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Yamaha shows a maneuverable prototype electric scooter with 3 wheels

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Schaeffler's new BioHybrid changes the inner city delivery process

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

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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.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Square Panda makes learning phonics easier and fun for all kids

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Whirlpool eases your laundry and space problems in one simple machine

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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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FIBARO Walli brings a distinct new look to your smarthome setup

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

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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.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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

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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.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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This Irish company is bringing the smartest solution to the smarthome

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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

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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.

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Danalock offers flexible access along with superior home security

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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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The ZOMEKIT can help building owners save power and generate revenue

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Gerber Prime allows you to customize how you control your smarthome

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The iota security hub makes protecting your home incredibly easy

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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

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

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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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Vuze makes creating VR and 360 videos and photos incredibly easy

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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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Formlabs brings accuracy and flexibility to the 3D printing market

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

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

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

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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.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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New system ensures accurate mail delivery through your smart devices

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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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The VMAXX woofer returns to the Cerwin Vega Mobile speaker lineup

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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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Plott takes the frustration out of hanging pictures on the wall

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

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

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

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Pani helps homeowners track and manage their daily water usage

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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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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Pillo Health makes managing your medication regiment easier and safer

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Heatworks is saving electricity by reinventing the way we heat water

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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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Jammy is a digital guitar that makes travel easier for players

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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.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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SELFLY allows you to take the perfect selfie without a stick

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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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OV Loop makes texting with your voice easier and more usable

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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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Soundbrenner modernizes the metronome with a wearable device

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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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Polaroid Mint brings instant photos to the smartphone generation

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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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Powerful performance and superior picture quality in these TCL TVs

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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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Intel helps Resolve a big problem for animal preserves: poaching

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

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Onelink brings new and innovative features to your smoke alarm

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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

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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.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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ThirdEye brings the power of mixed reality to a lightweight headset

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

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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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The Wireless Power Consortium is making the kitchen easier to use

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

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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 fantastic way this French company brings IoT to retail shopping

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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.

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DS Services brings IoT to their clean, delicious drinking water

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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.

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

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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.

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Velco brings fantastic navigation systems right to your bicycle

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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.

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Altec Lansing makes listening to your music in style a breeze

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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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This sweet and cuddly little robot might just melt your heart

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

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

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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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Klipsch is the best choice for the sound quality you deserve

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Step right in to this unique new take on virtual conferencing

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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.

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

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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.

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ispace will spark all new curiosity for future space exploration

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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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Chef Carla Hall is cooking up something truly Yummly with Whirlpool

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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.

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Brain2Bot is Working to Make Robots Interact in a More Natural Way

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Brain2Bot is Working to Make Robots Interact in a More Natural Way

2018-11-27

The past few years, one of the hottest topics has been artificial intelligence. While the technology to make it happen has certainly increased at exponential rates since computer scientists began thinking about the problem a little differently, the growth of the technology is still far from what many would call advanced. As it stands today, an artificial intelligence matrix works by building a digital neural network, which is strengthened by feeding relevant data in to the matrix. As more data is fed in, the better the neural network gets at making decisions within the scope of that data.

Dr. Gunnar Newquist from Brain2Bot has a completely different idea on how to structure a network, and it is based on reality. Rather than building a virtual neural network based on data, Dr. Newquist is building molecular networks based on the way animal brains work. He is using his background as a molecular neuroscientist to study the intricacies of certain animals, and building artificial intelligences to match the way they behave.

The technology is clearly in its infancy, but has already produced impressive results. Using a bottom up approach, he studied the fruit fly, and began to model a network around the way their brains function. He started there because the fruit fly's brain is tiny, but they are capable of learning new things, and are still smarter than even the extremely modern AIs in the world today. By looking at their brain cells, and how they connect to one another and store and process data, he has learned a lot about the way a network can be structured.

Obviously, that is just the beginning, as a single species may add some smarts, but it won't quite add lifelike capabilities to robots or more natural communication to automated systems. By adding other animal research in both intelligence and emotion, he has learned some of the common threads between them, and us, and is working to build systems that will respond more naturally to external stimuli, behave in a more realistic way, all while still making our lives easier.

To learn more about Brain2Bot, their research, and their progress, check out their website.

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Magalix Takes the Headache Out of Managing the Cloud

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Magalix Takes the Headache Out of Managing the Cloud

2018-11-27

The sales pitch for migrating software to the cloud is that the cloud is less expensive than running your own data center. And, while that is an accurate statement, it is really easy to break that reality. You can easily misconfigure your application instances or virtual hardware. You can easily over-estimate your needs and build an environment that costs more than you need. You can also lose business because you underestimate your needs and make your application run slowly because it is not fully available.

Magalix has built a system to help eliminate these issues. You connect the system to your cloud platform of choice: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud, and Magalix helps you correctly configure your instances for your actual needs. The system is able to watch your actual real-world usage, and adjust the specs to meet the current needs. For example, if you get a spike in usage every Friday at 4:45pm, Magalix can learn this behavior and begin the reconfiguration to a higher spec instance early enough that it is setup and switched over in time for your rush. And, if you get a random influx at an unexpected time, Magalix can instantly spin up duplicate instances, or whatever is needed to handle the load.

More importantly, when the peak time is over, whether scheduled or not, Magalix will bring down your instance to a lower mode that is capable of handling the lower usage model. This is important because it allows you to only pay for the system requirements that you are using at any given moment, as opposed to the standard model of creating an environment that can handle the high traffic and paying that amount all the time, manually creating a schedule and hoping it works, or being not fully available. This is a must-have add-on for anyone working in the cloud.

Magalix is available now for Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.

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mIQrotech Uses Modern Technology to Prevent Ecological Disasters

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mIQrotech Uses Modern Technology to Prevent Ecological Disasters

2018-11-27

The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are two hot topics for 2018, so it is a natural pairing to bring them together. One incredibly interesting industry that has been in need of a technological upgrade is the oil and gas industry, so mIQrotech has brought the power of modern connected technology to oil and gas pipeline management. On the surface, this might sound like a strange market to go into, but in reality, these technologies can help prevent natural disasters and slow-moving ecological events.

These pipelines currently have sensors as part of their infrastructure, but they are not terribly modern. Each current sensor monitors only a single data point and is not able to transmit the data wirelessly. That means that either a person has to go to the sensor to collect the data, or there has to be an entire network of cables that runs along the entirety of the pipeline. Plus, because they are physically tethered, they need access to both the inside and outside of the pipes, giving additional points of failure. In fact, almost 3% of the failures on pipelines leading to leaks come from the sensors themselves.

That's why mIQrotech is bringing modern sensors, which can transmit their data wirelessly, read quickly and monitor more than one data point to the industry. Their goal is to reduce pipeline leaks by knowing the warning signs ahead of time, and predicting the leaks before they happen. This is where the AI comes into play. By analyzing the data collected by all of these sensors, their system is learning what happens before a leak, so that is can be stopped, preventing further damage to the pipeline, surrounding property, and the environment. They project 96% accuracy in predicting an issue before it happens, which is a win for everyone.

mIQrotech is taking reservations now for their platform.

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takeabed Helps You Plan Trips with Local Experts and Friends

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takeabed Helps You Plan Trips with Local Experts and Friends

2018-11-26

In decades past, the way we planned our travel was very different from today. Rather than going to a website and hoping that the place we are headed has a hotel and excursions that are worth paying for, we would go to an expert on the topic: a travel agent. Losing the travel agent means we lost that expert advice and trusted recommendations on where to go and what to do while there.

A new platform called takeabed is trying to return the expert advice without having to rebuild the infrastructure that was needed to have travel agents all over the country. Taking advantage of the growing gig economy, takeabed is turning your friends into the travel agents. There are a lot of benefits to having your friends help you with your travel plans. Theoretically, your friends know you and the things you enjoy, and therefore are able to recommend experiences from their own past that they believe would be a good fit for you. This takes the expertise of the agent and adds the benefit of personal knowledge.

If you are traveling to an area where none of your friends have experience, you can actually engage a local takeabed agent to get an expert view from an established local expert. Working with your friends or a local expert can significantly reduce your chances of staying in a hotel that is a problem, and can help you avoid places that sound interesting but are actually tourist traps. Instead, you can find those hidden jewels that you might have missed previously.

Obviously agents have a benefit of making a commission on their sales. The better the agent, the more likely people will want to work with them to help plan their trips, so they have an incentive to help you plan a good trip and not just a profitable one for them. The best part of all of this is that booking through takeabed does not cost any more than booking with the major online platforms, so you get the best recommendations and the best prices, all at once.

takeabed is available now for both agents and customers to sign up through their apps and company website.

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Top Figure Helps Tell Your Brand's Story and Engage with Customers

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Top Figure Helps Tell Your Brand's Story and Engage with Customers

2018-11-26

I think it's safe to say that there are a lot of PR firms in the world. In fact, there are probably a lot of PR firms in your zip code. Most work with companies in a similar way: create a message, hammer that message in. It's certainly the tactic that we see most often online, through platforms like YouTube and Facebook, while we're trying to watch a video. The problem with that is, while we may remember the commercial, we don't feel connected to the message.

Top Figure takes a different approach, working to connect potential customers to brands through storytelling. Many people buy products and services because of emotion, and creating a compelling story for the company is a way to connect emotionally with the brand. They use a variety of platforms to accomplish this goal, but focus on social media because of its direct connection to customers and its ability to tell stories.

The story of this company is definitely a unique one, and told best by CEO Abdi Hassan. To summarize, Abdi started selling candy bars out of his locker in high school. While against the rules, his endeavor was so successful he began renting friends' lockers and quickly franchised the concept. He was eventually caught and his enterprise shuttered. He did quickly discover an interested in selling shoes, and moved his passion there.

After high school, he decided that he didn't want to be an employee of another company, but instead wanted to run his own business, which you probably guessed from his past experience. He started the company as a web design shop, and eventually started offering branding and marketing advice as well. While this is not an unusual pivot, what makes it unusual is Abdi's understanding of the intricacies of proper branding and his passion for it.

If you are looking to grow your brand or just starting to build it out, check out Top Figure's website for more information.

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GotSpot Lets You Find a Place to Work for a Limited Period of Time

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GotSpot Lets You Find a Place to Work for a Limited Period of Time

2018-11-26

There are a lot of reasons why someone might be looking for space in a location for a short period of time. For example, a business person traveling for a conference like Collision Conference, needing an offsite office to conduct meetings. Or maybe a small baker who needs to produce a large number of products in a short time needing a bigger kitchen. Both of these situations, and a lot more, create a difficult situation for the searcher, as there has never been a good way to locate short-term spaces.

That problem is thing of the past, thanks to GotSpot, a new platform for listing and finding short-term rentals on spaces. The concept is similar to Airbnb, except that the listings are for commercial spaces. For example, imagine you own a yoga studio, and you run classes 4 days per week. That means that your space is empty for 3 days per week. Rather than letting the space go to waste, you could list it on GotSpot for those 3 days and potentially generate some revenue from other yoga instructors who need a space for their classes.

Another creative use of the platform is for art galleries. The gallery could rent space during down times to artists to allow them to shows their works. They could also rent space to other groups for more social events. For example, while we were at Collision, our hotel lobby converted itself into a local art studio to exhibit local artwork, as well as having cocktails and snacks, creating a fun atmosphere where we met some of the locals, as well as others staying at the hotel.

Obviously, the platform also works well for more traditional spaces, such as offices and storefronts. Owners of empty office space or storefronts can use the platform to offer those spaces for short-terms. Offices can be useful for those traveling, while storefronts can benefit during seasons other than Halloween, from companies other than Spirit Halloween.

GotSpot is currently available in a limited test in Houston, Texas, with plans to expand their reach into other cities over the coming months.

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Techlolli Has an Exciting New Way for People to Make Money Giving Stuff Away

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Techlolli Has an Exciting New Way for People to Make Money Giving Stuff Away

2018-11-25

Online affiliate programs have existed for as long as online has existed. These programs are often times what makes free online content, like ours, possible. Some affiliate programs, such as Newegg, rely on the visitor making a purchase for the affiliate to generate revenue. Others, such as Amazon Prime, have ways to generate revenue from cost-free experiences, such as trying Prime Video. While online affiliate programs are a good way for websites and services to generate revenue, a new concept in offline marketing is doing the same for individuals in the real world: Techlolli.

Through this program, individuals can make money simply by giving free things away, such as Audiobooks, or Uber and Lyft rides. Dara Randall, the founder of Techlolli, created the company in an attempt to bring a new aspect to the gig economy, one that allows someone to go to the places they might already go, and help people with something they already want.

The way it works is, every affiliate, or Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur (BAE) as Techlolli calls them, gets a unique code for their program. They then go to places where people want or need the free service being offered and help those people claim their service. For example, if you are a fan of music festivals, you could go to the festival and hand out business cards with an Uber and/or Lyft promo code on it. All the person has to do is sign up for the service, enter the promo code, and get a credit added to their account.

For the companies doing the marketing, it is a massive win. Rather than paying an employee or contractor a set rate for them to attend an event without any way of knowing how effective that person is, Techlolli allows the company to only pay for an interaction that benefits everyone involved. Accountability is therefore placed on both the advertiser and the Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur, making it a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Techlolli is available now and looking for new Brand Ambassador Entrepreneurs. To find out more about the company and how to become a Brand Ambassador Entrepreneur, head over to their website.

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Coulomb is the Perfect Companion to Any Solar Panel Array

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Coulomb is the Perfect Companion to Any Solar Panel Array

2018-11-25

So, you've installed an array of solar panels on your roof in an attempt to get off of the grid. You calculated just how many it will take to produce enough power to eliminate your reliance on municipal power and installed the number of panels required to produce that power. Now, suddenly, you notice that you are receiving a bill from the power company again, but you just can't figure out why. If you had installed Coulomb by Picma, you would already know what was going on.

Coulomb is a hardware and software solution designed to monitor solar panels and report on unexpected and inappropriate behavior. For example, in our story above, there could be a tree that has grown a little, and its leaves are now blocking just enough of a solar panel to reduce production. Now, because of this tree, you are having to buy power from the power company again, despite having the hardware to avoid that. Coulomb can alert you to this scenario so that you can fix it before it becomes a problem.

While a tree is likely, another major possibility is a mechanical failure. Coulomb is just as capable of detecting this defect and alert you to its presence. Once you are aware of a mechanical problem, the platform can even help you locate a quality, certified technician to repair the problem. Fixing the problem quickly and properly can reduce the amount of time it takes to pay back the cost of your array.

Coulomb can help you calculate the overall payback time, taking into account the cost of electricity, the efficiency of your array, costs of maintaining the panels, and even the effects of weather conditions on overall production. The platform can even break your savings down per panel per month, so if you have different models, or have had one malfunction, you can see exactly how it affects you.

You can find out more about Coulomb by Picma on the company website.

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Symba Can Vastly Improve the Value of an Internship for Everyone

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Symba Can Vastly Improve the Value of an Internship for Everyone

2018-11-24

As most people who have been involved in internships can attest, these programs can often be chaotic. Some organizations will use interns as unpaid or low paid office assistants, while others will give them tasks that are mission critical, but that are outside of their realm of experience. Neither of these accomplishes the real goal of an internship, however: learning. The best way to have a successful internship program, for both the organization and the individual, is to have a structure implemented in advance.

Building these programs, and keeping them running smoothly can be difficult. Ahva Sadeghi had one of these less than productive experiences and wanted to help prevent other interns from going through the same thing. Symba, which she founded, is the result. This platform is designed to help organizations design a functional internship program and to give interns an idea of what the program will entail, as well as guide them through the process.

Symba manages the entire lifecycle of the internship process, from onboarding to offboarding, with project management, engagement, and even feedback mechanisms, built in. Never again does an intern have to feel as if they don't know what they are supposed to be doing, especially when someone is missing from the office, or feel like they aren't learning anything. Symba helps to remove all of these stresses from the experience. In addition, Symba helps an intern understand exactly where they are. For example, an intern can get a feel for the culture of a company as part of their onboarding experience.

Where Symba really shines, and part of the founding story, is in remote internships. Imagine interning for someone in another state, with whom you have little face-to-face contact. Add to that the possibility of that program manager traveling often, as is the case with many political internships. With Symba, an intern never needs to feel lost, and a manager never needs to feel guilty for leaving the intern without a valuable learning experience.

Symba is currently looking for beta users, and you can find out about the platform and the beta program on their website.

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LYNX Trade is Bringing Modern Technology to Older Stock Markets

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LYNX Trade is Bringing Modern Technology to Older Stock Markets

2018-11-24

When most of us in North America think of the stock market, we think of the NYSE or NASDAQ. With that comes images of giant screens with real-time information, and tickers outside showing the exact price of any stock at any moment. We might even think of sites like MSN Money, where hobbyist investors can get near real-time information on stocks, as well - entirely for free. Unfortunately for those in other parts of the world, the experience is very different.

Take, for example, Ecuador. Their stock exchange runs on software that is sometimes 3 decades out of date. Even professional investors can struggle to get accurate information, making the value of the exchange far lower than it could be. That's where LYNX Trade comes in: they have developed a platform that is easy to implement and can greatly improve the value of the stock exchange by increasing the speed at which data is available.

In addition to the services for the exchange itself, LYNX Trade also provides services for investors themselves. Their platforms offer investors the ability to visualize the data in a variety of ways, similar to what we might be used to with the NYSE. Using graphs and charts, it is easy to see the progression of a particular stock, whether up or down, and use that information to make decisions. Not everyone likes graphs, though, so raw data is also available.

If you are a developer, there are tools for you, as well. Fully featured APIs allow outside software companies to interact with the data, as well. This can create a stronger market, just like platforms like MSN Money and a Bloomberg terminal, have greatly enhanced the value of other markets around the world. These platforms could even incorporate the data to bring greater awareness to the masses.

For more information on LYNX Trade, check out their website.

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Vidoni Creates a New Way to Learn Thanks to Augmented Reality

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Vidoni Creates a New Way to Learn Thanks to Augmented Reality

2018-11-24

One thing that makes education difficult is the fact that different people learn differently. For some, learning a physical skill can be done just by watching a video, or being around someone else who is performing the skill. For others, a step-by-step instruction makes the learning easier. This might be written, spoken, or even visual. For some, however, a more hands-on approach is needed to really master the skill. Unfortunately, having someone who can provide a hands-on educational experience is not always possible. That's where Vidoni comes in - to provide a hands-on experience when one isn't readily accessible.

The platform takes advantage of augmented reality, as created by the Microsoft HoloLens, to virtualize the hands-on experience. Take, for example, learning to play the piano. Watching someone else do it is nice but is probably not going to teach you the proper technique. Hearing a step-by-step could be a success, but could also take a long time. But imagine using a HoloLens to combine these techniques into a single experience. You can listen to a skilled instructor while watching their hands on the piano in front of you. You can literally put your hands on the same keys as the instructor, even though they are not in the room with you.

Of course, this platform is not limited to playing the piano. In fact, any instrument could benefit from this technology. But it goes far beyond just the reaches of musicians. Vidoni is the realization of Microsoft's idea of the HoloLens being used as a remote help tool for tasks such as fixing a leaky pipe. Rather than hiring an expensive plumber, you could get ahold of a HoloLens and have an expert show you exactly how to fix it, step-by-step, all without being in the room with you.

For more information about Vidoni and how it is being put to use, check out their website.

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Wampei Allows All Businesses to Accept Bitcoin as Easily as Cash

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Wampei Allows All Businesses to Accept Bitcoin as Easily as Cash

2018-11-23

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Etherium, have become a major topic of conversation, not only among technologists but also among the general population. As the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed, interest in its usage did as well. As the value has dropped, interest has not diminished by much. But, the problem is, few people understand exactly how to take advantage of this new style of virtual currency. If you are a retailer or a restaurant, for example, how can you accept Bitcoin in your establishment? Credit cards are easy enough, with payment processors available a dime a dozen, but what about cryptocurrencies?

Enter Wampei, the non-standard payment processor bringing cryptocurrency to a variety of businesses. Accepting cryptocurrency creates a number of efficiencies. For example, businesses have no need to worry about chargebacks, a massive source of loss for many businesses, because they not only lose the money but also the product, adding insult to injury. Since cryptocurrency works like cash, once a transaction is complete, it is complete - no take backs.

Also, since there are no financial institutions involved, the cost of transactions is far lower. With credit cards, companies can pay upwards of 10% of the transaction as a fee to the payment processor, depending on the processor and the type of card used. That means that products have to sell for a higher price to make up for the loss to the processor. With Wampei, however, they're not really a processor - more of a facilitator. Businesses whose average transaction is under $500, which is probably most, can save up to 80% over accepting credit cards.

With Wampei, you also don't need to have a bank account, which is not the case for credit cards. You can store your company's Bitcoin is an offline, protected wallet and only have enough available online for refunds, similar to having cash in your register. Converting your Bitcoin to standard currency is also fairly easy, as ATMs have begun popping up all over.

For more information on Wampei, or to sign up to begin accepting Bitcoin, check out their website.

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Ancient History Encyclopedia Makes the Story of Us Interesting

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Ancient History Encyclopedia Makes the Story of Us Interesting

2018-11-23

We've all heard the phrase, "Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it." Unfortunately, it is difficult not to ignore history, as it gets mangled and misinformation is introduced by "common knowledge." For example, that quote above is incorrect, as the correct quote is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That is just one reason why Ancient History Encyclopedia has produced a place to make learning and retaining the history of the world easier.

The non-profit behind the encyclopedia takes a very unique approach to creating content. First, they get an author who is an expert in their field: a historian, historical writer, archaeologist, etc. They then produce content in their field of knowledge, written so that it is historically accurate, though easy to understand. Then, the editorial team from Ancient History Encyclopedia reviews the content to ensure that it meets the requisite criteria of accuracy and comprehension.

The intention is to make the content not read like a dry research paper. Instead, the content should come to life, presenting the story in a compelling manner. A full story is far more interesting and attractive than a list of dates and facts. More interesting means that the reader is more likely to continue reading, to retain the information they read, and to continue to come back for more.

This combination of criteria and unique writing style has served the site well, earning them 20 million visitors per year and at least one web award. The concept has been so successful that even educators have taken to using it as part of their curriculum. In fact, about half of the site's users are in education, though they don't want to replace the traditional textbook.

Ancient History Encyclopedia is available now to all.

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Collision Conference is THE Place for Startups and Investors

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Collision Conference is THE Place for Startups and Investors

2018-11-23

PLuGHiTz Live has had the pleasure of attending the Collision Conference since 2015. In that time, we have seen the conference change significantly. It has changed locations, starting in Las Vegas, Nevada, moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, and moving once again to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the 2019 show. We've also seen the event grow in size: in 2015, the event was 2 days and housed in a pair of permanent tents in the Nevada desert. This year, we experienced 3 days of exhibits in a large slice of an even larger convention center. We also had the opportunity to speak with Mike Harvey, the head of strategic communications for Collision Conference, as well as its big sister, Web Summit.

Most importantly, we have gotten to see the organization itself grow. While some people have come and gone, the core group has stayed the same. However, the team gets bigger every year and, with that, comes more confidence. Like any convention or conference, the team gets more comfortable with what they are doing every time, and with Collision, it has shown. That confidence has even grown beyond their walls, with the startup industry gaining confidence in the show.

Of course, the industry's acceptance of the show has meant that more companies want to be part of the fun every year. Because of that, the Collision team had the ability to curate the content better this year than any prior year. While 2015 was filled with "mad scientist" level startup pitches, today the show is filled with companies with an idea, a product, and a clear vision for their future. The show has definitely solidified itself as the place to be for serious startups, investors, media, and industry insiders.

Collision Conference is already looking for exhibitors for their 2019 show, and more information can be found on their website.

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ClapCars: A Wonderful New Car Service with Great Choices

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ClapCars: A Wonderful New Car Service with Great Choices

2018-11-21

Ever since the industrial revolution, we've had inventors, engineers and architects forging out new and fantastic gizmos, machinery and buildings, all aimed at making our lives better. The brilliant and hardworking alike see a need and discover a way to fill it. We've become so used to it that now there are crafters and makers of all kinds who are able to use their creativity to do the same thing. We are living in a truly amazing time right now because even entrepreneurs are thinking outside of the box to fill a need that can make life easier for so many people.

When something is too big and cumbersome, it isn't long before somebody develops a way to make it more manageable, with more features to boot. And now, during a time when so many services are controlled by just a few large corporations and seem to be getting more expensive by the day, there are those who find a way to offer these services in a new way, at a much lower cost. Franco Sakkal is the co-founder of ClapCars, an Argentinian based company that has done just that. ClapCars is a vehicle-sharing service. This kind of sounds strange at first. But we rent out other people's houses now on such a regular basis that the entire travel industry has been taken by storm. So why not cars, too?

Basically, those who would like to rent their vehicles out to earn some extra cash will fill out some information on their web platform (the mobile app is still in development) to get started. Once accepted, they offer the vehicle with the dates available on the site. When rented, owner and renter agree upon a meeting place for pick up and drop off on the specified dates. ClapCars handles the vetting of both sides as well as other details. For example, the cars are covered against all risks by the insurer Sura, during the rental time.

Get more information about this service that is currently offered in Argentina in the full interview.

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Positive Energy Connects Investors to Renewable Energy Opportunities

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Positive Energy Connects Investors to Renewable Energy Opportunities

2018-11-19

Interest in renewable energy sources has been on the rise for the past few years and, with the cost of solar and wind power falling below coal for the first time in history, interest is sure to grow even more. The problem is, building a renewable energy system can be difficult for the average person. Regulations, construction rules, and financing can all get in the way far too easily. Luckily, Positive Energy is here to help mitigate a number of these problems.

Imagine you inherit a large plot of flat land in Arizona, and you have no reason to hold it. You discover that it is perfect for a solar farm, so you put together a plan to use the land to generate power. Once you're ready, you can head over the Positive Energy and submit your project on the platform to pitch your idea to investors who are interested in funding these types of projects. The system will even pair you up with investors who match certain criteria that make them appropriate for your plan. Once funded, you can maintain your due diligence documents within the system, so everyone involved knows exactly what is happening.

After the farm is built and you are generating electricity, Positive Energy can help you manage and monitor your equipment. With management dashboards, you can see the production, efficiency, and health of your entire property. You can see historical data and compare it to current data to look for anomalies, and even get reports on unexpected behaviors.

For investors, the system gives the ability to buy and sell assets easily. The whole process is done using blockchain, so when a project is initiated, a certain number of tokens are created. Those tokens' value fluctuates as the value of the project fluctuates. As an owner of a token, you can sell it at its market value, releasing you of the liability, but also of the future potential. The technology also protects all of the data in the system, including contracts and due diligence.

Positive Energy is available now for both investors and providers.

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XSPACE is a Powerful Way to Make Launching an Online Shop Easier

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XSPACE is a Powerful Way to Make Launching an Online Shop Easier

2018-11-19

Online retail can be a challenge. Not because selling things online is particularly difficult, but because setting up the store has so many steps, and it has not gotten better in the past few years. While just a few years ago, potential customers were happy with some photos, today they expect photos, video and, in some cases, a full 3D rendering. If they're really fancy, maybe a customer expects VR or AR content. All of this can be expensive and ultimately time-consuming. For a small or medium sized business trying to build out a store, the challenge can be nearly impossible.

