Tech: Think Dirty

think dirty - organic beauty tech - amin and co. - wellness marketing

You may know what you're putting in your body, but do you know what you're putting on it? A new app called Think Dirty is here to help.

Available for free in the App Store, Think Dirty lets you scan barcodes of personal care items in the store and analyze the ingredients. The Dirty Meter then rates the product using third-party data from nonprofit science, environmental and government organizations—to determine whether it's dirty or clean and recommending alternatives. If a product isn't in the database, you can submit it by entering the product name and taking a picture of the back label.


Tech: Waking Up is Hard to Do

 
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Hitting the snooze button is generally understood to be bad for you—the extra sleep you're getting isn't of a very good quality, and on top of that you have to choose between missing breakfast and missing your bus. If you really can't resist the temptation to take another twenty minutes under the covers on your own, here are some ideas and apps to help you break out of the habit.

1. Get moving

It's a lot more difficult to get back to sleep once you're up and about and talking to the cat about how much work to have to get done today. There are quite a few alarm clock apps out there that won't shut up until you've actually clambered out of bed and walked a few steps: SpinMe Alarm Clock ($1.99 on iOS, free on Android) is worth investigating if you need something like this and so is Step Out Of Bed! ($1.99 on iOS). By the time you've staggered all the way to the door you should be able to escape the clutches of sleep successfully.

2. Talk to a stranger

the luxe passport - wakie app

You have to hand it to Wakie for a novel idea—tapping into the app's community of users so you can have a stranger from somewhere else in the world wake you up at a specified time (and vice versa, if you so wish). It's anonymous and free (because everyone's volunteering), and the calls are automatically cut off after one minute, so the awkward small talk is kept to a minimum. Get up on time, and meet someone new as well, all before breakfast. The app is available for AndroidiOS and Windows Phone.

3. Wake up naturally

There are a ton of apps and gizmos to pick from if you want to be woken up with a slow increase in light or sound that's more soothing than a shrill, piercing, robotic ringtone. If you need help choosing, we'd suggest Sleep Cycle ($0.99 on Android and iOS) for giving you a nudge at the right point in your circadian rhythm, Rise ($1.99 on iOS) for waking up to a more relaxing set of sounds, and the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light ($69.99) or something similar for slowly filling your room with light to ease you into the day.

4. Exercise your brain

Your brain might think it wants another ten minutes in bed, but it doesn't—not really. Make sure your pre-sleep common sense wins out by setting yourself a task to complete before your alarm will switch off: I Can't Wake Up! (free on Android, free with in-app purchases on iOS) lets you set one of eight tasks first thing in the morning, from matching pairs of words to doing maths equations. It may seem like the most annoying app in the world the first few times you use it, but you'll soon be grateful for its help in smoothing out your sleep cycle.

5. Use a wearable

Almost any fitness tracker or smartwatch worth its salt has a vibrate alarm feature, from the Jawbone UP24 ($129.99) to the Fitbit Charge (four cents cheaper at $129.95)—if you're in the market for a new wearable, make sure it has a smart or silent alarm feature if you're going to find it useful. There are new products coming out all the time, such as the Kickstarter-funded Sense (also, oddly, $129) — it monitors the atmosphere in your room as well as your sleep patterns to help you get up and moving at the right time.

Image by PrinceOfLove/Shutterstock

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Tech: Tech-Enabled Jewelry

cuff - tech-enabled jewelry

Following on the heels of Swarovski's partnership with activity tracker startup Misfit, the jewelry company Richline Group has inked a deal with a San Francisco-based wearables company, Cuff, to incorporate the startup's hardware and accompanying software into its products.

If you don't know the name Richline, you've probably heard of its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway — you know, the one run by Warren Buffet. Richline's portfolio includes brands like Aurafin, Bel-Oro and Honora, which sell to retailers like QVC and Macy's. These brands aren't high fashion, but they have reach.

Enter Cuff, a startup that got off the ground last year and recently raised $4 million from Tugboat Ventures, Tandem Capital and NEA. Cuff's core product is a small piece of hardware that fits into different pieces of jewelry, all designed by founder Deepa Sood, a former VP of product development at Restoration Hardware. The chip can track activity, buzz when the wearer gets a call or text and, most uniquely, send out an alert to a pre-selected group of contacts with the wearer's location if she feels unsafe. Pre-orders for the next collection start at $49.

While Cuff will continue to put out four collections of smart jewelry a year, the Richline partnership gives it the chance to get its technology in front of a much broader and, in all likelihood, mainstream audience. (Cuff has collaborations with a two well-known American fashion brands in the works, Sood says.) And like Swarovski and Luxottica, which has teamed up with both Google Glass and Intel, Richline Group has found its inroad to the much-buzzed wearables space through Cuff and through the Chinese company Omate, another partner.

The Cuff-enabled Richline jewelry should drop sometime this spring. A rep for Richline did not immediately respond to request for comment on which brands will first carry the technology.

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