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xHQ Happy Hour #5 Links Roundup

It’s time for another roundup of fascinating, weird and hilarious links shared during our weekly remote Happy Hours. (*Note: Laughter and witty banter not included in the recap, must be present during happy hour to experience).

Showjs.io

Building off of the lead that hero Josh Johnston took in last week’s happy hour, hero Michal Kawalec was kind enough to takes us through one of his current projects, Show.js.

Show.js aims to take presentations to the next level by focusing on perfecting the sync of presentation slides.

The presentation slides are done by reveal.js contributors, but Michal wrote the sync library over it. The result of the sync library is that as the master of the slides changes the slides on their computer, it changes the slides on everyone else’s computer who is viewing the presentation. Thus, the viewer of the presentation can always see the slide that the presenter is on. However, the sync library also has the added benefit of allowing the viewer of the presentation the ability to unsync and sync again with the master.

Michal said that his inspiration for this project stemmed from only people in the front of conferences truly being able to see the presenter’s slides. This ingenious solution not only solves the problem of everyone being able to see the slides at a conference, but also ensures that the audience can be fully involved. If a viewer misses something during the presentation, then they can unsync and go back to the misunderstood slide. The audience no longer has the risk of being lost and, consequently, giving up on the presentation.

If you want to contribute to the project, check out the Github page. Michal is at a stage where he needs feedback and would appreciate any help that he could get. This is a great way to get involved in the open source community for other heroes and a chance to make the difficult task of presenting at a conference a little easier.

Hendo Hoverboard

The Hendo Hoverboard is a current campaign on Kickstarter. It is claiming to be the world’s first real, you guessed it, hoverboard. Hold on, don’t go joy riding in the DeLorean just yet though, Marty McFly. Let me fill you in on where this technology and campaign is currently hovering at.

The technology for the Hendo Hoverboard is based on Lenz’s Law, which explains how eddy currents are created when magnets are moved relative to a conductive material. These eddy currents in turn create an opposing magnetic field in the conductor. The Hendo Hoverboard utilizes Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), which the creators have trademarked and patented. The MFA is able to focus this opposing magnetic field more efficiently.

One of the big limitations of the Hendo Hoverboard is that the current iteration only works on specific surfaces, namely ones that are a non-ferromagnetic conductor. However, the Kickstarter campaign has already been successfully funded, surpassing its $250,000 goal quite easily. For those itching to get their hands on a Hendo Hoverboard, unfortunately that pledge level has already been fully backed. For a mere pledge of $10,000, ten lucky individuals will have a Hendo Hoverboard in their hands come October 21, 2015.

The inventors of the Hendo Hoverboard seem to be utilizing it as a fun, early use of their MFA technology to gain funding. They already have their eyes set on using the MFA technology to solve buildings being adversely affected by natural disasters. For instance, a building will be lifted out of harm’s way with the flip of a switch, when an earthquake or flood is imminent. The technology seems to still be in its infancy, so only time will tell which exciting applications are possible.

Raspberry Pi Vending Machine

Above is a video of a vending machine being operated using the physical web. The website on the phone utilizes a websocket connection to a Raspberry Pi in the vending machine to communicate. This example is an early prototype of the main concept trying to be accomplished of creating an open ecosystem where smart devices can broadcast URLs into the area around them and, ultimately, extending the web into the physical world around us. Here is the GitHub for the project.

The open ecosystem is meant to operate much like the basic behavior of a search engine. For example, the user could request a list of what’s nearby on their phone and a ranked list of URLs would be shown on the user’s phone. The user then picks one and the URL is opened in a full screen browser window.

The current technology is utilizing an app in the phone, however the goal is to have the technology built into the operating system of all smartphones. The app works in the background of the phone, silently monitoring beacons that you can browse when you’re interested, so you do not need to use it actively.

Hemingwrite

The Hemingwrite is described as a single purpose, distraction-free writing composition device. It attempts to evoke a feeling of nostalgia for the way authors of yesteryear went about writing novels, but utilizing the technology of today. The Hemingwrite tries to accomplish this through a typewriter looking frame that has the ability to sync to the cloud and your favorite document editors.

The Hemingwrite is equipped with a six inch E Ink screen, Evernote and Google Docs API integration for constant backups, and Wifi and Bluetooth LE. The features of the device include a projected 6 week battery life and a 1 million page memory. The best feature that this device is claiming to provide is the ability to go somewhere and write without having to worry about the dreaded lure of technological distractions. One important final note about the Hemingwrite, it is still unfortunately just in the prototype phase.

It’s also the kind of hipster-tech that Wojtek dreams about.

Sincerity Machine

Because the world needs a Comic Sans typewriter.

The Sincerity Machine is a typewriter with the modification of a Comic Sans font. The creator etched new letters out of acrylic with a laser engraving machine and glued them onto the strikers to create the Comic Sans typewriter.

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