These TWS Earphones are solving the tech waste crisis with removable replaceable batteries

Watch any AirPods teardown video and there’s one thing you’ll quickly notice. There’s no way you can put it back together once you’ve disassembled it. The damned things are hermetically sealed shut, and opening them means damaging them. In fact, Apple doesn’t even fix AirPods that come to them for servicing. The design is so notoriously un-fixable that it’s actually cheaper for Apple to replace them with a new pair.

Now that problem isn’t unique to Apple. Almost every single TWS earphone faces the same issue. Designed to be small, these earphones have absolutely tiny batteries that don’t last beyond a year, and their small bodies/components are almost always fused/glued together with no intention of ever being separated for repair or even recycling. The result is an overwhelming wave of tiny electronics that can’t be reused and can’t be disassembled and disposed of safely. They’re made of metal and plastic, which won’t biodegrade, and even contain toxic lithium-ion batteries within them.

To overcome this problem, the NOVO TWS earphones have a unique and clever compromise. Microphones, speaker drivers, and SOCs (system on chips) are usually designed to last 4-5 years, whereas those batteries go dead within a year or 18 months. The NOVO earbuds just turn the batteries into a modular unit that can easily be replaced… a feature you’d see in old mobile phones before they began becoming sealed, unibody devices. Unlike phones, however, these battery modules are designed to sit on the outside, and come in a variety of colors with ornamental patterns, adding a fashionable flair to the earphones. Every few years when the batteries wear out, you can simply switch the modules for new ones, choosing from a variety of colors and textures to ‘upgrade’ your earbuds. The old batteries get swapped in at the company which provides a discount on the new batteries, closing the loop and creating a circular economy where batteries are recycled and perfectly capable tech doesn’t enter a landfill because one single part was designed to go prematurely obsolete.

Designer: Batu Sozen

By looking more ‘fashionable’, this insulin injection helps break stereotypes

Spectacles, walking sticks, both are products that started as medical devices but slowly evolved into objects of fashion and style. You see, somewhere down the line people with walking difficulties and weak eyesight felt that their affliction shouldn’t make them look inferior. Thus, the stylish monocle and the fashionable walking cane were born. Youtrust brings that very approach to insulin injections.

Injections are inherently scary looking, and the fact that you’ve got to get approximately 3 of them a day doesn’t help soothe the pain, metaphorically speaking. Youtrust reinvents how they look by overhauling their clinical design for something that’s functional yet also trendy. Its form language is simple and sophisticated, and is upgraded by gradients, vibrant hues, and speckled CMF (although orange speckles on injections may irk some folks).

The Youtrust Insulin Injector comes with a concealed needle (like the ones found in blood sugar monitors). The vial sits inside the device, with a meter letting you know how much insulin is inside. You can calibrate your insulin units using the knob on the top, and a digital display on the side helps you track your daily and monthly doses as well as see step-by-step instructions for administering them (just in case someone else has to help you out). The Youtrust device comes with a pod-shaped flat design with rounded edges, which makes it easy to carry around in a bag or your pocket. Ever so often (a couple of months, maybe), its display and electronics will need charging too, and a nifty wireless charging tray lets you charge your injection by simply placing it on the tray’s surface overnight!

Now if only someone went back 20 years and made braces look cool too…

Designer: Dorian Famin

Google Stadia meets Nintendo Wii with these resistance-based mobile gaming accessories

If you ask me, as compelling as a game’s storyline may be, you can’t really compare playing Call of Duty to actually training and fighting in the army. Assassin’s Creed doesn’t teach you how to fend off Roman soldiers and take leaps of faith from steeples, and FIFA doesn’t build your stamina or make you objectively better at a real game of football. The thing with digital gaming is that it’s still fiercely digital, and it only stimulates your mind, eyes, and fingers… nothing more.

As we’re experiencing the eventual explosion of mobile gaming thanks to Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, and Xbox Game Pass, Elastic Force hopes to give mobile gaming its Wii moment. A series of accessories designed to bring physicality to digital gaming, Elastic Force relies on resistance training as a gaming control. In short, the more force you apply, the more control you exert in the game. Instead of simply mashing buttons together, Elastic Force’s accessories invite you to perform actions like pulling, lifting, twisting, and squeezing to control aspects of the game. Sure, it makes the game more difficult, but it adds a sensory element to gaming, immersing you more. Ultimately, you interact both mentally and physically with the game, exercising not just your mind and eyes but your body too… and the positive reinforcement of the game makes you enjoy it all too!

