Nyko’s Nintendo Switch Labo inspired kit ticks all the right boxes! A beautiful combination of cutting-edge handheld gaming tech and nostalgic design, the Nyko PixelQuest Arcade Kit turns Nintendo’s latest gaming device into something that takes you down memory lane.
The Pixelquest comes made out of cardboard, like all of Nintendo’s Labo accessories, but rather than transforming your handheld gaming device into an instrument, a mecha, or a moving toy, the PixelQuest takes you back in time to an era where gaming devices were large boxy cabinets with eye-level screens and controls that could withstand the abuse of an angry young teenage boy. The PixelQuest docks the Switch Screen, and the two handheld consoles (coming even with a joystick attachment like the old times), allowing you and your mate to play mano-a-mano or against the computer, just like the good old days. It also comes with a cheeky little graphic where the coin slot would be, and given its cardboard construction, can be colored/painted to look like an arcade cabinet from the golden days!
In an attempt to conquer the second largest populated country and the third largest consumer of oil, Ather aims to electrify India by spreading the gospel of EVs.
Starting with the launch of the AtherGrid a series of 30 charging points strategically placed across Bengaluru, India, Ather aims at getting its system ready before its product… the Ather 450 electric scooter. With a top speed of 80km/h, an acceleration of 0-40 in 3.9 seconds, and a range of 75kms, the Ather 450 is India’s first smart electric scooter.
With an edgy visual characteristic, a storm-trooper color combination (plus some delightful green accents), the Ather 450 definitely looks the part of an intelligent electric two-wheeler. It sports a 7″ touchscreen dashboard that allows onboard navigation with options of alternative routes and saved locations. It also comes with the Ather app that enables push navigation from one’s phone to the vehicle dashboard, remote monitoring of the vehicle health, and charge monitoring. Furthermore, with the over-the-air (OTA) updates, the Ather 450 is capable of improving over time with continuous updates and addition of new features and functionalities.
The Ather 450 also tackles the problems of a developing country by offering fast-charging up to 80% at 1km/minute of charging time. Use the AtherGrid to juice your vehicle or rely on any 5A socket to charge your EV. It also allows for an unprecedented ‘parking assist’, which allows riders to reverse into tight parking spots… making the Ather 450 the stunning e-scooter that India truly needs!
The Rimowa X Off-White Transparent Carry-On Case has some rather obvious pros and cons. It’s just a question of which of them outweighs the other, and that’s completely subjective.
Made from transparent yet extremely resilient and impact resistant PolyCarbonate, the carry-on suitcase is completely see-through, although the ribbing on the surface to give it structural integrity obscures one’s direct view of the insides of the suitcase. With accented black handles, wheels, and labeling on the handle and locks, the Rimowa and Off-White collaborative suitcase gets a distinct contrast that gives it a much-needed pop.
Polycarbonate isn’t completely transparent, and the suitcase’s insides get a slightly frosty/cloudy appearance, but the contents within aren’t hidden from one’s view. While most people wouldn’t be comfortable with carrying a suitcase that flaunts the items inside, it may appeal to a few who have nothing to hide and are looking for a suitcase that’s distinctly different, and can be spotted from afar on the conveyor belt at the airport arrival hall. There’s no way anyone’s mistaking this suitcase for theirs! Plus, here’s a hidden psychology tip: Transparent items are usually perceived as fragile/breakable, so the people handling your luggage will probably subconsciously take extra good care of it!
Put a unique looking watch in front of us and you’re bound to have our attention. We’ve seen concrete watches, wooden watches, clear watches with flower petals suspended in them, and Vincero’s Marble range joins that echelon of unusually beautiful timepieces with a watch that has a face made out of the finest Italian Marble.
Marble is truly one of the oldest materials of luxury and opulence, with Greek and Roman greats commissioning statues, sculptures, and even buildings out of the smooth, wonderous material. Being synonymous with luxury, style, and substance, Italian Marble now makes its way to your wrist, in the form of a spectacular looking watch dial.
