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Review: Electrolux Pure i9

Many people like to run their robovacs at night or while they’re at work. I choose to run ours while I’m awake, right after dinner and while we're putting the kids to bed. First off, I don’t see any reason to walk around all evening with crumbs sticking to the bottoms of my feet if I don’t have to. But I’ve also found that most robot vacuums will require rescue, which means you have to be awake or around. If you’re sufficiently pressed for time and energy that you need…

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This Gadget Communicates Human Emotions Through Touch

Ask engineers what the future of communication looks like and they’ll show you a fiber-optic cable. Ask artists and they’ll conjure something like the Sleeve. For the past year, engineers at Nokia Bell Labs, the famed New Jersey research facility that birthed the transistor, have been developing this wearable armband with input from artistic collaborators. “We’re reductionist in our thinking; artists are divergent,” research lead Domhnaill Hernon says. The labmates are part of a ­program called Experiments in Art and Technology, founded in the ’60s and newly resurrected in partnership…

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How to Not Watch the Royal Wedding

Congratulations! The digital world has invited you to virtually attend Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's marriage this weekend. Frankly, you don't give a damn. But the internet won't let you off the hook so easily. Your news feeds will be littered with the #RoyalFamily and #WhenHarryMetMeg musings unless you do some work to cinch off the firehose before the event begins. Prepare your platforms, adjust your settings, download extensions, and escape the royal wedding with the following prudent suggestions. The event starts early Saturday morning in the US, so do…

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Here’s One Way to Keep Wearables on Wrists: Subscriptions

The wearable tech market may have grown last year, thanks in no small part to the success of the Apple Watch, but you wouldn't think that was the case if you've been reading anything other than analyst reports. Fitbit's device sales have been declining, Nokia is dumping its digital health business, and Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) hasn't appeared on a new piece of hardware in over a year. Wearable makers, right now, are leaning heavily on specialized devices—stuff beyond your basic step-counters—while they try to convince people to wear…

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Are Air Fryers Worth It?

A few months back, I went to a kitchen appliance trade show and was surprised by the large number of manufacturers coming out with air fryers. "Enjoy great tasting fried food"[sic] reads the cover recipe booklet for Philip's new Airfryer XXL, a lovely sounding idea. With their focus on faux fried flavor, an aversion to fat, and an emphasis on convenience in the marketing from almost every manufacturer, the rise of air fryers felt like the second coming of the George Foreman Grill. Honestly, though, I was suspicious. Wasn't air…

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The Essential Phone Is Now $350, Half Its Original Price

The smartphone market can be cruel to newcomers, especially in the United States. It's a place where big names matter most, and four major wireless carriers still hold all the keys to the kingdom. Devices that should change the market often fall flat or gain only niche followings. Andy Rubin's high-end Essential Phone still has the bells and whistles of an $700 phone, but it's price is half that. Less than a year after it's debut, Amazon has the phone for $350. If you're hunting for a smartphone, you'll be…

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Inside Nokias Super-Fun Feature-Phone Nostalgia Trip

Let’s all agree that this has not been a year of feel-good stories in tech. Whether it’s Facebook privacy or YouTube algorithms, the headlines out of Silicon Valley have been a dismal parade of lapses and letdowns. So let’s take a moment to appreciate the one thread development everyone can get behind: Nokia’s perfect throwback party. You may not know the Nokia 3310 or 8110 by name, but you’d recognize them in a heartbeat. They’re two of the phones that made Nokia the dominant cell phone seller of the oughts,…

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This Gently Breathing Robot Cuddles You to Sleep

It's breathing. The chest rises and falls rhythmically, hypnotically. We guess it's the chest. Nobody's marketed a sleep robot before, and we're not even sure it's a robot. It looks like a pillowy four-pound kidney bean, about the size of a novelty prize at a carnival game. "Spooning the sleep robot during the night, you will be soothed to sleep," the sales literature claims, with "thousands of years of Buddhist breathing techniques." To bring upon sleep, breathing has to become slow and even, says Natalie Dautovich, a psychologist and sleep…

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The Inside Story of Reddit’s Redesign

On a rainy day in San Francisco, a dozen or so designers sat crammed around a conference table inside Reddit's headquarters, in a space they had nicknamed The War Room. A few soggy rain jackets dripped onto the floor, and someone mumbled a maxim normally reserved for weddings about rain bringing good luck. It was neither the first nor the last time this group would gather here to share the details of the project they'd been working on for over a year. But today was special. The designers had prepared…

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The Rules of Regramming

So you want to re-post an Instagram photo. Maybe it's a group shot from your college reunion published by one of your friends, or maybe it's a meme that you think your brother would love. On Twitter, you'd hit Retweet. On Facebook, you'd press Share. On Instagram, you'd tap … nothing, because that option doesn't exist. For its part, Instagram has deliberately resisted adding a "regram" button. As Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom put it to WIRED last year, "that decision is about keeping your feed focused on the people you…

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Review: Tecnica Forge GTX

At Outdoor Retailer in January, surrounded by the hubbub of thousands of people and products, I sat perfectly still. I couldn’t move. My feet were strapped into Tecnica’s custom heat-molding machine as I endured being fitted for a test pair of the Tecnica Forge GTX hiking boots. Tecnica First, Tecnica product manager Federico Sbrissa heated the boot’s insoles to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When I stepped onto them with socks on, they felt comfortably warm, not hot. He strapped pads around my feet that inflated to apply 160 millibar of pressure…

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Step Aside, Wool Runners: Allbirds’ New Shoes Are Made from Trees

Footwear maker Allbirds has a new shoe out today. The company's latest design doesn't just refresh Allbirds' casual silhouette, it also utilizes a unique new material—a textile spun from eucalyptus fiber. Yes, shoes made from wood pulp. The novelty is reflected in the names of the shoes in the new collection. There's the Tree Runner, modeled after a jogging shoe, and a new spin on the low-profile boat shoe, the Tree Skipper. Both are available today on the Allbirds website for $95 in men's and women's sizes. Sole Provider Allbirds…

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The Quest to Bring 3-D-Printed Homes to the Developing World

In the low-slung hills of El Salvador, building a house is not an easy task. The land is vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions. The roads are rugged, electricity sparse. For the past several years, New Story—a housing charity based in San Francisco—has built over 150 homes there, replacing tarps and scrap metal shelters with houses that have proper roofs and floors. It's slow, painstaking work in a country where nearly a third of the population is without shelter. About a year ago, the company wondered if there was a…

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The 4 Best Cheap Phones May Surprise You

Smartphones are ridiculously expensive, and U.S. wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon go out of their way to make them seem affordable. I mean, why not buy a $950 Galaxy Note 8 if you only have to pay $0 down and $30 a month for it? Let me list the reasons why: you’re still wasting hundreds of dollars you could use to buy or save for something else that may add value to your life. It also gives your wireless carrier a lot of control over you, since you can't…

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Olympic Commentators Should Cut the Chit-Chat and Just Explain the Sport

Luge looks silly. It looks easy, too: lie down on a sled, let gravity do the work, climb the podium. In reality, of course, luge is fascinatingly complex. And, as American Emily Sweeney’s brutal crash this week made clear, it's dangerous too. A good start is crucial (that’s where the gloves with little spikes on the fingertips come in). The rule of thumb says every 1/100th of a second you lose up top compounds to 1/10th of a second by the end of the run. Aerodynamics is so important, sliders…

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