JBL was kind enough to surprise me with some JBL J46BT Bluetooth Headphones. I’ve been curious about Bluetooth earbuds for some time, but this is the first time test driving some in real life… perfect for workouts, running around the house/yard/after the dog untethered, and probably for airplanes so i don’t trip over the cord when getting in and out of the seat! First impressions ~ sound quality isn’t the greatest, it certainly lacks range. BUT i’m fascinated by some of their design details - especially the way it charges with a little clip to two contacts to the ear buds. See the full unboxing and details on the next page…
Entries tagged with: technology
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UPDATE: Eep! Bad news ~ though a NOTCOT first? I’ve never had to do a REboxing! Just heard from MakerBot that we’ve got to box the machine up and send it back to get it sorted…and thank you so much to the super nice guys over at MakerBot support for being so patient with us while working on this!
SO excited to get our hands on the MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen Desktop 3D Printer ~ it’s amazing to see how far things have come since the Cupcake, Thing-O-Matic, and even the early replicators! (You can see our Replicator 1 unbox here.) We are definitely getting closer to having 3D printers feel closer to the inkjet (2D printers?) of today… unfortunately, it’s still a bit more complex than popping it out of the box and popping out objects! New features we’re excited about include the optimized setup for PLA printing, camera (to keep an eye on your progress via app/mobile), magnetic extruder head, spring loaded nozzles, easier build plate leveling and more! And luckily, the arrival of this new machine is perfect for one of our big NOTlabs project deadlines!!! Take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing and some of our first experiments with it…
Excited to try out the new and improved Dyson Cool Desk Fan. Favorite details ~ it is far quieter than it’s predecessor! And there’s a remote (that magnetically attaches to the top of the desk fan like the floor models always had) - and a new super subtle digital display in the fan base, as well as a sleep timer! They also say it’s 75% quieter, and consumes 30% less power! Take a peek at the full unboxing on the next page!
I have to admit, it’s been terribly difficult (and also weirdly freeing) to be working on so many projects and doing so many things i CAN’T share on NOTCOT… yet! So of course, where i can, peeks at the process and inspiration and randomness encountered along the way sneak on to the NOTlabs Instagram. I’m currently sitting in the lab surrounded by excessive amounts of electronics parts and awaiting the arrival of more before it’s time to become our own little assembly line to build the ______ i can’t wait to share with you! Soon! I hope! It’s getting there…
I have been learning SO much the last few weeks. Random things like, outsourced 3D printing lead times are insanely slow (relative to my love of instant gratification). Chinese New Year WILL interfere with electronics orders coming from China - a few days turns into a few weeks. Some stores can’t ship more than 2 (if it has to fly - 12 if shipping ground) lithium ion batteries per package. And UPS will put your mountain of small boxes in a tied up plastic bag for delivery. Super tiny limit switches are hard to find. As are tiny, stumpy 4 way joystick buttons - especially if you want a click button in the center too. Just because there are 14,000 of something in stock, doesn’t mean it will stay there till the next day… and restocking may take weeks. Companies that use only paypal are not the best setup when international clients need to make massive payments on a credit card… so many limits and complications! Sparkfun’s red boxes make me smile every time they show up. And so much more i’m sure i’m not even remembering right now!
None the less, the craziness has barely begun ~ prototyping done, ordering in progress, awaiting all the parts, then comes days of soldering, assembly, etc… so take a peek at what we’ve got so far on the next page
On fun surprises, the nice folks at Mophie just sent over their new Mophie Space Pack! And honestly, it’s kind of magical! As is expected from Mophie, it boosts your battery life ~ but now it’s also adding an additional 16GB to 32GB of storage! And by storage, i mean that more like an external harddrive or flash drive that both your computer and a compatible iPhone can read. It isn’t exactly letting your iPhone fill up and then automatically use the space on the Space Pack. Their Space App enable you to browse files, take photos straight to the Space Pack, listen to music and watch videos (with airplay!), airdrop files to other iphones, and more. It’s definitely an easy way to transfer photos from your computer to iPhone to then open in Instagram, etc.
In the past we shared our unboxing of the rugged Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro, which we still carry around to events, on trips, etc and use regularly. What i love about that one is that you can charge anything via USB and it’s easy to share. Similarly with the new Mophie Space Pack, as long as your friend/colleague/etc has a compatible iPhone and grabs the Space App, you can share both power and storage easily. In fact, i love that this sample came preloaded with all of the press photos and documents, far more efficient than additional print outs or another USB key! Take a peek at the unboxing and details of the Mophie Space Pack on the next page!
