With the advent of wireless broadband, smartphones, tablets and laptops, the last decade has seen a torrent of improvements at the hands of improved technologies. While there are a lot of obvious ways technology has been improving your life, here are a few ways it can help unexpectedly. What will be a mainstay of daily life ten years from now?
Ring in the new year in style with Swann’s mp3-based doorbell (http://tinyurl.com/mdbar-doorbell). Imagine guests arriving to the sounds of holiday music or your own personal favorites. With 90 MB of memory, you can customize your doorbell with up to 25 songs just like you customize ringtones on your phone with just a USB cable connected to your PC. Doorbell is easy to install, runs on AA batteries, and sells for about $50, depending on the retailer.
With every new year comes new resolutions. Technology often helps us track what we eat and how well we work out, but the HAPIfork (www.hapilabs.com/products-hapifork.asp) takes it a step further. This fork helps you track things such as how long it took to eat your meal and how quickly it was consumed, helping you to eat more slowly which contributes to better health and the prevention of weight gain and digestive problems. There are smartphone apps to accompany the device so that you can track your eating habits easily. The fork is just $99 from Brookstone.
There is nothing worse than a suitcase gone rogue when you’re traveling. Trackdot (www.trakdot.com) is an FCC-approved device that tracks your suitcase’s movement using cellular networks, going in to airplane mode while flying, and then sends a text message to the owner’s phone once the luggage has landed. The trackdot is about $60, plus a $22 activation fee and service plan. Cheaper than most one-way flights, and may be worth the peace of mind if you travel often.
We’ve all seen the automatic house vacuum systems like Roomba. Now there is something similar for your windows! Winbot, the robotic window cleaner boasts ease of use and sparkling windows with minimal effort for just five easy payments of $79.99 (www.winbot7.com).
There’s the Roomba vacuum, and now the Winbot, but don’t forget about one of the most daunting tasks of summer: mowing the lawn. Now you can keep your lawn trimmed and neat with a robotic lawn mower by Husqvarna (http://tinyurl.com/mdbar-mower). The mower is weather proof, has no emissions, can sense when it is being lifted or titled, and is relatively quiet. Two models are offered that can tackle yards of 3000 or 6000 square meters at a steep price tag of around $2,300, depending on where you purchase. But you’ll likely have to find this device online, it’s not found in many common U.S. retail stores.
Are you prone to losing your wallet? A product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Link* is an aluminum smart wallet that helps you keep track of your wallet, as well as the cards inside. It uses Bluetooth and Android and iPhone apps to help you keep track of these essentials while you are out, can’t locate it in the house, or if you do something like, open a tab at a bar. Reasonably priced and scheduled to begin shipping in December 2013, you can preorder now at www.linkwallet.com.
While this Kickstarter campaign has expired, Melon is attempting to help you schedule your day around your most productive times by using a wearable headband to measure EEG levels and keeping track of when you are the most focused. Keep an eye on this becoming available to a larger audience in 2014, if the first release is deemed successful (http://tinyurl.com/mdbar-melon).
Cold hands, warm heart they say. But no one wants to sit at work with cold hands. Try these USB powered heated fingerless gloves and keep those digits toasty while the chill sets in (http://tinyurl.com/mdbar-gloves).
Looking for more low-tech solutions to help you get work done in your home office? Keep your cat off your documents by giving him his own cozy seat next to you (www.brookstone.com/tabletop-cat-seat). No batteries required. Cat not included.
When all else fails and you just can’t be in every place at once – there’s one last resort. Clone yourself! At the low price of just $9,700, you could have your own customizable robot by Anybot (www.anybots.com) to tackle the more menial tasks that are getting in your way of real progress.