Google-inspired designs that every techie would love to get their hands on!

With Apple and Amazon continuing to surprise us with their inventions, we are waiting in anticipation of their September 30th event. While the company usually unveils the new Pixel sometime in mid-October, the virtual event is set to be where the company unveils the latest and greatest Pixel phones, along with a new Nest smart speaker and a new Chromecast. The rumors of these products have been floating around and while we wait, here is a list of designs that we surely hope to see come true, if not in this release, but in the next one at least!

The Pixel smartphone went onto redefine what a pure Android experience could look like, becoming the gold standard in the Android OS experience. James Tsai’s Google Pixel Smartwatch concept does the same for the Android Wear OS. Embodying Google’s playful-serious aesthetic, the Pixel Smartwatch concept comes in a traditional round format, and in a variety of quirkily named colors. The Android Wear OS logo displays clearly on the always-on display of the watch, transforming into a colorful set of watch hands every time you look at it to read the time. The watch comes with Google’s top-notch voice AI, all of Google’s native apps, and a heart-rate monitor on the back, which ties in well with Google’s plan of acquiring Fitbit and their entire fitness-tech ecosystem. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wearable concept were entirely waterproof too, just to fire shots at Apple!

The Chromecast 3 concept by Roel Heyninck isn’t a hockey-puck as much as it’s a hub. Designed with the stylings of the Apple TV box, Heyninck’s Chromecast 3 box looks pretty nifty, and in many ways follows Google’s product and CMF language. The box connects to a television via a single USB-C connection that has the ability to pull power as well as push media. Using the Chromecast 3 is as simple as pressing the ‘cast’ button on your phone or tablet and forgetting about it. If you want to interact with or navigate through media, the Chromecast 3 comes with a pretty slick remote control that features 4 buttons and a touchpad on the top, and a standby button on the bottom that you can use to switch the TV on or off.

Meet the Pixel Vector, a smartphone concept by Ferdinand Aichriedler that challenges the notion that phones need to have thick bezels, hole-punches, or notches to have front-facing cameras. The Pixel Vector cleverly uses the negative space between the phone and the screen’s corner to throw in not one, but two front-facing cameras. The phone’s sharp edges and display’s rounded corners provide the perfect triangular negative spacing for cameras, spacing them out too, so they can perform 3D scanning required for facial recognition.

ODD-ON’s cute silicone skin transforms your Google Nest Mini into an adorable tabletop cat that, for once, responds to commands instead of maintaining an air of feline attitude! Titled the Caat, the outer body for the Google Nest Mini props your speaker up so it’s pointing forwards, rather than upwards. This allows the Nest Mini to look rather adorable as it sits patiently on your mantelpiece, responding to all your questions and commands.

The partnership between Belkin and Devialet is interesting for a number of reasons. Belkin is famed for making some of the best charging cables, hubs, adapters, and extension boxes on the market, while Devialet still reigns as the most awarded audio company in the world. The companies announced their collaboration at CES this year, with the Soundform Elite, which happens to be Devialet’s second smart-speaker after its collab with Huawei. The Soundform Elite works just like any smart-speaker, albeit with a docking area for your phone. Equipped with a fast-charging 10W Qi charger, the Soundform Elite has the unique feature of being able to charge a wide variety of compatible Android phones as well as iPhones, making it a worthy pick for Apple enthusiasts too.

Google's Stadia Controller gets a radical redesign!

Google's Stadia Controller gets a radical redesign!

If Sundar Pichai walked up on stage and unveiled Daniel Cheung’s concept of the Stadia controller, I’d absolutely believe that it was completely meant to be. Stadia is a revolutionary concept that demands a revolutionary controller, and Daniel Cheung’s Playdream is that controller! Ergonomic, but non-organic, the Playdream comprises a tubular design that instantly stands apart as unique, and at the same time, comfortable. Designed for an absolutely robust grip, the Playdream has all the necessary controls, from the buttons to a redesigned D-Pad, to the triggers, Google button, and even two extra buttons on the inside of the grip.

The PixelBloc is comprised of multiple 2500mAh battery-units that connect together using a USB-C port system. The main bloc, which sits at its base, comes with a USB-C port and two USB-A ports, while subsequent blocs only house the USB-C ports. This means the modules need to be plugged into the main bloc to charge them, creating a foolproof system, and the charger is smart enough to recognize them when they’re plugged in together. The PixelBloc uses sequential charging and discharging, which means when the entire unit is assembled, the main bloc is always recharged first (so you always know which bloc to use when you’re low on power) after which subsequent bloc-units get recharged. When you’re using the entire power-bank to juice up your device, power is pulled from the last bloc first, discharging it from the back to the front and maintaining the system so you’re never left with arbitrarily charged individual bloc-units.

google_link_2

google_link_3

Designer Michio Papers created a bridge between the two faces of the tech industry- smart homes tech and laptops, to revive the laptop and the tablet while giving them the makeover they needed. The Google Link is everything you, your workspace, and your home needs. Made of multiple separate gadgets that come together, the Google Link serves all purposes. When assembled together, it’s your dedicated smart-home device capable of connecting via the internet to all other IoT gadgets in your house. Separate it and things get really interesting. You have a speaker dock that makes the Google Link your very own AI Assistant while being a wireless speaker too.

