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The week’s top hardware news.

March 18th, 2016


Music Packed with Dopamine

One of the most anticipated wearables at CES this year is now on IndieGogo and it promises divine pleasure. Here’s how it works: by sending a gentle electrical wave through the left ear canal, it stimulates the body’s Vagus nerve, while syncing with music. This elicits a calm, relaxed feeling by lighting up the brain’s pleasure center. Nervana!

Nirvana audio set
Nirvana audio set

Oombrella Knows When it Rains

Put some temperature, pressure, humidity and light sensors into an otherwise regular umbrella and you’ve got yourself a personal weather man. It that tells you when it’s going to rain and communicates with other oombrellas in the neighborhood to alert their owners.

Apple Watch Gets Medical

Medtech startup AliveCor released the first medical-grade EKG band for the Apple Watch. The product should help detect cardiac arrhythmia conditions that can cause stroke. The sensors in the device send data to an Apple Watch app and the band also allows the recording of voice memos to send along with the EKG to a doctor.

+ a wearable that tracks stress levels

Do You Speak Firefly?

This is the ultimate gadget no one knew they needed. The Firefly Communicator emits a specific flash code that allows you to light signal your way into a bug’s conversation world. As in, it allows you to communicate with and attract fireflies. Science-tested.

Firefly communicator


Shoelace-Tying is a Bygone Skill

The future finally came for Nike with the release of HyperAdapt 1.0,  their first truly McFly-ish shoe. Instead of regular ol’ laces they have a battery-powered series of pulleys that cinch the throat of the shoe. Tiffany Beers of Nike explains how the system works: “When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten.”

+ Under Armour 3D-printed shoe tested by Gizmodohttps://www.youtube.com/embed/z7Cyv3cvIxY 

Google Backs Away From Boston Dynamics

Surely you remember the unsettling video released by Boston Dynamics last month, where their latest robot, Atlas, was being bullied by a human. Looks like Google (now Alphabet) isn’t so confident in the commercial viability of this investment and is putting the robotics lab up for sale. Possible acquirers include Amazon and Toyota Research Institute.

+ iRobot’s mopping robot

+ Pizza boys everywhere might be replaced by this robot

PlayStation VR Will Cost $399

Once again, Sony undercut the competition and revealed a $399 price tag for the PlayStation VR at GDC this week. This looks far more affordable than the roughly $600 price of the Oculus Rift and the $800 price of the HTC Vive. Of course, the real price is $500 – the one announced for the bundle, which includes the camera and the Move controllers.

+ Snapchat might be secretly building smartglasses

A look at the landscape: the VR world we live in

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