As everyone returns to work in 2014, life seems to be moving a little faster and becoming more chaotic. In order to keep up with our hectic work, social, and home lives we will continue to rely more heavily of technological advancements.
After browsing the web I have put together a list of nine tools that might allow consumers to keep track of their lives, improve efficiency and productivity, make life a little simpler, or are just really cool.
Cleaning dishes is something I dislike doing, even when I have the time. Sure, I’ll deal with spider invasions and dispose of the
“presents” that my cat so kindly brings me, but there is something about dirty food scraps that irks me. Although still in development, Tomorrow Machine’s super-hydrophobic coated crockery allows food and liquid to simply slide off when tipped down the sink. The dishware is made of nano-cellulose, which is derived from wood fibers, and covered with a super-hydrophobic coating. At present, this coating is not ready for consumer use, with a number of health concerns. However, the Swedish company has created a natural based coating and the dishware will hopefully be on the market soon.
I often giggle to myself when I watch my friends search for their car keys, turning their handbags upside down and pouring the contents all over the street in the process. Keyless car entry has quite honestly saved me hours of handbag rummaging. Now, I can save more time with keyless entry to my home! Using a smartphone app and a special lock, users can open their front door by simply touching the lock (as long as their phone is in their pocket). The system works using Bluetooth and additional users can be granted access as needed.
Portable power packs for smart devices are nothing new, but with smart devices relatively poor battery life and every increasing importance in our lives, being able to charge them on the go is a necessity for most busy people. There are a number on the market at present, all with slightly different functionalities. The solar powered ones are great for consumers who spend a lot of time outdoors, but when you’re in the office or travelling between meetings all day, solar powered packs are less important. The Kickstarter project “Jump” offers something slightly different to other power packs, with the ability to jumpstart phones that have gone completely flat. Its sleek and compact design also means that it fits nicely in your pocket or bag/briefcase. However, $40 is quite steep with perfectly functional power packs available on eBay for little more than $5. For $5, what do you have to lose?
A fitness tracker
With every second persons New Year’s resolution being to get fitter and healthier, why not invest in fancy fitness tracker to keep tabs on your movement 24/7. After all, it is now an expected exercise accessory and status symbol to show all your coworkers that you care about your health. All that said, I really want one… Call me materialistic and narcissistic, but the idea of tracking my daily movement is sort of exciting and being a competitive person, I will always be trying to beat previous days records. Or so I tell myself. I don’t know how this item will save people time, but it does give users an insight into the structure of their chaotic lives, possibly bringing some order?
This item is for busy people who use the commute to work to catch up on their reading. A book is heavy and awkward to read when standing in a crowded train, tram, or bus. In contrast, an e-book reader requires only one hand for operation, leaving your other one free to hold onto the moving vehicle. Also, you can transport your entire library with you! Not that you can read more than one book at a time. An e-book reader may not save you any additional time, but they do make your life slightly easier. However, a number of people really enjoy the authenticity and texture of books, so this product isn’t for everyone.
It is difficult to say how long this product will be of use, as there is a push towards needing only our smartphones in our pockets. However, Coin is pretty cool and may help de-clutter your life in the interim. At present, Coin stores all your credit and debit card information (up to 8 different cards) on the one card. You can choose which account you wish to pay with using the coin button and because of its integration with your smartphone; you will never leave it behind. In addition, there is speculation that it may eventually replace all cards in your wallet, including IDs and tickets.
Hi-tech clothing is thing of the present! Forget t-shirts that act as iPod speakers, this is a t-shirt that cleans itself and never gets stained! The t-shirt follows a similar principle to the self-cleaning dishware. Aamir Patel has created this fabric by layering it with billions of particles of silica to create a consumer-safe super-hydrophobic coating. Unlike other super-hydrophobic coatings, Silic does not come off after one machine wash, allowing for repeated use of the shirt. Although the t-shirt doesn’t stain, you can still wash it up to 80 times before it loses its stain and liquid repelling abilities. The time saving properties of this product are debatable, but being a messy eater (only when wearing white), it would save me numerous trips to the shops to replace such items.
The Hoyo is designed for people who can’t put down their phones. Their smartphone is their life. Whether they are trying to optimize morning time by reading the newspaper in the shower, or answering urgent calls and texts 24/7, the Hoyo is the solution they are looking for. There are a number of waterproof pockets available for smartphones and this one is not overly different. Put simply, it is a sealable plastic sleeve for your smartphone so that you can use it in wet areas.
And where would the busy person be without a vacuum cleaner for their cat’s entertainment? The Roomba is old news, but still a fun and useful gadget for keeping the housework under control. I will be very happy when they develop one of these for the ironing.
So there you have it, a selection of potentially useful and fun gadgets to make your life a little easier in 2014.