November 28, 2013

Continuance Batteries – Give AND Take via USB

We’ve all been there, completely immersed in a long involved phone call and you hear the dreaded battery-beep. “Are you getting another call?” asks the person on the other end. “No, my battery is going dead.” and then you look around frantically, hoping that by some stretch of luck an electrical outlet will magically appear… and more often than not, it never does. You inform the other party that you are going to lose them, defeated, and ashamed.
Well here is a concept that I really hope comes to pass, The Continuance Battery — designed by Haimo Bao, Hailong Piao, Yuancheng Liu and Xiameng Hu, this rather ordinary looking AA battery isn’t so ordinary after all. Not only is it an earth friendly rechargeable battery that can traditionally power any AA hungry device, but it is charged via USB AND has the ability to add some emergency power to any device that can be charged via USB as well!
“Can you hear me now?” Anyway, it’s only a concept at the moment, but it seems like one of those ideas that could change lots of things, and it would certainly be easy to rotate out a spare Continuance battery in my glove compartment or purse and always have an extra bit of juice when I need it. I don’t know how many times I’ve been searching for a free outlet in a restaurant or movie theater. I don’t often venture into the wilderness, but I guess it would be handy there too!
There has been some discussion about higher discharge rates and lower capacity due to the extra circutry, Blah blah blah, I’m not sure I understand most of it, my electronics knowledge barely extends past a rousing game of “Operation” but I sure hope these guys can figure it out, because I need a few dozen.

November 26, 2013

Ramos Alarm Clock – When Oversleeping is simply NOT an Option.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m a serial “alarm setter”. What this means is that if I have an important event, like catching a plane or a court appearance (never been to court, and I wasn’t speeding anyway) I not only set my regular alarm clock, but one or two backup alarms, just in case the regular one doesn’t wake me up. Its a horrible little obsessive habit, but I never saw my way around it, until now.
Welcome the Ramos Alarm Clock, possibly the most demanding (and therefore effective) alarm clocks available today. It looks gentle enough, with its lovely hardwood exterior, in a variety of finishes, but “set it and forget it” wont work here. Once it goes off, you’ll know what I mean. In order to disarm this alarm you must first memorize the specially generated code and enter it onto a panel, ideally located somewhere far away from the coziness of your soft, warm bed.
The developer, Paul Sammut, made this clock a Kickstater Project, an interesting concept in an of itself, by which developers require the support of interested parties, or backers in order to fufill orders, or complete projects.
Anyway, this clock, and its independent wireless touch panel will definitely prevent you from just hitting the snooze bar until your flight to who knows where is on the tarmac and ready for takeoff. Of course, now that I think about it, does it have a battery back-up? I mean, what if we have a power failure? Will it work if theres a power failure? The answer is.. YES!
The Ramos Alarm is available in a few different versions, including custom handmade units, with the basic design starting at around 150 bucks. Check out for more information on the Ramos clock, or to better understand the mission of the kickstarter program.

November 25, 2013

Transparent smartphone

Transparent anything is cool. Seriously, things that are see through automatically scream ‘futuristic’ based on all the sci-fi shows and movies that used transparent props. They sort of defy all logic, especially when technology is involved. Yet liquid crystal technology and its constant switching open and closed are being put to use to make a transparent phone possible. Which makes me wonder, will we someday lose our phones because we literally can’t see it?

A few companies, including, Polytron Technologies are working to produce a transparent smartphone. Their Smart Glass technology looks cloudy white. But when powered on the switching molecules open up and the device becomes opaque. Obviously other technology in the phone (SIM card, SD card, battery, speaker, camera) are not transparent. Polytron anticipates having an opaque filter to cover those less sexy spots. Working prototypes are expected this year and with any luck Polytron will find some interested phone manufacturers and become an OEM partner. So keep an eye out (if you can see them) for transparent phones in the near future.

November 23, 2013

BW1 Hovercraft

The game of golf has not had many transportation revelations in its history. The pull cart helped get the bag off the back. And of course the golf cart made the game even easier for lazy people and made long, hilly courses more bearable. But even those have limitations like not driving on the green or not being able to get across water. Hard to imagine that anything else could really change how we get around the course. Until now.
Masters champion Bubba Watson teamed up with Oakley to come up with the next generation golf cart – Bubba’s Hover – the first hovercraft golf cart. Designers took the principles of a cart and the levitation-like technology that a hovercraft uses and combined them to come up with a wacky-looking but functional vehicle. It travels on land and water and even through trees. The footprint pressure of the cart is less than of a human, meaning it could traverse greens. OK, so it may not be the most convenient looking thing to get in and out of, but you have to admit that it does work. There are no plans to manufacture the cart now but boy, wouldn’t greens keepers love it if they did!