Google started a digital wellbeing initiative in an attempt to reduce the time we spend on our smart devices and to be honest, they’re pretty cool ideas! One of them is the Envelope cover. London-based design studio Special Projects came up with the Envelope cover, hoping we would break away from the digital world, and enter the real world…even for a while. Though it only works for the Pixed 3A at the moment, the cover is easily accessible! You download the app called Envelope on your Play Store App, print out the template for the envelope, and assemble it right at home! All you need is some glue to patch it up together. Once you slide your phone into the case, it transforms your phone into a much simpler one.

Designed to enhance the user’s lifestyle, the G flask by Yoonjae Song is a pure white cylinder with a rounded cap, ensuring a perfect hand grip. Shaped like a capsule, the clean aesthetics of the G flask instantly soothe you down. Devoid of any digital screens or lighting, sipping from it should be a pretty calm experience. Crafted from durable stainless steel, the flask guarantees to keep your water fresh at all times, as it is incapable of retaining any odors or flavors. Accompanied by an app, utilizing the flask couldn’t get any easier! It not only tracks your daily water intake, and how much water you’ve consumed so far, but you can also use it to set goals and compete with your friends, to see who reaches their intake for the day first!

For the people who don’t know what this game is about (basically Safari users), the game starts as a webpage that tells you that your browser is offline. Press any key, and the game initiates, and you’re tasked with getting the dinosaur to jump over cacti, and under flying pterodactyls. Your high score gets recorded on the top corner. Bell’s toy set captures the key elements of the game. While there are no pterodactyls in the box set (also because they make their appearance later on in the game), the set actually stays incredibly true to its inspiration. You’ve got the dinosaur, four different cacti, and the box is designed to serve as the backdrop too! The box comes with a reversible design, with the starting message on the face, and the game-over message on the back… and the jumping Dino is reversible too!

Google PixelBloc Modular Power-bank lets you stack up external chargers for a bigger battery!

The idea behind the PixelBloc concept is pretty simple. Stack multiple power-banks together and make yourself a massive power-bank with a higher battery-capacity… or just separate them into smaller power-banks that you can use to charge multiple devices at the same time. The PixelBloc’s modular nature allows you to use it any way you see fit, and gives you a flexibility that wasn’t previously known in the external-charger industry.

The PixelBloc is comprised of multiple 2500mAh battery-units that connect together using a USB-C port system. The main bloc, which sits at its base, comes with a USB-C port and two USB-A ports, while subsequent blocs only house the USB-C ports. This means the modules need to be plugged into the main bloc to charge them, creating a foolproof system, and the charger is smart enough to recognize them when they’re plugged in together. The PixelBloc uses sequential charging and discharging, which means when the entire unit is assembled, the main bloc is always recharged first (so you always know which bloc to use when you’re low on power) after which subsequent bloc-units get recharged. When you’re using the entire power-bank to juice up your device, power is pulled from the last bloc first, discharging it from the back to the front and maintaining the system so you’re never left with arbitrarily charged individual bloc-units.

To ensure each bloc is plugged in correctly, the individual power-bricks come with a switch that helps lock the units in place, and an LED to let you know they’re all connected. Whether you’re charging a single device or multiple ones, the PixelBloc has you covered. You can share individual bloc-units with friends too, or carry just as many blocs as you need instead of carrying the entire brick with you. The power-bank has been a singular product in both form and function, with limited capabilities. By turning it modular, the Google PixelBloc gives it an innovative touch (a lot like Project Ara!) and frees it from its boring monolithic form!

Designer: Ratan Pande

The LG Wing presents a ‘radically sensible’ evolutionary step in the future of smartphones…

I didn’t think I’d get excited for smartphones in a while and I surely didn’t think Motorola and LG would be the companies responsible for that feeling. Earlier this week, LG “leaked” a video of their upcoming smartphone in action. Codenamed the Wing (as opposed to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold), this smartphone reinvented the candybar mobile format with a swiveling screen layout. Designed to behave a lot like the LG VX9400 smartphone that Tony Stark used in the 2008 Iron Man, the Wing featured a front screen that rotated 90° and slid up to reveal a second screen underneath. While LG’s leaked video wasn’t much of an aesthetic reveal, it definitely did a lot to show what the company had in store for the future of phones – a future that promised multitasking without horrible hinges, delicate folding screens, and awkwardly thick phones.

