Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, where we gather up the latest gadget announcements, roll them in a burlap sack, and mosey on down to the beach for an afternoon. Yes, we’re excited summer is finally here. In this week’s sunny ray of riches are Google’s voice-activated at-home assistant, a gesture-controlled lamp, and headphones that analyze your ears for optimal sound as always these are not reviews.
Taking a page or 10 out of Amazon Echo’s book, Home is a blend of a smart speaker and a personal assistant, which you control using your voice. It can handle the types of queries Google Now (and its successor, Google Assistant) can take on — from simple questions like what’s on your schedule for the day to more complex ones about the history of your favorite sports team. Home apparently can hold a conversation, as it is able to answer follow-up questions without additional context.
I’m not completely certain I’m ready for a device like Home. It’s undeniably cool and useful, though some of us like getting up from the couch on occasion to change the thermostat and get a little blood pumping.
It detects motion and turns on or off depending on whether people are in the room. You can brighten or dim Roome when you move your hand toward or away from it, as though you were playing a theremin. There’s a pair of USB charger ports, if power outlets are at a premium, and you can, of course, control Roome with an app if you tire of waving around your hands. They seemingly can analyze the sound that reaches your cochlea and adjust the audio accordingly with a 30-second tuning process.
There’s enough fancy words and science in Nura’s concept to sell me on the idea. I’m not entirely certain how useful they’d be for me, as I’m currently listening to podcasts far more often than music, though if it can help me pick out words I might otherwise miss on a noisy commute, I won’t complain.