TIME Gadgets

Amazing Super Slow-Mo Video Shows How Your Camera Works

See how cameras work at 10,000 frames per second

Ever wonder exactly how your DSLR camera works?

The Slow-Mo Guys, who post all sorts of neat super slow-mo video on YouTube, just uploaded a video that shows exactly what happens when you press the shutter release.

In the footage, you can clearly see the camera’s viewfinder mirror rise before the shutter drops to expose the digital sensor and record an image. Then the shutter closes and the mirror comes back down to complete the process. The video above shows the same process for a whole bunch of different shutter speeds.

Neat!

TIME Tablets

Here’s How to Pick the Best Tablet For You

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad
An attendee looks at the new iPad Air during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

What to look for—and what to avoid

Five years ago, no one knew quite what to make of the tablet. Was it the future of the laptop? Was it made for creation or consumption? And in the end, was it just a bigger version of the smartphone? For the next several years, we saw almost every device you could imagine, from a 2.8-inch micro-tablet (the Archos 28) to a 27-inch beast (the Planar Helium). A few new ideas stuck. Most flopped.

Jump ahead to 2015, and the market has largely settled. Customers seem to want one of three kinds of tablets, and the best devices almost all fit neatly into one of these categories.

In that spirit, we’ve broken down these three tablet groups, then picked a handful of products we would recommend for each. We’ll let you know what to look for—and what to avoid—depending on your preferences. Finally, we’ll highlight a few trailblazing tablets that don’t belong in any of these categories.

1. The General-Purpose Tablet

Pros: Can do a little of everything
Cons: No obvious strengths
Typical screen size: 9-11”
Typical starting price: $400-500

The most popular category for tablets, these models are jack-of-all-trade devices, designed to do a little bit of everything. Want to snap family photos? Each of these models comes with a decent camera. Need to give an off-site presentation to a client? You’re getting a nice mix of lightness and screen size. Just want to share status updates and YouTube comments? Post away.

The only problem: none of these tablets truly excel at any one thing. Products in this category tend to be just a bit too big for a purse or coat pocket, but a little too small for completing serious work.

So grab a general-purpose tablet if you plan to use it for all sorts of tasks, but consider another category if you have one or two particular uses in mind.

(Read more: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review)

2. The Mini Tablet

Pros: Extremely portable, great for reading
Cons: Underpowered and bad at productivity
Typical screen size: 7-8.5”
Typical starting price: $200-400

The mini tablet is the ultimate travel and leisure device. Pop it in your backpack, slide it out for some poolside browsing, or place it on your nightstand for some bedtime reading. They’re so light you’ll forget you’re holding a tablet, and thin enough to squeeze in almost any nook, pocket, closet or cranny.

Better yet, they’re the cheapest tablets on the market. The iPad Mini 3 is Apple’s least expensive new tablet, while Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 7 has a price tag under $150.

But you also get what you pay for. Miniature tablets tend to be the least powerful models, less capable of running high-end mobile games with a smooth, consistent experience. And forget about productivity. Trying to update a spreadsheet or compose a presentation on a mini tablet is frustrating and time-consuming.

Finally, consider that smartphones are getting bigger every year. Do you really need a 7-inch tablet if you plan to buy a 6-inch phone next year? The biggest phones and smallest tablets are practically becoming the same device, and you certainly don’t need both.

So consider a mini tablet if you want something leisurely and affordable, but make sure that’s all you want — or else you’ll wish you purchased something bigger and more capable.

(Read more: Hands-on with Apple’s new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3)

3. The Productivity Tablet

Pros: Gets work done
Cons: Expensive and bulky
Typical screen size: More than 11”
Typical starting price: $600-1,000

The answer to the mini tablet is the productivity tablet—a device built for getting work done. Typically equipped with massive screens and sold with optional accessories (ex: keyboard and stylus), tablets in this category are designed to replace your laptop.

The best customer for these tablets is the on-the-go professional. You can work up a client presentation at your desk, slide the tablet into your briefcase, then travel to an off-site presentation, all with just a couple pounds of technology in tow.

On the flip side, are these devices really good enough to replace a laptop? Sure, they might be the most productive tablets available, but most laptops still do the same tasks just a bit better, making the productivity tablet a hard sell for seasoned business people.

