Awesome Stuff: Gadgets For The New Year
from the small-stuff dept
Happy New Year, everyone! This week we're kicking off 2016's Awesome Stuff posts with another round-up of three crowdfunding projects for interesting new gadgets and gear.
Over the years, there have been lots of pie-in-the-sky dreams of a future where induction charging lets us power our smartphones and laptops by simply walking around with chargers in our shoes, but that's not going to be happening anytime soon. But, the technology still has the potential to take on all sorts of smaller tasks and make life a little bit easier, and that's exactly what the TESLA self-recharging lighter does: it's a metal-and-rubber-clad electric arc lighter that can be charged up with just a few shakes. Refilling or replacing lighters may be only a small annoyance for those that use them, but it could be handily solved by the first lighter to actually have a shot at the "last lighter you'll ever buy" title.
Wallets are one of the most ubiquitous items on Kickstarter. The deluge has slowed slightly, but at one point it seemed like every week there was another "reinvented wallet" that promised to change your life forever — yet, virtually all the options seemed to follow one of a few basic design approaches. With that in mind, the Ekster is the first crowdfunded wallet in a while that is worth a look. Though others have tried the "spit our your cards at the press of a button" idea in the past, none have looked quite as smooth or convenient as the Ekster's pop-up cascade does in the video (though as always it may be less pleasing in operation). Additionally, the wallets include a BLE-based tracking device with a six-month battery life, so the wallet can pair with your phone and offer several convenient functions: an alert if your wallet gets out of range of your phone, the ability to ping your wallet from your phone, and the reverse ability to trigger your phone's ringer from a button on the wallet. If all this operates smoothly and doesn't require a bunch of clunky apps and configurations, it could be a godsend for all those who frequently find themselves saying "where did I put that?"
Have you ever tried to record a phone call? It's considerably more frustrating than you'd expect it to be. What should be a simple push-button function on all our devices is instead a hassle requiring specialty apps and obscure settings — and even then, the results are mixed and unreliable. One could argue that this is partially because of the legal issues with non-consensual recording, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons to record phone calls in the professional sphere — reporters do it all the time for phone interviews, businesses need records of conference calls and meetings and presentations — and it's a powerful tool for the public too, for recording interactions with companies and the government when the need arises. So: why is it such a pain?
That brings us to the Tulip: a small dongle that plugs into any 3.5mm audio jack and records directly from the audio line. Recording calls is just one of its functions — it's also not a bad tool for quickly capturing music, either from a DJ setup or an electric guitar (or bass or fiddle or...) — but it's the one I suspect will get the most use.