9 of the Best Fake Gadgets of 2017

From ride-hailing wearables to invisible glasses and weather control, we look at the best prank products companies have announced so far this year.

It's the one time of the year that fake news can be a good thing. April Fool's fell on a weekend this year, so companies had to get their joke news releases out a bit early. We waited to see what everyone would come up with and found the best of the bunch. While some are completely outlandish there are a few just plausible enough that we could see companies and consumers actually going for it.

Here are this year's best fake gadgets. Let us know your favorites in the comments!


1. Lyft Mono – the Ride-Hailing Wearable

Remember the good ol' days when you could hitch a ride just by sticking out your thumb? Popular ride-sharing company, Lyft, wants to make hailing a rideshare (both manned and autonomous) just that easy again with the Mono. The Mono is a hand-worn device that straps around your wrist and thumb and uses accelerometers and gyroscope sensors to track whenever you make the signature hitchhiker's thumb gesture. From there the device will automatically call the nearest available Lyft ride to your location.

It also comes in Lyft's signature magenta coloring.


2. Honda Car Horn Emojis

Sometimes a simple horn honk isn't enough to really communicate how you feel while driving. That's why Honda is proposing an innovative new vehicle-to-vehicle communication system based on the most tried and true method of communicating emotion digitally – the emoji.

Honda's new emoji-enabled horn features a variety of different emoji buttons (happy, sad, angry, ect.) and will produce a distinctive honk based on which emoji you select. Honda says the new honks were created with data compiled by social scientists and audiologists to create sounds that best epxress human emotions. “Research showed that anger is the number one reason the driver uses a standard horn. Honda's goal was to take horn expression to the next level by expanding the emotional spectrum into other audio-based gestures such as happiness, love and empathy,” a statement from the company said.

The Honda Emoji Horn will be standard in the 2018 Honda Odyssey Minivan. There was no word on plans to add a honk for the poop emoji.



3. The T-Mobile ONEsie, Full-Body Fitness Tracker.

T-Mobile is redefining what “total coverage” really means with the ONESie, a wearable for your entire body. Powered by the T-Mobile network, this “fitness tracker on steroids” is capable of monitoring your vital signs, sleeping, waking, breathing, movement, body position, respiration, odor, and bladder level among other metrics.

The ONEsie utilizes T-Mobiles new proprietary 4G LTE nano-fiber technology, wherein nano-fibers capable of 4G connectivity are woven into the fabric. Because of this the ONEsie also acts as a wearable hotspot that delivers full-bars coverage on the T-Mobile network for the wearer and anyone nearby.

"T-Mobile ONEsie is a quantum leap forward for wearables, for wireless networks and for fashion," said John Legere, president, CEO and lead fashion designer at T-Mobile. "What I'm most excited about is combining my drive to disrupt the wireless industry AND my passion for magenta fashion ...”

4. TruSkin Invisible Glasses

Everyone who wears glasses knows that it can be one of the most embarrassing and frustrating experiences of life. LASIK surgery can still be prohibitively expensive and contact lenses can be uncomfortable, not to mention easy to lose. In the tradition of Invisalign braces, GlassesUSA.com has launched a new line of frames called TruSkin that harness the wearer's body heat to turn completely clear.

The TruSkin frames are made of special plastic nanowires that bristle to refract light around them when exposed to heat – creating a cloaking effect no unlike that used by the Predator (but on your face!). The nanoplastic responds to even low levels of heat, making the heat naturally generated by the human body suitable to create the effect.

According to the company the frames are invisible to anyone standing a distance of five inches or more away from the wearer. "Nanotechnology allows us to better manipulate the material of our frames and find real-world solutions for our customers without breaking the bank," says Henry Owen Anderson, Director of Innovations at GlassesUSA.com. "This new technology is going to further revolutionize our product offerings and creates endless possibilities.




5. The Micro Tech Toolkit


Devices are getting smaller and thinner every day ... and repairing them on your own is becoming increasingly difficult. Thankfully the teardown experts at iFixit have introduced the Micro Tech Toolkit, specifically aimed at repairing (and tearing down) the latest devices. Featuring tools like micro-pliers and a micro-opening tool the kit is backed by a lifetime warranty and has been tested by iFixit's in-house expert. Check out the video to see what they mean.



6. Google Wind

Always looking to innovate with its Google Cloud Platform, the tech giant is leveraging its cloud computing capabilities for a new application – weather control. By connecting all of the windmills in Holland to a single machine learning network, Google is able to use the windmills not just for harnessing wind energy, but also to create wind.

In the event of less than ideal weather conditions (such as rain) Google Wind is able to coordinate all of the windmills into a single force, generating enough power to push rainclouds away, ensuring clear skies at all times. In case rain is needed Google Wind can also push rain clouds into a designated region. Maybe they can help with drought conditions as well?



7. SpatiaFlight – the Floating Speaker

Let's face it. Headphones are annoying, not to mention they don't help you stand out in a crowd. Wouldn't it be nice to have a speaker that could just follow you around without all the hassle? Look no further than SpatiaFlight. Lifestyle product design company, Moshi, has unveiled a firmware update for its Spatia wireless speaker system that allows them to hover and follow you around – even outdoors. The update gives new definition to the term AirPlay, creating a mobile, hands-free experience for every audiophile.



8. Nature-Inspired Refrigerator Finishes from Jenn-Air

Isn't time your fridge made more of a statement? Luxuy appliance maker, Jenn-Air has introduced three new finishes for built-in refrigerators that take their cues from nature - Luxe Cashmere, Japanese Moss, and Carrara Marble, each made using natural alternatives to traditional faux finishes.

The Japanese Moss model (shown) for example, is inspired by the Imperial Gardens of Kyoto and is made using a strain of naturally-occurring moss that is suitable for indoors. The refrigerator features a special watering system that feeds cool water into the moss' root system. The company recommends that the refrigerator be placed in an area with northern light exposure for the best experience.  (Image source: Jenn-Air).

9. Coffee-Flavored Coffee Creamer

Yes, it's not a gadget, but many engineers and designers will tell you that a good cup of coffee is absolutely essential to their workday. Now you can add a new flavor to get your caffeine fix thanks to new coffee-flavored creamer being offered by Coffee-Mate. “... We're excited to offer a creamer that makes your tasty cup of Joe taste even more like coffee! The new creamer is the perfect way to transform your everyday cup with a creamy, roast coffee taste,” a statement from the company read. “ For our fans who have always dreamt of drinking coffee with a side of, well -- coffee, we've got your back!"



No joke--The future is now. VR, augmented reality, embedded speech, and machine learning are already reshaping a new tech landscape. Learn how these innovations, and more, will impact your work with the new Advanced Technologies conference track at ESC Boston. Register Today!



Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.  

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