Kairos Watches balance mechanical, smartwatch capabilities with style

Up until now, watches have either been mechanical or, more recently, they’ve abandoned their mechanical construction to become more intelligent. Bluetooth capabilities have allowed smartwatches to communicate with the devices in people’s lives, relaying information about everything from exercise results to e-mail notifications. The smartwatch problem is a thorny one, though, and as much as people want their watches to be high-tech, watches aren’t smartphones that last for a few years. People expect quality that will last for a lifetime.

Kairos Watches is attempting to bridge the chronography gap by offering a hybrid mechanical smartwatch that gives users the best of both worlds. The watch’s two versions, the MSW 115 and the SSW 158, offer Japanese and Swiss construction and movement, respectively. Both of these models are outfitted with a touch-sensitive, full-color, transparent OLED display, or TOLED, that lets users check time normally while still being able to receive and act on notifications, text messages, or e-mails. Bluetooth LE connects the watch to an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, and an embedded GPS in tandem with a three axis accelerometer helps in tracking fitness progress, amongst other applications.

Since the watch is a hybrid, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it needs to be charged every week or so. It also comes with other caveats, like components that become rapidly outdated. To address the issue, Kairos Watches offers an upgrade program that has owners pay $99 to ship their unit back to be updated with current parts.

The company presents a solid solution to problems unique to smartwatches and, along with quality construction options like stainless steel and gold, may prove enough to sway serious watch owners over in the face of the impending Apple Watch. The many models are currently enjoying a 40%-50% off their respective MSRP in their pre-order phase, ranging from $549 to $1,249. The Kairos Watches will ship in spring 2015.

Connected Objects Cooking

ChefBot helps you whip up your next delight; prevents burning

Generally, there are two ways a kitchen can be thought of. It can be the soothing, relaxing part of the home where delicious, homemade meals are prepared. Or it can be the part of the home where the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave are located. Unfortunately, the latter rings true for most. As easy as any cooking show makes it seem, the process of creating a meal from scratch is loaded with subtlety essential to the recipe itself. However, most people don’t have the magic touch, making cooking difficult and arduous.

The ChefBot may look like a regular kitchen scale, but hiding within is a Bluetooth-enabled kitchen assistant. This device weighs ingredients, provides a running calorie count of them, and leads users through any recipe uploaded into the device with the ChefBot companion app for iOS or Android, all while streaming music through Bluetooth. The device’s stainless steel construction houses multiple voices or a TFT display that communicates this information a user, and everything is built to be water-resistant to avoid unseemly accidents from seriously damaging the unit. The Bluetooth version of the ChefBot is $99, while the Wi-Fi unit is $149. ChefBot is expected to ship April 2015 provided the campaign raises $50,000.

The glut of connected kitchen objects makes it seem like no one in America can cook. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but there is certainly a variety of them. The ChefBot’s design is underwhelming, but the actual product is priced well, offering just enough functionality to be valuable. Its choice of material makes it superior to Drop, another scale that seeks to lend a helping hand but it does so while connected to an iPad, a device people might not want in the kitchen at all.


Wear both your heart and digital life on your sleeve with youWare QR accessories

]The youPass app by ThinkYou, Inc. has taken steps to incorporate social media accounts and other pertinent information associated with someone’s digital life, and compiled them for easy sharing. While it’s much easier to have everything centralized, it still requires a smartphone to be taken out and fiddled with just to share. As a result, the company has come up with a solution: a line of accessories dubbed youWare.

Each youWare accessory features a QR code that can be synchronized with a youPass account, so the code only needs to be scanned. Afterward, users can set what exactly another connection gets to see, so different connections can get different information. A wide variety of options, from silicone to leather to paracord to stainless steel bands, start at $5 and work their way up to $89. If the campaign reaches their $50,000 goal, backers should expect their own in May 2015.

The youPass/youWare combo is an admirable attempt at eliminating the many unnecessary steps at simply connecting with each other, but still requires a proprietary app to do so, not to mention accessing the phone to get all the info in the first place. Their stretch goal of incorporating NFC support would really transform this approach from a novelty to something truly useful, but then the company would run into the problem of lacking some smartphone compatibility. As polished as this approach may be, there are definite holes: making something like this truly accessible to all means the creation of a mobile standard, not just an app.