Watch: LG G Flex smartphone heals itself after being scratched

The LG G Flex features a curved screen, but that isn’t even the weirdest thing about it. More interesting, I’d argue, is LG’s “self-healing” coating that actually clears up scratches and other damage made to the case. LG has already released a promotional video of the material in action, but how well does it work in a real world situation? You can see in the video below:

YouTube personality Marques Brownlee got his hands on the phone, and put it through a couple of tests to see whether comparing it to the X-Men’s self-healing Wolverine was genuinely accurate, or just really bizarre marketing. Turns out it’s a bit of both.

First Brownlee pulls out a set of keys and scratches the back of the phone, which is something pretty likely to happen at some point in either your pocket or your bag. And surprisingly, the G Flex is able to heal itself after being inflicted with some light marks. It takes a little bit of time, and the scratches don’t completely disappear, but it looks a heck of a lot better than your standard damage.

Next up Brownlee takes a knife to the back of the phone, which is far less likely to happen in the real world. He runs the knife across the back cover, leaving a deeper scratch. After a few hours, the scratch has healed about halfway, which again, is a much better result than you’re likely to see on any other device.

According to Brownlee, the coating LG uses on the phone works better in a warm environment, which is why it worked so well in LG’s promotional video. He demonstrates that the phone’s healing properties work better with the warmth of his hand, which is pretty impressive.

I’m not so sure whether curved smartphones are ever really going to take off. But self-healing phones? After watching this video, that’s a trend I can get behind.

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PENCIL: A TOOL THAT LETS YOU THINK WITH YOUR HANDS

Remember when we talked about that iPad app called Paper, from FiftyThree, that lets you sketch, draw diagrams and illustrations, and take notes? Well, they’ve made it even easier to use that app with the help of Pencil, a wireless tool that lets you do all of the things a regular pencil would, just on your iPad. You can erase, blend, and draw all of your ideas just as you would on paper but with the convenience and ease of today’s technology.

Pencil is available in two models – Walnut, which is made from sustainable hardwood, and Graphite, that’s made from brushed aluminum.

The pencil-like tip makes it easier when you’re trying to draw so you don’t have to use the tip of your finger.

Pencil comes with a long-lasting, lithium-ion battery that can be recharged with any USB port in under 90 minutes. A single charge should last approximately a month.

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Google forced to add steering wheels to driverless car designs

The California department of motor vehicles has introduced new road safety rules, requiring all vehicles on its roads to have a steering wheel and brake pedal – including Google’s fleet of driverless cars.

Google will have to fit manual control devices to each of the cars in its test fleet of driverless vehicles before it can take them onto public roads in the tech giant’s home state.

Google unveiled its latest prototype for a button operated car in May this year, with a movie showing members of the public test driving one of the vehicles. The company said it would create a fleet of around 100 cars to test on the roads near its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

But California’s DMV has now announced new rules that will come into effect in mid-September, that say a driver must be able to take “immediate physical control” of a vehicle on public roads – meaning it has to have a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pads.

Google told the Wall Street Journal that it would comply with the rule by adding temporary devices, including a pedal system.

“With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary,” said Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne.

The company’s prototype cars had in-built sensors designed to detect objects up to two football-field lengths away in all directions, were operated with the push of a button and had a speed cap of 25 miles per hour.

But one of Google’s lead software engineers on the project revealed this week that the cars were now being programmed to exceed speed limits by up to 10 miles per hour.

Dmitri Dolgov told news agency Reuters that research had shown that it was safer to allow the cars to accelerate to keep up if surrounded by other vehicles that were speeding.

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9 of the best green gadgets from 2013

1. Yeti 150 Solar Power Generator ($199.99)

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As those on the east coast know from Hurricane Sandy’s power outage last year, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up generator (and while we’re on the topic, a 5-gallon gas can). Traditional gas-powered generators are cumbersome, noisy, and emit toxic fumes—not ideal for indoor use or at a campsite.

Enter the Yeti 150. Goal Zero’s Solar Power Generator can “power lights, laptops and more via built-in AC, 12V and USB ports. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 can be fully charged by the sun in 15 hours with the included 15W Bolder 15 Solar Panel.” Plus, it has the same name as the abominable snowman. Sold.

 

2. Belkin WeMo Insight Switch ($49.99)

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As can be expected, Belkin is on the forefront of energy-monitoring device development. Back in 2010 Belkin announced the launch of its Conserve sockets, intelligent plugs which automatically shut down the power supply when a USB-connected device is fully charged. This year Belkin announced the WeMo insight Switch, which takes power conservation a step further.

