2019 - Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - Events

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

2019

CES is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years - the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), it attracts the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers.

Show Episodes

January 6, 2019 - Episode 517 - CES 2019 Pre-Show

2019-01-06

This week, we're getting ready for CES 2019 with previews and expectations, plus some of our favorite stories from past shows.

Chef Carla Hall is cooking up something truly Yummly with Whirlpool

2019-01-17

Every year the house gets just a little smarter, and the kitchen is really starting to feel the love. Whirlpool and KitchenAid have been adding more connectivity to their appliances, with the ability to monitor and control items, including your oven and stove, remotely. One of the more interesting ways to interact with your appliances is through the Yummly app, an app designed to help you learn to cook, as well as automate certain aspects of the process, assuming you have the appropriate appliances.

Recently, Yummly has added Pros to the platform. This feature brings a talented chef into your kitchen with you to help guide you through a recipe of theirs. One of these new Yummly Pros is Chef Carla Hall, best known for her time on Top Chef. Chef Hall joined the platform because it affords her the ability to dive into recipes that she could never have done on television, such as bread or collard greens. While it may not make for great broadcast television, it does make for a great experience to follow along with and learn from an expert.

One of the most interesting aspects of the app is the integration with the appliances. Chef Hall talked to us about how, through the app, she could help home cooks get a better grip on more complicated cooking requirements. For example, if a recipe requires that you cook on high heat for 15 minutes, then on medium heat for 10, then return to high heat for the final 10 minutes, most home cooks will leave the oven on high for the entire time. While this may work, it won't be perfect. With the integration between the app and the oven, Chef Hall can help you pre-program the oven for the correct temperatures and durations without you having to work too hard.

Yummly is available now for iOS and Android, and Chef Hall can regularly be found on GMA and Food Network.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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ispace will spark all new curiosity for future space exploration

2019-01-17

Outer space is one incredible concept that we, as Earth-dwellers are eager to learn as much as we can about. We are all enamored by space exploration and evidence of the unknown future it could bring us. This year, the PLuGHiTz crew was excited to speak with the company, ispace Inc. that is on a mission to send a Lunar Lander to the moon in 2020 and 2021. The ispace technology is centered on micro-robotics that will propel them to the future.

ispace is a startup that began in 2010 and in the span of just 9 years, they have already planned their first two missions to space. The first will occur in mid-2020 that will orbit the moon while the second mission will involve landing on and roaming the lunar surface. These first few quests have a focus on recording 360 videos of the moon for a consumer virtual reality experience of the moon's surface, a once in a lifetime experience… for now.

With the vision of expanding our living sphere and creating a sustainable world, their main objective is to explore and develop the moon's water resources. This expedition will continue to break down the water into hydrogen and oxygen to produce fuel for more rockets and "accelerate the pace of space development." The idea of mining fuel on the moon provides multiple benefits. Not only does it allow us to travel farther past the lunar orbit, but we can also learn about producing specialized machinery just for space travel. The oxygen mined could also be used to help create breathable environments in space.

The unique VR experience will be a great first step into educating the public about what is to come and what to expect from ispace. To follow their journey and exploration, you can visit their website here.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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You'll love the versatility of these truly wireless earbuds from 1MORE

2019-01-20

Music is such a fundamental part of our lives. We have playlists for everything that we do. From parties to road trips to workouts, we bring along the tunes that create the perfect energy. With everything that music gets us to and through, it is imperative that we have the appropriate equipment with us. With so many brands out on the market these days, we need the features that enhance our lifestyles. We shouldn't settle for anything less than sleek and comfortable, with all the features that complement our mobile devices. And with 1MORE, you won't have to.

It was great to get a chance to catch up with the CEO of 1MORE, Frank Lin, this year at Showstoppers while we were in Las Vegas covering CES 2019. After receiving top honors for their headphones in 2018, the company was as determined as ever to keep the momentum going with the new additions to their line of earbuds. And this dedication paid off in a big way! Along with another Innovation award, they were also honored in 2019 as The Most Awarded Headphone Brand at CES for two years in a row. So how did they make this happen? Well, they knew that it was important to follow along with the cell phone developments from the last few years and wanted to create a really good set of wireless headphones. But not just wireless as Bluetooth connectivity alone is not enough. They wanted to join the ranks of the truly wireless. For those who aren't sure of the difference, with truly wireless, each earpiece independently syncs with the music source, as well as to each other. There are no cords or pieces in between.

The result is their new 1MORE Stylish True Wireless In-Ear Headphones. Features include a Titanium Composite Dynamic Driver for crystal clear sound in an ultra-compact design for enhanced efficiency, ENC Microphone Technology that allows for communication in loud environments, and an LDS Antenna for less signal interference and transmission with a smooth connection for both music and phone calls. They are also lightweight and include Perfected Ergonomics with 45-degree oblique-angled nozzles to more naturally match the curve of your ear canals for a tight, secure fit with a silicone O-Hook that provides a more stable fit when you are on the move. We also love how they charge with USB-C.

To learn more and check out their entire line of headphones, visit their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Step right in to this unique new take on virtual conferencing

2019-01-20

The video conferencing software that many consumers use on a daily basis does not actually fit most of their needs. Virtual communication is so very different from physical communication and those differences are difficult to accommodate. If you feel this way, you are in luck. Glowbl has a whole new take on how we should be communicating online by making those virtual interactions closer to real life.

Glowbl is a web/mobile based solution to bring more interactivity to virtual classrooms and conferences. In the education space, a typical classroom has a teacher that lectures to a room full of students. The teacher can walk through a slide show presentation, describe projects, and assign homework by displaying the information on a board visible by all students. Most virtual classrooms mimic this by using a screen share that has many disadvantages such as showing your personal desktop and files that may be visible during the share. Glowbl uses an upload system that takes less bandwidth, shows less of what is on your screen, and still has the advantage to share the content in real time for everyone to see.

Glowbl is as easy to use as walking into a classroom but in a virtual sense. All you need to do is launch the application and physically click and move through the "room" using your bubble. Before class starts, you can carry out conversations with your friends by moving your bubble next to theirs and only the bubbles in close proximity can hear your conversation. This technology is great for virtual teachers that assign group projects. Students can break out into groups by moving their bubble near their peers and the teacher can navigate through the room and talk to each team. You also have the ability to public and private message.

This application is currently being utilized in major universities in France but is looking to expand internationally. To find out more information about Glowbl you can visit their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Reactions to CES 2019 - Episode 185

2019-01-20

This week, Avram Piltch discusses his reactions to CES 2019 and what he sees as the trends that can be expected as we head into 2019. The real winner of CES, and possibly of the entire year, is AMD. As the company expands its reach and enhances its product offerings, chief competitor Intel is struggling to keep up. Intel has had production issues and has not been able to keep up with demand, leading new consumers and manufacturers to explore AMD-powered products. Another big trend of CES was RGB-enhanced products, which will make the next version of the Tom's Hardware RG-Beast experience even better.

OBSBOT Tail is a small and powerful AI director in your camera bag

2019-01-29

When filming activity, one of the most difficult things to do is keep the people involved people in the frame. As people move around, keeping the camera trained on them is difficult enough, but moving it in a smooth manner is even more difficult. Luckily, OBSBOT is here to help with their Tail smart camera. The Tail is a surprisingly small camera, that has the ability to track people and keep them in the frame, while still packing full 4K video at 60 frames per second. This means that you can mount the camera in an appropriate position and, as the subjects move, so will the camera. Think of Tail as your own personal cinematographer.

This is accomplished with a motorized 3-axis gimbal, meaning that the camera isn't trying to crop a wider angle based on the position of the subject, which lessens the quality of the video and often creates a jittery pan. Instead, the physical movement of the lens means that you can keep the video quality and still maintain the subjects you're wanting to feature. That doesn't mean that there is no zoom capability. In fact, you can tell the Tail to follow a particular aspect of the frame, such as the subject's feet during a dance demonstration, and the Tail will only focus on the feet.

Interacting with the camera is also really easy. Rather than having to touch the camera itself, possibly shaking the video, you can take full control of it from a distance using your phone. From there you can decide your subjects and your framing, as well as taking over from the AI, holding a steady shot, rather than having the camera in motion.

The OBSBOT Tail is available now on Kickstarter through March 15, 2019, starting at about $489 USD.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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3dRudder frees up your hands to play VR games in a more natural way

2019-01-29

As the world of virtual reality gaming gets more sophisticated, so must the control systems that make the games possible. If you have played any VR games, you know that the current methods of controlling your position within the virtual world are both unnatural and self-defeating. Trying to use a standard controller to move around takes you out of the VR experience and reminds you that you are not actually experiencing those actions and activities.

Fortunately, the team at 3dRudder have created a paradigm that allows you to control your character's position with your feet. This means you can move without feeling like you are exerting an outside force on the game, but instead feeling like you are moving more naturally within the world being created for you. The product looks a little like a smaller BOSU ball, allowing you to place your feet on the platform and move in all directions simply by using your feet. Obviously, this is a far closer approximation to reality than using a controller, keeping you in the virtual reality.

While the 3dRudder has been available for PC for a while, the big addition this year was support for PlayStation VR. Combining the PlayStation Move controllers with the 3dRudder really brings gameplay far closer to reality. Being able to control your movement with your feet, while aiming and firing, punching,m etc., with the PlayStation Move wands is an incredibly accurate and realistic control system. And, by combining these two on the PlayStation, it really just makes the game more fun.

While there is obviously a lot of talk around using the 3dRudder with VR, there is no requirement that you use it within a virtual reality experience. In fact, you can use the 3dRudder with any game that accepts controller input. Now you can separate your hand controls from your foot controls on PC games, freeing you up to move around and fire quicker.

The PC and PlayStation versions of the 3dRudder hardware are available now on their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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You won't believe what you can see with DeepRay's advanced AI tech

2019-01-30

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more and more commonplace in our daily lives, there are those who aren't quite sure of the abilities of this technology in more advanced applications. Sure, it all sounds good, driverless cars and advances in medicine. But there are so many real-world distractions and distortions at play at any given time, how can any artificially created intelligence possibly understand and mitigate for them all? We had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Carmody, Head of Transports
 and Infrastructure for Cambridge Consultants, about their newest technology that will definitely help to get Artificial Intelligence to that next level of universal application.

Cambridge Consultants is a technology
 development organization that works on approximately 
400 technology projects per year with
 numerous customers. Here at CES 2019, they are showcasing DeepRay. This is a technology that their 
AI Engineers have developed
 and its purpose is to remove
 distortion from images. At first take, you might not realize the impact that this can have, but the potential uses are actually quite far-reaching. This ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence technology is able to create clear and undistorted views of the real-world from a damaged or obscured moving image. And it can do this in real time as it is able to cope with the variables of light and moving distortion. With the recent advances in deep learning, DeepRay has the power to see clearly in difficult, unpredictable situations could transform numerous machine vision and imaging applications, from autonomous driving to empowering healthcare professionals with more accurate medical imaging.

This breakthrough technology is more important now than ever and there are numerous applications for it. As you can imagine, in our near future, there are going to be a lot of robots all operating in multiple aspects of our lives. They will all rely on cameras which will encounter everything from dirt and weather to cracked and broken lenses and images. Deep Ray will allow them to make sense of the world around them for accuracy as well as safety.

Deep Ray is available for implementation right now and the company is looking for partners to 
help take it to the next level. They are also looking for customers who are looking for solutions to real-world problems in their industries. For more information, visit their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Klipsch is the best choice for the sound quality you deserve

2019-01-30

One of the most innovative sound companies for speakers and headphones, Klipsch, has introduced an exciting new line of products. We spoke to Mark Casavant, who is the Senior Vice President for Global Brands and Business Development. The Klipsch company has been very well-known for exceptionally high-quality sound for your music, videos, and television.

They are the first to have a complete WiSA system for high performance, which they demonstrated at CES in partnership with LG. WiSA allows you to have a full surround sound system without the need for a receiver, as the television has that technology built-in. Klipsch has always been keenly aware of what the consumer is looking for and has always strived for excellent results. Their soundbars and wireless earbuds are far superior to others on the market because they feel that if you are going to listen to music, then you should always get the best quality available.

One feature of their wireless earbuds that sets them apart and shows off the company's dedication to detail is the carrying case. Like many true wireless earbuds, the case acts as a charger for the earbuds. But, in Klipsch's case, the case is also made of a high-quality metal that is very reminiscent of the Zippo lighter. Also, like all Klipsch earbuds, the fit of the earpieces is among the best available.

There are many reasons that Klipsch is set apart from the others. Paul Klipsch was considered a founding father in the Hi-Fi industry. He did much research before he even produced his first speaker. He was able to identify all kinds of distortion that had previously been ignored by the audio industry, such as harmonic and modulation. The design philosophy of Klipsch is the relationship between efficiency and distortion and their approach to the electromechanical design of the transducers. The more efficient the product design, the less distortion exists. Minimizing the distortion to the way we hear music will result in a powerful dynamic range that is unlimited because it is so clear and crisp even at a very low volume, which is the reason people buy sound bars as TVs have small speakers. While he Tractrix horns may be one of the defining features of Klipsch speakers, it is a means to an end. It is the lack of distortion produced by these horns that really brings the sound to life.

One of the things Mark emphasized was that the Klipsch company is very attuned to the consumers' comfort and satisfaction. They aren't concerned with the convenience at the expense of quality. They want the consumer to be able to get a level of performance that defies the price point and goes up against prices that are double, but yet they aren't the lowest either.

Mark told us that there isn't a specific release date because they will be released throughout the year. For much more info you can go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Cleer has a wide range of speaker and headphone options for everyone

2019-01-31

The show floor at CES has certainly gotten crowded with quality audio products. As more companies up their game in sound quality, the individual products have to differentiate themselves in new and interesting ways. One of the companies that exemplifies that need is Cleer, who has a whole line of products that certainly stand out from the crowd.

The most distinctive product in their lineup is the Mirage, an Alexa-powered smart speaker. What really sets this speaker apart is that it features a flexible AMOLED screen that wraps around the cylindrical body. On the screen, you can play all sorts of content, including music videos, as demonstrated in the video. In addition to the Alexa control, you can also interact with it using the ring around the top. The bottom of the speaker features an ambient light source, making it a multifunctional device. This speaker is so unique that it was a CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree.

Not to be left alone, the Mirage has a sibling: Connect, another speaker featuring a screen. Unlike the Mirage, however, the Connect has a traditional screen across its front. Connect's screen is adjustable, meaning that you can put it on your bedside table, or any other surface, and adjust the angle of the screen depending on what you are doing and where in the room you are. It also has a camera, so you could use it for video conferencing, making it a good accessory for your office, as well.

Adding to Cleer's speaker lineup is the Halo, a unique little pair of speakers designed to be worn around the neck. While they may look like headphones, they are definitely intended to have the option to share your music with the people around you. The speakers have magnets on the inside, allowing you to snap them together for easy storage and transportation.

Some of the products featured in the video are available now, while others will be made available throughout the year.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Voyager can take you where you want to go in a fun, new style!

2019-01-31

In the last few years the skateboard, the scooter, and the bike have practically been totally transformed. These recreational products have come a long way since they were invented. We spoke to Lloyd Gladstone, head of Product Development for Voyager, who produce a number of products in this area. For example, the company makes a line of electric skateboards, branded Tony Hawk model and Voyager. They have a 6-mile range on a charge and can go 12.5 mph. Price points range from $149-$199.

The focal point of the product line, however, if their line of electric scooters and bicycles. All of these products feature a Qi-enabled phone holder, as well as Bluetooth controls, allowing you to interact with the device's controls and GPS without ever taking your eyes off of the road. These features not only add smart capabilities but also make the products smarter. The Voyager line offers a number of scooter options ranging from $299 to $499.