Prisma Systems has developed a system called XSPACE, which is designed to help fill in the gaps behind the scenes for online retailers. They developed a fairly large machine which is capable of creating the photos, videos, 3D renderings, and even VR content that will set any online retailer apart from its competition. This machine, which Scott referred to as a robot photographer, can currently handle products in a 4-foot cube, but they are still working on prototype hardware. They are working on a future model that would accommodate a mower, fridge or couch. Ideally, they would like to build the technology up to the point where they could even photograph something as large as a car.

The best part of this whole process is, as a retailer, you don't have to be a part of it at all. When you contract with a new distributor or manufacturer for a new product, you simply inform them that, as part of our process, we need one of each new unit shipped to our photography studio and Prisma takes care of the rest. What you get is a final product, consisting of all of the product information, completely consumable in the form you need for your shop. You can even have a marketing department or company use the images, including the AI-powered color correction and adjustment, to customize the images for their usage.

XSPACE is currently looking for beta users. To find out more about the platform or to sign up for beta access, check out the company's website.

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Reyets Helps to Determine the Best Course of Action for All

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Reyets Helps to Determine the Best Course of Action for All

2018-11-18

In the Information Age, one of the things we have learned is that no one seems to know what their actual rights are, and that includes law enforcement. This gets even worse when you travel across the country, as things can change from town to town, not to mention from state to state. All of this combines into an environment where you may not know what you can and cannot do in any particular scenario.

Fortunately, thanks to mobile technology, we now have a product called Reyets (pronounced rights). This system is designed specifically to give you a heads-up on what your rights are wherever you are. Imagine walking down a sidewalk and being approached by a police officer. The officer begins to ask you questions that you feel are inappropriate to your current situation. Can you refuse to answer or are you required to interact with the officer? Can you simply walk away, or should you ask if you are free to go? Those requirements change based on location, but Reyets can tell you, based on GPS, what you can do and how you should react to the situation.

We all know that a simple situation can go from calm to chaos in the blink of an eye. We've all seen a simple traffic stop get out of hand and end in tragedy. Reyets knows this and includes the ability to record your incident. In fact, in areas without required two-party consent, the app will automatically record while the app is open. Afterward, you can decide what to do with the recording; you can share it on social media, contact the press, find a lawyer, and more.

Reyets is available now for iOS with Android coming in the future. Check out the company's website to learn more about the platform.

It is important to remember: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Use caution and your best judgment in all situations.

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Lixo Verde: The Ultimate in Recycling for a Better Future

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Lixo Verde: The Ultimate in Recycling for a Better Future

2018-11-18

The list of problems caused by landfills seems to keep getting longer, day by day. As does the growing frustration of those of us who are concerned about the environment. We've come a long way with many recycling initiatives. With large cities making big strides to become zero waste, to large beverage companies recycling water. And recycled items including things like roads, trophies and even jackets. But there are still so many items that we can't seem to do much with. At least not anything truly useful.

Luis Martinez is the CEO of Lixo Verde, a Brazilian company that is taking recycling to extraordinary new heights. The name itself means green waste. Their intent is to get the waste out of nature. He stopped by our studio at Collision Conference 2018 to give us the details of this amazing process that recycles tires. That's right, tires! And not into playground ground cover or heavy ottomans this time.

The company developed a pyrolysis reactor. Basically, they collect the used tires from auto mechanic shops and a chemical reaction occurs inside the chamber of the reactor. Now, you might think that this would have the opposite effect on the environment. But actually, there is no oxygen in the chamber, therefore no combustion inside. The result is a very potent gas and a black carbon powder. The powder goes right back to the industry to make more rubber for tires. And the gas can be used to make energy. This process recycles 100% of each tire. No waste and the materials get sold back for reuse. They are currently focusing on tires, but in the future, the system can be also used for plastics and any petroleum-based materials. They also look forward to someday moving forward with other forms of waste.

After you watch the full video to learn more about the process and their two pilot plants in Brazil. You can also visit their website.

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Creative and Exciting New App for Attending a Concert

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Creative and Exciting New App for Attending a Concert

2018-11-15

Our team was very excited to meet Mike Brown and hear about his new app called MySongList. This is a creative new app for allowing people to access entertainment, particularly live music. It is basically a virtual jukebox for live music. The user can literally be sitting in his living room and can listen to an artist who is performing somewhere maybe across the country and hear it live without being there. The user can then enter a request for certain songs and not interrupt the artist.

One of the cooler things is the ability to purchase their merchandise, such as CDs, shirts or posters. You are also able to put in a tip for their granting your requests. Payment can be made through the app. The app makes listening to your favorite genre of music even from around the world live as it is occurring. It can also notify the user when a certain artist is about to go live so that they can log in and listen to the concert. They can virtually "attend" a concert without actually being there and still request songs. You can even listen in your bunny slippers!

As an artist, you any be very skilled in certain genres of music. With this app, you can tailor the list to your audience for each venue, depending on the area you are playing in. People in that area can then request a song or songs from that list as it goes into the queue. Another feature is the proprietary software that allows you to see your lyrics or chords as you are playing.

Mike's partner is a programmer. He came home from a gig unhappy. It seems the paper he'd passed out to tables for song requests were all getting soaked with spilled beer. It costs the artist money to provide that paper and the people still were walking up to him and asking for requests instead of writing it down. Hence the idea for MySongList is born. Other musicians were all on board and loved the idea of networking on the app.

Another fun area to use this is for karaoke. When you use it for this, you can see in the queue where you are in the lineup to sing. If your party is anxious to leave and you have one last song to sing, you can pay a little bit, say $1.00-$5.00 for a "priority bump". What a cool idea for karaoke! There is no cost to the user for this app. However, the artists will pay$20.00 a month for the year. There is the ability to add a tip from the listener.

For more information got to MySongList.com.

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Findable Has a Stunning New Idea for Employers to Search for You

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Findable Has a Stunning New Idea for Employers to Search for You

2018-11-15

Today, there are so many different ways to find a job that the process can be overwhelming. That's mostly because the majority of the work is placed on the applicant, despite the fact that both sides have a vested interest in the process. While the job seeker is in need of work, the company is in need of someone to fill an opening. So, why does the job seeker always have to apply to the company, instead of the other way around? Findable believes that companies should be able to apply to job seekers, and that is exactly what their platform allows.

If you are searching for a job, you can create an account on Findable. Once you sign in, the system will walk you through setting up your virtual resume. The profile is broken into basic sections, like Contact Info and Languages, but also has more practical sections, like Experience, Education, Responsibilities, and Skills. After your profile is created, it will generate a resume for you, based on the information you entered. You can download and share this resume in any way you seem fit.

However, where Findable sets itself apart is in its reverse search capability. Rather than you searching for open positions, companies with open positions will search for you. Based on your resume, they can locate the candidates that match their requirements. If you meet their needs, they can contact you and pitch the job to you. From there, you will go through a fairly standard hiring process, all logged through the platform. You can see how many profile views you've had, whether you have been shortlisted by employers, as well as see how many have listed you as contacted, interviewing, and hired.

You can create your profile now for free and start looking for the right job.

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Flaregun AR Helps You to Locate What Matters Most in Real Life

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Flaregun AR Helps You to Locate What Matters Most in Real Life

2018-11-14

Imagine being at an event, like a music festival, with your friend or family member, with thousands of attendees. You each go different directions and agree to meet back up in an hour. When that hour comes up, you cannot find your friend, so you call them to try and sync up. You each try and describe where you are in a sea of similarities, making it nearly impossible, and definitely annoying, to finally find one another. Most people can relate to this scenario, and we have all wished there was an easier solution to the problem.

Enter Flaregun AR, an Augmented Reality platform that is the middle ground between making AR useful and helping you find your friends at an event. Reimagining the previous example, when you cannot find your friend, rather than calling them and giving vague directions, you simply open the Flaregun AR app, request to find your friend, and use the camera and GPS built-in to your phone to locate your friend. It works very similar to Pokemon Go, in that you can see through your camera on your screen, and arrows point you toward your "target," only in this case you're not looking for Pikachu. Once you have your phone pointed at your friend, you can begin moving toward one another.

Obviously, this is way better than trying to call, for a number of reasons. First, you're not dependant on your friend to give you accurate location information. Instead, the Flaregun platform does all of the work for you. Second, at a concert, festival, conference, etc., the noise is going to make it more difficult to hear. Even better, it works for more than just finding friends at an event. You can drop waypoints for things like your parking spot and never fight over which section you parked in at the mall or theme park.

Flaregun AR is available now for iOS, with Android capability coming soon.

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Contento Gives Small Business a Better Way to Manage Their Social Media

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Contento Gives Small Business a Better Way to Manage Their Social Media

2018-11-14

All of the big businesses focus a lot of their advertising money into digital marketing. Whether it be through search ads, pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll video ads (like on YouTube or Facebook), live ads (like on Twitch), or podcasts, digital is the place to be. Unfortunately for small businesses, the cost to get into digital advertising and to see any success from it is so high they normally cannot participate. That is exactly the problem that Contento set out to solve.

The team members had previously worked for standard ad agencies and had noticed that small businesses simply could not participate. They like to think of Contento as your "virtual, digital marketer." To create a lower cost solution, Contento looked for efficiencies provided by technology. As a client, you help them create a profile of your business, by browsing through related sites, by describing your business and your customer base, the algorithm is able to generate a model of the company.

Once the model is created, the system will tell you which online channels will be a good fit for your business. For example, a media company would likely have success on YouTube and Facebook, but might not have any need for Google+ or Instagram. Contento will also help create content for those channels, especially targeted for each channel. For example, a square video is successful on Instagram, portrait-style video works best for IGTV, while traditional landscape video is more successful on YouTube.

While there may be a lot of technology involved in the system, one of the things that Contento prides themselves in is the human factor. Currently, the company works directly with their clients to ensure that what is being produced is in line with the needs of small businesses. This is an important feature because many small businesses place a high value on knowing the people that they are dealing with, and knowing that there is a person there if they are in need.

Contento is available now, starting at $75 per month for the automated service.

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RozaRoute Takes the Guesswork Out of Cleaning Estimates

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RozaRoute Takes the Guesswork Out of Cleaning Estimates

2018-11-07

When most people think of data analytics, the industry that comes immediately to mind is finance. While that association makes sense, in reality, any industry can benefit from looking at data. As the technology has improved and artificial intelligence platforms have become more accessible, the businesses that have benefited the most involve a lot of manual processes. For example, office cleaning. The process is almost entirely manual, with people traveling from location to location and performing fairly repetitive tasks.

RozaRoute is a new product designed to analyze cleaning company behaviors and help these companies better estimate the cost of new contracts. Starting out, the product can use standard timings for things like cleaning windows, vacuuming floors, and more, to create a time estimate for a new contract. You enter the needs of the contract, and it will base its estimates on averages across the RozeRoute customer base. Over time, it will learn your team's timings and increase the accuracy of your estimates even more.

For example, let's say a company has 3 offices, a conference room with a table, and a waiting area. This office wants the floors vacuumed twice per week, windows cleaned weekly, and the trash taken out daily. By entering the information about this contract into RozaRoute, you can get an accurate estimate on how much time, and how many people, will be required to accomplish this job. In the past, you had to manually calculate and hope you got it right, then probably add 10% on top to account for miscalculations. With RozaRoute, you know that your estimates are more accurate and, therefore, there is less waste for you and the client.

RozaRoute is looking for early access and beta testers now.

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A SafetyPIN That Can Help Protect You from People Online in Real Life

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A SafetyPIN That Can Help Protect You from People Online in Real Life

2018-11-07

If you have spent any time online interacting with new people, you know it can be a questionable experience. Is the person you are talking to the person they claim, or are they possibly a St. Bernard that got ahold of a phone? There is absolutely no great way to tell. That question becomes even more important when you are considering inviting the person into your life, either as a date, a client, a housekeeper, babysitter, or more. That is where SafetyPIN Technologies comes in.

Their platform allows a person to generate a third-party verified account that shows that they are likely a safe person. Think of it like a background check that you perform on yourself, but you only share a verified status with others. The recipient does not get to see the results of the check, they only get to see that you have a verified SafetyPIN. This idea creates an environment of protection for both individuals: the sender's privacy is protected and the recipient's safety is protected.

So, how does it work? Let's say you want to be a house sitter, and you sign up on an online platform for people looking for house sitters. Before you do, you go get a SafetyPIN. The company will ask some questions about you to be able to do research. This will include SSN for a background check, as well as personality-type questions to look for problems. Once the process is done, if you are deemed to not have major red flags, you will receive a personal identification number (PIN), that you can share with prospective clients of your house sitting business. If red flags are found, you will not receive a PIN.

SafetyPIN is already supported by some big-name services, like LinkedIn, Bumble, HomeAway, and Nextdoor, and the company plans to expand their partnership network over time. You do not need to be on a supported platform to request a PIN from someone else, though, as you can verify right on the company's website.

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Servicebot Makes Billing a Positive Experience for Everyone

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Servicebot Makes Billing a Positive Experience for Everyone

2018-11-06

One of the hardest parts of creating a product is getting the billing system together. Creating a pricing structure, then programming an interface to a billing system, and then creating a script to run on a regular basis to charge the customer for the billing level is complicated. Add to that having a customer who wants to upgrade or downgrade their features. What happens when a credit card gets declined? There are a lot of conditions to consider, and getting it right the first time is difficult.

Luckily, Servicebot is here to remove the difficulty. Rather than having to consider all of those billing questions, Servicebot allows a developer to focus on their product's features and, with just a few lines of code, can implement Servicebot to handle all of the billing conditions. All you have to do is create an account, setup your billing options, embed the code on your website and let Servicebot handle the rest. The service supports recurring billing, as well as discounts for paying annually, and add-in features on top of your standard subscription. There is really no standard billing scenario that cannot be handled through this service.

From a management standpoint, companies can see all of their information about subscriptions and purchases in one place. The dashboard shows information like conversions (how many people became customers), churn rate (how many users left the platform), total subscriptions, paying subscriptions, invoice rate and more. These features make Servicebot not just a developer's best friend, but also is an important tool for management, as well.

In addition to the plug-and-play capabilities, Servicebot also offers a full-featured API to implement capabilities in a more customized way. This gives developers the ability to include billing management directly in their product, rather than relying on a website to manage billing. It also allows developers to test the features that a user is paying for to ensure that they are receiving all of the features they are supposed to get.

Servicebot is available now with pricing based on monthly revenue.

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Exciting New Breakthrough in Medical Field with DAT

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Exciting New Breakthrough in Medical Field with DAT

2018-11-06

Sirli Roosnomm, who represents Horizon Business Hub, has brought us a new and exciting device for health care. There is now available a test to detect astigmatism early in children long before other machines can. This is called DAT, which is the Direct Astigmatism Test. That is a very important thing to be able to do. There are other machines out there that will do this but the children are as old as 7 or 8. This machine will catch this problem as young as 3 or 4.

The DAT will also be able to find an undetected issue such as a heart problem which could result in a serious or fatal heart attack if not found. Myasthenia Gravis, a genetic disorder, is an abnormal weakening of certain muscles and is difficult to detect because there are so many other disorders which also have those symptoms. Just going to a doctor sometimes doesn't get results early enough. Most people do not even go for a checkup unless there are real problems and many times it is too late to correct them. With DAT you can find any issues and talk to your doctor about them.

With children, having them take an eye test is difficult because they may not be old enough to read an eye chart yet. DAT uses LED lights and colors to assist with their results. It asks them what do they see and they respond by answering simple questions. In adults, they are asked about textures of surfaces as well as colors. Since they say the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, there may be underlying health issues that could go unnoticed until too late.

Sirli sees that there are many people that could use this early detection whose very job it is to use their eyes specifically, such as pilots, truck drivers, or even surgeons. This test is very easy and can be self-administered if needed, although it is not being marketed for home use. The price point is somewhere around $1,500.00. They are hoping to be able to make an app for it to be available for a mobile device. For more info go to the company website.

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Shoe Returns Are a Thing of the Past Thanks to itfits!

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Shoe Returns Are a Thing of the Past Thanks to itfits!

2018-11-01

For anyone who has tried to buy shoes online, they have found that each company has its own sizing. This makes shopping hard because customers wind up returning their purchases. In fact, up to 10-30% of online shoe purchases are returned because of improper fit. Daniele Delle Case, CEO of Addi.fit, has come up with a clever and easy way to help solve all these problems. This idea came to Daniele because when he was a soccer player, he had problems finding the proper fit for his soccer shoes because not all brands in his size were fitting him.

The process starts with taking only 2 photos of the top of your feet which creates a 3D model. It then compares the sizes of the shoes. It uses the statistics of the 3D picture and extracts the info and creates your personal data for the selection of your shoes. It then holds this information in a personalized profile after your first purchase for future purchases. This makes your online shopping faster and easier. As Daniele said, "shop faster for the cart!"

This is a process that will benefit many people of all ages. Think of small children whose feet change and grow quickly, sometimes weekly. The photos have to be updated on a regular basis to ensure a proper fit for growing feet. With the elderly, there are many medical reasons to keep up with their feet. The onset of arthritis and rheumatism causes the feet to become misshapen and very hard to fit. Comfort is so very important

to our seniors' well-being.

This is not a platform for the consumer specifically. It is targeted for online retailers to improve the shopping experience of their customers. The cost for the retailer is free and costs nothing until purchases are made. Then it is 1 Euro ($1.13 US) per transaction.

Daniele has plans for the future of Addi.fit. He wants to be able to create his own line of custom-made shoes and at the same time be able to promote their designs with other designers and their ideas. He feels this is a good starting point to help other designers and the economy. He is hoping for this to be happening in 2-3 years out. For more info go to the company website.

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CausEcho is the Perfect Platform to Engage Supporters

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CausEcho is the Perfect Platform to Engage Supporters

2018-11-01

In these strange times, there is a lot of civic activity all across the country. We get a glimpse of some of the larger events that take place, but only from the point of view of the channel that we happen to be watching. What's really happening down among the participants? What is their actual message and how are these messages being translated among them? Also, on the flip side, companies and groups that sponsor and have created these events want to make sure that they not only get maximum exposure but that it is from a perspective that is as fresh and unaltered as possible.

We got a chance to learn about a new online and mobile platform that aims to create an engaging and seamless interface between organizing, participating and viewing these civic events as they happen when Edward Hill, IV, President and co-founder of CausEcho stopped by the studio. Basically, this platform simplifies the process for civic engagement by giving the various advocacy groups the ability to not only create/advertise their events in the system, and also the ability to mobilize and livestream them. The types of events include demonstrations, rallies, fundraisers and disaster relief efforts.

Potential activists can discover and support the causes of their choice. They can then either actively participate in the events, donate or both. Users can explore the event pages of the various advocacy groups and watch the live, or past, video footage that is uploaded by attendees. Everything is in one place, with the best moments highlighted through the eyes of those that were there as the content is uploaded using real-time video and photo footage. This not only gives viewers a truer perspective of the content, but also helps to increase overall awareness for these cause oriented events.

Learn more about the platform's ability to increase awareness, promote, organize, fundraise and engage communities in the full interview and then check out their website here.

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Exciting and Innovative Growing System from Babylon Micro-Farms

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Exciting and Innovative Growing System from Babylon Micro-Farms

2018-10-31

There has been a lot of progress in the agricultural field these days. We met Alexander Olsen the CEO of Babylon Micro-Farms, which is producing a low-cost hydroponic system for in-home and commercial use. This system uses 90-95% less water and produces a better crop of produce and plants than if they were grown outdoors. All you need is an active water line like for your refrigerator.

This process is touted to be the future of agriculture. There are no GMOs or pesticides used so the health aspect is greatly improved. The growth rate is 2 times faster than the traditional way. Another benefit is that with the traditional way, you lose 50% of the nutrients within a day of harvesting. The best part of this is that you are the one doing the harvesting and you get it as fresh as it can possibly be.

This is being targeted for various markets such as consumer and restaurants. In the restaurant business, it is necessary to order fresh produce from all over the world on a daily basis. This system will eliminate that. The freshness factor will definitely be enhanced. It is in the form of a dose pack that is simply put in a pod similar to a Keurig. The pods are pre-measured for a single serving. The dose control recreates the perfect environment for each particular crop so that you can program in what it is you want to grow and how to grow it. This results in a very consistent and successful crop of your chosen plant.

Finding the right staff was a challenge for Alexander. He had to look long and hard to find people who were dedicated and meshed with each other. They also had to be willing to work very long hours for very little pay at first.

The current unit is similar to a refrigerator in size. It measures 4x2.5x6 feet. Hopefully, it will be available in the next 6-9 months at a price point of $8,000.00. For more information go to the company's website.

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Awesome New App Makes Meeting People Safe with GoWithMe

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Awesome New App Makes Meeting People Safe with GoWithMe

2018-10-31

There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to go to an event such as a concert or a play or even a movie and not having anyone to go with. Worse yet is trying not to drag or coerce a friend to accompany you who really doesn't want to go at all. GoWithMe is an event-based app specifically designed for finding someone to accompany you through a common interest.

The catalyst for this creation came about when Amanda Denatala, the company's founder, had her 17-year-old daughter looking for a new group of boys for her to choose from to date. In an effort to try to solve some of the issues of security and catfishing now found in today's society, she shared the request with her husband. He suggested that they either said no directly, knowing that she would probably do it anyway. The other option was to find a way under their parameters. The daughter agreed and found herself struggling with all the questions asked of her. She felt like she was looking for a husband! It showed that there was a big gap in the market. Amanda needed to fix it as she had 3 more children younger than her oldest daughter. It was a scary world that they would be facing as they grew up especially since most people lie on their profiles. After much research and reading, she just started seeing what worked. Instead of feeling inadequate about other profiles compared to hers, she tried posting that she had tickets to a certain concert and hoped someone would respond. They did and her idea was born.

This app can also be used for finding a golf partner or a group to play cards with as it can be adjusted for multiple people. There is a built-in security feature that tracks you. When the event is over you let the app know the event is over and that if you don't, it may think you are in a dangerous situation. It will text you to see how you liked the event. If you don't respond, it will send a text to a pre-designated emergency contact. It can connect to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Google. The event tickets have 3 different options: you pay for tickets, which is called paid, or stag which is like Dutch treat or sponsored which is like asking someone to pay for the tickets because you have no money.

The app is available now. Check out the company website for more information.

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SPIN Is the New Innovative Way For Buying Your Car

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SPIN Is the New Innovative Way For Buying Your Car

2018-10-28

The process of buying a new car has not always been the best or easiest experience for most people. Now Jonathan Grisley, who was previously associated with Kelley Blue Book and Nissan, has developed an ingenious and immersive app for purchasing your next new car called SPIN.

This app is so very user-friendly and exciting to look at. As most potential buyers usually spend approximately 14-15 hours online doing research before narrowing down their choices and making their decision, with SPIN the colorful and beautiful pictures make it less stressful than flipping pages and clicking on numerous buttons. Because the photos are of extremely high quality it seems you can almost reach out and touch the cars. There are approximately 35 photos offered per vehicle. The specs are easy to see and very clearly stated.

Safety is one of the most important reasons people choose certain vehicles. With SPIN, all of the safety features are right there front and center. There are areas for specific information such as how much legroom and headroom is in a certain car. It shows very clearly where all the airbags are located and gives a diagram for blind spots which is a very important feature. There is a great animated feature for collision warnings and an autonomous braking system which proves in today's world, that technology is here to stay.

In addition to all of this, one of the best other features is the simplicity of the language used in the app. Many other car companies use such unfamiliar terms for the description of their product and their features. Such as in the case of Audi, which refers to their mentioning of Quattro, which is nothing more than all-wheel-drive. Having consistent terminology makes it easier to compare one brand to another without worrying about why one car has a seemingly important feature and another seems to be missing a similar feature.

If you want to experience it now, the app is currently available for both iPhone and iPad. After getting investments, they hope to bring it to Android. For more information go to the company website.

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Misty is the Adorable New Personal Robot That is Fully Customizable

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Misty is the Adorable New Personal Robot That is Fully Customizable

2018-10-28

Ian Bernstein, the founder of Misty Robotics, joined us at Collision 2018 to talk about Misty, the advanced personal robot with professional grade, programmable sensors, bringing us ever closer to the reality of a useful robot in every home and office. Evolved from Sphero, Misty is a robot made for developers of every skill level.

Inspired by the household robot imagery that he grew up with, like Rosie in the Jetsons and the android assistants in Star Wars, Bernstein started building his own robots when he was just 12. Eight years ago, he launched Sphero, an app-enabled, connected play robotic ball now used in STEM education programs in 10,000-15,000 schools worldwide. From there he developed the popular home version of BB-8, a droid character in the Star Wars franchise. Misty is the next generation of Bernstein's robot imagination, an outgrowth of his interest in telepresence robotics. Taking a page from devices like the Amazon Echo, and how people interact with it, Bernstein decided it was more important that his version of a personal robot leverage the power of personality, with telepresence capabilities, but also much more.

It's easy to program in a variety of languages, as well as through a visual block programming interface. Users can modify robot functionality as desired and it is also hardware hackable. Misty comes equipped with far-field microphones, voice and face recognition, capacitive touch, bump and depth sensors and more. The magnetic panels are easy to remove, as are simple screws in other locations, and the robot is well equipped with serial and USB ports, along with an Arduino backpack to enable further customization of responses and actions.

Misty comes in two versions, with an MSRP of $3200 although there are discounts and a referral program to reduce costs. Misty I is available now, and Misty II ships in December. Right out of the box, Misty is able to generate a detailed floor plan of your home, and charge herself at the nearest outlet, as well as perform some other basic tasks. With a wealth of developer tools on the website and an active developer community, imagination is the only limit to creating customized user functionality with Misty. You don't even have to own the robot yet, to be active in the Misty Robotics community. All you need is an interest in robots.

You can learn more and follow Misty's journey at the Misty Robotics website.

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Better International Ability to Buy Property Here in the States

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Better International Ability to Buy Property Here in the States

2018-10-25

Glorius Corporation is an online platform which caters to international buyers who are looking to finance homes here in the United States. Cofounder, Renee Crawford was available to discuss the details with us. They launched earlier this year and aim to bring these very specific buyers together with lenders who specialize in foreign investment mortgages. To begin, they have focused on property in Florida, but are looking to expand to other states as the business grows.

There is definitely a market for real estate sales to buyers and investors from other countries. It is not, however, always easy for these buyers to obtain financing for these large purchases. Most conventional lending institutions have little to no appetite for making loans in this arena due to the potential risks. And the application process is long and cumbersome with multiple requests for more documentation and can still result in your loan request being denied. Renee and her partner saw a perfect opportunity to help both buyers and investors and seized the opportunity.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, but are looking to purchase property and don't want to use up all of your cash in the process, Glorius is ready to assist. They make the financing process quick and easy with closings in as little as 5-10 days in some cases. They also enable you to look at multiple lenders and loan options with the ability to negotiate your own terms. No credit reports are required and it's up to you if you want to provide financial statements of income and assets for improved terms. You will receive help throughout the process, removing the pain of complex and restrictive guidelines. And your personal data will remain anonymous until you agree and accept the terms you negotiate with your lender.

And the service is unmatched on the investment side, as well. If you are looking for better investments with high return & low risk, Glorius will match you up with the right buyer. You'll be brought together with private individuals to negotiate your terms and manage the documentation directly. You will be the holder of the mortgage and have the ability to choose the terms, interest rates and points that best fit your plans.

You can get more information in the full interview, as well as by visiting their website.

