Plug-in charges your phone twice as fast, so you can listen to music all day long

Tiny USB dongle packs some major power

Smartphones and our Bluetooth portable speakers work hand in hand.

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The problem, though, is the battery life for our speakers is significantly stronger than what you’d find in any of today’s smartphones. While our speakers can stream music for eight-plus hours, you’d be lucky to get four hours of constant music-playing from an iPhone or Galaxy.

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There are options to overcome this issue, of course. You can keep the phone plugged in all the time. But then you have extra wires involved, which kind of defeats the purpose of using a speaker that’s Bluetooth capable. Plus, the power’s draining while it’s simultaneously being juiced up, which causes unnecessary wear and tear on the device’s battery.

Your best bet is to unplug the phone or tablet and let it charge a bit. But today’s devices take well over an hour to get to a full charge, and no one wants to be without their music playing for that long. That’s what makes technologies like PLX Devices’ Legion Meter so great—the tiny USB dongle actually helps the user charge their smart phone 92% faster than today’s standard plug-in approach.

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The Legion Meter is on Kickstarter right now and has already secured over $200,000 in funding, well above the company’s original goal of $10,000.

Along with “safely accelerating your smartphone/tablet’s charging speed up to 92%,” the Legion Meter also has a built-in multimeter to show the user different details about the device, including current power, milliwatt hours, and voltage.

“The charge accelerator circuit has two modes of operation,” the company explains on their Kickstarter page. “Apple mode and Android mode. The user selectable mode dynamically converts any USB port to optimize the charge speed by signaling your mobile device to safely draw the maximum amount of charge possible. The PLX Charge Accelerator circuit is patent pending.”

Best of all, the Legion Meter is affordable. Those interested can purchase one through the Kickstarter page for $49 (shipping out October 2014). To learn more, check out the clip below:

Air Gun Hits Paddle with Ping Pong Balls at Mach 1.2—and it’s as awesome to watch as it sounds

Engineers find fun way to experiment with old technology

Paddle hit by ping pong ball at Mach 1.2

Ping Pong’s fun to play, but it’s not a great game to watch. It’s all a bit, I don’t know, repetitive. But that’s what makes this video so great—it actually makes ping pong interesting. Here’s what went down.

Mark French, a mechanical engineering at Purdue University, along with graduate students Craig Zehrun and Jim Stratton got together and built a contraption called the “de Laval tube”. Basically, it’s a modern-day version of the de Laval nozzle, an hourglass tube used to accelerate a hot, pressurized gas to supersonic speeds. They put a ping pong ball in the tube in front of this gas and found that they could shoot the ball at speeds over 900 miles per hour, or Mach 1.2.

Diagram of de Laval tube

It’s enough to—as you can see in the picture above—put a hole through a ping pong paddle.

Ain’t science grand? Video of the gun in action below (about five minutes worth of explanation prior to the gun shooting – go to 5:50 to see it shoot: