LunaR Smartwatch Won’t Run Down

lunar smartwatchSmartwatches are a fun, if not yet, essential, gadget to have.  Most of them require you to have a smartphone handy, so really, they’re just an extension of your phone.

Still, it’s nice to be able to check on email or texts or get a reminder of an appointment without having to pull the phone out.  Some of the better smartwatches also look like real watches, so people won’t be looking at you like you’re some kind of geek.

If there’s one major drawback to smartwatches, however, it’s the fact that they suck power like crazy.  Most people like to put their watch on when they want to wear it, and take it off and throw it on the dresser  or in a drawer when they’re done with it.

When they get it back out of the drawer, they expect it to work.  That, of course, isn’t what happens with a smartwatch, as some of them run out of power after as little as 8 hours of use.

The LunaR smartwarch plans to change that.  The LunaR isn’t yet available; it’s being funded via Kickstarter.  Of course, given that they’ve already received four times the funding they were asking for with a couple of weeks remaining in the campaign, it looks like the LunaR smartwatch will actually ship.

It’s about time.   Solar powered watches aren’t exactly new; Citizen has had solar powered watches available for years.  So why has it taken so long for smartwatch manufacturers to figure out that solar power would be a great way to keep their watches running?

The lunar is a pretty nice looking watch, too.  It looks like a regular watch, so you won’t raise eyebrows when you’re walking around wearing it.

It offers a nice, gentle vibration when you have an incoming notification.  It’s iOS and Android compatible.  And it will run indefinitely, according to the makers, if you expose it to at least one hour of sunlight or artificial light per day.

The LunaR smartwatch also has a few other features that should be useful:

Dual timezone capability.  You can keep track of the time where you are and wherever home might be, and the LunaR will show you the time where you are based on the GPS unit that’s built in.

The LunaR has built-in sunrise and sunset tracking, for those of you who are into outdoor sports that rely on such things.

It also has the activity tracking that has become more or less mandatory for smartwatches these days, and it will let you know when you’ve met your goals for the day.

The LunaR will also monitor your sleep, keeping track of when you’re sleeping and when you aren’t so you can get the best sleep possible.

Here’s a nice change; the LnaR smartwatch is also water resistant to 50 meters.  That means that you can not only get it wet, but you can actually go swimming with it, if you like.

On top of that, you get actual sapphire crystal, so all of that outdoor activity you’re doing isn’t likely to crack the glass.

The best part is that the LunaR is also available for less than $150 as a special deal at Kickstarter.  Pretty amazing.

Eventually, every smartwatch is going to have solar power, but right now, LunaR is the only one.

NuTone Knock Video Doorbell

nutone Knock
New technology – the NuTone Knock

There was a time when people knocked on doors if they wanted to get the homeowner’s attention.  Eventually someone invented the doorbell, which came in handy as homes became larger.  It’s not always easy to hear a knock on the door in a larger home, and a bell or a chime is a big help, especially since you can buy an extender to allow the doorbell to be heard all over the home.

Still, in these times, hearing that someone is at the door is useful, but not useful enough.   What you want to know is who is at the door.  A friend?  A neighbor?  A criminal who means to do you harm?  With a regular doorbell, you don’t know.

That’s where the NuTone Knock video doorbell can help.   The NuTone Knock replaces you regular doorbell with one that offers more features and additional peace of mind.

The NuTone Knock has built-in voltage detection to make it easy to install using your doorbell’s existing power.  That means that you won’t have to worry about battery problems, which can often be an issue in the winter, when cold weather sucks the voltage out of batteries.  It also has extended range wi-fi, which means that you can connect it to your home’s wireless network without having to add a range extender to your network.

What?  Add a doorbell to your home’s wireless network?  Why?

Because the NuTone Knock will not only allow you to see who is at your door, but it will allow you to know that someone is at your door and to see who it is no matter where you might happen to be.

door knocker
Old technology

That’s right; this particular doorbell is wi-fi enabled and it works with your smartphone.  When someone rings your doorbell, or even approaches your door (thanks to motion detection circuitry,) the NuTone Knock will alert you via the included app.

You’ll be able to see who is there.  The NuTone Knock is also capable of recording video to the cloud, so you can play it back later and see who was there.

The doorbell includes a high quality night vision camera, which makes it possible to see who is there even in low-light conditions.  It’s weather resistant, so it should work well for years even in harsh conditions.  In fact, the NuTone Knock has been designed to work reliably in temperatures ranging from -22° to 122° F.  That should cover just about any set of conditions you’re likely to have at your home.