One of the more interesting features of the bicycles we saw was a hidden motor. Rather than looking like a regular electric bicycle, this model had the motor hidden in the wheel and the battery hidden in the frame. Another model offered the ability to remove the battery, allowing you to have more than one, so you can charge one while you use another. Both of these models can run for around 30 miles on a charge up to 20 mph.

In addition, he showed us several really interesting hoverboards. One, in particular, is called the Glowboard, which is lighted and makes it safer at night and also has a color-changing feature. The other one has a strobe effect and lights up your path and also flashes strobe lighting. Extending the hoverboard idea is the Space Shoes. These are somewhere between a hoverboard and roller skates. The ride is more challenging than a traditional hoverboard, but once you get the hang of it, you can do some pretty cool tricks. All of these products feature gyroscopic stabilization, making it easier for you to stay standing up.

These products will probably be available in the summer of 2019. For more information, check out their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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This sweet and cuddly little robot might just melt your heart

2019-02-03

Are you thinking about how you really want a new puppy, but don't want to worry about housebreaking. Or maybe a cute little kitty, but there's no good place to put the litter box? And those baby goats that are all over your social media feed doing yoga certainly are cute, but oh wait, they might eat the couch. Wouldn't it be great to have a cute little pet without all of the hassles?

Well, we stumbled upon a new robot while at CES Unveiled 2019. This really wasn't anything unusual for us. In the last several years, it has become quite common to be introduced to various bots that provide everything from home surveillance to learning and game programs for the kids. And to be honest, when we first encountered these new little guys, we actually smiled and walked on by. But after seeing them rolling around the show floor and interacting with the crowds at the booth, we soon realized that there was something a little different with them, and we went back to take a closer look.

And lucky for us, we did cause we got to meet LOVOT, a new home robot by the Japanese company GROOVE X that is designed to be as sweet and fun to have around as a pet. Now, admittedly, on the surface, it kind of seems unlikely that this kind of droid could capture our hearts and become part of the family, as a pet would. But I have to say that the longer we were around LOVOT, the more we fell in love. The realistic shape of his eyes enables him to easily display emotion and the way he interacts with the environment around him is quite endearing. When he rolled up with that sweet look and held up his flippers, indicating that he wanted to be picked up, I have to admit that I instantly wanted one.

The company's goal was simple, to create a robot that makes people happy. And as we can attest, when you interact with it via touch, embrace, even simply watching it, you'll find yourself smiling, relaxing, feeling better. This is because they used technology that was not meant to improve convenience or efficiency but to enhance levels of comfort and feelings of love. LOVOT accomplishes this by reacting to your mood, learning, and bonding with you over time and recognizing different individuals for separate interactions. Plus, they are capable of interacting with each other, like pets do, when there is more than one in the household. Also, they are soft and warm and, as the product line develops, will have fun accessories and wardrobes to go with any personality.

LOVOT is currently available for pre-sale in Japan. A launch date has not yet been announced for the US, but the anticipated price will be approximately $3,000. To learn more, make sure to visit both the Lovot and the GROOVE X websites.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Altec Lansing makes listening to your music in style a breeze

2019-02-03

While a lot of audio companies are producing headphones that sound good, very few combine great audio with the ability to express your style. Altec Lansing, however, produces products with just that combination. Whatever your style and plan of use, Altec Lansing has a headphone for you.

Likely the most unique product in the line is the Glow Run earbuds. These earbuds are designed for use when running and feature an illuminated wire. Obviously, one purpose for the illumination is for fun and style, as the earbuds come in a variety of colors. However, there is a safety feature included, since running outside at night gets a lot safer when you have a light on your body. It's pretty common for runners to carry a light on their waist, but with the Glow Run, you've got it all in your earbuds. The Glow Runs will retail for $49.

Another popular product in headphones this year is True Wireless, and Altec Lansing has enhanced their EVO line of earbuds to feature several models. The standard EVO model runs $59 and features 5 hours of playtime and 3 additional charges through the case. The EVO+ model runs $99 and adds Qi charging to the case and an additional full charge and comes with a Qi charging pad. The EVO Sport runs $119 and extends the playtime of the earbuds to 6 hours and offers 5 full charges in the case. The EVO ANC runs $149 and adds active noise cancelation to the mix, which is perfect when you're in a position with a lot of background noise, such as on an airplane.

In addition, there is the more standard line of headphones, all of which feature Altec Lansing's great sound quality and variety of colors, styles, and materials to make the headphone experience your own. You can see their full lineup on their website.

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Velco brings fantastic navigation systems right to your bicycle

2019-02-04

We've all seen numerous TV shows and news reports that show how much congestion there is in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The standstill traffic seems endless. A lot of us cannot even imagine being in those situations in a taxi, let alone maneuvering our own cars around in them. Many people who live in large cities like these throughout the world keep their daily living circles tight, with home, work, groceries and bars/restaurants within walking distance. Bicycling is also a very popular mode of transportation in these urban settings. Not only does it provide exercise and health benefits, but also allows for an extension of their usual walking radius.

Velco is a French tech company that has the simple, yet earnest vision to create an environment for smarter and more personalized urban mobility. They have a true understanding of the real issues in the various urban mobility markets as they are surrounded by cycling organizations and businesses. As delivery companies, bike sharing services, tour operators and even police forces utilize bicycles more and more in their daily operations, they need to have many of the same, easy to use modern conveniences that we do in our vehicles. As a result, they are designing and marketing connected solutions for mobility professionals all over the world.

We stopped into the Velco booth at CES Unveiled 2019 to get a closer look. CEO, Pierre Regnier showed us a couple of their new products. First off is a navigation device called Tom-E. It offers a unique, intuitive and universal navigation system that is based on light signals. This system basically revolutionizes the daily commute on your bicycle or really any preferred means of transportation. It is simple and compact. Just enter your destination, lock your phone, tuck it away and let yourself be guided.

Also being showcased was the Wink Bar, a connected handlebar that will absolutely revolutionize daily cycling. This smart handlebar can be installed on any bike and connects through your smartphone. It enables riders to now enjoy intuitive GPS navigation while en route. Features include Track & Trace anti-theft as well as powerful integrated headlights.

These innovative new products bring familiar conveniences to our bike riding experience, whether for work or leisure. Riders are able to utilize them while maintaining safety. Prices start at $79.00 for the Tom-E and $279 for the Wink Bar. To find out more about the company and their product line, visit their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Keep the party going with these kickin' speakers from Altec Lansing

2019-02-12

When we're making our rounds throughout CES every year, there are a few familiar stops that we really look forward to visiting. Altec Lansing happens to be one of them. And, as always, we thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour of their latest and greatest.

Up first were the new Rock Box XL speakers. These fun, waterproof speakers are certainly ready to party. With an IP67 waterproof rating, you can just toss it in the pool and it'll float up with great sound. And what's really cool is that they come equipped with LED lights that not only look great as they light up the pool, but they also illuminate to the beat of the music. To top it all off, consistent with the rest of Altec Lansing's Bluetooth speaker line, you are able to connect up to 50 other speakers in line with each other. So you'll be able to turn your home into a true party house with connected speakers in the pool, on the deck, in the yard, house and anywhere you need the tunes to flow. Can you imagine a neighborhood block party with these babies? We sure can. You can start planning your festivities now, with the release date of these expected in the 2nd to 3rd quarter of 2019 at the amazing price of $49 each.

Another cool new product being featured this year is the Action Cam Speaker. It's a Bluetooth speaker that has an action cam built right in. So you'll be able to take 360-degree video while listening to your favorite playlists. Why on earth would anyone need this type of product combination? Well, it's also waterproof, allowing it to be mounted on a kayak so you can capture all of the amazing views that you encounter while also listening to your music. It can also be great at a party to catch all of the action, or on a bicycle. The possibilities are plentiful. You can expect these out in the 3rd or 4th quarter this year at a price point of $199.99.

There are a lot of speakers in the complete line with a full range of great features. Prices start at just $29.99 and go up to $299. You'll surely find something that you will love, so make sure to check out their website to pick out your favorites.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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DS Services brings IoT to their clean, delicious drinking water

2019-02-12

This year at CES 2019, our PLuGHiTz Live crew was on a mission to find unusual and impressive new IoT products. Although we had a feeling that we would find a few silly products that really had no business being internet connected. But we were quite happy when we were able to find some new and useful IoT adaptations, as well.

DS Services was one of the companies that made this list. For many years, they have prided themselves on delivering safe, great-tasting bottled drinking water to homes and offices across the U.S. They also offer their own brewed coffee beverages and office break-room supplies. And, under the Relyant brand, they offer drinking water filtration systems, equipment and services. Here at CES this year, they are showcasing a new technology that is being added to their reverse osmosis water filtration systems.

These new systems offer some great new features that not only provide excellent service for their customers, but also give the company and its technicians the information needed to keep everything functioning properly, at the highest efficiently possible. Provided are a multitude of data that allows each unit to communicate the parameters of the system to the customer, as well as to the technicians. It measures things like the performance of the membrane and the cold and hot water usage. This information can let them know about things like heavy runs or even compressor issues. All of which allows the company to be more proactive, which in turn can provide cost savings for the customers.

The system can also measure how many gallons are going through the system for timely filter changes. Prior to this, the industry standard has been going out to change the filter every 12 months, whether the customer has used the current one to capacity or not. These new units will instead warn the company that a new filter is needed, whether it's been 3 months or 16, depending upon exact usage. There is also leak detection monitoring built right in. So, in many cases, they will know of a problem with your system before you do and already have a technician dispatched out to get it resolved.

These units operate by sending all data over a cellular network, so there is no concern with any tampering with your personal wireless network. Users have access to their data via a dashboard in their mobile app. DS Services is expecting to launch this new model in April 2019 and they feel it will be a real game changer in the industry. You can find out more by visiting their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The fantastic way this French company brings IoT to retail shopping

2019-02-13

Nobody thinks a whole lot about the price tags at retail stores. Well, that is until you come across one that is priced incorrectly or is missing all together. On the flip side, it gets to be a lot when you are the store sales associate who has to keep up with changing prices. It's a never ending battle. At least once every week, when there is a promotion, they have to switch out the sales prices with the regular ones, and then price the new sales items for the next promotion. It's a time consuming process that usually ends up being quite imperfect.

French company, SES-imagotag, has an easy and unique solution for exactly these situations, with a lot of other nice perks built right in. And this concept, which seems so simplistic that it really doesn't need any discussion about it, is actually quite interesting in that it has so many practical uses for both the retailer and the consumer. For starters, retailers will have a central command center where they can set and make all pricing and product adjustments automatically. For smaller retail shops, this command center would be right there in their back offices. For larger retailers, it could even be located at a nationwide headquarters. Similar to large chains who currently, say, have all of the same music playing in each store, that is controlled remotely. They would also be able to ensure that their pricing integrity is always on point. No more mistakes at the individual contributor employee level for missing a sales price or not removing one after the sales is over, creating embarrassment and pricing exceptions if a shopper finds it first.

But accurate pricing is not the only feature of these sleek little gizmos. Maybe even more importantly, they can each be customized to fit with store and product strategies. Not only can SKU numbers and product names be added, but also logos, QR Codes and NFC Chips can be included. This gives the shopper a huge advantage while deciding upon a product. Imagine being able to instantly connect to the product's internet home page right on your smart phone to get additional information and compare prices. It gives more power for smart buying decisions without needing to search for a sales person who may or may not have all of that information that you need.

While this type of electronic product tagging system is beginning to hit the ground in France, the model that we encountered at CES 2019 is still in the prototype stage. It is getting closer to being brought to market and they hope to introduce it in U.S. markets in the near future. For more information, please visit their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Intel shows off what the future of Wi-Fi 6 means for VR and gaming

2019-02-13

If there was any single technology that we absolutely rely on in our homes, it would be Wi-Fi. We all have a lot of devices that connect to our Wi-Fi networks, with laptops, tablets, and phones being the most common. But, today we've got so much more dependent on our in-home networks, like smart speakers, thermostats, and more.

Even with all of these changes in the way we use Wi-Fi, the biggest complication in Wi-Fi is the addition of high-use devices, such as virtual reality and augmented reality hardware. Standalone hardware like this, which gets its video feed over the network as opposed to being plugged in directly to a computer move a tremendous amount of data over the network. By using this hardware, you can stress your network to the point where other devices, including the computer pushing the video, can experience massive lag.

Fortunately, the next generation of Wi-Fi is almost here. With the reveal of this new technology, running on the 802.11ax standard, we get a much needed new naming convention. Rather than being known by their technological standard, as they always have, the new standard will be generational. The new generation will be known as Wi-Fi 6, with 802.11n becoming Wi-Fi 4 and 802.11ac becoming Wi-Fi 5. The biggest change in Wi-Fi 6 will be a huge increase in stability when stressed.

As evidence, Intel gave us a demo of their Wi-Fi 6 prototype hardware powering a complete virtual reality setup. That included the laptop that was rendering the video and the headset that was controlling it. Having gotten to experience the VR myself, I can confirm that there was never a moment of lag. The video was smooth from start to finish, and all of the controls were responsive. Based on this experience, Wi-Fi 6 is going to be a huge improvement for VR, but also for standard gaming, streaming and more.

Intel expects PCs and routers to begin shipping with Wi-Fi 6 in the first half of 2019.

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The Wireless Power Consortium is making the kitchen easier to use

2019-02-14

Every year, we take the opportunity to speak with the Wireless Power Consortium to see what is happening with Qi. This year, however, we had a pleasant surprise: the standard that we have been excited about for years was finally close to ready for the market. This new standard is similar to Qi in that is delivers electricity wirelessly and through surfaces, but it has one major difference: the amount of power it can deliver.

This new standard, which has yet to be named, takes the 15 watts that Qi produces and enhances it to 2,200 watts. If that sounds like a huge upgrade, that's because it is. The enhancement is essential, as the new technology has a totally different intention. Rather than charging phones and other small electronics, the new standard is designed to provide power for kitchen appliances, which can require a lot of power.

One of the biggest benefits of the new standard is the ability to recover counter space in your kitchen. Imagine not having to have a dedicated stovetop, and getting to have that as additional counter space. Instead, you can simply place your inductive pan somewhere on your counter, turn it on, and start to cook. When done, you can pick up the pan and place a cutting board and cut vegetables without fear. That is because there is no residual heat on the surface itself.

While this would be great in just about any kitchen, it is especially useful for people with small kitchens. If you live in a small apartment, or just have a small kitchen, you know that counter space is a premium. Being able to recover that much counter space, and to turn some or all of the surface into a multi-purpose, powered counter, the possibilities are nearly endless.

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Phyn can bring peace of mind to homeowners by detecting water leaks

2019-02-14

One of the biggest fears for any homeowner is a water leak. In the best case scenario, it can cost extra money every month on a water bill because of a very small leak. Worst case scenario, it can damage floors, walls, ceilings, and even foundations, meaning expensive home repairs on top of expensive plumbing repairs. Coming to the rescue of homeowners everywhere is a solution from an unlikely source.

Phyn is a smart water meter from parent company Belkin that can help identify and stop leaks before they cause any real damage. Using only a single device on the main incoming water line, Phyn is able to detect when standard water events occur, such as flushing a toilet and taking a shower. It is then able to determine when an unusual water event happens, whether it be something as small as a toilet running too long or a broken line because of pipe temperature.

Once Phyn detects a problem, it can act in a variety of different ways. The device can act entirely passively, sending a notification to your smartphone letting you know what it is that the device has discovered. From there, you can make a decision on how to proceed, either shutting off the water or looking into the problem further, yourself or with a plumber. It can also act on its own, shutting the water off entirely to prevent any further damage.

Luckily, the setup for Phyn is fairly simple, and the device even features an LED panel across the front to give feedback. During the setup process, it lets you know what state the device is in. During usage, the screen shows water flow intensity so that you can see how much water is flowing through the Phyn. Once you've configured Phyn, the device does all of the work itself, allowing you to no longer fear water damage at home.