The Form Factor

The Wing’s form is undeniably unique when opened, but what’s great about it is that it’s still a regular smartphone when closed. It doesn’t come with a thick body or an unusual gap (like the Galaxy Fold). When closed, you’ve got all the benefits of a regular smartphone, but open it up and the swiveling format really reveals a new side of smartphone computing to you. With two screens (or one and a half screens, if you compare the surface area), the Wing feels refreshing, and in a good way. Here’s why.

Two regular screens are better than one big one

Here’s a statement worth thinking about. A bigger screen doesn’t enable multitasking… more screens do. No matter how large your laptop or tablet’s screen is, chances are you don’t really multitask on it – you just do the same stuff, but on a bigger screen. This fundamental realization is something that sets the Wing and Microsoft’s Surface Duo apart from most folding smartphones. Physically separating screens really makes it easier for your mind to separate tasks, and that’s something that works to the benefit of the Wing. Moreover, its split-screen layout makes the UI of apps really interesting. You could be watching YouTube on the larger screen and browsing related videos on the smaller one. You could even be using Whatsapp or Gmail in landscape while typing in portrait on the smaller screen. The split-screen helps split elements of an app’s experience, allowing you to separate information in a sensible way. Think about having Spotify running on the larger screen and the playback buttons on the smaller one, or Netflix on the landscape screen and the subtitles on the lower screen, not interrupting the visuals you see. Even if you consider something as basic as the camera app, the Wing’s dual displays really help make clicking selfies and taking videos easier, just by being able to space out elements effectively, and separate the visuals from the controls for a cleaner, easier-to-use interface. A split screen helps really effectively split up information, and if done well, can result in a much more sensible user experience.

The Pivot vs the Folding Hinge

The swiveling pivot detail gives the LG Wing a major durability edge over folding smartphones. The hinge is often considered the Achilles heel of the folding smartphone, and is often the first component to fail. By abandoning the hinge detail, the LG Wing coolly circumvents the inherent problems that hinges have. The swivel mechanism sits INSIDE the smartphone rather than outside it, protecting it from any accidents, and here’s the best part… the absence of hinges allows the Wing to be much thinner than traditional folding phones.

The Bezel-less display

This has to be by far the most exciting part about the Wing. The swiveling screen can afford to have a truly bezel-less design, simply by shifting the front-facing camera to the panel behind it. Apart from being an aesthetic upgrade (because bezel-less displays look incredible), it makes the Wing safer too, by allowing you to physically block the front-facing camera when you don’t need it.

No folding display, no problems

As glamorous as folding displays look, they have two massive, fundamental problems. Larger displays need bigger batteries, and more importantly, if you fold anything, it’s bound to crease. The LG Wing’s refreshing format avoids those two problems almost completely… with regularly sized displays that don’t strain the battery as hard, and the absence of a display-crease because there’s really no folding involved.

At the end of the day, even though all we got was a mere microdose of what’s cooking at LG’s headquarters, it was enough to prove a few things… that there’s still room for innovation and improvement in smartphone designs, that folding screens may not be the way moving forward, and that the swivel-format is more than just a fancy gimmick… it’s actually sensible, and has the potential of completely revolutionizing the way we interact and multitask with phones, apps, and interfaces.

Designer: Sarang Sheth

Apple’s new iPhone 12 shatters barriers with an Apple watch-inspired secondary display!

No other company’s launch creates a buzz as much as Apple – love it, hate it, but you just can’t ignore it! Promised to launch as soon as September 2020, the internet is already abuzz with rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 – with most renders showing a throwback to metallic chamfered edges made popular in the iPhone 4 or the iPad Pro. We also hear this design will be Apple’s next major update since the 2017 Apple X – how can that be? Let’s look at designer Furkan Kasap’s concept that has left us excited yet confused!

The iPhone 12 retains the dreaded notch that was established with the iPhone X – and while we look for changes in the screen of the phone, Furkan’s concept makes us look at the camera notch in a whole new way and how! Firstly, the camera bump comes with 4 lenses now (maybe the macro lens is finally coming to the iPhone!) and doubles up as an instant notification panel. The UI of this notification panel borrows heavily from the well established and tested UI that the Apple Watch carries – showing everything from app notifications, widgets, and even your health statistics. We have seen conceptual tech showcasing a glass panel that doubles as a touchscreen, this would be the first commercial implementation of this technology, but one thing we know – if Apple actually does this, most of the newer models are soon to follow suit. The coolness factor of this design aside, the mini-display can help extend the battery life by reducing our dependency on the home screen to check our notifications. It can also double up as minimal time and date display, helping all of us who actually use our phone to check the time without getting distracted by the gazillion notifications that keep catching our attention!