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Marvin is the Intelligent Career Coach Behind New Humachina Jobs Site

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Marvin is the Intelligent Career Coach Behind New Humachina Jobs Site

2018-10-25

Mai Atta is a co-founder of Humachina, a career board site powered by Marvin, an artificial intelligence career coach who crunches the numbers to help users find the perfect job. Currently in beta mode, Humachina aims to help both job seekers and those seeking career advancement.

Atta and her team, all from Cairo, were inspired to develop Humachina as a result of their convoluted journeys to their current careers. They worked in fields outside their majors and spent years uncovering their true passions and discovering the right paths to them. They felt there should be a better way to explore career options more efficiently at an earlier stage. Thus was born Humachina, which uses sets of psychological assessments within a holistic framework to suggest career, development and vocational options for job seekers intended to be in closer alignment with their actual skills and interests, so users can develop greater professional awareness to make more informed career decisions.

When a user registered on the site, a short two-minute chat with Marvin the AI Career Counselor gives the AI system a sense of where the job seeker is, and where he or she wants to be. Then Marvin creates a customized profile for the user, which can be accessed and updated as needed. Where the usual ratio of job counselor-to-student is about one per 500 students, Marvin is a dedicated personal adviser. The platform helps users identify valuable skills for the current job market, learn what's new in the employment arena, makes professional learning and development recommendations, and helps source related online MOOCs and relevant offline courses at nearby Community Colleges or Universities.

Whether someone wants to be a data scientist or a professional surfer, Marvin makes no judgments, only crunches the numbers. It can detect if a user is bored, or focused more on skills than interests, or if the user wants to say something further. The AI will provide percentages of career fit, plus odds for success based on career development paths, predicting when the user will be able to achieve the career of choice, based on the selected professional and personalized Learning Path. It also helps select the best style of learning for the user, based on whether it understands the user to be a visual or auditory learner. With a database of 140,000 jobs, Marvin can also make recommendations based on location, travel and relocation preferences.

Rolling out Humachina at Collision 2018, Atta and her team are hoping for exposure and funding, so they can expand out beyond their proof-of-concept beta test location in New York City. You can meet Marvin at the company website to learn more.

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Charities Found Their Super Hero in WorkHERO

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Charities Found Their Super Hero in WorkHERO

2018-10-23

WorkHERO by Encast is a great platform designed for employees to be excited about their potential ability to be philanthropic and support a charity or cause that they truly love and are passionate about. This sits very well with them and the results are that the company they work for has better productivity and happier employees. Verizon and Campbells have funded a research project called ROI that interviewed a lot of companies and found that corporate social responsibility programs that use platforms like this see a 7.5% increase in engagement and 13% increase in productivity.

CEOs like WorkHERO because having happy and satisfied employees reduces turnovers. It has been proven that there is a 31% increase in productivity and a 37% increase in sales when WorkHERO was available in their company. When a company has to let someone go, there is a loss in the productivity of their position. There has to be a replacement and that costs the company money to train someone new. It is 10 times more costly to attract and hire a new employee than to retain an existing one.

Millennials make up more than 50% of the current workforce today and they want more than just a job. They are looking for work culture and community involvement so to them their job has meaning. They feel a stronger sense of loyalty to their employer when the company embraces charitable giving that aligns with their passions and community projects. WorkHERO allows employees and employers to find that common ground.

WorkHERO is the only workplace giving tool that offers fee-free giving. The management felt that it was an important part of their business model because it guarantees that the charities receive more of the pledged money than with any other platform.

For more information go to encast.gives.

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ShuttleBee is Easy, Safe and Simple Transportation for Kids

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ShuttleBee is Easy, Safe and Simple Transportation for Kids

2018-10-23

ShuttleBee is a tech-enabled transportation service for kids. A what? No, you read that correctly. And founder, Kristina Fahl, stopped by our Collision 2018 studio to explain how this idea really isn't all that far-fetched.

In a nutshell, they take kids from one place to another. And we admit when you first hear the concept, one of the first things to come to mind is... I would never put my children in a rideshare vehicle alone. But then when you really think about it, we do it all of the time, with friends and family, on school buses and in daycare vans. And certainly without all of the ingenuity and safety features that come built into ShuttleBee. This platform offers brand new options for getting your kids to school, activities, and events. They are fully insured and operate with strict protocols designed to keep your kids safe. Their drivers and walking supervisors are our well-vetted and the routes are always monitored.

We are all caught up in our own hectic lives. Juggling multiple balls to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. But inevitably, life throws us those monkey wrenches that can be tough to dodge. From getting the kids to school while not missing those early morning meetings to needing to get different kids to different activities in different parts of town. We can all use an extra hand (or car) from time to time. And you definitely will not have to worry about them not being "in your sights" while they are riding. Services include a Route Supervisor who is immediately available while the kids are in transit. There is also instant message via chat included as well as GPS monitoring. And if you're like us, you'll have that up during the entire ride.

There are three ways to use their services. Whether you need to use them on a regular basis, or as the perfect back up plan, ShuttleBee has a plan for you. They offer Group Transportation, have Hourly Rates and also Custom Chauffeur/Event Services. All are great options to safely get your kids where they need to go. The Group Transportation is for parents who are looking to set up daily transportation for their children. ShuttleBee works with them to match their kid's travel plan with other children heading in the same direction. They consider it their most cost-effective plan. The Hourly Rate plan is for parents who are looking to book a group by minivan or daycare bus routine service or things like single field trips or events. This option makes it easy for the cost to be divided among riders if needed. Lastly, the Chauffeur Service is perfect for specific appointments or those early-mornings work meetings that keep you from being able to drop the kids off at school. This service will offer routes that are competitively priced and include in-vehicle video monitoring.

If you would like more information about this unique and convenient service, make sure to check out the full interview and then head over to their website for more specifics and updates.

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Vempathy: Enhances User Testing with AI to Get the Best Results

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Vempathy: Enhances User Testing with AI to Get the Best Results

2018-10-21

With everything being quantified these days, user testing has become important within multiple business applications. Paul Cheek, CEO of Vempathy, was at Collision Conference 2018 to showcase their new online usability testing platform and video analysis software.

He explained how there are now a lot of companies that put a lot of emphasis on user research. But it is so time-consuming to go through hours and hours of video to discern the insights and emotions required for this type of research. Vempathy's AI approach is able to bring research faster and at scale. The process starts at the project launch when clients decide what exactly they want to be tested, whether it be their website, onboarding flow, or even a new feature. They then send their Vempathy URL to the testers so that they can record themselves.

In the next step, they review the qualitative results with their emotion analysis technology. Vempathy produces qualitative emotion reports so that can easily identify the most insightful moments of the user's recordings to then collaborate with their clients on annotations. And it's not just raw data. They also produce short highlight reels of the most emotional moments that can be shared with the teams.

When it comes time to present the results, this is where they shine. Their specialty is extracting quantitative data from the qualitative research. They provide a reporting suite that provides clients with quantitative data, which can be presented to the entire team to not only justify changes but also inspire action. Output includes journey maps that are automatically generated that allow clients to measure emotion throughout the user experience. There are also iterative Results that show how user emotion valence is increasing and decreasing from iteration to iteration. And advanced emotion tracking is more of a deep dive on all of the 4,200 emotion data points that are tracked by the millisecond.

To learn more about their process and pricing, be sure to visit their website after the interview.

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Breefly Helps Make Business Reporting Quick, Easy and Effective

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Breefly Helps Make Business Reporting Quick, Easy and Effective

2018-10-21

Breefly is a cloud-based platform that simplifies business reporting while delivering multi-structured data and analyzed insights, as well as curated, actionable content to users. Founder and CEO Marcus Jimenez soft launched Breefly at Collision 2018, and spent some time telling us about the goals and value of the platform.

Jimenez found the impetus for Breefly while working with research and data clients who constantly needed help articulating data to make it more consumable and digestible for teams less interested in reading a 400 deck than getting to the crux of the matter. Breefly is an enterprise level type product built with the market research industry in mind, but which Jimenez says has broader corporate applications for a multitude of business reporting needs.

Essentially, the platform helps socialize impersonal data into meaningful stories. It integrates multi-structured data including text, imagery, and rich audio and video media, and allows users to create almost any type of shareable content for everything from business and sales briefs featuring data visualizations to general marketing and corporate communications to podcasts and video ethnographies. Users can create their customized briefs within minutes, for more palatable and meaningful business reporting.

Reports are end-to-end encrypted to remain secure and private, and the platform is cloud-based, giving users full control over their reports, with the ability to grant access as needed and only when needed. Because users love swiping, the system interface allows users to swipe left and right to visit the selected brief and a couple of taps to access the story-based format of data and content. The system allows users to create flash briefs, good for general recaps and summaries; marketing briefs for things like trends reports and campaign summaries; research briefs for executive summaries and tracking study updates, and video briefs for ethnographies, video project updates, and corporate communications. Briefs are also auto-tagged upon creation, so users can simply use the keyword search to easily search and view briefs.

Visit the Breefly website to learn more.

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Amazing Upgrade to Your Existing Video Security System

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Amazing Upgrade to Your Existing Video Security System

2018-10-20

Lloyd Reshard, CEO of Cognitive Big Data Systems, stopped by our Collision studio to tell us about their new software system. It provides a great way to get more security and upgrade your system without having to purchase new equipment as it works with your existing hardware. The software, AVAE, is a third party add in system that basically acts as a filter that is able to detect all the normal activity that is specific to your home and then alerts for unusual activity. It allows for the processing of real-time video data on your PC without having to change the cameras or video management systems. AVAE is able to remember the patterns of over 25M numbers per second and how they relate to each other without storing any of the numbers.

AVAE is unique because of the unconventional way that it processes large amounts of data. This quick and efficient system transfers regular video streaming into pixel data. Once pixelated, it is then able to detect and classify abnormal behaviors and patterns based on what is normal for a particular person, device, time of day or situation. AVAE can also issue automatic alerts and/or be programmed to take action as needed. The point, click and tag design offers real-time training of target objects with minimal setup.

    System capabilities include:
  • Detection and classification of objects, both indoor and out
  • Automated detection of people at parking entrance/exit
  • Vehicle / human detection - with further classification into subtypes
  • People, vehicle, object counting
  • Crowd density management
  • Static object (such as items left behind, abandoned baggage, etc.)
  • Trajectory between cameras
  • People detection on a conveyor belt
  • People detection on railroad tracks or on gates
  • Meaningful data about the volume and direction of pedestrians, bikes, motorbikes, cars, and large vehicles.
  • Can easily be integrated via APIs, Services or libraries.

After you view the full interview, head over to their website for more information and video demonstrations.

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Field Complete: The Most Cost Effective Way to Manage Contractors

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Field Complete: The Most Cost Effective Way to Manage Contractors

2018-10-20

Field Complete makes managing contractors in the field easy and efficient. COO Timothy Tesluck joined us at Collision 2018 to tell us what sets this field management software apart from the others. One of the signature features of the platform, he says, it the fact that that it's "industry agnostic." That means Field Complete can and does handle contractor field services across a wide range of job categories, including property maintenance to plumbing, landscaping, appliance repair, green energy and more.

Additionally, Field Complete utilizes a job sharing feature so that companies on the platform can send jobs to each other. Currently being test marketed in Atlanta and Los Angeles, the job sharing feature allows vendors to share jobs across a wide range of industries, streamlining operations to the point where the platform basically becomes a job source for contractors.

Uber keeps coming up as the easy analogy for many of the services surfacing at Collision 2018, and it works here, too, as the company looks to release a customer application where a customer can take a photo of whatever is broken in their home, and a verified licensed technician can be at their door in a short time frame. Tesluck points out that the difference between Field Complete and Uber is that his platform empowers the field service industry with the right tools for contractors to compete in an in-demand economy.

The company prides itself on the fact that their co-founding team has a combined 50+years of field service management experience, and intimately understands the industry, its needs, and challenges. Field Complete is designed to be user-friendly, utilizes a route optimization feature for dispatchers and contractors, has easy to manage business rules and offers configurable software solutions. From estimating and assigning jobs to contractors, to monitoring and updating field service progress to collecting payment, Field Complete does it all.

Visit the company website to learn more.

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BriteBee: Now You Are Secure and in Control when You Shop for Insurance

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BriteBee: Now You Are Secure and in Control when You Shop for Insurance

2018-10-19

BriteBee is a new way to shop for insurance that refreshes the experience for the online consumer as well as improving outcomes for insurance professionals. CEO and co-founder Keagan Henson joined us at Collision 2018 to share how BriteBee is disrupting the $1 billion a year insurance industry in a positive way by putting the consumer in charge.

With the BriteBee three-pillar platform of "Share, Compare, and Communicate," the customer maintains full control of their policy search process without falling prey to lead generation sites that collect and sell consumer info, and subject the customer to robocalls, spam and phishing threats. Customers share their information a single time, saving it to a secure and private profile that is not visible to insurance companies. They can then compare quotes, agents, and experiences in one place, choosing only the agency with which the customer wishes to work. The platform also gives customers the ability to request quotes from up to five agents at once. The consumer communicates with agents on his or her own time with no unwanted calls or emails from insurance companies, and consumer information remains private until the customer decides to share it.

By creating a consumer-controlled platform, the company looks to build trust and brand loyalty and seeks to build their revenue model off subscription services to agents rather than insurance customers. The benefit to agents is that by the time a customer decides to connect, it's a warm lead for them, from a potential client who reached out independently and who is ready for and expecting a quote. Agents have opportunities to market on the BriteBee site but in a controlled environment, through agent "spotlights" and blog features. BriteBee currently offers home, renters and auto insurance, with plans to expand as they grow.

You can learn more about the company at their website.

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Your Actions are Powerful so Reclaim Democracy with WokeUp

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Your Actions are Powerful so Reclaim Democracy with WokeUp

2018-10-19

Every generation has been impacted by times of great strife. On one hand, we've come so far, and on the other, we are stuck in the cycle of conflict. Same pattern, different topic. And being right in the middle of the current set of divisive circumstances, we can either sit by and hope it passes or we can get active and try to effect positive change. Luckily, more and more people are choosing the latter. They want to get involved in their communities, to make a difference. Unfortunately, it's not always so easy to get started.

Patrick English, Founder of WokeUp, came up with an easy-to-use platform to assist with community organization. The tool empowers citizens who are concerned about a particular topic to take direct action in their local areas. He came up with the idea after the 2016 elections as he felt that the viciousness of the election cycle revealed disconnects within our democracy. It had broken down to the point that people were no longer actually communicating with each other. The division between the ideologies was deepening and we needed a way to come back to a basic level of respect. What better way than to work together for a common, community-based goal to get back on track. We can all work towards a shared purpose to realize that there is more that can bring us together than there is that divides us.

Their mission at WokeUp: "(to) Develop the necessary political infrastructure for the 21st century through a virtuous social network, providing technology tools and resources for effective activism. Encourage the smallest acts of justice and kindness, with an understanding that the power of personal connection can shape our world. Make civic involvement simple, fun and an enduring American value."

    At their core, they are a group of longtime activists who made a few simple hypotheses:
  • Social media can be a tool to effect meaningful action.
  • Volunteer time is as valuable a resource as donor dollars.
  • Protests and resistance are losing their effectiveness.
  • The American Renaissance will begin at the community level, not in Washington.
  • When the right people get connected, change happens.

In their own words, they are an elegant experiment to test these assumptions. They are building an online infrastructure that allows members to easily organize with fellow members around civic action in their communities. They will be accomplished by providing a repository of resources, as well as an archive of past actions for the purpose of providing guidance and feedback.

If you are ready to get involved in a way that is both empowering and fun, check out their website to learn more.

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Mintor: A Powerful Mentor Platform for More Meaningful Connections

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Mintor: A Powerful Mentor Platform for More Meaningful Connections

2018-10-18

Mintor co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Kasra Khalili joined us at Collision 2018 to talk about his online connection platform for mentors and mentees (those being mentored). His own life experience, post-college, was the impetus for developing Mintor. It took several months of research and personal networking before he found the right professional guide for his needs. He ultimately found the experience so transformative and perspective-setting that he was inspired to help others more easily find their own personal experts and career guides.

While there are other matching platforms available for mentors and youth or under-represented populations, most are broad in scope. Mintor aims to create a more customizable and organic experience, utilizing a proprietary algorithm that screens for compatibility between mentors and mentees based on professional needs, level of current expertise, topics of interest, goal alignment, personality and learning style. After an initial match, student and guide meet to get to know one another and confirm compatibility.

The platform provides a scheduling tool for future meetings, as well as a continuous feedback loop to foster community moderation and performance accountability. The system also allows users to set learning goals, track their progress, and share milestones.

Currently in the alpha, pre-development stage, Mintor hopes to launch January 2019. With 60 mentees already in the pipeline, the company wants to build their network and get as many people as possible interested, and build out with multiple subscription-based platform offerings that range from access to one mentor to premium membership that expands user and platform feature options. Mintor also recognizes the need for mentoring in corporations, businesses, and universities, and plans to be able to provide the vital metrics these larger institutions value.

You can learn more at the Mintor website, where visitors are also invited to share their mentor stories.

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Servicio: A Competitive New Gig-Economy Platform that Really Delivers

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Servicio: A Competitive New Gig-Economy Platform that Really Delivers

2018-10-18

Paramvir Maniktala is the founder of Servicio, which delivers a competitive gig-economy platform for e-commerce and retail where anyone can become a courier. Servicio is a supply chain & logistics company with a twist: think Ubereats but which delivers a lot more than food inexpensively to your doorstep. Servicio delivers everything from groceries to electronics, clothing and more.

Inspired to solve the challenge of expensive gas and high delivery costs encountered in his native India, which can shrink already modest profit margins, Maniktala took a page out of the peer-to-peer rideshare platforms common today, and launched Servicio, with the tagline "Connecting Life to Life." Now even small companies with limited delivery needs can offer the perk of local shipping without incurring the expense of contracted services, in-house staff or the cost of a company delivery vehicle. In addition to the low cost, the system provides fast turn around within a small hyperlocal delivery area, transparency, and a verification process that ensures products are safe and drivers are vetted. Servicio also changes the delivery dynamic by giving 90% of the delivery fee to local couriers, with only 10% commission to Servicio.

With the peer-to-peer web platform, users can book their consignments with the goal of better brand placement for retail, e-commerce & SME industry at affordable pricing. Servicio benefits from low overhead costs, requiring neither warehouses nor a delivery fleet. It's a decentralized process of one person to one person, with no middleman or central distribution center to incur additional costs.

For individuals, the website platform allows users to sign up to book their own consignments. Local transport company owners can also participate. Servicio is banking both on the social welfare component of its mission, that not only motivates local couriers with the majority of delivery fee earnings, but also a royalty program, as well as the lure of cheap labor for companies wanting to offer local deliveries as an extra perk.

Servicio is currently an alpha stage company, which Mankitala brought to Collision 2018 to help raise interest and capital. Learn more at their website.

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eebudee: Teaching Kids 4-12 How to Be Safe & Savvy Online in a Fun Way

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eebudee: Teaching Kids 4-12 How to Be Safe & Savvy Online in a Fun Way

2018-10-17

Mike Fairclough, is the founder of eebudee, an Australian software company dedicated to helping keep kids ages 4-12 safe and savvy online behavior through an emphasis on digital citizenship and social media education. Inspired by the personal experience of a friend's 14-year-old daughter killing herself because of cyberbullying, Fairclough joined with other tech-savvy parents and experts to create eebudee as a family friendly platform where parents can educate their children about the online world in a safe, secure but also fun environment.

eebudee recognizes the positive aspects of being digitally connected - like access to information, communities of like-minded friends, and staying connected to family - but hopes to help children develop digital armor and digital resiliency, protecting them from falling into internet addictions and falling prey to online predators. The point of eebudee is not to shield kids from the online world but to empower them to reap the benefits while properly protecting themselves and developing effective communication and positive social skills. "Bud", developed by kids for kids, is the digital safety mascot of the eebudee community, a friendly cartoon fridge recalling the kitchen as the symbolic gathering place for families, and which has all the ingredients needed to raise digitally resilient kids - education and social media training.

For a modest monthly subscription fee of less than $10/month, a portion of which goes to the eebudee Foundation to help fight problems associated with digital addiction and cyberbullying, families have access to all the educational curricula and resources in the platform. Once subscribed, families receive guidance on appropriate usage to set the stage for savvy usage from the start, and then children have access to regularly updated games and other content that reinforce safe online behavior.

Next steps for eebudee is expanding roll out in the United States and Fairclough hopes to leverage the experience of Collision 2018 to connect with investors and raise awareness of the importance of the work being done through eebudee. You can learn more by visiting the company website.

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SmartPay Makes Purchases Amazingly Easy for Everybody

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SmartPay Makes Purchases Amazingly Easy for Everybody

2018-10-17

Vladimir Goloborodko had been an IT Consultant for 15 years and while managing a large team with clients that had multibillion-dollar budgets, he realized that he wanted to do something new and take the path of a startup with a great idea. So he founded a crypto payment system for small and medium-sized merchants to assist them and their clientele with those smaller purchases that decrease the profit margin because of certain roadblocks that are inherent in the system. The result is a really great idea called SmartPay.

As busy humans in the middle of our on-the-go lifestyles, we've all been in situations where we need to grab a quick drink and pack of gum while we're out or pick up that quintessential loaf of bread on the way home. Then we realize that either we don't have any cash on us at the time, or we have a large bill that we don't want to break for something that totals three dollars and seventy-two cents (the "large bill" example not being me, by the way). Not only is this a hassle for us consumers, but it's an even bigger hassle for the merchants. Especially considering the fact that up to 30% of their profit margin get automatically eaten up with bank merchant fees when we use our debit and credit cards. So they end up either imposing minimum purchase amounts when we use a card for payment, or they increase their pricing across the board to help compensate. That leaves us to either pay more for what should have been a quick and easy purchase or keeps us from making these types of purchases at all.

SmartPay has a perfect solution that makes it easy for both parties to quickly and easily make these smaller transactions a breeze. Their payment platform is specifically designed to accommodate these exact transaction that we encounter on a daily basis and it doesn't even require them to have any special equipment. The basic premise consists of QR codes that are either generated on their existing smartphone or tablet and in cases with preset pricing, they don't need anything except a sheet or sticker with the QR code. It only takes them about 10 minutes to set up the mobile app to start excepting payments. So customers merely need to scan the code for the payments to instantly be sent to the merchant from their mobile account.

It's such an interesting idea, not only for the simplicity of use but also the cost savings and it takes the multiple middlemen out of the processing of each payment transaction down to just two. And as if that weren't incredible enough, it also takes the banks out of the equation as the payments will now go straight through your mobile provider. According to their statistics, mobile operators already have approx. 5 billion customers, while banks have 2 billion. Payment technology on this level has the opportunity to streamline efficiency in much the same manner that the video streaming companies have with network and cable television viewing. We also love how many different uses it would be able to accommodate. It would make paying for lunch, or even things like bus fare, so much easier.

Their model also includes proximity marketing that will allow participating merchants the opportunity to send out digital campaigns that are designed to generate new leads, increase business and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Check out Vladimir's full interview to learn more about this blockchain solution and then head over to their website to find their roadmap for future platforms that include a web-based gift version and financial services.

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Announcing a New Breakthrough Alert System for Meds with HEXIS

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Announcing a New Breakthrough Alert System for Meds with HEXIS

2018-10-10

Many people old and young have problems keeping track of and remembering to take their medications. Lenny George and another co-founder have developed a wonderful adherence device, which they call HEXIS from CueMed. This device is a voice-enabled connected pill organizer designed to contain your meds. It can hold up to 7 days worth of pills, as many as 14 pills a day and can separate them into 4 groups per day. It comes in a smart-looking little tower that contains 7 containers for your medications. It is a very discreet way to have your meds handy without advertising that you are carrying them. HEXIS recognizes only your voice and will only respond to you, keeping your medication schedule private.

Lenny states that there are as much as 65% of prescription users that do not finish their meds. This can have very serious side effects, resulting in hospitalizations, and increased or recurring illnesses. He also tells of his co-founder having trouble with her thyroid meds. It seems that "life problems" get in the way as they do for so many people.

HEXIS keeps you on track by educating you that there are serious consequences to not taking them on time or at all. This device can also be work with other health devices such as Fitbit, glucose meters or blood pressure monitors or electronic scales that track your sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Proper monitoring is so very important to your health and HEXIS is a way to make it easy. This isn't just a pill organizer but it actually has an analytic approach to help you form and keep good health habits to ensure your improving health. They have gone through several prototypes to come up with the correct hardware solution that serves as your personal health coach.

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MobileServe Makes it Easy to do More with Your Volunteering

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MobileServe Makes it Easy to do More with Your Volunteering

2018-10-10

More and more companies these days are looking to get involved with assisting those in need around them and getting their employees more engaged in these volunteer efforts. There are multiple benefits of adopting a culture of volunteerism. Not only does it offer much-needed assistance while increasing the company's exposure in the community, but it also creates a sense of satisfaction for the employees. This, in turn, can increase their overall output. After all, happy employees are productive employees. It's truly a win for the companies, not to mention the wonderful impact on many deserving nonprofit organizations.

For these efforts to truly be successful, it needs to be easy to set up, track and measure. It also needs to be simple for the employees to log their hours. If it's too cumbersome, nobody will use it. MobileServe took all of this into consideration and has built the perfect solution to help businesses and their employees reach new heights in their volunteer efforts. CEO Ben Reno-Weber gave us the full rundown on what they have to offer.

MobileServe is a new platform offering smart volunteer tracking that is useful to both businesses and their employee volunteers. The company believes that it should be easy for you to measure your organization's social impact. And that logging these service activities should not be annoying to the volunteers. With this system, the employees are able to log their time with just a couple of taps. This easy to maneuver tracker offers more reliable verification options and more accurate reporting with quick and easy stats that include economic impact. Also included are searchable, exportable reports and infographics. All of this eliminates the need for archaic spreadsheets and paper tracking. The volunteers can easily create & verify service logs and the employer has everything they need in a central dashboard.

To learn more about implementing this easy to use platform into your business, be sure to watch the full interview and then check out their website.

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LifeGuides: Being There for You with Comfort and Support

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LifeGuides: Being There for You with Comfort and Support

2018-09-16

One of the hardest things in this life is to be faced with a challenging situation that you are unfamiliar with and there is an overwhelming feeling that you are totally alone and on your own. You feel as if you have absolutely no support and no one to turn to. Having caring friends is a good thing, but often times is not enough. You need someone who has literally walked in your shoes and knows what you are dealing with. Not everyone knows someone like that and they do not know where to turn.

This is where LifeGuides can help you. This is a platform created to help people help others in serious life situations when they do not know where to turn. They pair you up with others that have been in the situation that you are in so that you can be guided and supported to get you through. There are a lot of people that share the experiences that we all face. Being able to talk to and communicate with them is so important. It is so very helpful to realize that you are not facing this alone. Everyone needs a "buddy" that they can call and rely on.

LifeGuides is currently focusing on that dreaded disease of Alzheimer's. There are so many family members that are dealing with this. Knowing that there is someone to listen to them and feel their pain is so important to them getting through the experience. LifeGuides is in a private testing phase at this time with a spotlight on the people affected by Alzheimer's. The company plans to expand beyond this single topic and launch to the general public in April of 2019.

