Best of Tech 2014
Tile – Where did I put my ______________?
It happens to all of us. Keys, wallets, pets, remotes…all get lost and drive us crazy. What if your phone or computer could find them all for you? Tiles are little Bluetooth devices that your phone can track. They’re small enough to be unobtrusive on a keychain and have a range of about 100 feet. If you are outside of 100 feet, the Tile app will tell you the last place it saw your item.
Panono – Take instant 360 degree panoramic pictures, anywhere.
I love fun camera innovations. Most are neat but in practice not all that useful. Usually the ole DSLR is realistically the best bet for most situations. The Panono, however, I think has real potential to be something people actually take photos with on a regular basis. The 360 degree capture gives you so much more information than a standard camera. Go to their website below to see (and play with) some of the images they’ve taken. Then check out the video to see a really cool way you can interact with the images using a smartphone.
FLIR– Find all the hotspots with your iPhone!
Literal hotspots, that is. FLIR turns your iPhone 5 into a thermal imaging camera. What’s that? It’s a device that normally costs thousands of dollars and shows you hot and cold, wherever you point it. The most obvious application, and one that could justify the $350 price tag, would be using it to analyze your house to see where your insulation is not doing its job (where you’re losing heat). The way this winter is looking already you could almost call it an investment J Check out the video link for some other ideas it can be useful for like detecting shower leaks, working on your car, and detecting moisture in flooring.
Impossible– Let’s face it, we all miss Polaroids, at least sometimes.
Whether you are reminiscing about your actual Polaroid camera of yesteryear or just the prints, Impossible has a product for you. They refurbish and re-sell cameras, and their instant lab quickly and easily turns your iPhone into a Polaroid printing machine. Also, Polaroid is coming out with their own “socialmatic” that brings the old Polaroid into 2014 with some new innovations. Link for that below too.
Amazon Echo – Think convenient, portable, even more useful, Siri
The video really tells all, but my take on this is a device that is similar to Siri or “Ok Google”. It’s cool though because its standalone, has speakers, and learns. My favorite example in the video is asking Echo, while cooking with dirty hands, “how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?” It works with a command word so you don’t have to touch it to make it start listening.
Website (with video): http://tinyurl.com/kwvy7la
Kolibree toothbrush – Maybe you’ve already seen this? A techy toothbrush
You’ve probably told your patients to brush more. They’ve probably had good intentions, but then not really done it. Kolibree tries to help by connecting an electric toothbrush with a smartphone app to track and encourage your brushing habits. Kind of like MapMyRun for your dental health. Beyond that it evens interfaces with a smartphone game where the toothbrush’s orientation controls the character. More tooth brushing? Maybe. More distracted tooth brushing? Definitely.
Nest – The programmable, smartphone friendly, learning thermostat. And smoke alarm. And camera.
Yeah, I’d heard of Nest for a while now. I didn’t know they now have a smoke/carbon monoxide detector and camera. Coolest thing about them all? They connect to your Wi-Fi and can be accessed from anywhere, and they can give you reports and alerts. Pretty handy in the event of a smoke detector incident when you’re not home. The camera is pretty much what you would expect from a cloud enabled security camera. The thermostat, Nest’s first product, has lots of great features like auto-away, remote programming, and learning.
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide detector: http://tinyurl.com/k5k7sfl
Belkin WeMo– Making the dumb home smarter
Smart homes can be really cool, and really expensive. Usually you would’ve had to plan ahead and gotten all the right products and wiring in place ahead of time. Belkin is working to solve those issues. Well, except maybe the expensive one. But you can start small and over time end up with a pretty smart home. From the most basic electrical outlet to led light bulbs to a crock pot, WeMo can make an awful lot of stuff in your home programmable, and accessible via a smartphone. The prerequisites for your home? Electricity & Wi-Fi.
Quadcopter – Definitely a winner for a gift idea
You may not find it necessary to have one of these in your office like we do, but they can be fun for just about anyone. The learning curve is not too steep, they are cheap, and you can get replaceable parts pretty cheaply and easily. Get them in many sizes, shapes, speeds, you name it. Our choice is the Syma X5C w/camera. It is a ton of fun to fly and actually takes pretty decent photos and videos. The best feature is the rotor guards so you can run into walls and other objects without breaking the rotors. Tons of fun I promise.
Gizmodo comparison of a bunch of copters: http://tinyurl.com/kral75x
Product page and video: http://tinyurl.com/kxo43jk
Doxie– Go paperless, without sitting in front of your computer to scan.
I actually just got this a few weeks ago. It is literally the first scanner I’ve ever bought for my home? Why the first? Not because I don’t want to be paperless. On the contrary, I have a flat out loathing for paper. So why not a nice Xerox Documate or Bulletscan or other multi-sheet scanner? My disdain for paper is eclipsed only by the idea of spending extra time on my computer at home. I simply don’t want to take my mail downstairs to the computer/scanner and go to town. The DoxieGo, the model I have, has built in memory so you can scan from anywhere, no computer needed. It’s also battery powered so you can do the majority of your scanning totally unplugged. Then, you can set it up with an Eye-fi card to automatically send the scanned files to your computer.
Is there still time needed on the computer? Definitely. Once they are on the computer you’ll likely want to name the files and organize them. In practice at home, however, this still makes way more sense. When you only have one or two things to scan at a time (I’m not scanning all my old paper charts after all) it’s really nice. Open up the mail. Scan the mail. Shred the mail. At some point when it’s convenient go downstairs to the computer or fire up the laptop and rename and organize your scans. So far I like it a lot. Simple to set up and use, and even a 3 year old can do the scans. Trust me I’ve confirmed this J
Thanks for reading. You are now more knowledgeable than you ever thought possible and more prepared to be the best gift giver at your holiday parties. Happy Holidays!
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