Phyn is available now for $850.

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ThirdEye brings the power of mixed reality to a lightweight headset

2019-02-15

The last couple of years have brought a lot of interest back to virtual reality and augmented reality. In the AR world, while Microsoft's HoloLens might be the best-known brand, there are a lot of companies bringing a lot of major innovation to their own AR headsets. One such company is ThirdEye, who is bringing their second generation AR headset, the X2, to market in the near future. This headset is the smallest mixed reality headset available, weighing in at only 6 ounces (as opposed to the HoloLens, which comes in at 20 ounces, or 1.28 pounds). All of this is accomplished while not being required to be tethered to a computer or any external computing device.

The weight isn't the only feature that sets the X2 apart from its competition. One of the biggest problems with augmented reality and mixed reality hardware is the field of vision. Essentially, that means that the hardware itself block a large portion of your peripheral vision or that the viewable area of the screen is only a very small portion of the overall viewable area. The X2 has taken this problem to task and created a 42-degree field of vision. For reference, this is the equivalent of a 90" television in your living room.

Obviously, none of this has any value if there is no software available for the platform. To address this concern, the X2 runs on Android 8, meaning that anyone who can develop applications for Android can develop for this mixed reality headset. To aid in that endeavor, ThirdEye has the VisionEye SLAM SDK, which provides the ability to track position with six degrees of freedom, allowing for high precision.

The X2 is currently not available but can be preordered with delivery planned for later in 2019. The preorder price for the hardware is $1,950.

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YubiKey adds 2FA to your online accounts without all of the hassle

2019-02-15

If any single topic should be a focus for 2019, it should be online security. At least once per week, if not more frequently, there are reports of a platform being hacked or data being stolen. More often than not, the data that is stolen is user credentials: username, email, and password. Because we all use so many different services, it is fairly common practice to use the same password for some, many, or all services being used. Because of that, a single breach can compromise every system that you use.

These breaches have certainly brought about the importance of 2-factor authentication, more commonly referred to as 2FA. The common way of dealing with 2FA is either by receiving a number via text or through one of the authenticator apps. The good news is that there is a better way to protect your account. The YubiKey by Yubico is a physical 2FA device that secures your accounts with biometrics. Rather than having to get a text message to a phone that you have to then type into another service, all you have to do is touch the little device and you're done.

In addition to 2FA, the YubiKey can also be used as a primary authentication method. For example, Microsoft supports the concept of a biometric login, allowing you to not have to use your email address and password at all to log in to your Office 365 account, OneDrive, or even your email. Simply touch your finger to the YubiKey and you're logged in.

There is a range of keys available, depending on how you are planning on using it. From a standard USB-C key to a low-profile key, and even one designed for NFC, allowing you to use it with Android, there is a YubiKey to protect your accounts.

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Onelink brings new and innovative features to your smoke alarm

2019-02-18

When you are not at home, whether it be for the day or an extended period of time, an area of serious concern is the possibility of a fire in your home. The Onelink by First Alert is a new and innovative alert system for smoke and carbon monoxide detection.

This new model has all the features you would expect from traditional smoke detectors. As well as having a very sleek and modern look to it, a really positive feature is the fact that you no longer have to go through the hassle of trying to change a 9-volt battery every time you change your clocks. The Onelink uses a 10-year sealed battery so that it will last as long as the detector does. When it is time to replace the detector or install your first one, the process is made easy by using a standard hardwire connection.

The device also features the Alexa voice assistant. On the surface that may sound like a crazy idea but it is not. Rather than having to place an Amazon Echo in each room, you get to take advantage of a device that you are already legally required to have in there. So now you are able to control your Philips Hue light bulbs, your Nest thermostat, or any of the thousands of other Alexa-capable smart home devices from your Onelink.

The truly defining feature of the new Onelink is the integration of Wi-Fi mesh. By including this technology, once again you are taking advantage of devices you already have in your home for a new purpose: improving your WI-Fi reception. The mesh means that the alarms will communicate with each other and act as repeaters throughout your home. Now no matter where you are in your house or apartment you can have a strong and reliable internet connection.

The current model of the Onelink Safe & Sound is available now for $249. The mesh model will be available later on in the year. For more information go to their website.

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Here Comes the Bus brings added peace of mind for worrying parents

2019-02-18

Every parent that has a child that rides the bus to school has worried about their arriving at school safely and on time. Synovia Solutions has introduced Here Comes the Bus, a platform designed for having the capability for the parent and the school district to track the bus as it delivers their children safely to their destination. It is literally a morning de-stressor for parents!

This was designed primarily for fleet management for companies to manage their drivers' behavior, progress, and patterns. They have developed an app for the school districts all over the country to also be able to track the drivers of school buses as they transport the students to school and home again. They have 900 school districts that are involved! It offers an app for parents to also observe the same thing. Now they can watch the bus' activity and follow it on the route. They will see if it is delayed for any reason or stopped in an unexpected place.

It is built on GPS technology. This allows communication with a satellite which in turn communicates with the software and then relays the information to the parents. This also allows employees of the school districts to know if there are any problems with the buses. School administrators can then be alerted to a late bus. Maintenance will also know if a potential problem with any bus is occurring.

In addition to being able to track the bus, parents are able to find out if their children have gotten on or off the bus. This is accomplished by using a barcode scanner as they get on or off the bus. If the students have an ID that already has a barcode, it can be used for this purpose. If not, one can be provided for them.

Here Comes the Bus is available now for school districts that are interested. For more information go to their website.

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Intel helps Resolve a big problem for animal preserves: poaching

2019-02-21

One of the things that Intel is known for is custom designing unique solutions for clients with unusual needs. One such organization that Intel has worked with is Resolve, a group partnering with the National Geographic Society and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to prevent animal poaching. This nonprofit group installs cameras throughout habitats, in particular, elephant habitats, to track potential poachers and alert on potential dangers.

Before Intel's participation, Resolve had been installing standard cameras which would send alerts based on activity. These cameras used a fairly standard amount of power for a camera, but it did require that the batteries be charged or replaced on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this solution could only help to catch poachers after an incident had occurred. With Intel's help, Resolve has been able to begin implementing a new version of their TrailGuard cameras that solves both of these problems. The battery issue is solved by making the cameras passive, meaning that a charge can last up to a year and a half.

The biggest upgrade, however, comes in the inclusion of Intel's artificial intelligence technology. With the addition of the AI, combined with Movidius Vision Processing Units, Intel was able to predict a poaching event before it happens. This means that the technology can send alerts before an animal dies, giving Resolve the ability to intervene and save the life of the animal, not just identify and prosecute the poachers afterward.

All of this technology is made available in a device that is far smaller than the hardware used previously. In fact, the entire array, with the camera and AI onboard, is only about the size of a pencil. The size helps to make it easier to make the device covert, so it is harder for a poacher to detect and disable the device.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Powerful performance and superior picture quality in these TCL TVs

2019-02-21

CES is so much fun! There are seemingly endless venues and halls with everything from record players to autonomous vehicles. There's so much to take in, everywhere you look. For a truly unique experience, I have to say that walking through Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is simply amazing. It is absolutely mesmerizing to see the grand displays of technology that encompass this most exciting hall of the show. Whether it's your first time through the hall or your hundredth, a true tech junkie can't help but almost feel giddy when surrounded by all of the lights, sounds, and displays.

Once some of the initial shock and awe start to settle in, it's always so nice to visit those friendly faces at the booths in which we have developed a relationship with over the years. One of these companies for us is, without a doubt, TCL. From their press conference that kicks off the week on Monday at Mandalay Bay, to their booth at LVCC, we thoroughly enjoy our experience with them, every single year. We were fortunate to meet up again this year with our friend, product evangelist, Bruce Walker.

While we were perusing through their array of television sets, Bruce spent some time with us to discuss some of the newer technology that will be coming out soon. As was a common theme with most of the larger television vendors here on the show floor, 8K technology is ramping up for what appears will be a huge explosion into the market and our media rooms. And it probably goes without saying that the demos on the floor were quite impressive. TCL is leading the way with bringing this new tech to us in a responsible manner. They are not trying to merely hit the market with these new sets, they want to make sure that their customers get the quality that they deserve from the number two retailer of television sets in the US in 2018. As we all know, just throwing together an 8K set is not enough because when they hit the retail stores, there will be extremely limited content actually available in 8K. That's why they are including an up-conversion technology that will be able to handle the existing, lower resolution content and give you the best picture possible.

Also coming up will be an enhancement to their Roku sets. Not only will they continue with this feature built right in, but it will be Smart Roku, connecting to other smart devices in the home and with voice recognition that will know your voice and interact with you conversationally with its four built in, directional microphones. It will be simple and easy to use. You'll have a hard time deciding if that is your favorite feature or the 33 million pixels that offer up to a 300% improvement in picture quality.

You can learn more about their existing line, and keep an eye out for these new releases, by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Amazing and affordable sound to fit all of your needs from TCL

2019-02-28

No tour of the TCL booth at CES would be complete without checking out the sound systems. We already
know that they make amazing TV's that get better every year. However, as the sets get thinner, the more
 difficult it gets to deliver good sound. Bruce Walker gave us the skinny on their new sound tech.

In the next couple of months, 
TCL will be introducing a family of sound
bars that are designed to deliver a great audio
 experience. The line up
 will contain two families of sound
bars called the Alto 5 and the
 Alto 7. Both will 
be available with or without a wireless subwoofer. 
The Alto 7 improves the
 audio of the Alto five by having
 separate woofers and tweeters in the
 main sound bar for better clarity. The 7 has a slightly bigger subwoofer and also has 
the ability to have HDMI connectivity. This allows for 
one cable connection to the TV
 for automatic communication between the two for easy control. 
The best part is that these sound bars that
 are under $200 but deliver very 
good and robust sound quality. There are also three preset sound modes including movie
, music, and news to tailor the sound to
 what you're watching and offer a
 great home theater experience on a budget.

Also in the sound section, this year is a new family of headphones that aim to appeal to a wider and younger audience. The lineup includes the SOCL for the inspired lifestyle, the MTRO for a bold sound, the ACTV that are perfect for any workout and their ELIT headphones that will deliver premium performance. And we have to say, the prices can't be beaten. Prices range from $10 to $99 but don't think that you will have to skimp on features. From 18-hour battery life to an integrated remote and everything in between, you will be able to match the perfect set of headphones to every aspect of your life.

To learn more about the entire TCL line, click here to visit their website after you watch the full interview.

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A blast from the past combined with robotic futurism at Crosley Brands

2019-02-28

To so many of us, Music is Life. And Crosley Brands is right there with us. There is always so much fun stuff to explore and we have an absolute blast when we visit their booth at CES. Honestly, this year may just have been the most fun yet. The retro feel and cool vibes come second only to the hospitality of the Crosley crew. They always share our excitement while giving us a tour of their new products.

First up was Jason Menard, Director of
 Marketing, to show off their new cassette players. That's right, radios with cassette tape players. These sweet little players were brought back by popular demand as many customers have been asking for them. And as cute as they are, don't let the retro look fool you. They are chocked full of every modern technical convenience that you want. You can make bae a rad mixtape easier than ever before thanks to the ability to use a flash drive, sd card, and four different radio bands. And you won't need to dig out your Mr. Mike to sing along with the recordings of your favorite tunes because there's a mic built right in. And the upgraded model boasts a functional VU meter. You'll be able to ramp the volume up to the max and adjust the bass and treble to your own specs with the adjustment knobs on top. If you're ready to start a new mixtape collection of your own, you can grab yours from Amazon with the following links, CT100, CT200.

Next up was the most impressive and fascinating new product in their line. It provided almost as much entertainment as the Bellagio fountains for our PLuGHiTz Live crew, as it was equally hard to pull ourselves away from the musical theatrics. Chris White from Sound Leisure demonstrated the full-sized LP Jukebox that he designed. Everybody knows that we love all things robots and this masterpiece is integrated with lights and music. So basically, all of our favorite things. We were mesmerized! In the past, they've done the 7-inch 
singles, CD's and Digital in past jukeboxes but this is the first one that's playing 
full-size records. 
It holds ten LP's and it's 
mechanical so it will change them 
automatically. You can play each side. It also has Bluetooth and auxiliary 
inputs and outputs that allow you to run extension 
speakers off of it, as well. There's a fully functioning remote control so you can even change the 
color of the lights with the flick 
of a button. You've got 10 hours of 
music really without leaving your chair. And really, you won't want to because it's truly music and a show.

Lastly, we had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Bingaman, President of Deer 
Park Distributors and Carrie Colliton, Co-Founder of Record Store Day. In recent years, Crosley has celebrated Record Store Day with a special new product. This year it's the adorable RSD 3 Mini Turntable. It uses 3-inch vinyl records, which were popular in Japan in the early 2000s. They are bringing them back for a launch with the mini turntable on Record Store Day, which is April 14th. It will be available in hundreds of record stores on that date, along with an assortment of vinyls for playing. Titles from artists like the Foo Fighters and Jack White will be among the first released. This cute little guy is small in size but large in sound. It has a built-in speaker but also a USB power headphone jack and can be hooked up to any external speaker. Carrie pointed out that this is a perfect way to celebrate the day. Record enthusiasts will have a cute, portable little turntable that will play one song and bring happiness. The vinyls can be played and shared like playing cards as people listen together. The price point is still to be determined, but they expect it to be in the $70 range. I know that we'll be looking out for one of our own. If you purchase one as well, don't forget to come back and leave comments about how you like it and which tunes you have.

To get more information about these and their entire product line, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The Canon Rayo projector packs a large image into a very small package

2019-02-28

When most people think of Canon, their first thoughts tend to be of cameras, and for good reason: the company has been making cameras and lenses since at least 1940. But soon, some people might think of projectors first thanks to the Rayo S1 mini projector. While Canon is no newcomer to projectors, the S1 takes on a whole new market in a big way. This little device is able to produce an 84-inch image with only about 3 meters of throw distance while being only about the size of a portable CD player.

This projector is the perfect companion for any salesperson, as they can easily carry it in their laptop bag or briefcase and, since it has an internal battery, they won't even need to find a power supply in the room where they are giving their presentation. Imagine being able to easily set up in a coffee shop without having to sit in just the right booth.

In addition, the S1 itself runs a version of Android right on the projector. Because of that, you can install apps directly onto the device and use it without any external device plugged in. A member of the Canon team discovered that if he strapped the projector to the side of his bed, he could use Netflix on his ceiling without any setup.

At $259, this mini projector can even be part of anyone's travel bag. Rather than carrying every possible cable that a hotel television might have so that you can watch Hulu at night only to be disappointed because the hotel TV doesn't have working HDMI ports, you can bring the S1 projector with you and know that it is going to work without any problems.

The Rayo S1 mini projector should be available this May from Canon.

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Canon introduces the EOS R, their first full-frame mirrorless camera

2019-03-01

Since consumers discovered smartphones, the photography industry has changed significantly. The photos that can be taken with a phone camera today are far better than the photos that could be taken with a standalone consumer digital camera 5 years ago. However, there are some things that just can't be accomplished with a consumer camera, which is where a DSLR camera comes in. And when it comes to DSLRs, no one knows those cameras quite like Canon. The company has been making professional grade photography equipment for decades and has made quite a name for themselves in the market.

While advancements come to professional level cameras every year, they don't often come at a level so great that it requires a reconsideration of the hardware itself. That is exactly what has happened this year, however, as Canon introduces the EOS R, the company's first ever full-frame mirrorless camera. Traditionally, DSLR cameras use mirrors to reflect light to project the image onto the sensor, which works well but is not a perfect solution to retain full image quality. By eliminating the mirrors, Canon has taken their already top-of-the-line cameras and made them better.

