Technology has the potential to change the world in big ways — there’s an underground park in New York City powered by a remote skylight that beams sunlight from surrounding rooftops into the subterranean space so plants can thrive; there are also earbuds that sync to your smartphone so you can choose which frequencies to tune out, like a crying baby on the plane, while still being able to hear your conversation partner. These amazing inventions and more made it to TIME magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2015 list.
But technology has not overlooked the smaller things in life. In recent times, many everyday essentials have been given an innovation boost to help make life smarter, more convenient and, in some cases, a tad more fun. These are Inside’s current favourites:
The Paper Tablet
There’s a new generation tablet in town — and it’s made of paper. The “naturally analogue, conveniently digital” product by Moleskine looks and feels just like a regular paper notebook. The only hint that there’s more than meets the eye is in its lightly dotted (rather than lined) pages.
The Moleskine Paper Tablet works with Pen+, a Bluetooth-enabled smart pen, to instantly digitalise notes and sketches made on paper. Within the slim frame of Pen+ is a hidden camera that traces as you write. When Pen+ is paired with a device running the Moleskine Notes app, the handwritten notes are converted into PDF, image, vector or text file formats in real time, and are ready to be archived or shared.
The Moleskine Smart Writing Set, which includes the Paper Tablet and Pen+, retails for $359.
Waking up to the perfect cup of coffee is now possible with the Nespresso Prodigio. The latest addition to the family of one-touch capsule coffee machines is Bluetooth enabled, allowing it to communicate directly with your smartphone.
As you set your alarm clock for the next morning, you can also schedule the Prodigio to wake up at the same time so your morning caffeine fix is ready and waiting for you. This happens via the Nespresso app, which also keeps stock of your capsules and allows you to order more capsules. In addition, the app monitors the condition of the Prodigio and prompts you when your attention is required — like when water levels are low or when it’s time for descaling.
The Nespresso Prodigio was launched in April this year and retails for $359. Bundled with the Aeroccino Milk Frother, it costs $529.
See into the Virtual Future
With multiple functions as a phone, camera, browser, game console and more, the smartphone has become an essential everyday item. Its latest innovation boost comes in the form of a high-technology accessory — the virtual reality headset.
For the longest time, virtual reality has been more of an experimental concept and less of a marketable consumer product. Now, it is ready to go mainstream and Korean electronics giant Samsung is leading the way.
The Samsung Gear VR ($148) is a great introduction to the world of virtual reality. The relatively affordable, lightweight and comfortable headset will have you watching 360-degree movies and playing immersive games in incredulity.
This model is only compatible with Samsung smartphones (specifically, the Galaxy S7 edge 4G+, Galaxy S7 4G+, Galaxy S6 edge+ 4G+, Galaxy S6 edge 4G+, Galaxy S6 4G+ and Galaxy Note 5 4G+) and retails for $148.
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