By Max FischerPosted 01.30.2012 at 10:59 am 7 Comments
While battery-powered yard tools are quiet, efficient and hassle free, they rarely pack the same power as their gas-consuming counterparts. But new electric yard tools with bigger batteries have muscle that rivals their gaseous brethren.
The remote control for these fun devices isn't under the couch
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.12.2011 at 2:41 pm 0 Comments
The toy department just got its game on with technology that transforms your smartphone into a remote control. This switch means you'll be able to guide helicopters into smoother swoops and swirls and to play augmented-reality games with friends.
Some 45 million Americans have a ready-made, near-universal remote control in their pockets. We already use smartphones to turn up home stereos, scroll through iTunes playlists, and pause Apple TVs. The devices' built-in radios, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can also control toys.
Bike-sharing programs across the U.S. are getting an upgrade.
By Jackson LynchPosted 10.13.2010 at 12:37 pm 0 Comments
Urban bike-sharing in U.S. cities. Already booming in Europe, these membership-based services start around $5 a month, saving commuters at least $5,000 a year on average over owning a car.
Smartphone apps allow riders to find bikes quickly, and inexpensive radio-frequency-identification or GPS chips help bike companies track the riders remotely. The chips are linked to riders’ credit-card information, so they won’t be tempted to steal the bike.
By Doug MahoneyPosted 06.03.2010 at 5:19 pm 3 Comments
The Trend: Multifunction power tools that combine the mechanisms of two or more pieces of equipment into one professional-grade item
Why Now? Contractors and ambitious DIYers want to do projects more efficiently. And in many cases, toolmakers are taking advantage of the zip and design flexibility offered by compact 12-volt lithium-ion batteries. With less weight and space devoted to the power source, there's room for what users want at the business end.
Mobile augmented-reality (AR) apps already enhance live video images on your phone to show you real-time info about what’s around you. Upcoming systems take it a step further by actually letting you interact—whether by touching or talking—with miniature virtual worlds.
Fly cross-country and forget to lock your car back in the parking lot? Now there's an app for that scenario.
Many cars already have built-in computers with cell data chips and Bluetooth connections for linking to cellular phones. Fully integrating your app-rich smartphone and the cell-capable computer in your dashboard is the logical next step.
Efficient new laptops can run multiple programs without sucking extra wattage. That’s because they pace themselves. Their processors can shut down partially when the screen is static or when running simple tasks, and ramp up to full steam when big programs call for it.
The Trend: Internet-connected energy monitors. They grab details on electric use from your wiring and send them to a Web site where you can analyze the data—and figure out how to save both watts and cash.
Why Now: Utilities keep promising “smart” electric meters that automatically provide real-time, online info, but most Americans still don’t have them. Now millions of stimulus dollars are inspiring companies to create and sell kits that add smart features to any ordinary meter.
By Amanda SchupakPosted 10.14.2009 at 1:32 am 0 Comments
Multitouch screens, which can register more than one finger-press at a time, will let computers trade keyboards and mice for simple strokes and pinches. The models shown here are just the start. Nearly every major PC maker will introduce touch-y designs of various shapes and sizes in the coming months.