Part speaker and part personal assistant, Amazon Echo is music to your ears

To everyone’s surprise, Amazon came out with a voice-controlled speaker that tells you what you want to hear

Seemingly out of nowhere, Amazon announced that it’s building a speaker that can be controlled with your voice. Called Echo, it acts like a personal assistant that’s similar to Siri or Google Now – just crammed into a speaker. By using seven microphones equipped with sensors that use beamforming technology, it listens for user requests, and can even understand you while it’s pounding out 360-degree audio to fill the entire room.


Standing 9 inches tall, Echo looks and serves just like any speaker would. But playing your favorite tunes from your cloud library isn’t the only thing it can do. Designed to make your life a little bit easier, Echo, which responds to “Alexa,” can tell you the weather and answer general questions with facts from Wikipedia. Read More

A high-tech way to monitor your dog’s health

Wearable tech for canines is equipped with physiological and behavioral sensors

U.S. engineers have invented a new technology that can help you better communicate with your dog, and they’re hoping to make it available to everyone from service dog handlers to owners interested in training their furry companions more effectively.

Developed at North Carolina State University, the new wearable device, which your dog wears like a harness, is set to improve the way you communicate with your dog. Because it’s fitted with physiological and behavioral sensors, the harness gives owners a real-time picture of their dog’s mental and emotional state, and allows them to more effectively send back signals and commands, even if the dog is out of sight.


No bigger than a deck of cards, the device inside of the harness works using two types of communication technologies. Read More

Google Glass user treated for Internet addiction

Patient suffered withdrawal symptoms when prevented from using Google Glass

After using Google Glass for about 18 hours a day, a man was admitted to a substance and recovery program for Internet addiction disorder. He’s believed to be the first patient with Internet addiction disorder triggered by the overuse of Google Glass. Although the disorder is not officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it’s becoming increasingly problematic.


In the two months since he bought the device, the user, who remains anonymous, only removed it to sleep and take showers, and said he felt argumentative and irritable when he wasn’t wearing it. He also experienced dreams as if viewed through the device’s small window.

The 31-year-old man was serving the U.S. Navy when he was admitted to the program, where he was using Google Glass for his job making inventories of convoy vehicles. When he entered the Navy’s treatment center, he was suffering from involuntary movements and memory loss, and doctors observed him tapping his fingers at his temple as if he were using the Google Glass touchpad. Read More

London’s Tube trains are getting Wi-Fi and are going driverless

By 2020 London will see 250 air-conditioned driverless subway cars with onboard Wi-Fi

Transport for London’s 19th-century Underground is in for a modern-day upgrade. By 2020 the city will have 250 new air-conditioned, driverless subway cars equipped with onboard Wi-Fi operating on the Tube for the first time.


Image via Tech Times.

Initiated by London’s mayor Boris Johnson, the idea behind the revamped Tube system is to increase rider capacity from 8.4 million people to 10 million by 2030. In order to accommodate more passengers, each train will feature walk-through carriages that allow more people on a line, along with double doors to allow commuters to get on or off the trains faster.

Instead of paper advertising boards inside each carriage, the new trains will display screens that can be automatically updated with Tube statuses and real-time travel updates. Read More

40-kilowatt, 140-panel system generates solar energy to power up a brewery

Michigan-based brewing company is brewing up solar energy

You can never go wrong with some sunshine and a glass of beer, right? That was the thinking behind the Michigan-based Dark Horse Brewing Company when it decided to green up its operations. Because brewing beer requires an abundance of refrigeration, compressed air, water, and light, it’s no surprise this progressive microbrewery became interested in making more beer with less energy.

Fitted with 140 solar photovoltaic panels in the form of two “farms” on its production facility, the brewery uses the harnessed energy to power its everyday operations. In the event that more energy is harvested than needed to power Dark Horse’s home grid, the excess power goes into the city grid for redistribution. Also in the works is the installation of a new dual compressor chiller, which is used to circulate glycol, a food-grade antifreeze, throughout the brewery’s pipes to keep beer cool and temperatures stable.


Dark Horse Brewery’s solar system. Image via Design News.

