8 gadgets to make air travel more comfortable

One of the most annoying aspects of air travel is just how loud everything seems to be, especially when you’re trying to sleep. There’s the quiet but insistent hum of the aircraft, which becomes a rumble the further you are from the cockpit. Then there are people talking, laughing, babies crying, cold blasts of air, and the sharp thuds of washroom doors. Technology can help you shut off some of this noise.

Google Daydream view comes with a soft wearable design that is lightweight and designed to fit comfortably over most eyeglasses.
Google Daydream view comes with a soft wearable design that is lightweight and designed to fit comfortably over most eyeglasses.
Continue reading “8 gadgets to make air travel more comfortable”

6 gadgets to replace your old-fashioned switches

Dim the lights, set the mood and prepare for sparkles that you can control with your voice or a smart device. There are lights that help you sleep, lights that act like burglar alarms and fairy lights that twinkle in rainbow colours. We tell you of the best gadgets out there that can help you say goodbye to old-fashioned switches.

iDevices socket

The Socket Wi-Fi-enabled light-bulb adaptor enables you to control any standard light bulb remotely. You can change the illumination power using voice commands on your smartwatch or phone. You can design a custom lighting schedule, convert the bulb into a night light or control the ambience of the room. It works with the iDevices app, iPhone’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistants.

$59.95 (around Rs.4,000, shipping extra); idevicesinc.com. Continue reading “6 gadgets to replace your old-fashioned switches”

Charge your gadgets on the move

Had enough of wires and sockets? Here are the latest, more elegant, ways to power your gadgets

Scientists are trying to ensure you don’t have to be anxious about that dreaded beep that signals a low battery or, worse, dead battery in your smartphone. In future, you may be able to charge your device simply by putting it in a low powered pocket, or picking up energy kernels from the environment or the sun. Till then, here are ways you can charge your phone without those ugly black wires showing.

Tylt Energi Sliding Power Case

How about a sliding power case that also charges your phone, protecting it while it does so? Tylt, a US-based company that specializes in phone accessories, has come up with a sliding power case that comes with built-in Qi wireless charging. The case has a 3,400 mAh removable battery and also has a USB available for charging and syncing from other sources. The charger comes for selected iPhones and Galaxy handsets.

Buy it: $49.99-79.99 (Rs.3,200-5,200) on www.tylt.com; shipping charges extra.

Bold Knot

Two Palestinian university students have designed an innovative phone charger made of yarn. Called Bold Knot, the charger, which comes with an internal battery, can be attached to your key chain and can give up to 3 hours of charge. It’s two times faster than a regular charger and can also be used as a USB connection between a phone and a computer. The cable is made of strong rope to give it flexibility and the design is sigh-worthy. The charger has already been funded five times over at crowdfunding website Indiegogo in July, though you can still order one there. The Knot’s available for both iOS and Android.

Read the complete article at livemint.com


Tech up your loo

Filled every room in the house with the latest tech? Don’t forget the bathroom


Our bathrooms haven’t really changed much over the years despite all the advancements in technology. Hot and cold water, possibly a fancy showerhead, and you’re done. But that seems set to change, because there are a number of new gadgets available that can revitalize your bathroom in unexpected ways. From automated toilet seats to smart mirrors that automatically light up when you’re facing them, to devices that will help you prevent water waste, the options are endless.The only downside? You might never leave the loo! Read on to find out about the coolest new devices we came across:

Waview Mirror Waterproof TV


Now, take the telly with you to the loo. The Waview Waterproof LED TV vanishing television comes with a crystal mirror finish and is easily mountable on the wall. The television has a full HD LED screen, a resolution of 1,920x 1,080 pixels, and is protected against any damage by waterproof coating. There’s a USB port so you can watch anything really. Built-in speakers and a waterproof remote control complete the deal. When it’s off, it becomes an innocuous mirror that tells no tales. You can choose from models with built-in speakers or ceiling-mounted ones.

£599 (Rs.54,660) onwards at www.waview.co.uk. Shipping extra.


Glow in the Dark Loo Roll

Instead of groping your way to the loo at night, get some assistance from the Glow in the Dark Loo Roll which, as the name suggests, glows in the dark.

The toilet tissue emits a funky green glow that doubles up as a night light.

£4.99 on Firebox.com. Shipping extra.

Sensor Mirror


Just like the mirror with Snow White’s envious stepmother, this mirror reflects your true self. In this case, instead of magic, it uses technology. As soon as you approach the mirror, it lights up automatically with miniature LEDs which simulate natural sunlight in a ring all around it. So you see your face as it would be in natural light. The mirror is cordless and recharges with a USB cord and adaptor.