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Introducing Nehbur: A Fantastic New App for Rentals

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Introducing Nehbur: A Fantastic New App for Rentals

2018-09-16

Have you ever found yourself in need of something for whatever project you are working on and just don't have it? Now there is a platform for sharing items with your neighbors that they or you don't need or use all the time. It's called Nehbur, co-founded by Chris Reel from Canada.

Nehbur is a rental platform designed to provide items to share by renting or selling to your neighbors and friends. The purpose is to try to bring neighbors and communities together in a symbiotic manner. One example is given by Chris. He told of a time when he saw for sale an electronic drum set. He, being an avid drummer, was blown away by the sale price of $100. when they usually go for at least $1400. He called and asked if there was something wrong with the set. The girl told him that there was nothing wrong, but she just had to make her rent. He realized that if she rented the drum set out over and over she would make more than her rent, and possibly recoup her cost of the set AND she would get to keep it! The idea for Nehbur was born.

Another very good example is when the PLuGHiTz Live team arrived at Collision and found out we were without monitors. We had to immediately have a late-night road trip to purchase some. If this app had been available, we could have rented them from someone local instead. We were not alone with this problem. The Nehbur team itself had to locate a screen for their booth at Collision.

This obviously-needed is not yet available but should be in the near future. For more information on this important app, go to their website.

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The Best Experience for Customers and Restaurants

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The Best Experience for Customers and Restaurants

2018-09-16

It's Saturday night and you're out on the town with a group of friends. You want to have dinner at your favorite restaurant but it's quite popular and they are always packed. So getting a table can be a challenge. You certainly don't want to waste time standing around waiting for a table. On the flip side, popular restaurants want to be able to maximize their table turn over while maintaining that balance of happy customers. We spoke with Jose Mendez, Co-Founder of apptaizer, about their solution to this challenge. apptaizer is a cloud-based solution for restaurants that also provides an improved customer experience by reducing wait times to be seated. It also goes the extra step and assists with everything from ordering to paying the bill.

apptaizer offers a digital platform for restaurant and bar owners who are continually looking for new ways to improve their branding and customer experience. To accomplish this, they have created a direct channel between the business and the consumers that allows them to reduce wait times for seating. It also provides easy ordering and an alternative for splitting the bill between large groups. Sure, there are already online reservations, kiosk ordering at the table and bill pay apps out there. What makes apptaizer so unique and user-friendly is that it combines all of these functions into one, easy to use, app. It also brings users an easy way to find nearby places and get exclusive promotions with its Business To Customer (B2C) advertising platform and business intelligence system.

It's a great way for restaurants to boost sales while also enhancing the dining experience for their customers. It's not just a way for them to simplify the seating, ordering and paying process. While using these features to maximize efficiency, they can also utilize targeted advertising that will specifically fit their needs. All of this saves time and money while increasing customer satisfaction.

Be sure to watch the full interview to find out how Jose and his business partner came up with the idea for this great new app. You can also learn more and keep up with their progress by visiting their website.

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Prevention of Dreaded Amputation is the Goal for Bonbouton

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Prevention of Dreaded Amputation is the Goal for Bonbouton

2018-09-14

Diabetes is a disease that completely changes your life, and managing the symptoms is getting easier thanks to technology. If you're early in the progression, there are products like DiabiLive to help you prevent insulin issues, but when the disease progresses, the symptoms get harder to deal with. For example, foot ulcers are an issue that come about in later stages, and can be difficult to predict. Even worse, if they are not recognized quickly enough, they can lead to amputations. In fact, every day 200 people lose a limb as a result of diabetes complications.

Bonbouton, founded by Linh Li, is a company trying to help solve the massive amputation problem with a seemingly simple insole for your shoes. Similar to a Dr. Scholl's insole, this product has built-in sensors that constantly monitor body temperature and step pressure and, combined with optional ECG and EMG data, can help predict a possible foot ulcer before it develops. The sensors are made from graphene, which is a very thin material, meaning that they can go into your shoes without discomfort.

The insole pairs with a phone via Bluetooth, and syncs data to the cloud. The data that is collected can be shared with your primary care physician so that appropriate decisions can be made. If an issue arises, the application will alert you so that you can take the necessary action. You can also monitor the sensor readings yourself through the application.

Because this is a first-of-its-kind medical product, it means that it must go through clinical trials for FDA approval. The company is in the process of preparing its next 100 patients in the evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, the data will be used to apply to the FDA and to work with insurance companies to provide reimbursement for the devices. The goal is to have most, if not all, of the cost covered by health insurers.

For more information about the product, check out their website.

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The Amazing Race for Space is Easily Solved with Win-Kel

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The Amazing Race for Space is Easily Solved with Win-Kel

2018-09-14

Imagine that you are a college student and your dorm is closing for the summer. You have a big problem of where to store your stuff. The choices are limited. You can either rent an expensive storage unit or if you are lucky, you can find a friend with available space to rent. This is what happened to Yoshi Tsuji and Win-Kel was created. Win-Kel is a company that is like an Airbnb for storage space rental, either as a lessor or a lessee.

In the marketplace, you can find people who either have space that they are looking to rent out or people who need that space. The cost is a lot less than the price of commercial storage spaces. You only have to pay for the specific size you need, such as a 3x7 rather than a 5x10. Besides the example of the college student, another scenario is if you have traveled to a convention site and after your business is done you want to explore the area. What do you do with your things such as your big table? That is what Win-Kel is perfect for. You can choose to travel around for any number of days you want and those are the number of days you pay for, no more days than what you need. Other companies would lock you into a pricey monthly contract. Win-Kel totally frees you up to enjoy the area without worrying about getting back before your contract is up.

Win-Kel is partnering with Google now and they want to go international within 2 years. The app is available now for Android and iOS and listings can be created and found nationally now. For more information go to their website.

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Rise Housing Brings the Security of Blockchain to Real Estate

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Rise Housing Brings the Security of Blockchain to Real Estate

2018-09-09

When most people hear the term "fractional ownership," they immediately think of a timeshare. However, groups of people have been buying properties together for ages, but it requires a lot of investment capital and infrastructure. But, while a timeshare allows multiple people to own a property together and share usage rights, there is a new entry into the idea of fractional ownership that makes the idea more attractive. Rise Housing leverages the power of blockchain and smart contracts to allow a new group of people to own a property together.

Normally, if a group of people wanted to buy an apartment building together, it would require the group to form a corporation together, own shares of that company and use the investment from that group to purchase the building. However, there are some major limitations to this approach. For example, all of the people have to be associated with one another and have to form an official group with one another. If foreign investors are involved, it means that the company has to be registered as a Limited Liability Corporation, which means that all owners lose the protection that any other corporate filing would provide.

With Rise Housing, much of this infrastructural friction is eliminated through the use of smart contracts and blockchain. No longer do you need to form an investment group and file a corporation. Not only does this improve the process, it makes the whole purchase less expensive. In addition, it gives owners the ability to invest in small portions of properties in different parts of a city, state, country, or across the globe.

The company is planning to start off with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), in which interested parties can purchase the currency that will power the system. From there, properties will be listed in the Rise Marketplace for availability. If you would like to find out more about their platform, head over to their website.

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Deep Force Delivers the Power of Artificial Intelligence to the Edge

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Deep Force Delivers the Power of Artificial Intelligence to the Edge

2018-09-09

Just a few years ago, the idea of mass adoption for artificial intelligence would have been considered ridiculous. Then, with the power provides by cloud computing, artificial intelligence has made its way into everyday life, but it still requires an internet connection and servers behind the scenes. That is until now, with the help of Deep Force, an AI platform that helps developers bring artificial intelligence capabilities directly to devices.

By bringing the artificial intelligence directly to the hardware, it means that a number of new capabilities can be implemented that simply weren't possible or were less than ideal previously. For example, a team could use image and facial recognition together to produce a smart security camera that would alert a homeowner to an unexpected person on their property. Without the need for internet access, it means that disabling the hardware would be significantly more difficult.

In addition to new product categories, a lack of internet access could add some new capabilities to existing products. Retailers could implement smart displays, such as virtual fitting rooms and smart mirrors, without the need to connect those displays to a network connection. That would allow for easier store remodels and less chance of the displays going out of service.

One of the best additions, however, is actually a removal: the removal of privacy concerns. A number of smart toys have been targeted by privacy advocates for collecting data from children and sending that data over the internet, which was a requirement to make certain features work. With Deep Force's technology built-in to these smart toys, you no longer have to worry about what the manufacturer is doing with the data they collect, as they never need to collect it.

The first batch of capabilities is available now for developers to begin implementing into their products and services. To find out more, check out their website.

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XcooBee Allows You to Reclaim Your Personal Data from Abuse

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XcooBee Allows You to Reclaim Your Personal Data from Abuse

2018-09-09

The overwhelming technology topic of 2018 has definitely been data privacy. Between the consistent data breaches and Cambridge Analytica violating Facebook's data collection policies, nearly everyone online has been affected by a privacy violation. If the people of the internet have learned anything this year it is that trusting their data to any company whose business model involves monetizing their data will ultimately result in heartbreak.

While the prevailing business model these days is monetizing someone else's data, there is at least one company whose goal is to protect it. XcooBee is a platform that allows you to decide what data you share and with whom. Even more importantly, the platform allows you to give access to the data for only a certain amount of time, or revoke that access if needed. For example, imagine requesting a quote for car insurance, which requires you to share your social security number, make and model of your car and possibly driver's license number and license plate number. If you request quotes from 3 companies and buy from one, there is no need for the other 2 to retain access to that information about you. Using XcooBee, you could revoke that information from the 2 that you did not purchase from.

In addition to the privacy aspect, XcooBee also gives you the ability to create and maintain digital rights over your intellectual property. Artists are often told that they should not upload their work to social media because of the rights issues, where Facebook gets free use of the image for their own use once you upload it. However, with XcooBee, those artists have the ability to sign their images visually and digitally, establishing a legal framework to prevent the unauthorized use of those images. It also gives legal standing in court for Facebook to remove unauthorized redistribution of those images.

To find out more about XcooBee and see the platform in action, head over to their website.

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Easy and Pleasant Travel Planning Thanks to Globaleur

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Easy and Pleasant Travel Planning Thanks to Globaleur

2018-09-09

For many people, the hardest part of travelling is the planning of their itinerary and finding hotels. You can go to travel guides but they don't know what you like. Globaleur (formerly TheExplorer.io) is the perfect solution for that. It is a travel service to help to make your trip the best travel experience by enabling you to get the most from your travel.

You can log in three different ways: Facebook account , Google account or creating your own account. By creating your own account you can use their algorithms to personalize your travel preferences. For example, you can get recommendations on what types of hotels, restaurants and other destinations that will fit your personality. By adding your Facebook account, the company can look at your page likes, photos and even places where friends have been. By adding this data, you can get even more personalized recommendations.

Globaleur doesn't stop helping once the trip begins, as it is also able to monitor weather and social data to predict when one of your scheduled activities may no longer be possible. For example, if you were traveling to the Greek islands and you had a boat trip planned, Globaleur would monitor the weather and, if it is going to rain during your boat excursion, the platform can reschedule and find a new activity that will not conflict with the weather. The platform can also look at traffic, in addition to weather, so that you don't leave too late to make it to a concert in a busy part of town.

In addition to recommendations, Globaleur has a social networking aspect, where you can share your itinerary, photos and make friends all within the platform. By engaging people who have already traveled to your planned destination, you can get personal recommendations from those friends. The company is currently focusing on the US market, but plans on expanding its reach in the near future, using available data in those regions, including through Yelp and TripAdvisor.

The app will launch on the web and iOS first, with Android to follow shortly behind.

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Margules Combines a Modern Look with A Classic Hi-Fi Sound

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Margules Combines a Modern Look with A Classic Hi-Fi Sound

2018-09-09

For many, the age of Hi-Fi stereos is over. A lot of people have moved to smaller devices with everything built-in to a single device. But, for those who really love music, there can be nothing greater than a true, purpose-built, analog Hi-Fi system. Most of the high-end manufacturers have gone to fully digital systems, but some audio companies prefer to stick to the tried-and-true analog beauties. One of those companies is Margules, a Mexican audio brand with a long heritage of products. This family-owned audio obsession started in 1926 and has been focusing on high-end audio for over 90 years.

Among the various products available are amplifiers, speakers, and turntables. One of the things that really sets the Margules product line apart is the incredible look. The amplifiers and preamps both feature brushed aluminum and woodgrain finish with exposed glass tubes. The speakers have wood faces with exposed cones across the front. The turntable features what is arguably the most unique design, with a dark, brushed and rounded top, on which the platter itself sits. While the products each feature a unique look, they all manage to look like they belong together, and will make a great conversation piece for any audio enthusiast.

If the incredibly modern take on classic hardware isn't your aesthetic, the company also offers a couple of other product lines, including the Magenta line, of which the turntable is a member, which feature the rounded face and dark finish of the turntable. These pieces would look great in a more traditional home entertainment cabinet, as opposed to the more exposed nature of the Margules line. Either way, you can be sure that both the look and the sound will compliment your home.

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The Perfect Combination of Social Media and Social Action

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The Perfect Combination of Social Media and Social Action

2018-09-09

We were thrilled to see one of our favorite start-ups from Collision 2017 back again this year. It was great to catch up with Ultimatum Inc and learn about their progression. Since we last spoke, they have been working on their fascinating crowd funding platform for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and have gotten their beta version up and running.

This year we got a chance to speak with the CEO, Matthew McCabe. For those who had not yet heard of them, he explained that Ultimatum is a web platform that allows you to take action on social and political issues using event based donations to nonprofits. There are any number of issues that many of us have very strong feelings about. Using their platform is an excellent way to not only donate to the causes that we find important, but also make more than just a monetary impact. You can also help to raise social awareness in the process.

Individuals and companies alike can set up donation campaigns on Ultimatum. Instead of donating one lump sum to a particular cause, extra awareness is brought by setting it up so that small amounts get donated every time a specific hashtag is used. For example, one recent and special campaign was set up to donate a dime to The Dru Project, a non-profit that supports LGBTQ high school GSAs and college scholarships, every time somebody used #thedruproject. The campaign went viral after IGN Tweeted about the campaign. According to Keyhole, the campaign resulted in 5,000 posts, engaged 3,000 people, and had 17 million impressions on Twitter. So even more important that the donation was the increase in awareness that was created as a result of the campaign.

This platform is also perfect for generating brand recognition and can be used in so many creative ways. After watching the complete interview, head over to their website for more information and find out how to start your own campaign.

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AT Now Allows You to Hire a Tutor On-Demand as a Problem Arises

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AT Now Allows You to Hire a Tutor On-Demand as a Problem Arises

2018-09-08

If you are not a math person, you know that getting through a math class in school can be challenging. Even more challenging is getting help for that class when you need it. Luckily, there's AT Now, a platform designed specifically to help students find math tutoring help when they need it. The instant-on capability of the platform means that when you're having trouble with a particular math problem, you can jump onto the platform, request assistance and be paired up with a live tutor to help you work through your block.

AT Now, which is founded by Mike Arnold who has been working in the tutoring field for a while, spent time finding highly qualified math tutors to work for the platform. The tutors, in addition to a high level of mathematics knowledge, also have to be personable and encouraging, traits that he found work best in his facility. Many of the tutors are math or business students from colleges and universities and try to show empathy to the student's problem and situation. For example, a tutor who understands the pressure of preparing for a test tomorrow is going to be more effective than one who doesn't.

For the students, the process is fairly simple. If they encounter a math problem that they cannot resolve themselves, they can simply grab their phone or tablet, open up the app and request help. From there, one of the tutors will jump on a call with the student and help them, not just answer the problem, but understand how to get to the answer. All of this and the cost is unbelievably inexpensive: $20 per month for unlimited questions. That's less than the cost of a single hour of personal tutoring in most locations.

To find out more about the platform, check out their website.

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ThunderAct Brings the Power of AI to Your Customer Interactions

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ThunderAct Brings the Power of AI to Your Customer Interactions

2018-09-08

For most companies, one of the most difficult challenges is understanding your customers' needs and responding to their likes and dislikes. People in multiple aspects of the company all interact with the customers, and a lot of data is collected, but it's difficult to bring it all together to make the best decisions possible. For example, your sales team probably uses Dynamics or Salesforce to track interactions, while your support team might use Zendesk, and your development team uses Manuscript or Jira - all to communicate with the same group of people.

Enter ThunderAct, an artificial intelligence platform that collects data from all of these platforms and more, and brings it together into one place. Once the system has all of the information, it is able to correlate users and show trends through easy to understand visualizations. For example, maybe the sales team communicates with a large number of prospects that all ask for the same feature in your product, and the sales team says that it is in the works when in reality it has been in the product for a while. You can now help coach the sales team on a more accurate feature set.

Now, what if the development team builds the feature in question, and the support team gets positive feedback on the new feature? Perhaps the management could decide to expand that offering into a larger part of the product. Or, maybe there is a related product that could be developed as a companion - after all, Microsoft didn't start out making Office. The best part is, this platform does not require any of your teams to change their system or their departmental behaviors in order to gain these useful new insights.

You can sign up now to see if the platform is for you by visiting their website.

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Amazing New Dating App Focused on Unique likes and Chemistry!

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Amazing New Dating App Focused on Unique likes and Chemistry!

2018-09-08

Once thought of as downright taboo, finding a date using online apps has become completely mainstream. And although some still feel it's pretty strange, the sheer numbers who use them tells the story. Those who use to warn their single friends and family of the dangers of online dating are now not only counting the number of couples they know who met on an app but also using them themselves. But as good as the websites and apps have gotten, there are still quite a few hurdles while trying to find "the one." At this point, what could possibly be done to make the apps better? More checks and balances? More algorithms? Well, the founders of Pheramor say that the answer is truly in the chemistry.

Aslam Mirza, co-founder, and CEO of Pheramor, came by to explain this new approach that is designed to provide better dating matches. This exciting new dating app uses genetics and digital data to help make better connections and increase the overall efficiency of dating. Basically, the company sequences 11 specific genes that encode for your immune system. The more diverse these genes are, between two people, the more likely that they will be chemically and biologically attracted to each other. It's rooted in evolutionary biology because we are constantly trying to subconsciously find those that we're attracted to. It's such a great component to add to dating search criteria.

They also made the process really simple. For starters, they send you a genetic kit in the mail that contains a buccal swab. You merely complete a quick cheek swab and mail it back and they do the rest. The DNA that is specifically linked to your immune system is extracted. This human leukocyte antigen, along with the compilation of your digital data from social media will be used to create your profile. So your DNA is combined with all of your likes, check-ins, and hashtags to help you make the best possible connections.

Get the specifics on this exciting new dating app by watching the complete interview and then head over to their website if you're interested in giving it a try.

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The Best Format for Project Management with Kaiten

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The Best Format for Project Management with Kaiten

2018-08-31

No matter what size the company, having projects to manage can become overwhelming. It's easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture. Multiple tasks and workflows create confusion and in many cases can hamper progress. And if there are customers making changes and requiring updates added to the mix, it gets even more complicated.

Dmitry Abramov, CPO of Kaiten, stopped by the studio to introduce their new product. Kaiten is a visual management platform that helps to conquer the complexities of project management for all sizes and types of businesses. It allows for visualization of the overall process flow and finds the various bottlenecks and problems along the way. It is then able to optimize the entire process with their unique analytical engine. It's a system that will see the big picture and then dive deeper when needed. A tool which can unite multiple departments in one place while having control of the whole picture.

Some of their clients are outsourcing companies. This type of company has very complex projects with various clients, different employees that interact with the clients and even multiple developers who are working on different aspects of the project. This often makes it difficult to keep things moving smoothly throughout the process. This tool allows for a seamless process while also allowing customized views for all who are involved, even for the client. This customization provides more than just a high-level overview and is better for providing deliverables on time. It also creates a new level of transparency from start to finish.

As for pricing, they are currently working on a subscription model, starting at seven dollars per user, per month. This would be ideal for the small to mid-sized company. Large companies with more security needs would require a private cloud and prices would go up according to their needs.

After you watch the full interview, make sure to head over to their website for more information and to view their demo.

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IUSNOVA is Evolving the Legal Profession to Make a Better Experience

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IUSNOVA is Evolving the Legal Profession to Make a Better Experience

2018-08-29

There is no doubt that lawyers do not have a general goodwill in everyday society, and it's been that way for centuries. Shakespeare famously wrote in his play Henry VI, "Let's kill all the lawyers." In the time since that play was written, things haven't really changed, but one company hopes to change the perception by making the process of finding and working with legal professionals easier and more pleasant: IUSNOVA.

The name, which is a combination of Ius (Latin for law) and Nova (Latin for evolution), describes their lofty goal: to evolve the legal world. This is accomplished by putting together a marketplace of legal professionals where you can go and enter your issue and be matched with the most appropriate lawyer for your specific issue. For example, if you are looking for a patent attorney, you might be paired up with someone who is good at general patents, but if you are a chemical engineer looking to patent a particular chemical compound, you would likely need a specialist.

Once you've got your lawyer, how do you know what is being accomplished or where they are in the process? Understanding what the lawyer is working on and what you are being charged for is nearly impossible, despite the tons of documents that are produced every day. IUSNOVA gives both lawyers and clients a way to keep track of what is happening directly within the platform. As documents are created, they can be stored and shared with the client all without having to use another solution. This gives the client a better understanding of the process and their place in it, as well as giving a feeling of accomplishment.

Once the task is complete, you can then review your experience in the marketplace, giving future clients matched with that lawyer more information before making the decision to work with them. The service is available now in limited availability.

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LifePoints Rewards You for Making Healthy Decisions

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LifePoints Rewards You for Making Healthy Decisions

2018-08-29

Leading a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what is a healthy decision, and often times the unhealthy choice gives a greater immediate reward than the healthy decision. For example, eating a few slices of barbeque brisket is likely to give a much greater immediate reward than eating a salad. But, there is a new way to begin to receive rewards for making healthy decisions: LifePoints.

Through this system, people can receive points for making healthy decisions. In the beginning, the app is focusing on fitness decisions, such as going to the gym. The app will track how long you spend at the gym and give you points based on that time. With time, the company plans to bring additional options to the platform to continue encouraging healthy decision making. Once you have these points, you can exchange them for rewards at various partners. These partners can give discounts or merchandise, depending on the partner and points redeemed.

This system is designed to provide a positive feedback loop for users to encourage them to make the healthy choice, rather than the unhealthy choice. To return to the previous example, you might be more likely to eat the salad instead of the barbeque if you know that you can get a discount on your gym membership or clothing.

The service is currently available for testing in the Niagra region of Canada, with two partners: Popeye's Supplements and Sky Zone Trampoline Park. If you are in that area, and currently own an iPhone, you can try the app right now in the App Store and start earning points to improve your health. The company plans to expand the partner lineup and expand the regions available as they conclude their testing.

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Significant Proof That Superior Data Analysis is Not All in the Numbers

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Significant Proof That Superior Data Analysis is Not All in the Numbers

2018-08-29

Everything these days is being quantified. Corporations subject their employees to a myriad of reports on a regular basis. These reports not only measure sales and demographics but the timing and workflow that are involved in employee metrics. Of course, it's not only big business that uses this kind of data. Our news and social media feeds are full of surveys and research studies that focus on everything from health and politics to frivolous ways to spend our free time. And even local businesses survey their customer from time to time, in order to tweak operations for efficiency and growth.

This topic is something that is actually on my mind quite a bit as I struggle with the onslaught of big data that is taking over our business culture. Although my job as Executive Producer of Special Events for PLuGHiTz Live keeps me busy with things like travel schedules, event calendars/planning, and even audio/video recording and mixing, I also have a full-time job at a large bank. Of course, stats are important in both of these jobs but they are very different in how they are structured and measured. I often get frustrated with the ever-growing list of metrics that measure employee performance at the bank. They find a way to pull numbers from multiple processes and manipulate them in a way that supposedly measures our performance efficiency. One of the favorite quotes used by upper management is, "numbers don't lie." And although that statement, in and of itself is true, it can also be very misleading, in my opinion. Just because those numbers that they present to us are absolute, it doesn't mean that they tell the whole picture. After all, there is an infinite amount of ways to get from the number one to the number two. It's all in the extraction and presentation. That's why it was so refreshing to see the work that Carlos Romero and his team at Apex are doing.

Apex is a consulting firm that concentrates on program evaluation and health education social service programs. They recognized through their work that there is a lot more to the data that goes unmeasured. This additional information can actually be helpful to businesses and consumers. Through this new understanding, two new apps emerged. They are tied together by the premise that we have too much data and not enough insight. Brilliant!! Their newer app, which is being showcased here at Collision, is called Perspectives. It combines the more common survey style with a video element. It's an important addition because we have a lot of data but we need context to derive meaning from it. This could translate to more data or that we need the story behind the data. The app is about just that. How do we collect more stories and analyze them in more rigorous ways to work in conjunction with the quantitative data, supporting valuations for learning?

This added layer allows for a better analysis. You can learn from the qualitative data just as much, and sometimes more than from the quantitative data. It gives a much different perspective as it adds the words, feelings, and actions that can be acted upon instead of just the data from a specific set of questions.

Results can be very eye-opening. It turns out that the thing that you thought you were measuring, based upon the way that you are doing it, is not necessarily the same way it is perceived by your clients, etc. This added power, depth and richness from an actual interview is then combined with the efficiency of a survey. You can then see what patterns that immerge from the short videos, as well as other media. It offers so much more than just the traditional, what did you like? And many times you will get responses that you hadn't even considered.

The basic idea of the app is to braid together all of the existing technologies into one seamless system. And you can learn more about this exciting new type of analysis by watching our interview and also by checking out their website.

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PodPoster Brings Shows and Fans Closer Than Ever

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PodPoster Brings Shows and Fans Closer Than Ever

2018-08-15

Content creators have a wide presence on the internet with a wide variety of voices and opinions to share with the world. Podcasting has become a wave of interest for years and is again on the upswing. One of our guests from Collision 2018 shared his decade-long vision of how we should be able to interact with these podcasters on a more personal level with his application, PodPoster.

The founder of PodPoster, Allan Hoving had an epiphany when his friend decided to make a podcast on their own back in 2009. Allan promised them that he would listen and provide feedback to help improve his friend's content, but he wanted to be able to speak his opinions rather than type them out in the comment section. Allan then realized that there is not a medium for easy audio commenting. Online vocal feedback is not really an option anywhere else, so Allan set his mind to be the first.

Allan found importance in providing feedback in the original medium that we were born with the ability to do. With the PodPoster iOS application, there are three simple options: listen, record, and send. You can listen to your favorite content creators and send them vocal feedback within the app. After hitting submit, the comments will be sent to the creator in the media that they choose to receive them. The comments you post can be moderated by the creator as well to ensure proper use of the app.

Today, the application has expanded to the possibility of audio comments to video recordings. PodPoster allows your opinions and constructive criticism to be heard and understood, not just read and looked over. PodPoster is the missing feedback loop in this ecosystem and is continuing to grow and update their horizons to best fit the user's voice.

For more information and contact information, you can visit the PodPoster website.

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Advanced Mobile Platform Designed for the Best Health Care

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Advanced Mobile Platform Designed for the Best Health Care

2018-08-15

Keeping ourselves healthy these days is getting to be more and more of a challenge. And the costs of healthcare are increasing to the point that some do not seek medical attention when they need it. So wouldn't it be great if there were systems in place to assist with keeping us healthy? The folks at Anteo Health have come up with a great way to do just that.