And then consider leisure activities. Even if you don’t plan to use your tablet for fun very often, those few moments will quickly become obnoxious as you attempt to hold up a 900-gram device through all 58 minutes of Game of Thrones.

So buy a productivity tablet if you’re serious about getting work done (and don’t need or want a laptop), but save the fun and games for another device.

Bonus: The Trail Blazers

Pros: Creative, outside-the-box
Cons: Unproven

Microsoft Surface Hub
Nvidia Shield Tablet

You might say the tablet market has matured, but Microsoft and Nvidia aren’t convinced. Microsoft’s freshly announced Surface Hub comes in two massive sizes—55- and 84-inches—an office touchscreen designed to reinvent brainstorms, conference calls and collaborative meetings. We’ve never seen anything quite like it, complete with Skype integration and stylus compatibility. The device is set for release sometime later this year.

Meanwhile, Nvidia isn’t satisfied with angry birds and crushed candy: the company’s Shield Tablet wants to bring the power of expensive, modern gaming to a tablet device. As such, the tablet comes packed with a 2.2 GHz, quad core processor—the sort of internals you’d normally expect only on a laptop. While it’ll be tough to lure PC and console gamers from their keyboards and Dualshock controllers, Nvidia is committed to the cause.

It’s entirely possible that both Microsoft’s and Nvidia’s pioneering devices will flop. But if either hits, we’ll be looking not at three, but four tablet categories in 2016.

This article originally appeared on FindTheBest.

More from FindTheBest:

TIME Gadgets

10 Tech-Savvy Ways To Fight This Brutal Flu Season

Flu Defender

Share these, not germs, with everyone you come in contact with

As we speak, the flu is marauding across America like the deadly virus in Stephen King’s The Stand. That’s not intended to sound alarmist, it’s just the truth: influenza is currently widespread in more than 40 states.

There are time-tested ways of fending off infections, like washing your hands regularly, but in addition the vaccine and other time-tested prevention measures, why not try some newfangled approaches? These ten tech-savvy approaches could be just what the doctor ordered:

CVS Caremark: If you get bit by the flu bug, there’s not much you can do besides getting rest and drinking clear fluids. But there are anti-viral medications that can help, especially if you’re particularly susceptible to getting sick, like the elderly. The free CVS Caremark iPhone app has a great drug interaction database that will make sure any these medications won’t conflict with any of your regular prescriptions, either by counteracting them or causing more serious complications.

CDC FluView: If you want the official take on the flu’s spread, look no further than the good doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond being major players in every zombie apocalypse movie in recent memory, the government agency protects the U.S. from health and safety threats — and causing 56 pediatric deaths so far this season, you can bet the flu is one such peril. Their free iPhone app lets users follow the previous weeks’ flu trends and look at activity levels across the country, basing its data on outpatient visits across all 50 states.

CDC Influenza: If you’re the type who likes to curl up on the couch in alternating fits of shivering and sweating with a deeply informative database of illness information, this is the app for you. Pulling from the CDC’s vast cache of expertise, this free iPhone app is geared towards clinicians and healthcare workers, but could help patients, too. A deep dive into the various strains, vaccines, and medications, it’s good information to have at the tip of your fingers — especially when you can’t get off the couch.

Google Flu Trends: If you thought Google existed to help you understand the world, you obviously don’t know anything about the impending robot uprising — Google is designed to study people! In this case, the search engine has been programmed to catalog flu-related search queries, tracking their spread on a map of the U.S. to reveal the sickest state. If you’re interested in a more historical perspective, surf over to Google Earth, where you can get a 3-D rendering of the outbreak that stretches back to 2009.

Flu Defender: From medication to information, presentation is everything, which is why the user-friendly format of this free iPhone app may be better suited for people looking for flu info. With clearly marked categories such as “Prevention Strategies” and “Symptom Identifier,” Flu Defender lets you cut to the chase and find actionable strategies for staying healthy. Or tap the “Flu Smart” button, and be fed a steady diet of flu facts. Here’s a fun one: “The influenza virus can live for 2–8 hours on surfaces.” You know, like the chair you’re sitting in at a coffee shop right now, or on your smartphone, after you pick it up off the table.

