Developed by Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattison in 1994 as a cable alternative, Bluetooth has become a key facet of modern mobile life. The wireless communication technology is found in most wearables, computers, smartphones and accessories, and typically allows two devices to quickly connect wirelessly without the need for Wi-Fi. Some manufacturers have been extra creative with Bluetooth, finding ways to incorporate the tech into some very odd places. Here are our favorites of the weird bunch.
Sometimes, you want to feel those good vibrations, so why not through your teeth? That was the premise behind Bluetooth TOOTH, which would use bone conduction to transfer sound through your teeth into your inner ear. The device would sit in your mouth and act as microphone and receiver. Other companies have also built in-mouth speakers, but those devices required dental surgery and a permanent installation.The anonymous company behind TOOTH tried to raise $5,000 on Indiegogo in January 2014. By the end of the campaign, the company hadn't received any pledges.
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94fifty Smart Sensor Basketball
Professional sports players need to know every data point possible in order to improve. To aid in this effort,sports tech developer Infomotion Sports Technologies has built something that will help basketball players learn more about their game. The 94fifty Smart Sensor Basketball starts at $250 and uses a series of sensors to gather detailed stats on a player's shooting habits. It can measure shot speed, spin and arc, as well as handling and maneuvering. The ball then transfers the data to a companion app via Bluetooth technology. If players are looking for immediate feedback, the ball can provide real-time audio and video feedback so players can correct themselves on the fly.
Ice fishing requires time, dedication and a lot of work. The most successful ice fishers have to track multiple holes in order to get a bite. Most people don't want to walk from hole to hole in below-freezing temperatures, though, and so many fishermen use tip-up devices, which are flags that rise whenever a fish strikes a line. However, these flags don't work well at night. That's why fishing-equipment developer Deep Freeze Fishing created BlueTipz, a Bluetooth transmitter that will alert ice fishers when they get a strike. Deep Freeze says the $40 device is great for night fishing, and can detect a tip-up from up to 600 feet away.
Bluetooth Handset Gloves
As kids, most people pretended to answer the phone by using the pinky and thumb as an impromptu cell phone. But what if that actually worked? iPhone accessory developer Hi-Fun created a pair of gloves with that idea in mind. Users can directly answer the phone by sticking out their left pinky and left thumb to create a phone receiver. The glove has a 10-day battery life, and can be used as a phone for up to 20 hours. Starting at $50, the gloves have a capacitive touch, which means users can wear them while using a touch screen.
Many people sleep with headphones on, but the tendency to move while sleeping can damage them. The SleepPhones were made to fix that, by packing internal headphones into a soft, fleece headband, eliminating the need for you to tangle your earbuds as you toss and turn. They can be used to play music, or even to play soothing sounds while you calm down. SleepPhones, which start at $40, come in wired and Bluetooth editions, and can be had in black, green, grey, orange, red and white
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Nike Lunar Hyperdunk+ 2012
Many people add sensors to their shoes to track activities. In 2012, Nike took things one step further. The 2012 Nike Lunar Hyperdunk+ basketball shoe has a built-in Nike+ sensor, which uses four distinct pressure sensors hidden under the insole to track your motion. The sensor tracks several metrics, including time played, vertical leap, quickness and a NikeFuel score. It then transfers the data straight to the Nike+ iOS app. While they're neat, the shoes cost $250, and are no longer produced. However, if someone wants a pair, they can be found on eBay for anywhere between $30 and $150. Nike still makes the Lunar Hyperdunk, but the shoe no longer includes the Bluetooth sensor.
VIP Fridge Magnet
Some days, you just want to push a button and have pizza delivered to your doorstep. Dubai-based pizza delivery company Red Tomato Pizza has created that button with the VIP Fridge Magnet. Users choose their favorite pizza and sync it up with their Fridge Magnet via the Red Tomato website. Whenever that user wants the pizza delivered, he or she just pushes the button. The device communicates with Red Tomato via Bluetooth, and the company will then send an SMS confirming the user ordered a pizza. The free button only works with Red Tomato Pizza, which is only available in Dubai.
"One Ring to rule them all. One ring to find them." Or so it goes. While the One Ring only exists in Tolkien's Middle-earth, Logbar is trying to make the technological equivalent of the mythical jewelry today with Ring, a wearable device that can seemingly control everything. The Ring uses Bluetooth to interact with a variety of gadgets, and supports gesture control and gesture texting. Users will be able to receive their mobile device notifications from the Ring, and could pay all of their bills with a single gesture. Ring received more than $880,000 in funding, and was supposed to release sometime in July 2014. However, the $190 device still hasn't launched.
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miCoach Smart Soccer Ball
Basketball players aren't the only ones who need to track stats. Soccer players need data in order to improve, too, and so Adidas created the miCoach Smart Soccer Ball just for that function. The size-5 regulation ball uses integrated sensors within the ball to detect various factors, including speed, spin, strike and flight-path data. It then transfers all of that info the miCoach iOS app via Bluetooth. Using the data, the miCoach app provides various tips for improving. It also provides challenges, video-capturing capabilities and a recording function. This ball looks impressive, but the $300 price tag will likely scare off some users.
iControl Golf Ball
In golf, control of the ball is key. But what if you could control the ball with an app? That's the idea behind the $96 iControl Golf Ball. You use this ball with a companion app, which lets you manipulate the ball's motion by tilting your mobile device back and forth. The iControl contains 360-degree Gyroscope Control tech, which ensures precise feedback that mirrors what you do on your phone. However, the ball is significantly bigger than most golf balls, so players won't be able to pass this one off in a round of 18 holes. The ball can also change colors, so that friends can race their iControls without worry of mixing them up.
These controls blow. Literally. Zenytime is a mobile accessory that uses your breath in order to control games and monitor your health. The accessory can detect heart rate, blood oxygen levels and controlled breathing when you do simple breathing exercises. The $79 device can be used to track health statistics, or to play a series of games that teach healthy breathing practices. Various doctors and other medical experts have approved the tool, which will be available for purchase by winter 2015.