Narek Tamoyan, CEO of Anteo Health, stopped by to tell us about their approach and to show off their new app. Developed for insurance companies and healthcare providers, Anteo has a mobile health platform that is designed to put better healthcare options right at our fingertips. According to their research, 86% of healthcare costs in the United States are for chronic issues. This is due, in large part, to the fact that our healthcare system is reactive. There are so many tests, treatments, and therapies that are designed to prevent chronic and serious illness, but they are either not offered to us or they are not covered by our health insurance. And although none of us can figure out how this is more cost effective, both from a financial and an ethical standpoint, there really hasn't been anything we can do about it. But Anteo Health wants to start to shift the pendulum from reactive healthcare to preventative healthcare.

This new, proactive care system is very forward thinking in the industry. It incorporates things like lifestyle changes and healthy weight management systems to make impacts on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to improve our overall health and stave off chronic illness. To accomplish this, they segment the population into specific health groups that are based on a patient's health information. They consider two basic groups: 1) Static Health Data, which remains constant; and 2) a Big Data Set that is more dynamic and changes on a daily basis. It is this Big Data Set that constitutes the primary impact factors for behavior, i.e. physical activity, nutrition, vital signs and symptoms. All of this data is currently available on hundreds of systems. Anteo is integrating with these systems to get them into one, easy-to-use app. The information is then put into specific risk groups which allows them to suggest specific intervention plans for each group. The app even allows for enrollment into programs with a care team who monitors the data in real time. So if there is an escalation at any point, they will get the right attention, right away.

Anteo Health faces the challenge of engaging patients in their own health so that they will be more likely to follow the instructions. Their goal is to get them interested in an interactive and educational manner. The interactive app will also bring the data in automatically with a patient's smart wearables. And it's not all about the data, they have also applied clinically validated research from well-known publications. This, along with the data, will generate very specific and personalized recommendations based on the health profile of the individual, which is then analyzed by their care team.

As for availability, they launched a closed beta at the beginning of 2018 and are currently running pilot programs. the consumer app is available now on the Apple App Store and they are working on an Android version, as well. Get more information by visiting their website.

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SPLITAXI has a Fantastic New Rideshare Option

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SPLITAXI has a Fantastic New Rideshare Option

2018-08-08

Here in the US, we've had the luxury of using various ridesharing alternatives for a few years, now. And although at first, the concept seemed a little odd to a lot of us, it's grown into a lucrative industry that millions of commuters and travelers use each and every day. There are still many countries who do not this kind of flexibility available to them.

We invited Luis Henrique Rodrigues with SPLITAXI to come and tell us about how they are currently in the process of bringing an advanced form of rideshare service to Brazil. And what they are launching is so much more than just a rideshare service. They have found a way to help riders, taxi drivers, the city and the environment with their new service and phone app.

SPLITAXI is a shared mobility startup with a true win-win-win model. Getting a taxi during peak rush hour can be difficult and expensive in the large cities of Brazil, and the traffic is unbearable. To top it off, most cabs usually only containing one passenger. SPLITAXI realized that by coming up with a way to allow more riders in each vehicle, they could help to solve this growing problem. To do so, they use a route matching algorithm that allows for passengers to "e-hail" empty taxi seats in real time, with minimum deviation. The riders are able to choose, in the app, how far they are willing to deviate from their route in order for other riders to share the ride to common destinations. In turn, this offers discounts to each rider while also increasing the taxi drivers revenues due to the ability to carry more passengers. Thus, traffic is lessened overall with also fewer emissions being released into the atmosphere.

So, how does it work? The app shows you the others in your area that are looking to go to the same destination, or to one that is very close or the way to yours. You can then choose to share a cab, and set your specifications as to how much time you are willing to allow to get where you are going. There are also options available to customize your share. For example, there may be a situation where, say, a female would prefer to restrict her rideshare to only other females.

We found this to be a practical, new take on this industry. Not only does it allow for riders to save money, but it does it in a way that doesn't add other cars onto the already busy roadways. It also doesn't threaten the livelihood of the taxi drivers in any way. On the contrary, it has great potential to increase their overall income. It's a great idea for large cities and the fact that it allows for proper matches and is flexible enough to make adjustments in real time is fantastic.

SPLITAXI plans to grow their business in Brazil first and then expand worldwide. Make sure to watch their full interview for more information about their model, as well as investment opportunities. You can visit their website.

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Providing The Most Amazing Family Approach to Help Seniors

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Providing The Most Amazing Family Approach to Help Seniors

2018-08-08

We all eventually get to that point in our lives where our parents and grandparents need additional attention and assistance to get through each day. And quite often it happens at a time when we are the least equipped to handle it. Managing our own hectic lives with work obligations and children's schedules get in the way of providing them with the care that they need. Sure, there are services out there to assist with home health care for seniors, but they can get costly with minimum hour requirements and can sometimes lack that personal touch.

After facing this dilemma first hand, Andrew Parker came up with a practical and really wonderful solution. He knew that his grandfather needed some assistance but wasn't to the point of needing home health care. He ended up hiring a neighbor who was a college student to help and it worked out perfectly. The more he thought about it, he realized that this concept could help so many others, seniors and students alike, and Papa was born.

Papa is an on-demand assistance service that helps seniors stay independent while living securely and happily at home. It's a service that has a lot of sweetness to it. They connect senior citizens to college students for social interaction and daily assistance. And it does so in such a family-friendly way. To quote their website, it's like grandkids on demand.

We find this service to be fascinating on so many levels. It not only brings a new niche to the age-old problem of offering companionship and assistance to senior citizens while keeping them as independent as possible, but it also allows for a new type of flexible employment to college students. They are able to work around their school schedules, make some extra money and help seniors with things around the house, transportation needs, technology lessons, and companionship. We love the intergenerational interaction as both parties are able to learn and grow from the experience.

Make sure to watch Andrew's full interview for more information and don't forget to check out Papa's website.

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Education Has Reached New Heights and Will Make You Learn More Efficiently

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Education Has Reached New Heights and Will Make You Learn More Efficiently

2018-08-03

It's interesting that technology has exploded in the last 20 years but education has remained the same blackboard and chalk lectures. A student from Michigan State University, Seth Killian has made this same observation and has decided to make a change. This idea has sparked the creation of a new company, Lingco Language Labs and Seth is the CEO and Founder. Lingco is an application that brings education to the next level using artificial intelligence. This next generation of education technology teaches students a new language in an efficient way.

Seth is a firm believer that we aren't using our technology to our advantage in every aspect of life including learning. Lingco uses artificial intelligence to understand each student's language learning patterns and curates a unique experience for you. The AI aggregates data from previous learner experience and can make predictions about what aspects of the language you may be struggling with as well as your strengths and weaknesses based on other data. This concept increases student performance and improves learning patterns. By just answering 30 questions, the AI can already make predictions of what you need to work on and how to help you achieve your goals.

The virtual classroom features a vast content library with engaging content at your disposal for every level of proficiency. Lingco also includes AI assisted grading that points out grammar and spelling errors, enabling you to receive quick and effective feedback.

But learning is only half the battle. The other major step in learning a language is to remember what you have been exposed to. Seth discusses how Lingco can model your memory and grab data to determine when you are likely to forget a word after you have been introduced to it.

To learn more about Lingco Language Labs you can visit their website and you can find them on Facebook and Twitter: @LingcoLabs.

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poder.IO Takes Focus in The Power of Prediction to Best Advise Companies

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poder.IO Takes Focus in The Power of Prediction to Best Advise Companies

2018-08-03

In today's market, it is important for businesses to make the most of big data for their own advantage. poder.IO is an Artificial Intelligence company that focuses their technology on helping small businesses gain knowledge about their demographic so they can target their marketing to best make sales. poder.IO has created their EPICA AI platform to help take raw big data and convert it into usable data to help each business that uses the platform. The company slogan that they use best describes them as the "Power of Prediction" and this phrase says it all.

EPICA's big data service allows these businesses to collect first-party data as well as orchestrate and integrate it and make decisions in real time using predictive marketing strategies. EPICA optimizes the use of your data, translating its potential into valuable actions that can predict better results. poder.IO wants you to have a better understanding of your customers through the data you own about them and learn how to market your product or service based on it. Their goal is to give companies unprecedented decision-making power by analyzing patterns of audience behavior in real time through large-scale big data.

The Executive Vice President, Diego Paramo came to New Orleans for Collision with his skilled team to continue the conversation about poder.IO and answer questions as well as gain investors. Their service has been in the market for about two years now and has clients in America and Europe such as Coca-Cola, MasterCard, and Sheraton. poder.IO offers its smart big data solutions in the travel, e-commerce, finance, CPG and education sectors in four countries: The United States, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil.

For more information about poder.IO and EPICA and a quote for your business, you can visit their website. You can also email Diego directly through his email: diego@poder.io.

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An Exciting Way to Get More Out of Your Advertising Dollars

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An Exciting Way to Get More Out of Your Advertising Dollars

2018-08-03

Sure, using Google Ad Words to try to boost your website hits on popular search engines is an option when you are trying to increase your company's exposure. But it's sometimes difficult to get the right exposure without breaking the bank, especially when you are also utilizing other forms of advertising. In a perfect world, there would be a way to synch your efforts together for maximum impact. Well, the founders of Advocado put their heads, and their technology, together and came up with the perfect solution.

Knowing that television advertising drives search activity, they patented a technology that perfectly times digital and social advertising to be in synch with your broadcast ads. They monitor TV programming in most markets in real-time in order to trigger and optimize corresponding digital campaigns by dynamically adjusting online bids. So as your target audience is watching TV in a local market and your commercial airs, your bids are optimized during that timeframe to put you at the top of digital searches. They then use the data from the platform to provide insights into the media behavior of today's consumer.

If you're like us, you probably are wondering how all of this works. Upon detection of the airing of your TV commercial, Advocado's algorithm will immediately optimize digital bids to ensure online presence at Micro-Moments, leading to increased click-through rates. The optimization lasts for the duration of the commercial plus another 90 seconds. This gives you a distinct advantage with the ability to more effectively and efficiently utilize your advertising dollars with maximum benefit. During their original pilot of the technology, they documented a 98% increase in click-thru rates in just a three week period. They realize that when you get local, you have the ability to really focus.

There is so much that we love about this company (the first of which being their cool logo). We love the technology and can see the many benefits for small and mid-sized companies to grow their business, as well as give an edge to larger companies. Of course, we also love that this technology was originally developed for toys. What an amazing way to think outside of the box and re-engineer an existing technology for a great new purpose.

Advocado is currently in 210 local markets and on 185 cable channels. As they expand their business, their goal is to become the gold standard for this type of social and digital optimization. After watching their complete interview, be sure to visit their website for more information.

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Expanding Joy in the Community With Art and Creativity

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Expanding Joy in the Community With Art and Creativity

2018-08-01

Many of us have careers that are quite stressful. At times, the stress can build to the point that it creates frustration and hampers productivity. This is a dilemma that many employers simply do not know how to deal with effectively. Zilpini has literally come up with a creative way to help solve this problem.

Their basic premise is that everybody, no matter their career, is creative and has the potential to come up with new ideas. The key is tapping into that creativity. This is where they truly think outside the box. They know that by introducing art into the workplace, stress is reduced naturally and employee productivity increases, along with their overall well being. Co-founder, Loveleen Saxena, knows this first hand as she was a construction project manager who became an artist. During her transition, she found that it was possible to harness the power of creativity and bring it into the corporate environment.

The result? She and her husband created Zilpini - a marketplace that makes it easy for businesses to connect with local artists to bring their experience to their staff. By doing so, it opens up things among the employees. They are able to decompress while enjoying the artistic process and then translate the experience over into their own work. And the true bonus is that local artists are able to showcase their techniques and pieces, allowing them to grow and flourish within the art world.

Through this endeavor, artists are able to connect with their communities and supporters are able to learn new artforms. As huge supporters of the arts, and artists ourselves, we couldn't be more thrilled about this awesome idea. It's something that we will closely follow and hope to work with them as they progress.

Make sure to watch the full interview for more information and check out their website, as well.

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Bringing Amazing AI to the Hiring Process

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Bringing Amazing AI to the Hiring Process

2018-08-01

Human Resource departments and hiring managers constantly face the challenge of finding that perfect hire for open positions within their organizations. Applicable candidates must not only be qualified to perform the daily work but also fit in with the dynamics of the company and their coworkers. The process can be extremely time-consuming because even when you have a candidate that looks great on paper, so often they lack the personality to integrate well into the team. This leads to frustration and inevitably results in precious time being wasted.

Having dealt with this very problem ourselves, it was great to get the chance to discuss a clever and inventive solution with Taylor Stevenson, Strategic Partnership Exec with Alyss Analytics. Artificial Intelligence is combined with algorithms in their proprietary software. This provides valuable insight into a candidate's soft skills. Thus quickly giving the employer a chance to either weed out, or selectively include, the specific individuals who are the best potential fit.

So, how does Alyss work, you ask? After being given a set of prompts designed from the needs of the employer, candidates will record and upload their video to the system. Then Alyss goes to work, analyzing for the requested data points. Lastly, a review score is generated that is tailored to the employer's original criteria.

At its core, Alyss categorizes with three unique approaches - Facial Mapping, Speech Content, & Delivery. Thus allowing the non-verbal patterns of communication alongside deeper linguistic analysis to be uncovered. Basically, it's a search engine for soft skills that creates an opportunity for both employers who can streamline the process and candidates who have a better chance of showcasing all of their skills.

This A.I integration that gives custom candidate insights has been in development for the last couple of years and made its debut just a few weeks before Collision Conference. Make sure to watch the full interview for more details and don't forget to check out their website.

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CVX Really Puts Government in the Palm of Your Hand

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CVX Really Puts Government in the Palm of Your Hand

2018-08-01

You may have realized that there is no convenient method of learning more about your government and staying involved with civic engagements. The civic tech space is very small but lucky for you, Russell Jowell is working to make this type of information readily accessible to you through his new platform, CVX Building Engagement. CVX is a mobile application designed by Russell to update you on bills you are following, show you who represents you at the Federal, State, and Local level, and even help you register to vote.

The purpose of this app is to keep the public knowledgeable about what is happening within their government without needing to research multiple sources to obtain public information. The CVX slogan doesn't lie: "An app that puts the government in the palm of your hand." This platform brings convenience to information that you are entitled to.

The CVX app includes many ways for you to be involved and gives you the ability to contact the people who represent you. You can also track bills that are making their way through the United States Senate, the United States House, and your local state house directly through the app. There are other features and tools included that allow you to register to vote as well as see upcoming elections. CVX includes everything to help you stay informed and involved in your government.

You can download this application on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for $2.99 right now but will transition to a subscription service for a small fee per month with more civic data included such as Federal and State data and many more possibilities to come.

To learn more about CVX and stay informed about the app's newest features, you can visit their website and find them on Facebook and Twitter: @cvx4u.

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New Innovative Idea For Storage With Stash It

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New Innovative Idea For Storage With Stash It

2018-07-29

There is nothing more aggravating than not having enough storage space in your home. On the flip side, it is very frustrating to have so much wasted space for those who are lucky enough to have that problem. A new and innovative idea has hit the market. Jeremy Haas and his investor have come up with a plan to utilize space not ordinarily available for rent. This app is called Stash It, which helps with one of America's pastimes: shopping! As Jeremy says, "Americans have a huge shopping addiction and don't want to part with their stuff."

Similar to Air B&B, this allows people with space that is presently not being used to turn it around and make it available to rent out. For example, an almost empty garage can be used for car storage for an active military person. A college student may need space for the summer for items only needed during the semesters. Or in Jeremy's case, his father was excited to use his backyard for additional storage sheds to rent out.

Jeremy is looking for homeowners to join up in his business. There is a set fee for posting but those renting out their space can set their own rental fee. In the event that the rent is not paid by the tenant, the owner of said space will still be paid and the eviction responsibility will be dealt with later by Stash It.

This app is making available space to rent for those who need some space. For more information go to the website.

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Announcing Helpful and Exciting News for Event-Planning with Festi

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Announcing Helpful and Exciting News for Event-Planning with Festi

2018-07-29

If you can imagine being at a social gathering that has a basket set out at a food table, you know why it's there. Yet there are always people who ignore it. This is extremely frustrating and embarrassing for the host of the event as it may end up costing them a good amount of money. Another scenario is trying to get people to respond to invitations for an event. Both of these problems can be solved by Festi. This is a time reservation platform created by Rita-Ting Hopper from Virginia that is a combination of OpenTable and private reservations.

Reaching people to answer an invitation to an event can be frustrating and very time-consuming. We all have been on a group text chain that leads nowhere. This app is for busy people who are anti-group messaging. This app avoids having to sift through the texts to see who is responding and if they are giving you an accept or a decline. No one wants to hear "I'll pay you when I get there." That is never a good thing. With Festi you get much faster replies that will eliminate all the frustration of waiting to hear back.

If you are hosting a free event, the whole process is free of charge. If the event is charging $10.00 you pay $10.50 and the host gets $9.00. There is a 5% fee for the guest and the host is charged 10%. Payments are currently processed through Stripe. They are a big platform that is trusted by many companies, whether they are a startup or already established.

This app is fairly new and in the early stages of use. The platform has attracted 700 users without the use of any marketing. The company is currently looking for investors to begin marketing the product. For more information go to the website.

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What an Awesome App to Easily Help Manage Custody!

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What an Awesome App to Easily Help Manage Custody!

2018-07-29

No matter how amicable the breakup, family matters involving custody are always difficult. And let's be honest, most are not anywhere close to amicable. All too often there are stressors, tempers and unfortunately even aggression that get in the way. Jonathan Verk, CEO of coParenter, stopped by to tell us about this great new app that is aimed at solving these all too frequent situations.

coParenter is a management and mediation platform for separated and divorced parents. It helps to facilitate a stable and positive environment for the best possible outcomes. They accomplish this by providing specific tools that are aimed to help parents minimize conflict and stay out of court. This allows them to focus on the needs of their children and in turn, helps parents develop new skills to be better parents together, leading to happier children. And happier children make the world a better place.

The app also helps both sides financially. They are able to make better decisions outside of courtrooms, hence saving thousands of dollars. It enables parents to create their own court-ready custody plans that better handle the day to day parenting time as well as the ever so important holiday schedules. And just because it is app-based doesn't mean that there isn't professional assistance. Disagreements are resolved with a qualified, on-demand coParenting professional whenever necessary.

coParent is also there for the long haul. This easy to use system can also be used down the road to make alterations to an existing custody agreement. They also provide articles, videos, and stories to help you along the way, all from leading coParenting professionals, judges, therapists, mediators, and attorneys. Parents will always have new tips, tricks, skills, and habits right at their fingertips to help them be the best coParent- and parent- they can be!

To learn more, visit their website.

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Startups Can Grow Up with the Help of MinnoTank

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Startups Can Grow Up with the Help of MinnoTank

2018-07-28

One of the hardest things for a startup business to do is raise money. Ken Barton has created a platform for startup businesses to connect with the best investors through the internet called MinnoTank. Every week MinnoTank features a single startup who is looking for investments. This is done with a one-on-one interview with Ken and a member of the startup.

This weekly show promotes small startups and is viewed on the internet by thousands of investors and investor groups. Those investors can then subscribe for free and decide which businesses to invest in. For the companies, this increases visibility while decreasing the cost of raising the necessary capital. It is imperative to spend less when trying to raise more. Being an exit founder, Ken has had experiences in trying to raise capital. He tells of the time it cost him 10% in his attempt. He was in Europe and was paying 50,000 euros to raise 500,000 euros.

All this has to be done within certain parameters. The applicants have to have already raised $100,000 to qualify. There is a very good reason for this. First, the terms of the deal have to be set to determine their value. If a company has already secured investment, they know what the value of their business is. Second, it has to be real, meaning that this is a project that is a priority for them rather than a hobby.

In the startup world, less than10% of investment money goes to companies owned by three groups: LGBT, female and persons of color. Because of this under-representation, Ken has been bringing them to the forefront to get them the needed exposure. So far, the companies he has helped have raised over $2 million dollars, all within MinnoTank's first year.

If you are an investor who wants to invest or a startup that needs investors, you can go to their website for more information.

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One Stop Wellness: Boosting and Promoting the Best in Employee Productivity

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One Stop Wellness: Boosting and Promoting the Best in Employee Productivity

2018-07-28

Stress in the workplace can be a big deterrent to any company's progress for their employees. That is where Romy Antoine comes in. He is a personal trainer and nutritionist that has developed a platform to make and keep employees happy, healthy and productive. His company is called One Stop Wellness.

Today 60% of the current workforce is considered to be millennials and that number will only rise with time. Millennials need to feel like their job fits into their lifestyle so that they can be the most productive. One Stop Wellness fits this need by offering employers a platform for their employees to maintain wellness in all aspects of life. While most people consider wellness to be physical, it also incorporates mental, emotional and social aspects. One Stop Wellness covers all of these areas.

As a complement to this service, he has written and will publish his first book entitled "Engaging Millenials in the Workplace". This book is based on his experience as a millennial culture expert. He brings this knowledge to companies to help incorporate that culture into their own. Unlike the Baby Boomers before them, millennials thrive on public recognition and a feeling that their employer should care about them. Companies that can successfully integrate those ideas into the workplace will be able to harness the talent and potential of these employees.

The platform is currently available to employers and the book will be out soon. For more information visit their website.

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Hearing the Homeless Is Bringing Strength to The People, One by One

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Hearing the Homeless Is Bringing Strength to The People, One by One

2018-07-28

One of the most eye-opening things in our society today is the staggering number of homeless people of all ages around the country. Kevin Price is more than doing his part to help them. He has created a virtual platform for hearing stories from and about these individuals. Those stories are recorded and made into a profile. You can follow their story and their progress through the platform.

Each individual is given a smart card that is similar to a pre-paid debit card which is only accepted at certain retailers. After viewing a profile, a person can donate to a particular individual via text message directly to their card. This process is smart for them because it allows them to monitor their purchases and manage their money without having to worry about the dangers of carrying cash on the street or in a shelter.

This platform is very new, having just launched during South By Southwest. All the profiles are personally filmed by Kevin and his cameraman. They go into local soup kitchens and find a potential profile subjects. It is his goal to accomplish this one at a time, with the individual story being very important to him.

His future plans are, as the mission grows, is to go to university campuses to get college students involved in content curation in their cities. This will bring more homeless people into the program and more awareness of the platform in those local areas. More awareness means more people donating which means a better life for more homeless people.

His inspiration for this cause was his becoming acquainted with Ricky Dee, who happened to be the only homeless man in his small town in NewMexico. This friendship launched a passion in Kevin that was continued after his move to Austin, Texas, where he was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of homeless people living there. He continues his devotion to reducing that number.

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SensorCall: It Helps Keep Seniors Active and Safe from Danger

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SensorCall: It Helps Keep Seniors Active and Safe from Danger

2018-07-27

On average there are 11,000 people daily becoming seniors. Not all of them are lucky enough to have someone living with them. That is where SensorsCall comes in. It is designed to monitor the habits of the person to keep track of daily activity.

This product is a small box that simply plugs into any outlet. It follows the activity habits of the person and can detect any unusual behavior. In the event of a potential problem, it sends an alert to a designated caregiver or responsible person that there may be a situation of concern. It takes about a week for it to calibrate and learn the daily habits of the senior.

One of the many ways this is beneficial is for medication regulation. You can record a gentle reminder in a friendly voice for when it's time rather than have a blaring alarm go off and startle them. Another feature, which is designed for asthmatics, monitors the current humidity level and will alert you when there is a condition that might affect their breathing. Finally, another great capability is for daily or weekly reminders for errands such as doctor appointments or hair appointments.

Since the number 1 health hazard for seniors is loneliness and lack of socialization, this is a very smart addition to the household. These devices, when grouped, can measure their activity and therefore show if they are getting enough socialization.

The cost of these is approximately $120-$130 each. The service runs about $20 per month. The number of units will vary with the size of the home they are in. A large home, which is 3 or more bedrooms, will require at least 5 units. A smaller home will require at least 3 units. The release date is approximately 90-120 days. For more information go to sensorscall.com.

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The Most Amazing Prices on Your Favorite Products at Yroo.com

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The Most Amazing Prices on Your Favorite Products at Yroo.com

2018-07-27

In a competitive retail market, it can be difficult for consumers to be certain if they are getting the best deal possible on their purchases. And although there have been some pretty good apps that have been released to assist in this area, Yroo.com's take on this technology really goes the extra mile. CTO & Co-Founder, Nick Zhu, stopped by during our pre Collision coverage to give us the rundown.

Yroo is a big data platform designed to assist consumers with price comparisons to make sure they get the best deals while online shopping. Nick was a data mining consultant for years when he and his partner realized that they could take this type of technology in a totally different direction. One that will help shoppers instead of just big business. So they began working on taking all of the power of big data, machine learning, and predictive power to the other side. To start, they collected massive retail data, i.e. product, price, availability, and distribution and then converted it to a platform that is easy for consumers to utilize. It's basically a vertical search engine, so customers can search for and find the products they want and the site will automatically cluster all of the sellers together so that prices can easily be compared.

Historical pricing data is also included so buyers can see if the sale price they see today is actually the lowest in the past 30 or 60 days. All of this is also available on their mobile app that also includes a bar scanner while shopping inside stores. They currently monitor more than 150 million products, so the selection offered is impressive. They have 95% of the top 100 retailers in the US including all of the popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.

Here at collision, they are introducing browser extensions that the buyer can download to further expand the service. So for example, if you are shopping on Amazon for a particular item, all of the competing information will be brought right into your browser automatically. This puts all of the power and information right at your fingertips. Supported browsers include Chrome and Safari with Firefox and Edge to follow.

Check out Nick's interview and then give it a try for yourself by visiting their website.

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The Fantastic and Smart Way to Pay in Latin America

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The Fantastic and Smart Way to Pay in Latin America

2018-07-27

We started our Collision 2018 coverage with Jose Rosas from PaySmarter. This payment platform is starting out in Chile and is designed specifically for Latin American communities. Although most of us in the United States have become quite familiar with this type of payment platform, it is not something that is common in Latin America. Almost everything they purchase is done so by using cash. This can, of course, be dangerous, especially in large amounts. So being able to pay for products and services using their cell phones is something that offers convenience as well as security.

Jose was very passionate about this project because he knows first hand how important it will be to millions of consumers in Latin America. Bank debit and credit cards are not readily available to the majority of the citizens, especially those who are not in the largest cities. Therefore, they tend to feel left out. The ability to securely pay, using a mobile device will not only help with this but also create a necessary expansion in eCommerce in that part of the world.

They are currently in the process of getting retailers and service providers on board. They feel that Chile is a great test market and by partnering with mass transportation companies, they are well on their way. Based upon the total population in the large cities alone, they expect to have about one million people using the app within a year. Their efforts are connecting safety for both people and companies. It also leads the way for peer-to-peer transactions that will make their population feel more included without the costs involved using bank cards. They also have several complementary products on the horizon that involve big data and predicting buying behaviors. They expect, over time, to get much larger and involve enhancements like automatic purchases and even A/R by utilizing the infrastructure that they are currently creating.

To get more information on the current pathway of the company, please visit their website.

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The Wonderful FCDI Executive Director Is In The House!!

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The Wonderful FCDI Executive Director Is In The House!!

