Posts Tagged: life

Get more Waka-waka in your life with the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition for £499

Previously leaked but without images of the actual handset, the OnePlus Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition is official and already on sale for £499. Besides the Pac-Man-themed exterior, you’ll also find a fully-customized software experience complete with games, challenges, and exclusive Pac-Man content. In terms of hardware, the Nord 2 x Pac-Man Edition sports 12GB […]

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The best gifts for the creatives in your life

If there’s an artist in your life the best gift you can give them is inspiration. Whether they’re a painter, writer, musician or anything else. Something to get their creative juices flowing will be welcome. Trust us. There are countless ways to spur creativity and aid the creative process — many of which don’t require spending any money, like meditation or simply taking a long walk. But there are tools out there that can help someone stretch beyond their comfort zone, or simply document and fine-tune their own ideas. From subscriptions, to books, to extremely bizarre instruments, here are the best gifts for the creative in your life.

You Are an Artist by Sarah Urist Green

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Penguin Books

It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes just being told what to do is a great way to spur creativity. Because, truth is, rarely is the actually creative part in the original idea, but rather in the execution of it. The problem is, once someone leaves school nobody is giving them assignments any more. That’s where You Are an Artist comes in, a book compiled by Sarah Urist Green, the host of PBS’ The Art Assignment on YouTube. It’s a collection of 50 assignments crafted by a diverse set of artists to help get the creative on your list, well, creating.

Many of the assignments focus on visual arts, asking them to make endless copies of an image using a Xerox machine, or to take random photos of a location and make notes on details they might normally miss. But there are others that encourage them to hum or clap along with the sounds of traffic, or engage in word games. You Are an Artist is the sort of book they’ll probably revisit time and time again. — Terrence O'Brien, Managing Editor

Buy You Are an Artist at Amazon – $ 13

Apple Pencil (second-gen)

Apple Pencil 2nd generation
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

The iPad has become a key tool for creatives over the years and arguably nothing has contributed to that more than the Apple Pencil. Most of the newest iPads support the second-generation Pencil and it’s admittedly much more convenient than the first purely for its magnetic charging method. But otherwise, the Apple Pencil is the best stylus I’ve ever used because it has little to no latency and that helps mimic the feeling of drawing with a traditional pen and paper.

While investing in a paper-like screen protector will blur the lines even further, you don’t have to do that to get an excellent experience from the Apple Pencil. Drawing is seamless, taking notes is a breeze (especially with iPadOS 15 if you use Apple’s Notes app) and the possibilities are endless once you get familiar with third-party programs like Procreate. Battery life is superb, too: I’ve spent hours drawing in Procreate or experimenting with different planner layouts in GoodNotes and I have yet to pause a session to recharge the Pencil. While the Apple Pencil hasn’t completely replaced traditional art forms for me, it’s certainly the most useful tool I own for when I want to be creative. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Apple Pencil (2nd gen) at Amazon – $ 129

Astrohaus Freewrite smart typewriter

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Dan Cooper / Engadget

The Freewrite smart typewriter is a niche device that would nonetheless make a wonderful present for any aspiring writer. Or, come to think of it, anyone who is already committed to the art of putting words to the page. The Freewrite combines an excellent mechanical keyboard with an E Ink display, and while it can get online to sync drafts to the web, that's the only thing it can do. There's no way to browse the web, play a game, or watch YouTube on the Freewrite, which makes it a lot easier to just sit down and get into a flow state. The E Ink screen and keyboard can take a little getting used to, but both things quickly become assets when just looking to get some writing done. And thanks to the low-power display, the Freewrite lasts for a week or two of heavy writing. At $ 600, it's a serious investment — but gifting one to an aspiring writer should give them great motivation to write that book they're always talking about. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Managing Editor

Buy Smart Typewriter at Freewrite – $ 600

Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album

Mute: A Visual Document: From 1978 – Tomorrow

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Thames & Hudson

Decades worth of record label design offers a wellspring of visual aesthetics to kickstart your own creativity. There are even a few monoliths of music and design culture that succeeded in the record industry without succumbing to the corporate machine. Factory and Mute records are such creatures. Spawned in the UK in the late ‘70s (though only Mute remains today), both companies informed generations through tales of — sometimes careless — business tactics and quality curated output. In general, they were groups driven by a DIY aesthetic and creativity unhindered by official structure.