The Elastic Force Mobile Gaming Accessories Series is a winner of the Golden Pin Design Award for the year 2020.

Designer: Ching Chou

Nendo designed an airless football that never deflates!

Designed as a 54-part puzzle that can easily be assembled on-site, the My Football Kit by Nendo aims at creating a long-lasting football for low-income areas that doesn’t deflate or need re-inflating. The ball’s design is inspired by Japanese woven bamboo balls, with interlocking and interwoven elements that can easily be repaired or replaced on the fly.

Football is a sport that has universal appeal, with even countries in Africa, South America, and Asia being as (if not more) invested as their more affluent European counterparts. However, while footballs are easily and readily available, repairing or maintaining footballs can often be difficult for people from low-income neighborhoods, creating a class-disparity in being able to play the game long-term. Nendo’s answer to it is a ball that never needs inflating in the first place. Named the ‘My Football Kit’, Nendo’s solution is a 54-part puzzle that comes together to form a football. Made from recycled polypropylene and elastomeric synthetic resin components, the resulting ball is robust, soft, and bounces just as well as a regular football, but doesn’t need inflating. Instead, its interlocking pieces maintain the spherical shape of the ball thanks to their structural design.

The interlocking system designed into the football is so uniquely innovative, that even if a component breaks off or gets damaged, the ball will still continue to hold its shape and will not disassemble, ensuring the game goes on uninterrupted. To fix the ball, its missing component can be replaced, and if broken, can be easily repaired. This makes maintaining the football much simpler and provides a much more economically effective alternative to buying a new football or a pump.

All 54 pieces of the My Football Kit come disassembled in a flat-package (sort of like IKEA furniture) to reduce their carbon footprint while shipping. They can easily be assembled on-site (giving people a fun pre-game activity), and the possible inclusion of colored components allows players to customize their football too, helping build a bond between the user and product. A drawstring bag comes included in the kit too, so the owner of the ball can easily carry it back home – either intact or disassembled!

Designer: Nendo for Molten

Samsung just debuted the Galaxy SmartTag, a portable Bluetooth tracker for your keys or wallet

Launched as a part of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event running simultaneously with the CES 2021 showcase, the Galaxy SmartTags are Samsung’s take on object-trackers and are the company’s way of showing their intention of capturing the tracker market before Apple launches their own speculated ‘AirTags’. The Galaxy SmartTag is a tiny tracker that runs on BLE and works exclusively with Samsung Galaxy phones (a pretty strong ecosystem lock-in), allowing the phone and tracker to play their version of hot-and-cold to locate each other. In short, a proximity meter appears on the Samsung phone and the closer you approach the tracker, the higher the reading on the meter.

The Galaxy Tag runs on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and fits on your keychain, in your wallet, or even in your laptop bag. It pairs with the smartphone via Samsung’s SmartThings app, which can show its last known location on a map as well as the proximity meter when you’re actively searching for the tag. Conversely, you can make the tag emit a beep or chime too, to help give you a sense of direction. The Galaxy SmartTags are no different from the Tile or Chipolo trackers in their functionality (although they do look slightly thicker in the image). Strangely enough, they’re only compatible with Samsung Galaxy devices, and whether that’s a decision to the benefit or detriment of Samsung will only be evident when the $29.99 tracker begins shipping on the 29th of January. Your move next, Apple!

Designer: Samsung

This may be the most impressive looking bottle opener I’ve seen in a while

If I told you to close your eyes and imagine a bottle-opener, chances are you thought of something traditional and conventional, like the kind you’d get as keychains, or built into your Swiss Army Knife. You wouldn’t, for a second, imagine a pristine, shimmering halo-shaped device like the one in the video above. Meet the HALO, it opens bottles and breaks stereotypes. Designed as an objet d’art instead of a utilitarian tool, the HALO comes with a slick, smooth, shimmering torus-shaped design that actually sits around your bottle’s neck when not in use. When you need to open the bottle, the HALO’s base fits cleanly between the cap and the rim, and cleanly takes the cap off… just like a conventional bottle-opener, but infinitely classier.