Because the project was triggered by the need to upgrade the old chiller, the brewery opted for an energy-efficient upgrade, since it needed to invest anyway. Read More

European scientists developing energy efficient robotic tree

Plant-inspired robotic devices are being studied as part of an EU-funded project

We’ve seen plenty of animal-inspired robots these past few years — a lightning-fast cheetah, a super-swift snake, some pollution-sensing fish — but we haven’t seen much inspiration drawn from plants, because they just sit there, right? Well there’s more to plants than you may think. With that being said, Europe’s PLANTOID project consortium is currently in the process of creating a tree-like robot. And get this: its descendants may one day find use in the exploration of other planets.


The PLANTOID robot on display.

Inside the 3D-printed plastic trunk that serves as the base of the PLANTOID robot is a microprocessor to guide the robot’s motions. Extending from the sides of the trunk are four plastic branches, each with leaves, which are actually sensors capable of detecting and measuring factors including temperature, humidity, touch, gravity, and chemical elements. Though that’s more than impressive, down in the robot’s roots are where the real action happens. Read More

High-tech paper airplane sets record with 82-mile flight

A cardboard paper airplane flew 82 miles from Kankakee, Illinois, to Rochester, Indiana in two hours and seven minutes

Equipped with a GPS tracker, an HD video camera, and temperature and barometric pressure sensors to take measurements, an airplane made of paper board was launched from a helium weather balloon at an altitude of 96,563 feet, which is just over 18 miles high. Made in the traditional design that every child would recognize, the plane had a 14-inch wingspan and weighed just about one pound.


A member of the US Fox Valley Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol with the high-tech paper airplane. Image via Gizmag.

Built by members of the U.S. Fox Valley Composite Squadron, the local unit of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air patrol, the airplane soared 81-miles and 5,179 feet, starting from Kankakee, Illinois, and ending its trip in Rochester, Indiana. The flight took just under two hours and seven minutes. Read More

iPhone 6: The phone that bends

Watch out – the new iPhone 6 can come with an unexpected design flaw

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem: the iPhone 6 bends. Claims of the excessively flexible phone have been reported across numerous tech blogs and mainstream media. Apple addicts aren’t pleased, and so far, the company hasn’t said a thing.

So what’s causing the beloved iPhone 6 to be bent out of shape? Trouser pockets. For those shoving their phones into their pockets and going about the day, that’s what’s causing the phones to become warped. Apple is marketing the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus as the thinnest smartphones it’s released — both models are less than 0.3 in. thick — so there’s only so much the phones can physically handle. Because they’re both made of machined aluminum, they possess the quality of ductility, making them pliable but not breakable.


Bent iPhone 6. Image via CNET.

Out of the millions of units already sold, only a handful of them have been reported to be bent, but that doesn’t mean the issue is something Apple should ignore. Read More

High-tech pill box reminds you to take your medication

Liif makes monitoring the medicine routines for yourself or a loved one simple

Now that it’s easy to take the Internet and a plethora of electronics for granted, it’s safe to say that the future is officially here, especially with the introduction of digital medication management. The Liif pill box from Tricella was created to remind you to take your pills and it will also keep tabs on the doses you’ve taken and the ones you’ve missed.

The space-age-looking box is supplied with much more than meets the eye. It’s equipped with Bluetooth-NFC and sends data to your smartphone — simply tapping the box to your phone will set-up the pairing of the system.


Once you’re using a paired Liif box, you can view your medicine schedule, what you’ve already taken, and when the next dose is needed. Read More

Solar-powered tent can charge your electronics

Stay connected to the digital world while you’re outdoors with a Bang Bang Tent

If you’re headed out to a festival or a camping trip to enjoy the cool autumn weather, you might want to take a peek at a flashy alternative to your ordinary outdoor gear. Bang Bang Tents, as they’re called, are eye-catching solar-powered tents that will keep you connected to the digital world.

With a 5W solar panel, a lithium solar storage bank, and mobile phone/USB charging adaptors, the cozy four-person tent can keep your devices charged and ready for whatever your adventures might bring. Whether it’s your phone, laptop, camera, or speakers, just plug it in and you’ll be on your way to a full battery.


Each tent comes with a solar panel that slides into a pocket located inside the rear of the tent. To get charging, make sure the solar cell is facing into direct sunlight, and plug the solar panel into the power bank and let the natural light trickle down for a constant source of power. Read More