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I Am Unreasonably Excited About This Thermostat

I consider myself a computer geek -- I'm comfortable with that. But today I'm having a new feeling: apparently I'm a thermostat geek. Yesterday I came across the Nest "Learning Thermostat," which has been making the rounds of nerd blogs. Basically, this is a computer-driven thermostat with some fancy features: wifi, various sensors, a HAL-like Big Red Eye, and even remote control (via wifi/web). There's also an aspect of gameplay built into the thing -- much like some hybrid cars have an indicator showing you when you're driving "optimally," the Nest shows a green leaf to urge you in the direction of using less energy (for example, in the winter it may show the leaf for a setting a few degrees cooler than you'd normally use -- encouraging you to use less heat). And finally, it actually has moving, physical parts (a ring), rather than the awful, awful touchscreen on my current thermostat (don't try to turn on the heat in the dark using my current thermostat -- it's impossible). Oh, and did I mention this was designed by Tony Fadell, who ran the iPod division at Apple? Basically, this is a geek's paradise. I've rounded up some of the Nest videos so you can geek out with me.

Introducing Nest

Very Apple-like.

How It Learns

More Videos

There are more videos on Nest's YouTube channel, and a demo/interview with Fadell on TechCrunch.

Further Reading

First up, check out Fadell's blog post "Thermostats? Yes, thermostats." Then read the Wired profile which includes some technical details, including how this thing manages to power itself. There's much more at the Nest website. The device isn't out yet, but is slated for late November. And in case you were wondering, no, I'm not paid by Nest or anyone else for this endorsement -- but I am super psyched to have a HAL-ostat on my dining room wall.

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Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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Pop Culture
How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Somnox, Kickstarter
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technology
This Cuddly Robot Is Designed to Lull You to Sleep
Somnox, Kickstarter
Somnox, Kickstarter

For people seeking all the benefits of a human sleeping companion without the human part, there’s a new Kickstarter-backed product. As Mashable reports, Somnox, the self-proclaimed “world’s first sleep robot,” is designed to give you a more comfortable, energizing night’s rest.

The bean-shaped cushion is the perfect size and shape for cuddling as you drift to sleep. Beneath its soft exterior is hardware designed to get you to deep sleep faster. Somnox rises and falls to mimic the movements of human breathing. Lay with the pillow long enough and the designers claim your breath will naturally sync to its rhythm, thus prepping your body for sleep.

Somnox can also be set to play sounds and music. Some content, like guided mediation, lullabies, and gentle heart beats, come built-in, but you can also upload audio of your own. And you don’t need to worry about shutting it off: Once you've customized its breathing and audio behaviors through the app, the device does what it's programed to do and powers down automatically.

Having a robotic sleep aide will cost you: You need to pledge about $533 to the team’s Kickstarter to reserve one. Even with the steep price tag, the campaign surpassed its funding goal.

[h/t Mashable]

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