FastCompany Magazine

The official Tumblr of Fast Company.

At first, the Cloud Lamp seems like a mirage: It looks like a real cloud and even emits claps of thunder. But then it flashes green, red, and blue, plays music—and is hanging in your living room. An interactive night-light, the cloud reacts to motion around it and flickers in time with music.

At first, the Cloud Lamp seems like a mirage: It looks like a real cloud and even emits claps of thunder. But then it flashes green, red, and blue, plays music—and is hanging in your living room. An interactive night-light, the cloud reacts to motion around it and flickers in time with music.

"Plants are just another object we take for granted. We think of them as a thing that sits in the corner that we water once a week. But really, they can be so much more than that. They can be a remote. They can be a musical instrument. They can be anything interactive that takes you away from plastic and glass and into the whole world that’s touchable around you. 

Watch: Two Fast Company interns hacked houseplants to make them play music when they’re touched

"Plants became more than just a plant. They became actual objects that we have an incentive to water." 

  • "…it snaps a photo of the fridge’s contents whenever you open the door, allowing you to check what food you already have before you stop off at the store on your way home from work.”

  • Your SmartThings hub could detect that you’ve woken up, either through a motion sensor outside your bedroom or a biometric wristband like the Jawbone Up, and turn on the lights in your kitchen and activate the outlet to which your coffee pot is connected, starting the coffee brewing if you had the foresight to put the grinds in the night before. When you enter the kitchen, motion sensors could trigger a Sonos speaker to give you a weather report and play the news. When you leave for work, the home senses that you are gone and shuts everything down.”

2014: The year companies try to make the kitchen the smartest room in the house

Monsieur, an artificially intelligent robotic bartender, will take your orders and craft perfectly portioned cocktails to your liking—plus, he doesn’t work for tips.

"As you get older, your tastes become more refined, and you quickly learn it’s expensive to get a quality drink. I thought I could design a machine that could provide consistent-quality cocktails to anyone—not just people who can pay $9 a drink, or even $50 a drink," cofounder and CEO Barry Givens told Fast Company.

Check it out

Perhaps you’ve heard: Sitting is the new smoking. For years, a growing body of research has shown sitting for extended periods of time, the way most of us do for50 to 70 percent of our lives, can cause a host of issues from lower back pain to diabetes to an increased risk of death.

The Stir Kinetic Desk automatically and strategically adjusts between sitting and standing positions based on data it collects about your habits over time. The Stir Kinetic Desk is simple to operate, because all of its controls are packed into a little built-in touchscreen on the desk’s bottom left-hand corner. After you initially store your preferred sitting and standing heights, double-tapping on the touchscreen will cause the desk to move up or down. 

We got to try one out at the office. Watch.

Less than a year after it refreshed its iMac line of desktops with a new, thin design, Apple has updated it yet again, this time, with more power under the hood. Like the Macbook Airs that launched in June, the iMacs now include fourth generation Intel Haswell processors, which should mean a significant improvement in graphics performance. The flipside? There’s still no sign of that retina display, something customers have long been clamoring for.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key changes.
Less than a year after it refreshed its iMac line of desktops with a new, thin design, Apple has updated it yet again, this time, with more power under the hood. Like the Macbook Airs that launched in June, the iMacs now include fourth generation Intel Haswell processors, which should mean a significant improvement in graphics performance. The flipside? There’s still no sign of that retina display, something customers have long been clamoring for.

Yes, the iPhone fingerprint sensor can be “hacked.” No, you shouldn’t worry about it. 

Even if the attack proves to be real, this isn’t a casual, fast trick. The attacker would have to be lucky enough to get a perfect print of the correct finger to unlock the iPhone, which means they’d have to find that specific print, or be forced to try several fake prints. Anyone this intent on hacking your iPhone would need prolonged access to it.”

More info

All of the wonks were saying the personal computer was dead. And then one day—you never quite knew where Steve would get his ideas, because he would sometimes lay claim to others’ ideas as his own—Steve woke up and decided not only was the computer not dead, but it was more important than ever. The computer was the center of this ecosystem and there were spokes: pictures, work, music.

The story behind the iPod’s design

Would you shock your brain to improve your gaming high score? If so, Foc.us might be for you. The headset is supposed to help gamers “overclock” their brains by passing an electrical current through the prefrontal cortex. “Excite your prefrontal cortex and get the edge in online gaming,” says the Foc.us website.

Engadget’s Nicole Lee said she experienced a burning and tingling sensation with Foc.us:

We strapped the headset on for ourselves at a recent event, and we found it to be a weird experience. There was a strange, almost burning, sensation on the right part of our forehead, while the rest merely tingled. Oxley told us that it was normal for some people to feel it more on one side than the other, and that tDCS does take some getting used to. After about eight minutes, the tingling sensation remained even after we removed the headset. We didn’t really feel our powers of concentration improve that much afterward, but it’s hard to say after such a limited time.”

More…