Designed by the folks at Typica, the HALO is, ironically enough, the most atypical bottle-opener you’ll see. Its very form challenges the notion of how bottle-openers should look and behave, although its interaction isn’t too different from regular openers, making it great to look at AND easy to use. Shaped essentially like a mini-donut, the HALO comes with a hole in its center that’s wide enough to have it fit around most glass bottles, giving it a place to rest when not in use. When said bottle needs opening, its hollow base is perfectly calibrated to slip into the gap between the bottle-cap and the rim, and the wide design gives you a good grip as you pop the cap off.

The HALO comes crafted from stainless steel and is finished off with a spectacular mirror-finish coating in three colors – PVD Gold, Black Oxide, and Polished Steel. You can even grab your hands on a nifty Leather Case for the HALO as an add-on, although it’s best placed around the neck of your favorite spirit bottle on your mini-bar!

Designer: Studio Typica London

Click Here to Buy Now: $26 $39 (33% off). Hurry, less than 48 hours left!

HALO – The Bottle Opener Reborn

The HALO is a simple yet elegant toroid shape bottle opener that fits perfectly on a bottle’s neck and can be used in any orientation.

Thanks to its perfect toroid structure, it can be held at any orientation and open a bottle cap in a swift upwards or downwards motion.

Opening upwards.

Always On

Halo’s design allows it to be presented on a bottle’s neck. It is a great way not only to keep your opener handy and visible for that time when you crave a sip but also creates a nice gesture when offering it to a mate.

Upgrade Your Home Bar

The Halo simple form creates a timeless design. It can be beautifully displayed on your craft beer collection, at your home bar, or kitchen display.

In 3 Finishes

They have designed 3 distinguished finishes for the Halo opener, each with its unique character.

PVD Gold Finish: PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating is a process in which a solid material is vaporized in a vacuum and deposited onto the surface of the opener. A unique combination of metals is deposited atom by atom, forming a thin, bonded, golden metal layer that greatly improves the appearance and durability of the opener.

Black Oxide Coating: This coating is produced by a chemical reaction between the steel and the oxidizing salts in the black oxide solution. The result of this chemical reaction is the formation of black iron oxide or magnetite on the surface of the opener. The surface finish of the black oxide version is more silky-matt in appearance than the polished stainless steel version.

Polished Stainless-steel: After forging and finishing, HALO is hand polished to create a stunning mirror-like surface on its exterior.

Click Here to Buy Now: $26 $39 (33% off). Hurry, less than 48 hours left!

McLaren M8D Aotearoa Concept is a Maori-inspired lean, mean, racing machine!

Look closely at the graphics on the side and you’ll immediately get the McLaren M8D Aotearoa’s source of inspiration. Named after the Maori term for the country of New Zealand, the Aotearoa is a Polynesian-themed racecar that combines sleek, aerodynamic forms with an allegiance to a fictional team called Kiwi Racing.

What immediately stands out with the Aotearoa concept is the way it adopts aspects of the Maori culture without being too obviously inspired. The car is both short and wide, giving it a much broader axle-track (space between left and right wheels) to resemble the stance of Maori warriors while they perform their Haka. That goes in line with the aggressive appeal of the car… the menacing headlights give the Aotearoa an instant warrior-like appeal and make it look menacing to its opponents. Its black paint-job is a hat-tip to the color of the sporting jerseys worn by the New Zealand teams, and the side even has a black-on-black Maori tattoo-inspired graphic with the words Kiwi Racing emblazoned near the rear-wheel.

The Mclaren M8D Aotearoa concept’s inspiration aside, it’s a pretty sweet looking racecar with a closed cockpit that merges beautifully into the rest of the body. The car carefully and cleverly balances the use of curves and straight lines, giving it a memorable front as well as side-view without openly compromising on aerodynamics. There’s ample room for airflow to minimize drag as the car races down the track, and even though its bodywork is mainly carbon-fiber, that dangerously low nose on the front and the spoiler on the back provide just the right amount of downforce to ensure that the McLaren M8D Aotearoa absolutely dominates on the track!

Designer: Yaro Yakovlev

Sony PS5’s console design gets reinterpreted as a modern two-wheeler in the PS5 bike

Some look at Sony’s Playstation 5 and call it an alien abomination, others, however, see versatility in its form. Meet the PS5 Bike from the mind of designer Artem Smirnov, a two-wheeler that takes the Sony console’s boxy-meets-organic design and uses it as its outer body with pretty impressive results.

