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Top 5 Gadgets from the Internet of Things

Top 5 Gadgets from the Internet of Things

Internet of Things is the new buzz word around Internet circles. People are learning about new devices that are being made everyday. I recently talked to my friends Debraj and Dinesh, PhDs from Georgia State University, working with things related to the internet or Internet of Things. They introduced me to the fascinating Internet of Things and I got to test some of the apps they were building. They also introduced me to some apps that have been built by other large laboratories around the Internet. With that context, let us quickly jump to the apps.

1. Your Phone Made of Lego Like Bricks

What if your phone was made of bricks that could be replaced as needed? The possibilities are endless with such design. You could change your screen to an HD one by simply removing the current one and plugging in an HD screen. You could upgrade your phone to a better processor without rendering the old phone useless. Same applies to almost all of the hardware that is in your phone. Interestingly, it’s not a new mobile operating system or any software that does this. It’s all about the tangible parts (hardware)! This is the age of modular Smartphone blocks.  Just like Lego bricks, but only for Smartphones. This cool idea was recently presented by Phonebloks project initiative.

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2. Roads that Operate to Save Energy

This is no Harry Potter stuff. We’re talking about things happening right here on planet Earth.  Internet of Things researchers are working with roads that can “mind their surroundings” (Batman anyone?). These smart roads will host cheap sensors arrays that can proactively and/or reactively turn the road lights ON only when cars are passing by. Think of the energy savings! But that’s not all! These roads will also have the technical ability to have lights powered by vehicle wind drafts and induction based on-the-go charging of electric cars, among other ambitious features.

 3. Apps for PCs to Control Appliances

We are not talking about simple apps for PCs that could simply play games meant for smartphones. While it’s cool to have Temple Run for your PC, Internet of Things goes beyond that by controlling the appliances in your home via the Internet. Think of a cold winter evening and having the ability to turn the heater on in your car or home before you step out so it can be nice and toasty when you get there.  What if a device heated the milk for your baby every time your baby felt hungry? This is all possible with a combination of technologies.

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MC10

    MC10 is working on wearable electronics to monitor everything about our bodies, even cosmetics. There’s also something called a, Cyber-physical-system that attaches to these devices to open up endless possibilities for developers to create exciting apps that we’ve never even thought about.

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    4. Ice Cubes that Text Your Friends to Play DD

    Those who tends to lose control of how many drinks they had, need a way to alert their friends (or a service) when they are too drunk to drive back home. No worries though as there are now ice-cubes that will text your friends when that happens. Thanks to this neat technology by Dhairya Dand, a student at MIT media lab.

    The ice cubes change colors based on how much have you been drinking to give you a visual indicator of your consumption. However, if you do not pay heed to this indicator, it will eventually text your friends (or whoever you have suggested) that you are too drunk to drive.

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    5. What Song to Play?

    I was impressed with Shazam’s technology that told me what song was playing in the background. I never had to remember each and every song just because I wanted to hear it. Now, put that technology on steroids and you don’t need Shazam any more. Microsoft is working on ear buds that will play music based on your mood, health and situation.

    The project is called Musical Heart and is undertaken by University of Virginia’s center for wireless health. It is part of the Septimu project of Microsoft.

    With all these cool devices and services that were presented, it felt as though I got an amazing peek into the future and it looks absolutely amazing!

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    Mukesh Agarwal

    Professional Blogger

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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