I’ve been so intrigued by the Philips LED SlimStyle A Shape since we first posted it on NOTCOT.org, so when i saw them in person at Home Depot, i couldn’t resist! While they are certainly slim, they are far thicker than i imagined ~ but the plastic and lighting (both color and brightness) feel great. But my curiosity didn’t stop there, after testing it out in a few lights, i had to see what was inside! What allows for this unique design is the brilliant move of eliminating the large heat sink for this LED Bulb by spreading out the LEDs on the disk (and giving each its own tiny flat copper heat sink) ~ less weight, less space, less energy, and as far as i could tell, the lighting was comparable to the other incandescent bulbs around. All in all, i’m definitely tempted to replace more bulbs around the house with these ~ and they even work with dimmers! Take a peek on the next page for a closer look at the packaging and dissection.
Happy Chinese New Year! As we celebrate the new year ~ and also start working on some hardware projects… fun fact i learned this week is that Chinese New Year not only shuts down a lot of businesses in asia, but if you’re trying to get things shipped or manufactured, this is a bad week to do it! So long story short, our order of Microduinos should have been made 24 hours before… and we could have had them NOW instead of a few weeks from now. Luckily, thanks to the power of the internet, the very nice folks at Microduino met up with us in person yesterday to get us a few modules to get the project going!
THEY ARE SO SMALL! Impressively small in fact… and stackable! While i can’t tell you what we’re working on (yet!) i had to share how adorably tiny they are! They are even open source and Arduino compatible. Microduino started on Kickstarter and were successfully funded back in October, and are steadily growing their module capabilities. Take a peek at them up close on the next page!
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw ~ in addition to her other Top Drawer finds, we LOVE these semi DIY cards that use Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint.
It’s amazing what you can do at home… while away from home these days! In fact, it feels like it gets harder and harder to get homesick even while bouncing around the globe. With internet available while flying, even that oasis is a tough one to claim being completely disconnected. With cell phone roaming getting cheaper and simpler, you don’t even have to worry about changing phone numbers or gasp being completely out of touch. In our first post in this travel series sponsored by Sheraton, I shared ways that internet resources can help you explore new cities like a local. This time, let’s take a peek at the little things you can use that keep you grounded and feeling like home no matter what time it is wherever you are or how many planes you just hopped around on… see the next page!
Hands on and unboxing of the new Equil JOT Smartpen! We get an up close look at the gorgeous packaging and design details, as well as checking out how you can take notes and sketch on just about ANYTHING and have it immediately viewable/editable/shareable on your iPhone/iPad and more!
On booths that make you feel from afar like you’re quick approaching the enthralled crowd around a mind blowing street performer as you come down the aisle… Oswalds Mill Audio’s ICFF booth had that effect. Only as you approach, you realize the group of (mostly guys) are clustered and staring at the beauty and silently listening to the sounds of their impressive speakers! While their loudspeakers, amps, record players, and more are all stunning, the OMA Mini’s beauty was burned into my memory ~ so naturally i had to share that with you first!
Their speakers use a beautiful proprietary conical horn, “designed for the neodymium compression driver selected to achieve optimal performance, and cast in aluminum by a foundry in Pennsylvania,” and it’s perched on the woofer enclosures (either birch of bamboo), all designed by David D’Imperio, on a solid carbon steel stand! You can also pair the set up with a Mini Sub, whose face feels slightly hannibal mask like. As for the technical audio details, “The Mini is a very high efficiency speaker, at approx. 95db/1w/1m, and is 8ohm. This means you can use just about any amplifier with the Mini, from very low powered single ended triode amps (SETs) to high powered solid state amps, as the Minis uses professional drivers, not HiFi drivers, which distort at lower levels. These types of professional drivers offer far greater performance, and bullet proof reliability.They do not extend to the first octave, as hifi drivers do, and so you will not get deep bass extension and output to 20hz from the Mini.” Ok, now you totally have to see the other stunning pictures of the OMA Mini on the next page, as well as a peek at their booth…
HAPPY EARTH DAY! (And the start of Earthling Month!) To celebrate this crazy box just arrived… and upon opening it smelled like… lasered cardboard! (Yes, we’re VERY accustomed to that distinct scent lately.) And inside was Whole Foods’ “PINEAPPLE Ambassador of the Earthlings” which resembles an armadillo… and it TALKS. Seriously. This fun press kit to celebrate Earth Month of April is all about what Whole Foods is doing for the month of April - “transforming itself into a hub for Earthlings — or humans inspired by the earth’s beauty and bounty — to meet up, share ideas and celebrate our planet online and in stores.” You can learn more about what they’re up to at EarthlingMonth.com, but for now, back to this crazy box - which is the “official vessel of the earthling ambassador”… I love that their creature is actually built from food-safe ceramic and recycled electronics, the packaging is reused cardboard, and the impact from chipping has been offset with verified emission reductions purchased from Renewable Choice Energy… and it goes without saying that the pineapple can be consumed… in fact the TALKING ambassador commands you to “Eat Me!” as you’ll see in the video on the next page! So, if you’re ready to see the full unbox and stab the ambassador parts into the pineapple and hear him talk, head to the next page!