2018-07-09

The Executive Director of the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, Terri Willingham, stopped by our booth to help us wrap up our coverage of the Synapse Innovation Summit. The FCDI team organized the STEM Pavilion here at the Summit today. They worked with USF and UT for what they thought were going to be about 20 exhibits, which quickly and unexpectedly turned into 30 booths. But they found a way to accommodate everybody, as they always do because showcasing these wonderful inventions and achievements in education and technology is what is truly important.

The FCDI invited Dr. Byron Clayton of the ARM Institute as their guest at the Innovation Summit. He not only participated in a workshop but also came to meet the AMRoC and EMS teams. It was a great way to further their connection with him and the Institute. We at PLuGHiTz Live were also fortunate to get a chance to meet Dr. Clayton and have him as a guest on the show. It was truly inspirational to discuss the Institute's initiative to enhance and expand STEM and manufacturing in our country and how supporting the small to midsize manufacturers that do the bulk of the work and also invest back into their communities.

It's no secret that we have a great relationship with the Willingham's and have Terri on our show whenever we get the chance. One of the things that we love about our relationship with them is that we literally have a front row seat to witness all of the great things that they are doing for local students and the community as a whole. Their efforts are now turning into a full-blown educational arena with an emphasis on skills-based learning. We get to hear about their visions and watch how it all evolves, every step of the way, as well as offer our assistance from time to time. We are there for the triumphs as well as the challenges and we are proud to be a part of their extended team.

Check out Terri's interview to learn more and discover how they have, through the years, developed a tight team of great and enthusiastic people. You can also keep up with everything that AMRoC has going on by following them on Twitter, click here for direct access to their page.

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Super Excited Over Awesome, High-Powered Rockets and More

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Super Excited Over Awesome, High-Powered Rockets and More

2018-07-04

We get to see Chris Willingham at many of the events that we attend, and he's always serving multiple capacities based upon the numerous projects that he is involved with. Today at Synapse Innovation Summit, he is with Prograde Laboratories. And how fun for us that he's showing off rockets!! And he brought one to show off in the interview.

They are known to experiment with all kinds of cool and crazy things when they are creating. So their projects get a lot of second looks and questions from observers. That's why they named this particular rocket, Don't Ask. To make it even better, it's a high powered rocket, so it goes higher than regular model rockets. Oh, and did we mention that the majority of it was 3D printed?

For their purposes at Prograde Laboratories, high powered rocketry is both a hobby and used for education. There is a competition called NASA Student Launch Initiative that has inspired them. Whereas most of the rockets are made out of wood and commonly available materials. For theirs, they wanted to take it a step further see how far they could go using 3D printing. They basically chose the standards and just started designing on that scale. Everything except the body tubes is 3D printed. The payload includes a camera mount for a go pro as well as a phone mount to be used for the avionics. This type of rocket can usually go anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 feet, depending upon the exact specs.

Their goal here at this event is to not only estimate overall interest in their projects but also to figure out where they go from here. So far, they have had a lot of interesting people stop by the booth with all kinds of ideas. There has been some educational interest in it and also questions as to how to possibly use them in competition. The really cool thing is that rocketry is a craft that is perfect for schools and workshops because it actually uses all aspects of STEM. From the obvious applications in science and technology to engineering and math with the design and 3D modeling/printing.

We can't wait to see how they progress and look forward to their next projects.

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Electrathon of Tampa Bay Joins Competitive Racing and Energy Conservation

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Electrathon of Tampa Bay Joins Competitive Racing and Energy Conservation

2018-07-04

With the increase in educational focus on technology, it was only a matter of time before extracurricular activities began to follow the lead. Our FIRST Looks series focuses on one of the long-running programs, but FIRST is not the only game in town. We have seen a rise in interest for the VEX robotics program over the past few years. We have also seen new ideas come about that are gaining some serious traction.

One of those newer ideas is the Electrathon. This organization produces an electric car race program, which encourages participants to build a certain size vehicle to compete against other teams. The difference between this race and others is it is not about speed, but instead about the number of laps completed within the time limit. While this might sound like semantics, it is not; in the former, you complete a certain number of laps in a little time as possible, while in the latter you complete as many laps as possible within a given time.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to completing fewer laps, with the primary challenge, of course, being battery performance. The age of the battery can contribute to the amount of power it can produce, as can the type of battery, with Lithium Ion providing more power per pound than the more traditional Lead Acid.

Outside factors, though, cause the biggest challenge. The weight of the vehicle, including the weight of the driver, can create different requirements on the mechanics. A heavier vehicle will require more power to move the same distance, and will likely do it in a longer timeframe. The distance between the wheels can also change the performance because it will change the way the driver interacts with the vehicle. These are just some of the considerations that must go into the design of the car.

Unlike many programs of this type, including FIRST, Electrathon has teams from high schools, colleges, and the general public all competing together on a single track. No preference is given to a particular group, so all compete equally. Anyone can join a team, and if you are in Florida, a great resource is the Electrathon of Tampa Bay website.

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MC360 Puts a Modern Twist on Business Development

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MC360 Puts a Modern Twist on Business Development

2018-06-30

Every company, whether big or small, needs marketing. For some, it is done through word-of-mouth, but most need an active process in which they can tell the world about their unique goods or services. For a startup, deciding what you need can be a challenge, and implementing what you need can be nearly impossible. That is where Modern Consulting 360 comes into play. This company has a strong focus on startups and understands the needs of entrepreneurs.

The company got its start after CEO Matthew Nauss had done some marketing for a company he worked for after he left the Army and while he was at the University of Tampa. He had tried some strategies that were less focused on the old way of doing things, hence the modern moniker. He decided that, since his strategies had worked well for himself, he would try implementing those ideas for others. The process was repeatable and successful, and Modern Consulting 360 was born. After some time, Nadia Kaminskaya joined the team, bringing with her outside marketing experience.

In addition to the marketing services, Modern Consulting also provides services like sales and supply chain consulting as well. Building a sales strategy is something that even the most successful companies can fail at on their own. Bringing in a consultant to look at what you are doing and make suggestions on areas of waste, or areas that could be better focused on can improve performance greatly.

MC360 does not just serve the startup community, but also work with small and medium business, as well. While they primarily serve the Tampa Bay area, they do have clients in other areas of the country. Recently, they have gotten to work with some nonprofit organizations, for whom they offer their services for free.

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USF Connects Startups With the Help They Need

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USF Connects Startups With the Help They Need

2018-06-30

One of the coolest trends in the startup space is incubators: facilities specifically designed to help a startup go from concept to market. Especially for first-time entrepreneurs, there are a lot of pieces of starting a business that are completely unknown and unexpected. These incubators can help with those challenges, as well as help these new companies find customers and partners to enhance their corporate journeys.

One of the great incubators in the Tampa Area is run through the University of South Florida as part of the USF Connect program. The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator is a process which allows students, faculty, and the community to get involved and receive assistance. While the majority of the companies in the program are USF students and faculty, the TBTI has begun accepting non-school related companies to join and receive the benefits of the program.

Unlike many incubators, the companies that participate in TBTI are not always required to be technology in focus. In fact, one of the companies that exhibited at the Synapse Innovation Summit had designed a product to make frosting cakes easier. The product was so easy to use that the owner could speak to an audience about the product while using it. Another non-technology companies involved in the TBTI is a company that produces a consumer skateboard that has built-in storage.

Other companies involved in the incubator, however, are technology-based. For example, several of the companies are working on technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat various types of cancers. Other companies are working to improve cybersecurity problems, including providing 24/7 security services.

The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator through USF Connect is always looking for new companies to assist. If you have an idea you would like to pitch, you can reach out through their website.

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How Awesome!! This Mind Controlled Drone is Fantastic!!

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How Awesome!! This Mind Controlled Drone is Fantastic!!

2018-06-30

The advancements made in technology are always on our radar here at PLuGHiTz Live. Whether in communications, environmental engineering or entertainment, we love to see the progress that is made. It is particularly interesting when it happens to be fun gadgets that are being improved upon. Now, let's amp that up a bit - the improved gadget for today's discussion is a drone that is controlled by your mind. Short of something the likes of flying cars, it doesn't get any cooler than that!

Dr. Marvin Andujar, with the University of South Florida's Computer Science and Engineering Department, was kind enough to stop by and show off this new technology. He and his team have been working to perfect their Smart Drone in the school's Neuro-Machine Interaction Lab. Flying the drone with your mind is possible, in large part, due to the Brain-Computer Interface device that they created. This is what allows your mind to send commands to the drone. And as cool as this is on its own, one of the real-life applications in which they use this device is to race drones. The goal is to allow people with physical challenges the ability to pilot the drones themselves, using only their brains. This is so exciting because it equals the playing field for those who couldn't normally compete in this type of activity. Thus making it a universal sport where everybody can compete at the same level. The participants are able to imagine the movements and the drone will perform the tasks.

To accomplish this, they start off by creating a personal profiler of the pilot, which in turn trains the device to complete certain movements to correlate with specific thoughts. To begin this process, they have the pilot meditate for a few minutes to get the brain to a neutral state. Then they ask them to think of very specific things, like pushing a chair forward or opening your left hand. This creates patterns that they save to their profile, and these patterns are different for each individual. They then decode the iAnd they also have an eSport version with a simulator drone that allows you to fly your drone anywhere through your computer.nformation and send it to the drone through the profile via a software that was also created for the process.

Not only can this technology be applied to drone racing, but it also has many other practical real-world applications, as well. It's also good practice to train your attention, especially for those who have ADHD. Other health initiatives could relate to communicating with those who are incapacitated. And just imagine the possibilities in the smart home arena, from opening and closing doors to changing the color of the lighting depending upon your mood.

Be sure to watch the full interview to learn more specifics regarding the drones, the races and how Lucas Films was interested in the technology as it relates to "The Force."

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Announcing VRenewables' New Lighting That Might Save Your Life

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Announcing VRenewables' New Lighting That Might Save Your Life

2018-06-29

Imagine being able to drive down the road and not only have great lighting but be able to stay connected to the internet. Now imagine being able to do this without any equipment connected to the electric grid. This is possible because of VRenewables, a solar and wind-powered lighting system.

It is a series of streetlights designed for use either residentially or commercially through the DOT. The residential lights are smaller units and come with options for the size of pole and brightness of the lights, or lumens. These are available in small units of 2-10, as needed. For commercial needs, they are available in units of 1000-2000 to utility companies.

The hotspot advantage is to have a consistent connection to internet and Wi-Fi. For pedestrian traffic, the ability to have and keep a strong signal is a huge benefit, not just for entertainment but for safety reasons. In addition to public and private roads, you can also see a great advantage on college campuses. Since safety on campuses has become such a high priority now, both for the students and the professors and staff, the current measures are no longer effective. Having this system installed on campus would give the schools the ability to control lighting and ensure that communication is always available in the event of a dangerous situation.

Another place where safety and security are important is at performances spaces. Even though security is tight at the gate before you enter, there is a potential for the parking lot to become an area of possible concern. Outdoor concert venues also provide a potential location for danger. By upgrading their existing outdoor lighting, the facility greatly reduces the possibility for dangerous scenarios. This is a win-win situation.

The cost of these lights varies from $500-$110,000. The Tampa Bay area manufactured products are available now.

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An Amazing and Informative Talk About the Future of Technology

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An Amazing and Informative Talk About the Future of Technology

2018-06-29

It was a distinct pleasure to spend some time with Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. The institute, located in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, is the result of a public/private partnership that was formed by the federal government. With a five year, $80 million grant, along with funds from academia and industry, they are tasked with a wonderful challenge: To advance robotics and robotics education.

Yes: that caught our attention, too!

It's no secret that certain manufacturing jobs are disappearing with an older workforce as machining is quickly becoming a lost art in this country. We've encountered this first hand through our close relationship with the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) here in Florida, as they forge new relationships in the community to help create safe spaces for the FIRST students to create and build, as well as try to find a platform for internships and apprenticeships. Also, it is currently too expensive for small and midsize manufacturers to compete effectively and therefore maintain a stable and growing workplace. But it is extremely important that we not lose this integral cog in the manufacturing wheel.

Through technology, ARM aims to lower costs. The result enables them to make robots safer and more versatile so they can effectively work with and around people. To accomplish this, they are conducting project calls, or Requests for Proposals (RFPs), designed to advance technology and lower the barriers to adoption. This, in turn, will give manufacturers the ability to buy, adopt and use robotics throughout the manufacturing process. When this happens, they not only become more productive locally but can also begin to compete with overseas companies.

The exciting result is that they will be creating new pathways. As these companies better position themselves through technology, they will increase their workload and thus create more jobs. During the process, they are working with high school and college students to come up with innovative solutions that will eventually create these pathways and fill the newly created jobs.

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Exposing an Amazing and Energetic Literary Scene

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Exposing an Amazing and Energetic Literary Scene

2018-06-07

As part of the maker and journalistic communities, it was wonderful for us to get to know Tiffany Razzano, founder of Wordier Than Thou. We had a chance to chat with her for a few minutes before the show, at her simple, book filled table here at Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con. We started off with a curiosity of the meaning of their name that turned into total excitement for what they do.

Wordier Than Thou is a local nonprofit for the literary arts in the Tampa Bay area. They organize various readings and events for local authors to come out and get some exposure. It all came about five years ago because Tiffany, a journalist by trade, recognized that one of the things she hated the most was public speaking. Since this was something that she would periodically encounter in her career, she decided to do conquer it head on. She accomplished this by doing something where she could overcome this hatred in a more controlled environment - storytelling.

They started out simply, with just one event where authors could tell stories and prose in an open mic style. It has since grown significantly and they are now doing 8 to 12 events per month that tap into different parts of the literary community. It has become a great support system for the authors to showcase their work and also to draw in people who wouldn't normally attend this kind of event. They actually strive to "sneak the books" into their events where some audience members are surprised that they just loved a show that ended up being about books. For example, one of their most successful events is a burlesque show with wonderful performers and amazing costumes that they put on twice a year.

During the interview, Tiffany introduced an upcoming event called Eat Our Words that Scott and Michele actually attended. The authors made various dished that were inspired by their books. It was a fun way to interact with the authors and learn about their latest works while sampling some really good food. We look forward to attending some of their future events, as well.

You can check them out yourself by going to their website, or by visiting their Facebook page.

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Tangible Labs Has All The Nerdy Swag That You May Need

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Tangible Labs Has All The Nerdy Swag That You May Need

2018-06-07

A long-time guest and friend of the show and the founder of Tangible Labs, Mo Eppley stopped by to show us the new additions to their stock. Tangible Labs is a 3D printing and prototyping company that also does client-based work. Mo and her husband are huge fans of the Harry Potter stories and their new Wizarding Wonder's Collection for is inspired by Universal Studio's Harry Potter World.

This exciting collection includes eight 3D printed wands, a 3D printed golden snitch, and wizard identification cards/licenses. Each 3D printed item was assembled from multiple prints and painted in acrylic to resemble the look and feel of the wands and snitches in the movie. The IDs and licenses are targeted for any cosplayer to be "certified" in Quidditch, be "permitted" to conceal a wand, or be an official Hogwarts student of faculty.

Tangible Labs also focus their time and dedication to their work on Nerd Swag that will suit nerds of all interests. Mo has realized that you can't find certain fandoms and designs on the internet so Tangible Labs design their own original T-shirts with unique nerdy passions. You can purchase these items and learn more about Mo's work at the Tangible Labs website. You can also follow their work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the handle: @tangiblelabs.

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FIRST Team Learns From Past Mistakes with the Help of FIRST Alumni

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FIRST Team Learns From Past Mistakes with the Help of FIRST Alumni

2018-06-06

FIRST Robotics is a very important organization that brings more and more educated students into the workforce with robotics experience that will propel them into the future. Once these students graduate from high school, they are encouraged to join the FIRST Alumni Association to stay involved in FIRST and to help students just like them. Alumni volunteer their time and prior experience to encourage the next generation of great minds as well as push the bar up for robotics around the world.

Vishal Vellody is a perfect FIRST alumni example. He was apart of FIRST Robotics Competition 5276 Edgar Allan Ohms as a vital part of the mechanical team for three and a half years. After graduating, he realized that he can apply what he learned on the team and work with the current students to help them learn like he did. Vishal made it his mission to ensure his team learned from the team's past mistakes so that they can evolve robotics. Now, he has volunteered a year of his time and he loves it.

Vishal is a current intern at the Pasco County Library in Land O' Lakes where the Edgar Allan Ohms meets. The space is free to the community to work on projects and teaches anyone numerous skills. Vishal's job is to work with visitors to make sure they have tools and help they need to complete their own projects.

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Blossoms of the Heart Brings Imagination to Life

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Blossoms of the Heart Brings Imagination to Life

2018-06-06

3D printing is an art in itself but local artist with Blossoms of the Heart, Christine Samad and her husband have brought it to the next level. Christine is a very creative individual that has a passion for creating plot lines with characters and props that she designs. With the plot idea in mind, her and her husband bring them to life using one of their four personal 3D printers, but it doesn't stop there. With the 3D figure physically in front of her, Christine then paints over them to establish her original imagination of her creation.

Blossoms of the Heart came to Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con to show off just what they can do and discuss their passion with buyers and other makers. Christine's creative inspiration comes from her 2nd grade classroom, as she is a teacher on the side. She has found that her stories bring joy to the kids and that's where it all started. As well as her art, she has also self-published a few children's books on Amazon.

You can go to the Blossoms of the Heart website to view some of Christine's creations and for links to purchase some for yourself. You can also find them on Facebook: @Blossomsoftheheart.

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Epic Behind The Scenes Advancements in Animation Tech

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Epic Behind The Scenes Advancements in Animation Tech

2018-06-05

There are many people behind some of your favorite movies and video games that make the whole project possible and we had the honor of discussing major future technological changes with one of them. Tony Mecca is a well-known animator that has his mark in popular films like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hotel Transylvania 2, Rio 2, and much, much more. He has worked with so many studios and movies within a span of 15 years since he started out in his animation career and is currently working with EA in the cinematics division.

Tony is a very special guest this year at Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con 2018 while leading his talk titled, "How to Break into The Future Film Industry." He moved to Florida for some of his current projects while the cinematic presence in the Florida area is increasing. This growing presence is a vital step in the advancements in technology all of us are eager to be brought to entertainment. Mecca explains revolutionary ideas that are in the works behind the scenes for what is to come.

If you are interested in learning more about Tony Mecca and the work he is apart of, you can visit his website.

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It's All About The Stitches With This Fantastic Maker

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It's All About The Stitches With This Fantastic Maker

2018-06-05

Any maker can agree that a most of their work takes a lot of time, dedication, and experience to their craft. Deborah Gibson demonstrates this type of dedication in her company, All About The Stitches and the name says it all. Her work includes mostly any stitch you can think of: crotchet, knitting, embroidering, cross stitching, sewing, and more.

Deborah's passion all started when she was 14 years old when her grandmother passed down the skill of working with fabric. Ever since then, she has been growing her craft and skill with as much as she can learn while making memorable items for friends and family. Her family has always encouraged her to create and 7 years ago, her kids explained how she needed to establish herself through her own company where she can sell and share her amazing work with others.

After gathering feedback from many different events and conventions, All About The Stitches is looking to expand their work even further by teaching the skills that Deborah has spent years acquiring. You can stay connected with her through the All About The Stitches website for more information about the classes as well as the other services they offer.

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Being A Part of Electrathon Tampa Bay is Worth The Experience

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Being A Part of Electrathon Tampa Bay is Worth The Experience

2018-06-01

PLuGHiTz Live is no stranger to the Electrathon teams of Tampa Bay. Gulf Coast Maker and Comic Con gave us the opportunity to learn a little bit more about them while speaking with the USF Electrathon team captain, Sai Chelikani.

Electrathon is a competition where people build and race electric vehicles within three categories: high school, college, or open enthusiasts. This competition consists of 2 one-hour long races where the biggest limitation is the battery life of the vehicle. The organization's main goal is to promote the awareness of alternative energy sources.

Sai Chelikani is a natural born racer that loves his role on his team. He was exposed to Electrathon after being on a high school robotics team and decided he wanted to expand his knowledge mechanically. Sai then realized that this program is a stepping stone into the technologically advancing world that he wants to be a part of. He discusses the skills he has learned and the journey he took to be where he is today.

You can learn more about Electrathon of Tampa Bay by visiting their website or connect with them through their social media.

Facebook: @ElectrathonOfTampaBay

Twitter: @ElectrathonTB

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Nicola Entertainment Creates A Stunning New Science Fiction Universe

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Nicola Entertainment Creates A Stunning New Science Fiction Universe

2018-06-01

Nicola Cuti is an American artist known for his work in background animation from popular cartoons throughout the industry. He has made his way from animation and comics to film and movies but has come to the realization that writing is his number one passion. Nicola knows that writing is what he was meant to do and now he is the author and creator of his own fictional universe revolving around the intergalactic teenager and crime solver, Starflake. Starflake was created to bring less gender bias to the comic and science fiction fandom by including a feminine interest along with real humanlike conflicts.

Nicola has 55 years invested in the science fiction industry under his belt that has helped him become a magnificent story teller. He has numerous stories published and 7 of those are from the Starflake universe. With so many stories written about this special space teen, he then set out to have proper marketing surrounded by her character. After a competition to be the popular main role, Alicia Sage became the girl on the covers. There was no better person for this role.

Cuti is currently writing a movie script to bring Starflake to the big screen in his favorite story Starflake Rides with the Galactic Bikers. For more information about Nicola Cuti and his work you can go to his website.

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Florida Has Hidden Some of The Most Unbelievable Stories

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Florida Has Hidden Some of The Most Unbelievable Stories

2018-05-31

Florida is known for it's high tourism between the sandy beaches and the theme parks, but few are aware of the legends and mysterious creatures found in Florida that can make your toes curl. The PLuGHiTz team learned that there are numerous eerie stories that our lovely state has to offer, and we got to hear about some of them from the Florida legends expert and local author, Mark Muncy. Mark and his team traveled throughout Florida to share the greatest stories they could find.

These tales were not easy to come by but when they were discovered, Muncy researched them tirelessly and made it his mission to find other witnesses and references to support each legend. Once he gathered enough tales, he compiled all his findings into his own book, Eerie Florida: Chilling Tales from The Panhandle to The Keys. The stories are arranged from north of the state and travels south to the Florida Keys.

If this grabs your attention, then you may be pleased to hear that Mark is preparing to release a follow up, Freaky Florida in Fall 2018 just one year after his first book was brought to market. This new story is less revolved around the monsters and more involved in the freakiest places you can find in the Sunshine State.

To find more information about Mark and Eerie Florida you can go to the Eerie Florida website and find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the handle: @eerieflorida.

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Who You Gonna Call? GHOSTBUSTERS: Lost Spirits Division!

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Who You Gonna Call? GHOSTBUSTERS: Lost Spirits Division!

2018-05-31

When you hear the name Ghostbusters, you probably immediately think of the movie. In the realm of cosplay, it is a group of people who have formed an alliance to do good in the community and have fun in the process. We met Ellery Christensen, a ghost cadet who is part of the Ghostbusters: Lost Spirits Division, one of 2 groups based in the Tampa Bay area. She became a member because of her love of the movie and through friends. She started out as a photographer for it and is now a participant.

This group of happy people is one of several groups in the area that, put together, would number over 75. Their goal is to spread joy and fun to charities, school groups, hospitals or fundraisers in the area. The group works with an organization called Cosplay for a Cause to find local events to participate in.

When they are at the con, they wander around meeting the people and particularly children. At this event one of the games they play with them is a card game that tries to test their "psychic ability." When they go out into the community, they make appearances in hospitals to cheer up the sick children. Their visits at schools are a lot of fun, and children wherever they go are fascinated by the Proton packs on their backs. These packs can weigh 40 pounds and can cost up to $1,600.00. Needless to say they are glad when it is time to take them off! There are people who have even named theirs.

This group of wonderful people are having such a good time being together and sharing their fun. Their main goal is to add a level of enjoyment to these events for kids of all ages.

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You're Sure To Be Delighted by Starlight Darling

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You're Sure To Be Delighted by Starlight Darling

2018-05-30

In the world of cosplay, there are innumerable characters to portray. We would like you to meet Starlight Darling Cosplay. She is a very enthusiastic participant in the Gulf Coast Comic and Maker Con in Seminole, FL and was honored last year and this year to be a judge. Her favorite character is Rin Tohsaka from Fate-stay night.

After doing this for 6 years, she makes all her own costumes and has taught herself to sew in order to do so. It was a challenge at first because she had to keep at it until she got it right. She absolutely loves doing this and recommends picking out a character that you love and can relate to and just sticking to it. She likes her costumes to be big and poofy with lots of sparkle. Needless to say a problem arises when she has to travel to her cons, especially when she has to fly. That's where she has to get really creative!

She says it takes her about 150 hours on average to complete one costume. A more complicated costume can take much more time and she has been known to knock one out in a weekend. She has made probably 30 of them. With having an outside job from 9-5, her free time is totally taken up with her passion for creating her perfect costume. It is very important to her for positive feedback on her efforts, as it is for all participants.

She has been at the event since it started and attends probably 6 cons a year. She has trimmed it down from a larger number in order to put more focus on doing better job on the ones she attends, making it quality not quantity.

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Gypsy's Weavings Beautifully Pairs the Modern and Traditional

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Gypsy's Weavings Beautifully Pairs the Modern and Traditional

2018-05-30

One of the first makers we ever interviewed was Ana Mailer from Gypsy's Weavings, and remains one of the most unique. Ana creates something that is fairly uncommon in modern life: chainmail. She got started in the Renaissance Festival scene making chainmail for costumes and competitions. Eventually she discovered that people were interested in her craft and began making items for others.

One of the things that keeps her skills sharp is that every year, she takes on a challenge to learn a new aspect of the craft. While she initially learned the modern loop mail, over the years she has taken on the challenge to learn other styles and fastenings. The last time we spoke, she was learning scalemail, while is similar to standard chainmail, with the addition of dragon-like scales. Ana is wearing a scalemail top during her interview.

This year, her personal challenge has been to learn the more traditional style of chainmail fastening. Unlike the modern, where the loop is opened and closed, the traditional method involves closing rivets with special tools, including an anvil. Obviously, this method is not as convenient as the modern method, which only really requires plyers to open and close loops. It requires the special tools, but is also far louder than the modern style, with hammers and anvils ringing with each loop being closed.

Ana doesn't just take these challenges on for her personal experience. In the case of the traditional chainmail, she has done it to experience the history of the trade. She has even joined a competition that evaluates the accuracy of the process and the end product. She hopes that her annual challenge will pay off in this competition, whose prize is one of recognition among her peers.

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Better Actions Cosplay Brings Creativity to Life

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Better Actions Cosplay Brings Creativity to Life

2018-05-29

Cosplaying is a key element in all great conventions and that does not exclude Gulf Coast Maker and Comic Con 2018. Aaron Knowles from Better Actions Cosplay visited us to specifically discuss the importance of cosplay and explain his passion for bringing fictional armor, weapons and props to the real world. He lets his creativity flow by learning about how he can bring that passion to life.

Aaron uses a plethora of crafts and materials that are mostly self taught and he continues to better his abilities. One important message that he told the PLuGHiTz crew was "every time you make one thing, you level up and gain experience and you make it to that next level." Aaron strives to be a positive influence for new cosplayers and he finds importance in supporting them in their future projects to gain that new experience.

