If you're a late adopter of smart TVs, picking up one of the best devices for streaming TV is going to be essential for a top-notch viewing experience. Besides cutting down on unnecessary cables and other clutter, picking up a discrete streaming device gives you the option to watch just about anywhere as long as you have an HDMI compatible display and stable internet connection.
Form factor is the most obvious difference between these devices but is far from your only concern. You'll want to stay apprised of the streaming services or applications that are offered on a particular platform, as well as what formats are supported as not all streaming devices offer 4K or HDR yet.
The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K wants to upgrade your tried-and-true entertainment experience with its new streaming stick. Select from over 500,000 movies and TV shows from providers like Hulu, Netflix, STARZ, SHOWTIME, HBO, and Prime Video, and catch live TV if you have subscriptions like Playstation Vue, Sling TV, and Hulu. Users can access millions of websites like Facebook and YouTube, as well as music streaming services, podcasts, and live radio stations such as Amazon Music and Spotify. For the ultimate visual and audio experience, the stick is compatible with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
The Fire TV Sticks latest iteration also features Amazon Alexa, which is capable of everything from helping you select what new show you should watch to controlling the lights, checking live camera feeds, and monitoring the weather. The stick features a powerful 1.7 GHz processor, and our testing revealed rapid loading times. The addition of physical volume controls and power buttons, also means you no longer have to deal with multiple remotes to control one device.
The Roku Streaming Stick+ is our favorite low-cost streaming device. Whatever kind of subscription services you use, chances are this little device will have an app for it. Like many of the other devices on this list, the Roku plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV and connects to your homes Wi-Fi signal using a long-range wireless receiver.
The Roku is a great way to consolidate all your different platforms into one place, allowing you to switch from live TV on Sling to your favorite shows on Netflix and Disney+ with the click of a button. It even has content from Apple TV. This eliminates the need to create a patchwork of different streaming devices that you have to switch between on your TV. The Streaming Stick+ has also built TV controls into its remote, which means you can turn on and adjust the setting on your TV without having to switch back and forth.
If youve cut the cord on your cable service and switched over to streaming services only, you may realize you miss some of the programming from over-the-air channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and The CW there are a lot of great shows and sporting events on these channels that you can watch for free. TiVO has provided a solution for this. If you purchase a digital antenna and a TiVO Bolt OTA, you can record shows over the air and play them back at your convenience.
The TiVO Bolt OTA acts as a digital DVR for all the shows you watch from free channels. It has 1 TB of memory and can record up to 150 hours of HD content. The Bolt OTA can also stream shows from services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and YouTube if you feel like using only one device for everything. Unlike most other boxes in this category, the Bolt OTA requires you to buy the box for $250 and then pay for the TiVO service to get the most out of it. This will run you $7 a month, $70 annually, or a one-time payment of $250. This pricing is a little steep, but if you love network shows and live sports, it very well may be worth it to supplement your other streaming services.
"Always check your streaming devices output settings and make sure you have a healthy network environment to ensure the best overall viewing experience." Alice Newcome-Beill, Associate Commerce Editor
Amazons Fire TV Cube hopes to replace the TV remote entirely. A combination of the Echo speaker and Fire TV stick, it will be your new smart home and entertainment hub that follows your every voice command. And as with most of Amazon's other branded devices, you can use the Alexa assistant to control your TV, cable box, soundbar or other audio equipment. If you want to turn on the TV, just say Alexa, turn on the TV. Ask it to play your favorite shows or music, too. During our testing, we found that even the volume can be controlled through voice commands.
Amazon's Fire entertainment hub gives you instant access to all your favorite streaming services like Prime Video, Netflix, HBO, Showtime and more. All totaled, there are more than 500,00 movies and TV episodes. That includes a large number of 4K Ultra HD-ready content that streams at a super-smooth 60fps. The Fire TV Cube also gives you direct access to YouTube, Facebook, and more with two built-in web browsers.