Because of the major change in technology and setup, Canon has also reconsidered their lens mount. The new setup allows for significantly higher quality lenses to be produced for the cameras, as well as adding capabilities that would not have been possible previously. For example, on display in the booth and featured in the interview, the company showed off one of their news lens arrays, where you could see just how many individual lenses are packed into the array. The good news is, the company also took into consideration that many photographers already have a large collection of Canon lenses for previous EOS cameras and has designed a lens adapter to allow you to continue to use those existing pieces of equipment.

The Canon EOS R is available now in various packages.

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Polaroid Mint brings instant photos to the smartphone generation

2019-03-01

Polaroid instant print photos were once so culturally significant that they were referenced in pop music, art, and more. With digital cameras, the instant gratification of seeing a photo immediately was satisfied by the screen on the camera, leaving Polaroid in a difficult position. However, the last few years has returned the desire to hold a physical photograph, and the company that made that easy has focused on bringing that ability to the smartphone generation with a couple of different options in the Mint line.

First is the new Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Camera & Printer, an all-in-one 16-megapixel camera and printer that allows you to instantly print any photo you take. And, unlike most portable photo printers, this device requires no ink or toner. This is accomplished by following in the long Polaroid tradition of including everything into the paper. The special Zink zero ink paper gets inserted into the camera and contains everything needed to produce a printed photo. If you're a fan of the classic Polaroid look, you can even include the classic white border around the photo, making the print look exactly like a Polaroid photo of old. The Mint camera can print 40 photos per charge.

If using a special camera is not your thing, then you can grab the Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Pocket Printer instead. Just like the Mint camera, the printer uses the specialty Zink paper, meaning you don't have to maintain ink or toner in the printer. With this device, however, you can use the camera on your Android or iOS device and, using the Polaroid app and Bluetooth, print directly from your phone or tablet. Like the camera, you can include the classic border, making the photos look like a traditional Polaroid photo.

The camera is available for $99 and the printer is available for $129 now.

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Soundbrenner modernizes the metronome with a wearable device

2019-03-02

When you think of products that are ripe for innovation, your short list probably does not include the metronome, the traditionally pyramid-shaped device that musicians use while practicing to keep their rhythm. Luckily, the team at Soundbrenner felt differently. This team of musicians saw that there were some obvious pitfalls to the traditional metronome device and set out to solve them with the Soundbrenner Pulse.

The first, most obvious problem is that the sound of the metronome can easily get drowned out by music, especially if you're practicing as a band. There have been some solutions, but none of them are great, like having multiple devices or trying to mic the timer. With Pulse, however, loud music isn't a problem. This device is worn on your wrist like a watch, or can be attached to a guitar strap, or however you feel comfortable, and uses light and vibration to overcome the limitations of audible timing. All you have to do is tap the face of the Pulse to the rhythm you want to set, and the Pulse will keep the rhythm until you tell it to stop.

Another problem with band practice is keeping the whole band in sync. The Pulse allows you to sync up to 5 devices together, so everyone is on the same beat. This is done via Bluetooth, using one device as an active and the rest are set as passive recipients. This gives a band the ability to stay together as they learn a new song, or even during a performance, where acoustics in a venue can throw off the group's rhythm.

This year, the company is introducing the Soundbrenner Core, a new take on its established product. In addition to all of the features of the Pulse, Core brings some cool new capabilities. For example, Core has the ability to assist in tuning. Using a contact microphone and a removable faceplate, the device can help any musician get their instrument into proper tune. It can also be used to measure the decibel level in the room you are in. In addition, the Core can be used as a smartwatch, receiving notifications from your phone, making it a perfect companion for any musician.

The Pulse is availabe now for $99, and the Core is available for pre-order on Indiegogo InDemand.

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OV Loop makes texting with your voice easier and more usable

2019-03-02

As we all know, texting and driving is a huge problem. Every tech company has seemingly worked to help solve this problem in various ways. The most obvious way to tackle the problem is via voice commands and messaging, but for anyone who has tried to use a service like Siri or Google Assistant for text message transcription knows just how poorly it can work. The team at OV Loop have a new and novel take on the problem: the OV App.

While using your device's native voice service for messaging, the recipient receives a computer-powered transcription of what it thinks you said; the inaccuracies of which are well-known. With the OV App, OV Loop's messaging system, not only does the recipient receive a transcription, but they also receive the original recording. This means that when you inevitably receive a message that makes no sense, you can still decipher the intent by listening to the original voice. The best part of all of this is that it can be accomplished with minimal interaction with your device. In addition to text and voice, the app can also do what you expect from a messaging system, like photos and videos.

The real standout feature of the platform, however, is the OV Pro headphones. While they look like standard in-ear Bluetooth headphones, they feature voice control capabilities on-board. When pairing the OV Pro with the OV App you can now send and receive messages completely hands-free. You don't even need to press a button to summon the voice commands like a standard Bluetooth device. This makes using them in the wild a far safer experience. You can even use the OV Pro to trigger your device's native assistant to perform all of the tasks you would expect.

The OV App is available now for free for Android and iOs and the OV Pro is available for $179.

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SELFLY allows you to take the perfect selfie without a stick

2019-03-02

The biggest trend in technology in the past decade might just be selfies. Encouraged by services like Instagram and Snapchat, and glamorized by celebrities, almost everyone has at least one. The problem is often that the angle of a camera held by the photographer prevents great framing. It's even worse when there is a group. In fact, even on our team we only have a couple of people who can get a good group selfie. For the rest of us, we now have the SELFLY drone.

This tiny multicopter is actually designed to be part of a phone case, meaning that it is always with you. That means that the drone is always with you when you're ready to take the perfect selfie or record the perfect video. How does the drone help with that, you might ask. Well, the answer is actually quite simple. Using your phone, you can control the drone like a standard multicopter, allowing you to aim the camera and frame your photo or video exactly as you want.

None of that makes the device a drone, however. The drone capabilities come when you use the copter's ability to lock onto a target. Once the SELFLY is in the air, it has the ability to choose a person and follow them as they move around. This is a perfect feature for filming a video without a camera person. You can lock the camera onto yourself and move around, having the camera act as your camera person.

One of the best features, and certainly one of the things that set it apart from other drones, is the ability to use gestures. Rather than having to carry your phone to take a photo, you can actually trigger the shutter with a hand movement. That will keep your photos clear of the clutter of your phone.

The SELFLY drone is available now for $99.

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Jammy is a digital guitar that makes travel easier for players

2019-03-03

While the guitar is one of the most popular instruments to learn, it is also one of the most difficult to transport. The large size makes it nearly impossible to bring onto a plane, with several well-known incidents of professional players having their guitars damaged during transportation. That is where the Jammy portable guitar comes into play. Unlike a regular guitar, the Jammy can snap apart into 2 pieces, making it small enough to fit into a backpack.

The Jammy is a fully-capable digital guitar featuring real steel strings. Rather than using the strings to create sound directly, the Jammy is a MIDI controller, turning your actions into digital commands. Those commands can, naturally, replicate the acoustics of a guitar, but can be used to produce any number of collections of sounds. The best part of all of this is that all of the signal processing can be done directly on the guitar, meaning you don't need a phone or tablet in the mix for the Jammy to work. This gives you the power of digital audio without the lag of external processing.

On the device is a collection of audio interfaces. The first is the obvious: a 1/4" jack, which is the standard for connecting an electric guitar to an amplifier or professional sound system. If you're not playing in public, you can use the 1/8" jack, which is the standard jack for headphones. With that, you can play entirely privately, using your own choice of headphones. Finally, it also features a MIDI interface over USB-C, so that you can connect the Jammy to a computer. Jammy can then be used with any number of music programs to create beats and more.

The Jammy can currently be preordered for $399, with a future retail price of $499.

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Heatworks is saving electricity by reinventing the way we heat water

2019-03-03

You may not know this, but the way we heat water has not changed in most of our lifetimes. The current process is not energy efficient, has little to no temperature control, and is truthfully a little gross. The coils that are used to heat the water get covered in a buildup and sit right in the water. Luckily, that is all about to change, thanks to Heatworks, which has reconsidered the concept from the basics.

The new technology uses graphite electrodes instead of coils. These electrodes push electricity across the water, using the minerals in the water. This process heats the water nearly instantly and can do it within a degree of a predetermined target. There are many benefits to this technology, not the least of which is no longer needed a hot water tank, where a heater constantly keeps a large supply of water hot. This change is a large portion of what saves electricity.

Another huge benefit is the ability to use hot water in more than one application at once, without the fear of running out of hot water. We've all had to make the tough decision as to whether to take a shower or run the washing machine, knowing that doing both will guarantee that the tank runs out of hot water.

While the company is working to license the technology to standard appliance manufacturers, they have produced some products themselves to go along with the standard in-home water heater replacement. The most impressive of which is a small, self-contained dishwasher called Tetra. The appliance is designed to be used on a countertop and requires no water hookup. Instead, you simply pour a gallon of water into a tray and, when the process is complete, empty the water from another tray.

In addition to Tetra is a water pitcher called Duo. This pitcher can pour hot water on-demand from one spout and can be set to a specific temperature while pouring cold water from the other spout. This is perfect for use with coffees and tea that have an ideal temperature for flavor, which most do.

The Heatworks Model 3 water heater is available now for $799, with a regular retail price of $899. The Tetra and Duo are both in final development, and you can get updates on the website.

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Pillo Health makes managing your medication regiment easier and safer

2019-03-03

If you are one of the millions of people who take multiple pills per day, you know how difficult it can be to maintain your regiment. Between mixing up which days you take which pills, and possibly forgetting entirely, there are a variety of problems that can happen. In fact, for the older population who are trying to age in place, or people with chronic illnesses, the most common result is hospitalization. That's where Pillo Health comes in.

This happy looking device is a smart pillbox, which is designed to help those who have complicated pill schedules maintain their schedule and, therefore, their health. Using voice activation, the Pillo is able to dispense medications as needed, with reminders built-in to keep you on schedule. If there is more than one device in the house, the Pillo can be set to only respond to a single user, preventing two people from mixing up their medications.

But Pillo is more than just a medication dispenser. In addition to dispensing, it also maintains your compliance through a series of processes. If you are out of compliance with your plan, Pillo can notify your support system, which can include medical professionals, including doctors and in-home specialists, friends, and family. They can then intervene in the case of an emergency.

Outside of medication aspect of the hardware, Pillo is also able to help with other aspects of your daily health program. It can keep track of other medical appointments, with doctor appointment and therapy reminders. You can also use the voice interface or touchscreen to get information about your health and the health impacts of the things in your life. For example, you can get calorie information about your favorite snack. You can also get general information, including local weather.

The Pillo is available now for $499, with a $39 monthly subscription for the extended suite of functionality.

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Raven can help protect your vehicle and the people riding in it

2019-03-05

When you're driving around, there are a host of reasons why you might want to have a recording of what is happening around you. Whether it be to document a car accident or just something interesting happening on the side of the road, being able to capture the moment could be handy. With the help of Raven, that desire becomes a reality. We had the opportunity to speak with Raven last year, but the device has gotten even better since then.

The product started as a great way to keep track of a car and make sure the occupants are safe. With the built-in GPS, data connection, and forward and rear-facing cameras, Raven makes it easy to follow a vehicle's journey and check in if something seems off. The idea came about when the founder's daughter was driving through a snowstorm, and he simply wanted the peace of mind that everything was okay. All of these features made doing just that a possibility.

Today, the Raven is much more than that. In fact, it is a complete connected car system. It connects through the car's diagnostic port and is able to do all of the things that a consumer diagnostic computer can do, such as read trouble codes, manage fuel efficiency, monitor speed, and more. Using the data connection, this information can be watched remotely, so parents can keep a better eye on their kids.

More than just parents can find a lot of value in the Raven, though. In fact, the company has brought out a number of fleet management capabilities. When put into a corporate vehicle, the system can replace the features of a GPS tracker, a "tattler," and more. The cameras can be used to make sure the right people are in the vehicle. The GPS can be used to ensure that routes are being followed, and if not, follow where the vehicle has gone. The diagnostics capabilities can help a fleet manager predict maintenance issues before they become a problem.

The Raven connected car is available now with a variety of options.

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Pani helps homeowners track and manage their daily water usage

2019-03-05

When thinking of ways to help save money, most people think of reducing their power usage, but few people think about reducing their water consumption. However, with a few simple steps, reducing water usage can make a big difference. The problem is that tracking water usage can be a difficult task. Luckily, we've got Pani, a connected water meter for the appliances in your home.

For most households, around 75% of all water is used by the shower, toilets, and faucets. The Pani is designed to be attached in these locations to monitor exactly how you use water in your everyday life. Once your pattern is established, the Pani is able to start giving suggestions on how to reduce water usage, as well as incentivizing you to do so. The more water that you are able to eliminate from your daily usage, the more money is donated to charities that are dedicated to providing clean water to those who don't have access.

The idea came about when founder Allen Tsai was in Nepal helping to build water wells. The experience really changed his view on how water is used, realizing that people in the US take the availability of water for granted. He wanted to help people realize just how scarce water can be in the world, as well as helping them to reduce their usage. He even reached back to his experience and chose Pani as the company name, which means water in Hindi.

In addition to the conservation features, Pani also provides some safety issues. If the device recognizes a leak on a device, it is able to send a notification to alert you of the problem. From there, you can act to turn off the water and get the leak fixed.

The Pani is coming soon, and you can join the mailing list to get notifications about availability.

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LifeDoor can add an extra barrier between you and a house fire

2019-03-05

No one should have to live through a house fire, but it is a good idea to be prepared in the unlikely event that it happens. Smoke detectors are a great first start to protecting your home and the people in it, but there is more that can be done to be safe. Not everyone knows that a closed door can make a huge difference in the damage done to a room. Firefighter Joel Sellinger saw the major differences between two rooms in the same home and came up with LifeDoor to help save lives.

Joel responded to a fire, only to discover that the elderly occupant had died because of smoke inhalation. The room she had been in had an open door and sustained severe damage. The room next to hers, however, had a closed door and nearly no damage. It was then that he decided that he needed to find a way to make this scenario a thing of the past.

LifeDoor is a seemingly simple device but provides huge value. This small box simply attaches to your door by replacing the top hinge pin. Once installed, you calibrate it by opening and closing the door just once. Once it knows what the door looks like closed, it is ready to go. It doesn't need to connect to a network, or have you replace smoke detectors across your home. Instead, LifeDoor listens for the sound of an existing smoke detector and automatically closes the door, protecting the people in the room.

In addition to closing the door. LifeDoor also repeats the smoke alarm noise, helping the person or people in the room to know there is a danger. It also has a built-in light that illuminates the room to help you get out safely.

The LifeDoor will be available soon for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign.

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Rocking Bed brings the comfort of being rocked to sleep to everyone

2019-03-06

If you have ever slept on a cruise ship, you know that the gentle rocking of the boat can significantly improve how you sleep. This is the realization that Mark Russell, founder of Rocking Bed made after a cruise. He went looking for a product that could replicate that sensation on dry land and found only a hammock. Of course, a hammock isn't quite the same, as it is mostly for outside use, and encompasses a person in a way that can be strange. So, he set about to create a device that could help him sleep.

The Rocking Bed is a product whose name says a lot about its use. It attaches to the existing frame of your standard bed and provides a gentle swaying motion. While it might sound strange initially, think about this: almost all humans have been rocked to sleep at some point in their life. It is such an established idea that many rocking devices are made for babies, and the idea of babies sleeping better in a car is well established. Somehow, the idea has never been brought to adult sleeping, despite the clear connection between rocking and the feeling of safety and security, which can be relaxing, bringing on restful sleep.

