Ford built a baby bed that feels like it’s driving around the neighborhood

Some babies won’t sleep unless they get a nighttime cruise around the neighborhood, as many parents (my own included) can attest. That’s why Ford’s latest creation isn’t a car at all – it’s a small cot for babies called Max Motor Dreams (via CNET) that simulates a drive using sound and motion, along with LED lighting designed to mimic yellow-hued streetlights.

The sound comes from actual recorded road noise, captured via an app on your phone. The motion? That’s down to small motors under the bed that provide movement so it feels like the crib is in motion – even though it’s not actually moving.

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If you are furiously seeking a “buy” link you can give up now – there’s only one of these, because Ford isn’t a crazy company that likes throwing money away on outlier ideas. The Max Motor Dreams could see an eventual production run, however, pending interest, which might be a thing that happens IRL but probably not.

For now enjoy these images of this precious, eccentric design exercise. The wood trim makes it, really.

Looking for a new tablet? Survey shows customers prefer Microsoft Surface

Why it matters to you

Sure, tablets are not the most popular devices on the market, but if you need one, better go with Microsoft.

Tablets aren’t the most popular of mobile devices on the market, but of the ones that are available, it looks like customers are most partial to those made by Microsoft. On April 7, J.D. Power announced that Microsoft won the award for U.S. Tablet Satisfaction, edging past Apple and its iPad. This marks the first time the Seattle-based company has won the award, which has previously been claimed by the iEmpire.

Microsoft’s aggregate score of 855 points out of 1,000 (Apple achieved 849) was due largely to its tablets’ high marks in terms of features and styling and design factors. “These [Microsoft] tablet devices are just as capable as many laptops, yet they can still function as standard tablets. This versatility is central to their appeal and success.” said Jeff Conklin, vice president of service industries at J.D. Power in a release.

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Customers were most impressed with Microsoft in three performance areas — pre-loaded applications, internet connectivity, and availability of manufacturer-supported accessories. As it turned out, Microsoft Surface owners also use their accessories the most (in particular the Type Cover and Surface Pen). Tablet enthusiasts were also impressed with Microsoft’s variety of input/output connectivity and the amount of internal storage.

And while Apple generally hangs its hat on design, it would appear that customers are quite taken with Microsoft’s aesthetics, too. Indeed, when it came to tablets, Microsoft won over users in terms of tablet size, quality of materials, and attractiveness of design. That said, both Apple and Samsung produce tablets that leave customers quite happy as well, but just not quite as happy as Microsoft, apparently.

On the other end of the spectrum were Acer and Asus, who this year were below average when it came to customer satisfaction. Amazon, surprisingly enough, scored in the middle of the road — apparently, book lovers are quite pleased with its e-reading options.

So if you’re looking for yet another device to add to your stash, you may want to look at Windows and its Surface tablet.

New ransomware locks your files behind an anime bullet hell shooter

“Rensenware” is a new kind of ransomware — typically malicious software that locks your files until a fee has been paid to recover them — but, as Ars Techinca reports, it’s a bit different from the usual sort of malware. Instead of requiring infected users to pay a sum of money to regain access to their locked files, Rensenware instead requires them to reach a high score of 200 million points in the anime bullet hell shooter TH12 Undefined Fantastic Object (a game in the Touhou Project series) on the “Lunatic” difficulty level.

The creator of Rensenware, who goes by the handle Tvple Eraser, later apologized for the software. “I made it [as a] joke, just laughing with people who like Touhou Project Series,” says Tvple Eraser, who also released a tool to bypass the lock on the files for anyone who may have downloaded the original version by mistake. Tvple Eraser has since replaced the ransomware version with a safer “cut” version that doesn’t lock your files by forcibly encrypting them.

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It does seem that Tvple Eraser really did just intend this as a joke, and to their credit, didn’t actually try to distribute the software to people. Still, the original code is out there somewhere, and it’s conceivable that someone could release an actually malicious version that could block the removal tool and cause some actual damage if users got infected.

It might be worth brushing up on your TH12 Undefined Fantastic Object skills — just in case.

BioLite’s new SolarPanel and USB chargers bring portable power to campsites

Why it matters to you

BioLite delivers clean, efficient, and portable power to the backcountry with its new line of USB chargers and an upgraded solar panel.

Keeping our mobile devices charged in the backcountry just got a little easier. BioLite, the company behind the battery-charging CampStove, has announced a slew of new products specifically designed to power our smartphones, tablets, headlamps, cameras, and other gadgets while traveling off the grid, including a new portable solar panel and a line of USB battery packs.