You can also turn off the chime when you’re home and you do not want to be disturbed, such as when you or your child are taking a nap.

Of course, the NuTone Knock also includes an intercom, so you can speak with whomever happens to be at your door.  That’s true even if you live in Los Angeles and you happen to be in Paris when that doorbell rings.  Not a problem; just get on your phone and you can see who is at the door and you can speak to them.

Obviously, a full-featured device is going to cost a bit more than your average doorbell.  The NuTone Knock will retail for about $250 and will be available soon at Amazon.

A Does-It-All 3D Printer

zeus 3d printerCool gadgets come along all the time, but 3D printing is one of the more interesting new trends in technology.

It’s nice to be able to print on paper, but a 3D printer will allow you to actually create physical objects.  The problem with many 3D printers is that you first have to scan the image, and then you have to get some clunky software to model whatever it is you scanned and then you have to import that to the device and hope that it all works out.

The Zeus, from AIO Robotics, is designed to be an all-in-one solution to 3D printing needs that basically allows you to do all of the work that you need to do on a single device.  The Zeus can scan and then you can tweak the image using the software that’s built in to the unit.

The software is said to be so easy to use, via the built-in 7″ touchscreen, that you can supposedly start printing within 10 minutes of taking the unit out of the box.

In addition, the filament system is not proprietary, which means that it may work with filament that you have from a previous project.

The turntable and some other parts are easily removed for cleaning and/or troubleshooting, and several of the Zeus parts are themselves 3D printable, making it possible to fabricate replacements should they break.    I’m guessing that none of these parts are essential to printing, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to print them if they were broken.

The Zeus has built-in wi-fi and can automatically report any problems to tech support, which promises 24 hour response time.

The Zeus 3D printer started out as a successful Kickstarter project and now is being sold o the public.  The unit features a 1.7 Ghz quadcore processor, a 7″ color touch screen, a simple quick color change mechanism, a built-in scanner, and a removable turntable with auto bed-leveling.

zeus 3d printingIf you don’t have a wireless network, the Zeus can also connect to the Internet via USB.  The unit is truly plug-and-play, and they say you can use it in minutes.

There are some limits to the capabilities of the Zeus; at the moment, it can print objects of up to 6 inches in length, 8 inches in width, and 5.7 inches in height.  It can print to a resolution of 80 micros.

The built-in touchscreen controls printing, scanning, online file search, on-board editing, and slicing of files, all of which can be done without the use of an external computer.

Of course, all of this technology, while cool, doesn’t come cheap.  The Zeus sells for roughly $2300, and doesn’t include any filament, which you’ll have to buy separately for about $20 per roll.

Still, if you’re not a tech whiz or a design guru, the Zeus offers a good way to get started in 3D printing without the need for an engineering degree.

Quick Power at Your Fingertips

belkin pocket powerIf you use a smartphone, you’ll know that they’re convenient, easy to use, and power hungry.  When older phones might go for days or even a week without charging, a smartphone can often run out of power before you’re done for the day.

That’s why it can be helpful to have some extra power on hand that isn’t going to take up a lot of space or be too much trouble to carry around.

Belkin’s new Pocket Power series of portable battery packs seem to fit the bill.  Their press release says they have three new models (though their Website currently only shows on for sale.)   Apparently, the two larger models will be available at a later date.

Belkin has quite a track record of making computer and mobile phone accessories, so you know that these will likely deliver as promised and be fast and reliable.

The three models of the Pocket Power provide 5000 mAh, 10,000 mAh, and 15,000 mAh, depending on your needs.

These Pocket Power units use new polymer battery technology, which provides more power at a lighter weight.  The chargers themselves are slim and somewhat smartphone shaped, and will be available in several colors.  Each will come with a 6″ micro USB cable and 4 LED indicators that will show you the remaining power level.

The 5000 mAh unit can charge most smartphones at least 1.5 times, giving you an extra 19 hours of talk time or another 11 hours of 3 G time on an iPhone 7.

A built in safety circuit will automatically shut the Pocket Power unit down in the event of any circuit abnormalities or overheating.

Not only that, but you also get a $2500 Connected Equipment warranty, which will protect you in the event that a defective Pocket Power unit should damage your phone.

The case is made of durable, lightweight plastic, so it will be easy to carry and sturdy enough to withstand day to day use.

The Pocket Power unit is compatible with most smartphones; you should check the compatibility list to make sure that it works with yours.

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