Staff picks for the week of Jan. 2, 2017

 In News, Staff Picks

Happy Friday! Here are the most interesting tech stories our team read this week.

The quantified follicle? L’Oreal launches a smart hairbrush (Read by Alexandria H.)

There’s a “smart” way to do pretty much everything these days — even brush your hair. L’Oréal has partnered with smart product and app creator Withings to create the next beauty product must-have for anyone looking to understand the health of their hair. Using a built in microphone, the brush records your hair’s soundwaves to measure dryness and breakage. It also vibrates when you start brushing your hair too vigorously. Once you’ve finished sprucing, the Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled brush sends a full report to your mobile phone, where you can access all of the data and even get tips on what you can do to improve your hair health. I’m not completely sold on the idea of a smart hairbrush but I look forward to seeing what other smart beauty products emerge in 2017.

Mattel is building an Alexa for Kids (Read by Alexandria H.)

Adults have their pick of the litter when it comes to virtual personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the like. But how well do those virtual assistants respond when a toddler is asking a question? Evidently, not well, and that’s why Mattel is building its own kid-friendly version. Calling it “Aristotle,” Mattel’s voice assistant was designed with children in mind and not only understands kid-type questions but also doubles as a nanny, tutor, and baby soother! Unlike its competitors, Aristotle can stream video to your phone and be programmed to log different types of data parents so often want to know about their babies. With so much functionality built into Aristotle, I have no doubt it will fly off shelves as soon as it’s available later this year.

Amazon plans bookstore for New York City (Read by Camillia S.)

Where do you buy most of your books? If I had to guess, a safe bet would be But despite the convenience and discounts of shopping online, many still desire to browse a bookstore and cozy up with their favorite book. Hence the opening of Amazon Books in New York City. The latest location will be the fourth in the U.S. and is expected to open this spring. It will function like a cross between an Apple store with its latest devices on display, and a Barnes and Noble with a surplus of best sellers and books with high customer ratings in stock. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to visit!

Mario isn’t the only classic to leap to mobile (Read by Heidi B.)

Many of my childhood memories involve sitting in my living room and playing classic Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Xbox games. If you grew up gaming too, you’ll be delighted to know that many of those old-school fan favorites have already been released on both iOS and Android devices. You’ll have to read this article to get the full list, but I’ll tell you that Pac-Man, Grand Theft Auto, and Super Mario are playing on mobile devices near you. Happy (retro) gaming!

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