Everyday Health: Influenza is highly contagious, but to know if you’re really in danger of getting it, you’re best off with local information. The Everyday Health Flu Map website calculates its data on the county level, taking into account not only the CDC’s data, but also social media and online search information, and weather patterns. The result is a quick peek at the current, previous, and next week’s flu likelihod, as well as what to do to keep your susceptibility low, like hitting a local spot for a flu shot.

Sickweather: Billing itself as “the world’s first Doppler radar for sickness,” this free iPhone app uses heat mapping to show where the flu biggest hotspots are. A five-day simulated radar shows an animation of how the illness has recently spread, giving you an idea of how the area’s general health has progressed over the past week. And with maps for respiratory (like the flu), gastrointestinal, environmental, and childhood illnesses, this app is for more than just influenza. With programmable alerts, it’s something you should keep in your phone all year round.

Urgent Care 24/7 Medical Help: It seems like 95% of the time you need your doctor when you’re ill, it’s outside of doctor’s hours. This app will set you up with medical professionals on demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to discuss symptoms and treatment. Just send a request through the app, and a doctor or nurse will call you back in around 15 minutes. That sure beats heading to the local clinic.

Zoc Doc: Sometimes, no matter how many heating pads or cold compresses you apply, nothing will do but a doctor’s care. Zoc Doc is a web-based service that connects patients with local area physicians, booking the appointments through the app, and even letting you set up your insurance information to make the end billing as easy as can be. If you’re crunched for time, you can search by availability, or if you’re looking for certain specialties, you can explore their full profile, complete with reviews. Find the right one, and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.

Cue: Not ready for the current flu season (but then again, neither was the flu shot), this futuristic lab in a box could have a big impact on how illnesses are diagnosed as early as next year. The idea is that users would dip a test stick into their mouth, and then insert it into a Bluetooth-connected gadget that interfaces with an app. By tracking the body on a daily basis, Cue can then determine many things about your current state, like if you’re lacking in vitamins, are high or lacking in testosterone, or are ill, for example. The device, which is rumored to sell for $199, has been backed by early Uber investors, Obama election staffers, and even Leonardo DiCaprio.

TIME Apple

The Apple Watch Will Be Released in April

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Apple’s long-awaited smart watch will ship in April, company CEO Tim Cook told investors on a conference call Tuesday after Apple posted its latest earnings report.

Apple has previously said its Apple Watch would ship in “early 2015.” By most standards, an April release date would meet that expectation.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and come in a variety of styles and colors. It will pair up with Apple’s iPhones and include features like text-message notifications, on-watch calling and fitness tracking.

(Read more: Hands-on with the Apple Watch)

Apple’s quarterly report blew past Wall Street’s expectations Tuesday, with the company posting earnings of $3.06 per share on revenue of $74.6 billion, compared with a predicted $2.60 a share on $67.69 billion in revenue. The company also said it sold 74.5 million iPhones, up 46% year-over-year and shattering its previous quarterly record by more than 23 million units.

However, the success of Apple’s larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones appear to be eating into its iPad sales, which were down 17%. Apple sold 21.5 million iPads in the quarter, missing expectations and adding new doubts about the tablet’s future.

TIME White House

Man Who Crashed Drone at White House Had Reportedly Been Drinking

US-WHITE HOUSE-SECURITY-DRONE
The south side of the White House is seen January 26, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Turned himself in after seeing news reports about the crash

The pilot of a small unmanned drone that crashed on the White House lawn early Monday had been drinking before the incident took place, law enforcement officials told the New York Times.

The still-unidentified government employee turned himself in to authorities after seeing news reports about the crash, which triggered a lockdown at the White House and nearby government buildings.

The Times reported the man had a feeling the drone might have touched down on the White House grounds, but he went home to sleep regardless.

While this particular remote-controlled aircraft posed little risk to the President or others, the event caused concern that similar drones could represent a national security threat.

President Obama himself used the incident to call for a new regulatory framework around small unmanned aircraft. Some Federal Aviation Administration rules apply to small, hobbyist-piloted drones, but the agency lacks an effective enforcement mechanism to punish offenders, largely leaving local law enforcement to sanction pilots who put the public’s safety at risk.

