Internet Borked? The Amazing Jellybean Resets It All In The Right Order With One Button Press (Or Over Bluetooth)

amazing jelly bean

A few years ago, I received a panicked phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in months. His Internet connection was on the fritz, and he had a huge project due the next morning. He’d called his ISP, and they were no help. As his only friend that, as he said, “knew computers and stuff”*, I was bound by International Homie Law to fix his crap.

“You’ve reset your modem, right?”

“Yeah, man — Comcast had me do that.”

“You reset your router, too, right?”

“Yeah. It’s still broken!”

“I’ll be over in a while.”

I arrive at his house a bit later, and have him point me toward his networking gear. It’s stuffed behind the TV in his living room, as it’s the only place in his apartment with a functioning coax cable coming out of the wall.

I ask him to reset his modem again. He reaches over and unplugs his modem. So far, so good.

I ask him to reset his router again. He reaches over and unplugs his roommate’s AppleTV.


Every geek has a story (or 10) like this one. The Amazing Jellybean, an ongoing Kickstarter project, wants to make them a little less common.

The Amazing Jellybean is, at its core, a power switch. But it’s a power switch with smarts.

You see, the modem/router reset dance is a bit more complicated than it probably should be. Unplug both. Wait 60 seconds. Plug in modem. Wait 60 seconds. Plug in router. Wait 60 seconds. That’s 180+ seconds! Nicholas Cage could have stolen your car like three times by then.

The Amazing Jellybean (a name which I am starting to feel ridiculous typing) handles all that with a single button push. Push the button, walk away. It’ll kill both the modem and the router, then bring them back online in the right order and with enough time in between for a proper boot sequence.

That alone makes it a pretty killer product to get for, say, your mom. Or your uncle. Or that one friend who has no idea how he keeps getting spyware from all of the totally legit sites he browses on his curiously sticky Dell. Cough.

But you, you don’t need this, right? You’re a titan of technology! You don’t nee no stinkin’ box rebooting your modem for you! Oh, did I mention it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can reset your broken connection without getting out of your chair to battle dust bunnies? Yeah, that’s what sold me on it, too.

Is it a more of a band-aid than a permanent solution to a bigger problem? Sure — but it’s a problem that has been lurkin’ around consumer grade networking gear for decades now. It’s probably not gonna disappear anytime soon.

As for why it’s shaped like a Jellybean? I have absolutely no idea.

Find the Kickstarter page here.

[* Pro tip: When a conversation starts with “Hey, you know computers and stuff, right?”, the only correct answer is a straight-faced “What’s a computer?”]

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Apple Patents iPhone Drop Protection Mechanisms That Are Built Right Into The Device

Image (1) brokeniphoneyes.jpg for post 363749

A new Apple patent filing describes a variety of methods to protect a dropped iPhone during a fall, lessening damage through a number of clever systems. The USPTO filing, spotted by AppleInsider, includes a rotational mechanism to change the orientation of a falling iPhone, for instance, as well as on-device thrusters, and a way to clamp down on inserted cables when a fall is detected.

The patent describes a number of ways Apple might be able to make a device that can change direction mid-flight, which would allow it to put its most impact-resistant surface forward to meet the ground. These include an internal gadget for shifting mass to one end of the iPhone, an actual “thrust mechanism” that could even include a “gas canister,” an air foil that activates in free fall, a way to contract external bits like switches within the case for protection, and a gripping system that can clamp down on charing and headphone cables to ensure those catch the falling phone.

Another aspect of the patent is a sort of on-board black box that would gather and store data about the fall and the impact, which Apple says in the patent would be used by the device manufacturer to help gather info about how devices fall, so that they can use that info in future designs. But of course such an on-board tool could also be used by technicians determining warranty repair status.

This patent contains pretty intense, innovation-heavy tech, a lot of which doesn’t have any real precedence out there on the market yet, so I wouldn’t expect to see it in any shipping devices soon. But it is a good look at how Apple is thinking about common issues such as damage to mobile device from accidental drops. And who knows? One day, this stuff could become actually practical – even positional thrusters built into your iPhone.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Swiss Researchers Build A Flying Robot That Can Right Itself When It Crashes

Screen Shot 2012-09-25 at 4.38.02 PM

Just as man-hacks can repair their trajectories as they whiz towards Gordon Freeman’s head, these little robots from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems can now pick themselves back up when they crash. This little feature solves a problem that has long been the bane of flying robotics hobbyists everywhere as they watched their AR Drones and other bots fling themselves to pieces against walls and plant life.

Designer Adam Klaptocz said that he took his designs from nature and the prototypes he built can shoot out little legs that helps the robot right itself and take off again when it suffers from a hit. These robots could also fly in the dark because they are able to withstand a few wrong moves.

The robot, called the AirBurr, has a low center of gravity and a set of powerful propellers than can send the robot soaring again. I especially love the last part of the video where the thing falls into a box and gets itself out like a spider that mated with a radioactive eggbeater.

via RoboticsTrends

TechCrunch » Gadgets