Each charge lasts up to five weeks with moderate use. It also gives you 5× magnification so that each unwanted hair can be plucked out.

$200 (Rs.11,880) at www.simplehuman.com. Shipping extra.

Toto Neorest LE


This little robotic washlet by Toto comes with sensors to automatically open and close the lid, three cleansing modes and a hands-free automatic flush system. If that’s not enough, it has a Tornado Flushing system which doesn’t need refilling. Once you have completed the job, you can wipe off with warm water both from the front and back.

The toilet will flush, dry and deodorize itself as soon as you get up and leave. And if you want it to do something, it comes with a nifty remote control.

Rs.8,64,850 at Toto dealers across the country. Locate a dealer onAsia.toto.com.

Kohler’s Moxie Showerhead


Are you a bathroom singer who likes some backup? If you’ve been carrying your phone into the bathroom to get some tunes while you shower, then you’re really risking drops and moisture that can damage your phone. Instead, you could try Kohler’s Moxie Showerhead. This musical shower comes embedded with wireless speakers to pair up with your smartphone or tablet from up to 32ft away. To install it, all you have to do is take out your old shower and screw in the new one.

The speaker is made of the same white silicon body as the spray face. And the best part? It’s detachable. So after your shower is done, you can simply pop it out and keep listening to music outside the loo. Pairing it with a Bluetooth-enabled device is a single-touch job, the audio is good and loud and the music free of distortion, and the speakers are recharged through a USB cable. The speakers can pump up to 7 hours of non-stop music and the shower gives you 60 angled nozzles for full-spray coverage.

Rs.9,995 at all Kohler retail outlets.

Water Pebble


Plonk this nifty little pebble near your shower and it will measure how much water you use in a single shower.


Read the complete story on Mint website.


Monsoon-proof gadgetry

From phones that work underwater to cloaks that will protect your devices in a deluge, we’ve got you covered


The skies rumble ominously. You look up in terror, knowing that this rain is sure death for the little black gadget in your hand. With panic, you hide your smartphone, coming between it and the rain, wiping its screen clear of tears.

All that gadgetry, all the chips and the delicate units, everything that cost you thousands of rupees, will turn to junk if those few drops of water hit it.

The monsoon has stopped being fun. Or has it? We list gadgets that can not only bear a few drops of rain but also jump into the pool with you.

Olympus Stylus TG-2


Tough weather screams for a tough camera to record it. The Olympus Stylus TG-2 is a mini tank of a camera which can survive in -10 degrees Celsius temperature, a fall of 7ft, and a weight of almost 100kg on it. It can also survive 50ft underwater.

The camera is meant for rugged, adventure hogs who love to be outdoors, be it rain or storm. It comes fitted with a high-speed, bright lens which allows good pictures in low light and high-speed action shots without blurring.

Plus, it comes with an inbuilt GPS and e-compass to throw some statistic on that perfect shot. And with 12 MP resolution and 4x optical zoom, you will get many good macro pictures as well.

Rs.22,999, at Olympus dealers across the country. It will start selling in July.


Stash Shorts

Become rain-ready by stashing all your precious gadgets into the ultimate waterproof pocket created for a pair of shorts. Stash Incorporated tried to raise funds to make these shorts through the online funding platform Kickstarter.

While the project couldn’t raise funds, the shorts got a lot of media coverage for their patented waterproof pocket, and the company was able to raise the money independently.

Stash Incorporated is now producing and dispatching these shorts. The pocket is attached to the interior of the shorts and is closed with a sealproof cap.

$69-75 (around Rs.Rs 4,000-4,350) per pair, at Facebook.com/StashIncorporated. Shipping charges extra.


Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite

If you love to read in the rain, the Waterproof Kindle is the thing for you. Waterfi, the company behind the waterproofing, sells a waterproofed version of the Kindle Paperwhite which will make it safe even 210ft under water, forget a few or more splashes of raindrops as you sit in the rain and read.

The Paperwhite Kindle is one of the most advanced e-readers out there, with a backlit screen with which you can read in the sun. It has eight weeks of battery life, built-in Wi-Fi and space for about 1,100 e-books.

Waterfi adds a whopping $80 (around Rs.4,640) to the bill to coat it with its patented dual protection, which insulates it against corrosion and water, but then, you can take it anywhere, from the pool to the ocean.

$219.99 on Waterfi.com; $35 extra for international shipping.


Aquapac Wet and Dry Backpack

Keep all the electronic stuff safe and sound in this waterproof backpack. The bag comes with internal pockets, a key pocket, and external pockets to keep a bottle.