If you have a 4K TV and a great sound system in your entertainment center, youre going to want a streaming device that delivers the highest-quality image and sound. In that case, the NVIDIA Shield Android TV streaming device is hard to beat. Its design is a bit different from the others on this list instead of placing it under your TV or plugging it directly into the HDMI port, the Shield connects to your TV via an HDMI cable (sold separately) and sits down behind your entertainment center out of sight.
The NVIDIA Shield prioritizes speed and power with the companys own Tegra X1+ processor, making it one of the fastest and most advanced devices on this list this makes it the best option for gamers as well. Even if youre just planning to stream shows and movies, the Shield packs in features like Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio to make your media look and sound its best. It also has video upscaling features to optimize non-4K content for your 4K screen. With apps for all the major streaming services, the NVIDIA Shield Android TV gives you access to the most 4K content at its best quality.
"Whether downloading a new game, loading up one wed already downloaded, browsing the Playstore, or playing music from Google Music, all experiences were responsive and seamless, without any hiccups." Yoona Wagener, Product Tester
Rokus new flagship, the Ultra is a fantastic choice for streaming fans looking for the best-featured option. At 4.9 x 4.9 x .8 inches, the square-ish Ultra is capable of supporting both 4K and HDR picture quality with a powerful quad-core processor. The 4K Ultra HD streaming is handled at 60fps, or four times the resolution of 1080p HD, and, thanks to a new design, runs without fans. Theres an HDMI port, Ethernet port (plus 802.11 a/c), digital output, microSD slot for additional storage and a USB port. Unfortunately, theres no HDMI cable included, which is a strange omission.
Thanks to a powerful processor, navigating Rokus already friendly menu system is a cinch.Channel selection is front and center and shows apps that have been downloaded. The Ultra, like a number of other Roku devices, offers voice search, which works fairly well overall. Speak the name of the show, actor, director or app into the remote control or mobile app (Android and iOS) and voila, your results will pop up. The remote is standard Roku fashion with the colorful Purple direction pad and a slew of shortcuts to big name apps and other controlling functions.
There is a 4K spotlight app that highlights UHD content across a variety of services. Night mode is a welcome addition that tones down big explosions and highlights dialogue so you can let the rest of the house sleep while you watch late at night. The combination of the new processor, 4Kand HDR streaming, plus one of the most expansive channel selections, means the Ultra won't disappoint.
The latest version of the popular Apple TV streaming devices comes with 4K support and built-in Siri functionality. Gone are the days of the frustrating click-wheel remote now you can use voice commands to effortlessly find your favorite content. The Apple App Store gives you access to apps for all your streaming services, including YouTube (finally).
As with all Apple products, youll get the most out of the Apple TV if youre already in the brands ecosystem. Apple TV effortlessly syncs to your Apple Music, iTunes, and Photos accounts and lets you seamlessly mirror content from your Macbook or iPhone to your TV. New support for 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos sound will make your media look and sound fantastic a definite bonus if youre already invested in some quality gear for your entertainment center.
With the Fire TV Recast, youre able to watch live TV or record your favorite shows using Fire TV, Echo Show, or compatible mobile devices. Amazons first step into the future of entertainment, the Recast gives you access to over-the-air(OTA) channels, works with Prime Videos, and provides access to premium subscription services like HBO, Starz, and Showtime. Though a separate HD antenna is necessary to access OTA channels, the Fire TV mobile app helps you set it up in a spot with the best possible reception.
The entry-level, two-tuner Recast lets you record and watch up to two programs at once, and is able to store up to 75 hours of HD DVR recordings. Upgrading to the four-tuner, 1TB model will introduce the option to store up to 150 hours. Pair the Recast with an Alexa-enabled device to search for shows, change channels, browse, or schedule recordings, all with just a voice command.
Unlike past generations of Googles Chromecast, the Chromecast with Google TV includes a remote control that makes the device so much easier to use. The remote can control your TV, receiver, and soundbar in addition to your Chromecast, and it features Google Assistant for voice searches, asking questions, and controlling compatible smart home devices. If you have the Chromecast with Google TV, you dont even need a smart speaker in your TV room, as you can turn off your smart lights using the Google Assistant on your remote.