One of the interesting things about rocking to sleep is that, once you are asleep, the rocking is no longer required. That is why the Rocking Bed has a timer built-in and turns the monitor off after 30 minutes. Obviously, if you're not already asleep at that time, you can start the timer up again. The timer also helps to prevent the motor from wearing out quicker, as motors all have a lifespan. If the motor does wear out on the bed, however, you can order a replacement, rather than replacing the entire product.

The Rocking Bed can be pre-ordered now, with a down payment of $245.

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VOLO Beauty has a cordless hairdryer that reduces damage to your hair

2019-03-06

For some types of hair or hairstyles, the only way to get your hair dry correctly is with a hairdryer. Unfortunately, hairdryers produce a lot of direct heat and can do a lot of damage to your hair. It can also be difficult to accomplish because most dryers have surprisingly short cords. VOLO Beauty has a new product designed to help people deal with both of these products. Since last year, the product has gone from a working prototype to being fully-functional and available for pre-order.

The VOLO Go Cordless Hairdryer is, by the suggestion of its name, a cordless dryer. Using a lithium-ion battery, this new dryer can be used without being tethered to the wall, allowing you to use it while you get ready for your day. To make this possible, however, the company could not use traditional heating. That is because a standard hairdryer uses about 1600 watts of power when in use. In fact, they require special power adapters when you travel with them internationally.

Instead of traditional heating, the VOLO Go uses infrared heating. There are a few benefits in infrared, with one being a significant reduction in the amount of power required. Reducing power usage allows for a smaller battery, also meaning less weight. But, more importantly, infrared can dry your hair without all of the damage caused by traditional heating. That is because it doesn't apply all of the heat to the outside but instead works from the inside out.

In addition to the Go, VOLO has also released a towel, designed especially for hair. Whether or not you plan to use a dryer, towel drying is an important step in helping prevent damage. The VOLO Hero is a microfiber cloth, which we all know makes for easier and quicker drying. It features a strap in the middle, which allows you to easily tie it on top of your head, so you can continue your routine while your hair dries.

The VOLO Hero is available now for purchase for $39, and the VOLO Go is available for pre-order for $27 with a retail price of $399.

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Plott takes the frustration out of hanging pictures on the wall

2019-03-06

If you're anything like me, you absolutely hate trying to hang things on a wall. It seems like it is nearly impossible for me to get everything to line up. One item is always a little lower than the others, or there is a larger gap between two of the items than the rest. A number of augmented reality apps have come out to help you design what it should look like in a perfect world, but that never helps me get it right in reality. The Plott Cubit is the perfect device to help bring the idea to reality.

The device looks very similar to a standard tape measure, which is an appropriate design. It is designed to take your augmented reality room decoration design and help you get all of the measurements right on your wall. This is accomplished by pairing the Cubit with your smartphone and its accompanying app. First, you map out your wall, using the camera, marking the corners. Then, you photograph the items that you are trying to hang, enter their measurements, and the hanging point is on the item. Then, you place the items on your virtual walls, testing the layout using AR in the room.

Once your wall is all set up, you take the Cubit itself to the wall in question and let it guide you to the right spot. Arrows on the screen will point you in the correct direction, and when you find the spot for a nail it will beep. At that point, just mark the spot on the wall and move on to the next spot. The Cubit is accurate within 3 millimeters, which is far closer than I have ever gotten using traditional measurements.

The Plott Cubit will be available soon from big-box retailers and online.

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The VMAXX woofer returns to the Cerwin Vega Mobile speaker lineup

2019-03-09

When it comes to car audio, there are a lot of choices, and so it takes a lot to make a name for yourself. Cerwin Vega Mobile has certainly done just that, making itself the oldest car audio company in the world. Over the past few years, the company has been reaching back to its classic products and reintroducing modernized versions. In the past, we spoke with Larry Frederick about the Stroker, and this year he showed us the VMAXX woofer.

This product, which was previously produced around 15 years ago, was a popular product. In fact, for a while, it was the company's most popular woof. Unfortunately, because of a problem with the frame, the company decided to discontinue it. Since then, loyal customers have continued to ask on social media that the company bring it back and, thanks to new materials and better manufacturing processes, the frame issue has been solved, and so the VMAXX has returned.

Rather than just bringing back the original design, however, Frederick wanted to design the speaker to be a heavier-duty, more powerful product. He focused on the things that he could easily control, like the size of the magnet, the size of the voice coil, and the amount of travel for the cone. While he recommends that people not get caught up in the trick of a big magnet and theoretical wattage, he does note that the magnet on the VMAXX is fairly large.

It is important for anyone purchasing a high-end speaker system to understand what it is they are buying. A 1000 watt speaker with only a 1-inch voice coil is never going to accomplish the advertised volumes. The same goes for other components on your system, such as the copper wire being used. The last thing you want is for your speaker or wire to get too hot and for glue or shielding to come apart.

The VMAXX woofer from Cerwin Vega Mobile will be available soon for around $249 to $279.

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New system ensures accurate mail delivery through your smart devices

2019-03-09

We are living in a time where there is always a chance of someone invading our personal space or property. We are having to secure our information with many new means of technology. One of the newest things coming our way in the future is from USPS. It is a sensor that is placed in our mailbox to alert us when the mail has been delivered. This works even if your mailbox is at a great distance, up to three miles away. It runs on a battery that has a 2-year lifespan. The company is working with partners to ensure that the battery can be recycled when it is dead.

We spoke to Karan Gera, a strategist working with USPS and Tia Kim, a senior innovation producer who walked us through the way this product works. The sensor is placed inside your mailbox and the bridge goes inside your house. The alerts can be received on all of your smart devices. When you receive mail in your box, you can be alerted on your phone or tablet that there has been a delivery. The bridge can also be paired with Nest, Philips Hue lightbulbs and more.

Hue integration allows lights to flash if the person is hearing impaired. If not, then blinking or flashing lights will get the attention of the owner. The Nest integration helps to alert you to the current problem of porch pirates by showing you who picked up your mail.

This device works with USPS Informed Delivery Service to allow you to compare what was received with what you were expecting to get. Informed Delivery scans all of your mail so you know exactly what you are getting that day. This is extremely helpful if an elderly person is waiting for their medication to be delivered. It also comes in handy for an off-site caregiver to know if that person is receiving their prescription.

This is in prototype phase with no predicted date for availability.

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Women are loving what LUMINI can do for their skincare routine!

2019-03-09

For most women, there are not many things that are more important than good skin care. We visited with lululab and learned about a new way to keep track of your skin and any problems that arise as you age. It is called LUMINI, an AI skin care system for your face. It uses a scanner to detect and help to correct any problems that you may not know are occurring.

The scanner works on three levels. First, LUMINI captures the image of your face. After you use the on-screen guide to line up your face for the photo, it uses auto-face detection and light correction for accurate analysis. Second, it analyzes the facial skin in 6 different categories: wrinkles, pigment, redness, pores, sebum, and acne. It finds out what your particular problems are. The app gives a detailed overview of your analysis including a score for each category. You can then see actual photos highlighting your hotspots for each analysis. You can even see an image of what your skin would look like under perfect conditions.

All of this leads to the third level, recommending the appropriate product for you. They are then able to find and recommend the correct product for your best skincare routine. If you were to use all of the recommended products for your skin, you would be very close to the photo from step 2.

Their current client base is dermatologists, med spas, salons, and high-end department stores. By working with professionals, you will find out your personal needs and you will be informed with the proper recommendations just for you. The company hopes to come out with a consumer version for your daily use in the privacy of your home.

To find out more about this wonderful product, you can go to their website.

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Be proud to tell your stories in amazing video quality with Canon

2019-03-12

It seems that video recording is more important now than ever. And Canon stays on the cutting edge to bring us the best assortment of video cameras. Whether you are recording all of those special moments with your growing family, capturing your favorite vacation memories or starting your own podcast or vlog, Canon has a camera that will fit your needs.

Drew McCallum, Senior Technical Specialist, indulged our love of Canon Video and showed us their newest additions to the line. New for this year are the VIXIA HF W10 and VIXIA HF W11 camcorders
. There's also a new waterproof VIXIA 
camcorder. They also have their HF G50 and their
 brand new 4K camcorder for a little bit
higher end user. We were particularly mesmerized by the waterproof camcorder that was swimming behind us. It's capable of depths up to sixteen and a half feet. It's ready to go for all of your vacations and adventures. And it's not just waterproof, it's also freeze and drought proof. It offers a lot of versatility in a very small, compact design. The four-hour battery is internal and charges via USB

Another product that we at PLuGHiTz Live have a lot of interest in, is the 4K camcorders. As we look to upgrade to higher quality cameras for the crew, these really caught our attention. The VIXIA GX10 is Canon's first 4K UHD consumer camcorder. The compact and portable design offers a truly outstanding combination of features and functionality. It delivers refined video quality and delivers stunning detail to video enthusiasts and aspiring filmmakers alike. It's a twenty times
 optical zoom and a five-axis
 image stabilization system. You've also got a dual
 card slot so if you are doing long
 interviews like here at CES 
you are able to back them up.

We love our Canon video recorders. We use them in our studio and at all of our special events. And we look forward to expanding our own stock. We'd really like to hear what you think about them, too. After you watch the interview, drop us a line in the comments section. For more information, visit their website here.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Humanscale makes the laptop better with the M/Connect docking station

2019-03-12

Many of us use a laptop for both portable and stationary computing. When we're at a desk, we tend to want more than a laptop offers naturally. For example, you may want extra monitors, or maybe just a larger screen. You may want a better keyboard, and almost certainly want a real mouse. All of that makes a laptop docking station appealing, but there is a problem with docks: all of the cables on the desk running in and out of the dock. Humanscale has a simple yet elegant solution to the problem with the M/Connect docking station.

While a traditional docking station sits on top of the desk and has all of your standard cables plugged into it, like HDMI, keyboard, mouse, printer, etc., the M/Connect is different. It actually mounts around the edge of the desk and uses a split design. This setup allows for the bottom piece to feature all of the permanent cables, meaning that they are hidden beneath the desk. The top piece features ports for your more transient hardware, like flash drives, portable hard drives, and biometric sensors. Now you have the convenience of a laptop dock without the clutter of cables taking up a large portion of your desk space.

In addition to the clever split design, the M/Connect is designed to be paired with one of the company's monitor stands. In fact, it can be used with any of the company's monitor arms, whether it be designed for a single screen or a full 6 screen array. The post of the monitor arm runs through the center of the M/Connect, keeping the dock snugly in place and adding extra stability to the arm's connection. It is a win-win situation.

The M/Connect is available now in a variety of configurations.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Formlabs brings accuracy and flexibility to the 3D printing market

2019-03-12

3D printers have become a very popular device category, even becoming popular for in-home use. While these printers can accomplish a lot, there are some things that your standard, consumer-grade 3D printer just cannot pull off. There is another category of printers, however, that is far more capable than the ones you'll find in a retail store. Commercial 3D printers, like the ones from Formlabs can print in more detail, with different materials, and more.

If you've ever encountered something printed by one of the consumer printers, you know what it looks like. The surfaces are usually rough and often you can see and feel the individual layers where it was printed. That is because of the overall resolution of the printer. Think of a consumer printer more like a dot-matrix printer, but the commercial printers are like laser printers. In fact, if you look at the Formlabs printer, it actually uses a laser in its setup. This method allows for a smooth finish and an indistinguishable print layer. In fact, these printers print in 50-micron layers, making them essentially indistinguishable.

In addition to resolution, the Formlabs printers also allow for some incredibly unique printing materials. At the event, the company showed off some of these unusual materials. One of the most impressive was a dental grade polymer, which is being used to make dentures. This process allows a dentist to take a scan of your mouth and enter it into a computer, printing a new set of dentures in the office. This is faster, cheaper, and more convenient than taking a physical mold of the mouth and shipping it to a production facility, having to wait for the dentures to be produced and shipped back.

Truly, though, the most impressive material was called Elastic and was a completely flexible material. You can squeeze the printed item in your hand, bend it around, and the item will correct itself. Essentially, it is like being able to print with rubber bands instead of hard plastic. There are many jobs that this material can make possible that were simply out of reach in the past.

The Formlabs printers are available now starting at $3,350.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Vuze makes creating VR and 360 videos and photos incredibly easy

2019-03-13

Virtual reality headsets and environments are becoming more and more popular. Nintendo has even thrown its hat back into the ring over 20 years after the first attempt at the technology. The problem is, there is not nearly as much content available for the hardware as there should be. There are some still cameras that have made their way into the market, and most phones can take a panoramic-style 360 photo. Video content, however, is still not as popular as it could, and should, be. Vuze cameras might just change that.

The VUZE+ looks a lot like a small Wi-Fi router but has 8 lenses around the outside ring. Using those lenses, the camera is able to create video content in full 360 degrees, which is perfect for virtual reality headset. It also features spatial audio, meaning that, by moving your perspective, you can change the sound that you can hear. It is almost like being there. The camera has a standard camera mount on the bottom, allowing you to set it up somewhere, maybe at a concert or conference, and record.

The VUZE XR is the smaller version of the VUZE+ and features only 2 lenses facing forward. Rather than a full 360-degree video, the XR produces a 180-degree frame. This is perfect for portability, as holding the camera in your hand will put your body as half of the frame anyway. Luckily, the camera is designed exactly for portability, with a handle and collapsible lenses.

Both cameras produce video at 5.7K, which is far above the industry standard. In addition to still photos and video, both cameras are also able to be used for live streaming through YouTube Live using a paired mobile device. The VUZE+ is available for $999 and the VUZE XR is available for $439.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Opal Digital has a brand new way to interact with 360 videos and games

2019-03-13

Have you ever put on a VR headset and experienced something you wish you could share with the people around you? That's pretty difficult when you're fully immersed inside of an enclosed headset. There is a way to share a 360 video with a group of people, however, thanks to Opal Digital. Their very unique screens create a full 360-degree image to be enjoyed by a group instead of an individual.

One of the intents of the hardware is education. By including one of these screens in a museum or art gallery, the facility could present a new type of experience. For example, you could get an immersive view of the artist's studio, making a stronger connection between the viewer and the artist. With the 360-degree screen, that presentation can not only be viewed by a group but could be experienced as a group.

The most obvious use for the technology, however, is entertainment. In fact, the company is working with Keith Arem, a well-known videogame insider, who has worked as talent director on titles such as Call of Duty. His expertise has led the company to consider various new entertainment experiences. What he really likes about the idea is being able to create multiplayer capabilities without isolating the players from the audience, or even from one another.

The idea is to partner with companies to sponsor installations in places where people will congregate naturally, such as movie theaters. Imagine a multiplayer game based around an upcoming film available in the lobby of your local theater. What about games in shopping malls or airports, where you're always waiting around for someone or something to happen. These screens can make those experiences more interesting and, with partnerships, not cost the player anything.

Opal screens are available from the company with a range of prices depending on included options.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Geeni has the products to give you the smart home you've been wanting

2019-03-14

There are smart home products just about everywhere you look at CES. When walking around, you start to get the feeling that if you've seen one smart light bulb, you've seen them all. All of the platforms and apps can get really overwhelming. And if it even gets a bit confusing for us techie folks, we can only guess how the average consumer feels about it all.

That's why it was so refreshing to step into the Geeni booth and have a chat with Sol Hedaya, head of their Smart Home division. Sol explained how they, too, know that it can get exhausting trying to get the features that you want in an easy to use format. That's why they have really tried to take away the pain
 points of the smarthome. Nobody wants to go through so many different apps, hubs, and ecosystems. So they've worked really hard to make it all less complicated and at price points that are affordable. Their philosophy from day one has been to
 make Wi-Fi-based products that are really inexpensive and are easy 
to get connected and running off of one app so that all you need to do is buy
 one product and it connects directly to
 your home Wi-Fi network. They've rolled 
this philosophy out into a really wide range of
 smart lighting and power 
products, including smart plugs, surge protectors
 and power strips. In addition, they are now moving into
 switches and even a smart nightlight and
 smart block combinations.