Apple’s philosophy is to usually have a series of incremental changes in the design unless there is a flagship launch where they redefine their parameters of a smartphone. So maybe this concept is not ready for the iPhone 12 but I can surely see Apple experimenting with the camera module – from making it detachable Go-Pro style camera to this rendition by Furkan, which can actually be taken to the next level by making it detachable and that module doubles up as an Apple watch when worn with a trendy strap. Now that’s an iPhone I would gladly shed $1099 to buy!

Designer: Furkan Kasap

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A Japanese-inspired wireless charger designed to help you break your smartphone addiction!

Incense light

Let’s be honest, how many of us feel FOMO if we have to separate from our phones for even the smallest amount of time? Smartphone addiction has been a problem even before COVID ( Report show that 60% of U.S. college students consider themselves to have a cell phone addiction) – the quarantine, separation, and fear of the unknown has raised this addiction to a whole level! The solution to this? Practicing mindfulness. The Japanese have been practicing meditation and mindfulness through centuries, one of the prime examples of this is the minimalistic beauty of the zen garden. Designer Juwon Kim decided to merge tech and tradition, creating a design that aims to improve our lifestyle by helping us break free from our bad habits and to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Meet HYUU – a wireless smartphone charger elevated to help you break the obsessive need to keep checking on our phones while charging so we can return back to our mindless scrolling! Almost meditative in design, HYUU takes inspiration from the Japanese zen gardens. The gadget’s surface replicates the patterns we find in the sand with an incense-stick like indicator that attaches to its base. The process of placing your gadget on the charger means taking a break from constant exposure to content. This process of leaving your device to charge is also a way to get some quality me-time, so at the end of the day, you are not left wondering – where did the day just go?! Now, the initial moment of keeping our gadgets and walking away feels almost scary according to the designer “Because FOMO is an only human and universal emotion, it cannot be completely eliminated, but I tried to put the meaning of time, situation, and space that can be controlled. Therefore, what about providing time to look back on yourself without blaming yourself for feeling FOMO?” The simple indicator comes into play here – as your device charges, the led indicator on the incense stick also lowers, signaling an end to the relaxation time while keeping in check our compulsive need to continuously keep checking our phones. The charging level of the phone can now be known without actually looking at the screen – giving you quality, uninterrupted me time!

“Karesansui(かれさんすい), which is based on ‘discovering something out of nothing’, is a space where you can look at the garden and answer your own question.” says the designer. The same way, this wireless charger is a small yet definitive step to help you disconnect and focus on your self. Afterall as our favorite Grand Jedi Master Yoda puts it ‘In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.’ Let’s come out of this quarantine with an improved understanding of ourselves!

Designer: Juwon Kim

 

Sketch

Unboxing

Apple accessories designed to fulfill every tech lovers dream: Part 2

With every new product that Apple launches, there is an equally interesting increased interest in the accessories that I can use to jazz up my imaginary setup! Take for example Apple’s latest 27-inch iMac – designated to be the biggest change Apple ever made in the iMac’s configuration under the hood. Now while I imagine buying me that sleek design, I’m wondering if the Kolude’s Keyboard that doubles as a hub will be the perfect accessory, or shall I look for something new? With Apple all set to launch the new ARM-based machines in the market, let’s start looking and picking the accessory of our choice to deck out the latest config they plan to hit us with. After all, the promise of cheaper prices and a 9-10 hour battery life might be the reason we need to trade in our older models once again!

Joyce Kang and C.O Design Lab’s Pod Case gives the Apple Watch a much-needed history lesson, introducing it to the ancestor that started the Apple craze. The watch’s screen roughly matches the screen size found in classic iPod Nanos, while its body is only a slight bit thicker. The Pod Case, made in silicone, slides right over the Apple Watch body, giving it a funky throwback, while also letting you use the watch as-is.

SuperCalla

Of all the cable-managing solutions I’ve seen in the near 30 years of my existence, SuperCalla’s solution seems the most compelling. I’ve seen thick cables, flat cables, coiled cables, woven cables, and even cable-holders, but nothing is as convincing as the video above. Say hello to the SuperCalla charging cable. It looks like most cables, except for that at certain intervals the SuperCalla cable has magnets around it. These magnets effortlessly organize your cables and keep them organized, thanks to the satisfying snap of magnetic attraction. The magnets allow you to easily open the cable out, using as much as necessary, therefore keeping your drawer, bag, and general workplace as neat as possible. Besides, I imagine they’re incredibly fun to fidget with too!