With 4K resolution, and HDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+, youll get stunning picture quality on your 4K TV or projector, along with support for Dolby Atmos sound. The Google TV interfacea version of Android TVcombines all of your streaming services onto one main menu, so you can find your favorite shows and movies right on a main screen. Youll find content from services you subscribe to all in one place without having to click into the individual apps, whether you subscribe to Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, YouTube TV, or a number of others.
The Chromecast with Google TV comes in three color options: snow, sky, and sunrise. It has a small profile, and its easy to install and set up. Plus, with a price tag of around $50, its an excellent value too.
Unless you're an avid viewer of Youtube, the obvious choice is the current version of Amazon's Fire TV Stick. This device is host to a litany of services and applications and won't break the bank. However, users that buy into the Apple ecosystem may find more utility with the latest iteration of the Apple TV.
Our expert reviewers and testers test streaming media devices by using them just like an average consumer would. We look at how easy the setup process is, particularly when it comes to connecting accounts and using the software platform to find and manage content. We also use objective measures by looking at their specs, their streaming quality, and if they're capable of streaming at 4K HDR. Finally, we look at the price and compare the device to rivals to make our ultimate judgment. All the streaming media devices were purchased by Lifewire; none were provided by the manufacturer.
Yoona Wagener has a background in content and technical writing. She has written for Bustle,Idealist Careers,BigTime Software, and other small tech companies. She is an expert in streaming devices, home theater, and entertainment setups.
Erika Rawes has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. She's previously been published in Digital Trends, USA Today, Cheatsheet.com, and more, specializing in consumer electronics and the latest gadgets.
If you already own a Smart TV, do you need another streaming device?Depending on who makes your TV and which services you subscribe to, you may not even need a Roku, Fire Stick, or Chromecast. Most Smart TVs have access to a wide variety of streaming applications, although some models do feature some curious omissions. LG TVs for example, currently lack support for Discovery Plus as well as a number of other fringe services.
What kind of internet connection do you need for your streaming device to be effective?With the vast majority of content being streamed being at least 1080p, a minimum of a 5 Mbps internet connection is a necessity. Of course, having better bandwidth will allow you to stream 4K content without interruptions.
Will a streaming device work in your country?Yes. While there are some services and shows that may either be region locked or region-specific, you can still get around these restrictions by using a VPN.
If you have a 4K television, and a fast internet connection, then a television streaming device that supports 4K is the perfect way to watch ultra-high-definition content. If you dont have a 4K television yet, then getting a streaming device with 4K resolution will future proof your setup.
Streaming devices typically connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, but plugging in a physical Ethernet cable is much more dependable. If you want to avoid annoyances like buffering, make sure that you have the option to use Ethernet when you really need it. Some TV streaming devices have an optional Ethernet adapter for just this reason.
Most TV-streaming devices support most video streaming services, but dont take it for granted that this will always be the case. If you already subscribe to any streaming services, make sure that the streaming device you choose actually has apps for them.
Many Authors use literary devices without even realizing it. For example, if you exaggerate and say, This method has the potential to revolutionize the world, thats hyperbole. Your method may be impactful, but it probably isnt really going to upend the way every single country does things.
More complicated literary devices are a common feature in fiction, but most nonfiction books dont need them. A nonfiction Authors job is to deliver information in an engaging way. Engaging doesnt necessarily mean literary.
Alliteration is also particularly effective for highlighting concepts you want your readers to remember. For example, if the takeaway of your chapter is a pithy, one-line sentence, alliteration can really make it stand out. Think, Clear communication is key.
In storytelling, onomatopoeia is an effective way to draw your reader into the environment. For example, if youre telling an anecdote about a meeting you had with a client, its more vivid to say, He plopped a sugar cube into his coffee and slurped, than to say, He drank his coffee with sugar.
But in nonfiction, foreshadowing tends to be more obvious. Authors often use it to tell readers what they can expect to learn. For example, an Author might say, Were going to talk more about this example later, or Ill discuss this at length in Chapter Three.