Not only did these labels champion freedom of musical expression and help drive new genres of music, but they also became an outlet for visual designers. Most notably, Peter Saville’s (found) cover art for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album (Factory) is ubiquitous today with its mountainous range of wavy lines. Spending time digging through either of these books which are chock full of art, music and history can get your creative juices flowing. Either are a welcome gift for family, friends or even yourself. — Jon Turi, Homepage Editor

Buy Factory Records at Amazon – $ 34Buy Mute: A Visual Document at Amazon – $ 45

Ruhlman's Twenty by Michael Ruhlman

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Chronicle Books

I’ve gotten to the point in my cooking journey where trying recipes isn’t as interesting to me as learning new techniques. Do I have a pile of go-to recipes in my Paprika app? Yes, but now I’m more interested in mastering cooking methods that essentially set you up to make your own recipes from scratch. Ruhlman’s Twenty is one of the “cookbooks” I’ve been turning to the most in my quest, and if some of the concepts in the book may seem basic, that’s because they are. Most cooking shows and online recipe blogs don’t explain why they add an acid to a tomato sauce or how to get a perfectly crispy french fry rather than an oily, soggy mess — but this book does. It takes you back to basics, explaining the proper techniques behind different ways of cooking, so that you can understand what’s happening to your food as you prepare it. And don’t worry, it doesn’t read like a textbook and there are even complete recipes in there for you to follow if you wish. Ultimately, Ruhlman’s Twenty has made me a more competent cook who isn’t forced to consult a recipe every time I prepare a meal. — V.P.

Buy Ruhlman's Twenty at Amazon – $ 19

Make Noise Strega

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Make Noise

A new instrument can be a decent way to snap someone out of a creative rut. But even better than a new instrument is a weird instrument. And if the musician in your life likes things on the weird side, I highly recommend the Make Noise Strega. It was designed in collaboration with Alessandro Cortini (touring member of Nine Inch Nails), and eschews most of your usual synth controls and makes sounds that are best described as weathered.

The front panel is a confounding array of glyphs and lines that look like something out of a book on the occult. The express goal of the Strega is to get someone experimenting — literally poking and prodding at the various touch panels that serve as modulation sources and destinations using a person's own body as a patch cable. It won’t be for everyone, but if you’re shopping for the kind of person who loves lo-fi warbles and nightmarish drones, they’ll love the Strega. — T.O.

Buy Make Noise Strega at Sweetwater – $ 599

POTAR Design's Sound Urchin

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POTAR Design

Okay, calling the Sound Urchin an “instrument” might seem like a stretch, but the otherworldly sounds it creates are sure to inspire the musician in your life to tackle composing differently. It’s essentially a bunch of metal rods stuck to a guitar pedal enclosure with a microphone inside it. The rods aren’t really tuned in any traditional way, which allows for the creation of unexpected melodies, but it can also be a source of clanging percussion or ominous wails. When paired with some effects this strange little box is capable of being the basis for an entire composition — albeit a slightly odd one.

This particular recommendation came courtesy of Abby Santourian, a Chicago-based musician and music gear expert at Reverb who told Engadget via email: “For centuries, artists have been inspired by the sea, but I think this takes that idea to a new level…. When combined with other pedals and effects, the sonic possibilities and combinations are seriously endless.” — T.O.