p.s. Just updated the post with a peek INSIDE the electronic guts… and he has a HEART!
There is no denying that the Nocs NS2 Air Monitors are stunning. Beautiful, elegant computer/small room active speakers with built in AirPlay tech, making it ridiculously easy to throw your music around the house… and with AirPlay’s multi-speaker set up being so easy, it’s been fun hooking up the speakers in every room - from laptop to kitchen to living room to bedroom to be in sync, so music follows us around the house and NOTlabs! But back to aesthetics, these are designed in Stockholm (assembled in China) and have hand-built soft touch rubber coated cabinets (feels SO good!), Kevlar reinforced woofers and silk dome tweeters. I’m smitten by the way the red pops - they also come in black, white, grey, orange, and yellow. The set up is relatively easy (but also easy to forget, lest you need to reset and do it again - but you can ping the website for that too) - you basically plug it in, press setup on the back, and connect to its personal wifi network, hitting the usual 192.168.1.1 to set it up to attach to your network. You can also use AirPlay Direct Mode, which allows you to play to the temp wifi network it will create, perfect for wifi-less scenarios (simply double click the setup button till it turns amber.) Ready to take a peek at the details and setup? See the full unboxing on the next page!
Let’s start this off with an important lesson i just learned - puppies can not be trusted… they really will sneak off with things even if you turn your back for just a moment… and then they will curl up somewhere and hide and destroy it… like these pretty awesome HD Spy Camera Glasses from Photojojo! Random upside? While i don’t have many videos to share, luckily i tried quite a few and got pics of it all for you before Bucky got to it… and now we have a “puppy teardown” to show you the guts of what is inside and how it works!
The officially named, HD You Vision Video Glasses from Photojojo, come whiteboxed with a very oakley-esque camera case, usb charger, and 4GB micro SD. As for the fit, they are a bit wide and super light plastic (no real lenses and all), and i had a bit of trouble not looking pretty silly in them, but that being said, the video and audio quality was better than i expected! Full HD, pretty fun, good camera angle (third eye spot)… not great in the dark, and not high quality audio, but it will do for fun adventures that need documenting. And when i tried them out on a walk with Bucky, he didn’t seem to pleased to see them on my face (perhaps that’s why they got sneakily targeted later?) They are surprisingly easy to use - plug in to charge, click the button on the side to start recording, hit it again to stop! Take a peek at the unboxing (and unfortunate puppy tear down) on the next page!
Happy almost 2013!!! The final weeks of 2012, i have been giving Windows 8 a real chance. I’ll admit, i’ve been a mac girl for years now, avoiding windows whenever possible… but with the addition of NOTlabs the last year, i’ve had to get back on windows for some of our modeling/lasercutting software and it’s been a bit of an adjustment (even on Win 7). Well, VIZIO convinced me to give Win 8 a proper try when they sent their stunning looking All-In-One Touch PC. It’s so pretty… so sleek… and so much more than just an all-in-one super touch screen. (Side note: we also tried out one of Vizio’s notebooks, but i quickly found that windows 8 is much easier with a touch screen, and stuck to the All-In-One while getting to know the many quirks of the OS… which is another conversation for another day.)
