A look at gadget happenings, as Apple enlists the help of a sleep expert, and two crowdfunding projects offer practical solutions to everyday gadget problems.
Crowdfunding success for inexpensive earphones strap
The ii Earphones Snap Strap is such a simple idea, it’s a wonder that we haven’t seen the likes of it until now. Devised by a Slovakian company, this silicone strap attaches to earphone cords with anodised aluminium clips, transferring the weight of the wires around the user’s neck to the strap, reducing the friction and vibration that causes them to slip out of place.
Available in a wide range of colour combinations, the Snap Strap comes in two variants to fit both round and flat earphone wires. As well holding your earphones in place while you run, dance, or pursue whatever activity you like, it also prevents tangles and holds your earphones in place when you need to pop them out.
Currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, this project’s humble target of US$1,000 was reached within 48 hours and has since rocketed to over US$30,000. Backers can add their support for the low price of US$7 for a product that will retail at US$12. Snap Straps are expected to be delivered by March 2014, and international shipping is included.
Nanotips brings touchscreen compatibility to everyday materials
Another crowdfunding project that caught our eye this week is Nanotips. Formulated using nanotechnology, this conductive polyamide liquid solution makes any material compatible for use with touchscreens, meaning any pair of gloves you own can be adapted for use with your mobile device.
Developed by Tony Yu, Nanotips claims to offer the same capacitive effect as a human finger. There are two varieties up for grabs: Nanotips Black for rubber, leather and other thick materials, and Nanotips Blue for fabrics. While the Black formula creates a conductive layer on the material, the Blue formula absorbs into the fabric, creating a conductive bridge between the finger and the touchscreen.
Application of Nanotips takes seconds and can last from a few weeks to a few months, depending on use. If and when it does wear off, all you have to do is reapply. The formula can even be used to restore touchscreen gloves to their former glory if they suffer from wear and tear.
The solution has potential for further uses, such as turning everyday pens into touchscreen styluses or even giving prosthetic hands touchscreen compatibility.
The project already has over 1,000 backers and the original goal of CA$10,500 has been far excelled with close to CA$50,000 pledged so far.
Apple nabs Philips sleep expert for iWatch team
News this week on Apple’s iWatch front comes from a report on 9to5Mac. According to the Apple rumours website, the company has enlisted the help of sleep expert Roy J E M Raymann, former senior scientist with Philips Research.
Raymann officially left his position at Philips Research as of 1 January this year, and it’s believed that he’s bringing his wealth of experience in sleep research, wearable tech, sensors and non-pharmacological methods of improving sleep quality to the iWatch team.
Raymann has worked on and led various sleep-related research projects as part of the Philips Consumer Lifestyle Sleep Research Programme and the company’s Brain, Body and Behaviour group. He also founded the Philips Sleep Experience Laboratory.
Using sensors to monitor sleep patterns and assist users in getting the most out of bedtime is nothing new to the wearable tech scene, but Apple will surely want its product to improve upon those already out there – particularly having seen the success of apps such as Sleep Cycle alarm clock, which has consistently been one of the App Store’s top paid apps. The company is also said to have hired fitness and medical experts to help in the development of its long-rumoured wearable tech product.
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