Pre-order Sound Urchin at Potar Designs – $ 125

The Artist Way by Julia Cameron

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Souvenir Press

If you’ve heard about Morning Pages, or Artist Dates, both are two core habits established in The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s decades-old book on creative practice. That’s probably the most straightforward way to describe this book, which walks you through a 12-week program of writing exercises and tasks, all aimed at freeing up your creative powers. The crux of it is demanding three pages of handwritten writing every day. While it’s often a stream of consciousness — and if your handwriting is atrocious, barely legible — Cameron’s advice is to simply put the writing out there, and see where it takes you. Famous fans include Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, Alicia Keys and practically half of the comedians whose podcasts I listen to, it seems. The book does get a little bit spiritual at times, which you may or may not be fine with, but the core exercises and ideas can be pretty powerful, especially if you’re in a creative rut, or simply looking to add more artistic output to your day-to-day life. — Mat Smith, UK Bureau Chief

Buy The Artist's Way at Amazon – $ 25

Moog Subharmonicon

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Moog

Another slightly weird instrument to consider is the Moog Subharmonicon. The sounds it produces are more “standard” than the Strega (for lack of a better term), but its sequencer and focus on subharmonics are anything but. It takes inspiration from a pair of early experimental electronic instruments — the Mixtur-Trautonium and the Rhythmicon. The Subharmonicon encourages one to explore the concepts of subharmonics and polyrhythms to create unexpected melodies and rhythms. It’s capable of that classic Moog sound, but it will also force someone out of their comfort zone. — T.O.

Buy Moog Subharmonicon at Amazon – $ 699

Sensel Morph with Thunder overlay

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Sometimes a person doesn’t need whole new sounds to get the creative juices flowing, but just a new way of making those sounds. The Sensel Morph is an impressively portable and flexible MPE MIDI controller with amazing shapeshifting possibilities. It can be a piano, a pad-based drum machine, a sketch pad, or an obscure controller inspired by Don Buchla — the driving force of West Coast-style synthesis.

The Buchla Thunder overlay marries the expressive possibilities of the Morph with an approach to composing melodies and harmonies that it’s fairly safe to assume your giftee has never experienced. Instead of a traditional piano layout it’s a series of pads organized into a roughly bird-like shape that you’re supposed to tap and slide along to create unique timbres. Its unfamiliarity forces anyone to stop thinking about what they already know about playing music and focus instead on the results.

Plus, the Morph has a number of other overlays so, if the Thunder has worn out its welcome, it’s still incredibly useful and flexible. — T.O.

Buy Morph with Thunder overlay at Sensel – $ 269

Splice Creator plan

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Splice

Sure it’s easy to just grab a drum loop from the top of the Splice charts and wind up sounding like everyone else. But there are far more interesting ways to find sounds. For one, search results can be shuffled. So, rather than just using the same Rhodes sample that thousands of other bedroom producers have relied on, a person can hit the shuffle button and grab something that might be flying under the radar. This technique can also be combined with searching for random terms on Splice, rather than pulling up specific instruments. (Just Google “random word generator” and use that as the basis for a search.) There are lots of interesting and sometimes strange sounds and loops to be found by searching for things like “clinic” and “preparation.”

The entry-level $ 10 Sounds+ plan includes 100 sample credits. But your giftee would probably really appreciate the upgrade to the Creator Plan. That includes 200 credits, plus access to Splice’s surprisingly excellent Astra soft synth, its Beatmaker drum machine plugin and a library of tutorials and lessons on music production under the Skills banner. Sometimes, when you’re not sure what to do, simply learning a new skill or trick can get the creative juices flowing again. — T.O.

Get Splice Creator Plan

Tascam DR-05X

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
TASCAM

A decent field recorder should be in pretty much every artist’s arsenal. For a musician, obviously, it’s valuable for recording samples and capturing impromptu jam sessions. Anyone can buy sample packs, sure, but building a custom drum kit from snapping twigs and the crunch of dead leaves is a surefire way to get someone thinking outside the box.

