DT Daily: Mars’ close comet call, stylish hearing aid, cat-ear headphones

Today on DT Daily: NASA gets ready for a close encounter on Mars, ReSound brings hearing aids up to date, and these cat-ear headphones are ready to make the world meow.

All eyes are on Comet Siding Spring, a mile-wide ice cube making it’s first loop around the sun, and NASA is gearing up a phalanx of tech to watch as it just misses hitting Mars.

Of course, “just misses” in astronomical terms is about 87,000 miles, but still, if it was Earth, that would be way too close for comfort – well inside the orbit of the moon. Anyway, NASA is prepping no less than 16 different spacecraft, rovers and observatories to witness October 19th flyby, which it calls a once-in-a-million years event. It’ll be true test of NASA’s best tech to get some pix, as the comet is moving at about 125,000 miles an hour, or about 35 miles every second.

Even tiny dust particles moving that fast could wipe out any spacecraft that get hit, so after NASA gets some photos, they’re swinging their spacecraft to a safe area behind the red planet.

No one we know wants to get hearing aids, but with hearing loss on the rise from our noisy modern lives, many of us will probably need them some day. Some day soon.

A recent showing of a new kind of hearing aid at the IFA show may bring the oft-maligned tech into the mainstream. The ReSound LiNX is a small but actually stylish over-the-ear device that hooks up with your smart phone and the Resound app for an expansive list of capabilities. Yes, they will play music. But you can also take calls, integrate with your’ car’s audio system, and even communicate with future public Bluetooth information nodes.

It can also change modes to work best in any kind of noisy location, and if you lose one, geolocation and Bluetooth will help you track it down. The LiNX is Made-For iPhone approved and at over $2,000, they’re not cheap, but that’s actually close to the cost for a quality pair of hearing aides that don’t do any of the cool extra stuff the LiNX is able to do.

Technology has given us some interesting fashion choices lately, but none perhaps as odd – and we admit, kinda anime-cool – as the Axent Cat Ear headphones. No doubt dreamed up by a couple of UC Berkely alums after a long day of binge-watching Full Metal Alchemist, the Axent cans feature LED lighting effects, and the signature cat ears, which house little speakers so you can share your Deadmouse tracks with everyone within earshot.

They were looking to raise a quarter million dollars on Indiegogo, and right now, with lots of time to go, they’re at about $800,000. Pledge $150 to get your favorite color, or pony up $10,000 for a signature edition model – no joke. At least you’ll be easy to spot while bicycling through Tokyo.

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