Last year, BioLite introduced its first two solar panels, bringing a lightweight and efficient solution for charging electronic devices to the campsite. Those models included the SolarPanel 5 and the SolarPanel 5+, each of which are capable of generating up to 5 watts of power from the sun. The difference between the two models is that the “+” version includes a built-in battery pack with a capacity of 2,200mAh to store the energy collected. Now, the company is expanding the line to include a third option.

The new SolarPanel 10+ also comes equipped with a 3,000mAh battery pack and is capable of generating as much as 10 watts of power thanks to an additional fold-out solar cell. Like BioLite’s previous models, it has a built-in kickstand to keep it stable on a variety of surfaces, as well as a sundial to help users find the most efficient angle and positioning to collect power. The SolarPanel 10+ sells for $130 and is available now.

The SolarPanel 10+ isn’t the only new addition to the BioLite catalog. The company has also taken the wraps off its new Charge line of USB battery packs as well. Featuring a thin and lightweight — yet durable — stainless steel body, these portable chargers are built to be tough enough to take with you on your outdoor adventures, but elegant enough for use in your day-to-day life, too. The Charge 10 includes a single USB port and a 2,600mAh battery, and sells for $25. The Charge 20 offers two USB ports and a 5,200mAh battery, and is available at a $40 price point. Both will begin shipping on April 15, while a third addition to the Charge line — the Charge 40 — will ship later this summer. It is expected to have a 10,400mAh battery.

More: The Klymit Double V is an inflatable sleeping pad made for camping couples

BioLite says that all of the Charge models are “dunkproof,” which essentially means they can survive getting splashed with water or exposed to some rain. But they are not fully waterproof so you should expect them to survive getting dropped in a river or lake. That said, they should be durable enough to survive most of the other abuse they’ll receive in the outdoors.

Adidas’ latest 3D-printed shoe puts mass production within sight

Adidas unveiled their latest 3D-printed shoe last night, the Futurecraft 4D. The shoe is a huge improvement on their last 3D-printed runners, which were more of a concept than an actual product.

The new version is better suited for mass production – Adidas plans on selling 5,000 pairs this upcoming fall, which will scale up to more than 100,000 pairs by the end of 2018. While the company hasn’t announced the price, expect the first run to still be priced as a limited edition shoe. The first 3D runners retailed for $333, but sold secondhand for many times that.

To create the shoes Adidas has teamed up with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based 3D-printing company we’ve covered before. The startup, which has raised over $200M from Sequoia Capital, GV, Yuri Milner and others, is focused on making 3D printing a viable manufacturing method for large-scale production across industries.

The key to turning 3D-printing into more than a novelty used only for prototyping is speed – which is what Carbon prides itself on.

Using a method called Digital Light Synthesis the startup is able to print objects up to 10 times faster than other 3D printers. The difference is that instead of printing an object layer by layer from the top down like traditional additive 3D printers do, Carbon’s process is continuous and starts from the bottom.

The liquid resin material also allows for a much more flexible final product compared to the material used by traditional 3D printers.

Carbon’s machines use digital light below the printing surface to turn the liquid resin into a solid object. The object, in this case the shoe’s midsoles, are pulled up and literally formed from the top down.

The image below should help you visualize the process.

The object being printed doesn’t stick to the printing surface because it’s never actually touching – the surface is permeable to both the digital light and oxygen, which is injected through the surface to always maintain a ultra-thin layer of air between the printing surface and object being printed.

The liquid resin material also allows for a much more flexible final product compared to the material used by traditional 3D printers.

Sound complicated? It is. But the end result means that companies can use Carbon’s technology to 3D print objects at scale. Which is exactly what Adidas is planning to do.

For them, the benefits also extend beyond speed. 3D printing allows the shoe company to unlock performance-enhancing design modifications that would have been impossible with other materials like foam.

So how does this help you, the end user?

Adidas knows that to perform at their best, athletes need different points of density throughout their midsole. A runner may need a firm toe spot and softer heel, etc. To achieve this with regular shoes, manufacturers need to glue together different pieces of foam with varying densities.

But with Carbon’s 3D printing process they can simply change the geometry of the lattice to make different areas firmer or softer.

Essentially, different patterns result in different density and feel. For example, check out how the density of the midsole below changes throughout.

The finished product is a shoe that feels really good. The shoes are springy but firm at the same time – which is exactly what Adidas is trying to accomplish. And since they’re 3D printed all it would take is a slight tweak of a design file to make a pair more springy or stable.