But even beyond that, it’s great for documenting ideas and finding inspiration. Yes, there are voice-note apps, but your giftee might like having a dedicated (and distraction-free) tool for documenting ideas, inspiring sounds and capturing interesting lectures or panels. A writer can set a recorder up and talk through the plot of a novel they’re working on, without worrying that their battery will die. Or a painter can record the ambience of a cafe they frequented while traveling in Paris and revisit it to find inspiration for a new work. — T.O.

Buy Tascam DR-05X at Amazon – $ 119

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Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro leaks with wireless charging and long battery life

The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro has leaked, showcasing some key improvements from its already-impressive predecessor. This device is expected to launch pretty soon, but at this point we’ve got a pretty good idea of what Huawei’s next watch is capable of. Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro leaks The newer variant of Huawei’s in-house smartwatch […]

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You’re invited to participate in “Life In A Day 2020” on July 25

On July 25, executive producers Ridley Scott (“The Martian,” “Gladiator”) and Kai Hsuing (“Lords of Chaos”), along with director Kevin Macdonald (“Whitney,” “One Day in September,” “The Last King of Scotland”), invite you and the YouTube global community to pick up your cameras to create “Life In A Day 2020.”

Exactly 10 years after the original “Life In A Day,” the world will once again come together to create a YouTube Original feature-length documentary that tells the story of a single day on Earth. Selected footage sourced from participants like you will be woven together in this documentary to tell the story of an ordinary day during these extraordinary times. “Life In A Day 2020” will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and on YouTube in 2021.

How the project works

On a single day, Saturday, July 25, people around the world are invited to film their day.

Maybe you’ll be filming from home as you continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, or maybe you’re in a part of the world where you’re figuring out how to move forward in a transformed world. Maybe you’re connecting with friends, reuniting with family, or going to work. Maybe it’s a special day – you’re getting married, moving out, sharing important news. Or maybe it’s just a normal day. We want to weave together these unique experiences and perspectives to create a time capsule of this moment.

The final feature film will be edited over the course of five months, crafted entirely through what is found in the submitted footage. Once the submission window closes, a 30-person team of multilingual reviewers stationed around the world will begin reviewing and translating submitted videos. Three principal feature editors – Nse Asuquo (House of My Fathers, The Jazz Ambassadors), Mdhamiri Á Nkemi (The Pale Horse, Blue Story), and Sam Rice-Edwards (Whitney) – will then undertake an enormous post-production effort, working alongside director Kevin Macdonald, to shape the film’s final narrative out of the submitted footage. br />

Who can take part

The filmmakers are encouraging people from all over the world to take part, and they hope to capture a wide perspective on life. Submissions are open from July 25 to August 2, which means you will only have one week to submit your footage at lifeinaday.youtube.

While only a small number of the submitted clips will make it into the movie, YouTube and the filmmakers hope the filming day itself becomes a significant day of global participation. The “Life In A Day 2020” project celebrates the importance of everyone coming together in a moment of equal, worldwide collaboration.

About the original film

In 2010, “Life In A Day” brought the YouTube community together for a massive participatory feature film project that attracted 80,00 submissions. The final film premiered at Sundance in 2011, was released globally in theatres, and has been watched on YouTube over 16 million times.


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Watch VFX bring Westworld’s dystopian LA to life

Now that Westworld season 3 has aired, the team behind the show’s impressive visual effects has revealed exactly how they made the series’ robots come to life. In a short Vimeo clip, DNEG illustrates how a combination of VFZ wizardry helped to create…
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SETI@Home ends its crowdsourced search for alien life after 21 years

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence is a series of projects that scrub the background noise of the universe to look for alien life. One of the most famous ventures under the name was SETI@Home, in which members of the public were encouraged…
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The budget-busting Nokia 2.3 with 2-day battery life is now on sale for $129/£99