The fabric is TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coated with taped seams so water cannot seep in, even if the bag is submerged.

It also comes with an internal pocket so that you can separate dry and wet things (or dirty and clean things) if required.

Rs.3,990, at www.outdoortravelgear.com .



How to keep your gadgets cool

Like you, your gadgets too fry in the heat. Here’s how you can keep them cool



It was March and financial consultant Dilip C.G. was riding his Royal Enfield in Mumbai when his new iPad, strapped to the petrol tank, shut down with a warning: “iPad needs to cool down before you can use it”.

Shocked, he parked his vehicle and tried to switch it back on. The iPad was scorching hot to the touch and would not respond. “I felt stranded,” says the 33-year-old, who was using the iPad for maps, and to record his road trip. “I had no choice but to wait. Thankfully, it came back on after it had time to cool down in the shade.”

Dilip was lucky that the iPad’s built-in heat sensor shut it down—otherwise, his expensive device would have become useless.

“Gadgets are designed to run at a certain temperature,” says Bangalore-based Anandaroop Bhattacharya, a PhD research scientist who designs thermal management systems for electronic devices. “As you use a device, its temperature tends to go up, till it reaches a certain limit. Any higher than that and the delicate circuitry in the CPU will melt.” For most devices, an ideal operating climate is 0-35 degrees Celsius. In summer, since temperatures are already soaring, overuse of smart devices would mean they reach the overheat limit faster.

It’s for this reason that laptops come with fans to cool them—something you can’t exactly fit on a smartphone. Bhattacharya suggests shutting off the Wi-Fi, 3G and multiple apps and sticking to your phone’s basic features whenever possible. “If your phone’s outer casing becomes hot to touch while talking, it’s time to give it some rest,” he says.

What are the other things you need to know? Read on and find out.


Keep it dust-free. Dust particles cause the device to heat up faster by clogging ventilation. Open up your device once in two months and clean up the interior with a clean cloth. Clean up the battery area, the back cover and the hidden corners. In a laptop, don’t block the cooling vents with anything.

Seek shade. If you think it’s too hot to stand in the sun, it’s the same for your device. Direct sunlight heats up your device and can easily damage the components. So when you’re in the car and using the phone’s speakers, for example, don’t leave the phone in direct sunlight on the dashboard, keep it in a pocket instead.

Flush out the background apps. Social networks and other apps constantly connect to the Internet to push notifications on your devices. These apps use RAM even when you are not around your phone. That in turn causes the phone to heat up. To keep your phone cool in summer, switch off the automated background tasks that your phone might be doing.

Disable battery hoggers. Everything that drinks up the battery life of your device will cause it to overheat. That includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G and 4G connections. When not in use, switch them off. Get inside, in an air-conditioned space, and then use the phone’s battery-draining features.

Wait before you store. Many a time, we hurriedly switch off the laptop or tablet and put it in the bag without waiting for it to cool. This traps the heat which the running laptop is generating in the padded cell instead of releasing it into the air. This small action hurts your battery life as well as your device. Be it a tablet or a laptop, make sure it’s shut down completely and is cool to touch before you pack it away.

Switch it off. It might be a machine but it still needs rest. You don’t need your phone, tablet or laptop to be on while you are sleeping. Give it an hour’s rest or switch it off for the night. It reserves power and gives the circuits time to cool down.


Leave it in the car. A car parked in the sun without the air conditioning on is the easiest way to kill your smart device’s battery. The heat that collects in the oven-like, closed car can make your touch screen unresponsive, drain its battery and in extreme cases, even toast the battery. If there’s absolutely no choice, open the windows of the car 1mm so that the hot air inside can escape.

Hug it and sleep. Your body generates heat. Enough heat to warm up your device. Don’t keep your phone stuck to your body all day long. It heats up the phone and it might not be too good for you either.

Keep it on your lap. The heat generated from a laptop can be really uncomfortable on your legs—and worse, with a laptop, your clothing might end up inadvertently blocking the vents, causing the device to heat up even more quickly. Instead, keep your devices on cool, flat surfaces like tabletops. Increase the gap between the table and the laptop with a coaster or two. This will ensure that your device gets fresh air on all sides while you play.

Use bulky protective cases. Shockproof and waterproof cases may not be heatproof. They might save your phone or tablet from getting damaged but they act like overcoats in the summer for your phone. Leather, plastic prevent your phone from breathing, overheating it. For summers, get a cover in fabric that breathes.

Read the complete article on the Livemint.com website.