It seems that Stephen Chu may have made one of the most marvelous breakthroughs in the computer peripherals category. Say hello to the Kolude KD-K1, a sleek external keyboard with a pretty interesting twist. With circular keys that sit within a machined aluminum base giving it a neo-retro vibe, the Kolude KD-K1 keyboard is a visual treat with tactile scissor-switch keys that make it a great keyboard to type on too. Designed to be the Swiss-Army-Knife of keyboards, the Kolude KD-K1 makes sure you’ll never have to bend over and reach behind a CPU to plug a pen-drive in again.

Mokibo At nearly 1/4th the price of Apple’s own Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, the Mokibo Folio provides the same set of features in a portable, accessible, and universally compatible format. Designed to work with multiple devices, and with a foldable stand that lets you prop those devices up as you type, the Mokibo Folio is a QWERTY keyboard that also doubles up as an iPad case. Designed, however, with a touch-sensitive surface that sits under the entire right-half the keyboard’s key-surface, the Mokibo goes from keyboard to touch-board just simply by running your hand over the right-hand side of the keyboard’s surface, allowing you to swipe, pinch, and perform a wide variety of gestures.

This wireless charging system kit by Scosche is modular and expandable, you are now free from hours of untangling cables for each device because this one dock is a home-for-all. You’ll be happy to know that it just requires one power out and given its modular nature, it is portable so you can use it at home or at work. The BaseLynx charging kit is compatible with all iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Airpods, and even iPods – yes this station EXISTS and all us Apple fans are excited about giving our devices a resting spot as sleek as they are. It has many individual parts that you can choose and pick from to BYOB (Build Your Own BaseLynx). An interesting feature is the Vert charging module where you can charge three devices at once on the same base.

The designers at CURVED/Labs imagined what this bridge between the Airpods and the Homepod would look like. Taking very strong design cues from the Homepod, these smart headphones boast of large audio drivers that deliver spectacular sound, along with a touch-sensitive panel that lets you tap and swipe to access the headphone’s smart features. The headphones even pay tribute to the Homepod with the colored waveform-graphic found on the Homepod’s touch-panel and the faux-weave texture around it. I imagine the headphones also pack noise-canceling, as is expected with high-quality audio products, and from the looks of it, these concept headphones even come with a neat wireless charging dock/hanger. The Airpods do work with Android phones, so it’s safe to imagine that these headphones would too, but just like the Airpods, functionality would be extremely limited, and the touch panel wouldn’t be of much use.

AXS Technologies from Brooklyn, NY has created a new and innovative product that unifies all of your most important devices into one sleek system essentially making the AirPod’s native charging case obsolete. Power1 takes portability and functionality to a new level giving you a system that’s doubly useful because it doesn’t just charge and protect for your iPhone… it charges and protects your Airpods too and ensures they are always with you and ready for use. Designed as an evolution of traditional battery cases, Power1 not only holds an extra battery but also manages your Airpods like no other system. Armed with proprietary design, Power1 comes with two modes. One, where it charges your Airpods only (up to 30 times on a full battery), and a second mode that charges your Airpods as well as your phone, giving both gadgets full advantage of Power1’s 3000mAh internal battery.

Link keyboard

The designer Evan Stuart felt the need to create a truly effortless, delightful, and seamless user experience that went beyond beautiful aesthetics. Link is a one-stop-shop to keep devices charged, synced, and ‘linked’ together with as minimal cables and inconveniences as possible. The keyboard is a constant at everyone’s desk and therefore the peripheral devices were formed to work around it like modular accessories. The set includes the keyboard along with ’tiles’ which are the peripheral accessories. These tiles include a drawing tablet, wireless charging pads, a touchpad, a number pad, and a dial which is the most interesting of them all. “Pan around. Zoom. Select. Click. Clack. Rotate. The Dial instantly becomes your favorite digital input tool,” says the designer about including the playful accessory. All modules are battery operated and magnetically connect to the side of the keyboard to dock and recharge when low on charge before being reused again. It also comes equipped with NFC, Bluetooth, and wireless charging capabilities to make it the ultimate unifying hub. Less is more, and less is specifically one cable.

To help you understand why the OMNIA X Series is such a sensible piece of tech, unlike most plugs that are designed around their components, the OMNIA X Series is designed around the footprint of a power-socket. The power-socket is a standard format and the OMNIA X Series tries to limit its shape and size to that format, resulting in a plug that’s small because being small is just a sensible direction to design in. This allows the plug to fit into sockets and strips (even over-crowded ones) without really blocking or interfering with other plugs/switches around it. The OMNIA X Series, despite its size, comes in three variants with 30W and 18W power delivery and the ability to quick-charge your Android and Apple devices with ease. It even packs foldable pins, allowing you to easily carry your charging adapter with you everywhere you go in your backpack or even your pocket.

