The Future of Cars Looks Amazing

Smart technology has come a long way in the last few years.  We have smartphones and gadgets designed to make our homes smart, and there are an increasing number of technological features designed to make our cars smart, too.  Some of the “cars of tomorrow” are already in production, but what about the future?  How smart can cars really get?  Obviously, nothing will ever negate the need for drivers to be aware of their surroundings at all times, but the thought of the technology that exists now combined with what’s in the works leads to some pretty interesting predictions and prognostications about what could be in store for drivers in the next decade or so.

The last few years have seen the introduction of cars with built-in Bluetooth and navigation systems.  Originally only in higher-end models, it’s now unusual not to see these features available in most vehicles.  The newest thing in automotive connectivity is full-blown wifi.  Having a car that doubles as a wifi hotspot is quickly becoming the norm.  For cars that don’t come with connectivity options, there are third-party offerings that can accomplish the task for you.

 

In addition to keeping us connected to our digital devices, many cars now possess the ability to help us better see our surroundings via cameras and sensors that can help us avoid backing into objects as well as help monitor our blind spots and check for oncoming traffic as we back out of a parking spot.  There are lane-keep alerts now that can let us know if we’ve drifted out of our lane.  Many cars also have the ability to help you achieve the near-impossible for many–parallel parking that doesn’t require a space at least twice as long as your car and/or a half hour and a friend on the outside to make it happen.

 

One of the newest features making headway in the automotive world is a car’s ability to brake before we even see the need for it.  Sensors monitor the traffic ahead of us and can engage our brakes when they sense a sudden stop by the car in front of us.

In the next few years, we might see these features to go a step further by becoming networked and working together.  Combining these technologies into a single network could allow a reasonable degree of autonomous operation.  Imagine an autopilot type of feature that can essentially take over when you’re sitting in slower-moving traffic.  Several companies, including Ford and Google, have projected that fully autonomous cars could be on the road as early as 2021.

 

The biggest challenge, in addition to making sure drivers understand the need to stay engaged, is finding a way to connect all of these cars to a network that allows them to communicate with one another.  Instead of just using sensors to “see” that the car in front of you has slammed on the brakes suddenly, a wider network could mean that when the car in front of you swerves out of the way of some obstruction, your car would “see” the problem, too, and alert you or brake autonomously, enabling you and other connected cars in line to avoid a crash.
While some companies are toying with the notion of cars so autonomous that cabins could be redesigned to allow “drivers” to kick back and watch a movie, this notion seems as farfetched as flying cars.  We all know that as wonderful as technology is, it can fail, so it seems unlikely that we’ll ever really see a time when it will be okay for drivers to be left out of the equation altogether.  

The Most Awesome Smart Devices Your Home Should Have

In a world where technology is ever evolving, it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends.  There are kitchen gadgets like high-tech juicers and fridges that make coffee.  There are window blinds that can be programmed to open and close on their own.  There are even robot vacuum cleaners these days.  Below, we’ll take a look at a few of today’s hottest smart (wi-fi enabled with companion app) devices for your home.

 

There are a few products now that let you use your smartphone to see who’s at the front door.  August Smart Locks take that to a different level, allowing you to use your phone to unlock the door…even when you’re not home.  No need to leave the spare key under a rock for guests (and the rest of the neighborhood) to use.

Nest is a home thermostat that adapts to your schedule, working kind of like a programmable thermostat, but even better if your schedule isn’t a “typical” Monday through Friday, weekends off routine.  A smart thermostat can help lower your heating and cooling bill by not heating or cooling an empty house until just before you get home.  Nest also allows you to control the temperature in your home remotely via their phone app for days that don’t follow your usual schedule.

 

How about a smart ceiling fan?  The Haiku ceiling fan can turn off and on as you leave or enter the room.  It can also track the room’s temperature and humidity and adjust its speed accordingly.  There’s even an alarm clock function.

 

Did you ever think you’d need a portable speaker that’s also a light that adjusts its brightness and hue based on ambient light?  Well, now that Twist exists, you just might decide you can’t live without one.  The bulb can stream music from any app and features high-quality sound.