Aaron brought with him 3 props to show his craft. The first is a replica of Thor's hammer Mjolnir, nearly entirely 3D printed. The hammer was printed in several parts because of its overall size. The pieces were then attached together, painted and the detail items, such as the leather handle, were added afterward. He also showed off a super sledge from the Fallout series. This piece required a different set of skills, as it is made of a variety of materials, including 3D printing, pipe and thick gauge wire. Finally, he showed off a bazooka from a custom character: GI Joker. This piece is made of foam and PVC pipe and weighs far less than it looks like it should.

Better Actions Cosplay is the outlet Aaron uses to support anyone looking to create and design costumes and props to bring the wildest idea to life. Anyone is welcome to contact him through Facebook and Instagram using the same handle: @BetterActionsCosplay.

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EASY-AIR Might Just be the Solution You Need

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EASY-AIR Might Just be the Solution You Need

2018-05-29

Gulf Coast Maker and Comic Con welcomes makers of all forms, including inventors. Electrical engineer Joe Nahum is prototyping a solution to clean air after serving our country as part of the US Army in Desert Storm. He noticed air pollution in the Middle East and he decided in that moment that he wants to solve that issue. He returned to the United States and became an electrical engineer to help him with his journey.

Joe's vision, EASY-AIR, is supposed to convert carbon dioxide into pure oxygen. While the prototype is small and designed to be used in a consumer-type scenario, Nahum says the technology could be scaled to any size. While the first thought might be about the carbon offset of cleaning the air while using power, Nahum has an answer for this as well. He imagines placing a larger implementation on the device at the top of the chimney stack at the power plant, cleaning the air as the power is produced.

In addition to the conversion, it also acts as an ionizer. Similar to the process that occurs as water hits at the bottom of a waterfall, as the air flows through the device, it is energized. This is not an unfamiliar technology for many, as both Sharper Image and RadioShack had made the technology popular in the mid 2000s. Sharper Image offered the Ionic Breeze and RadioShack offered the Environizer for several years. This device combines the once popular tech with the carbon dioxide converter into a single product.

Nahum is currently in the prototype phase and came to GCMCC 2018 to gain recognition and funding for his project. He is hoping to be able to run clinical trials to verify the results as well as bring the product to market.

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Remarkably Superior Encryption on Drives by SecureDrive

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Remarkably Superior Encryption on Drives by SecureDrive

2018-04-21

Encrypted external hard drives and USB memory sticks have been around for at least a decade, but most of the time it's either locked or unlocked: if you have the password, you're in. SecureDrive has a solution that changes this binary reality, and makes the security better and more nuanced. Nuanced security means that, even if you have the password, you may not be able to access the device.

SecureDrive specialize in hardware encrypted data storage. They've three product ranges with varying capacity (1 - 5 TB) to address different security and storage requirements.

  • SecureDrive BT, which uses Bluetooth and an app for authentication
  • SecureDrive KP, which uses keypad authentication
  • BackupDrive, which backs up files and encrypts them with built-in anti-malware

For the rapid transfer of large files, all the devices use USB 3.0, and for security, it's pending FIPS 140-2 level 3. That's pretty secure.

The unique part of the SecureDrive solution focuses on the BT model, which uses Bluetooth and an authentication app. Instead of the drive only being locked or unlocked, the solution allows additional controls for geofencing and time schedules. For example, the SecureDrive BT can be set to only unlock between 9-5 M-F or only if the unit is physically within company premises. In addition, there's remote management so authorizations can be revoked and the drive remotely wiped.

The drives are assembled in Ohio, USA, and they're available for purchase priced at $299-$499. The remote management feature is a subscription service.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Keep Your Phone Clean and Germ-Free with PhoneSoap

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Keep Your Phone Clean and Germ-Free with PhoneSoap

2018-04-21

Think about all the things you touch in a day. You might use a grocery cart, push an elevator button, open a door knob, or shake hands with a co-worker. All of these things can put bacteria onto your hands. Next, you touch your smartphone and transfer bacteria onto it. PhoneSoap can sanitize your smartphone, tablet, and more.

PhoneSoap is a UV sanitizer for devices like phones and tablets. It uses UV light, similar to what hospitals use to sanitize devices. Put your smartphone into the device. Once you close the device, the light comes on. The UV light will stay on for about ten minutes. At that point, your smartphone is sanitized. The UV light will sanitize up to 99.9%.

PhoneSoap also works as a charger, so you can charge your phone while it is being sanitized. It is priced at $59.95. There is also a PhoneSoap Wireless that is priced at $99.95. PhoneSoap XL is priced at $119.95. It can sanitize tablets and other objects that will fit inside it.

Check out these models that are available at Amazon:

PhoneSoap 3: https://amzn.to/2HMiEHf

PhoneSoap 2: https://amzn.to/2qLNK9L

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Deep Force is Motivated to Protect Your Privacy

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Deep Force is Motivated to Protect Your Privacy

2018-04-19

Your privacy is important. Posting your photo, or other personal data, online can be an uncomfortable experience. How will that company use your likeness and information? Deep Force uses artificial intelligence to keep your personal information private.

Deep Force powers artificial intelligence on our most favorite devices, our smartphones. They do this by leveraging deep learning, which is the most advanced AI available. Their face recognition accuracy is over 99.9 percent. Deep Force takes that model and uses it for heterogeneous computing. This process helps all the different parts inside a smartphone to work together more efficiently, which creates more computational powers within the device.

Instead of requiring users to send their photos, videos, and audio over the internet, Deep Force enables smartphones to process all the information on the device itself. It works even if you are in a place that does not have Wi-Fi. Deep Force makes an app that their partners can use in their products. The app is not sold directly to individual consumers.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Superior Tracking of The Most Important Environmental Conditions with Yes It Is

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Superior Tracking of The Most Important Environmental Conditions with Yes It Is

2018-04-19

Tracking environmental conditions is important for many industries. This is particularly the case with food & drink and pharmaceutical companies. Often products have to be kept below a certain temperature and any deviation above this means that the product is not longer deemed safe for consumption. French firm Yes It Is is working hard to provide a continuous unbroken record of the environment surrounding these types of goods.

Traditionally the recording of environmental conditions is done by equipment installed in the building or the refrigerator. To match the data to a particular product means that the time in and out needs to be recorded so that relevant periods can be checked. Wouldn't it be better if the sensor was small enough and battery powered so that it could be packaged in with the product? There would then be a complete and unbroken record of the environmental conditions from production to use.

The folks at Yes It Is are working hard on this problem and are developing tags that have a year's worth of battery life, record the environmental data and can be scanned by a smartphone to retrieve the data. The plan is to have the tag small enough to fit in a label within a year!

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Get the Perfect Pint with HOPii Personal Micro-Brewery

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Get the Perfect Pint with HOPii Personal Micro-Brewery

2018-04-19

Microbrews and local brews have become a staple of restaurants and bars across the country. Wanting to get in on the action, many people have taken to trying their own craft beers at home. It is not, however, a hands-off process, meaning that the need for assistance is usually high, which is where homebrew technologies come in.

Enter the HOPii Personal Micro-Brewery, a device designed to help make sure your home brewing experience is the best it can be. If you are a novice beer brewer, you can use HOPii's self-guided option to receive the recipe, while the device does all of the work of brewing, monitoring and letting you know when the beer is perfect to drink.

If you're more experienced, you can use the "Brewer's Mode," which is designed to allow you to be in charge. You can pick your ingredients, design your recipe and then ferment your wort, dry hops, etc., to determine the exact taste you want. Once the beer is ready, HOPii can even bring the beer to the ideal temperature of your choosing.

The company is coming off of a $382,000 Kickstarter last year, and is currently taking pre-orders through Indiegogo InDemand. For $399, you'll receive a HOPii for 33% off (the retail price will be $600), with an estimated delivery of June 2018.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Brilliant New Sunglasses That Double as Headphones

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Brilliant New Sunglasses That Double as Headphones

2018-04-18

We all enjoy listening to music when we're on the go, but headphones an get so cumbersome and even earbuds can be uncomfortable - and both block out the world around you. Echo Music solves this problem with their MusicLens sunglasses that give you a stylish option to listen to your tunes.

MusicLens sunglasses let you listen to music through bone conduction technology. You don't have to wear headphones, and no one else will be able to hear that you are listening to music. Bone conduction technology is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull, which can protect your eardrums while you listen to high quality music. MusicLens sunglasses use this technology to reduce the sound leak you would get from headphones.

MusicLens connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, but unlike traditional Bluetooth headphones, the music can be stored right in the glasses. Download music from your phone, or from the Echo Music app, to the MusicLens sunglasses., and use the buttons to turn it on or off, to adjust the volume, or to have the Echo Music app autoplay. In addition, MusicLens will automatically take your phone call within five seconds.

There are several styles and colors of MusicLens to choose from. Pricing for MusicLens with prescription lenses is $88. Classic Ladies or Classic Mens styles are priced at $99. MusicLens Fashion style without storage is $120, or $199 with storage.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Be In the Know of Radiation Around You With the Amazing Rium

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Be In the Know of Radiation Around You With the Amazing Rium

2018-04-18

Geiger counters are great for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation but their biggest flaw is that they can't discriminate between the different types of radiation; alpha, beta or gamma. Icohup's Rium detector addresses this with a compact and stylishly wooden unit. Allante and Billy discuss the benefits of radiation detectors without mentioning a single nuclear disaster.

Winner of a CES Innovation award, Icohup's Rium uses scintillation spectrometry technology to not only detect levels of ionizing radiation but also the type. This means that the Rium can determine if the radioactivity is natural or industrial, or if it's a Cobalt, Uranium or Cesium source. The Rium unit is about the size of a packet of biscuits and is tastefully made of wood. Not sure if there's a scientific reason for this, though it looks good anyway, and the small size means that it can be carried by a drone to record radioactivity in potentially hazardous areas.

Data is collected and displayed by a nearby smartphone and with geotagging of the radiation information, maps can be built easily to show radiation hotspots. The data can be transferred either by Bluetooth or by USB. The Rium will be available shortly from Icohup for EUR399 (about $500).

The company is also currently in development of other detectors, such as carbon monoxide and radon gas, for future production.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Enjoy the Luxury of Music Your Way with Audioburst

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Enjoy the Luxury of Music Your Way with Audioburst

2018-04-18

If you have ever used a music streaming service you know that the suggestions are less than perfect. Spotify and similar services use the trends of all of their subscribers to recommend music. Obviously this isn't working.

Audioburst has a better way to offer you exactly what you want to listen to and play less of the kind of music you do not want to hear. In partnering with your streaming service, Audioburst is able to create a personal profile of your likes and dislikes. By combining your profile with Audioburst's searchable index of audio content, your favorite streaming service or smart speaker can provide you with custom playlists that are based on your interests.

Audioburst doesn't intend this to apply to just music. The technology can be applied to any type of audio, such as podcasts. Using the same personal profile, podcasts services might recommend other shows that you would like (and for once get it right).

This product is designed to be integrated into audio platforms and not to be seen by the consumer. The company is currently working to be included in as many platforms as possible.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad.

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HabitAware is Keen on Improving Your Mental Health

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HabitAware is Keen on Improving Your Mental Health

2018-04-09

All of us have some habit that is annoying, either to ourselves or to others. Some bite their nails, others crack their knuckles. Usually this is just a sign of stress or boredom, but for some with a mental health issue, it can be an indication of a problem. Unfortunately, most of us are completely unaware of when we are performing the action, as it happens outside of our consciousness.

HabitAware has created a product, the HabitAware Keen, to keep track of these habits and ticks to help identify when a mental health issue becomes a problem. Worn on the wrist, like a traditional fitness band, the Keen uses some of the same sensors to watch behavior.

Initially, you must train the device to know what behaviors to watch for, and how the wearer performs them. If your tick happens to be cracking your wrist, you would need to show the device the difference between that and writing with a pen. Once trained, Keen will vibrate when the action is detected again, alerting the wearer to the behavior. In the immediate future, the wearer will be reminded about the behavior, while in the long run, it will retrain the wearer not to perform the action at all.

The Keen bracelet is available now priced from $149.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Fibaro Gives You Access to The Button at Home

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Fibaro Gives You Access to The Button at Home

2018-04-09

There are a lot of contenders in the smarthome space, but one of the more established brands is Fibaro. The brand is a member of the Z-Wave Alliance, which means that their devices can work with other Z-Wave technologies. This year, the company is showing off upgraded models of their modules, which now support Apple HomeKit.

Fibaro is far from the first to support HomeKit, but the company takes a slightly different approach to smarthome, though, with product designs that are a bit more whimsical that your standard white boxes. Take, for example, the Wall Plug. It features the traditional remote switch with the addition of energy monitoring and a USB port. The design differentiator, though, is that the device comes with a glowing ring around the outside. This ring, while making the product look very different, it also gives you an idea as to how much power the plug is using.

Another example of the whimsical design is The Button. It does what you would expect - gives you the ability to create a panic scenario or a scene changer. In fact, there are 6 modes to the button: single through 5 press, as well as long-press. Again, the differentiator here is the very unique design. This small device comes in a variety of colors, some being very primary and bright. They are definitely not designed to blend into the room they are in.

The Wall Plug is available for $59, The Button is available for around $49, depending on the color, and additional Fibaro smarthome products are available for varying prices.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Improve Your Sleep with the RestOn and Nox Smart Devices

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Improve Your Sleep with the RestOn and Nox Smart Devices

2018-04-09

The importance of good sleep cannot be overstated. Without enough rest, the mind gets distracted, and you can be completely unproductive. With a continued lack of sleep, permanent damage can be done to your body and your mind. Sleepace has a solution to continued poor sleep: The Dream Life system.

The first product in the Dream Life system is the RestOn smart sleep monitor. Unlike most sleep trackers, this one is not worn on your wrist but instead runs the width of your bed under the sheets. This method makes it far more convenient, as you'll never have to charge it, since it can stay plugged in. RestOn is not the first of its kind, but it does offer a very nice unique feature: smart start. You don't need to launch the app and let it know you're going to bed; instead, it recognizes the behavior and starts on its own.

Another interesting product is the Nox Smart Sleep Light. This light can be set to specific colors for night and morning, can be paired with other sensors to make decisions or can mimic the natural light outdoors. The outdoor syncing means that as the sun sets, the room can go from bright to orange to red; as the sun rises, it reverses this pattern. Using Nox as part of an "alarm clock" system, you can wake up more calmly in a natural manner.

Another entry in the family is the Nox Aroma device. This product combines all of the great features of the Nox Smart Sleep Light with additional aromatherapy capabilities. This means that you can fall asleep to light and scent that is relaxing, or use light and scent to wake up, rather than a loud alarm.

The RestOn Z200 smart sleep monitor is available now for $149 and the Nox Smart Sleep Light is available for $149. The Nox Aroma will be available soon, as well as an upgrade to the RestOn, the Z400T.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Eco-Popper Provides a Breathtaking View of the Deep Blue

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Eco-Popper Provides a Breathtaking View of the Deep Blue

2018-04-08

Over 30 million Americans go fishing on a regular basis. Many anglers prefer to use artificial lures to live bait, including those who participate in fishing competitions where live bait is often prohibited. While the quality of artificial lures has increased over the years, it has not really added a lot of assistance to the angler. Econet has set out to change that with the Eco-Popper.

Unlike traditional lures, the Eco-Popper has a computer built-in, allowing it to send information back to the angler. Combined with the integrated camera, the device has the ability to send images and video back to the surface, allowing the user to see exactly what is happening underwater. While in range, the device can even send live video for faster decision-making.

Other sensors allow for the analysis of the water itself. You can tell the temperature and salinity of the water, so you can know if the fish you are looking for would be currently avoiding the area for those reasons. After the battle, you can even share the information you collected through the platform, or share the photos and videos online.

Various models of the Eco-Popper are available for pre-order.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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REM-Fit's ZEEQ is the Perfect Pillow for a Better Sleep

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REM-Fit's ZEEQ is the Perfect Pillow for a Better Sleep

2018-04-08

The importance of good sleep cannot be overstated. Without enough rest, the mind gets distracted, and you can be completely unproductive. With a continued lack of sleep, permanent damage can be done to your body and your mind. REM-Fit recognizes the importance of sleep and has created the ZEEQ Smart Pillow to help make your sleep better.

For starters, the ZEEQ has a pillow speaker embedded into it, so you can listen to music, nature sounds or even white noise to help you fall asleep faster. Once you're asleep, the ZEEQ will analyze your sleep patterns and grade your sleep. Using either Apple's HealthKit or Google Fit, you can view your pattern and score to see if you are getting the amount of sleep you think.

ZEEQ can also help your partner to sleep better. The ZEEQ has a microphone built-in that is specifically tuned to hear if you begin to snore. If you do, the pillow will gently vibrate, which should encourage you to shift positions, hopefully ending the snoring. Your partner will appreciate this feature almost as much as you appreciate the statistics.

The ZEEQ Smart pillow is available now from various sources.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad.

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Easily Summon Alexa or Siri From the Shower or On-the-Go

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Easily Summon Alexa or Siri From the Shower or On-the-Go

2018-04-08

In the last few years, the rise of digital assistants has changed the face of technology. Rather than always having to hold your device, you can simply speak towards it and receive some of the information you desire. You can check the weather, the traffic or have your text messages read to you. Of course, you're not always in a great environment to summon your assistant of choice.

Whether you're out for a run or in your car, Jinni is the portable solution for accessing your assistant. The device can be clipped onto your clothes, attached to your keys or placed somewhere more permanent, like in the car. Simply touch a button and call your assistant. If you receive a text message, it will be read aloud. You can easily control your phone, your home or your information consumption all with this simple device.

In addition to being a summoning button for your assistant, Jinni can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker. The device is waterproof, so you can even bring it into the shower to listen to music, and still keep all of the additional features of the device.

PH Technical Labs is hoping to release Jinni in the second quarter of 2018.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad.

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LIVALL Helps Keep Your Hands on Your Bike and Your Eyes on the Road

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LIVALL Helps Keep Your Hands on Your Bike and Your Eyes on the Road

2018-04-06

People who ride their bikes on the street must share the road with cars and follow the rules of the road. This means signaling for turns, just like a car, but without the convenience of turn signals. LIVALL has created a product, the Helmetphone, which protects your head and keeps your hands on your bicycle. This helmet has turn signals built into the sides and back, making your intentions known to drivers around you, with controls on your handlebars, leaving you in control of the vehicle.

In addition to the convenience and safety of turn indicators, the product also has a myriad of other convenience and safety features. For example, it includes a hands-free phone system, including speakers and a microphone, to allow the rider to make and receive phone calls without the need to interact with their phone. Once again, this keep your hands on the bicycle and eyes on the road.

If you are in near proximity to the recipient, you can also use the built-in 2-way radio to communicate with another party, using the same speakers and microphone. You can also use the speakers to listen to music right in the helmet. All of these features take advantage of the handlebar controller to interact with the helmet.

There's a lot to like about the Helmetphone, but possibly the best feature is the built-in SOS capability. If the helmet detects a fall, it can automatically send a message to a contact chosen as your emergency contact, letting them know that something might be wrong. The contact can then decide how to proceed.

The Helmetphone and other LIVALL smart helmets are available now, starting at $129.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad.

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Mia Helps Make You a Better Parent

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Mia Helps Make You a Better Parent

2018-04-06

New parents have a lot of stress and it can be difficult to know if you are doing the best thing for your baby. How much should you feed your baby? Are you overfeeding? Has your baby's caregiver fed him or her while you are working? BlueSmart can provide the answer to these questions with a product that is easy for everyone to use. BlueSmart Mia helps make you a better parent.

The Mia is a sleeve, made from the material used for pacifiers making it easily washable, that can fit over any bottle. Using technology, hidden at the bottom of the product, the Mia can help keep track of when your baby has been fed and how much.

Mia connects to a phone app through Wi-Fi, meaning the phone does not need to be close to sync the data. It keeps track of when the baby was fed and how many ounces the baby drank. The app can be used to keep track of your baby's milestones, height, weight, diaper changes and much more. Share the information in the app with caregivers, family members and your pediatrician.

Mia is on the market now and is priced at $149.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad.

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Aveine: Breath of the Wine

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Aveine: Breath of the Wine

2018-04-06

As serious wine connoisseurs know, you have to let red (and some white) wines breathe after opening, allowing them to aerate for the best aroma and taste. As a generalization, the younger the wine, the longer it needs to rest before drinking. Very young wines might need a few hours, but half-an-hour is the minimum. Simply taking the cork out doesn't count: the wine needs to be decanted (or double-decanted back into the bottle) for proper aeration. If this sounds like too much effort, then take a look at Aveine, a connected aerator and winner of a CES Innovation Award. Don and Matthieu get every wine tasting its best.

Thanks to the connected aerator Aveine, you can immediately taste any wine in ideal conditions without having to wait 30 minutes or more. Place the aerator on the bottle, scan the label with your smartphone and serve. The smartphone checks for the wine in its database, connects to the Aveine and adjusts the aeration so that the aerator breathes the right amount of air as the wine is poured allowing it to breathe in an instant. Any red wine will benefit and there's no waiting around or pouring into decanters.

The Aveine aerator is launching on Indiegogo in March - signup for notifications at Aveine. Retail pricing is expected to be $200 with deals on Indiegogo. Delivery in June.

P.S. This is possibly the funniest CES video - a few things are lost in translation.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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KODAK PIXPRO Showcases Next Generation Cameras

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KODAK PIXPRO Showcases Next Generation Cameras

2018-04-05

When you think of cameras, KODAK is likely one of the first brands that comes to mind. They have a long history of providing innovative cameras for professionals and hobbyists. KODAK PIXPRO showcased several of their next generation cameras at CES 2018. Todd spoke with Tracy from KODAK PIXPRO about their digital cameras. The cameras they showcased offer a lot of technology for a great value.

KODAK PIXPRO Orbit360 4K VR camera has a single body with two lenses on it. It is compact, freeze proof, dust proof, shock proof and can be dropped six feet and still be ok. In addition to being a 360 camera, it is also a 4K 197 degrees of view camera that can be used as an action cam. You can upload 360° videos and photos to Facebook and YouTube. Camera packs are offered with a variety of included accessories, and are available starting at $499.

In addition, Tracy pointed out the features of several other KODAK PIXPRO cameras. This includes an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera, the newest Astro Zoom bridge model with a 102x zoom, and a professional action cam.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Barclays Contactless Payment Possibilities

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Barclays Contactless Payment Possibilities

2018-04-05

In the United States, many people make purchases with their credit card, though contactless payment is growing in popularity, in the US and abroad. Barclays has a mantra - to give its customers a choice about ways to pay. The choices include contactless payment via a chip that is located inside a common object.

Todd spoke with Adam from Barclays at CES 2018. Barclays Bank has always been at the pioneering end of innovation. They are integrating contactless payments into normal form factors. Barclays has the smallest contactless payment card on the market. They use it to make non-smart devices smart.

The Barclays contactless payment card is small enough to be integrated into items you already use, such as fitness bands, watches, vehicle key fobs or jewelry. Companies who make those items partner with Barclays, and the result is that people can make small contactless payments with these items without having to enter a PIN.

Barclays contactless payment option is currently available in the United Kingdom. It is not yet available in the United States.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Wiidii is the First Hybrid Personal Assistant

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Wiidii is the First Hybrid Personal Assistant

2018-04-05

Personal digital assistants are useful, but they have their limits. For example, some have difficulty understanding a person who has an accent. There are tasks that personal assistants are simply not ready to do yet. This can lead to frustration. Wiidii solves this problem with the first hybrid personal assistant.

Todd spoke with Anissa from Wiidii at CES 2018. Wiidii (pronounced "weedy") is a personal hybrid assistant. It is an application on your phone that combines an artificial intelligence with human personal assistance. Wiidii has a machine that is able to understand human language in a way that most other assistants cannot. No matter how you ask a question, the way you talk or the accent you have, Wiidii is going to understand what you are asking. The machine personal assistant knows its limitations and is able to turn your request over to a human personal assistant who can complete tasks such as making a dinner reservation at a restaurant for you.

Wiidii currently understands French, English, Chinese Mandarin, German and Spanish. Wiidii sells their service to partner companies who either use it internally or sell it as a service to their customers or providers. The service is not directly available to individual consumers.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Hopen Family Bridges Generations and Distance

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Hopen Family Bridges Generations and Distance

2018-04-04

Today, families stay connected to each other through smartphones and the internet. We post family photos and videos on social media websites, and our family members who live far away can see it. Grandparents who don't use the internet or a smartphone miss these moments. Hopen Family has a solution that will bring grandparents back into the center of the family.

Todd spoke with Nelly from Hopen Family at CES 2018. They created a smart device that bridges generations and distance. Plug the Hopen Family smart key into your grandparent's TV and you can send photos, videos and short messages to their TV.

Your grandparent can view and watch those photos and videos right from their TV. The content will scroll for them, or the grandparent can control the device with a TV remote - which they already know how to use. This makes it extremely easy for older family members, who are not internet savvy, to stay connected to the rest of their family.

The Hopen Family smart key can connect through Wi-Fi (or 3G in some countries). In the United States, it is priced at $79. Hopen Family offers three service plans: Discovery, Family, and Tribe. Visit their website for more details about each plan.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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One61 Studio Superhero Smartwatches

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One61 Studio Superhero Smartwatches

2018-04-04

Smartwatches have become popular. There are several brands and styles that you can purchase, based on your personal style and preferences. One61 Studio makes superhero smartwatches that geeks will find appealing. Todd spoke with Anand from Know Things at CES 2018. Know Things builds development tools that accelerate IoT and connected devices development. They partnered with One61 Studio to help them solve problems that developers face while creating a smart product.

One61 Studio has created a superhero smartwatch line. They started with the Batman smartwatch, which is based on the Batman played by Adam West in the '60s. The Batman smartwatch can be used to take calls, get text messages and everything else you expect from a smartwatch. Know Things managed the Bluetooth layer to extend battery life, so you get 18 to 24 hours of battery even while actually using it. In addition, they added some gamification. They call the Step Counter "Crime Fighting". Take a certain number of steps, and the first villain Batman catches is The Joker.

The Batman smartwatch is available now for $125, and a smartwatch based on The Flash is also available now at $125. The Wonder Woman smartwatch will become available in April for $150, which will be a round smartwatch that includes heartbeat detection (which is not a feature of the square smartwatches.)

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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U-Finder Professional Smart Home System

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U-Finder Professional Smart Home System

2018-04-04

There are plenty of smarthome devices on the market to choose from. The difficult part is getting everything to work together in your smart home. U-Finder provides a solution to this problem. They have a professional smarthome system.

Todd spoke with Mark from U-Finder at CES 2018. U-Finder Technology Limited focuses on smarthome automation. Their smarthome product is called the U-Finder System. It can be used by hotels, offices, nursing homes and in the homes of individuals and families. U-Finder helps you create a smart new life.

The U-Finder smarthome solution is completely modular and easy to set up. It is ready for plug-and-play not only in new environments but also in existing buildings. In addition to the professional smarthome system, U-Finder has over 200 products that can become part of that system.

U-Finder's newest smarthome solution makes use of 3D and VR technology. Use their app to turn on your lights by touching the light in the app. You can also turn products off or on by voice command.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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The Turtles are Back with Root Robotics

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The Turtles are Back with Root Robotics

2018-04-03

If you're from England, or a fan of old BBC series, the Root Robotics turtle might transport you to the early 80s, remembering the BBC Micro 'B', Logo and Turtle. While the user interface is definitely better, the patterns on the paper look just the same! To be fair to Raphael and Root Robotics, their turtle does do a bit more - it has over 50 sensors and actuators.

