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The Goods: January 2014's Hottest Gadgets
By Amber Williams, with additional reporting by Kate Baggaley and Mac Irvine
January 6, 2014
The Zeus combination snow shovel and brush reduces trunk clutter. The two-foot-long brush serves as the polycarbonate shovel's handle. It can also be detached and used on its own.
The Breath is the first humidifier to automatically maintain optimal humidity in a room. Sensors detect ambient moisture levels, and the three-liter device changes its vapor output accordingly, keeping humidity at 40 to 55 percent.
The Protect is a smart smoke alarm. Instead of immediately squealing when smoke levels increase, it first gives a vocal warning. If the source isn't dangerous—say, a boisterous stir-fry—a user can wave a hand under the device to hush the alarm.
High-speed video cameras typically cost $25,000 or more. The Edgertronic costs one-fifth that price and is capable of shooting nearly 18,000 frames per second. To reduce costs, engineers stripped the components down to the essentials: image sensor, chip set, memory, and processor.
Wireless Sports Hoop Tracker
With the Hoop Tracker watch, a basketball player can tally stats during training sessions. The watch receives data wirelessly from a paddle on the rim that registers successful shots and an accelerometer that senses the vibrations of misses.
Courtesy Wireless Sports
HP Chromebook 11
The Chromebook 11 charges via micro-USB, so users can carry one charger for multiple devices. Because the laptop uses so little power—it's fanless and has an ARM processor—a 5.25V micro-USB charger is enough to do the job.
Micro Phone Lens
The six-millimeter Micro Phone Lens can magnify an object up to 60 times on a smartphone. It's made from a silicone variation that is optically identical to glass and naturally sticky, so it self-adheres to a phone's camera lens.
OMG Life Autographer
The Autographer wearable camera records daily life automatically. It takes cues from sensors that measure temperature, motion, light, orientation, and location to register when surroundings change and then triggers the shutter button to capture key moments.
Courtesy OMG Life
The Monsieur artificially intelligent robotic bartender makes a Manhattan perfectly every time: It mixes drinks to within a milliliter of accuracy. The mini-fridge-size device has eight 30-ounce bottles controlled by pumps and a microprocessor. Monsieur also makes recommendations based on drink habits.
The Libra scale doesn't stop at displaying weight: It also calculates body fat, muscle mass, water content, and bone mass. Four areas on the scale's glass plate generate electric current—the resistance it encounters from the body informs the results.
As a user types on the Android Dynamic Keyboard, the letters change size to make composing texts easier. After hitting a particular letter, the letters that most frequently follow grow larger. The size difference reduces the chance of hitting a wrong letter, which helps increase typing speed.
Courtesy Dynamic Keyboard
Parrot Flower Power
With Flower Power, a user can monitor a plant's health from afar. The battery-powered sensor records light, moisture, temperature, and other stats. It sends the data to a smartphone, where an app compares the info with the optimal conditions for that species and suggests how to provide care.
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