Tech

Tech

Volta V Handcrafted Wooden Computer

Bet you never thought you’d see the words handcrafted and computer used in the same sentence, and yet here we are. The Volta V Handcrafted Wooden Computer is real, and its compact, handsome enclosure is made of domestically-sourced walnut or bamboo. But don’t let its sustainable design fool you into thinking that performance might suffer: inside you’ll find modern Intel processors (up to a Xeon), a large choice of SSD hard drives, amongst the best graphics cards available (up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, or one of several professional options), and a combination of liquid cooling and whisper-quiet fans behind dust filters that keep everything humming along nicely without throttling or the accumulation of dust. It just begs to be upgraded with time, especially since its lid comes off with no tools, instead held by powerful magnets.

Find it at Volta – $2,000+

GET IT: $2,000+

Tech

BACtrack Skyn

Alcohol monitors aren’t the most discreet of things considering you need to blow into them to get an answer. The BACtrack Skyn instead monitors your blood alcohol level in real time, the first of such devices, by way of either a dedicated wearable device or an Apple Watch band. It works by detecting and quantifying the trace amounts of ethanol excreted through the skin and then estimating the amounts in your blood via a proprietary algorithm. These values are graphed out in real time on its app or right on your Apple Watch, making checking your BAC as straightforward — and subtle — as glancing at the time. Which also means the effect on your blood alcohol of every beer downed and shot taken can be visualized, helping you (hopefully) make better decisions later in the night.

Learn more at BACtrack – $TBA

GET IT: $TBA

Gaming

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo’s next generation console — the Nintendo Switch — is finally here, and it’s trying its hand at being both a gaming handheld and a dedicated television-connected console. The core device is more tablet than set top box but you wouldn’t know that until removing it from its television stand, with two Joy-Con controllers that convert from the console’s wireless controller to halves that slide onto either side of the tablet for on-the-go gaming. It won’t get Game Boy-like longevity when used as a standalone portable but at up to six hours it’s battery life is still respectable, especially considering its 6.2-inch multitouch 1280×720 display. The Switch is also powered by Nvidia Tegra hardware, works with a more traditional Switch Pro controller (also wirelessly, like the smaller Joy-Cons) and has a pop-out kickstand to prop it up if you’re multiplayer gaming on the go. And with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild announced as a launch title, better take some time off when it hits stores on March 3rd.

Learn more and preorder at Nintendo – $300

GET IT - $300

Tech

Cinder Speakers

The lowly cinder block isn’t good for much other than building. But Cinder Speakers, a collaboration between industrial designer Daniel Ballou and Dashdot, turns a pair of concrete cinder blocks into high fidelity speakers. Since concrete minimizes vibrations the material is a logical choice, or at least from that perspective since you’ll need to find a relatively solid surface on which to rest such hefty speakers, and perhaps line the base with a felt pad or similar to avoid scratches. The kit, still in development stage and with a target price of roughly $150, ships as pre-assembled panels that attach to either side of the blocks and feature a 5-inch driver, a tweeter, a crossover, and an input jack on the right side of the front panels. Where you get the cinder block, on the other hand, is your problem.

Learn more at Daniel Ballou. [via]

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Home

Simplehuman Voice Control Sensor Can

Some garbage cans open when you wave a hand above the lid. The upcoming Simplehuman Voice Control Sensor Can does even better, opening up with the words Open Can or Open Sesame. The stainless steel garbage bin also has an infrared sensor near its lid so you can wave to open if you’d prefer but when your hands are occupied words are more natural. Tell it to close and it will oblige; tell it to stay open and it’ll do that, too. It helps that the bin is super sleek and runs (i.e. opens and closes) whisper quietly at just 52 dB, though with Simplehuman’s record so far — and this can’s price — we’d expect nothing but the best.

Available mid-March. Until then check out Simplehuman – $180+

GET IT: $180+

Tech

Aerodyne Nimbus Indestructible Drone

Want a drone you don’t need to worry about? Aerodyne’s Nimbus is just that, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that this racing drone is virtually indestructible. Nimbus features a lightweight custom-made carbon fibre monocoque design that’s formed from the inside, with recurring egg-shaped domes that are hardly coincidental. All electronics are packed within the aerodynamic monocoque as well which is rated to IP54 meaning water and dirt are no issue (though don’t land it in deep water). Smash it straight into a brick wall? It’ll keep on flying, at least if your props are still intact (and the flexible ones included in the fully built model should be). The bind-and-fly kit — which is just missing a radio control and first person view goggles — offers adjustable tilt on its camera, four motors (along with all other necessary internal components to make it flight-ready), and super low latency video transmission for rapid pilot input, though it’s also available as a frame-only pack for veteran drone racers who want to build up a drone to their exacting specifications themselves.