Ahead of MWC 2020 where it is expected to announce the successor to the Nokia 9 PureView, HDM Global is fleshing out its entry-level offerings with the launch of the budget-busting Nokia 2.3 which is now available to order in the US and the UK for just $ 129/£99. Packing in a 6.2-inch HD+ display, a […]

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Study casts doubt on the chances of life on watery alien planets

Scientists searching for habitable planets often see the presence of water as a key sign, but they might not want to raise their hopes too high. A recently published study has indicated that there was no clear evidence of extremophiles (life that ca…
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Meet the Huawei Watch GT 2 (with up to two weeks of battery life)

Alongside the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei also announced the Watch GT 2. We were expecting this watch from some previous leaks, but there were some things that still surprised us. The watch is running LiteOS instead of HarmonyOS, for example, and Huawei claims it can deliver up to 14 days of battery life, which is […]

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[TA Deals] Grab a ton of ThunderDrive Cloud Storage for life with this massive discount

You can never have too much cloud storage, but it sucks to have to pay for tons and tons of it every month, especially if you’re just using it as a backup. Fortunately for you, we’ve got a massive discount on a lifetime subscription to ThunderDrive, offering up to 2TB of space at one low […]

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Pixel 3a put some life back in Google’s smartphone business, doubling total Pixel sales year-over-year

Google’s Pixel sales since inception have been pretty lackluster. It’s not that the Pixels aren’t great phones, especially when it comes to camera quality and software updates, but they’ve just never really managed to take a bite out of the market, especially not without insane carrier promotions. But it looks like the Pixel 3a might […]

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[TA Deals] Snag the RankActive SEO Toolkit for life with this discount! (98% off)

SEO is tough, and anyone in charge of a blog, site, or anything even slightly related to the internet needs to be their toes when it comes to managing your search rank. Fortunately there are some extra tools and tricks to help you out. We’re currently offering a deal on the RankActive SEO Toolkit, including […]

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Google finally admits that dark mode helps with battery life on OLED displays

It’s something that most Samsung users have been aware of since the Galaxy S2 launched; AMOLED (OLED) displays use much less power when showing dark or true black wallpapers. In its quest to implement its Material Design that brought blinding white brightness to its apps as well as encouraging app developers to follow suit, Google has […]

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Google Maps’ location sharing now includes your battery life

When you share your location with a friend through Google Maps, they'll now be able to see how much battery life you have left exactly. Android Police first discovered hints of the new feature in a Google Maps beta for Android earlier this year, and…
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iBeat Heart Watch review: The smartwatch designed to save your life

Most high-end smartwatches have a heart rate sensor. Many double as fitness trackers and some even focus on health over notifications, but they can’t act on their own in an emergency. If you find yourself having a cardiac event such as a heart attack, the Heart Watch will proactively step in. Unlike the heart rate […]

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[TA Deals] Get WordPress themes for life with a discounted Theme Junkie subscription!

A pleasant theme can really make or break your WordPress website, and with so much competition you need something that stands out above the rest. We can help you with that thanks to a massive discount on a lifetime subscription to Theme Junkie. 55 & counting fully responsive themes Advanced theme control panel High-quality, clean […]

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Corsair’s wireless gaming keyboard has a 75-hour battery life

If Logitech's no-lag wireless gaming keyboard converted you into a fan of no-wires gaming, you'll love Corsair's new offerings. The peripheral-maker has launched a handful of devices at CES 2018, including a wireless gaming keyboard of its own, as we…
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Wireless earbuds will soon have triple the battery life with Qualcomm’s new chipset

Wireless earbuds are one of the latest advancements in audio tech, but two major problems continue to hold them back – battery life and wireless reception. Qualcomm’s latest wireless earbud chipset (QCC5100) promises a huge leap forward in battery life, almost tripling what current generation devices can get. In addition, better wireless transmit power should […]

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[TA Deals] Pick up 2TB of cloud storage for life for $60!

