By Damon Lavrinc from Wired.com:
We shop for flights on our laptop, book hotels on our tablet, and have a QR code boarding pass on our smartphone. So why are we still walking up to the ticket counter to get a printed sticker when we check our bags? British Airways and Designworks asked the same question and think it’s time for the luggage tag to evolve.
Next month, the airline and design firm will begin testing a reusable, e-ink luggage tag that connects with your smartphone. Using NFC, the app will beam your flight information to the tag, displaying your destination and a barcode on the e-paper screen. There’s no GPS-tracking, but the display is compatible with existing luggage scanners, so there’s no need to update the existing infrastructure at airports.
BA employees will be testing the tags during a three-month trial before the airline rolls out the system to its passengers next year. However, NFC will likely be ditched in favor of Bluetooth so the system is compatible with all smartphones that run BA’s app. And the airline estimates that travelers using the tag will be able to have their bags dropped off and checked in less than a minute.
69k backers. $10m in the can. But now that the Pebble E-paper watch is showing up on our wrists, was it worth it?
With 68,929 backers pledging more than $10m, the Pebble E-paper watch is the highest-grossing Kickstarter project to date. The pitch, to fund an Android- and iOS-compatible smartwatch, was so successful that the campaign had to be cut short. With a 144 x 168 e-paper display, vibrating motor, 3-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth connectivity, the Pebble promises to let you use your smartphone without it ever leaving your pocket.
Style-wise, the Pebble isn’t going to turn many heads, but it isn’t an eyesore. Sleek but chunky, the rectangular looks are vaguely reminiscent of Casio calculator watch, albeit one from a minimalist future. The comparison is appropriate, since both products are trying to return the wristwatch from fashion-accessory purgatory to a place of utility. If you desire something a little more stylish, the default rubber strap can be replaced with a standard 22mm watch band.
Not to be confused with e-ink, the Pebble’s e-paper display is actually a low-power memory LCD. The high contrast screen is readable, even in direct sunlight, but unlike e-ink it has a 30 fps refresh rate. This quick refresh rate allows for smooth animations in menus and watch faces. The drawback is that continually refreshing the screen drains power fast. Watch faces that feature moving second hands severely impact battery life.