Headphones are, by their very nature, a solo experience. They enclose the user with his or her music, and block out the world around them. Wearhaus aims to change that with its new Arc headphones, that promise to allow users to connect with each other by streaming music to other Arc wearers.
Tools like email and instant messaging have made it easy for us to share information with people around the world. It can still be overly complicated to share something with people in the same room as us though. Google Tone allows users to share URLs with computers that are within earshot.
How many mobile electronic devices to you have now? A smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, digital camera, maybe even a smart watch? And how often is it necessary to transfer pictures, documents or videos, between your devices? The inTouch technology developed by researchers from the VTT Research Center of Finland lets a ring, bracelet, or even a smart fingernail act as a conduit to transfer information between devices simply and securely – even when the devices are owned by different people.
Bike-sharing programs are a good idea, particularly for people who occasionally find themselves in need of some last-mile transportation. It’s pretty doubtful, however, that such people are always going to be packing a bike helmet. That’s why the HelmetHub helmet vending machine was invented.
Once upon a time, the analog cassette tape was king. And for those that remember the time, chances are you might also recall having made a mixtape or two as well. Australian-based start-up venture Sharetapes is looking to recapture a little of that old-school magic, albeit with a modern twist, by launching a line of physical cards that you can load-up with playlists from websites like YouTube, Spotify and 8tracks. Users can then share their saved lists with other people’s smartphones using near-field communication (NFC) technology or quick response (QR) scanning codes.
Consumer-level 3D printing technology has moved ahead in leaps and bounds in recent years with the release of devices such as the Thing-o-Matic
, the Replicator
3D printers. Proponents of the technology envision a not-too-distant future where users will be able to download designs and print everything from car parts to ... well, a new and improved 3D printer. The folks at The Pirate Bay
are obviously on board with this idea. The file-sharing site better known for allowing users to share multimedia, games and software via BitTorrent has now added a new "Physibles" category. The new category will contain digital files for objects that can be physically created using a 3D printer.
Some readers may be familiar with the car2go
car-sharing system, which is now in use in several cities around the world. Users locate the closest available car via the internet or a telephone call, go to it, unlock it with a chip card, enter their PIN on its keypad, then drive it wherever they want (within its range). When done, they just leave it at the closest designated car2go parking spot, where the next user will pick it up. It’s a pretty neat idea, so if it works for cars, why not bicycles? That’s where the fledgling sobi (Social Bicycles) project comes in.
The Internet allows us to connect with friends in every corner of the world, but sometimes a physical, tangible link in the communication can make its absence felt. A nightstand with embedded printer and scanner, John Kestner's Tableau puts a physical experience in networking with family and friends, and makes viewing and sharing photos via Twitter as simple and natural as opening and closing a drawer.
Electric rental cars are set to take to the streets next year with both the Hertz and Enterprise Rent-A-Car companies committing to adding electric vehicles
to their fleets. Next week (December 15) Hertz plans to begin its ConnectByHertz car sharing program in New York City with the service expanding to San Francisco, Washington D.C, Texas, London and China by the end of 2011. Meanwhile Enterprise has announced that from January 2011 they will begin rolling out EV rentals in Phoenix, Tucson, Knoxville, Nashville, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, although it is not clear how many vehicles will be available at each location and from what date.
Last year in the German city of Ulm, Daimler started up an experimental car-sharing system called car2go
. It incorporated a fleet of 50 smart fortwos
, that users could pick up in various locations, drive as long as they wanted, and then leave within the city. Ulm’s program is now up to 20,000 members and 200 cars, while a younger sister project in Austin, Texas
, is up to 10,000 members. Given that success, Daimler has just announced a new “car2go edition” of the fortwo, designed specifically for use in the program. We got a look, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show