One day soon, you may not need to stand around trying to watch water boil—it will boil instantaneously as you’re pouring it into your cup. The Duo Smart Untethered Carafe, a portable smart carafe that just debuted at the consumer tech trade show CES, is designed to heat filtered water as it comes out of the spout.
Created by Heatworks, the carafe works by utilizing Ohmic Array Technology, a patented system the company developed that harnesses water’s natural conductivity to generate heat. Rather than using heating elements that then warm up the water (which lends itself to lag time), the carafe passes electrical currents through the water to increase the energy state of the water molecules. The result, Heatworks says, is instant hot water.
Because of this rapid heating ability, the Duo is able to heat water as it pours out of the carafe’s spout, rather than heating up the full tank of water, as a conventional kettle—either electric or stovetop—does. The temperature of the water can be controlled within 1°F by changing how quickly the water passes through the spout, making it the ideal product if you want to make perfect pour-over coffee. (Too lazy for pour-overs? We highly recommend Ninja's Hot & Cold Brewed System.)
The carafe features an elegant product design by frog, a global design agency that has previously worked on projects like Honeywell’s Lyric smart thermostat system. While most (though not all) electric kettles are industrial-looking and utilitarian, the Duo can blend seamlessly into your minimalist kitchen vibe. It’s battery operated, so you can store it anywhere, but you’ll definitely want to leave it out on your counter so that it's in full view of all your guests.
The only problem? You can’t buy it yet, and The Verge notes that the company doesn’t have a working prototype at CES. When it will actually hit the market is hard to say: Heatworks founder/CEO Jerry Callahan told The Verge that the hope is to ship it as soon as this summer, but there is no public target date yet. When it does come out, it will likely cost somewhere below $200.
There’s good reason to believe that Heatworks will make good on its promise. The company already sells its Ohmic Array Technology in the form of its Wi-Fi-enabled Model 3 tankless home water heater. And it just announced that its frog-designed Tetra Countertop Dishwasher, which debuted at CES last year and uses the same technology, will soon be available for pre-order, with prices starting at $299.
To keep tabs on when the Duo will ship, sign up for updates on the Heatworks website.
If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the past week, you’ve certainly come across footage of wildlife conservationists stuffing salmon into a giant plastic tube and shuttling them over obstacles. It’s so bizarre—even by the already loose standards of the web—that it briefly ignited discussions over fish welfare, its purpose, and the seeming desire of people to be similarly transported through a pneumatic tunnel into a new life.
Naturally, the “salmon cannon” has a mission beyond amusing the internet. The system was created by Whooshh Innovations, a company that essentially adopted the same kind of transportation system featuring pressurized tubing that's used in banking. Initially, the system was intended to transport fruit over long distances without bruising. At some point, engineers figured they could do the same for fish.
The fish payload is secured at the entrance of the tube—acceptable species can weigh up to 34 pounds—and moves through a smooth, soft plastic tube that conforms to their body shape. Air pressure behind them keeps them moving. The fish are jettisoned between 16 and 26 feet per second to a new location, where they emerge relatively unscathed. Because there’s no need for a water column, the tubing can cover most terrain at virtually any height.
The tubing solution is a human answer to a human problem: dams. With fish largely confined to still bodies of water thanks to dams and facing obstacles swimming upstream to migrate and spawn, fish need some kind of assistance. In the past, “fish ladders” have helped fish move upstream by providing ascending steps they can flop on, but not all fish can navigate such terrain. Another system, trapping and hauling fish like cargo, results in disoriented fish who can even forget how to swim. The Whooshh system, which has been in used in Washington state for at least five years, allows for expedient fish export with an injury rate as little as 3 percent, although study results have varied.
The video features manual insertion of the fish. In the wild, Whooshh counts on fish making semi-voluntary entries into the tubing. Once they swim into an enclosure, they’re curious enough about the tube to go inside.
If all goes well, the system could help salmon be reintroduced to the Upper Columbia River in Washington, where the population has been depleted by dams. Testing of the device there is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Netflix has become the world’s intravenous line for filmed entertainment. And like any media empire, it has a few stories of its own to tell. Take a look at some lesser-known, non-buffering facts about the streaming giant.