We loved how their entire line works together. You can set your nightlight to come on at dusk and include a fan or appliance in the same plug. They have also
 expanded heavily into cameras and
 security. There are indoor and outdoor and doorbell cameras. Also, new for this year is their smart baby camera that comes in three different
 colors: blue, pink and white. But most impressive are its features. You are
 able to adjust where the camera view right 
from the app. It also has a 
humidity and temperature sensors 
built right in. It will even sing a lullaby
.

All of 
the products are compatible with Google 
Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft
 Cortana and they work really really
 closely with those teams to ensure superior compatibility. Pricing starts at around $15 and there is something for everyone. After you check out the interview, take a look at a couple of our favorites on Amazon, like this Surge 6-Outlet, and this 2 Pack 1080p Security Camera System. And for more information, visit the Geeni website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Aeotec reimagines the door and window sensor by predicting break-ins

2019-03-18

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Aeotec, a brand that makes a wide variety of smart home accessories. In fact, the company offers a line of 44 different products. However, at CES this year, they are really featuring their Door/Window Sensor 7. We were surprised by this, as it seems like a door and window sensor is a technology that is so established that it is unlikely to be improved upon.

Aeotec, however, has a totally new approach to this technology. Traditionally, these sensors are designed to send an alert to a security system when the two magnets separate. The idea is to alert during the process of an entry event, either purposeful or forceful. That's useful, but not ideal. The ideal situation is to alert before someone breaks into the building. That is exactly what the Aeotec sensor does: alerts you before there is a problem.

Rather than just being a pair of magnets, the Door/Window Sensor 7 uses some additional sensors built into the device, as well as a proprietary algorithm, the sensor is able to detect behaviors that indicate the beginning of a break-in. For example, there is a certain amount of force required to break out a window or door, and the sensor is able to detect that force. It is then able to notify the central hub, and therefore additional Z-Wave devices, that a break-in is being attempted. The system could then turn on lights, sound an alarm, and more, to notify the intruder that you're aware of them.

The Door/Window Sensor 7 is expected to hit the market in the near future and will be available from Aeotec and more.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The iota security hub makes protecting your home incredibly easy

2019-03-18

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Abode Systems, makers of the iota, a small, tabletop all-in-one security system. In the box, which is only about the size of a standard Wi-Fi router, is a full Z-Wave security hub, as well as a security camera, motion detector, two-way voice communication, and audible alarm. The package also ships with a standard door/window sensor and arm/disarm keyfob.

In addition to the included hardware, there are a variety of ways to connect the iota to both internal and external networks. The device includes Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and cellular data connections, allowing you to get notifications on your mobile device whether you are home or not. As a member of the Z-Wave Alliance, you can add to the system a variety of additional sensors and devices, both from Abode and other partners.

When it comes to monitoring, there are two distinct options. The fairly standard way with do-it-yourself home security systems is to self-monitor, which means that when something goes wrong, you get a notification and must act on it yourself. However, with the iota, you get the option for professional monitoring, as well. You can sign up for constant monitoring, allowing you to let someone else always be in charge of the process. You can also purchase service for short periods, such as a vacation or business trip.

The iota is available now, either the standalone device for $299 or with a year of service for $329.

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Gerber Prime allows you to customize how you control your smarthome

2019-03-18

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Gerber Prime, a company that has taken customization to a whole new level. Their PrimeSwitch products allow you to create a, not only a completely custom panel setup but a custom plate itself. Here's how it works: each plate has 9 buttons. Each one can be programmed to perform nearly any action. This is possible thanks to the nature of the switches themselves. Using control modules, you can add capabilities for a relay, curtains, and more.

In addition to the electronics, you can also completely customize the wall plate. Whether you want only a single touchable button, or want to expose all 9, you can purchase a plate in the configuration that you want. Just as importantly, however, is the ability to have the plates designed to your specification. You want to get a particular color, possibly to match your room decor? No problem. You want the lights on the buttons to be the color of your corporate logo? No problem. You want the buttons themselves to look like little dolphins? No problem.

The company has recently taken the idea of the modular system and brought it to a whole new controller. Rather than a wall plate, you can also use their modules to create a large, programmable control unit. The PrimeBox allows for modules for control, as well as different technologies, including Z-Wave, Zigbee, and more. This is a perfect solution for a large implementation, such as a television studio, or large office.

The PrimeSwitch is available now with prices dependent on configuration. The PrimeBox is coming soon. Both products can be found on the company's website.

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Wait till you see the tech in this self-service beer tap by Arrow

2019-03-19

In an effort to collect significant user data in a new, simple and efficient manner, Arrow Electronics combined several different technologies to create a very impressive IoT application. What is presented as a high-tech, self-service beer tap, is actually so much more. With the use of the Arduino Maker 1000 Board, an Intel Processor with Wi-Fi module, they were able to create these beer tap coolers that are coupled with temperature and flow sensors.

This beer tap is then able to provide data that not only facilitates the sale of the product but also manages optimal temperature and provides restocking data. Customers merely engage with the touchscreen and choose their beverage, which is automatically dispensed, while management is able to monitor and measure output on the dashboard. That data is then coupled video demographics that is gathered from the onboard camera. The camera watches while the customer makes their choice, then AI technology from Intel is able to determine their specific demographics. Like their sex, age range and even facial expressions. These data points provide the retailer with a significant amount of information about what types of customers are purchasing which products. This allows for a product portfolio that will appeal to a wider audience so they can target promotions and stock levels accordingly. All of this comes together in a simple display.

This beer tap does a great job of demonstrating Arrow's capability to work from the sensor, all the way to the cloud. They took embedded sensing, coupling it with embedded computing and visual analytics. They then related that data in a retail environment on a dashboard. And the separate components that make up this technology is easily transferable into other areas of consumer data analytics. For example, the facial recognition that is being used in the beer tap can be used in any number of other consumer settings. It is able to provide real-time analysis of the moods of shoppers while compiling that data to be used for advertising, direct marketing, and product placement.

For more information on all of their products and applications, check out their website.

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The OPKIX One allows you to enjoy an event and share it with friends

2019-03-19

There's no question that social media has a big impact on most of our lives every day. For many, when they are experiencing something exciting, that want to be able to share it with the world. However, the biggest problem with that is it means that you then experience the event through the lens of a camera and the screen of a phone. It would be much better if you could experience the event and share it with your friends. That is exactly the problem that OPKIX is trying to solve.

The OPKIX One camera is small enough that it can be used just about anywhere, from a necklace to your eyeglasses. It is also that small size that makes it so that you can film and experience an event at once. Using some of these accessories, such as the glasses, you can easily record the exciting aspects of your day without having to lose yourself into a camera of a phone screen. Now, you can truly enjoy the thing that you are there to enjoy, whether it be a concert, competition, or conference.

In addition to the design of the camera itself, there are a number of distinguishing features. One of the most interesting is the inspiration that they take from true wireless earbuds. They ship with a docking "egg" which serves as a portable charging station, but there's more than just that. When you're charging the camera, it is also transferring the media from the camera into the egg. That way you only have to have a single device paired to your phone. That's because the package ships with 2 cameras, as opposed to only one, so you can charge one while recording with the other.

The OPKIX One can be ordered now for $295 for the cameras, or $395 for the cameras and a pack of accessories.

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The new & improved Sleep Number bed means no more need to count sheep

2019-03-19

"We make sure we know more about sleep than anyone else," says Pete Bils, Vice President of Sleep Science and Research at Sleep Number. Sleep Number is on the cutting edge of sleep technology, with all their beds now produced being smart beds. But what does it mean to have a "smart bed?"

Some key benefits to this type of technology are sleep quality tracking, sensors that adjust the bed every time you move, and even a setting to have a foot warmer turn on thirty minutes before you enter the bed. The smart bed issues a report each morning to let you know how you have slept. In this way, you are able to track your specific sleeping habits and eliminate factors which contribute to a less restful night of sleep. To accomplish this, the bed tracks such factors as heart rate, amount of movements, wakefulness during the night, and whether or not you exited the bed. Logging your daily activities into the tracker and comparing them to the sleep report gives you an idea of your ideal sleep situation.

Mr. Bils says that in the beginning, Sleep Number's goal was to eliminate factors which made it hard to sleep. Now they are distributing technology that actively helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, such as the foot warmer. Science has shown that warming your feet at bedtime does help you fall asleep faster. Plus, this feature produces a whole new level of comfort. Their previous beds could be set to your ideal sleep number, and they remained there. The new, smart beds' sensors actively adjust the mattress every time you move to keep all points of your body experiencing support during the night. And it has already been proven that setting the bed at your ideal sleep number lends itself to less tossing and turning, to begin with.

Sleep Number is moving mountains in the area of healthy rest, all the while providing you with the comfort they have long been famous for. This technology paves the way for a more productive, well-rested society.

After you watch the full interview, be sure to check out their entire product line on their website, or visit one of their dedicated stores.

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QOLSYS has a better way to easily control all your smart home devices

2019-03-20

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is QOLSYS, a company which has developed a seven inch HD touchscreen that is an all in one platform, called the IQpanel. It eliminates the need for multiple protocols to run all of the smart products within the home. "You'll find a lot of people touting their latest, greatest solution, and many times those solutions are based on a single protocol... We believe that interoperability is very important," says Jeremy McLerran, Director of Marketing.

It is capable of commanding seven different wireless protocols. It can be responsible for your home security system, as well as countless other functions, such as lighting, thermostat control, locking and unlocking doors, controlling garage doors, motion sensors, and communication from different parts of the home. The great part is that almost any systems you may already have in place can be integrated into this system, keeping you from purchasing new, unneeded hardware and software. It can play as big or as small a part within the home as you wish and can be linked by Bluetooth to each family member's smartphone. It is possible to add to its capability by purchasing additional devices as the need arises. Local suppliers offer monthly subscriptions or one-time purchases of the hardware.

The benefits of this technology are countless. The platform has the potential to cut your energy bill in half. It also provides handy monitoring of other rooms in the home, which comes in handy if you have children. There is the capability of having a photo sent to your phone every time a family member enters the home, while you are away. You can order and install the system yourself or have a representative come and install it. Once you get it in place, you'll love all of the extras. Imagine having your phone set to shut down your lights, change your thermostat, lock your doors, and raise your garage door as you are leaving home. All of these tedious tasks and many more can now be handled from one platform, saving you time and the stress of wondering if you have forgotten something.

QOLSYS simplifies the process of day-to-day life and has the advantage of integrating almost any systems you may have already purchased, making it a great deal, which builds on the hardware you may already have in your home. To learn more about all of their products and services, visit their website.

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Jasco makes your movie night better with a wireless Z-Wave hub

2019-03-20

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Jasco, one of the most diverse manufacturers of Z-Wave products. Whether you are looking for lights, switches, outlets, or alarms, Jasco has got them for you. While you may not immediately know the name, you have likely encountered their products. This is because they hold licenses for GE, Honeywell, Energizer, and Philips. While they may make a lot of products, there are a few true standouts this year.

The first is a lightswitch that doubles as a motion sensor. The motion can be used to turn on the light that is attached to the switch, or it can be used for occupancy. These switches have become popular for assisted living facilities because they can help staff know when a room has been empty or without any motion for an extended period of time. Second is their door and window sensor. The sensor uses a magnetic contact that is so small that it can actually be hidden right into the frame of a door or window, making it far less of an obvious addition. The third is a leak detector designed to alert you when a surface gets wet. It is definitely a perfect pairing for your water heater, where a leak can flood a whole house.

The product line that really stood out for us, however, is the portable remotes. These products can attach to the wall, like a standard light switch, or be popped off and brought with you. It's the perfect accessory for use in a living room, where you really don't want to open your phone to turn off the lights. It's also great for the bedroom, where you can make adjustments to brightness and more. There are two versions of the switches, one with standard hub controller, and one with full scene control capabilities.

Jasco products can be found at retailers worldwide, with some of the newly announced products coming soon.

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The ZOMEKIT can help building owners save power and generate revenue

2019-03-20

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Zome Energy Networks, which has a different approach to the ecosystem. While most companies focus on the controllers and devices, Zome focuses on how to use those devices to conserve energy on a large scale and make some money. This is done through a program provided by power companies, where they pay building owners to help conserve power during peak times. Imagine, during the middle of summer in Florida, if the power company could reduce usage just a little, it could make a big difference.

Because of this. Zome Energy has built a Z-Wave gateway, called ZOMEKIT, that is powerful enough to control an entire building. This system can be installed by apartments, office complexes, and more, with only a single ZOMEKIT needed to cover the entire building, rather than needing one in every individual unit. Once installed, the gateway can be used to turn off power-hungry products, such as water heaters and air conditioners, allowing two of the highest consuming appliances in the house to get a rest. That rest translates into power savings, which the power companies reward with a financial bonus.

Right now, the ZOMEKIT is in a private beta testing phase in a small number of buildings. The company is currently accepting interested parties to expand the beta program, as well as interest for after launch. For more information on the ZOMEKIT, check out the company's website.

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Danalock offers flexible access along with superior home security

2019-03-21

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Danalock, a Danish company that produces door locks that is compatible with Z-Wave technology. Danalock has been in this business for ten years, producing quality home security equipment. They pride themselves on keeping your home safe, even when you are away and with flexible access control. Their exciting new product is a wireless digital keypad that is compatible with their V3 system, which is an automatic lock that can detect your arrival and unlock for you. The new keypad offers wireless versatility and an added way to access the home and can be purchased for only $69 and integrated into your V3 technology, or an entirely new system can be purchased for $149.

There are several advantages to having a wireless keypad. First of all, since there are no wires attached, the keypad can be placed anywhere along the outside of your door, not just on the deadbolt. In this way, you can make your home entrance more aesthetically pleasing. This feature can also increase safety, as the keypad does not have to be in an obvious location. It is not necessary to download an app to work with the keypad, as it functions independently, along with your Z-Wave technology. You need only enter your PIN to gain entrance. Now if you expect guests or maintenance workers in your home, you no longer need to ask them to download an app to be able to unlock your door. Just give them their own PIN, and use your outdoor camera monitor to see that only the correct people are trying to enter your home. No one whom you are expecting ends up stuck outside the door, unable to get inside. It truly offers more flexibility all around.

Danalock is offering the best in technology, making it easier, more convenient, and more aesthetic to secure your home, along with Z-Wave. Information on Danalock products and the products themselves are available on their website. You can get the Danalock V3 and the Danapad V3 now.

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SquareOne is a new way to play board games in a digital world

2019-03-21

If you are anything like our team, you really enjoy board games. However, sometimes you just want something new that isn't in your collection. That means going out to a store and buying a game, or waiting for something to be delivered. But, for many games, what you receive has a lot of similarities to other games you have: player markers (or pieces), dice, a board or playing surface. Wizama has taken the common ground between these games and made them digital, for a new type of gaming with SquareOne.

Combining a collection of markers, characters, and cards, all enhanced with near field communication (NFC) with an LCD screen and connected dice, allows gamers to experience their favorite games in a new way, as well as a whole new type of game. For the more traditional, game makers can use the screen to replicate their standard game board. Then, using the connected markers, cards, and dice, can make their gameplay even better.

The really interesting ability of SquareOne, however, is how it can create all kinds of new types of games. For example, using the exact same pieces you are already familiar with, you can play a digital version of air hockey. But, by adding in the NFC-powered cards, you can also play a game that combines the best parts of air hockey and Astroids, called Cosmo Squabble. These are the types of games that used to require something like an original Microsoft Surface (the table version, not the tablet), but now is small enough to be portable.

