This Stress-Free Fish Tank Lets Plants Do the Cleaning

Owning a fish is an exercise in mental fortitude. You might think your little underwater friend will bring tranquility to your life, that you will experience the joy of pet ownership without the commitment or mess.

Wrong. To own a fish is to experience a near-constant anxiety crisis. You will find yourself checking approximately 100 times a day to see if your fish is dead, wondering if it might be happier with a castle or perhaps a plastic pineapple, and realizing that its life in that waterlogged box is both very depressing and a very good reminder of your own mortality. You will find yourself Googling things like, “Fish pacing back and forth in tank” or “Can fish love?” and not feeling at all good about the answers you find.

If you really must get a fish, though, here’s some advice: Get a low maintenance tank. Relieve yourself of the stress that comes with cleaning and filtering and fiddling with temperature, allowing yourself to move up read more

Meet Hexa, a Six-Legged Insectile Robot That’s Just As Creepy As It Sounds

The uncanny valley teems with creepy humanoids—machines not quite perfect enough to be mistaken for people, but not quite comically robotic enough to be endearing. Lately, they’ve been joined by robo-animals, like the mechanical dog from Boston Dynamics that not-at-all-unsettlingly regains its balance if you kick it.

Now, a new robot is scuttling into the uncanny valley. Hexa has six legs, looks like a bug, and moves with bizarre confidence. And it just might bring robot hacking to the masses.

Hexa uses a variety of sensors to find its way around, including a camera and distance sensor. You control this bot with your phone, and it scales steps and uneven terrain with ease. You don’t have to control individual legs to stagger up a step, either—Hexa automatically summits obstacles along the way.

Vincross

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Ikea’s Home Smart Line Could Shake Up the Smart Home Industry

The “smart home” has not yet distinguished itself. Sure, you might dim your lights with an app; you might even talk to your large appliances. But despite years of promised ubiquity, the connected home has yet to cleave with mainstream reality. It’s too expensive, too futzy, too filled with interoperability landmines. You know who can fix that? Ikea. In fact, it’s already started to.

Ikea’s current smart home lineup is limited to a handful of lighting products. Nothing so special about that. But the way Ikea has so far approached its Trådfri LEDs illustrates exactly how the furniture behemoth can light a path toward a generation of products that finally fulfill the smart home’s potential. They’re cheap. They’re easy. And most importantly, they’ll soon speak HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant with equal fluency.

No surprise, maybe, that a Swedish company embraces neutrality. But as Ikea goes, the rest of the industry read more

Ikea’s Smart Home Dares to Make Sense

The “smart home” has not yet distinguished itself. Sure, you might dim your lights with an app; you might even talk to your large appliances. But despite years of promised ubiquity, the connected home has yet to cleave with mainstream reality. It’s too expensive, too futzy, too filled with interoperability landmines. You know who can fix that? Ikea. In fact, it’s already started to.

Ikea’s current [smart home lineup] is limited to a handful of lighting products. Nothing so special about that. But the way Ikea has so far approached its Trådfri LEDs illustrates exactly how the furniture behemoth can light a path toward a generation of products that finally fulfill the smart home’s potential. They’re cheap. They’re easy. And most importantly, they’ll soon speak HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant with equal fluency.

No surprise, maybe, that a Swedish company embraces neutrality. But as Ikea goes, the rest of the industry read more

Cramped Apartment? Try Ori’s Transforming, Robotic Furniture

A universally acknowledged truth about living in New York City is that there’s very little space to go around. What passes for an entire apartment in Manhattan is considered a walk-in closet in Des Moines. This dearth of square footage has resulted in a couple notable phenomenons: Namely, pocket-emptying rents and some—let’s just call it—creative uses of space.

I recently glimpsed one particularly unusual vision of our inevitable micro-living future. Twenty floors up in a luxury midtown Manhattan studio apartment, a hulking piece of furniture sat pressed against the wall. From the front it looked like an entertainment console with built in shelving. From the side, it appeared to be a regular bookshelf, save for a small button. At nine feet tall, five feet wide and seven feet long, the thing took up nearly a fourth of the apartment’s main living area, leaving just enough space for what could either be a livingroom or bedroom, but definitely not both.

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Wired Staff

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How to Stay in the Moment: Take a Picture

The other weekend, I found myself at a beach on the outskirts of New York City during sunset. The sky was spectacular, filled with the neon pinks, oranges, and purples that come after a day of rain. As if on cue, the two friends I was with fished their smartphones from their pockets and snapped a photo. My phone was already out. All around us, people were holding their screens up to the sky to document the moment, as if capturing it on camera would somehow make the colors more vivid.

As the sun went down, I felt a familiar pang of guilt. It was the same sense of uneasiness I feel after falling down an Instagram rabbit hole or scrolling through Twitter when I first wake up in the morning—the feeling that maybe I just spent my time unwisely. I could have been down on the sand with my feet in the surf or drinking a beer with my friends or doing any number of cliched things a person does during a sunset on the beach, but I was up on the boardwalk looking through my viewfinder.

Maybe read more

Best Student Deals on Laptops, Entertainment, Software, and More

College isn’t cheap, and we’re not just talking about tuition. Between the cost of books, living expenses, food, and going out, your budget’s probably pretty tight. Good news, though: All you need is your school-provided .edu email address to take advantage of plenty of sweet student discounts. We hunted down the best deals for you to study (or party) on. Use all that extra cash to treat yourself to something nice, like beer.

Laptops

Even if you’re an old-fashioned pen and paper kind of student, you’re going to need a laptop. Apple’s back to school deals offer up to $300 off most Macs and now the iPad Pro, and they’ll throw in a pair of Beats headphones to keep the tunes playing between classes. If you’d rather work on a Windows machine, Lenovo gives students 10 percent off and Dell offers students $150 off qualifying laptops.

Want a more traditional desktop setup in your dorm? Invest in a good keyboard. read more