Like all of Satechi’s products, the USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock comes with Apple-certified MFI charging, and works across all generations of the Apple Watch. The dock plugs right into the side of the iPad Pro or the MacBook Pro, although you could just as easily use it with any power-bank too. The sleek aluminum design does a pretty good job of blending in with Apple’s design language, while inbuilt magnets securely hold onto your watch as it charges, allowing you to dock your iPad on a stand without worrying about the watch slipping or falling off. Neat, eh? Maybe you could even use it as a small extended display too, running a timer, your clock, or the weather app right beside your screen as you work or browse the web!

Check out more innovative Apple accessories in the first part of this series!

This smart face-mask auto-translates languages as you speak!

Wear the C-Face Mask and you aren’t just granted clean, purified air… you also get the power to talk in multiple languages! Designed by Japan-based Donut Robotics, the C-Face mask is a universal mask-cover that fits on top of your standard face mask. Switch it on, and the C-Face mask connects to your smartphone, giving you a wide variety of smart features. Not only does it enable you to answer calls and talk to people without holding your phone’s mouthpiece near your mouth, it auto converts speech to text, allowing you to reply to messages, verbally type out emails, or ask your smartphone’s voice AI queries without having to take off your mask and talk to it. Currently, the C-Face even possesses the ability to translate between Japanese and 8 other languages, but multi-language support is merely an app update away!

As unusual as its design brief sounds, the C-Face mask actually has quite a few really noteworthy benefits. Firstly, since the mask is fitted with its own dedicated microphone, you can speak into your phone without needing to take your mask off. Pair this with the smartphone’s voice-to-text feature and you can talk to other people just by showing them messages on your phone. The voice-to-text feature even means less unnecessary touching of your smartphone’s screen to type out messages. Just say what you need and the dedicated app converts speech into text that you can copy and paste in messages, chat boxes, or mail drafts. The app even possesses the ability to auto-translate between a total of 9 languages, allowing you to seamlessly communicate with people regardless of language barriers. It’s almost as if the C-Face gives you the ability to speak in multiple dialects!

The C-Face mask will begin shipping to buyers/backers in Japan as early as September with more units being shipped to USA, Europe, and China in the coming months. The silicone mask comes with its own battery that provides hours of use on a single charge. It retrofits directly on top of any standard face-mask, allowing you to upgrade your current cloth mask into a smart-mask that works with your phone!

Designer: Donut Robotics

Smartphone camera accessories designed to upgrade your photography to a professional level!

My husband is a photography enthusiast, which means I am well aware of the extensive and complicated world of camera accessories. He started out with a purist approach, using only his DSLR’s actual clicks and not editing beyond the basics to get his desired output, but that was before he got a good camera smartphone and the ease of usage added a new dimension to his process. Smartphone camera has become the principal factor in choosing our desired phone, with the functionalities the phone provides being taken for granted over the ever-growing need to capture, document, and share our lives with the world. Whether your passion is to click photos of your food, taking a selfie, documenting your travel, macro photography or even portrait photos, the accessories in this collection are the boost your setup needs to give your photos that professional edge!

The ShiftCam ProGrip comes with a universal gripping mechanism that allows you to clip any smartphone onto it and turn it into a pro-shooter. It features a Bluetooth shutter button that’s perfectly positioned so that you can click images with your index finger, and a grip that’s so inviting, you’re more likely to focus on photography rather than accidentally dropping your phone (it’s a real concern, believe me). The grip comes with a swivel joint that allows you to flip the phone over into portrait mode while you’re holding it in landscape, giving you varying degrees of freedom and the ability to shoot in a way that’s comfortable to you. Now that we’ve covered the basic stuff, let’s get to why the ShiftCam ProGrip stands out from brands like Pictar or Moment when it comes to providing the best DSLR-like experience.

Styled like most light-boxes, Iaroslav Neliubov’s Photon is a 5-sided cube that you can photograph products in. A canvas/backdrop hangs from the panel at the back to the base, giving you a clean background for your products – but what’s really exciting is the Photon’s light-setup. The Photon’s remaining panels are, in fact, entirely made up of LEDs from top to bottom covered with a frosted diffuser-surface. These LEDs, connected to a centrally-controlled source, can be triggered to give you drop-down and side-lighting. Depending on your product, its shape, size, orientation, and the quality of its surfaces, you can trigger different combination of light blocks, creating dynamic or uniformed lighting that mimics the versatility of having an entire light setup with 5-6 lamps. You can save lighting presets or access light presets from Photon’s library, and even animate the light blocks to really make product photography interesting!

