If it’s one thing, it’s another: 9 handy doubled-up devices that will improve your life
These ingenious gadgets turn traditional technology on its head. Twice.
Living a double life has its perks.
No, not the kind of double life that involves ducking into a phone booth and turning into a caped crusader. There’s a different type of duplicity at work here.
How about a scarf that inflates into a pillow? A hair clip you can use as a screwdriver? A bicycle seat that folds over into a lock?
1. Warm scarf, or travel pillow?
So you're stuck on the red-eye, it's the middle of winter, you're freezing and exhausted, and – oh, the horror – you forgot your travel pillow. What's a forlorn jet setter to do?
Relax, and take a deep breath. You've got your Sleeper Scarf. It's a sensible marriage of fashion and function that also gives you a discreet way to transport your pillow while you're walking to your gate. The design includes a U-shaped pocket around the neck of the scarf, which holds the pillow in place. It inflates with just a few breaths and deflates with the push of a button. The pillow attachment is removable, so you can wear it just as a scarf.
It costs $65 and is available at sleeperscarf.com in a variety of colors.
2. Bathroom sink, or hand dryer?
Dyson, makers of the prettiest vacuum cleaners ever, have now granted you the freedom to wash your hands and stay put while you dry them. The new Airblade Tap could make the public restroom experience much more stationary. No more scurrying to an obscure corner of the bathroom with dripping hands, or fighting with (always empty) paper towel dispensers.
“Washing and drying your hands tends not to be a very pleasant experience,” James Dyson, founder and president of the aesthetically pleasing, U.K.-based line of home appliances, said recently. "The Tap is a totally different experience. You have your own sink, your own dryer.”
However, we are talking about Dyson here, so you know what's coming next: sticker shock. The price of one of these units starts around $1,900. You may have to continue shaking your hands like a Polaroid picture for the foreseeable future.
3. Motorcycle helmet, or navigator?
Is your helmet smart?
Lately, it seems like every device, gadget, household product or appliance is being "smartened." The Skully AR-1 helmet bills itself as "the world's smartest motorcycle helmet" because of its so-called heads-up display, a Google Glass-esque setup that shows critical information in the rider's line of sight. Its integrated, turn-by-turn navigation system ensures you can keep your eyes on the road without making a wrong – and potentially dangerous – turn.
The company entered the market at a record-setting pace, raising $250,000 in the first eight minutes of its Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign. The AR-1 helmet is now available on the company website starting at a cool $1,499.
4. Hair clip, or hardware?
If you've ever had a bad hair day and a home remodeling project at the same time, this product is for you. The Leatherdo is a stainless-steel hair clip that also functions as a hardware tool – screwdriver, wrench, ruler and serrated edge for cutting. Created by Israeli designer Yaacov Goldberg, the Leatherdo is like a toolbox attached to your head and can come in very handy if you should find yourself tackling a last-minute fix-it job, provided the project is relatively small and doesn't require a hammer.
Imagine the scenarios: Eyeglasses suddenly fall apart right before an important meeting? Forget to cut off the tag on your blouse before you left the house? Having trouble taming those pesky flyaways? You won't know you need it until you do, and then ... wow. It's $9.99 on Animi Causa.
5. Suit, or bed?
Don't laugh. Really, stop it.
Unless you work from home, you've probably experienced that 3 p.m. caffeine crash and thought, "I could really use a bed right now." Hearing your battle cries, an office-supply company in Japan called King Jim developed a bed that you can wear. It's called the Wearable Futon Air Mat Set, and it's a padded jumpsuit made of nylon, polyester and polyethylene with an attachment for an inflatable mattress that's also included in the set. Call it ... the sleeper snuggie. It's one-size-fits-all, but arms and legs are easily adjustable.
You can also roll it up and take it on the go if you don't want to wear it (although we couldn't imagine why). No word on whether it also works as a flotation device.
Once only sold in Japan, the set is now available for international shipping at the Japan Trend Shop for $89, plus $57 shipping.
6. Suitcase, or chair?
Airports can really be a drag (see No. 1). No wonder you're tired and cranky when you board the plane – you just spent the previous two hours fighting crowds, shuffling through painstakingly long security lines and consuming coffee that tastes like motor oil. Nexstep, a Chicago-based luggage company, wants to soften the journey a little. Its convertible handle can be turned into a chair, for when gate seating is scarce, and a luggage rack, for when your Motel 6 floor doesn't look like the best place to lay your suitcase.
The company says its product was created after thorough market surveys that identified the problems of travelers, airports and luggage. According to Nexstep's website, "people want to have their travel go as conveniently as possible, and they’re looking for luggage makers to ensure that."
Elevate your luggage, elevate yourself. Whatever the situation requires.
7. Bracelet, or quadcopter?
Somehow, the makers of this product have taken two things you don't need and turned them into something you do. The result is Nixie, a selfie-taking quadcopter that turns into a bracelet. It's a finalist in Intel's "Make it Wearable" challenge, ostensibly because it solves two problems: how to transport a quadcopter, and how to keep said quadcopter from falling apart in your purse or pocket.
Since we normally associate selfies with smartphones and not drones, it's a bit puzzling to see the couple in the park giving duckface to a small flying machine overhead. But this is actually more practical than it looks. CNet's review of Nixie says these quadcopters are "for those moments in life when you really want a picture or video of something you're doing, but using a standard camera or phone either isn't feasible or would interrupt the moment." Clearly, the makers of Nixie – led by Stanford postdoctoral researcher Christoph Kohstall – wanted to take that level of convenience even farther, so that when you're ready to set your quadcopter free, you can do so by a simple gesture of the wrist.
The "Make it Wearable" challenge culminates in early November, when the winner will receive a $500,000 prize. Stay tuned to see if Nixie wins, or gets nixed.
8. Yoga mat, or yoga instructor?
Yoga is that cherished part of your day when you get to look inward, focus on your breathing, put down the electronics and – oh, wait. Scratch that last part. The SmartMat bills itself as the world's first responsive yoga mat, and its makers say the goal is to help users perfect their poses and personalize their practice. Its built-in sensors connect to your electronic device to provide real-time feedback on your practice, offering suggestions for adjustments on position, balance and alignment. The accompanying SmartMat app is available on iOs and Android.
"SmartMat was designed with the idea in mind that this would be an unparalleled resource to enhance your practice, not detract from it," said SmartMat lead consultant Amy Lombardo. "With more comprehensive and detailed information about your body's needs and alignment from SmartMat, you'll start to know yourself on a whole new level in your practice."
The SmartMat is available for pre-order now, for $297. Delivery is slated for late summer 2015.
9. Bicycle seat, or bicycle lock?
It's a seat! It's a lock! It's a Seatylock! We can all go home now.
Perfect for the forgetful cyclist, the Seatylock is a removable seat that turns into a bike lock. Founded by Israeli designers Ilan Mor and Mickey Shenkerman, the product was developed with the active urban cyclist in mind – the one who is always rushing off to a coffee shop or a meeting, and has enough in his backpack to survive a monsoon, but doesn't want to withstand the added weight of a clunky bike lock on his back.
“Seatylock evolves the bike lock by utilizing an integral part of the bike as a hardened steel security system," Mor told From the Grapevine. "You will never forget your lock again with Seatylock, since it gives you a hassle-free ride without feeling the burden of carrying a traditional lock.”
Additionally, the Seatylock ensures that the bike seat won't be stolen, since it's part of the lock.
Seatylock more than doubled its $40,000 fundraising goal on Kickstarter as of Oct. 22. The first batch will be available in March 2015 in multiple colors and designs.
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