The SquareOne console will be available for pre-order at the end of 2019, with expected delivery in 2020. The price is expected to be a little less than $500. Right now, they are working to finalize the hardware designed and build partnerships so the console launches with a wide catalog of games. For more information about SquareOne and to follow the product's development, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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PicoBrew makes home brewing safer and easier with the PicoStill and Z

2019-03-21

The craft brew industry has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. In fact, it has become so popular that more and more people are looking to make beer and spirits at home. Creating your own means that you can create a flavor that is very unique, and can represent you perfectly. However, the process can be difficult because of its intricacy. Thankfully, PicoBrew has a line of products to help make the process easier.

The newest and most distinct is the PicoStill, an attachment designed to fit with the Pico Model C. While brewing beer or distilling spirits, the Pico C is used to heat the liquid being used in the PicoStill. It makes the process of distilling herbs, hops, grains, spices, water, and more almost as easy as making coffee. More importantly, it takes away a number of the dangers inherent in creating alcohol, by automatically separating the methanol. It also allows brewers and distillers to infuse their creations with oils, including hops, herbs, spices, and even rose petals.

In addition to the PicoStill is the Pico Z, a fully automated brewing appliance. It was originally designed specifically for beer but has been enhanced to be a complete beverage appliance. The new model still supports beer, but adds coffee and kombucha to the mix, as well as doubling as a sous vide machine. Using the Pico Z, you can build your recipes through the website, or use a pre-built recipe, and access them on the machine. The most interesting feature is the ability to expand the Pico Z's capacity. This is accomplished through the device's modular design and can support from 2.5 to 10 gallons.

The PicoStill is available now for $349 or paired with the Pico C for $748. The Pico Z is available for pre-order now, starting at $2199. For more information, or to purchase, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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This Irish company is bringing the smartest solution to the smarthome

2019-03-22

The smarthome continues to get smarter with the new X-Brain from Xunison. The X-Brain can become your "brain" for all of your smarthome devices but it does not end there. There are 5 capabilities/devices included in 1 main hub so not only does the X-Brain give you easy access to all of your smarthome devices, it also comes with a built-in router, the ability to connect straight to your TV, fully included antivirus and firewall software to keep your smarthome and devices safe and parental controls for internet access and devices connected.

The CEO of Xunison, Ryan O'Donovan discusses the juicy details and specs for this new, innovative product. Once you finish the quick and easy X-Brain setup by connecting it straight to your television, you have full access to all of its capabilities through the X-Brain remote control. The router information is easily accessible through the application and allows you to be able to update your ID and passwords. There is also an option that allows you to view all of your connected smarthome devices such as other TVs, smarthome assistants, or even your smart refrigerator. From here you have full control of internet access to any device at any given time, and a list of the websites each device accesses on your network. This feature is fantastic for parental controls when you want your child to go to bed at a certain time without fear of them accessing their devices late in the night.

Security is another very important topic that Xunison has certainly taken care of. Each device comes armed with secure antivirus software and firewall that will keep your X-brain as well as every connected device safe from hackers and vulnerabilities. If there is a breach in the X-Brain, you are immediately notified of the hack and ways you can prevent this from happening again. Also note, if there is a breach in one X-Brain, all other X-Brains sold around the world are learning from each other and other attacks. They are updated every day in the background so there is no need to sit through regular updates that stop usability.

The Xunison X-Brain is expected to be launched in the first or second quarter of 2019. This product will be for sale at $229 and could be found online at the Xunison website or in person Costco, Walmart, and Best Buy.

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Moona can now make struggling with sleep a thing of the past for you

2019-03-22

As many of us well know, getting a good nights sleep can be a challenge. Aside from factors such as unusual work schedules or new parenthood, insomnia is reportedly one of the most common sleep problems. For every person who has a problem with sleep, there is another person with some advice or something they should try to fix the issue. But obviously, it's not that simple. Or is it? The folks at Moona have what they feel is the perfect solution.

Their mission at Moona is to help those who struggle with sleep, as according to their statistics it affects one-third of adults in the United States. And it's not just a matter of people feeling tired all of the time or missing out on things in their lives, which quite honestly is bad enough. But more importantly, not getting an adequate amount of sleep on a consistent basis has serious health consequences, as well. It also obviously can affect relationships and work productivity. For all of these reasons, they've worked to find a better solution and through their research, they found that temperature is actually a key factor in sleep quality. And if this sounds odd to you, just think about how many times in your life you have flipped your pillow over to get to the cool side.

Some studies have shown that lower temperatures in the area of the head and neck actually help people to not only fall asleep more quickly but also stay asleep longer, reaching a deeper level of sleep. It is based upon this research that they developed their technology. Moona is a smart system with a pillow pad that is inserted on top of any pillow. It is connected to a bedside device with a pump that continuously circulates water through the pad to help keep this important head and neck area cooler, and thus allowing for better sleep patterns. Now, they realize that merely having this cooling technology is not enough because it's not a "one size fits all" kind of solution. Every person is different, so along with the cooling pad is the ability to customize the user settings to your exact specifications. You'll be able to set the perfect fall asleep temperature, stay asleep temperature, and even the perfect wake up temperature for you. That's right, you can program it, right from a phone app, to gently help wake you up on the morning by warming up. Temperatures can be customized and preset from 70 to 97 degrees. They have also tested the product for durability, so you will not need to worry about any leaking no matter how restless you are when you sleep.

Moona is expected to retail at $399, but for a limited time, you can get a discount of $100 during their preorder campaign. After you've watched the interview, head over to their website to get more information and order one for yourself.

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The DoorCam 2 from Remo+ gives renters the security of a camera

2019-03-22

Home security is one of the most consistent technology fields because it is important for everyone. No one wants to live in a scenario where they don't feel safe, both inside and outside the home. The past year has made security outside of the home even more important than ever, with the increase in thefts of packages by "porch pirates." Remo+ has a new camera to make this accessible to everyone called DoorCam 2.

Knowing that someone is at your door is great, but installing cameras or video doorbells is not always possible. For example, if you live in an apartment, you may not even have the ability to place a doorbell, let alone something as complicated as a security camera. You still want to know if someone is outside, either to protect packages or simply to know who is at the door. The new DoorCam 2 requires no special installation, as it simply fits over the top of the door. That means no holes, and no lost security deposit when you leave.

Adding to the ease of installation is that there is no power cable required for operation. The camera can be powered by a battery that will run for up to 12 months. If plugging the camera in is more your style, though, you can power it off of a standard micro USB cable, which comes with the camera.

When someone comes to the door or comes into the active frame of the camera, you can receive an alert on your mobile phone. From there, you can then open a two-way conversation with the person, either to say you're not available, ask them to wait, or tell them to leave.

In addition to DoorCam 2, Remo+ also has more traditional style video doorbells. The RemoBell S, the newest member of the family, is the first hardwired video doorbell from the company. You will have the same type of alerts as the DoorCam 2, based on activity in the field of view. For those whose door faces a neighbor's door, or might have a long field of view, you can customize what field will alert.

The RemoBell S is available now for $99, and the DoorCam 2 will be available starting in April 2019 for $199.

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FIBARO Walli brings a distinct new look to your smarthome setup

2019-03-23

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is FIBARO, with a visually distinct style of smarthome accessories. While most companies take a very subtle approach to their designs, FIBARO skews the other way, choosing instead to use bright colors and bold designs. The newest addition to their smarthome lineup is their Walli line, a line of round outlets and switches.

Following the company's design language, these products are designed to stand out and look good. Whether you are looking at an electrical outlet, a dimmer, switch, or shutter control, all of the products are circular. Many of the products also feature a lighten ring around the outside, which is also something the company has been known for in their existing wall plug line. They even offer matching outlets for cable, Ethernet, and USB.

FIBARO has also updated its Home Center app. The new version brings with it a much more streamlined interface, designed to make using the products easier. More importantly, and certainly most interestingly, the app has added into it machine learning and analytics. The app is able to learn the user's behaviors and find and suggest new scenes that could improve their daily routine. For example, if you regularly turn on two sets of lights right after unlocking your front door, the app might be able to create a scene for you to automate that process.

The Walli line will be available soon in Europe, with a planned launch in the US in late 2019 or early 2020. FIBARO's other products can be found on Amazon.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Z-Wave.Me has products to enable makers to join the Z-Wave movement

2019-03-23

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Z-Wave.Me, a company that helps to facilitate the development and production of Z-Wave products. Some of their products are aimed at makers, such as the RaZberry, a module that can connect to any Raspberry Pi model and add Z-Wave capabilities to a project. This is great for either an amateur who is learning the technology or making a custom project for their home. It is also perfect for a professional as they prototype a new idea.

If Raspberry Pi isn't your platform of choice, the company also offers the Z-Uno, an Arduino Uno-inspired board that incorporates communication for Z-Wave. They also offer the UZB, a USB-interface for being able to control Z-Wave devices from a computer. For a maker or product designer, these capabilities really open up what can be done accomplished in a short period of time. For installers, Z-Wave.Me offers an altered version of the Z-Uno, which comes in a sealed case to prevent atmospheric and weather damage.

A number of interesting projects have been done using the maker hardware produced by Z-Wave.Me and were on display at CES. For example, a water leak detector, featuring a remote sensor, was built on top of the platform. They also demonstrated an entry control system that uses NFC in the plate to detect a card and sends a Z-Wave command to unlock a door, turn on a light, or any other Z-Wave capability.

The RaZberry module is availabe now for $55. The Z-Uno maker board is available now for $70. The UZB interface is available now for $35.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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ZOOZ can provide amazing savings on your home power usage and bill

2019-03-23

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is The Smartest House, a dedicated Z-Wave marketplace and makers of the ZOOZ line of smarthome products. The company boasts streamline technology not available anywhere else in the Z-Wave world. The first product displayed is the ZOOZ light switch. This switch comes with a dimmer and can control all the lights in your home from one central hub. There is no need to change out any wiring. Just install the one switch, and every light in your home can be controlled through your Z-Wave system.

Next up is the ZOOZ powerstrip. The power strip comes with five outlets, which can be controlled individually or all together. You can turn off nonessential outlets with the push of a button. The power strip also comes with USB ports for easy charging of your mobile devices. One of our favorite features is that it can issue reports on each of the outlet's power usage. You will be able to narrow down which devices are using the most power in your home. Also, the power strip notifies you through your Z-Wave system when any of your devices are fully charged.

There is also a double plug available. Like the power strip, the double plug measures power usage and notifies you when a device is fully charged. The double plug is a more streamlined choice, with only two outlets instead of five, and still comes with a USB port. The two outlets can be controlled individually or together. An advantage to the ZOOZ double plug is that two of them can fit into one receptacle. The Smartest House produces the only Z-Wave double plug device which is not too bulky to fit alongside another double plug in the same receptacle.

These products make life easier and your Z-Wave system more functional while saving you money on your overall power costs. You can now be more in control of the devices which are using power in your home. You can learn more about the ZOOZ line of products on their website, and you can purchase them directly from The Smartest House or Amazon.

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FoldiMate makes your laundry day great and gives you back your time

2019-03-24

For a lot of people, the absolute worst part of doing the laundry is when it comes time to fold it. The washer and dryer do the important part for them, but when it needs to be folded, they just haphazardly shove it around and wind up with a lot of wrinkled clothes. We all have that one friend with a clothes chair or a decorated treadmill! We were very happy to talk to Gal Rozov who is the founder and CEO of FoldiMate, a fascinating robotic laundry folder.

FoldiMate is a new concept to help make a bothersome task for some people a pleasure. Gal told us that even his children fight over who gets to fold clothes! It is mainly designed for shirts, towels, and pillowcases. It is able to fold neatly and accurately up to 25 items in 5 minutes. The execution of this is very easy. You simply grab the item by the shoulders, facing you and clip it onto two uniquely designed clips and it automatically pulls the item into the machine. While that is happening, you put on the next item after it opens up again.

The appliance plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet so that makes it very versatile. The possibilities for placement are endless in your home, depending on your space limitations and your work habits. Some folks like to put them in the laundry area while others want it in their bedroom. It is also incredibly energy-efficient. He is also thinking about the possibility of using them in laundromats for their customers to experience.

While last year they were in a prototype mode and this year they were extremely honored to receive the Best of Show Award at CES for 2019 from Business Insider.

The FoldiMate is planned for public release in late 2019. The price point is uncertain at this time but they are hoping for around the $1000. range. For more information go to their website.

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Smart Oven+ by KitchenAid is changing the way you prepare your meals

2019-03-24

Everything now in your home has become "smart" and your kitchen is no exception. KitchenAid has come out with a very smart oven to help make cooking easier and fun. The KitchenAid Smart Oven+ is a new idea for revolutionizing your meal prep. Taking inspiration from their very popular stand mixer, the new oven currently offers options to expand your cooking capabilities.

This very versatile oven is designed with a modular plug that connects to three different attachments. The first one is a grilling rack that has high-intensity heat for faster cooking and searing. It's like grilling outdoors without worrying about the weather. The heating element fits down inside the grate and the grease drips down inside so there are no flare-ups. This design also helps for a more evenly heated surface. The steamer attachment is another option. The pan is quite large so you can easily plan a meal for the entire family. This also is great for desserts such as cheesecake, souffles or creme brulees. It provides a water bath that is very important to such foods. A third attachment is a baking stone. This one is porcelain covered enamel that heats very quickly and makes your food very crisp, especially nice for pizza and French fries.

All of these are Yummly-integrated and that makes it very easy to cook even when you are not at home. Yummly is an app that is for guided cooking, which is very helpful to the novice cook or even an experienced one. The app also features Yummly pros, such as Carla Hall that will walk you through some of their recipes. It can be connected to your mobile device to help you start or stop the oven, or even adjust the temperature during the cooking time.

The price point for the Smart Oven+ is $3000. for the single oven with a microwave above and $4700. for the double oven. For more information go to their website.

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Whirlpool eases your laundry and space problems in one simple machine

2019-03-24

People with tight space problems will be excited to learn that Whirlpool has solved that particular problem in the laundry room. Without compromising on the size of the interior drum, they have created a combination washer/dryer that does the job of two separate machines quickly and efficiently. It is called the Smart Front Load Washer and Dryer.

It has a Load-and-Go feature which is an automatic detergent and fabric softener dispenser. It can hold enough soap for up to 40 loads. It has a sensor to measure how much soap to dispense based on the weight of your laundry. When you are running low on soap or fabric softener, the Whirlpool app can automatically reorder through your Amazon Dash account. It also has the feature to be connected to Wi-Fi so you can control it remotely. You can also get notified on your smartphone when the load is complete so if you are away for the machine, you can still know.

The control screen is large enough to read easily and is well-lit with bright colors. That makes it user-friendly and the choices for the cycles are directly available. They have a full-size drum, which is 4.5 cubic feet and is 27" in diameter. They have recently come out with a smaller model of 24". Probably one of the most exciting features is the fact that they are ventless and can be used everywhere, especially since they are powered with a 110-volt plug instead of the old bulky 220-volt version. In having the combination of two big machines into one compact one, there is no problem of losing precious space in your laundry area, so having it where it the most convenient place is a true advantage, especially for apartment dwellers who do not have a dedicated washer and dryer hook-up.

The price point is at $2199. For more information go to their website.

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Square Panda makes learning phonics easier and fun for all kids

2019-03-25

Square Panda came into being when the CEO noticed his daughter, who had dyslexia, was struggling to learn to read. Many children with and without dyslexia do not learn easily using only a pencil and paper or listening to a teacher lecture. The innovative thing about Square Panda technology is that it integrates visual, auditory, and tactile learning so that every child can grasp the skills to use phonics in reading.

In the showcased game, a child can place letters in the tray in any order. The chameleon in the game reads the letter combination to the child. If the child has formed a real word, then a picture of that thing may be displayed. The chameleon reads the letter combination, even if it does not form a real word. In this way, the child is still learning sounds and phonetics and learning the correct way to spell through experience. If a child spells several correct words in a row, they are rewarded. If a child attempts to spell words unsuccessfully several times in a row, the chameleon begins to suggest letter combinations or displays a picture and asks the child to try to spell the name of what he is seeing.

