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Tech innovations and gadgets we need in our lives

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 23, 2021 5:00 am

If there is something this pandemic has taught us, it is that there are many things we can do without, and what we need is far less than we believed to lead meaningful lives.

On the other hand, we discovered that we can be tech-savvy by using new ways and modern methods during the lockdown. We learned to pay our bills online, shop and order food through apps, handle deliveries via various delivery services where we could trace every move of the courier, and many more.  

In line with this, here are some ingenious tech innovations and gadgets that can enhance our lives by making some tasks more efficient, simply entertaining us, or they might end up becoming real necessities.

Tile

Are you notorious for losing stuff? Do you always need to find your car keys or wallet? If so, then Tile was made for you. Tile is a tracking and locating device using Bluetooth technology to track your missing things, big or small, through an app installed on your smartphone. Just press “find” and your Tile will beep and a locator map will appear with the exact location of your lost item.

 Are you notorious for losing stuff?  Tile is a tracking device that’s perfect for you.

It goes a step further. When you unknowingly leave your “Tiled” object, it will inform and prompt you to go back to retrieve it.  It comes in different sizes and forms. Personally, I use the Tile Mate, which is small enough for my car keys. I also have the Tile Slim, which is placed in a bag just in case I leave it (but I will never). You can attach Tiles to bikes, pet collars, TV remote controls, and just about anything. Tile is available at Amazon.com.

Long-distance touch bracelet

 Want to let your special someone know you’re thinking of him/her?  The Long Distance Touch bracelet will do that for you.

This is a marriage of technology and romance. It makes me kilig just thinking of it. The Long Distance Touch Bracelet is a pair of waterproof silicon bracelets powered by Bluetooth, which sends a message that one is thinking of the other. Imagine this scenario: a person taps his bracelet which then causes the matching bracelet to vibrate and light up to remind the other user that he is thinking of her. Very subtle and very romantic. I will order this ASAP. The Long Distance Touch Bracelet is available at Uncommongoods.com.

Meditation apps & the muse 2

 The Muse 2 Meditation headband gives you real-time feedback to keep you focused and calm.

This pandemic has stretched our limits, and mental health is a concern. I started to meditate with the guidance of apps, which I can say helped me a lot and has placed me in a state of peace (most of the time). Mindfulness has become a goal, and these apps help tremendously. I meditate daily and use Headspace, Chopra Meditation, and Wellbeing. Both are quite good. There are many others to suit different people, such as MyLife, Ten Percent Happier, and Calm.

 The Headspace app provides guided meditation and other mindful techniques.

There is also the Muse 2, a brain-sensing headband and meditation tracker. The gadget provides real-time feedback to keep the user focused for the ultimate meditation experience. The meditation apps are available at the Apple App Store, while the Muse 2 is available at Amazon.com.

Health trackers

When I attempt to be healthy and active, I put on my Apple Watch and track my daily activity: how many steps taken and distance walked, exercise, standing time, and my heart rate. I used to use a Fitbit and it had, more or less, the same functions.

 The Bellabeat Leaf Health Tracker looks like a fashion accessory but measures activity, reproductive health, and stress levels.

But then, there is a more fashionable way to do this, and that is with the Bellabeat Leaf Health Tracker. It looks like a fashion accessory for ladies that you can use as a necklace or a pin. Aside from the number of steps, walking distance, heart rate, and such, it also tracks menstrual cycles, reproductive health, sleep patterns, calories burned and even stress levels. The Bellabeat Leaf Health Tracker is available at Amazon.com.

Barsys smart coaster system

  For aspiring mixologists at home:  The Barsys Smart Coaster system is your best teacher.

This lockdown has transported Happy Hour to the home and it isn’t just for an hour. Tipples and cocktails have become the highlight of the day. Overnight, people want to become expert mixologists at home and this is the perfect tool to become one. The Barsys Smart Coaster System guides you to make the “perfect pour” for your concoctions. All you have to do is place your cocktail glass on the coaster, download their app on your smartphone, and you will be guided. It even tells you if you’ve poured too much or too little. You can purchase it at Williams-sonoma.com.

Ember temperature control smart mug

 The Ember Smart Mug can preheat your brew at your chosen time and temperature and notify you when it’s ready.

From cocktails, let’s go to coffee. Isn’t it annoying when your morning coffee gets cold or lukewarm because you stopped a while to talk to someone or did something urgent? This gadget ensures that your steaming coffee, tea or hot chocolate stays hot. You can even program it to preheat your brew at the time of your choice, choose the temperature, and get notified when it is ready through your smartphone. Very cool. It is available at Amazon.com.

Keyless fingerprint smart padlock

 The Keyless Smart Padlock only needs your fingerprint to unlock it.

This padlock was made for those with a faulty memory (like me) who forget combinations and don’t remember where the keys are kept. This smart padlock allows you to open it with your fingerprint. Very simple and yet it keeps your precious items safe. You can use up to 10 fingerprint users should you wish to share it with your family members or trusted friends. The Keyless Fingerprint Smart Padlock is available at Techwithgadgets.com.

Aerogarden indoor hydroponic garden

 The AeroGarden makes it easier to plant herbs, veggies and greens.

Attention, all plantitas and plantitos, this indoor smart garden makes it easy for you to nurture and grow your herbs, veggies, and greens. The AeroGarden Harvest Indoor Hydroponic Garden allows you to grow up to six plants in water with an LED growing light system to promote fast growth and harvest. A control panel tells you when to add water or plant food and turns off the lights automatically. Minimal effort for maximum results. It is available at Amazon.com.

Medical or telemedicine apps

A few months ago, I pulled a back muscle due to sudden exercise. After being inactive for most of the lockdown, I decided to run on the treadmill then use these pulleys to strengthen my arms. As a result, I had pain in my upper back. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because of all the COVID cases, so I used the eZConsult app and made an appointment with a doctor. It was so easy and efficient. We had a video call and discussed how I was feeling. I was then sent a prescription for pain medicines. Payment was made online. Of course, for more serious ailments, it’s best to see a doctor in person who can properly diagnose you. There are other medical apps that offer teleconsultation, too, like Aide and Zennya.