 

If you’re one of the millions of folks who can’t make it out of the house without a cup or two (or three) of coffee, you might love the Smarter Coffee.  This wi-fi enabled wonder can be set as your morning alarm and can be controlled with your phone.  You can make adjustments to how strong a pot is brewed, and this coffee maker can tell you when your coffee’s ready and alert you when its water tank needs to be refilled.

 

The June Intelligent Oven is about the size of a toaster oven, but uses its camera to figure out what you’re cooking and the best way to cook it.  You can also stream live video of your meal in progress to your phone.

If you want a device that can monitor air quality in your home, Awair can measure allergens, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels in your air.  It can give you a readout of what’s keeping your air from being its cleanest and also give you recommendations on how to improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe.

 

If you’ve thought it would be great to have a smart device to make sure that your other smart devices are as safe as possible from malware, hackers, and other cyber threats, you’ll love DOJO.  It monitors all connected devices and can alert you when it senses a threat.
If a smarter home is on your holiday wish list, any of these gadgets would be way more nice than naughty!

The Best Juicers Your Kitchen Needs

In a world where far too few of us are eating healthy, well-balanced diets that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing has continued to be a great way to get more of what need to keep our bodies healthier.  While there’s no denying that getting whole fruits and veggies, either by eating them or by using high-powered blenders to turn whole foods into drinkable smoothies, is always your best bet, juicing is the next best thing and certainly is leaps and bounds better than skipping your veggies altogether.

Whether you’re looking for a new juicer for home use or want one for a commercial setting, you’ll come across two main types of juicers:  masticating and centrifugal.  You can also find specialty juicers designed specifically for citrus fruits and those designed for wheatgrass.  Citrus juicers resemble the old-fashioned manual juicers we’ve all seen that hold half of a citrus fruit and rely on elbow grease to twist the fruit back and forth across plastic or metal ribs.  Power models do the same thing, but with much less effort on your part.  The best citrus models will start spinning in one direction and then reverse themselves for maximum juice extraction.  As you might guess from the name, wheatgrass juicers are designed for extracting juice from wheatgrass, which can be difficult for regular general-purpose juicers to handle with much success.  Wheatgrass juicers can sometimes handle softer fruits and veggies, too.

 

Masticating juicers press and grind the produce you chop up and feed into the intake chute.  This process is much like the chewing process we use when we eat.  Masticating juicers are generally more expensive than centrifugal models, but are able to produce a greater juice yield (more juice per piece of produce).  Many users who’ve switched to a masticating juicer from a centrifugal model report that the juice from masticating juicers seems to taste better than that from centrifugal machines.  This might be because the pressing and grinding are able to extract more juice and flavor from skins and peels of your produce and because centrifugal models tend to introduce more air into the process.  There are a number of triturating juicers available now.  These juicers function in the same manner as a masticating juicer, but have two augers instead of just one.  They usually are the slowest of all the juicers, but do produce the highest yield (and come with the highest price tags).

Centrifugal juicers chop your produce into a pulp and then spin that pulp at speeds high enough to separate the liquid from the solid.  As stated above, centrifugal models are less expensive.  They’re also usually quieter and lighter weight and typically have larger intake chutes, meaning you don’t have to cut your produce into as many pieces as with a masticating model.  The downside to centrifugal juicers is that they produce less juice than their masticating cousins, and the oxidation (air introduction) may affect the taste of the juice some.  Additionally, these models do tend to produce warmer juice than masticating juicers.  Contrary to some reports, though, centrifugal juicers do not produce anywhere near enough heat to destroy any of the juice’s nutrients.

 

If you’re looking for a commercial-grade juicer, visit best commercial juicers online for discussions about several top contenders.  Obviously, commercial machines are expected to perform at the highest levels, both in terms of yield and the ability to run multiple batches throughout the day with no issues.  One of the biggest factors, aside from capacity, to consider when looking at commercial models is ease of cleanup.  If you intend to make one kind of juice all day, a quick lick-and-a-promise cleaning per batch might work, but if you want to be able to offer multiple juice blends all day, you need a machine that can be thoroughly cleaned with little effort.

 

Whatever your reason for wanting to invest in a juicer and in your health, be sure to have fun trying different combinations of fruits and veggies.  Don’t be tempted to stick with fruit only–a good balance is key to better health, and the taste of most vegetables will be overtaken by the fruits you include.