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— Around The Home

The MiniBrew works like an auto coffeemaker for beer

Just like its more formal sibling, craft brewing, home brewing has exploded in popularity in the United States in recent years, and if startups have anything to say about it, the category should keep on growing. Joining the Pico brewer on the crowdfunding circuit, the MiniBrew is another all-in-one countertop brewing system that makes brewing beer nearly as easy – though more time-consuming overall – as brewing coffee.

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— Good Thinking

Student-designed aid for the deaf converts speech to AR captions

Speech-to-text systems already exist, as do augmented-reality displays. Now, a group of New York City teens led by Daniil Frants (who interned at the MIT Media Lab when he was 14) have combined the two technologies to form the Live Time Closed Captioning System (LTCCS). Once up and running, it could revolutionize the way in which deaf people communicate with the hearing world.

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— Around The Home

Smartphone-controlled mug keeps coffee at the perfect temperature for longer

That small window where a freshly brewed coffee is at the perfect temperature can close pretty quickly sometimes, particularly if you're distracted by other tasks during your morning routine. California-based Ember Technologies has developed a connected coffee mug that is claimed to keep your beverage hotter for longer, with users able to set the temperature through a companion smartphone app or a twist of the mug's base.

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— Around The Home

Toaster-sized Evapolar cools, humidifies and purifies the air

Most so-called portable air conditioners stretch the definition of "portable," but the Evapolar isn't one of them. In a form factor about the same size and weight as a small toaster, the unit packs an evaporative cooling system to cool and humidify the air, while an evaporative nanomaterial based on basalt fibers that was developed for the Russian military helps purify the air.


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— Music

Double Flux Guitar pulls apart to become two singles

There are few visuals that sum up the essence of rock guitar better than an image of the legendary Jimmy Page aiming the headstocks of his doubleneck Gibson EDS-1275 skyward. It's just badass cool. Imagine how much more entertaining your extended Stairway to Heaven tribute would be, though, if you could snap off the lower part of the weighty doubleneck hanging from your shoulders, perform some 12-string magic with just the top half and then pop it back on for the solo. That's essentially what the Flux Guitar will allow players to do, though there's no requirement to learn Led Zeppelin's back catalog to use it.

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— Music

Analog and digital worlds collide in the Fusion Guitar

One of the best sounding travel guitars we've tried is Yamaha's Silent Guitar, which offers a choice of modeled simulated tones or piezo-sourced sounds routed to headphones or an external amp. It doesn't have its own amp and speakers built-in though, like, say, a Vox Apache. And there's no Lineage-like smartphone integration to mix in some digital effects. In fact, you might struggle to find all three in one instrument. Unless you stumble across the Fusion Guitar from Melbourne, Australia-based designer and guitarist Dave Auld, which combines an iPhone dock, amplifier, battery and speakers in one futuristic-looking axe.

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