Because while the first step is just to get to mass-production, Adidas eventually sees a future where everyone will be able to have their own 3D-printed shoe, with the midsole totally customized to their individual needs.

Ford brings baby’s car-ride experience to the crib

Say goodbye to those late-night drives to get your baby to sleep.

Ford has built a prototype crib that mimics the feel of driving in a car.

It’s called Max Motor Dreams and it works like this:

A phone app records a nighttime drive, and once you’re home, it reproduces the feel of the drive within the crib.

A small speaker under the cot provides the muffled sound of an engine, and a gentle movement replicates the feel of driving in a car.

It sounds like a sensible purchase for many new parents — but unfortunately, it’s still in development.



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Ford designed a smart crib that replicates car rides

There’s something about long car rides that make it so easy to fall asleep — the repetitive passing patterns, subtle vibrations, the hum of the engine. Inspired by this notion, Ford has designed a bed that can simulate all those experiences. The only problem? It’s made for infant-sized humans.

Called the Max Motor Dreams, the crib contains LED lights that glow similarly to street lights, and has speakers at the bottom that can make muffled engine sounds for ambient noise. Naturally, it gently vibrates and rocks to mimic a ride in the backseat, and even comes with an app designed to track your car’s route so it can reproduce the movements from that drive for your baby.

The Max Motor Dreams appears to be mostly conceptual for now, with only one crib produced so far. No pricing information is available either, but Ford España is running a sweepstakes to give away the crib to one lucky winner, as long as they partake in a test drive of the Ford Max. Even though it’s clearly made for babies, I wouldn’t mind seeing an adult version of this bed — it seems more clever than most smart beds I’ve seen. Of course, as long as it doesn’t get hacked.

Keep your shiny new LG G6 safe from damage with the best cases and covers

The LG G6 is a big, powerful phone, but its fragile frame spells trouble should you ever lose your grip. Drop this phone, and there’s a serious risk of cracks, scratches, and other kinds of unsightly damage. The smart play is to opt for some protection, whether it be polycarbonate frame or a folio-style case. Just pick one of the LG G6 offerings below, and you won’t have to worry about the inevitable accidents to come.

More: Feel fly like a G6 with these handy tips and tricks

Ringke Fusion Case ($12)

Ringke Fusion Case

The G6 is beautiful to behold, so why cover it up? The Ringke Fusion is a nice option for protection, one that doesn’t sacrifice the G6’s innate style. The back panel is made of hard, crystal-clear polycarbonate, and it’s ably supported by a flexible TPU bumper. The fit is good, with a protective bezel around the screen, accurate openings, and port covers to keep dust and debris out. You can currently get a translucent version, or opt for a tinted bumper.

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UAG Ice Case ($40)

UAG Ice Case

If you’re looking for dependable, rugged drop protection with a slightly futuristic look, then UAG has you covered. This G6 case is actually lighter than it looks, but it doesn’t skimp on protection. Every angle of your device is covered, and there’s a raised lip around the screen and special pads on the back to keep your phone from touching down or slipping around. The cut-outs for your phone’s ports, fingerprint sensor, and camera are also generous, and there’s a cover for the volume rocker. If you prefer, you can opt for a translucent, plastic shell with a darker tint.

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Hansmare Calf Wallet Case ($25)

Hansmare Calf Wallet Case

The soft, leather exterior of this wallet case is eye-catching and comfortable to hold. Open it up and you’ll find a trio of card slots and a larger money pocket on the back. There’s also a clear, plastic shell that holds your G6 firmly in place, while offering easy access to your phone’s ports, buttons, and controls. The interior leather and closure showcase a lighter, contrasting shade of pink, which is less noticeable if you opt for the blue or black variants.

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Mobile Fun

VRS Design High Pro Shield Series Case ($30)

VRS Design High Pro Shield Case

This LG G6 case has a shock-absorbent, brushed black TPU shell with a smooth bumper, which is available in a choice of five colors. The bumper fits snugly on top and extends a little around the screen to reduce the chance of scratches. It’s thick enough to guard against drop damage from small falls. There are accurate cut-outs for the fingerprint sensor, camera, and ports. The bumper has well-defined button covers for the volume keys.

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VRS Design

Spigen Tough Armor Case ($17)

Spigen Tough Armor Case

There’s no doubt that this chunky LG G6 case adds some bulk, but that’s the price of drop protection you can trust. The malleable TPU is designed to take the sting out of any impact, and it’s encased in a virtually unbreakable layer of polycarbonate. The cut-outs are all present and correct for uninterrupted access to ports, the fingerprint sensor, and the camera. There’s a protective bezel around the screen and chunky button covers for the volume controls. The bonus is a fold out kickstand, which is ideal for propping the G6 up in landscape mode and watching a movie.

