What the tech were they thinking?

by | Jan 9, 2017 | Upcoming Tech

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Ever think you’d need an olfactory alarm clock? With all the technological advances we’ve seen this year (e.g., reusable rockets, 2D materials, DIY super batteries), there were also some weird and wonderful items that found their way into our world. From coffee alarm clocks to window-cleaning robots, here are a few gadgets that spiced up our lives this year.

Wake up to the power of scent

When’s the last time your alarm clock woke you up pleasantly? Unlike traditional alarms that jolt you out of bed with loud sirens or vibrations, the Sensorwake olfactory alarm clock gently rouses you with pleasant aromas like espresso, peppermint, chocolate—even croissant. This clever contraption works by using dry-air diffusion, much like a plug-in air freshener. Each scent cartridge is 100% recyclable and lasts for 30 “awakenings.” The alarm clock should be able to wake you up within two minutes. But, if you happen to snooze through (stuck in peppermint slumber, perhaps?), the clock has a handy backup melody that kicks in 3 minutes after the scent is emitted.

What would make it wonderfully weirder: If the alarm clock brewed real coffee. More on that below.

Bedside barista

If the mere smell of coffee isn’t enough to get you up in the morning, then how about a cup of the real thing? Unlike the olfactory-stimulating alarm clocks, the Barisieur brewing alarm clock wakes you up to a fresh cup of coffee or tea—right by your bedside. All you do is fill it up at night with water and ground coffee, set the timer—and wake up to a steamy, beautiful cup of joe. The system works its magic through an induction heater to ensure optimal safety and efficient boiling. The clock even includes a milk cooler, sealed drawers for coffee and sugar, a USB to charge your phone, and—wait for it—a fully functional LED clock.

What would make it wonderfully weirder: If it hooked up to your mouth like an IV drip, instantly waking you up the moment a drop of coffee hits your tongue.

With this ring, I thee talk

We used to worry about taking our cell phone out during meetings. Then the smartwatch came along and we could subtly sneak a peek at our daily notifications. Now, you can just glance down at your finger with OKTO—the first smart ring you can use to make calls. This wearable device syncs with your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch to dial and receive phone calls (how wonderful). To talk, just push a button on the ring and cup your hand over your ear (…how weird).

What would make it wonderfully weirder: A subtle digital display to show you texts, missed calls or voicemails. But, we understand that would be a little difficult to read, not to mention the stares you’d get when you glance at your ring during a meeting. But whatever, you’re already walking around cupping your hand to your face.

A smarter water reminder

Sometimes the cure to life’s ills is just making sure you’re drinking enough water. As simple as that sounds, many of us tend to forget to drink throughout the day and lose track of our daily intake. That’s where Hidrate Spark comes in. This smart water bottle has a sensor inside that records your water consumption and detects when you’re falling behind. The gadget pairs with an app on your phone, where you build on your personal hydration goal by entering any amount you’ve drunk without the bottle. When it’s time to drink, the bottle alerts you by emitting a friendly, gentle glow. If enabled, location services can track down your bottle should you ever happen to lose it.

What would make it wonderfully weirder: If the alerts barked out orders to you instead of just glowing. It would be like having your own personal hydration coach!

Training wheels for your Pokéball throwing

When a tech gadget is built specifically for Pokémon Go, it’s bound to be a little weird. Catalyst Tool for Pokémon Go is a funky, but surprisingly useful, bumper-style accessory for your smartphone. It lays two rubber strips on your screen, acting as a guide for your finger. That way, you can perfectly aim and throw Pokéballs within the Pokémon app. The tool is waterproof with military-grade durability, so you can really rough it with your Poké-game without (allegedly) damaging your phone. The only catch to this gotta-catch-em-all accessory is that it only attaches to the Catalyst iPhone case (sold separately).

What would make it wonderfully weirder: If it provided a sensor at the top of the phone so it could keep you from bumping into real-life things.

Instantly memorable memories

When’s the last time you shared a photo? Not the virtual kind sent through email or social media, but an actual printed photo… shared through physical hand-to-hand contact. HP Sprocket debuted this year to make physical photo sharing faster, brighter, and (yes) a little weirder. The portable printing device connects with your smartphone or tablet so you can print photos or stickers virtually anytime, anywhere. Simply start by snapping a photo or uploading one from your phone or social media accounts. Then you can use the HP Sprocket App to customize your photos—add filters, frames, emojis, text, and more. Then instantly print your creations. The second your prints leave the printer, they’re colorful, smudge-proof, and water- and tear-resistant.2 If you’re feeling frisky, HP ZINK® photo paper offers peel-and-stick backing so you can stick those pics wherever your heart desires.

What would make it wonderfully weirder: If, along with printing beautiful photos, it also helped you wake up, make phone calls, track your water intake, and improve your Poké-game. Well, there’s always next year!