Grow Your Own with Opcom Indoor Hydroponics (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

When I hear "hydroponics" I always think of sci-fi and long missions to deep space. Fortunately, hydroponics is much more rooted in reality than the genre suggests, and this brings us neatly to Opcom Farm and their indoor hydroponics systems. Todd digs with Ray from Opcom and discovers how to garden in your garage.

Opcom offers everything needed to setup a home hydroponics garden except the space. Even then, the GrowPod can create space within another area, such as a garage, for the racks and shelving needed for a hydroponic garden. These days all the lights are LED, so energy costs are kept low, and there's a range of units from the simple O2-Light to a full GrowWall. It all depends on the budget - a GrowPod starts at $2000.

There's plenty of information on Opcom Farm's website and some products are available from Amazon.com. Others are on pre-order for delivery in 2018.

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FIRST LEGO League Central Florida Championship 2018 (FIRST Looks)

An in-depth look at the games and teams of the FIRST Robotics programs.

Kohler Has Super Technology For You and Your Home (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Super technology in the home is not a thing of the future, but what is happening now. Kohler has been providing your home with everyday necessities for over 100 years, and now they are updating those products with their line called Kohler Konnect. This line of products is about moments made better, with control exactly how you want it. You can control these products manually, through the app or with your voice.

The Verdera Lighted Mirror is activated with built-in Amazon Alexa voice control. With the voice control in the bathroom, you can direct your wishes to start your shower with the proper temperature and desired spray choice or a combination of sprays. The morning shower person might want a quick awakening-type of shower and the bedtime shower person might want a more massage-type, relaxing kind of shower. Verdera is equipped with integrated lighting, 2 microphones and 2 hermetically-sealed speakers, so that you don't have any extra clutter on your counter.

In the kitchen there is a touchless faucet that is perfect for people who just want to wave their hand to turn on the water and not touch the faucet. You can also use the voice control to tell your faucet to fill your coffeepot with a pre-set amount of water. Except for Verdera, all of these products are platform-agnostic, making it very compatible with Amazon, Alexa or Google Assistant.

These products are available now except for the voice command mirror which is coming out in March. For more information go to kohler.com.

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You Want the Best in 360 Video and Insta360 Delivers (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

There are many things that we see at CES that, as a group, we love, but we definitely have an affinity for unique cameras. Insta360 totally fits that description, as they are different than the other 360° cameras out there because from their point of view, it's the software that comes first. That makes all of the difference in the world, because it also allows a lot more expertise and fun on the back-end due to their emphasis on programming. When you purchase one of their cameras, that's not where the transaction ends. You can count on firmware updates going out on a regular basis. They even design their line with full knowledge that improvements are coming, and these updates include some really cool features. All throughout the process, they stay true to their mission to create a product that's friendly, easy to use, powerful and price efficient all at the same time.

The best part of their "software first" approach is that with everything they produce, they develop and then redevelop and then listen to customer feedback and continue to improve based upon actual user experiences and wishlists. The company is 60% Research & Development engineers who are used to turning thing around quickly.

We took a look at the Insta360 ONE: the world's most powerful action sports 360 camera. It is compatible with a variety of accessories including a stick that pops out for a longer range. Within the software, you are able to do some cool things like magic erases and it enhances their overall content. It's like having a drone follow you everywhere you go and is perfect for skaters, bikers, runners, joggers and more. Since it's a 360 degree camera, you can also change the perspective after the video is shot. There's a normal mode and a planet mode, which is a spherical look. The camera is capable of taking 24 megapixel stills and 4K UDH video. You can also livestream directly to your social media platforms or you can edit within the app and then share those edits directly to social media as well as save to your albums. It is capable of Bluetooth control or it can be connected directly to a cell phone. They are available on Amazon and you can get yours by clicking here.

Next up is the Insta360 Nano S, the little marvel that has been winning every 350 camera award at CES. This camera has redefined what software means for a 360 camera. It plugs into your phone and the social interactivity is what makes it extra special. The Multiview feature is like having an entire camera crew in your pocket. You are also able to use a split screen or a bubble inside of a larger screen to get multiple camera angle views all at the same time, using different pieces of footage. You can even livestream in Multiview. It really lets you experience full immersion without having to lug a ton of heavy and expensive equipment everywhere you go. You can pick yours up on Amazon by clicking here.

Insta360 has also recently ventured out into the world of professional videography equipment. The new 6 camera configuration shoots in 12K for stills and 8K for videos, and it will livestream in that same quality without the need for additional accessories. It's a one stop shop for filming your favorite music festival or sporting event.

And let's not forget the big daddy: the Titan Series, that will be available later in the next year. It features their first pro world camera. It's larger with more cameras and a long range wireless transmission device and has a resolution of 12K for stills and upgrades the video transmission to 10K for video. And yes, it will livestream in that same quality without the need for additional accessories.

For more information, you can visit their website at Insta360.com.

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Valencell is the Technology Behind our Favorite Fitness Gear (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

With all of the really cool gadgets and gizmos that we are surrounded by each year at CES, it's nice to sometimes take a step back and get a good feel for the technology behind the products. We had the pleasure of taking a few minutes to speak with a company that provides that technology to many industry leaders.

Valencell is very instrumental to the fitness and health industries. They make the biometric sensor technology that goes into all kinds of different wearables on the market. These wearables include smartwatches, fitness bands and even earbuds. Their sensors can measure important vitals such as heart rate, heart rate variability and respiration rate. They also count steps, count calories, measure stride cadence, distance and a lot more.

The tech and sensors are constantly improving; it's these changes, as well as consumer usage over time, that drives them to keep their sensors versatile enough to go into a wide variety of products. They provide their technology to a wide variety of different companies like Bose, LG and Sony to name just a few.

