The Tech Trends team has, as always, busily sourced the best and coolest technology life hacks out there. This month we share with our readers some beautifully simple solutions to annoying problems, productivity and stress reduction tools, bad-ass SnoreTech and titillating pleasure gadgets, as well as the latest cutting edge media production software, and much more.
Following a hugely successful round of crowdfunding last year where they raised over 400% of their target on Indiegogo to become one of their top 1% campaigns, ELF emit started selling their “daily mind-body assistant” online and marketing heavily on social platforms like Facebook. As they seem to have a lot of happy customers we though we’d take it for a spin, since anything that promises to improve your focus, sleep and happiness in these stressful times has got to be worth a try.
The premise of this “digital metronome” is that our brains and bodies run at different frequency speeds depending on what activity we’re engaging in – learning, sleeping, relaxing, doing some creative thinking, or worrying about – say – the state of current affairs and whether certain world leaders might get bored enough to launch nuclear missiles on a whim. The problem, according to this theory, is that when those frequencies are not aligned we become stressed and frustrated, but that it is possible to re-align those brain frequencies with your activity by rewiring your mind to connect to your body’s preferred mental state.
The product itself is very elegantly designed, and you wear it a bit like one of those elvish diadems you might see in Lord of the Rings, apart from the fact there is a wire connected to it which plugs into your phone. There is no battery, as the cable draws power from your phone at the same time as it receives instructions from the app about which type of frequency it should be pumping out. Once you download the free app – most of the negative reviews on the app store seemed to be from people who didn’t actually realize that you could only use the app with the device – it’s a simple matter of choosing from one of the 5 options (improve sleep, deepen meditation, reduce stress, improve focus, and fast learning) and let the headband do its thing. And no, you don’t feel anything.
It’s a nice idea, but as far as I can tell the science has not been proven, so it’s very much up in the air whether the fact that I felt refreshed was due to the device efficacy or some sort of placebo effect. But where it comes to stress, one can be as beneficial as the other – just the fact of conciously setting aside the time to “realign your brain” can have a calming effect – so although I’m not sure I’d buy it for myself, I am certainly happy to continue using it for a while longer.
RRP: $129 (including free shipping)
Solo BridgeHampton Backpack
I often work remotely, and every coffee shop out there is a potential office as long as it’s got WiFi and serves a decent brew. But it can be tricky to get a bag to fit all the stuff I need to take with me (notebooks, glasses, an external keyboard etc. as well as, of course, my laptop). This backpack not only fits it all – it has a fully padded 12.3” laptop compartment, two front pockets, and internal tablet pocket but it’s incredibly light (only weighs 1.86 lbs) and comfortable to wear, with soft and sturdy straps. And yes, it looks nice, which is always a plus.
Urban Armor Protective Cases for MacBook Pro and Galaxy S8 Phone
If you’re going to take your gear through its paces but want it to stay in one piece, choosing the right protective case is important, and a worthwhile investment. The Range from Urban Armor looks pretty cool but also meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6). The latptop cases come with dual lock secure screen closure and impact resistant bumbers, but also have cooling vents in all the right places for uncompromized airflow. As with any of these things, however, you have to make absolutely sure you’re buying the right case for the right model, as even laptops of the same size will sometimes not fit across different cases (the MacBook Pro, for example, has models with a touchbar which are very different from their predecessors)
The Pathfinder Series Galaxy S8 case which I tested in white has a light composite construction with an armour shell and impact resistant soft core with a non-slip ruggedized grip and scratch resistant skid pads ands screen surround. It also didn’t interfere with the wireless charging or Samsung Pay functionality of my phone, so it’s a keeper!
We-Vibe Sex Toys
This month we tested out 3 different top-of-the-range pleasure toys – The Verge, Pivot and Sync – from We-Vibe which are great fun both for solo us and with partners. You can read all about it here, enjoy!
Penclic KB3 Pretty Pink Bluetooth Keyboard
I really like the slick colourful look of these new Penclic keyboards (I got the pink one but it also comes in gold) but the main draw for me is that the keys are a dream to type on (I do a lot of typing) and that they are easily paired with a really wide variety of computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s compatible with iOS/OSX, Android and Windows (but not Windows mobile). There is a corded version, but the KB3 is Bluetooth-enabled, which I find more practical and also nicer looking as you don’t have large cables sticking out everywhere and getting in the way. However, it does come with a cable backup in case you should experience a technology fail. It also gives you greater flexibility to place the keyboard ergonomically – and with a wireless reach of 10 metres it is also ideal for controlling playback devices from your sofa – It also features a tenkeyless’ design which reduces the keyboards footprint by placing it to a closer and more comfortable working position wherever you work or browse.
