‘Face’ the music

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Not only are the X12 much more secure inside their case, they also look like a friendly face and eyes when open, making tech more humane and accessible. The case has a rotating lid with a semi-circular opening that aligns with the semi-circular hole in the component below to reveal the concept earphones, placed one beside the other. This completely negates chances of the lid accidentally opening and revealing the wireless earpieces, like the Airpods or the Doppler earphone cases (which have flip lids).

The case and the earphones match color beautifully and come in anodized pink, blue, and black metal finishes. The earphones have an extra brushed metal plate on them, for variation. They nestle perfectly into their casing which also acts as a charging hub for them, looking like the eyes of an innocent and friendly robot head, when the lid on the case is swiveled to open… making them instantly lovable and desirable!

Designer: ShiHua Tang

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A Seat-belt for your Smartphone

If anyone knew that big phones were a menace, it was Steve Jobs. He vowed never to make a large phablet sized iPhone because he knew the consequences. Difficulty of gripping and use, as phones and their screens grow bigger but hands stay the same, and a nuisance to carry, because they occupy so much space in your pocket. However, that’s the past… because the average phone screen size today stands at roughly 6 inches, while the average human thumb is just 2.74 inches.

Phone cases are so commonplace today that you’ll rarely see a phone without one. Their use goes beyond just protecting your phone now, as they act as stands, card-holders, external batteries, wallets, etc. In fact, they’re so commonly bought alongside phones, it makes perfect sense that they solve this rising problem of phones slipping out of your hands (and hitting you in the face when you’re checking Instagram in bed). As opposed to those obscenely ugly PopSockets or those hideous Ring Stands that do nothing but make your phone look the complete opposite of sleek, there’s the Arc Case, that provides a more graceful looking alternative. The Arc Case was made for large phones. Designed in two sizes, for the regular and plus sized smartphones, the Arc has a novel way of tackling the gripping problem. The X-shaped case grabs your phone by its edges, and curves outwards towards the center, providing enough leeway for your finger or thumb to slide in. This enables the phone’s protective casing to effectively act as a handle of sorts for your gadget, preventing you from accidentally losing grip of your phone mid-use. The curve on the Arc is subtle, designed to add convenience, rather than the opposite. It even comes with a mini kick-stand that lets you prop your phone up against a flat surface.

Aside from acting as a grip, the arc even allows you to use its negative space for storage. Built to hold your cards and cash, the case puts its arc to good use. The X shaped bumper design covers all four corners of the phone in a protective seatbelt-style housing, preventing your phone’s corners from hitting the ground directly, thus protecting your screen from the resulting shock-wave. The arc’s bump acts as an airbag, making sure you don’t damage your phone’s back (where your camera and battery lie). Made to act as a stand, grip, and case, all in one, the Arc won’t just protect your phone. It’ll protect that face of yours too!

Designer: Dave Kang of Blvck Brick Studio

BUY NOW: $20.00 $35.00

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BUY NOW: $20.00 $35.00

The GoGo Gadget Smartwatch Strap!

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Love your smartwatch but hate that it needs juicing?! You need an innovative charging strap like this one designed for the Samsung Gear S3. The comfy strap not only secures it to your wrist, but it also doubles as a convenient charger for your device! You’ll never have to carry around an extra cable and you’ll never be without what you need to plug your device in and charge. In a variety of playful colors, they’re also interchangeable and customizable to your taste or outfit!

Designer: Hyunmook Lim, Garim Kim, Yuna Nam

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YD Handpicks: 8 Potent Portable Power Banks

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How handicapped do you feel the minute your phone gives up on you because you haven’t charged it enough? You suddenly can’t call for help because when was the last time you saw a payphone on the streets? You can’t navigate home, because you don’t have a printed map. You can’t really book an Uber, so you need to settle for a taxicab (which only works when you see one pass by). Sounds rather unpleasant, doesn’t it? Well, we’re human. We forget to charge our phones sometimes, and that’s honestly why we have Power Banks. They’re the greatest smartphone accessories of all time. Here’s a look at 8 of our choicest, most uniquely capable juice-providers for that smartphone of yours!

1. Mintyboost – Remember when AA batteries solved everything?
Looks like an unsuspecting tin of Altoids on the outside, but flip the lid open and you’ve actually got yourself a Power Bank! The Mintyboost is a DIY kit (you get to build it yourself) that allows you to use two AA Batteries to juice up your phone. Any time you’re in a fix, just buy a set of batteries off the shelf and you’ve got all you need to charge your phone. Want to hack the system? Buy rechargeable batteries!