Hyperbole is an exaggeration thats not meant to be taken literally. For example, if my friend surprised me by eating a lot of pizza, I might say, Hey man, remember that time you ate, like, fifteen pizzas in one night?
Good nonfiction Authors often use hyperbole to emphasize the power of their statements. For example, We all know how miserable it can be to work 24/7. Do we really all know that? And its impossible to literally work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For example, My boss congratulated me for landing the largest account our company had ever seen. It was hard to believe that only seven months earlier, I was struggling to keep the few clients I already had.
Its much rarer, although possible, to write nonfiction from the third-person perspective. For example, They saw how powerful their methods could be. Sometimes co-authors choose this method to avoid first-person confusion.
For example, if an Author is writing about sexual harassment in the workplace, they may not want to repeat lewd phrases and could use euphemisms instead. Or, an Author who wants to avoid the political controversy around the term abortion might opt for pregnancy termination.
A colloquialism is a word or phrase thats not formal or literary. It tends to be used in ordinary or familiar conversation instead. For example, its more colloquial to say, Hows it going? instead of How are you doing?
No matter how professional your audience is, some colloquialism can make your book feel more relatable. Readers like to feel as if theyre talking with the Author. Colloquialism can help you create that personal, one-on-one feeling.
In nonfiction, you generally wont encounter a lot of opportunities for anthropomorphism, but some Authors may want to humanize their products or services. For example, your software may be friendly or kind to new users.
For example, Charles Dickens uses anaphora in the opening of A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief
PRO TIP: In grammar, anaphora has a different meaning. It occurs when you replace a word with another word to avoid repetition. For example, I broke my phone, so I have to buy a new one, instead of I broke my phone, so I have to buy a new phone. This kind of anaphora is helpful when you dont want to sound redundant or repetitive.
An anachronism is a chronological inconsistency where you juxtapose people, things, or sayings from different time periods. If you were reading a book about colonial America where characters talk about cars, that would be anachronistic.
A malapropism is the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one. This usually creates some kind of humorous effect. Imagine a person saying, I know how to dance the flamingo, instead of, I know how to dance flamenco.
Lets say youre telling a story about an interaction with a client that didnt go the way you expected. You might write, Things seemed to be going well, but little did I know, she had already hired someone else.
At the moment you were meeting with the client, you didnt have that information. But now, the reader does. So, they get to follow along with the rest of the story, knowing more than you did at the time.
Verbal irony occurs when a person says one thing but means another. Sarcasm is a good example of verbal irony. For example, you might say, It was a wonderful dinner, when, in fact, the food was terrible, and your partner showed up an hour late.
Be careful not to overuse rhetorical questions because too many can get tedious. But used sparingly, theyre a great way to invite your reader into the conversation and highlight the benefits of your knowledge.
Polysyndeton comes from the Ancient Greek for many and bound together. As its name implies, its a literary technique in which conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) are used repeatedly in quick succession.
In most cases, youll use a regular list instead of polysyndeton (e.g., I like cats, dogs, and ferrets.). But when its used correctly, polysyndeton is useful for drawing emphasis to different aspects of a sentence.
Take this statement, for example: He wasnt the worst lawyer I had ever seen, but he could have been more organized. You arent completely bashing the lawyer, but youre still showing theres room for improvement.
An epigraph is a great way to honor a writer or thinker you admire. It also immediately puts your work in conversation with theirs. In nonfiction, an epigraph can be a great way to signal to readers, Hey, Tim Ferriss book has informed mine!
Do you take herbalcapsulesregularly?Did you know thatit's super easy (and cost-effective) to make your own?Unlikegrabbing a bottle off thestore shelf, making capsules at home allows you to knowthat the herbs you're taking are fresh, organic, free from fillers, and formulated to suit your specific needs.Our capsule machineand empty capsules are easy to use and a breeze to clean.
Raychel Kolen, blog contributor, originally hails from the Midwest but has been calling Oregon her home for more than a decade. With her masters degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, Raychel enjoys storytelling in all its forms and especially relishes the opportunities to visit our farm partners in the Pacific Northwest and across the globe, shining a light on the remarkable efforts these hardworking farmers are doing to grow and nourish our beloved botanicals. When she isnt thinking about marketing strategy or teaching workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair, Raychel can be found adventuring in the outdoors, foraging for wild mushrooms, fermenting fresh veggies in her kitchen, or hanging out with her hubby and sweet rescue dogs.