We set up the All-In-One alongside the monstrous NOTlabs Laser Cutter to run the laser cutter software, modeling/graphics software, and more… Veering outside of the purely digital, i’ve quickly been learning that physical fabrication requires much time and patience. Thus, there has been lots of waiting… hours and hours of waiting at times when running larger projects where we end up babysitting the machine… so the All-In-One Touch PC’s HDMI portsessentially turning into a TV at the push of a remote button has been awesome! We’ve been plugging in our DirecTV receiver, PS3, Co-Star, etc. to relax while still keeping an eye on things! And best part, when flipping over to use it like a TV, the computer keeps running, so we don’t lose anything that is in progress and can flip back and forth easily. Verdict? If i’m going to have to have a windows machine around NOTlabs, i’m loving the versatility of the big 27” All-In-One Touch PC. Take a peek on the next page for more details, our unboxing, and a peek into some laser cutting/call of duty multitasking in NOTlabs.
This week we popped by the Sonos Space to see “Missing” created by The xx in collaboration with new media producer Aramique Krauthamer, media artist Kyle McDonald and engineer Matt Mets. The installation is created around the song of the same name from their new album “Coexist” and features 50 robotic Sonos players following the movement of visitors as they pass through… The first thing you notice is the glowing cube in the center of the space filled with Sonos speakers hanging inside, all rotating to face the listeners as they move around. They only let a few people through at a time - and with the opening night crowd, it quickly starts to look like a glowing catwalk as people sashay through.
As for how it works - each speaker is suspended from cables and uses a small circuit board and stepper motor to rotate around. Two Microsoft Kinects are mounted in the upper corners that track peoples movements. A computer uses that data to control the direction of movement for each speaker by creating a vector between the person and the closest speakers. The system constantly sends commands to the motors creating the effect that each speaker is tracking you. Even with 10+ people crowded into the installation the system work remarkably well.
See more of the installation and details on the next page!
Oakley Airwave Goggles with built in Heads Up Display are launching on Halloween! And we had the pleasure of trying them out when we were in SF… i kid you not, the heads up display is gorgeous! Watching full color video in the little prism screen to the bottom right of your periphery was better than you’d expect. And i’m sure in due time, you stop finding yourself tilting your head down and to the right, as if you’d get a better view of it as i did… especially when you have stunning slopes filled with powder visible through the rest of your goggles!
As for what you can control and see in the Heads Up Display - there is everything from GPS/Navigation (routes for a lot of the best slopes around the globe are pre-programmed in), Buddy tracking (you can even find your friends who don’t have goggles, so long as they have the app), Music controls, Speed, Jump Analytics, and more! Of course, via bluetooth you can also pair it with your smartphone and view incoming calls and texts and access your playlists… all controlled by glove friendly wrist remote. The HUD itself comes from Recon Instruments, using “innovative prism technology to display information perceived by the wearer to be the size of a 14-inch screen that is five feet away, so refocusing the eye is not necessary.” And it really is surprisingly good in person. The accompanying app will be available on both Android and iOS, and no worries, even when your phone isn’t connected (or the battery dies) the goggles have built in GPS, Accelerometer, etc so all your data is stored locally until you connect to your phone.
For the best explanation of how it all works - take a look at the video on the next page! And for now, i’ll just keep dreaming about when Oakley takes this further and integrates the fun HUD into more products for every day life!
p.s. It’s worth noting that there’s a HUD SDK available - so if you can dream it, you can make it happen!
3D printed light bulbs that play with the way light is distributed… a 3D printed toy that’s responsive to a little girl with its digital eyes… LEDs embedded right into your 3D print while printing… 3D printable sensors, buttons, and switches… even a mobile 3D display created by projecting on internal bubbles within a 3D printed model. These are all possible now ~ and demonstrated in the latest project to come from Disney Research Pittsburgh - “Printed Optics” by Karl D.D. Willis, Eric Brockmeyer, Scott E. Hudson, Ivan Poupyrev.
Changing perspectives on how 3D prints works, this project both interrupts the printing process (to insert electronics), and also plays with the capabilities of the 3D printing itself to manipulate the way light behaves within the final print, turning a 3D print right out of the printer into “unique display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors, and robust embedded components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high fidelity, customized interactive devices.” While the material they are printing in isn’t your makerbot/consumer level printing (yet!) - this combination of UV cured resin and a special completely clear resin designed specifically for optical uses, creates the ability to create “light pipes” which function much like fiber optics. The possibilities with the direction of this research add a whole new level of interactivity to 3D prints! (Read the full paper here!) See them in action in the video and images on the next page…
This post is part of a content series presented by smartwater… smartwater, live a life well hydrated. To learn more click here. The opinions and content in this post are 100% NOTCOT, smartwater is supporting us to share what we love with you!