We’re featuring Degoo Premium as our deal of the day on Talk Android Deals. Why are you saving everything on your computer or on your phone? Take advantage of what cloud storage does for you, but don’t pay a fortune to do so. Cloud storage is reliable and safe. And right now you can get […]

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Weekly Rewind: Insane stunt pilot lady, life beyond Earth, $700 self-driving car

In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of it. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week.

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Wearables–Digital Trends

BioWare’s ‘Jade Empire’ gets another shot at life on iOS

BioWare is virtually synonymous with Mass Effect and Dragon Age these days, but it has had its share of experiments. Remember Jade Empire, its China-inspired (and critically well-received) action role-playing title? Aspyr does — it just released v…
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Android phones best Apple’s iPhone 7 battery life

This may be hard for Apple and its loyalists to hear, but the iPhone 7 does not have better battery life than the best Android phones. Which?, a U.K.-based publication, put the iPhone 7 against the HTC 10, G5, and Galaxy S7 to see where the phones ranked in terms of battery life. Here’s an […]

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Incipio’s Offgrid Galaxy S7 Edge case boosts battery life and supports wireless charging

If your Galaxy S7 Edge keeps running out of power, the Incipio Offgrid battery case is for you. This case offers an extra 3,700mAh of power and supports wireless and QC 2.0 pass-through charging.

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Bragi’s new fully wireless earbuds blow away the competition on battery life

Bragi has announced a new pair of earbuds called The Headphone. It’s a simple pair of Bluetooth-connected earbuds that have 6+ hours of battery life. Perfect for smartphones without a headphone jack, or so Bragi says.

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Archos breathes new life into its tablet lineup with the 133 Oxygen

Archos is not quite done announcing products, with the French manufacturer unveiling the 133 Oxygen. The tablet’s most obvious feature is its gargantuan 13.3-inch display.

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The love of your life can hear your heartbeat in real time with smart wedding band

The HB Ring, a luxury wedding band from jewelry company Touch, transmits your heartbeat to a loved one in real time. It’s not cheap, though — a pair starts at $ 600.

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It doesn’t get much cooler than using a VR viewer designed by a real life rock star

Tired of tech with no soul? How about a VR viewer for your phone with a design that’s inspired by Victorian technology, and designed by real life rock star Brian May? You’ll want the Owl Stereoscope, and we’ve tried it out.

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Keep on wearing that Fitbit: Data collected from a man’s Fitbit might have saved his life

You might want to think twice about ditching that Fitbit. A man was recently rushed to hospital, where doctors were able to use data from his Fitbit to treat him — data that may have ultimately saved his life.

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SETI to begin searching older star systems for sentient life

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute haven't had any luck finding signs of alien life so far, but it could just be that they're looking in the wrong place. To date, SETI has only searched around younger stars like our own but…
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Future version of the Apple Watch could save your life during an emergency

Your Apple Watch might be great for notifications, but a recent patent suggests that a future version could potentially save your life during a major car accident or a medical emergency.

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RE-vibe is the anti-distraction wearable you need in your life

The RE-vibe is the world’s first anti-distraction wearable, leveraging a proprietary algorithm to remind wearers to stay (or get back on) task, all by way of slight vibrations on the wrist.

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The UsBidi charging cable conserves energy and prolongs the life of your battery

Our smartphones continue to get smarter, but our charging cables continue to stay dumb. UsBidi Charger aims to change that with the UsBidi, a smart charging cable that will prolong the life of your battery and conserve energy at the same time.

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Russian scientist claims injections of 3.5 million-year-old bacteria lead to longer life

After discovering a 3.5 million-year-old bacteria in Siberian permafrost, Russian scientist Dr. Anatoli Brouchkov thinks it might be the key to achieve eternal life. He’s so confident, he’s already injected himself with it.

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Android Wear update makes watch faces come to life

Google fans already rocking Android Wear will get an update this week that enables interactive watch faces. You can tap them to show more information or launch an app. The three watch faces released today include "Bits", which keeps the time displa…
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