A Kickstarter success story, Vincero follows the customer-first business model, building watches from the ground up with customer feedback, and assembled in-house after importing their parts from the best sources. With movements from Japan, 316L Steel and Sapphire Crystals from China, and leather and marble from Italy, Vincero’s watches combine the best of all worlds but at a price that puts Vincero’s watches in the sweet spot of ‘affordable luxury’.
Vincero’s Marble Collection sports a 316L surgical grade stainless steel body with large Roman numerals on the watch’s face, complementing its Italian Marble center beautifully. Made with historic white or green Italian marble, the watch face sports a marbling pattern that’s unique to each and every watch, just like its wearer. With a Sapphire glass on the top, the words “Veni Vidi Vici” (the immortal words of Caesar, “I came, I saw, I conquered”) on the back, and a Citizen Miyota Quartz movement on the inside, the Vincero Marble Watch screams panache and precision in the same sentence, while the price tag, courtesy of the disruptive Kickstarter B2C model says “luxury with value for money”.
The smartphone industry is worth billions, and a pretty large amount of it is not in smartphone purchase, but in the recurring purchase of cable-based accessories like earphones and chargers that get spoilt after a year of usage. Phones are designed with a long lifespan in mind, but that mindset doesn’t carry to the charging cable that comes with the phone, and with excessive usage, the rubber underneath the connector begins fraying, and you end up dumping your damaged cable for a newer one every year or two. While this approach is great for businesses, it isn’t particularly environment or consumer-friendly, say the guys at Blufixx.
With a history of having developed polymer-based ‘Repair Pens’ for wood, metal, ceramic, and stone, Blufixx’s latest repair pen comes with a flexible polymer gel that lets you fix the popular ‘frayed, white charging cable’. With a special polymer gel that’s liquid before curing, the Blufixx Repair Pen lets you simply draw a new protective sleeve over your frayed cables, and cure the liquid sleeve with a UV light, turning the gel into a flexible-yet-tough, water-resistant polymer material with a lifespan of 5 years. The white color goes well with most white cables and headphone wires, and the Blufixx Repair Pen itself prolongs the life of your wires pretty much indefinitely. Better for you and better for the environment! Oh, and it costs as much as a new, original charging cable would!
It’s true that we have garages for our cars and motorbikes, but somehow, all the bicycle got was a bicycle rack. There are objects to tether your bicycle to, but not a dedicated space to store your bicycle in, to protect it not only from theft, but also from the elements.
This revelation led to Eric G. Pearson to create the Alpen, a compact, secure cocoon of sorts for your bicycle. With a hood that slides open and closed quite majestically, you can easily store one bicycle within the Alpen, and given its small framework and pleasantly sleek design, the Aspen itself can be placed (and even displayed) indoors or even outdoors.
Built from virtually indestructible roto-molded polyethylene and equipped with an integrated locking mechanism, the Alpen is a custom home for your bicycle, made to protect your ride from sun, rain, sleet, rust, and obviously, theft too. The Alpen can be secured to a floor, wall, pillar, or even the back of your truck, letting you carry your bike along with its own home wherever you go.
No more storing your bike in the living room, leaving tire marks on the floor, or hanging it on your wall, making it the focal point of all your decor, or simply dumping it in your garage beside your car or motorbike. The Alpen gives your beloved bike its dedicated storage/parking space, because it’s high time the bicycle got its own garage!
It appears that we’ve come full circle. We went from candybar phones to clamshells, to sliders, back to the candybar (with every smartphone following that framework), and then in the pursuit to have bezel-less displays, phones are revising the slider format to hide elements like the front-facing camera. After a few companies like Vivo and a lesser known Doogee started experimenting with sliding formats, it became evident that the fastest way to a bezel-free phone would be to go for the hide+slide technique… and that’s what Oppo (the parent company of Oneplus) is doing with its Find X.