Find it at Indiegogo – $490 [via]

GET IT: $160

Sports & Outdoors

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20

It’s not only [very slightly] smaller and sleeker than before: the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 is also smarter. The watch is tailor-built for use in the great outdoors with a ruggedized case and includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and for the first time a low-power GPS with downloadable maps. You’ll have to settle for viewing maps on its 1.32-inch color display which is also touch-enabled, but fortunately the WSD-F20 runs Android Wear 2.0 with a user-friendly interface — not to mention Google Assistant for quick voice-powered commands. And when you’re not relying on its full capabilities the watch can switch into timepiece mode on its secondary monochrome display (there are two stacked layers) to extend battery life from about a day to over a month, something which puts most other smartwatches to shame. Though at this price it’s best reserved for individuals making the most of its outdoorsy features.

Learn more at Casio – $500

GET IT: $500

Tech

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor

You’re probably sick of hearing about monitors announced at CES, but we’ve got one more for you: the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor. 4K has barely had the time to settle in and though we’ve recently seen 5K screens this UltraSharp jumps ahead to a ridiculous 8K in a screen small enough (but still relatively huge) for desk-top use at 32-inches across. The near bezel-less monitor also covers both the Adobe RGB and sRGB colorspaces and displays the tiniest details brilliantly with a pixel density of 280 ppi. It’s overkill for most people, comes at a price that’s a multiple of most computers, and probably requires some ridiculous specs to drive it, but as the first 8K display it’ll be appreciated by graphics professionals and designers who need bigger and better devices.

Arriving in March. Until then read more at Dell – $5,000

GET IT: $5,000

Gadgets

Elago W3 Stand for Apple Watch

Missing that old school floppy-enabled Macintosh you used to use in elementary school? Elago’s W3 Stand for Apple Watch found a creative way to bring it back, in a much tinier form, that uses your smartwatch as its backdrop. The stand is made entirely of soft silicone to softly nestle your pricy device and secures it solidly while charging thanks to a slot for your Apple Watch charger, its cable exiting out the back. Knock it (and your Apple Watch) off your night table? The thick silicone should shield it admirably. No charger included, but then again at fifteen bucks we couldn’t really ask for much more.

Find it at Amazon – $15

GET IT: $15

Tech

Motiv Ring Activity & Sleep Tracker

Traditionally — or at least as long as they’ve existed, which isn’t all that long — fitness trackers have occupied space on one of your wrists. The Motiv Ring Activity & Sleep Tracker is similar in function except it’s both far smaller and takes up real estate that isn’t in such high demand: one of your ten fingers. The device tracks activity and sleep thanks to a 3-axis accelerometer as well your heart rate using an optical heart rate sensor, displaying collected data on its accompanying app to give you a detailed breakdown of what you did and how you slept. A titanium shell makes the ring lightweight and 5ATM waterproofing means you don’t need to worry about bringing it in the shower or even taking it swimming. And since sizing is particularly important a sizing kit is used before your ring ships to ensure fit is perfect. Each comes with two magnetic chargers: one for home as well as one for your keychain just in case your Motiv needs a top up while you’re out and about.

Learn more at Motiv – $200

GET IT: $200

Tech

Intelligent Security Camera Cover

Both Mark Zuckerberg and the Pope cover their laptop’s cameras. Maybe you should, too. The Intelligent Security Camera Cover, or ISCC, makes doing so way more elegant than sticking a small piece of Post-It over your camera. It’s thinner than its competitors and even thinner than a credit card to ensure your laptop’s screen closes unaffected. Fits onto most laptops and smartphones, sticking durably thanks to an advanced adhesive on the “ring” that won’t leave any residue if ever removed. The neodymium disk then attaches to the ring magnetically, sliding from one side to the other with a flip of the finger to guarantee privacy better than any piece of software ever could.

Find it at Kickstarter – $9

GET IT: $9

Photography

Polaroid Pop Instant Camera

The first Polaroid came way before the internet existed. No surprise that the latter contributed to the former’s extinction. The latest, though — the Polaroid Pop Instant Camera — is built for internet age, though without forgetting its origins. The Pop snaps and prints full color photos using a ZINK Zero Ink printer with Polaroid’s signature border around the image. But it doesn’t have to print each one: the camera also saves its images, shot with a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, to a microSD card up to 128GB in size, viewable on the cam’s 4-inch LCD touchscreen. It’s also equipped with both WiFi and Bluetooth for linking to your Android or iOS device to share images — or to double as a printer for your images captured on other devices. Other features include a dual LED flash, image stabilization, and a self-timer. And with its simple interface it’s as easy and inviting to use as the classic Polaroid once was, only way more functional.

Learn more at Polaroid – $TBA

GET IT: $TBA

Tech

Razer Project Valerie

Razer’s Project Valerie won’t be stocking the shelves of your nearby Best Buy anytime soon. If it ever does, though, it’s certain to redefine the concept of a mobile workstation thanks to its array of screens, each measuring in at 17.3-inches and with 4K resolution, adding up to a total 12K across all three. Both of its side displays pop out in seconds thanks to an automated deployment system, then slide back in behind the primary screen to grab the thing and go. Since it’s built off of their razor-thin Blade Pro and (of course) fitted with the beefier screen setup it’s still just about as thick as your average 17-inch gaming laptop — but does weigh in at about eleven pounds. No word on battery life but we’d bet it’s abysmal.

Learn more at Razer.

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