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2. LifeCard – Not Visa Power, but Battery Power!
Honestly, the biggest grief I have against Power Banks is the fact that they’re so bulky and block-ish. I don’t carry them unless I have a bag with me, and that pretty much defeats their purpose, doesn’t it? LifeCard, unlike that massive power-brick, is the slimmest power-bank around. In fact, you could ditch your library card and slip this baby right into your wallet. Its 1500mAh capacity will give your phone a decent boost of battery power… Definitely enough to get you through half your day.

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3. Razer Power Bank – Raw, Hardcore Power Unleashed
If you’re familiar with Razer as a company, you know that they don’t build gadgets for the faint-hearted. Everything they make looks and works like a beast, be it their gaming gear, or their workstations, or even their power bank. The Razer Power Bank may just be the most capable power bank of its size, because while the LifeCard above had 1500mAh of power, the Razer power bank has 12,800mAh of power with QUALCOMM Quick Charge 3.0… and guess what. It wasn’t built just for phones. The Razer Power Bank can charge your laptop too, via the laptop’s USB Type-C port! In fact, you could casually charge your phone AND your laptop and even a tablet all together at once!

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4. WeWow Gimbal Power Bank – Selfie and charging game on point
The next power bank gets the award for being the most talented. It actually isn’t even referred to as a power bank because it does something more impressive. It stabilizes your phone. The WeWow Gimbal Power Bank is literally a gimbal that can charge your phone. Made perfectly for gripping onto any smartphone, the WeWow will give you perfect shots and the smoothest videos, eliminating all the jittering our hands usually do while moving cameras around. Oh, and it also charges your phone. Pretty neat, I’d say.

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5. Griffin Travel Power Bank – This power bank can be rather “handy”
While I still believe the smartwatch industry is a load of hogwash (oh no he just didn’t), it has one rather unique application for which I’ll give it credit. Biometrics. The sensors on your watch can actively monitor your heart-rate, track fitness, and do all sorts of other things… but like all electronics, smartwatches can die on you too. The Griffin Travel Power Bank fits into that niche scenario with its Apple Watch charging capabilities. Small like a key-fob, the power bank slips right into your keychain, and uses wireless charging to juice up your Apple Watch (2 and a half times). However, it can’t charge your phones yet, but that’s simply because the smartwatch runs on a much less powerful battery than your phone.

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6. Solpro Gemini – Power from 93 million miles away
What good would a list of chargers be without one solar charger? Solpro’s Gemini is a power bank all right, but rather than being machined out of the finest aluminum, it put surface functionality above surface finish. On the top of the Gemini lies a rather capable solar panel, supplying power to not just the 2800mAh power-bank, but your phone itself. And the entire external charger is phone-sized too, for extra convenience.

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7. Eton BoostTurbine – No power like manpower!
Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transferred from a hand-crank to a phone, courtesy the Eton BoostTurbine. The next time you’re out of juice on your phone, maybe you could throw that useless fidget spinner and spin the hand-crank on Eton’s BoostTurbine to generate some battery power. While the BoostTurbine comes with a battery of its own, it can be topped off manually too, so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’ve got the power in your hands!

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8. FuelBox Ultimate Charging Station – Will literally take care of everything you need to power
We’ve shown the Fuelbox a lot of love before, and left it right for the end here because for something that has the word Ultimate in its name, you have to leave it for the end! The FuelBox Ultimate Charging Station is just literally everything you need to power your electric/electronic gadgets. The product has a Multi Plug for a base (that plugs directly into your power supply) and a 5200mAh Lithium Ion power bank on the top that works with any smart-device. The power bank on the top is detachable, while the multi-plug base stays plugged into your socket permanently (the bank comes with magnetic snaps that not only hold the power bank in place but charge it too), allowing you to use it independently too. Cables for charging your smart devices are integrated into the design of the charging station, which means you won’t need to worry about forgetting cables, or having to deal with tangled cords. Multiple birds, one stone…

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Mesmerizing Illumination

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Parabola Paradiso is an experimental lighting collection that utilizes an unusual material blend and process to form captivating, sculptural objects. Hand-woven carbon fiber strings were weighted and hung to form the parabolic and straight line shapes before being hardened in place. Floor mounted pieces with arc structures feature taut lines that extend uniformly. The pendant alternative with straight structures form beams that appear to curve in air. The result is an elegant interplay between gravity and light that moves and changes with the viewer’s position.

