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Cool New Gadgets

Cool New Gadgets

Gesture Recognition

This gesture recognition bracelet is one of the cool new gadgets that lets you control devices by moving your hands.

Invented by Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant, the MYO armband (derived from the prefix “myo” meaning related to muscle) can identify hand gestures by interpreting biometric signals in your arm.

When making a particular hand motion such as pointing, the armband can identify the gesture, which allows the pointing motion to be associated with a specific command for a digital device.

You can use hand signals to interact with televisions, computers, phones or any smart technology system. The importance of this technology is that it enables you to interact more naturally with devices by reducing the need for input peripherals like mice, keyboards or touchscreens.

The problem with current gesture recognition technology like Wii by Nintendo or Kinect by Microsoft, is that it requires you to be in a specific location.

This is because motion sensors and cameras require positioning coordinates to accurately intrepret your motions using complex algorithms.

The MYO technology does not require positioning coordinates and therefore allows greater freedom of movement.

Gestures are identified by muscular and electrical activity in the forearm. This detection occurs without any electrodes touching the skin, and the recognition is instantaneous.

Myo currently recognizes about 20 gestures. For example, it recognizes the swiping motions we use to scroll a page on a touchscreen.

MYO is designed as a one-size-fits-all device. It uses Bluetooth 4.0, features on-board, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and works out-of-the-box with your Mac or Windows PC.

The launch of approximately 25,000 units is expected later this year.

Talking With Your Appliances

One of the cool new gadgets to hit the market is a touchscreen device that allows you to communicate with anything consuming energy in your home.

Inventor Seth Frader-Thompson’s new invention has been named one of the “best new gadgets” and “breakthrough ideas of the year” by Time Magazine.

The EnergyHub Dashboard is a device that allows you to wirelessly communicate with all your appliances.

The touch screen device receives wireless information from “plug-ins” in your electrical sockets and provides details of usage for every energy consuming product in the home – everything from your furnace and air conditioner to a specific light bulb, cell phone or alarm clock.

It even tracks leak current (the power used by devices that are plugged-in but not being used).

Although many of us are motivated to reduce our carbon footprint and power consumption by changing our lights or upgrading to Energy Star appliances, this doesn’t tell us exactly what’s happening with consumption.

Our utility bills give us total power usage but nothing about what would happen if our thermostat was reduced by a few degrees or if a specific appliance was replaced, shut-off or used on a certain schedule.

The EnergHub provides this type of information and allows you to control and schedule the energy usage of anything in the home.

Wireless Electricity

RCA has developed a prototype of a cool new gadget capable of producing wireless electricity from radio frequencies in the air.

According to a company spokesman at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the device recharged a Blackberry from a 30% battery charge to full charge within 90 minutes.

The handheld wireless device (Airnergy) uses an antenna to absorb energy from frequencies and convert them into DC power inside its casing.

The gadget is then connected via a USB port to charge your cell phone or mobile internet device.

Airnergy charges itself 24/7.

This product is expected to be available in a few years.

Human Fly

Creating cool new gadgets is nothing new for inventor Jem Stansfield.

Wearing a contraption made from vacuum cleaners, wooden panels, hoses and latex rubber, he crawled 120 ft up the side of a building in London.

During a science festival he used the same gear to climb a high school to the disbelief of onlookers who witnessed the feat.

I couldn’t believe that it actually worked and was shocked to see him ascending the wall,” said festival organizer Richard Robinson.

“I came across the idea for the vacuum cleaners when I was doing a challenge to make superhuman powers out of junk,” says Jem, an aeronautics scientist.

Making strange inventions is not unusual for the 39 year-old. When companies need weird inventions, they turn to Jem to make them.

He has created special effects for movies (Lost in Space and Van Helsing) and special exhibits for Science Museums.

He is credited with inventing the first air-powered motorcycle and has won the New Scientist Award for inventing boots that walk on water.

Jem is a co-host on BBC’s popular science show Bang Goes The Theory, a television series that airs from a high-tech studio located in a disused supersonic wind tunnel.

The British scientist creates his innovations to inspire science students to think outside the box.

“Jem’s ingenuity is mind-boggling” says Liz Bonnin of Bang Goes the Theory.

What’s next for Stansfield?

He plans to drive a car powered by coffee beans.

Voice Stick

Invented by Sungwoo Park, this cool new gadget is a portable scanning device that reads printed text and converts it into a voice.

The Voice Stick can read any written document such newspapers, books and mail.

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