Their Biometrics Lab puts their customers' products through a series of rigorous tests. These tests include using the sensors on a variety of different people to insure that a wide range of skin tones, body types, and age ranges report accurate information. This validates real-world accuracy for their clients and for consumers.

You can get more information about Valencell, find out how they are engaged by interested companies and see a complete list of the companies that currently use their technology by checking out valencell.com.

Interview by [livechaselowery" class="UpStreamLink">.

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February 11, 2018 - Episode 492 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple has reduced a longtime iPhone flaw, Google might try its hand at videogames and Charter wants to improve your internet speed.

Exciting New Technology from Casio that Will Blow Your Mind (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Imagine having only to buy one watch for all your needs! That is what Casio is offering with their newest watch, the Casio PRO TREK. This is a smartwatch that is the ultimate in technology. This watch does practically everything. It has so many functions, only a few of which are a GPS satellite system which gives you great detail, and Mapbox, an open source mapping system which can be used online or off, and even works when you don't have cell service. Having a PRO TREK is a wonderful way to be able to know where you are and for others to be able to locate you in the event that you get lost or stranded.

There are apps for your watch to assist in your golf game, with features such as finding local courses to play, distance between yourself and the green, par for the current hole and how other golfers have played that particular hole. Other available apps offer assistance for fishing and even for the equestrian. There is also an app for the surfer, which can be used for locating the best places to find good waves. This watch is water-resistant for up to 50 meters and shock-resistant up to 4 meters. It is built with a gap in the construction that makes it very durable and impact safe.

The watch has 13 available faces that can be personalized with different colors. There is a world-times feature and a microphone with voice control. One of the best things is an ability to "find your phone," a problem we all have had. It also has the traditional fitness features to help track sleep and steps. This new model is available now for $500. For more information check out their website.

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What NOT to Pay For When Configuring a New Computer - Episode 160 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch has got some new advice to help you save some money if you are considering purchasing a new laptop or desktop computer. Companies offer all sorts of add-ons and configuration options, but for most people, there are some that can simply be skipped, while others are absolutely essential. For example, never buy a laptop with a resolution below Full HD (1920x1080). The quality of the picture and, in particular, the crispness of text, will be painful to look at. Also, go for the SSD and skip a traditional hard drive. It will speed up your performance more than you might think. Avram's got a short list of features to skip, too. Check it out.

New iPhone Models Are Less Affected by Controversial Feature

Ever since Apple admitted to throttling their users' older iPhones, the company has been in hot water. A handful of lawsuits have been filed, with class action status being considered. All of this was expected, though, considering Apple had hidden the practice from the public. The one thing that was uncertain, however, was how future devices would be affected by the practice, if at all.

Apple revealed the answer to that question by way of the support document for the new Battery Health feature, introduced in iOS 11.3 beta this week. The feature in the operating system is to officially notify users of Apple limiting the capabilities of their devices, and to give users the ability to disable Apple's control over their phones. While there is a lot of information contained within the document, the most interesting paragraph deals with the current generation iPhones.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery's power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Over time, the rechargeable batteries in all iPhone models will diminish in their capacity and peak performance and will eventually need to be replaced.

This means that Apple, who was aware of the power management issues long enough ago that they shoehorned a stopgap solution into iOS, was also able to compensate for the issue in their current devices. Obviously this is a major step in the right direction, as the issue that Apple has been "trying to solve" with their throttling program is one that BlackBerry OS, Palm OS, webOS, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Symbian and Android have never experienced, across hundreds of manufacturers, despite Apple's assurances that this is a natural issue.

Obviously this is not going to make owners of older devices feel any better, though being able to disable the "feature" might, and it certainly won't make the lawsuits go away. It will, however, make current and future generation owners feel a little better about the longevity of their devices.

Bringing a Great New Dimension to the Autonomous World with FLIR (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

FLIR has always made important tasks safer and easier with the thermal technology that they adapt into their cameras. From being able to see people and objects that couldn't otherwise be seen, to detecting dangerous leaks to handling repairs hands-free, FLIR has touched all of our lives in ways that we aren't even aware. While we all know that traditional infrared cameras allow sight in total darkness, bad weather and through such things as smoke and haze, FLIR allows for sight behind walls and in ceilings. And lucky for us, they continually find ways to refine and introduce this technology into new products.

One of their latest projects is venturing into the ever growing world of autonomous vehicles. On display this year is their new Automotive Development Kit (ADK). This sensor kit is targeted towards automotive software developers that are looking to add a different kind of sensor to their projects. Adding temperature sensing to the existing array of sensors already on autonomous vehicles will significantly increase the overall detection capabilities. These sensors are not meant to replace any of the sensors that are currently in use, but to be used in addition to them for an extra level of safety as thermal imaging does not have the same constraints as regular video cameras and sonar detection. Allowing developers to jump right in and discover the possibilities is a perfect way to get things started.

On display at the booth was a demonstration using the ADK hardware. In the demo, you could watch a live video of the path next to the booth, and the sensor and software together were able to identify and track humans as they passed by. This is an essential technology to allow autonomous vehicles to be able to progress from level 4 to level 5, the difference between having a steering wheel and not.

The sensors come in a few different sizes and lengths, with more improvements in the works. If you are a developer and would like more information on how to get a kit, visit their website at flir.com/adk.

Also, check out these cool consumer products that are available on Amazon:

FLIR TG130 Spot Thermal Camera and Protective Case

FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera for Android USB-C (Gen 3)

FLIR Systems FXV101-W Outdoor Wireless HD Video Camera

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