This Portable Carafe Heats Your Water to Exactly the Temperature You Want—While You Pour

Heatworks
Heatworks

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.

A Duo carafe on a counter with dishware
Heatworks

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.

Now Ear This: A New App Can Detect a Child's Ear Infection

iStock.com/Techin24
iStock.com/Techin24

Generally speaking, using an internet connection to diagnose a medical condition is rarely recommended. But technology is getting better at outpacing skepticism over handheld devices guiding decisions and suggesting treatment relating to health care. The most recent example is an app that promises to identify one of the key symptoms of ear infections in kids.

The Associated Press reports that researchers at the University of Washington are close to finalizing an app that would allow a parent to assess whether or not their child has an ear infection using their phone, some paper, and some soft noises. A small piece of paper is folded into a funnel shape and inserted into the ear canal to focus the app's sounds (which resemble bird chirps) toward the child’s ear. The app measures sound waves bouncing off the eardrum. If pus or fluid is present, the sound waves will be altered, indicating a possible infection. The parent would then receive a text from the app notifying them of the presence of buildup in the middle ear.

The University of Washington tested the efficacy of the app by evaluating roughly 50 patients scheduled to undergo ear surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The app was able to identify fluid in patients' ears about 85 percent of the time. That’s roughly as well as traditional exams, which involve visual identification as well as specialized acoustic devices.

While the system looks promising, not all cases of fluid in the ear are the result of infections or require medical attention. Parents would need to evaluate other symptoms, such as fever, if they intend to use the app to decide whether or not to seek medical attention. It may prove most beneficial in children with persistent fluid accumulation, a condition that needs to be monitored over the course of months when deciding whether a drain tube needs to be placed. Checking for fluid at home would save both time and money compared to repeated visits to a physician.

The app does not yet have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and there is no timetable for when it might be commercially available. If it passes muster, it would join a number of FDA-approved “smart” medical diagnostic tools, including the AliveKor CardiaBand for the Apple Watch, which conducts EKG monitoring for heart irregularities.

[h/t WGRZ]

Uber Passengers Can Now Shush Their Drivers with a Mute Button

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Even friendly and sociable people don't always feel like talking, especially if it's late, they're sad, or they're in the middle of an arduous trip. For customers of the ride-sharing service app Uber, there's now a way to terminate conversation with drivers. You simply push a button on your phone and request they stop talking.

This slightly dystopian feature is part of Uber Black, the app's premium interface for people looking for a ride in a luxury vehicle and drivers with top satisfaction ratings. If a passenger isn't in the mood for chatting, hitting "quiet preferred" on the app will notify the driver to stop speaking. They can also opt for "happy to chat" if they care to engage in conversation. It's part of a bundle of features that also allows users to ask for help with their luggage, request more time to get to the vehicle, or adjust the temperature inside the car.

The button is an attempt by Uber to address some of the ambiguity surrounding the relationship between driver and passenger for the service, which allows both parties to rate the other on the overall experience. Some passengers have felt that being uninterested in speaking to their driver might lead to a lower score.

The quiet button might eventually be rolled out to encompass all of Uber's platforms. If the idea of a human mute button is uncomfortable, passengers can also choose "no preference" and let conversation—or the lack of it—takes its natural course.

[h/t Vox]

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