The innovation consists of a method for fabricating containers (biocapsules) made of biocompatible mesh for holding living cells and tissues, to facilitate transplantation into the body, for a wide range of high-impact medical applications. The biocompatible mesh (buckypaper) is made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and the containers are fabricated by depositing the nanotubes onto pre-formed molds, in order to achieve the desired shape and size of the biocapsule. Various forms are possible, including hollow tubes, closed cylinders, and more complex shapes, determined by the configuration of the mold. The biocompatibility of the capsule makes it possible to implant a variety of cells into a host, even cells that would otherwise be considered foreign, such as cells from unmatched donors, specially engineered cells, and even nonhuman cells. Because the capsule pores are too small for the cells to pass, the cells stay inside the capsule, where they are protected from the host immune system. The pores of the biocapsule permit gas exchange (oxygen, carbon dioxide), as well as free diffusion of metabolites, which keeps the cells healthy. Tissue or tissue fragments, and micro- or nano-scale medical devices can also be placed inside the biocapsule to facilitate their implantation into the body.
Figure 1. Schematic illustration showing Engineered Cells (cells with synthetic biology elements) inside a CNT mesh biocapsule. The CNT mesh (insert) surrounds the cells and protects the cells from the host immune system, but allows gas exchange and metabolite exchange to take place. Therapeutic molecules (drugs) may be released by the engineered cells for a wide range of medical applications. Fabrication of the biocapsule is accomplished by the use of a perforated mold, which allows CNTs in suspension or solution to be deposited by vacuum filtration. Other methods of creating a pressure differential between the outside of the mold and the inside of the mold can be used to drive the CNT deposition process. The mesh builds up gradually, over the course of minutes, so the thickness of the mesh can be controlled by the time of deposition. The fabrication procedure results in a mesh that is held together entirely by entanglement and non-covalent interaction between the CNTs.
Filtration of CNTs onto the surface of a mold as the method of biocapsule fabrication is superior to other methods of fabrication that require assembly from multiple pieces of buckypaper, since these methods require seams in order to create a closed container. Seams result in weakness of the biocapsule and can result in leakage of the transplanted cells outside the container, which defeats the immune-shielding function of the biocapsule. The perforated mold/filtration method makes biocapsule manufacture more efficient, and makes possible a wider range of shapes of the biocapsule, to facilitate transplantation into a wider range of sites in the body. The perforated mold/filtration method also allows small beads to be incorporated into the wall of the biocapsule. Small beads, functionalized with bioactive materials, may be used to maintain the health or enhance the function of the cells inside the biocapsule, or may be used to enhance biocompatibility.
Figure 2. The Biocapsule in a cylindrical configuration (left), fabricated by deposition of CNTs (black) onto a perforated mold (white). An electron microscope image shows the detailed structure of the biocapsule CNT mesh (right). A wide range of NASA medical applications for deep space missions are envisioned for this technology, including the delivery of protein growth factors (such as granulocyte colony stimulating factor, G-CSF) that could help to restore white blood cells that may become depleted in the event of acute radiation exposure in space. Terrestrial spin-off applications may include treatment of diabetes, for those patients requiring insulin; delivery of chemotherapy agents for treatment of unresectable tumors; and numerous gene therapy applications, especially for treatment of diseases that result from lack of a key protein or enzyme. In addition to medical applications, the NASA biocapsule is viewed as an enabling technology for many applications of Synthetic Biology involving cell-based manufacturing where compartmentalization and separation are required, both in space and on Earth. The NASA biocapsule has been featured on the BBC television science documentary series Horizon (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01b45zh), and on the technology web site Gizmodo (http://gizmodo.com/5882725/the-miraculous-nasa-breakthrough-thatcould-save-millions-of-lives).