1. Early Netflix subscribers got a lot of Chinese pornography.
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In 1998, Netflix was still in the business of selling as well as renting DVDs. To try and offer consumers something new, co-founder Marc Randolph decided to offer footage of President Bill Clinton’s Grand Jury testimony about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. But according to the book Netflixed, the duplicating house had a mix-up: out of the 1000 customers who ordered Clinton's interview, a few hundred received discs full of hardcore Chinese pornography.
2. Netflix was originally called Kibble.
Choosing a name for the company was a drawn-out process. Directpix.com, Replay.com, and other names were considered; so was Luna.com, which was the name of Randolph’s dog. When the company was being incorporated, he named it Kibble.com until they could decide on something permanent.
3. Netflix executives used to make house calls.
From the beginning, Netflix has been preoccupied with seeing how users interact with its software in order to select titles. In the late 1990s, subscribers near the company’s location in Los Gatos, California were reached via telephone and asked a series of questions. Then staffers would ask if they could stop by to watch them use the site. Surprisingly, most agreed. Netflix brought them coffee, a small investment for gaining valuable information about their usage.
4. Netflix got Dennis Quaid to sing.
For a 2006-2007 publicity tour, Netflix decided to screen films in thematically-correct locations: For example, Field of Dreams was shown in the “real” Iowa cornfield-slash-baseball diamond featured in the movie. But the company also wanted actors to make appearances. Their approach: offer to let those with bands perform for the crowds. Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Dennis Quaid, and Kevin Bacon all agreed to the barter deal. Quaid and his band, The Sharks, played in New Orleans before a screening of his film The Big Easy.
5. Netflix has made a science out of spoilers.
Because so much of Netflix’s high-profile content can be “binged” in a single weekend, the company commissioned cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to examine how spoilers affect a person’s viewing habits. McCracken identified classifications of spoiler-prone people by whether they ruin a plot twist intentionally or hold it over others. (Some people are “Coded Spoilers,” too self-aware to let anything slip. These people are your friends.) His verdict? Some people enjoy the power they get from having knowledge of spoilers. But if a show is good enough, knowing about key scenes won't dissuade viewers from watching.
6. Netflix staffers think you decide on a movie in two minutes.
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Netflix spends more than $150 million on improving their recommendation system every year, trying to arrange selections based on what they think you might like. That kind of personalized menu is necessary: The company estimates that users spend only two minutes browsing for a title before choosing one or opting for another diversion entirely.
7. Netflix staffers also think you might be kind of a liar.
You can stop trying to impress Netflix with the streaming version of keeping Ulysses on your coffee table. In a 2013 WIRED interview, Carlos Gomez-Uribe—the company's vice president of product innovation from 2010 to 2016—noted that viewers often report viewing documentaries or esoteric foreign movies. “But in practice,” he said, “that doesn’t happen very much.”
8. the first "netflix original" was an abstract test footage short.
In order to test frame rates and how their streaming service handles different kinds of content, Netflix produced 11 minutes of test footage in 2011 that can be viewed by typing “example show” in their search engine. Cut together (as seen above), the shorts become a very strange, very abstract art film, with an unidentified man juggling and reciting Shakespeare. (But not, sadly, juggling while reciting Shakespeare.)
9. Netflix binge-watching might correlate with depression.
A 2015 study by the University of Texas found that respondents who claimed to binge Netflix shows were more likely to suffer from depression, lack of self-control, or loneliness. The good news? The sample group was small—only 316 people—and the university’s definition of “binge-watching” was as low as two episodes. Amateurs.
10. There’s a secret Netflix menu.
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No, not that kind of secret menu. Pressing Shift + Alt + a left mouse click brings up a troubleshooting menu that allows you to adjust the bit rate of a stream so it doesn’t buffer. (On a Mac, it's Shift + Option + click.) The picture quality won’t be as good, but it’s better than a pixelated Demogorgon.
11. There was once a glitch in the Netflix matrix.
In 2014, Netflix’s content descriptions became odd amalgamations of two different titles to create one completely nonsensical listing. The summaries were quickly fixed, but not before someone took several screen shots of the mishaps.
12. You'll soon be able to stream Netflix in a Tesla.
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In July 2019, Tesla founder Elon Musk informed Tesla owners they would soon be able to stream both Netflix and YouTube in their cars, an attractive option for anyone looking to keep passengers occupied. But there's a catch: The services only work when the cars are parked. The feature will be available in newer-model cars at a date to be determined.