The Find X quite literally is all screen. With a stunningly high screen to bezel ratio, the Oppo Find X has only pixels on its front and a slick plain surface on its back. But where are the cameras? Oh, they’re hiding within the phone. Switch on the camera app and the top of the phone slides open (you don’t need to do anything manually) to reveal a dual camera on the back, and a pretty fancy 25 megapixel camera on the front that not only clicks amazing selfies, it also works as facial recognition device… because in the quest for purity, the Find X has no fingerprint scanner either.
While the end result is a phone that’s slightly thick (and I’m honestly fine with that), it means phones finally will be all screen and that’s marvelous… but I probably would think twice before owning a Find X. As a slider phone owner (for four years) myself, I’ve learned that moving parts on tech are usually the first to fail (Oppo should have realized this with its debut phone, the N1). The slider mechanism works on its own, without needing human intervention, which on paper sounds great, but practically, it may not be such a bed of roses. Oppo says that the slider activates within milliseconds to pop open the front camera, detect your face, and unlock your phone, but if that technology were to ever fail, it means going back to using swipe patterns, or worse still… never having access to your front or back camera. The sliding mechanism also means you can never put a protective case on the Oppo Find X, which may not always be the best idea if you’re a member of the fellowship of fallen phones (it also means the phone isn’t water-resistant like every smartphone today). However, for people willing to take that chance, the Oppo Find X does look like quite a spectacular phone. It comes with up to 256Gb of storage, 8Gb of RAM, a 3730mAh battery, and it goes on sale in China today, with a global launch in the offing… and with that, do we finally say goodbye to the notch? I don’t really know, but hell the bezel-less front looks rather marvelous!
The ONO is a $99 3D printer, but its price tag isn’t what makes it remarkable. It’s the fact that it’s a resin-based 3D printer that uses your smartphone to print complex 3D forms!
The tiny printer comes with a vertically lifting platform, a resin bath, and a dedicated space for a smartphone. Just select a 3D file on the Ono app and place the smartphone in its dedicated space below the resin bath and the ONO printer and smartphone work in conjunction to create complex, yet beautiful 3D prints. The ONO uses resin based printing tech, that relies on a bath filled with a special photosensitive liquid resin that cures with light. The light comes from the smartphone screen, which displays cross-sections of the 3D file in black and white, while the resin cures against the platform. Working frame by frame, layer by layer, the smartphone flashes images that cure the resin in the desired shape of the 3D file you wanted to print. Just simply pull the model off the vertical platform and rinse in a bowl of water and voila! Your print is ready!
The ONO is great for small projects and prototypes. Given that it works using a smartphone screen, the ONO printer’s printing framework is roughly the size of your smartphone screen, so any 3D model bigger than that isn’t quite possible on the ONO, but its compelling price tag is what makes it really attractive. Besides, it uses liquid resins to print files, which results in incredibly smooth and glossy surfaces and lesser wastage of materials!
The Blackberry has always maintained its reputation of being the ideal businessman’s phone. It’s handy and useful, comes with all the apps you need to stay productive, doesn’t distract with games or social apps, is quite secure, and until the touchscreen trend took over, it had its own qwerty keyboard that made typing out emails on the phone a literal breeze… however, somewhere down the line Blackberry followed the bandwagon and got lost among bigger players. The Blackberry Network concept hopes to change that by once again, being built to do exactly what it’s good at.
The BB Network isn’t a phone, its your enterprise communication solution. Build explicitly and rather well for all your office needs, the BB Network is your go-to device for everything related to work. It comes in a size that’s small enough to get the job done while occupying as less space as possible. Built to work as the RFID card that you would use to swipe into our out of your office, the BB Network is exactly that size too, and can be hung around from your neck or clipped to your pocket, much like your office ID. It’s even optimized to work keeping your office schedule and needs in mind, giving you access to your tasks, reminders, mails, flight tickets, etc. all accessible from within the home screen. The phone also comes with BBM Hub, Blackberry’s answer to Slack, and and its own payments gateway that allows you to use your phone as a payment card. Another great feature is the Network’s Meeting Mode, a mode that lets your phone focus only on functionality, silencing all calls and notifications while you’re in a meeting. Putting your phone in the Meeting Mode also turns your phone into a multimedia device, allowing you to use it as a digital pointer, and to control presentations directly from within your phone.