There are ten different games available to play with this hardware. The games range in age appropriateness. For instance, there is a lullaby game available for the youngest players and a more complicated bowling game for older players. The child can choose which games he or she enjoys most, and still get the benefit of learning without the tedium of a classroom setting. The interactive nature of Square Panda keeps children entertained, while they are learning.

Being the mother of a very tactile child, I can easily see the benefit of this type of technology. Classroom experiences and homework can be nerve-wracking for my child and me. Many of you know what I'm talking about. Imagine a learning experience your child could enjoy, that was capable of helping them become a better reader! Square Panda is the solution for children who have become frustrated with traditional learning experiences.

For more information, please visit their website. They have sets available for the home and the classroom, as well as replacement smart letters. Pricing for the home set starts at $69.95.

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Sphero Specdrums: The most fun you'll ever have tapping your fingers

2019-03-25

Do you ever sit at your desk and tap along to the beat of a song? Is the steering wheel in your car a full-on drum set when your favorite song comes is playing? If you're like me, you're a world class drummer in your own head. So, for all of us who don't quite have the time or drum set to become rock stars, Sphero has introduced Specdrums.

Specdrums are sleekly designed, Bluetooth enabled, app connected rings that detect color, combined with accelerometers that detect tapping. So you are able to play music on anything in the world around you. They are a fun new musical instrument that provides an accessible, portable, and tactile way for anyone to create music anywhere. You can play on the included color pad, or really on anything, like your shirt, a drawing or even a bowl of fruit. They are perfect for beginners who want to explore but also open-ended for advanced musicians to get creative and show their chops. Specdrums provides an outlet for whether you are practicing music using your hands without loud, expensive, and large physical instruments.

They work by sending a very quick, low latency color signal to the app on your device. The colors can be programmed in the app to have a specific sound for each color. They also have curated packs in the app for different genres of music. Each pack has a combination of loops that continue to play like drum or baseline and also some instruments like a keyboard. With all of these great features, they sound great right out of the box. And with all of the customization choices available, you'll have your own amazing creations in no time. They offer sets with one ring for $64.99 or expand your play experience with a 2 ring set that allows you to switch it up using two hands with more versatility or to play with friends for $99.

You can get more information and grab your own set on their website.

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BenjiLock is here to secure your stuff with the convenience of biometrics

2019-03-25

One of the things our team loves the most about CES is getting to see companies start out in Eureka Park, the show's startup section, and end up having a major presence on the show floor. The best example of that transformation is definitely BenjiLock. When we first encountered Robbie Cabral in 2017, he had a small booth in Eureka Park with a large, nonfunctioning prototype. The idea was sound, but the technology wasn't there just yet.

The following 12 months were big for BenjiLock, with a successful appearance on Shark Tank and a big investment from Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary. Following O'Leary's investment, the company got the attention of Hampton Products, makers of the Brinks Home Security line of products. For sure, Hampton is a company that knows security products and brought BenjiLock into the fold, with a large presence at CES 2018.

Since then, another year of growth. In 2019, not only did Robbie have working products to show off, he announced the availability of the locks. These biometric padlocks offer both fingerprint scanning, as well as traditional key unlocking. The key is perfect in the event the battery dies, or you need to give someone else access to the device temporarily.

In addition to the standard padlock, Robbie has announced a new, smaller model, with a very specific purpose: travel. The smaller BenjiLock is designed as a luggage lock and is TSA-compatible. That means that you can use it on your suitcase when going through the airport, but you don't have to worry about the lock being cut off if security needs to access your bag.

The standard BenjiLock padlock is available now from ACE Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, and more. The new TSA-compatible BenjiLock padlock will be available in the near future.

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Better mobility and versatility in big cities is Schaeffler's vision

2019-03-26

Although not typically part of our main coverage here at PLuGHiTz Live, we do really enjoy seeing all of the different automobiles at CES. And when we came upon the Schaeffler pavilion and saw what they were showcasing this year, we knew that we had to stop and take a closer look. Project manager, Martin Laumann, was gracious enough to give us an exclusive tour of the new Schaeffler Mover.

The Schaeffler Mover is a compact, urban vehicle platform that contains some impressive technical components. The most important being the Econo Modules on each corner that include a 90-degree steering system in the electric wheel hubs. These "Intelligent Corner Modules" allows for a high degree of maneuverability as well as room for a high degree of comfort for passengers. The platform offers an adaptable design that allows for a flexible implementation of different vehicle bodies. Although it is currently being displayed as a simple rigger platform, equipped with four seats, it can be outfitted as needed with, say, a passenger cabin or one for cargo. It is also currently outfitted with a joystick and a touchscreen for drivability. All steering commands are electric, which means in the next generations, it can easily be set up to function fully autonomously.

With the prospect of mobility requirements changing in rapidly growing metropolitan areas, Schaeffler considers this platform to be the perfect solution. And although they do not necessarily see it being privately owned or having individual users, they do feel that it meets the demands of a large city and offers the flexibility to enhance the overall living environment for residents. With its small footprint, tight turning radius and the ability to drive sideways, it is truly a multifunctional vehicle platform. For cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, these customizable vehicles are perfect for fleets that offer services such as rideshare and deliveries.

To get more information about this and other Schaeffler projects, make sure to check out their website.

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Schaeffler's new BioHybrid changes the inner city delivery process

2019-03-26

We really enjoyed our visit to the Schaeffler pavilion at CES 2019. Another one of the new designs that completely fascinated us was this really cool looking delivery cycle. Team leader of digitalization, Dr. Alexander Sharp, took some time to show us their new BioHybrid. What, at first glance, appeared to be an adapted motorcycle is actually an electric bike. It is human powered and also battery driven, which is how they derived the name, BioHybrid.

Basically, the rider can pedal to control the velocity of the vehicle and since it is technically classified as a bicycle, it is allowed to operate in bike lanes. As an electric bike, it can travel anywhere that a standard bicycle is allowed, without the need for a drivers license, but with quicker speed and a larger payload. And unlike a traditional bicycle, it also offers protection in bad weather, as it is can be customized with a cab for the riders. As with other Schaeffler products, customization is a large part of the design process. For example, the unit in the interview is outfitted as a two-seater passenger model with also some space for storage. Another unit on display was more of a pickup or delivery unit with a single rider and a larger capacity for carrying cargo.

This BioHybrid line has some really great technology built in, as well. It offers variable and regenerative charging while being operated, and the batteries are also removable to be charged remotely, as well as offer a level of theft detergent when wanted. And not only does the cab of the bike offer protection from weather, but there is also a plethora of other modern conveniences. It is fully connected with Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, and 4G, with 5G on the horizon. There are also smartphone and smartwatch apps that allows you to monitor and control the BioHybrid with functions like keyless entry, vehicle location and verify charging status, to name a few.

The company is very excited about the release of the BioHybrid in 2020. You can find out more information by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Podcasters and musicians alike Shure are going to love these new mics

2019-03-26

Of all of the products that we love on the CES show floor, microphones are certainly near the top of the list, for obvious reasons. So we were really excited to see the new technology at Shure's booth this year. Shure has been in the market since 1925. They specialize in wired and wireless microphones, personal monitor systems, conferencing solutions, and a host of other audiophile products. Their newest product, a part of Shure's Motive line, is the MV88 Mic. It is a stereo microphone, which you can plug into your smartphone for convenient use. The product comes with a stand and phone attachment, allowing you to take video with your phone while getting optimal quality sound from the stereo microphone. When you plug the MV 88 into your smartphone, it automatically takes over as the default mic and the installed app pops right up on the screen and you're ready to make adjustments and start recording. It will default to stereo mode but you can adjust the width of how wide or narrow you are trying to cover and change it to cardioid or bi-directional.

Shure created an app to go along with the MV 88, although you can use your default app or an app produced by another company, as well. You can record and edit your sound with the Shure Motive Audio App, making adjustments to both your sound and video quality. You can use this software to change both the sample rate of the audio and the audio file type.

When recording in stereo, the app lets you adjust your sound to your specifications. You can also set presets for your sound quality choices within the app. Making changes is as quick and easy as the touch of a button or slide of your finger across the touchscreen. It remembers all of the changes you have made and will already be set to your specifications the next time you use it. The MV88 kit sells for $249.00 and you can get yours now on Amazon Prime.

Shure also produces the microphone Daniele is using in the video. The KSM8 is a nickel-plated, dual-diaphragm microphone. It has a wide frequency, so it picks up your voice without struggling to find the perfect spot to stand or hold the microphone. This microphone sells for $499.00 and is also available on Amazon Prime.

You can find out more about these microphones and the entire Shure line by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Blue Microphones shrinks their popular Yeti, and adds a new Ember

2019-03-27

For new media, including podcasting and game streaming, one brand of microphones is nearly everywhere: Blue Microphones. From the Yeti to the Snowball, it seems that these microphones are everywhere. Since the company's original microphone designer, Skipper Wise left to pursue other projects, the product lineup has begun to expand quickly. At this CES, the company was showing off a few of those newer products.

In addition to the popular Yeti microphone, Blue has introduced the Yeti Nano. This product made it to market at the end of 2018 and has really begun to find its market. The Nano has a similar design to the standard Yeti, but with a smaller footprint. It offers two of the four modes on the Yeti, both cardioid and omnidirectional, but sheds the stereo and bidirectional modes. The biggest difference, though, is the color palette. While the Yeti is generally known for its subdued colors, the Yeti Nano features bright red, blue, and gold as options.

Blue might be best known in the consumer space for their USB microphones, but the company got started because Skipper disliked every studio mic he had ever used and designed exactly what he wanted. Following in that almost 25-year legacy is the new Ember. This microphone is powered over XLR, meaning that it is intended for proper studio recording. It is a features a cardioid pickup, with a front-facing condenser capsule. This mic will be perfect for a full studio build out, versus the Yeti or Yeti Nano, which are really designed to enhance an existing desk with a quick and easy setup. As with the majority of studio microphones, it ships in a single color: dark grey.

The Blue Yeti Nano is available now with a suggested price of $99 but can be found for as low as $79 on Amazon. The Blue Ember is also available now for $99.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The DJI Osmo Pocket brings their 3-axis gimbal to a one-handed camera

2019-03-27

When people think of consumer drones and multirotor copters, they almost certainly go directly to DJI. There is no name more synonymous with the product category, in fact, for both consumers and professionals. One of the reasons that DJI is so popular is the incredible stability of their cameras, care of a very sophisticated gyroscopic stabilizer. The stabilizer is so good at what it does, that the company has decided to bring it outside of the drone and into a new product, the Osmo Pocket.

This new product is a small, handheld video camera is able to record in full UHD 4K resolution, at 60 frames per second. It can record for 140 minutes on a charge, all in an incredibly small body. But, where DJI really sets the Osmo Pocket apart from the crowded is by bringing their 3-axis gimbal to the camera. This single feature makes the camera incredibly attractive for all sorts of video creators.

The most obvious usage is for amateur sports videography. Whether you're running up and down your kids' soccer pitch or filming your friends' newest skateboard trick, this is a great camera. It's because of the stabilization. You can literally run with the camera and the gimbal can keep the frame level and steady. All of this is made possible while still managing to pack everything into a single-handed design.

The gimbal is mechanical but digitally controlled. This gives the camera the ability to do some great capabilities that you simply cannot get with a generic gimbal. For example, ActiveTrack, a feature which allows you to tap on a subject on the screen and the camera will continue to follow the subject as it moves, as well as while the camera moves. Again, this makes following a kid's soccer game or skateboarding video far easier to film.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is available now for $349, and can be found in accessory bundles, as well.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Coral One is a dual purpose robot vacuum that protects your privacy

2019-03-27

It seems that everyone is wanting to buy a robotic vacuum these days. They're great for households with pets who shed, homes with a lot of traffic in and outside, or really just about anyone. The problem with the concept is that there are always going to be places that the robot cannot reach. For example, they're not going to clean your stairs. That means that you're still going to have to keep another vacuum in the house for those harder to reach areas. The Coral One is a robot vacuum that helps to solve that issue.

Unlike other products in this category, the Coral One is actually two products in one. Obviously, it is an autonomous vacuum cleaner, but it features a handheld cleaner on the top. When you need to clean the stairs, or maybe get pet hair off of your bedspread, simply pull the handheld vacuum off of the top of the device and take care of what you need. Once you're done, return the piece to the top of the robot and you're done.

Like other robotic vacuums, the Coral One initially maps your home. However, the company takes a different approach to the process. While many other companies take the imagery and layout that they scan and upload them to remote servers, Coral does not. Focusing on privacy, the mapping process does not include any cameras but instead uses infrared and capacitive sensors, plus a collection of proprietary algorithms to determine the house's layout. Most importantly, the information stays local to the device and is never made available to Coral. This protects your privacy, as video or photography from inside your home could easily reveal your most sensitive times.

The Coral One is available now for $699. For more information on the product, check out the company's website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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John Deere shows off how GPS, cloud, AI, and more help farmers daily

2019-03-28

What many people do not know is that one of the most technology infused industries in the world is farming. Most modern farming would be completely impossible without the unbelievably large and powerful machines that reside on farms. The leader in farming machinery, as well as computing, is John Deere, a name that even non-farmers are familiar with. The company was at CES 2019 to show how technology that is just barely emerging in consumer technology has been used for farming for a while.

The best example of a technology in use for agriculture that is just making its way to the consumer market is self-driving vehicles. Farmers have been using incredibly large self-driving machinery for years to both plant and harvest fields. Using incredibly precise onboard GPS, this 20-ton machine is able to steer around a field with an accuracy of 2.5 centimeters. This level of precision is essential in agriculture, as a small variation can be the difference between harvesting and destroying a field.

Some of the more recent versions of these machines are able to learn all about a field on its own, using over 100 sensors. Connecting these sensors to the cloud, farmers are able to keep track of the job being done and the quality of the job being performed. Combined with the precise GPS driving, these machines are just shy of being able to set them in the field and walk away.

One of the most interesting advancements in agricultural machinery is the ability for them to be truly multipurpose. In fact, they are referred to as factories on wheels. After a tuning process, they can be used for an entire process, from harvesting grain to separating it with intense detail. Essentially, when the machines come back from the field, the grains can be ready to run into a silo and sold or used.

Whether or not you're a farmer, there is a lot of exciting technology to learn about at John Deere's website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Yamaha shows a maneuverable prototype electric scooter with 3 wheels

2019-03-28

Electric vehicles are quickly becoming a popular place for companies to experiment with unique designs. While electric cars get all of the attention, there are some very interesting things happening in the space. From golf cart style neighborhood vehicles to scooters, electric is all the rage. Yamaha has long had a presence in this space, especially with motorcycles, but is testing some new ideas.

One of those experiments was on display at CES 2019. Rather than what we expect from Yamaha, a two-wheeled vehicle on which you sit, this prototype bucks both of those expectations. Rather than sitting on it like a motorcycle, this is designed to be stood on, like a skateboard or scooter. It also features 3 wheels instead of the more traditional 2 or 4, with 1 in front and 2 in back. Obviously, 3 adds stability over only 2 wheels but gives more maneuverability than 4.

The vehicle is rear wheel drive, meaning that the 2 wheels in the back actually propel the vehicle forward. The front is designed with a handlebar, similar again to a scooter. In the same style, the handlebar controls the positioning of the entire front of the vehicle, giving it the ability to turn quickly and tightly. In the booth, a representative demonstrated how easy it was to steer in a fairly confined space.

As of right now, this device is just a prototype, meaning that it might not come to market as it exists today. Like cars, a concept vehicle is simply a way for engineers to experiment with concepts. The company expects to test the vehicles in Japan this year, though they do not have a timeline for a wide release, either in Japan or overseas. To see all of the development on this and other vehicles, check out the company's website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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