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Caseology Parallax Series Case ($16)

Caseology Parallax Series Case

Here’s another solid, dual-layer case that combines an eye-catching, textured TPU shell with a tough, smooth, polycarbonate bumper. Sloped, recessed openings provide easy access to the fingerprint sensor on the back, and ensure that the case doesn’t interfere with the camera. There are chunky, rounded button covers for the volume keys. Reinforced corners guard against drop damage, and there’s a lip around the screen to keep it from touching down on any surfaces.

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Poetic Karbon Shield ($8)

lg g6 cases

The Poetic Karbon case is one of the newest members of the Poetic Cases family, and it feels like it is barely there. If you don’t like thick cases on your phone, but you still want some good protection, then the Karbon Shield should make your short list. The fit and finish are excellent, and the case feels like it is painted on the phone when you put it on. It may look like a tough case, but when you take it out of the package, you will be surprised how soft it is. Although it fits tightly, the soft shell means it’s also very easy to take off and put on your phone. The raised textures give it a very secure grip, and the Carbon Fiber texture provides a great, modern look.

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Presidio Grip ($34)

lg g6 cases

If you’re looking for a nice, grippy case that looks good, isn’t too thick, and gives you a drop rating of up to 10 feet, then the Presidio Grip from Speck is the case for you. This case has built quite a good reputation, and if you are prone to dropping your phones, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many that do it better than this case. It is built from a special material called Impactium, which not only protects the device itself but also keeps the buttons nice and responsive, even though they’re covered. One of the best things is that Speck backs up this case with a lifetime warranty.

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OtterBox Defender($60)

lg g6 cases
There are few case manufacturers that have built a reputation for rugged cases like Otterbox. This case offers you built-in screen protection to prevent scratches and nicks. The case has three layers: the inner polycarbonate shell, the outer cover, and the screen protector. In addition, all the ports are covered to keep out dust, dirt, and other debris. Otterbox cases go through more than 24 tests, and over 200 hours of testing, so when it comes to extra protection, this case literally has you covered.

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Ghostek Atomic 3 Series Waterproof Case ($60)

lg g6 cases
This case is pricey, but it’s one of the most complex cases included in this list. It offers complete 360-degree protection for your LG G6. There’s a strong aluminum alloy frame, and it is flanked by raised rubber bumpers on all four corners. The rear is scratch-resistant, and the front has a rubber frame with screen protection. The case doubles down on the camera, adding extra protection for the dual cameras and flash. The USB-C port is also covered. To top it all off, the case is dust-resistant and tested to withstand being submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The case comes with Ghostek’s global lifetime warranty, and it comes in black, gold, pink, red, silver, and teal.

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This article was originally posted on March 7 and updated on March 24 by Simon Hill to include cases from Ringke, UAG, and Hansmare.

Smartphone repairing startup Save gets picked up by Remade Group

The last time I wrote about Save, the French startup had just raised $16.7 million to prove that you could scale smartphone repair services. It’s been a roller coaster ride since then as the company had to claim insolvency. After this process, Remade Group is picking up Save’s business and employees.

While the startup managed to grow quite rapidly, it was hard to keep up with the pace. There were some logistics issues and some international expansion moves that didn’t work.

I’ve heard some crazy board meeting stories about Save. Nobody could agree on what to do. Some wanted to fire the management team, others wanted to fire board members, while the startup wanted to raise more money from a German investor. Eventually, everything fell through and Save ended up filing for insolvency.

It’s quite expensive to pay for 500 employees working across 137 shops (most of them in French malls). Save had to fire part of the team, focus on the most profitable areas of the company and optimize everything.

Third-party companies could then bid to… save Save. Usually, the court looks at all the offers and chooses the best one for employees and the future of the company.

Remade Group is a French company that sells refurbished smartphones. According to Save CEO Damien Morin, Remade Group is paying back the debts and the brand Save will still operate. You’ll still be able to find Save shops in your favorite malls. And Save employees will still have a job.

Save grew too quickly and couldn’t keep up with its insane growth rate. Maybe the startup could have grown a bit more slowly. But when you raise $16.7 million, the stakes suddenly becomes much bigger as everybody expects a big exit from you.

It’s easy to look back and retrospectively find out what went wrong. So I’m not going to blame Save for their ambitious goals.