Tool Time, March 2015: Gadgets, Apps, and Wearables



SUPPLY IN DEMAND

Honeywell Orbit 7120 Omnidirectional Laser Scanner

Consider Honeywell’s new bar code ­scanner from Arch Crown your all-seeing third eye in retailing. The bulbous device may not possess mystical properties, but, like the esoteric concept of the third eye, it boasts perception well beyond ordinary sight. The point-of-sale scanner uses holographic technology to focus its laser precisely. That means this baby’s sweet spot is oversized; a single pass of a bar code over its circular scanner gets the job done. With the Orbit’s 30-degree tilt range, you (and your staffers) can adjust the angle and height to suit your swiping style.

The scanner’s compact size takes up a minimum of valuable countertop space, and the lightweight profile makes for easy portability. Its supremely ergonomic design lets you scan items hands-free or while holding the device. “Aggressive scanning at almost any presentation angle” is how the company sums up the tool’s capabilities. And if you’ve ever thrown a faltering scanner across your store in sheer frustration, you know that a little aggression in this area is exactly what the doctor ordered. ($371, includes three-year factory warranty; archcrown.com)

WHO, WHATWEARABLE

Cuff

Courtesy of Cuff
Smart jewelry? Only Cuff’s wearer knows for sure.

It’s taken developers a minute, but a few are finally embracing a simple truth: Most women don’t want their wearables to resemble chunky rubber sports watches from the ’80s. They want trendy style and, if possible, options. Cuff—a smart jewelry start-up founded by Deepa Sood—offers both in spades. The device itself is a rounded plastic vibrating rectangle that slips into an ever-growing collection of stylish brass and leather bracelets and gold pendant necklaces. Its functions are basic. Through Cuff’s app, users choose which contacts can notify them via a gentle vibration. The app is also an activity tracker, recording steps and counting calories. Cuff also boasts a safety feature that, with one hard press of the hand, alerts friends and family that the user needs help, while disclosing her precise location on a map.

What we liked: Cuff fits seamlessly into a modern wardrobe. “We really set out to make pieces that people would wear, whether or not they have any functionality in them,” says Sood. Our favorite styles include the Lena, a slim black leather cuff bordered by leather cording; the Selah, a simple, shiny gold statement cuff; and the Lisa, a long gold pendant with nature-inspired cut-out graphics on its dual faces.

What we didn’t like: We would pay more for ­gold-plated versions of most of the styles, which would make us feel better about ponying up $100+ for the device and a piece of jewelry to pop it into. Good news: Sood says gold-plated options are on the way.

Best features: This is the anti–Google Glass—there’s nothing obviously tech-y about it, which feels refreshing. We love that users can keep the fact that they’re wearing a wearable to themselves. With any luck, Cuff’s subtlety and style is a bellwether—­signaling a sea change toward more wearable ­wearables down the road. ($59 for the Cuff module; $59–$119 for jewelry pieces; cuff.io) 

APP CHAT

Shyp

Courtesy of Shyp
Special offer: Get $10 off your first shipment with the code JCK.

If you’re based in New York City, Miami, or San Francisco, you can say sayonara to the endless lines at the post office, UPS, and FedEx. Shyp, a new app for iPhone and Android, employs a band of pickup artists to fetch any and all item(s) you need shipped. And they package them properly and send them using the most affordable method. Take a photo of what you need shipped (using the app’s camera), key in the destination address, then send it to Shyp. The company, which plans to expand in more U.S. cities (including Los Angeles) this year, sends you the shipping details and charges your credit card the cost of shipping plus a flat $5 pickup rate. Never deal with bubble wrap again! (Free; $5 pickup; shyp.com)

Shop from Selfies with Stylinity! See jckonline.com/jewelry-­equipment-tech for that and more.