Taking a cue from smart home technology, the compact plug allows users “to control and manage the energy usage and costs of home electronics from anywhere through their iOS or Android device.” You can also put your devices on a schedule and receive notifications when a connected unit is turned on or off—such as when a laundry cycle is finished.

 

3. Mophie’s Juice Pack Helium ($79.95)

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If you’ve ever watched your phone battery reach its final stages of life as you desperately try to make last minute plans or find your way home via GPS, you understand the value of always having a way to stay charged and connected.

Mophie’s battery case provides iPhone 5 or 5s owners with up to 80 percent more battery life, without the bulk of most other battery cases. And, it comes in seven different colors. Let your 14-year-old, Nokia-faceplate-obsessed-self be free!

 

4. Parrot Flower Power App-Controlled Bluetooth Plant Monitor ($59.99)

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Perhaps the most, er, unique, use of Bluetooth that we’ve ever seen, Parrot’s Flower Power monitor is a wireless sensor that you stake into your garden or flower pot. The device sends wireless signals to an app on your smart phone with info and recommendations about soil conditions, sunlight, fertilizer, and air temperature. You can move the device to all different plants, including your lawn. Perfect for those of us with a black thumb.

 

5. Impecca Bluetooth Bamboo Keyboard ($99.00)

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Personal computing accessories like keyboards, mice, and earphones are rarely seen as a threat to the environment, yet their man-made components can take a toll—Ewaste now makes up 2 percent of landfill trash, but 70 percent of overall toxic waste. That’s why Impecca launched its Bluetooth Bamboo Keyboard, compatible with iPads, iPhones, Android Tablets, Netbooks and other Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices.

The bamboo is biodegradable, and has a finish which prevents from wear over time. Bamboo mice and earphones have been on the market for awhile now, and are an eco-friendly (and stylish!) alternative to their plastic counterparts.

 

6. Sowden SoftBrew (starting at $30.00)

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Coffee lovers, rejoice. There’s alternative to single-serve coffee makers like the Keurig, and it’s environmentally friendly.

Sowden’s SoftBrew has a “back to basics” approach to brewing coffee, using a porcelain pot and hot water. The SoftBrew reduces the amount of coffee grounds used, eliminates the need for a daily paper filer, stays hot longer than glass or steel, and the filter and packaging is all recyclable.

 

7. Birksun 6 Watt Solar Backpack ($159.99)

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As ThinkGeek smartly points out, when the zombie apocalypse comes, you’re going to need a good bag to carry all your stuff and an alternate power source. Thankfully, 2013 brought you the Birksun 6 Watt Solar Backback. It’s got your tech backpack must-haves like a water bottle pouch, easy-access side zipper, laptop sleeve and more, plus a solar panel which can charge the average smart phone 25 percent in one hour. Oh, and it’s TSA-approved for all travel before the apocalypse. Not too shabby.

 

8. Waka Waka Solar Powered Lamp and Charger ($69.00)

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This year Waka Waka (the company with the same name as a Shakira song) introduced its Solar Powered Lamp and Charger, which charges phones and/or shines 40 hours of light on an 8-hour solar charge. Its two functions make it a perfect fit for camping or other off-the-grid activities.

Waka Waka also has a pretty powerful mission statement: to bring electricity to the 1.3 billion people around the world without access to it. This year the launched a major initiative to send Waka Waka Powers to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.

 

9. MeterPlug ($59.95)

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MeterPlug is an adapter which plugs in between an AC outlet and any appliance (think TV, spaces heater, washer and dryer). According to the website, it measures your energy consumption and sends that information over Bluetooth to your smart phone, where an app displays the cost of your energy used.

Some cool features include automatically turning off appliances that are on standby, turning on and off appliances depending on your proximity to them, and manually turning on or off devices within a 100 foot range. Although not technically shipping until March 2014, the MeterPlug was developed this year and due to a successful funding campaign, is now taking pre-orders.

Did we miss your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Ultimate Tool For Telecommuting

Double enables a revolutionary new level of interaction with your remote team.

Traditional videoconferencing is arguably the most important tool used by telecommuters in the workplace today. However, remote workers know how difficult it can be to schedule a call or ask someone to set up a laptop for video chat.

Having your own Double in the office means you can be free to roam around anywhere without having to schedule a meeting. Double takes everything you love about video calls on an iPad and puts that on a mobile base that puts the remote worker in control. Your Double is always on, ready to take you anywhere you need to go.

 

Employers can rest assured that their remote employees never miss out on important conversations around the workplace.

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