Judging by a Secret Service photo released Monday, the drone was a DJI Phantom, which are about two pounds and just over a foot across and retail for $479 and up:

United States Secret Service

Many Phantom models are capable of carrying a video camera, but it wasn’t clear from the image if the unit in question was equipped with one.

[NYT]

 

TIME Gadgets

The 7 Best Gadgets for Ski Freaks

Skiiing
Skiing At Speed George Clerk—Getty Images

Track yourself, record your friends, and rock out on the slopes with this cutting-edge gear

Skiing and snowboarding have both come a long way since the first time people strapped planks to their feet and went rocketing down the mountain. Every season there seems to be more advancements in gear, from the shaping and makeup of the skis and boards themselves, to the release of new bindings and other products.

But these snow accessories go above and beyond the powder, letting you get the most out of modern technology while conquering the slopes. And with a massive snowstorm barreling down on the east coast this week, there’s plenty of fresh powder to try out these new toys.

GoPro Hero 4

The action camera that single-handedly turned extreme sports into high-definition entertainment, GoPro’s latest version is one of the most advanced video gadgets going. Just a bit fatter than a matchbox, the $499 head-mounted shooter can capture 4K video and 12 megapixel resolution photos at a 30 frame per second burst.

Complete with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it’s able to upload your last run to the web before you even push off the chairlift for your next descent.

Celestron Elements Firecel+

Hustling to the mountain to make fresh tracks in the morning and staying until they shut the lifts down in the evening can make for a long day on the slopes. If your personal batteries don’t wear out, then your phone’s certainly will.

This $49 battery pack pulls triple duty, producing enough juice to charge roughly half an iPhone, making heat to keep your hands warm, and lighting up to help you find your way back to the car in the dark. Whether you ski or not, it’s a good device to keep on hand.

Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS Sportwatch

There are few bigger hassles than trying to check the time when you’re on the mountain. Whether it’s pulling up your sleeve to get at your watch, or pulling out your phone and risk it falling in the snow, it’s not a good situation. The $500 Suunto Ambit3 Peak sport watch is the perfect thing to sling over your wrist, not only telling the time but connecting to a heart rate monitor and a family of smartphone apps that track your activity, map your location, count your burned calories and more. And the watch’s Movescount app also connects you to a community of other Suunto wearers, letting you compare your workouts and adventures.

Beartek Snowsport Gloves

Gloves have long been an ever-improving element of ski technology, but the $120 Beartek Snowsports have the upper hand on every model that’s come before. With the ability to insert either a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi module into them, these moisture-resistant mitts double as a controller for your digital music player or GoPro camera. By pressing certain finger pads together, wearers can play, pause, record, fast-forward and rewind, all without pulling out their devices. It’s the most technologically advanced hand-cessory since the old Nintendo Power Glove — and that’s saying something.

Oakley Airwave 1.5 Snow Goggles

Take Google Glass, add Oakley lenses, and you’ve got the Airwave 1.5, smart snow goggles that look as good on the outside as they do on the inside. With a small heads-up-display on the bottom of the field of view that displays everything from speed, elevation, and jump analytics to music information, your friends’ locations, and messages relayed from your smartphone, this $649 eyepiece turns skiers into the borg of the berg. And its switch-lock lens swapping ability gives it the ability to shine in sun or fog.

ScotteVest Knowmatic Hoodie

While not technically a ski product, anyone who’s ever tackled a mountain while carrying phone, a camera, a pack of gum, some chapstick, hand warmers, and all the rest will love the 13-pocket spread of this hoodie. Made of micro fleece, it’s better suited for spring skiing than blizzard conditions, but the $105 sweatshirt does have a series of interior cord channels, allowing phones and cameras in their own pockets to plug into portable batteries in another pocket. Just be careful if you fall with all your gadgets strapped to you, because that could make for a heck of a yard sale.

