rather than being forced to fiddle with charcoal briquettes or build a roaring fire to prepare your food/water in the backcountry, the GoSun Go allows you to cook quickly and completely with nothing but a few rays of sunshine. Best of all, it’s smaller and more portable than GoSun’s previous products, which means you can easily pack it along on camping trips, backpacking trips, and even the occasional picnic.

Eta Clock — analog location display

Remember that clock that the Weasley family had in the Harry Potter movies? You know — the one that magically kept track of the whereabouts of each family member via multi-handed display? If you’ve been waiting for that clock to enter the world of muggles, then we’ve got good news for you: it’s finally here. The Eta Clock is a clever location tracking device that syncs with an app on your smartphone and displays the whereabouts of your friends/family via a multi-handed analog display.

“The idea for the Eta Clock started two years ago when we wanted a way for our parents to feel connected to our lives without sacrificing our privacy,” co-founder Kristie D’Ambrosio-Correll, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumna, told Digital Trends. “For my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, we decided the perfect gift would be a device that gives them peace-of-mind; something that keeps them connected to their adult children without requiring invasive tracking. The Eta Clock concept was born! As we spent the next year building the clock and honing our design, we realized that there were many people who wanted a similar device, sparking us to launch our first Kickstarter campaign.”




15
Oct

First ‘Rocket League’ Halloween event kicks off October 16th


There may be an emerging backlash to loot boxes in video games, but that isn’t stopping Psyonix from hyping them up. Rocket League is holding its first-ever Halloween event between October 16th and November 6th, and it’s ushering in a new event system that encourages you to earn crates. The more you play online, the more you earn a special event-only currency (Candy Corn) to spend on event-specific keys (Decryptors) that unlock crates holding Halloween-themed perks. You’ll occasionally get lucky with crate drops, but you’ll otherwise have to buy as many crates and Decryptors as you can.

Notably, Psyonix is eager to prevent any shady dealings. Unlike the gear you get using normal keys, you can’t trade anything you obtain from a crate using Halloween Decryptors. You can use ordinary keys to unlock event crates and trade items after a week-long hold window, but the new currency is clearly there to encourage buying non-tradeable goods. Also, don’t expect to stockpile Candy Corn so that you can carry it forward to next year’s event — it’ll expire a week after the 2017 event ends.

Yes, this is a bit convoluted. Psyonix is clearly trying to dangle a carrot in front of gamers without opening itself to the abuses that can come with trading systems. You don’t want hustlers gouging players who are determined to own a special car. However, it’s easy to see why the developer would go this route. Seasonal events can easily inject life into games once their initial novelty fades (just ask Blizzard), and loot crates only add to that frenzy. Unfortunately, that still means you’re left grinding away until you get what you were hoping for.

Source: Rocket League

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