The kitchen has often been called the heart of the homebut why cant it be the brains, too? The Internet of Things is making possible a new wave of smart kitchen gadgets, from sensors that know when the stove has been left on to forks that remind us to slow down and savor each bite. Heres a roundup of IoT products that are changing the way we order, store, cook and consume food in our homes. The following Channel Guide will help you: Sort and compare devices based on function, app scores and pricing. Determine if the gadget is compatible with your Android or iOS device and existing smart home hub system. Point you to more resources on tutorials, instruction manuals and how to get the best results from your newly connected kitchen.
The kitchen has often been called the heart of the homebut why cant it be the brains, too? The Internet of Things is making possible a new wave of smart kitchen gadgets, from sensors that know when the stove has been left on to forks that remind us to slow down and savor each bite. Heres a roundup of IoT products that are changing the way we order, store, cook and consume food in our homes. The following Channel Guide will help you:
Barcodes arent just for cashiers anymore. The following devices let consumers use them in the home as a quick way to manage shared grocery lists. In addition to scanning barcodes, these gadgets can also accept voice commands and even place grocery delivery orders to save you a trip to the store.
Description: The Dash wand collects items for your list and orders them through Amazon Fresh, a local delivery service which also includes hundreds of thousands of non-grocery Amazon items. Fresh is still being rolled out to select cities, so Dash isnt yet widely available.
Description: Hiku is much more than a chunky fridge magnet. As you scan or tell it which groceries you need, it can integrate with a number of third-party shopping lists. Planned updates will add online price comparisons and online ordering, though specific grocery delivery partners havent been announced yet.
Description: GeniCan may be the only commercial IoT device thats actually meant to be unboxed and put straight in the trash. Perching on the lid of a waste bin, it scans or takes voice recordings to track items as you throw them away, so youre always ready to restock the pantry. Online ordering is planned, but no word yet on who the delivery partners will be.
Description: Kepler, a natural gas and carbon monoxide monitor, could just as easily live in any room of the house, or even in the basement near a gas-fired boiler. But its especially useful in the kitchen, where it can check for gas buildup from a leaky or forgotten stove. It also doubles as a handy kitchen timertwist the dial to set a countdown, and wave your hand to silence alarms.
Description: Smoke is just one of the many air quality indicators Birdi monitors. Others include carbon monoxide, pollen, particulates, temperature and humidity. If any of these rise to worrisome levels, Birdi will alert you and anyone else you authorize -- family, friends, neighbors -- with a text message, or an automated call to a landline. That way youll know somethings wrong even when youre not at home to hear the alarm. Multiple Birdi devices can also repeat alarms from other rooms or even other houses if your neighbors connect their Birdi to yours.
Parents may impose a no screens rule at the dinner table, but that doesnt mean your meal cant involve some smart technology. Here a few devices that use data and immediate feedback to help us be more mindful of what were eating and drinking.
Description: Beverage calories are some of the hardest to eliminate, especially when weve become dependent on caffeine and sugar boosts to get us through the day. Vessyl does the thinking for you, with internal sensors that analyze the ingredients to determine what, how much and how often youre drinkingas well as tracking nutritional metrics like caffeine intake, calories consumed, and hydration.
Description: Yes, even the humble kitchen jar can get an upgrade thanks to IoT technology. Neo not only holds dry goods, but actually measures how much is left with a built-in digital scale. Once you tell it whats inside, Neo can suggest recipes, calculate the nutrient content of each serving, and even automatically refill itself by placing orders from online delivery services.
Description: This smart egg tray lets you know how many eggs you have left in the fridge while you're out at the grocery store. Each egg slot has a sensor that keeps track of every egg's individual shelf life based on when it was added to the carton, and LED lights indicate which of the remaining eggs are freshest.
While not exclusive to the kitchen, voice-activated smart home hubs are pretty handy when your own hands are covered in flour or stuffed into oven mitts. Whether dictating recipes from your favorite food bloggers or quickly converting teaspoons to pints, these talking gadgets are ideal sous chefs.