Forcite Alpine

Not yet for sale, but definitely ready for ogling, the Forcite Alpine ski helmet is the ultimate in connected sports gear. With integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it syncs to smartphones to pipe in music and phone calls to the wearer. Foglights built into the casing light the slopes, which is doubly important when the Forcite’s 1080p camera is capturing your descent down the mountain. Motion and impact sensors keep track of safety and activity, while GPS capabilities make sure you can keep track of the trails you’ve conquered. All powered by a battery that lasts between six and eight hours, this futuristic helmet will last as long as you can, if it’s ever released.

TIME electronics

This Is the Best $500 Television You Can Buy

A Vizio E-Series flat panel television.
A Vizio E-Series flat panel television. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission—ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's the Vizio E500i-B1

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com.

the-wirecutter-logo

If I were looking for a good, inexpensive, 50-inch TV, I’d get the Vizio E500i-B1. It has above-average picture quality—better than many more expensive models—with impressively dark blacks (a rarity in this price range of LCD), bright whites, decent motion resolution, and reasonably accurate colors. It also consistently gets top marks from the best TV reviewers on the web.

If the Vizio is sold out, or otherwise unavailable, the Panasonic 50AS530U offers almost as good picture quality but costs a bit more money ($600 as of this writing). Its contrast ratio isn’t quite as good as the Vizio, but the motion resolution is decent.

Who should get this TV?

If your TV is dying, has died, or you’re looking for something larger, this TV offers pretty good performance for a low price.

In terms of picture quality, this TV is generally better than most LCDs in this price range. Upgrading to more expensive models will result in better motion resolution, better contrast ratios, and more accurate colors. (In other words, these qualities makes a more lifelike, realistic picture.)

Keep in mind, though, that for around $500, when it comes to a 50-inch TV, there is no clear winner in terms of picture quality. All have strengths and weaknesses. And stepping down slightly in size doesn’t get you enough of an increase in picture quality to offset the loss in size. So even a great-looking 40-inch TV doesn’t look enough better than the Vizio to make up for how much smaller it is.

If the best picture quality possible is your goal, check out our Best TV guide.

How we picked

$500 can get you pretty great picture quality. According to our research, spending a bit more for this size doesn’t yield much (if any) improvement in picture quality.

I also eliminated most smaller screen sizes in the same price range: 48 inches was okay, 47 was pushing it, and 46 would have to be pretty amazing to make up for its smaller size.

Off-brand TVs aren’t going to offer better picture quality than one of the major brands. Unlike many categories we cover at the Wirecutter, good TVs don’t just “happen.” There isn’t going to be a surprise no-name brand that looks better than the big names. Not this year, anyway. Maybe someday.

After making this shortlist, I queried the opinions of TV reviewers I trust. The E-series was consistently among the most positively reviewed, but only by a small amount. To be honest, the TVs in this range are “good,” but none are “great.” That’s just the nature of this part of the market.

Our Pick

The Vizio E-series wins out for having impressively dark black levels (again, a rarity in this price range of LCD), but still having a bright image. The motion resolution is OK, as is the color accuracy. Neither of the last two are standouts, but neither are “bad.” Overall the image is “very good,” which, when you consider the price, is excellent.

Input lag, important to gamers, is excellent: under 30 ms. Average for TVs is around 55 ms.

Though it seems an odd aspect to praise, no reviewer seemed to dislike the E-series. For an inexpensive LCD, that’s actually pretty impressive.

CNET liked the E-series the best, giving it a 4/5 stars and an 8/10 for performance. They concluded, “With picture quality that outdoes that of numerous more-expensive TVs, Vizio’s E series likely represents the best value of 2014.”

Digital Trends liked the E-series, as did Sound & Vision and Rtings.com.

Consumer Reports liked the E-series the least of the major review sites (paywall), giving the 50-inch a 57/100. Their highest rating in this size is 69/100, our runner up. They felt it had “Very Good” image quality overall, praising the detail and black levels, but found the color accuracy and viewing angle to be below average (more on the latter in the Flaws section.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Like all LCDs, the E-series has some picture quality drawbacks, most notably, motion blur and off-axis viewing. Motion blur is when the image blurs when something on screen moves (or the entire image movies, like a camera pan). The E-series uses a method to reduce motion blur called black frame insertion. CNET said this reduced blur “slightly,” but they “ended up turning off MBR because it tended to introduce flicker in some areas, particularly white fields.”