The PS5 seemed like the perfect candidate for this project by Artem, especially given his keenness towards unconventional-looking automobiles. The PS5 Bike uses the Playstation entirely as the body, with the wheels popping out at the front and the rear. A narrow saddle extends outwards and upwards, and while I’m not entirely sure if it would be comfortable to sit on, the fact that the PS5 Bike is, in fact, just a conceptual design exercise gives me some solace.

The EV features adjustable handlebars that slide forward and backward based on your postural requirements, and an edge-lit transparent dashboard that emerges off the front of the bike. The Stormtrooper aesthetic works well for the automobile, and coincidentally, those vents that sit between the outer plates and the inner black body are perfectly positioned to work as air-vents for the bike too. Plus, that blue headlight on the front just reinforces the fact that as polarizing as the PS5’s design may be, it’s definitely a gateway to inspiration for spectacular-looking two-wheelers… and maybe a few memes too!

Designer: Artem Smirnov

This sustainable biodegradable PC didn’t make it to CES 2021, but it could save our planet

A biodegradable PC is surely something that should be setting the internet abuzz, but with the tsunami of information that is the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s really difficult to focus on the truly innovative instead of on the big-brand announcements.

Meet the Pentaform Abacus. It looks like a keyboard because it is one, but lying underneath it is an all-in-one PC furnished with ports wrapped up in a neat, portable avatar… but that isn’t all. The Abacus Basic is also designed out of an entirely biodegradable polymer, so once it gets discarded, the tech can be recycled, leaving the outer body to safely degrade into the soil with zero negative impact.

The Abacus by Pentaform is touted as an eco-friendly and easy-to-use affordable computer built into a portable keyboard. It comes fully ready out of the box, and just needs a display to get started. On the tech front, the Abacus includes the full set up of USB Ports, an ethernet port, HDMI as well as VGA output, a built-in speaker, integrated track-pad, and pre-installed Windows 10 (with an option of Linux too). Everything is built right into the Abacus’ keyboard-esque shape, allowing it to be carried anywhere and simply hooked to a monitor, TV, or projector to power it. In doing so, the Abacus brings an unusual experience to computing that isn’t quite like the laptop. For starters, with its $121 price tag, it’s literally a fraction of the price of even the most budget laptops. It’s as portable as a laptop too, but provides the ability to work with any sort of display (even 4K ones)… and it even comes with more ports than most slim laptops can accommodate, and has a quad-core processor with as much as 4Gb of RAM and 512Gb of storage.

The Abacus’ most impressive feat, however, is its commitment towards showing that tech can be sustainable too. In a world that’s literally drowning in e-waste because people want slim products, and slim products are notoriously difficult to recycle efficiently, the Abacus was made with a very clear cradle-to-grave strategy. As an all-in-one PC, the Abacus has 63% lesser of a footprint than a desktop, and with a 31kWh/year power consumption rating, it’s about as energy-efficient as a lightbulb. The Abacus’ internal components are entirely reusable, and its outer body is made to be fully biodegradable. Moreover, even the product packaging is crafted from mushroom, allowing it to easily degrade into soil when inevitably thrown away. Who knew great tech could be cheap, energy-efficient, AND eco-friendly?! The tech giants could surely learn a lesson or two, don’t you think?

Designer: Pentaform

Cadillac’s single-seater eVTOL drone unveiled at CES is the closest thing to personal jetpacks

Unveiled alongside quite a few other automobiles from General Motors, the Cadillac eVTOL really stood out as the company’s first attempt at air-based transportation. It also falls squarely under GM’s new motto moving forward of the 3 Zeros – Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, and Zero Congestion.

The Cadillac eVTOL is best described as a flying taxi made for quick commutes between landing-zones. Running on a 90kWh motor that powers 4 propellers, the eVTOL seats one person (sort of like a jetpack albeit much bigger, and with fans instead of thrusters) and transports them autonomously while simultaneously juggling air-to-air and air-to-ground communication so you, the rider, don’t really have to do much aside from program your destination and then admire your city from up above. I don’t need to tell you that it would also make for some stellar aerial photos for the ‘gram.

Designer: Cadillac (General Motors)