On fun and unexpected surprises, a Reebok FitList Box just arrived in the mail! For the launch of the Reebok FitList App on Spotify, the folks at DeepLocal created limited edition sneaker cases containing portable stereo speakers and sound reactive LED lights that glow in reaction to music, ambient sound, and even touch. (It’s oddly mesmerizing to tap the case and watch it light up and fade!) Most impressive is the fun video they created with athletes working out alongside a wall of these LED shoe boxes, and as they jump and run and work out. They’ve created 100 limited edition Reebok FitList boxes holding a pair of RealFlex Transition 2.0 shoes featuring an exclusive colorway (black with red soles!) just for the occasion. See the video, making of, and a peek inside the actual Reebok FitList Box and what powers it on the next page!
It was an awesome surprise to step into the Australian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and see a robot wire-bending installation by my old professor, Dave Pigram! He and Iain Maxwell of Supermanoeuvre collaborated with Wes Mcgee from Matter Design Studio and together set out to design a wire-bent sculpture specifically for the pavilion. The installation begins on the lower level of the pavilion and spans all the way to the ceiling. As you get closer you notice intricate details of how it all fits together and can’t help but marvel at the precision.
Before bending each rod, curves are drawn and analyzed on the computer. Those 3D curves are then digitally interpreted to tell the robot how to move and what to do. The wire bender and the robot arm work together, rotating, grabbing, and bending each vertex. Since robotic fabrication is extremely precise and the makeup of the steel can vary, the result is a near perfect physical manifestation of the digital model. Once each rod is completed, larger chunks are assembled from the individual pieces. They use small tack welds to hold the assemblies in place. The designers and fabricators wrote custom software, made unique hardware, and are actively redefining the way we design and make things. Take a look at the Australian Pavilion installation as well as the robots in action on the next page!
More Venice Architecture Biennale fun ~ I-City at the Russian Pavilion is a multi-room QR code experience. The exhibit was designed by SPEECH and Valode & Pistre and curated by Sergei Tchoban. The floors, walls, and ceilings are covered in QR codes providing a mesmerizing effect. Upon entering you are handed a Samsung tablet, and told to point and shoot at the illuminated QR codes. When you click the photo of one you are presented with work from David Chipperfield, SANAA, OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Stefano Boeri, SPEECH, and Mohsen Mostafavi among others. In all honesty, it was as fun to wander around the rooms and watch people trying to watch the QR code content as it was to view the content itself. The walls and ceilings were backlit matte black powder coated metal QR codes, and the floors were etched reflective metal panels. It was a completely trip to experience… see lots of fun pics on the next page!
It has been amazing to witness the development of the Free Universal Construction Kit that NOTlabs’ own Shawn Sims and our friend Golan Levin created ~ and even more incredible to see the eye opening discussions it has sparked far beyond the interoperability of toy sets, but on patent/IP law, the future of 3D printing, open source physical forms, and much more around the globe… and now it has brought them (and me along with them!) to Linz, Austria for the Ars Electronica Festival, where the project has received the Award of Distinction in Hybrid Art from the Prix Ars Electronica. In addition to the award, Golan will be speaking tomorrow on the opening day of the festival, Shawn will be speaking on Sunday, and for the first time, the Free Universal Construction Kit can be seen in its entirety along with a selection of playful assemblages we created demonstrating various toys playing nicely together at the OK “Offenes Kulturhaus” CyberArts12 Exhibition! (Big thank you to the kind folks at Instructables for their support of the project! They produced the full set of pieces showing at CyberArts12!)
So, we’ve just spent the last day setting up the display for the exhibition ~ and i’m thrilled to give you an early sneak peek before tomorrow’s opening!
If you need a refresher on the project: Toys (specifically Lego, Lincoln Logs, Duplo, Fischertechnik, K’nex, Krinkles, Tinkerytoy, Zome, Zoob, Gears Gears Gears, etc) + 3D printer + Free Universal Construction Kit = MORE ways to play with your toys! And all of the pieces are available for download (open source!) on Thingiverse, which you can either print on your own 3D Printer, or send them to a 3D printing service (like Shapeways!)