Al Morrow & VERT Design’s BIGSOFTI comes with a universal clip that fits all leading smartphone, tablet and laptop brands. It also has a shoe mount with 1/4″-20 thread to fit all cameras, tripods and light stands. And lastly, if your needs revolve around webinars and zoom calls, then this handy light also has a 3M Adhesive Mount for computer monitors and other general surfaces. You won’t need two hands to hold your device because the light only weighs 75 grams which makes it portable without strain. Control your lighting angle by up to 45 degrees with the rotating barrel connector built into all accessory mounts. BIGSOFTI runs for 95 minutes at maximum brightness in one charge – portable AND powerful! Good lighting not only makes for the best selfies (hello quarantine dating) but it also makes you and your content look more professional. Be it for personal needs like a FaceTime/Zoom calls or for your videos YouTube/TikTok/Instagram; if they look better and you go viral, you will be thankful to BIGSOFTI!

Meet the Color Match Card… an innocuous-looking card with a grid of colored swatches and a hollow cutout in the middle. All you do is place the card on an object who’s color you want to scan and point your camera at it. The Pantone Connect app does the rest, automatically analyzing the color within the hollow cutout and giving you matching Pantone color values that you can either document or save within the Pantone Connect app or even send directly to a palette that you can access using Adobe’s suite of creative tools. The tech behind the Color Match card is pretty simple. The colorful swatches (and the tracking markers around it) help the Pantone app calibrate the way it captures colors, allowing you to accurately grab hues in all sorts of lighting conditions with great accuracy.

Foldio 3

With the Foldio3, that tongue-tantalizing photograph is just literally a portfolio-case and 10 seconds away. While most traditional photo set-ups comprise a room-full of equipment and hours of setting up, the Foldio3’s innovative design puts all of that into a small flat-packed case that can fit right under your arm. Open it out and assemble it using the magnetic locks and you have yourself a studio-grade light box for your product photography. On the top of the box are 3 LED strips too, negating the need for those massive bulky studio lights. The Foldio3 comes with two backdrops too, black and white, depending on the kind of shot you need. You can even use your own green backdrop for those green-screen applications.

Literally the size of a collapsed selfie stick, the Lumapod by Martin Grabner comes with 3 incredibly small legs and a long pole that’s fortified by three Kevlar wires that keep the tripod upright. This arrangement not only allows the Lumapod to collapse down to an extremely tiny form factor, it also makes setting the tripod up easier and dramatically faster. As a profession or a hobby, photography is always highly time critical. The amount of time it takes for you to set your gear up can often cost you that perfect shot. The Lumapod’s design brings the tripod setup time from minutes to a mere 4 seconds, even verbally simplifying the process to three words. Twist, pull, set. Lumapod’s aluminum frame is both light and sturdy, and the Kevlar cords hold the tripod up using tensile strength.

Kodak’s Smartphone Photography Kit has everything you need to take stunning pictures. They add to your phone’s ability to create great images by giving you depth, lighting, and stability. The kit comes as a collective of three accessories (which can be bought separately too), namely a mini tripod specifically for smartphones, a portrait ring-light that clips onto your phone for great low-light selfies, and a set of 2 clip-on smartphone lenses to give your phone the ability to click ultra-wide and macro images, allowing you to either look at the bigger picture, or to zoom into minute details. With Kodak’s comprehensive smartphone photography kit, you can take that powerful camera in your pocket and click pictures that are incredibly stable, thanks to the tripod, or have a beautiful diffused glow, courtesy the ring light, or just explore the world through literally a different set of lenses! It’s a Kodak Comeback!

Developed around a proprietary technology called Weathershield, the jacket keeps water, dust, and snow out while still remaining breathable on the inside. While the build and the fabric allows photographers to overcome tough weather conditions, the design of the jacket itself only enhances that fact. On the outside, the jacket has four cargo pockets that can fit lenses as large as 200mm, while allowing you to holster your camera while you’re preparing yourself for a shot. The Langly also comes with a tether system that attaches to various accessories, like a memory-card holder with space for as many as 7 different memory cards, a DSLR battery pouch, as well as a separate battery pouch for your flash. Additionally, it even comes with a lens-cap holder (and even a lens wipe cloth), so you’re never rummaging around in your backpack to store/retrieve accessories. The jacket comes with an RFID lining around the pockets too, letting you store your wallet, cards or passport in easy-to-access spots that’s secure even from digital theft. With the Langly, every object is always at arm’s length, and can be accessed without as much as looking away from your viewfinder.