Description: Ubi is an Android-based ubiquitous computer that, the designers claim, will eventually be able to do just about anything that involves the Internet. Ubi includes a number of environmental sensors and integrates with other smart home gadget ecosystems like Nest and SmartThings.
Description: Echo may live in your home, but its brains are in the cloud with the power of Amazon Web Services. In addition to looking up information and controlling other smart home devices, Echo has instant access to streaming music and other content from Amazons own selections and third-party services like Pandora, iTunes and Spotify.
Description: Ivee could easily be mistaken for a simple digital alarm clockbut theres far more than mindless blaring coming out of this gadget. It can add voice control to countless other devices in your smart home, plus answer all kinds of useful questions by querying the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine.
When it comes to actually cooking food, the IoT market is less robust than you might expect. Were still waiting for the killer-app version of the notorious smart toaster, for instance. But there are a handful of devices that do put connectivity to use in the kitchen.
Description: Range is a precision food thermometer designed to play nice with todays technology. Its wired -- embedded electronics wouldnt survive in the oven or on the grill -- and plugs into a phone or tablet to provide temperature graphs and instant readouts.
Description: Even the original dumb version of the slow cooker managed to deliver on the Future Kitchens promise to free us from the demands of manual cooking: just toss the ingredients into the pot together, set the temperature, and walk away. The Smart Slow Cooker, to be released by Crock-Pot any day now, goes one step further by making all the controls accessible via users smartphones. Its powered by Belkins free WeMo app, which lets users start or stop cooking, adjust temperatures and cook times, and set alerts and notifications.
Description: Finally, theres Everycook, which is designed for those who dont feel as comfortable in the kitchen. Actually, its as close to a chef-in-the-box as weve seen: part food processor, part pressure cooker, and part robot. First, select a recipe from an online database through the mobile app. Then feed the required ingredients through the slicer and into the cooking pot. A mechanical stirring paddle keeps things moving, and the heat settings and cooking time are handled automatically according to the recipe you chose. Theres even a scale so you dont have to measure -- just add an ingredient until Everycook tells you to stop. Its a neat idea, but Everycook has struggled with crowdfunding. Though the designer did not respond to Postscapes request for a comment on the devices future, work seems to be continuing.
Description: Mellow is a remote cooking device designed specifically for sous-vide, in which food is placed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and cooked slowly in steam or a water bath at low temperatures. It will hold food in its the tank at refrigerator temperature until its ready to cook, and you can use the mobile app to adjust settings and timers so your meal will be ready the moment you get home.
Description: Hydropoints 360 sensor installs on a homeowners cold water line, under the kitchen sink, and monitors vibrations that occur throughout the homes plumbing system to determine exactly which fixture or appliance is being usedbecause a flushing toilet draws water differently from a dishwasher. This captured data can then be analyzed by machine learning algorithms to accurately calculate how much water each fixture is consuming, identify leaky pipes, alert a user to clogs or other upcoming issues, and recommend water saving options tailored to their specific usage patterns.
Water quality has been in the news recently, with troubling revelations that what comes out of the tap in some communities isnt safe to drink. While no home filtration system can protect against a truly broken municipal water supply, theEcomo smart filteroffers a little peace of mind to those who want to be sure of whats in their local water.
Like many in-home filters, Ecomo attaches to the kitchen faucet. As water flows through, sensors in the device analyze it for heavy metals, bacteria, pH, harmful chemicals and other hazards. A color-coded LED ring gives instant feedback on water quality, and a mobile app offers detailed data and recommendations including which of several included filters to use for optimal water.
Ecomos photovoltaic exterior provides solar power, while the interior hardware relies on microfluidics technologies for precisely controlling the flow of tiny amounts of liquid which CEO Eric (Zhiqiang) Liworked on at Carnegie Mellon.
A handheld Bluetooth device that promises to tell users whats in any food item at the press of a button, based on the spectrum of light that food reflects. Through a smartphone app, TellSpec will analyze ingredients, count calories, and warn about allergens or toxic chemicals like mercury.