Designer: Studio IL HOON ROH

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Epinephrine Injection Has Never Been So Easy

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Time is of the essence when it comes to treating anaphylaxis, so it only makes sense that the standard EpiPen would be as simple to use as, say, a fire extinguisher. Only… they’re not! All that archaic imagery and fine print only make things more complicated. This new design, called Epipi, really makes things as simple as unscrew, press, and go!

The rigid casing protects the device even when its being juggled around in a purse or backpack. In the event that it must be used, its color combination and construction intuitively tell the user what to do. Just twist to arm it, hold against the skin, and press the button to release. A clear window into the medication reservoir will indicate that the contents have been emptied which enhances the confidence of the user that they performed the function correctly.

Designer: Harry Moorman

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The perfect rep’lace’ment!

Alas, the bunny-rabbit shoelace story is no more! Remember the story we’d say to remind ourselves how to tie those laces in the bunny rabbit style? Well, we won’t need to remember that story because we won’t need to tie shoelaces again. Ever. And that’s because we now have Hickies. (I said that right)

Probably not the best name for any product ever, these little things are shoelace replacements. Think of them as zip-ties but for your shoes. They’re stretchable, universal, and essentially convert your shoe-lace sneakers or boots into slip-ons. They also present to us another rather utopic scenario. A world where shoelaces never come undone and/or trip you up!

The Hickes 2.0 come in adult and child sizes but irrespective of how big or small your feet are, they fit you. With different techniques to tie them so that they don’t seem loose or tight, the Hickies (someone stop me please) strap to your shoes, never to be ever removed again. Currently in their second iteration (the original Hickies were launched as early as 2012 and have been changing our lives ever since), these shoelace-killers are said to help you work your foot muscles better, while giving you the added convenience of never having to bend down to tie your laces again ever in your life. To sweeten the deal, they come in a wide varieties of styles and colors, and even in multicolored sets, to make those shoes pop and grab attention even more!

Designers: Gaston Frydlewski & Mariquel Waingarten.

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Find me a sleeker speaker

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Titled the LG Beats Tag (obviously it’s a concept, given the clash of brands), these may just be some of the thinnest portable speakers we’ve seen.

Wrapped in loosely woven fabric (a trend everyone seems to be following from JBL to UE to Vifa) (and I love it), these speakers pack a 3w driver and have a flexible form that can be made to rest flat against any surface or even be bent to form a triangular shape that can stand. Better still, you can even fold it all the way and make it clip to anything from your clothes to your curtains!

Designers: Hyungju Do & Jihye Lee.

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Modest Mobility

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Exoatlet may not be the first skeletal support system, but what sets it apart is thoughtful aesthetic paired with a motorized frame that goes the extra mile to assist the user in the basic requirements for mobility that most of us take for granted. Whether it’s sitting, standing, or walking, the motorization works in tandem with the users initial movements to make maneuvering a natural, non-robotic process.

So the user looks more human and less cyborg, the structural part of the exoskeleton is also hidden behind a fabric cover that makes an otherwise high-tech looking device look like a subtle, casual piece of clothing. Additionally, a standard looking backpack hides the lumbar corset that supports the back, further minimizes the robotic aesthetic.

The result – a positive improvement for those with musculoskeletal disorders that affords them not only the health benefits of being active but allows them to move freely and enjoy life’s simple pleasures!

Designer: Art Lebedev

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Making your smartphone smarter

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I still live with a 16gb phone. It isn’t impossible, but it’s difficult. The world isn’t moving towards adapting to low storage, it’s increasing it. So what do you do when you run low on storage? Delete photos and apps? NO! Back everything to the cloud? You could, but you’d need constant access to it to retrieve data. What else can you do? Transfer it to your laptop via cable? Sure, but who’s got the time for that. You could maybe use an OTG pen-drive… but not many people have those.

With Type-C USB ports becoming increasingly popular, there’s one more solution. The Hyperdrive Type-C connection kit. It easily fits in your pocket, and expands your phone’s possibilities. Plug it in, and you’ve got a regular USB port, and two card-readers for SD and MicroSD cards. You can now literally plug any USB drive into your phone and either transfer data to it, or retrieve data from it. Or you could use the SD card reader to pull photos off your DSLR. What’s better is that the Hyperdrive’s Type-C works with laptops too. With most new laptops having a Type-C port for fast transfers and faster charging, the Hyperdrive plugs into your laptop too, not just expanding the number of ports on it, but even allowing you to easily transfer data between your laptop and phone. Without a cable!

Designer: Sanho

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