The VIEWPT (pronounced Viewpoint) VR180 NANO is a small, portable dual-lensed camera that was designed to mimic human eyes. With two identical 180° lenses placed a few calculated inches apart, the VIEWPT VR180 NANO captures a left and right channel just like your eyes do. Bring that into a VR headset and you don’t just see images, you see a point of view. The pictures and videos you capture using the VIEWPT NANO feel incredibly realistic because you actually perceive depth in them, something your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone can’t do just yet. The most they can do is perform edge-detection to create a foreground and background, but the VIEWPT NANO’s images are in real, cinema-grade stereoscopic 3D. The fisheye lenses cover most of human peripheral vision, allowing you, as a consumer or a content creator, to explore a format that is still reserved for professionals rather than consumers. The VIEWPT NANO sits right on your smartphone, letting you film video just the way you would with your phone’s camera.

Defox’s 3D printed Periscope case does a pretty neat thing. It repositions your camera so you can look down at your phone while record what’s happening ahead of you. Essentially, you’re not pointing your phone’s camera at the subject being shot, but rather, are filming or shooting imagery with your phone in a much more natural manner. This interesting deviation allows your phone to become an even more accessible device because now your phone’s literally an action camera! You can mount your phone on handlebars or even place it on your car’s dashboard and the phone’s case uses a 45° mirror to film things that are located at a 90° angle. The case lets you capture your ride handsfree, because you don’t need to hold your phone in position anymore.

Harman Kardon Smartphone concept comes with a massive “speaker bump”

This smartphone concept has curves where you wouldn’t expect!

Say hello to the Harman Kardon Harmony, a conceptual smartphone created by James Tsai that says “Hold my beer” to the camera bump. The Harmony, on the other hand, comes with a pretty pronounced protrusion on its rear, owing to the presence of a powerful 360° speaker on the back of the smartphone. Styled to match Harman Kardon’s other speakers, the Harmony smartphone concept sports a 45° grille sitting under a transparent clad that helps guide airflow to maximize sound output while also protecting the smartphone itself, almost like a case would.

Speakers are arguably more complicated than cameras, because a relatively less powerful camera can be made better by using computational photography, but that same advantage can’t be extended to less-powerful speakers… which explains the Harmony’s massive speaker-bump. That being said, I would assume the Harmony would be fitted with one of Harman’s finest audio drivers, resulting in a sound that rivals most smart speakers. There’s a single-lens camera on the back, but honestly, a person who buys the Harmony wouldn’t be buying it for the camera. Dual hole-punch cameras on the front, however, help sweeten the deal.

Clearly the Harmony is just a fan-made conceptual render, in part because Harman Kardon is owned by Samsung (which wouldn’t want to compete with itself), and also in part because it seems the interface running on the phone belongs to iOS. It’s still a fun exercise to look at companies and extend their technology and visual language/branding onto a product that they would arguably never make. Personally, I like the idea of a smartphone with better speakers, being an audiophile myself. Plus a smartphone that’s actually thicker and more grippy? Bring it on!

Designer: James Tsai

This keyboard’s magnetic accessories create the ultimate modular desk setup!

Now that we work from home I feel like we are more aware of how quickly our workspaces can become cluttered. Not just with snacks and numerous mugs of coffee but also with the tech accessories! I personally find myself using a lot more cables and peripheral accessories and that is bound to happen because I am not in an office set up and still trying to keep everything functioning smoothly in the available space I have for working and living. Modular keyboards like this were specifically designed to address this very issue and Link is the latest concept design aimed at giving the user a clutter-free computer accessory ecosystem.

Having a visually harmonious, intuitive, and efficient set of tech accessories allows the user to keep all devices and peripherals charged and in sync at all times – its the same calm you experience when you start your day on a clean, organized desk! Link is a collection of essential computer accessories that are integrated to work together to optimize functionality for the user right from wireless charging devices to compact input devices. “The goal of this project was to design an ecosystem of peripherals that aims to deliver an experience that is customizable, easy to use, and adaptable to the computer users’ needs at a moment’s notice,” says the designer. So no more scampering around for a certain jack if you have to plug in a non-Apple device or having a network of cables that just take up more space + energy!

The designer felt the need to create a truly effortless, delightful, and seamless user experience that went beyond beautiful aesthetics. Link is a one-stop-shop to keep devices charged, synced, and ‘linked’ together with as minimal cables and inconveniences as possible. The keyboard is a constant at everyone’s desk and therefore the peripheral devices were formed to work around it like modular accessories. The set includes the keyboard along with ’tiles’ which are the peripheral accessories. These tiles include a drawing tablet, wireless charging pads, a touchpad, a number pad, and a dial which is the most interesting of them all. “Pan around. Zoom. Select. Click. Clack. Rotate. The Dial instantly becomes your favorite digital input tool,” says the designer about including the playful accessory. All modules are battery operated and magnetically connect to the side of the keyboard to dock and recharge when low on charge before being reused again. It also comes equipped with NFC, Bluetooth, and wireless charging capabilities to make it the ultimate unifying hub. Less is more, and less is specifically one cable.

Designer: Evan Stuart

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