Lets get the inevitable comparison to Star Treks instantly-analyze-anythingtricorderdevice out of the way. Yeah, its kind of like that, but just for food (so far, anyway). Point the sleek palm-sized device at your meal, hold down the single button, and wait for a beep: in seconds, the chemical composition of the food pops up on your phone, cross-referenced with information about each ingredient.
TellSpec uses an infrared laser to perform a chemical analysis technique calledRamen spectroscopy. When hit with infrared light, any atom or molecule will bounce back light of a distinctive and slightly different set of wavelengths. TellSpec collects the mish-mash of reflected light and sends that data to a cloud-based server, where an algorithm teases apart the light signatures of this or that compound and reports back to you with the results.
Knowing exactly whats in your food is an empowering tool, especially for people with sensitivities or allergies to ingredients like gluten or lactose. Not only would it give consumers greater control over what they put in their bodies; it would also let shoppers and diners hold food producers and restaurants to account for misleading or neglectful food labelling. The company claims TellSpec works even through clear plastic and glass, so its useful everywhere from the home to the grocery store to restaurants.
The big question is how reliable and accurate TellSpecs analysis truly is. The company claims better than 97% accuracy in its own tests, and is working with university researchers to do more tests and document the results in academic publications. The analysis engine is built on a learning algorithm, so the more people use TellSpec, the better the results should become.
Wouldn't it be nice to grow your own herbs straight from your kitchen? These smart devices allow you to simply monitor and control a small device to do just that. Driven by low energy and high powered LEDs, aquaponic pods.
The smart egg tray lets you know how many eggs you have left in the fridge while you are out at the grocery store via its built-in WiFi connectivity (Driven by theElectric Impcard) and the Wink smartphone app.
The tray features a sensor installed in each egg slot that can help you keep track of recommended expiration dates based on when they were first placed in the carton and a built-in LED to alert you to the freshest eggs remaining in the last batch.
The product idea was originally submitted to the crowd developed product site by Rafael Hwangand has had over1,266 Community influencers shape the final product during its creation. It did end up going on sale for a brief time but Quirky itself ended up shutting down and the continued development of the egg tray product line with it.
Created by Hong Kong-basedHAPILabsand designed by French engineer Jacques Lepine theHAPIfork(pronounced happy fork) wants to help users lose weight and decrease digestive problems by reminding them to eat a little bit slower. Using a capacitive sensor and a built-in vibration motor the fork will send out gentle physical notifications or small indicator light flashes when it measures that you are eating at a difficult to digest pace.
All of your eating data is transmitted via Bluetooth to your smartphone and an online tracking dashboard where over time you can monitor when you started and finished your meals, the amount of fork servings taken per minute and per meal, and the specific duration of each fork serving interval.
BinCam, a research project from Newcastle University, gives a new meaning to the term e-waste. Instead of electronics ending up in the trash, this receptacle uses electronics and a bit of social pressure to make owners more aware of their waste and hopefully divert more of it into recycling and composting instead of the landfill.
Its pretty simple. A smartphone under the lid snaps a photo every time someone drops in a waste item. The photo is automatically uploaded to Facebook, where the users friends and family can shame them for tossing a perfectly recyclable bottle, or for failing to compost their table scraps. At the same time, the BinCam Facebook app sends the picture out to Amazons Mechanical Turk service, where a real human being will score the photo based on whether each item is truly deserving of the lowly trash can. These scores also get pushed back to Facebook so users can compete to have the greenest household.
In essence, BinCam gamifies your trash offering points and leaderboards in the hopes that it will be better motivation than a moralizing finger-wag about each persons responsibility to care for the environment. Some commentators have argued that its a mediocre use of smart technology, which works best when it treats us as adults and presents the opportunity to make informed, ethically-motivated choices about our own behavior.
But the creators of BinCam say that the gaming tie-in to social media allows feedback from friends and family (both encouragement and peer pressure guilt-trips) to normalize proper waste disposal. And their published research on BinCam shows an increase in both users awareness of, and reflection about, their waste management and their motivation to improve their waste-related skills.
You could easily see the Mechanical Turk service being replaced in the future with smart packing technology or networked cameras that can identify the object and allow for identification and better sorting procedures.