Amevie Bamboo Sunglasses
Amevie is a Canadian lifestyle brand that produces hand-made sun care products. This model from the Milan range is one of their sustainable bamboo sunglasses, which are light, sturdy, and have lovely little details such as “The sun is new each day” engraved on the inside of the arm . Their founder Ana Caracaleanu tells me the that the brand was born from her desire to develop safe products that protect the entire family from the harmful effects of UV rays. The sunglasses have UV blocking (100% UV protection) polarized lenses, and are both water-proof and sweat-proof. The travel-friendly case was also a hit, as it packs flat when you’re not using it but provides full protection for the glasses when unfolded. Hands down these are the most comfortable glasses I’ve worn.
Piper Computer Kit and Kitronik MOVE Mini Robot
This month we also got to indulge our inner child here at Tech Trends and play with some of the coolest toys around.
The Piper Computer Kit and Kitronik MOVE Robot show that learning about things such as coding, electronics and robotics needn’t be daunting. It’s actually rollicking good fun. You can read the full review here.
Leatherman Tread Bracelet
This great design puts the functionality of a Leatherman multi-tool in a wearable. Each of its links feature various tools such as Allen wrenches, screwdrivers and box wrenches. I personally loved the look of it, but left the review to Tom Atkinson, who being a man and well into his tools, jumped at the chance. Here are his thoughts:
Having wrists like a girl doesn’t mean I am not a rugged, practical, get my hands dirty and fix a problem kind of guy, and it doesn’t mean I don’t love the smell of grease or drool over rusty old tools and oily mechanical things of all kinds. It does however, mean I can’t fully enjoy the benefits of the Leatherman Tread multi-tool. Sob! The Tread is arguably as much a bracelet for dudes with dirty fingernails as it is a multi-tool, but it is so well designed it succeeds in both these roles. Built like a tank tread, it’s exquisitely designed and beautiful to look at, packing in 29 useful tools including a few surprises such as the Sim Card Pick for popping those damned little card trays out of modern smartphones, plus a Carbide Glass Breaker so you can punch your way through a windscreen and in lieu of a knife a very handy little Cutting Hook. The bracelet design and lack of a knife mean that this is one multi-tool you can get through customs, just in case you need to fix the recliner on your airplane seat. The Tread is very sturdy and made out of corrosion resistant 17-4 stainless steel but in case you manage to destroy it Leatherman do offer a 25 year guarantee, which is always nice. Even if the Bottle Opener is what gets the most use in your day-to-day life, at least you know you will be prepared for those little disasters and if all should fall apart. As an added bonus, it also doubles up as one of the best stress relievers I have come across, I can’t stop playing with it. Stand aside Fidget Spinners!
Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 14
Tom Atkinson also had a chance to talk to the folks at Blackmagic about their latest platform the DaVinci Resolve 14. For a deep-dive in the technical specs as well as some musings on the past, present and future of Media Production, read the full Tech Trends article.
ISOLATE MiNi Ear Protectors
Earlier last month I wrote an article talking about my struggle to cope with my husband’s snoring issues and launched an appeal for any tech companies out there offering innovative approaches, however ludicrous, which might help alleviate the problem and bring me a few hours of peaceful sleep. And although my quest continues, the MiNi ear protectors that ISOLATE sent me have helped a little. Initially I wasn’t too impressed with the titanium model I had got from the same brand – they made my ears hurt after prolonged use and kept falling out in the night as I tossed and turned – but as it turned out the smaller size worked a lot better, since it was a much snugger fit (meaning more noise was blocked and also making it more comfortable to wear).
Sitpack Foldable Stool
Founded in 2014 Danish entrepreneur Jonas Lind-Bendixen, Sitpack showcases that lovely Nordic combination of clean design and practicality which I’m a big fan of. In fact, it won several design awards such as the Chicago Good Design Award 2016, Hamburg IF Design Award 2015, and Successful Design Award 2015 in China.
“Correct resting increases blood circulation and thereby your focus. It soothes a tired back and leaves only 30 percent body weight on the coccyx. The SitPack will keep your energy levels higher throughout the day, while stimulating muscles and balance,” says Lind-Bendixen.
The portable, ergonomic and lightweight seat comes in five funky colours, and once you get the hang of it, it really only takes a couple of seconds to lock the sections in place securely and adjust the telescopic 34.25 inch leg to a comfortable height, propping it up just about anywhere. The seat is 13 inches wide and the entire stool is made out of the same polycarbonate used in riot shields and bulletproof glass enforced with glassfiber. It is therefore incredibly strong (It can support up to 286 lbs) while also very light, weighing less than 13 ounces. Great for hiking, summer festivaling, and general outdoor frolicking.
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Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedInand follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.