Hats off, and welcome to a new installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, your hitchhiker’s guide through a maelstrom of new helpful announcements.
On the road this week is an e-bracelet, a View-Master revival, a smart plush toy for children, and an all-in-one touchscreen remote.
Please note that these are not reviews, and ratings are only related to my interest in testing each item or damaging it through the nearest window.
I am getting
L! Ber8’s Tago Arc (pictured above) is aimed at fashion conscious or those who want to use their jewelry to tell the world a little more about themselves.
It has an e-ink screen, controlled using NFC-enabled smartphones (sorry, iPhone owners) to allow wearers to switch designs on the flight. Ordinary users can purchase a wide variety of looks, while debutant Stella McCartney can create her own.
This is a modern henna tattoo for those who are smart who do not show a doodle in their arm to a stranger on the street without knowing the possible effects of whatever strange liquid is in the jar. Away safe and much more customization.
View master return
With the dual trends of turning viewing devices into smartphones, reviving the vibe and retro toys on our faces, it seemed almost inevitable that one would create a 21st-century View-Master using an iPhone or Android.
Google and Mattel have added to revive the 3D viewer, including the classic lever that will press down to move to the next slide.
This is a completely modern incarnation, as the cardboard discs used inside the View-Master are now placed in front of the wearer, where they transform into immersive augmented-reality experiences.
It sounds like a bang, and for just US $ 30 for a headset (it’s also compatible with Google’s cardboard) I’m tempted to dive right in. But until it has endless virtual scenes, like my favorite view-master discs like Disney characters. Sprog, I’m out.
Elemental Path is trying to give children an attractive, intelligent companion who can teach them a little more about the world. The Cognitoys line of dinosaurs use the power of IBM’s Watson to give young people a friend they can talk with and ask questions about.
Through speech recognition and natural language processing, these toys can answer at least a few questions and entertain children with jokes.
On the surface, it feels like a version of Amazon’s Echo for kids, even if there is a gear to learn.
Putting aside any potential privacy concerns and unfortunate sounds of the thing – it sounds like a slasher movie serial killer gasping threats over the phone – it seems a decent investment if it can help children learn.
This said, I would much rather parents see that they are in favor of playing with their children and teaching themselves, as they will have constant questions.
Ray touchscreen remote
All-in-one remotes are easy to find, and touchscreen versions are becoming more widespread, but I’m not sure I looked as pretty as Ray.
It is compatible with hundreds of thousands of home appliances, ranging from Apple TV to Roku TV, dish hopper DVR and Nest thermostats. Connectivity and flexibility are important here.
The makers of the Neptune Duo want to pair smartphones and smart wristbands.
There is not much on the surface to set it apart from the myriad other smartwatches on the market, yet it is interesting because it puts more emphasis on the wearable, while the traditional phone is more supportive.
For example, you put your SIM card directly into the band. The purpose of the phone is to give you more control over the band and act as a larger screen for viewing media and so on.
I am still on the fence with smartwatches and the like, but I am intrigued by the different tactics being taken by this manufacturer. I would like to do this only as an experiment to flip my entire on-the-go connectivity.
That said, I would be most annoyed if the battery ran out on the band and I could not make the phone, although I had this otherwise fully functional phone-like brick in my hand.