To get better motion resolution and otherwise decent picture quality, you’ll have to spend a lot more.

The other issue is off-axis viewing. The color saturation and overall picture quality decreases the further away you are from dead center. If you have a big couch, or tend to have people (you like) that sit off to the sides of a TV, consider the similarly priced 49-inch Vizio M-series. This TV doesn’t look as good straight on, but will look better than the E-series off to the side.

Lastly: sound. No TV in this range has good sound quality. In fact, with very few exceptions, no TV has good sound quality. We highly recommend checking out an inexpensive soundbar, which will sound radically better than any TV. OK, almost any TV.

Reported issues

There are reports on the E-series TVs shutting down randomly. It’s hard (if not impossible) to judge how many units are truly affected by this issue. We go into depth about this in the full guide but the short version is, from what we can tell from Amazon reviews, approximately 4 percent of people have this problem. According to Consumer Reports, LCD TVs in general have a 3-5 percent problem rate, so this is in that range.

The Vizio’s satisfaction ratio is a bit lower than the top competition, which isn’t ideal, but all are fairly close. 76 percent (4 and 5 stars) are happy with their E-series. No TV is perfect.

If you run into these issues, Amazon has a 30-day return policy. Costco gives 90 days to members. Best Buy’s policy is 15 days. Vizio’s warranty is 1 year on parts and labor.

For now the E-series remains the pick, but if these potential issues concern you, check out our runner-up pick.

Runner-up

The Panasonic 50AS530U was liked by some reviewers more than Vizio’s E-series and by other reviewers less so. The difference was so close that it wasn’t quite enough to offset the $50 (9%) difference in price. The contrast ratio isn’t quite as good; the color accuracy is similar, as is the motion resolution. The off-axis performance is a little better.

Competition

For a full list of the TVs we considered, but didn’t pick, check out the full article.

Is now the best time to buy?

A bevy of new TVs were announced at the yearly Consumer Electronics Show in early January. It’s too soon to tell which might be our pick for 2015, but we know they’re coming. We expect to start seeing reviews and tests of the new models this summer. Will the new models be better than the Vizio? We honestly don’t know. Most new models are better than the ones they replace, but not always. For now, the E-series is a great TV.

Wrapping it up

The Vizio E500i-B1 is a great $500(ish) 50-inch TV. It has above-average picture quality, with dark black levels and a bright image. Its color accuracy and motion resolution are only okay, but that’s not too different from other TVs in this price range. In short, it’s a decent, inexpensive 50-inch TV.

This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com.

TIME Gadgets

This Is Your Dad’s Next Birthday Present

Leatherman
Craig Wagner—Leatherman

Meet the Swiss Army bracelet

Swiss Army Knives are so played out. You know what we need? Swiss Army bracelets.

Leatherman has announced a new product that you wear on your wrist, Tread, featuring 25 usable tools, including wrenches and screwdrivers but no blades, Mashable reports. Leatherman President Ben Rivera got the idea for the product at Disneyland, where he said he was “stopped at the gate by security for carrying a knife, when what they had actually seen was my Skeletool.”

For the record, the Skeletool looks a lot like a knife.

The product comes out this summer, when handy folks the world over will finally be able to go into theme parks with all the tools they need to, who knows, fix a roller coaster or something.

[Mashable]

Read next: Here Are 12 of SkyMall’s Weirdest Products

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Gadgets

You Can Control This Heated Scarf With Your Smartphone

Scarf
Woman texting on smartphone outside Martin Dimitrov—Getty Images

New device can also vibrate

A scarf is probably not the first kind of “wearable device” you think of, but Microsoft may change that. A research group at the company has developed a smart scarf that can heat up or vibrate via a smartphone app, MIT Technology Review reports.

The scarf is comprised of hexagonal modules made of felt and overlaid with copper taffeta. One of the modules has Bluetooth functionality in order to communicate with your smartphone. Some of the modules heat up and others vibrate, but they can be rearranged in any order to alter the heat distribution of the scarf.