Blackberry’s strength has always been its appeal to a particular target audience. Rather than pandering to the consumer market, BB Network does what Microsoft did a long time ago… stay true to the ever-demanding, yet loyal world of business and enterprise!
“No Bass, No Good” said a skeptic as he walked away from the stall that was displaying earphones sporting bone-conduction technology at CES Asia 2018. Bone conduction earphones work without sitting inside your ear. Instead, they rest in front of your ear, on your temporal bone, right under your temples. The earphones don’t “play” the music, but rather, relay vibrations to the bone, sending them directly to your brain, rather than through your ear canal. Why would someone go through that headache, you say? Bone conduction technology is supposedly the next best thing for audio. It feeds sounds to the wearer without blocking their ears, which mean two things. A. You can hear everything around you just fine, so a bone-conduction earpiece would work wonders for say a jogger, who wants to listen to the music, but without blocking their ears, so they can hear if a cycle is approaching them from behind, or if there’s a car speeding towards them while they cross the road. Benefit B. is that since they don’t exercise your eardrums, bone-conduction tech is actually better for your ears, and can even be worn by people with eardrum-based hearing disabilities. That’s the rosy promise of bone-conducting tech, but its track record has been rather poor.
There were 3 companies at CES Asia this year displaying bone-conduction technology. The most popular being Aftershokz, a company that has gone from strength to strength, selling audio wearables, and even managed to land the CES Innovation Award for their latest offering, the Trekz Air. The other two were relatively smaller players. One, competing with Aftershokz, and another that managed to weave their bone-conducting earpieces into sunglasses, so you’ve got a nice pair of shades that play music to you while you cut out the sun’s glare and look cool while doing it.
I casually walked to the Aftershokz pop-up stall, seeing massive posters of a man wearing the Trekz Air, looking positively dapper and athletic at the same time. Below him was a display area with earphones for the public to try… So I slipped one on. I immediately connected the Trekz Air to my phone, playing music I was familiar with, so I had a proper point of reference. I couldn’t hear anything. All I could feel was the earphones buzzing against my temples. “Sir, the environment here is too loud, if you want to hear the music, you need to cover your ears to block out external sound”, said a helper. This, I believe is the biggest flaw of bone-conducting earphones. The promise is that bone-conduction tech is supposed to deliver sound directly to the audio canal without relying on the eardrum, and yet, it failed to do so because my eardrum was picking up external noise, which sort of defeats the purpose of the bone-conducting earphones. You’re supposed to hear the music ALONG WITH the noise, not have the music drowned out by it. I indulged the helper by plugging my ears with my fingers to listen to the music, and the quality was just about OK. The earphones sit rather loosely on your temples, so when they vibrate, you end up losing a major part of the low-end of the music, or the bass. That’s a heavy blow too, considering humans CRAVE bass. It’s the first sort of sounds we hear in the womb, as the mother’s heart beats, creating a bass-like thud that the baby picks up on and recognizes in the future. Listening to audio without bass is like drinking wine but not feeling the buzz. It was enough for me, and several others to put the earphones down, stating that the technology was good on paper, but didn’t match up in reality.
The problem with bone-conducting earphones is the way they’re built, to be honest. They’re made in a one-size-fits-all sort of format, as they sit on your ears, pressing rather loosely on your temples. These vibrating units tend to leak sound too, which mean that someone sitting right beside you on the subway can probably hear everything you’re listening to. These earphones need to be designed radically differently, in a way that allows them to press against your bone much more effectively than the current method. They also need to be able to stand up to external sounds, because no one wants to have to block their ears to hear the music. If the promise is that music and ambient noise (no matter how loud) can coexist, then it definitely must live up to that ideal. I decided to buy a pair of Aftershokz bone-conducting earphones myself back in 2015 and promptly sent them back the next day because they didn’t deliver on their promise. It’s a little disheartening to see that three years later, people are still walking away from the earphones saying “No Bass, No Good”… but that is probably the most accurate feedback ever.