Researchers told the MIT Technology Review that they’d like to add cooling functionality to the scarf, as well as a music player. The device could even worth with other biometric devices to adjust the scarf temperature based on a person’s mood, perhaps boosting the heat when the wearer appears to be sad.

For now, the scarf is just a research project. A paper on the device was presented at a conference on human-computer interaction at Stanford University on Sunday.

TIME Gadgets

How To Boost Your Wi-Fi With a Range Extender

phone
Getty Images

Here's how to get your Wi-Fi network to finally cover your whole house

I love the Wi-Fi service available in my home. I have my laptop, my smartphone and my tablet hooked up to it so I can surf the web from anywhere in the house. Well, almost anywhere.

The Wi-Fi gear is installed towards the back of my place. The further I go towards the front of the house, the worse the signal. If I try to do much more than check email in my front room, it takes forever. Streaming YouTube or Netflix is out of the question.

Fortunately, this is why they make wireless Wi-Fi range extenders. These are small boxes that can extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal by boosting it and retransmitting it.

What to buy

When looking for a wireless Wi-Fi range extender of your own, you don’t need to buy from the same manufacturer as your Wi-Fi box (though it doesn’t hurt, either.) The features you are looking for are easy set up, matching frequency band (2.4 and/or 5Ghz) and a signal-strength indicator.

Two-button set up

If you aren’t especially tech-savvy, you’ll want to stay away from extenders that require you to fiddle around with their internal settings through a web browser. Watch out for any product that comes with a CD or software.

The easiest set up is if both your Wi-Fi box and the expander have WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). Pushing the WPS buttons on both your Wi-Fi box and your extender at the same time allows the systems to talk to each other and take care of the setup without you having to muck around with the settings.

Match the frequency

Is your Wi-Fi box running on a 2.4 or 5Ghz band? Make sure the extender matches. If you have a choice, boosting a 2.4Gz signal will go further, but boosting the short-range 5Ghz signal will be stronger. Dual-band extenders cover both.

Signal strength indicator

How do you know where to put your extender for the best signal boost? Too close to your Wi-Fi box and you won’t get the best coverage. Go too far and the weakened signal won’t do you any good. Look for extenders that give an indication of signal strength so you can find just the right spot.

Our recommendation

Netgear’s WN2500RP Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender ($54 on Amazon) has all the bells and whistles we covered here. We particularly like the LED lights that give you a great indicator of the signal strength.

That’s all there is to it. With a repeater in place, you can be streaming music in your garage or checking Facebook on the porch in no time. But what if an extender can’t get the Wi-Fi to the room you want? Then it’s time to consider a wired alternative.

Wired extender alternatives

1. If your home has been wired for cable, you may have a coax (cat 5) jack in your home’s Wi-Fi dead zone that you can use to extend your coverage. A coax adapter creates a wired connection from your router box to the are where you need coverage without having to run a cable.

It’s as simple as plugging one adapter into a coax jack next to your existing router and using an Ethernet cable to connect them. Then plug the second adapter into a coax jack in the area where you need Wi-Fi coverage and use an Ethernet cable to connect the adapter to the included, second Wi-Fi router. You should get the same speeds as your current W-Fi network and higher speeds than a Wi-Fi repeater will provide.

If this sounds like the option for you, we recommend the Actiontec Dual-Band Wireless Network Extender and Ethernet Over Coax Adapter Kit ($149.99 on Amazon).

2. A powerline adapter creates a wired connection from your router box to the room you need it without having to run a cable between the two areas. It does this by using the existing electrical system already built into your house.

It’s as simple as plugging one adapter into a power outlet next to your router and using an Ethernet cable to connect them. Then plug the second adapter into an electrical socket in the room where you need it and plug another Ethernet cable from that one into whatever computer, game console or smart TV requires an internet connection. Pair the two adapters by pressing the buttons on the front of them and you’re good to go.

A powerline adapter will likely provide a faster internet connection than a Wi-Fi repeater, though it will depend on how your house is wired. It’s ideal if you’re only trying to connect one device that has an ethernet port.

If this sounds like the option for you, we recommend the TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit ($40 on Amazon). It is small, powerful, secure and has an energy-saving mode. You can buy extra adapters if you want a signal in more than one room.

This article originally appeared on Techlicious.

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