Root's approach is to use the robot as a fun way to introduce coding to children and young adults. The coding environment has three modes, with simplest using big colourful blocks, through to the most complex which uses Swift, Python and JavaScript. The robot itself retains the pen for drawing patterns but today's turtles are magnetic for sticking to white boards and have a dry eraser to wipe off pen trails. The robot has over 50 sensors and actuators so it can move and draw, but it can also sense touch, measure light levels and feel edges and walls. It'll play music, respond to button presses and flash lights. Very impressive.

The Root robot will be shipping in June 2018 for $199. Pre-orders are open.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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WooHoo Next Generation of Smart AI Assistants

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WooHoo Next Generation of Smart AI Assistants

2018-04-03

There are a variety of hubs on the market for people who have smarthomes. Those hubs are specialized to coordinate with the products that make up your IoT. You need another device if you want to make use of a digital assistant, a smartphone for calls and a computer for games and music. SmartBeings puts all this together - and more - in WooHoo.

Don spoke with Joe from SmartBeings at CES 2018. WooHoo is the first truly artificial intelligence smarthome hub; it is the next generation of AI assistants. The device can identify users by facial recognitions through its HD cameras, and through voice authentication based on voice print. This allows WooHoo to differentiate between users.

The camera has motion sensors that will allow it to turn 360° to face a user that is behind it. It also has an infrared camera inside it for low light situations. The devices knows who you are based on information stored within the device.

WooHoo also has a smart hub inside it what has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigby and Z-Wave, as well as 4G LTE. You can hook up your HDMI TV to WooHoo. It is also possible to surf the internet on Woohoo. You can communicate with WooHoo verbally (like you would with other digital assistants), through its dashboard or with a gesture.

WooHoo will be on the market in April of 2018. You will be able to purchase it through most phone companies.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Track Time with TimeFlip

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Track Time with TimeFlip

2018-04-03

The nature of work today is often one of multi-tasking. An hour on this project, a teleconference with some clients, a few hours on a proposal and by the time it gets to the end of the day, it's tricky to get the billable time down. TimeFlip have a simple and effective answer to this in the shape of a large gaming dice. Todd and Ilya spend some time understanding the solution.

The TimeFlip is a dodecahedron (12 sided object) about the size of a coffee mug. The shape is hollow and has a Bluetooth-enabled circuit board inside which is designed to determine which side is facing up. On the sides of the dice are symbols or words representing work activities. To accurately record time spent on a project, it's simply a case of making sure that the particular activity is uppermost. At the end of the day, sync via Bluetooth to the TimeFlip app for a complete record of work activities and durations.

Aiming at both B2C and B2B, the TimeFlip can come in a couple of different polyhedrons, and there are versions available for download and 3D printing. The TimeFlip CRAFT is available from TimeFlip for $49 and the TimeFlip MAGNET is available from TimeFlip or Amazon for $59.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Feel the Heat with Vortx from Whirlwind FX

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Feel the Heat with Vortx from Whirlwind FX

2018-04-01

The gaming experience has steadily improved since Pong. Each generation of console and processor brings more detailed graphics, faster framerates, improved sound, force feedback vibration, virtual reality, augmented reality and more. They're all designed to make games more immersive and realistic without actually injuring the player. The latest addition to the gaming word is Vortx from Whirlwind FX: Todd takes the heat with Timothy, Founder and CEO.

The Vortx brings greater realism to the player by blowing hot and cold air in response to on-screen action. Imagine a demon throwing fireballs: as the player dodges a fireball, the Vortx blasts hot breath at the player as the ball slips past. Or imagine an adventure game, climbing through frozen mountains: the Vortx chills the air as the player climbs higher. It's impressive.

About the size of a desktop speaker (9" tall), the Vortx connects to a PC via USB and works with the Whirlwind FX engine. It uses object recognition and analysis to automatically trigger heat or cold, so Vortx can be used with any PC game without modification.

The Vortx is available for pre-order now at $119, with shipping expected soon.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Get Smappee for Energy Efficiency

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Get Smappee for Energy Efficiency

2018-04-01

The efficient use of electricity is a win-win: it both saves money and saves the planet. At home, energy-efficient LED lightbulbs have all but replaced incandescent bulbs, which means the quick wins are gone. The next step is to identify the big energy consumers in the home and that's where Smappee comes in. Stefan and Don save the world.

Smappee is an energy monitoring system that identifies the energy usage and behaviour of major appliances in the home. Each fridge, AC unit, cooker, TV has a unique electrical "fingerprint" and over time the Smappee monitor works out which appliance is starting and stopping, sometimes with a little help from the homeowner. With this information, Smappee shows the running cost of each one in the complementary Smappee app. Anything that consumes more than 20W can be identified but really the wins are with devices that use kilowatts of power.

Smappee doesn't require an electrician to install Smappee as it uses a sensor clamped round the live cable coming from the meter. Nothing needs to be cut or permanently installed.

Smappee Home is available now for $250 and the Smappee Solar is available for $350.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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InvizBox Simplifies Online Privacy and Security

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InvizBox Simplifies Online Privacy and Security

2018-04-01

People want to protect their privacy online, but some are not certain about how to do that. Others might know how to do it, but the process can be tedious and time consuming. InvizBox makes a variety of products to help people keep their privacy online.

Don spoke with Paul from InvizBox at CES 2018. InvizBox makes products that are easy to use for cyber security and privacy protection. Connect your phone, laptop or other device to any InvizBox product over Wi-Fi and all your internet traffic is encrypted before it is sent across the internet. InvizBox will take care of the rest.

InvizBox Go can be used at home, abroad or on public Wi-Fi anywhere in the world. In addition to functioning as a VPN, an ad blocker and a Wi-Fi hotspot extender, it also functions as a power bank so you can charge your phone. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox Pro connect to your home router. Simply connect your laptop, phone, smart TV and other devices over Wi-Fi or a wired connection and all of your internet traffic will be encrypted.

InvizBox Go is available now. The price ranges from $199 to $279 depending on how many months of VPN you want to purchase. InvizBox 2 is priced at $149, and InvizBox 2 Pro is priced art $219. Each comes with 12 months of VPN. It is estimated that those products will start shipping in April of 2018.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Romy Paris Formulator Keeps Your Skin Healthy

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Romy Paris Formulator Keeps Your Skin Healthy

2018-03-31

People who want to have a healthy lifestyle might change their diet or increase the amount of time they spend exercising. Romy Paris helps you extend your health awareness to your skin with a cosmetic formulator called Figure.

Don spoke with Ann from Romy Paris at CES 2018. The Romy Paris Figure is a personal cosmetics lab that creates your own healthy, fresh and personalized skin care. You can place it in your bathroom and it connects to the Romy App, which analyzes data relating to your environment and recommends the care that best meets your skins needs in real time. The Romy App can be downloaded for free.

The Romy App identifies the best Romy Paris capsules to add to your formulator for a fresh, tailor-made, healthy skincare product in just a few seconds. The Figure formulator can be used by women or men.

Figure is priced at €890. It comes with primary face care, washing solution, and each of the ten active ingredients. Each package of capsules costs between €12 and €15 and includes ten capsules.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Otodo Simplifies Your Home IoT

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Otodo Simplifies Your Home IoT

2018-03-31

The IoT devices you have in your home are designed to make your life easier, but connecting them all together can be very complex. Products from one company might not work well with products from another. Otodo simplifies your IoT with their smarthome solution.

Don spoke with Eric from Otodo at CES 2018. The Otodo smarthome solution uses two products: the Otodo One and the Ugo. The Otodo One is a hub that allows you to manage many commercial connected objects, and also older remote controlled devices (such as lamps and thermostats) from different brands. It functions as the bridge between your internet provider and all your home IoT objects.

The Ugo is an aesthetically pleasing smart pebble remote that helps you to interact with all your connected devices at home. The Ugo stays in your house (you may want to put near your door). Use the app to pre-program a specific location and associate it with one IoT device (for example, a light). Pick up the Ugo pebble and tap it twice on that location and the light will come on.

The Ugo pebble can only be used by the people in your family, but the Ugo will not function if an unidentified person picks it up. It is very specific, so you won't have to worry about accidentally turning off your neighbor's lights.

Otodo is expecting to have these products in the United States later this year. Otodo One will be priced at approximately $30 to $40. Ugo will be priced at $69.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Nomadeec Brings Mobile Telemedicine Platform to CES 2018

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Nomadeec Brings Mobile Telemedicine Platform to CES 2018

2018-03-31

When a person becomes injured, or gets very sick, they need to see a doctor. This might involve an expensive ride in an ambulance and a big bill to pay. A person who lives in a rural area might not have a local doctor. Telemedicine is a way for a remote patient to be assessed by a physician. Nomadeec has created a solution that is the future of telemedicine.

Don spoke with John from Nomadeec at CES 2018. Nomadeec is the first integrated, connected and mobile solution for clinical examination for all field practitioners. They are based in France, where their system is already being used. Nomadeec will arrive in the United States in the beginning of 2019.

John explained how the Nomadic solution works. A person requires medical attention. An EMT is sent out. The EMT is wearing a specialized headset that has holographic functionalities and video conferencing. The headset is hands free, which allows the EMT to keep their eyes on the patient. Everything that the EMT sees is sent to a physician - who is not at the scene. The patient receives an expert opinion on their medical situation.

Nomadeec works in a business to business capacity. Their entire platform is $15,000.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Kingston Encrypted USB Drives

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Kingston Encrypted USB Drives

2018-03-30

What's on your USB drive? You might have a mixture of work related information, personal photos and other things that you wouldn't want to get into the wrong hands. USB drives are small, and that makes them easy to lose. Kingston Technologies offers encrypted USB drives that can help keep your data secure.

Don spoke with Ruben from Kingston Technologies at CES 2018. Ruben brought several encrypted USB drives that showcase Kingston's latest technology. Some are designed for individuals to use, while others provide the enhanced security that is needed by the government, corporations and financial institutions.

Kingston's encrypted USB drives require the user to put in a password before they can access the data that is on the drive. The DataTraveler 200 has buttons on the USB drive that you use to enter your password. Put the DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 encrypted USB drive into a computer, and it will immediately put up a window and ask for the password.

All of Kingston's USB drives have hardware based encryption. The board is dipped in epoxy before it is put in the case. The higher end USB drives also have the case filled with epoxy. All of Kingston's products have brute force protection. If you enter the password more than 10 times incorrectly, it is going to wipe the drive clean.

The retail price of encrypted USB drives range between $40 and up to $600.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Panasonic HomeHawk Smart Home Monitoring Camera

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Panasonic HomeHawk Smart Home Monitoring Camera

2018-03-30

Cameras offer a level of home protection that many people find comforting. Outdoor cameras can show you who is at your door, who has been in your yard and if your package has arrived. Panasonic offers a line of smarthome connected security cameras called HomeHawk, that provide safety and peace of mind.

Don spoke with Etsuko from Panasonic at CES 2018, where they discussed Panasonic's HomeHawk line of outdoor cameras. One model is a dedicated front door camera with a very wide view. Another is a small outdoor camera which you can place wherever you need it. The cameras are powered by batteries that last an average of three to four months (assuming you record two minutes per day).

These HD cameras are weather resistant and have LED lighting. They offer a super wide view in full color during the day and in color night vision when it is dark outside. The front door camera allows for 2-way talk, which means you can speak with delivery person - or dissuade a thief from stealing your package.

A starter kit, which offers the recorder, a front door camera and an accessory camera is currently available for $399, with other configurations available as well, and additional peripheral cameras run $179.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Ozobot Teaches Kids to Code

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Ozobot Teaches Kids to Code

2018-03-30

Ozobot is on a mission to prepare kids for the future with the ability to collaborate with and control robots. They believe that, in the future,robots will be a huge part of almost every profession. Ozobot has created a fun way to teach kids how to write code that will make a pocket-sized robot do something. Creativity is encouraged. Don spoke with Joby from Ozobot at CES 2018. Joby demonstrated some of the things that the Evo robot can do.

Each Evo has optical sensors and, right out of the box, without being app-connected, a child can start playing with Evo. First, a child draws a line on a regular piece of paper with a marker and Evo will follow it, no matter the line that is drawn. Kids can learn some simple programming skills by creating a line that includes colored dot sequences that tell Evo how to move. In addition, Evo can be used to make music or to play games. The little robot can follow your finger around, and can even play an "Escape" game where it tries to avoid your hands.

In addition to the robot, Ozobot gives kids the codes for all of Evos tricks and encourages them to hack it. They can earn points by making Evo do different things and the points can be used to buy avatars.

Evo is available now from Amazon and the Ozobot website. It costs around $90 and comes in Crystal White or Titanium Black, or in special edition Iron Man or Captain America pack. Evo comes with instruction cards, markers, a free iOS/Android app, and access to OzoBlockly Programming.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Synapse Innovation Summit 2018

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Synapse Innovation Summit 2018

2018-03-28

This week, we're at the Synapse Innovation Summit Tampa Bay 2018. We are located in the STEM Pavilion at Amalie Arena where we get the opportunity to speak to a variety of makers, ranging from renewable streetlights to 3D printed rockets.

Lululab Brought LUMINI AI Skincare Assistant to CES 2018

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Lululab Brought LUMINI AI Skincare Assistant to CES 2018

2018-03-26

Skincare is very personalized. We all have different skin problems, and each requires an individualized solution. Lululabs created LUMINI, an AI skincare assistant, that can scan your skin and identify your skincare needs. Don spoke with Yougjoon from Lululab, a spinoff from Samsung Electronics, at CES 2018. The signature product of Lululab is the LUMINI AI skincare system. It is composed of two things: hardware, and software. There is a three step process: scanning, analyzing and recommendations.

The hardware can scan a person's entire face in five seconds. After the scanning, it will analyze up to the inner skin. It examines a person's skin and focuses on pores, wrinkles, acne, sebum, melasma, and redness. Based on the analysis, it will recommend the best possible skin solution for each user. All of this information, including detailed images of a person's skin problems, can be viewed on an app. Lululab licenses its LUMINI AI skincare assistant to businesses (such as cosmetic companies and dermatologists) at a monthly fee of $150.

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Azur Drones Spy in the Sky

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Azur Drones Spy in the Sky

2018-03-26

Up to now, drones have been little more than toys and camera platforms, promising much but delivering little. Working with Directorate General for Civil Aviation, Azure Drones' Skeyetech provides "100% autonomous and 24/7 operational drones" as a "security drone solution." Antoine and Todd talk about the new security guard.

A market leader in France, Azur Drones has developed an airborne surveillance system for the remote monitoring of industrial properties. The system, called Skeyetech, is composed of a smart drone equipped with HD and thermal cameras, and a smart (weather) station which recharges the drones, monitors the weather and provides protection for the craft. Skeyetech drones can be programmed and undertake automated flights, before accurately landing on their docking stations to be recharged.

The docking stations aren't just power outlets, but relay instructions and information from the drones. Consequently, the drones can be controlled remotely making them capable of operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without any human intervention. It comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional video surveillance. Technically, the drones can fly for 35 minutes before needing recharged for 30 minutes. Top speed is 50 mph and they're waterproof to IP56. The drones can be configured to patrol premises on a regular basis, or respond to alerts generated by motion sensors.

This isn't the kind of drone found on the shelves of Best Buy or Fry's. Interested parties will need upwards of $100,000.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Clazio Spark Shows Off

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Clazio Spark Shows Off

2018-03-26

The Amazon Echo Show might be getting all the headlines, but it's not the only show in town. Here we have the Clazio Spark, the most powerful smart speaker on the market - it's a mini-media center with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Todd and Dake discuss getting the right color for the rear of the device.

Previously known as Clarity, the Clazio Spark is an all-in-one smart speaker that combines a 7" Android Nougat tablet with a professionally developed speaker and both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice services. The HD screen (1920 x 1200) is set into a retro-modern design and, when combined with a 4K HDMI out, creates a lovely media center that can play music, show films and make video calls. If you can do it with an Android tablet, you can do it on the Spark, with the additional benefit of Alexa.

The Spark isn't tied to a power cable, as the 4,800 mAh battery gives around 5 hours of music and about half that for video. There's a 5 MP front facing camera for video calls and a microSD card slot for more storage. Is there anything the Spark can't do?

After successfully crowdfunding on Indiegogo in early 2017, the Spark is preparing to go into retail with an expected price of $269. You can still contribute to the Indiegogo campaign with "pre-orders" to get some good deals but the usual caveats regarding crowdfunding apply.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Marvel-lous Massage Chairs

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Marvel-lous Massage Chairs

2018-03-25

There are massage chairs and then there are BodyFriend massage chairs. With these chairs, it's not so much getting a gentle pummeling from a recliner as putting on Iron Man's exoskeleton with Jarvis as your masseur. Todd gets a sensational experience with Roy.

The premium BodyFriend chairs provide full body massage including shoulders, arms, waist, legs and feet, with more than a dozen massage modes (depending on model) including brain concentration and digestive massage. The brain massage uses sound waves to soothe the grey matter. There's built-in heating, stereo speakers and Bluetooth.

Most recently, BodyFriend has partnered with Lamborghini for a new chair which is expected to ship in spring 2018. Other BodyFriend chairs are on sale now in the US with prices from $5,000 to $9,000.

BodyFriend have partnered with Marvel for themed hugchairs including Spider-Man and Captain America. Priced at $1,580, these are aimed at children and grown-up kids while providing a massage experience in a smaller, friendlier chair.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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OrCam MyEye 2.0 Discretely Reads Text

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OrCam MyEye 2.0 Discretely Reads Text

2018-03-25

OrCam has a mission to help blind and visually impaired people achieve increased independence. The OrCam MyeEye 2.0 can discretely read text to a person who is wearing the device. Todd spoke with Rafi from Orcam Technologies at CES 2018. Rafi gave a demonstration that shows the range of useful things that the Orcam MyEye 2.0 can do. OrCam 2.0 is the world's most advanced artificial vision device designed to help people who are blind, partially sighted, or who have reading difficulties.

The device attaches to the arm on the frame of a pair of glasses. The front of the device has a camera and a light and the back has a small speaker. OrCam takes a photo of text from any device or surface, converts it to audio, and discretely relays that information to the wearer of the device. OrCam 2.0 can also recognize people's faces, identify products by their bar codes, identify colors and discern denominations of money notes. It can also tell the user the time and date.

OrCam 2.0 is available now from the OrCam website for $4,500. You can request a free trial of OrCam by filling out a form on the OrCam website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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GoBe2 is the Only Complete Smart-Life Band

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GoBe2 is the Only Complete Smart-Life Band

2018-03-25

Many people find it difficult to lose weight. Counting calories is tedious and you might make mistakes with your math. The amount of calories you consume does play a part in weight gain, but there are other pieces to the puzzle that you may be unaware of. Healbe solves these problems with its GoBe2 - the only complete smart-life band.

Todd spoke with Artem from Healbe at CES 2018. The GoBe2 smart band can automatically measure the calories that you consume, but it also keeps track of your hydration, your activity level and how much sleep you had. Together, all of those factors play a role in weight loss or weight gain. The GoBe2 has an accuracy rate of 85%.

The GoBe2 app can show you your data; at a glance, you can see how many calories you consumed and compare that with how many calories you burned. The goal is to have a negative number at the end of the day. The GoBe2 makes it easier for you to reach your weight loss goals. The GoBe2 is available on Amazon and is priced at $199.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con 2018

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Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con 2018

2018-03-24

This week, we are at Gulf Coast Maker and Comic Con 2018. We'll bring you artists, cosplayers, craftsman and more during our 4 hours at the show.

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Oblend is World's First Home Dispensary

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Oblend is World's First Home Dispensary

2018-03-22

Today, many people use essential oils as part of their management of a variety of health conditions. Every person is different, and that means what works well for one person might not be the best choice for someone else. Oblend gives people the power to make their own, customized, blend of essential oils. Todd spoke with Nicole from Altoba, where she pointed out all the things that the Oblend device can do. Oblend gives people the power to create a variety of healthy products that include essential oils and botanical oils. Oblend can create vapes, tinctures, culinary oils, massage oils, lotions, drinks, aromatherapies and supplements.

Use the Oblend app to find a recipe that you want to try. You can search the app for specific medical conditions or issues. Select a recipe, and Oblend can blend it for you. The unique thing about Oblend is that you can customize and make your own individual recipes, then save the recipe on the app so you can use it again. If you like, you can share your recipe with the Oblend community.

The Oblend device comes with 24 pre-filled essential oil cartridges that consumers can use to make hundreds of essential oil blends. People who have a specific health related issues may want to purchase additional cartridges of the essential oils they find to be helpful for them.

The list price for Oblend is $949 (which includes the 24 cartridges), though the company does offer discounts and promotions. Those who are interested can enter their first and last name and their email address on the Oblend website to be notified when the Oblend pre-sale begins.

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IoT M2M Council Proves the Business Case for the Internet of Things

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IoT M2M Council Proves the Business Case for the Internet of Things

2018-03-22

When people say IoT, they are often thinking about the devices that they use in their smarthome ecosystem. People tend to overlook the other aspects of IoT, including the businesses that are involved in it.

Todd spoke with Keith from the IoT M2M Council. They are a non-commercial trade association that is based in London. The association has 25,000 rank and file members in 24 markets, with 300 new members joining every week. Their mission is to prove the business case for IoT by bringing buyers and sellers together in creative ways. IoT stands for Internet of Things. M2M stands for Machine for Machine. The IoT M2M Council uses those terms interchangeably.

Keith pointed out the industrial side of IoT, which has the potential to really change people's lives in regard to IoT devices. He sees system-level changes happening over time with important things that have a big impact on a person's day to day life. These changes could involve water supply, power grids, the health care sector and more.

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B.One Hub Simplifies Your Daily Living

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B.One Hub Simplifies Your Daily Living

2018-03-22

Smarthomes can make your life a little easier because they allow you to do things through an app instead of manually. But problems happen when the devices in your IoT ecosystem are not all part of the same system. This could result in multiple hubs in your home, with a separate app for each of them. B.One Hub simplifies your daily living with one hub that can control all IoT products.

Todd spoke with Sridhar from Blaze Automation at CES 2018. The B.One Hub is a multi-protocol gateway, which combines Z-Wave, Zigby, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and more, which means that B.One Hub can replace all your other hubs. The B.One Hub also has IFTTT (If This Then That) protocol, which means you are less dependent on the internet. If your internet goes out, you can still control your devices through the B.One Hub.

With the B.One Hub, you can control different devices, with different protocols, with one action. B.One Hub is currently on the market in Australia and Japan. It will be coming to the U.S. market by March of 2018 and will be priced at $199 USD.

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Z-Wave Powers the Internet of Things

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Z-Wave Powers the Internet of Things

2018-03-21

The products that are a part of your smart home ecosystem can connect to each other and work together. How does that happen? The simple answer to that question is Z-Wave.

Todd spoke with Mitch from Z-Wave Alliance at CES 2018. Mitch gives an easy to understand explanation of what Z-Wave is and what it does. The internet of Things (IoT) is powered in part by Z-Wave. Consumers can look for products that have a little Z-Wave logo on them, which means that the product is going to work with all your other IoT stuff.

In addition to explaining what Z-Wave is, Mitch and Todd discuss some of the ways it is currently being used. They also talk about how Z-Wave might influence products in the future.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Ovie Smart Food Storage

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Ovie Smart Food Storage

2018-03-21

Are you sure those leftovers are still safe to eat? You may have forgotten how long the food has been in the refrigerator. This causes us to throw away food - that might still be good - because we are afraid of getting sick from it. Ovie solves this problem with their smart food storage products.

Todd spoke with Stacie from Ovie at CES 2018. Ovie created Smarterware: smart food storage that is designed to help you track, remember and use the food that is in your fridge before it goes bad. It is a system of smart tags, containers, clips and bands.

Put the tag on your food container and push a button. Tell your favorite digital assistant (Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri) to tell Ovie what is in the container. This will trigger Ovie to track the food for you for four days. A green light on the tag indicates that the food is still safe to eat. A yellow light indicates the food should be eaten soon. When that happens, you will get a notification on your phone reminding you to eat that food before it goes bad. In addition, you will get a recipe recommendation that uses that food and that is based on the foods that you already have at home. Ovie makes any fridge into a smart fridge.

The Smarterware tags will retail for $59 for a set of three, and $89 for a set of three tagged containers. A Kickstarter campaign is planned to launch soon, and you can signup to be notified when the campaign is ready on their website. The planned delivery date for the product is Fall 2018.

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Pisoftware Brought Pilot Era Panoramic Camera to CES 2018

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Pisoftware Brought Pilot Era Panoramic Camera to CES 2018

2018-03-21

Panoramic cameras are interesting because they can record in ways that other cameras cannot. The Pilot Era is a professional level panoramic camera from Pisoftware. They estimate it will be priced at approximately $3,000 after it becomes available.

Don spoke with Adler and William from Pisoftware. They discussed the Pilot Era panoramic camera. The device they brought to CES 2018 was a prototype. Those who are interested can request a trial of Pilot Era. There is potential you will be selected to test the Pilot Era panoramic camera.

The Pilot Era can provide 8K panoramic video and image, at a quality that works quite well with VR goggles. It is an all-in-one machine. You don't need a PC to do the post-staging of your video. Instead, you can interact directly with the camera through the screen. Your video finishes inside the camera.

There are four cameras on the device, one on each side. The lenses are slightly tilted up so they can see what is above them, allowing the lenses to stay in focus. The Pilot Era does real time live streaming with 4K or 6K stitching.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Manage Diabetes with DiabiLive App

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Manage Diabetes with DiabiLive App

2018-03-19

Diabetes is a disease that affects increasing numbers of people in developed countries where obesity, lack of exercise and genetics are causing epidemic levels of the condition. Simplistically, the pancreas becomes unable to manage blood sugar levels as it (usually) can't to produce the right amount of insulin. Don and Nicholas discuss the problems facing diabetics and how DiabiLive's new app can help manage the disease.

Winner of a CES Innovation Award, DiabiLive have a developed a smartphone app which calculates the correct amount of insulin to inject based on three parameters (physical activity, diet, sugar level). In addition, the app plans ahead based on past history to warn of possible low sugar levels. The app's algorithms are based on medical science and protocols: the app is awaiting FDA approval, hopefully within 2018.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Get the Whole Screen for Multiplayer Gaming with MirraViz

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Get the Whole Screen for Multiplayer Gaming with MirraViz

2018-03-19

Having friends round to your house for multiplayer games is always fun, but the more there are, the smaller each player's screen becomes as they share part of the TV. Split even a big screen into quarters and the immersive effect is lost. But what if all the players had the same large screen? MirraViz have got it covered. The MirraViz projection screens are highly reflective but brightly reflect the light back in a tight cone, rather than scattering the light widely as a nomal white screen would do. When used with a video projector, this means that only someone sitting close to the projector sees the image. Think of the screen like a reflective street sign in the distance lit up by headlights: only the driver and passengers see the bright reflection from the sign.

As light beams don't interfere with each other, the screen can reflect light back from multiple sources without distortion, so several projectors can be used with one screen. As a result, each player sees only their gameplay, but on the full sized screen. Whoa! It's kind of hard to imagine, but think of walking around in front of the screen. Only one gaming screen is seen at a time but as you walk round the screen changes between players. Don't worry, it takes Don a little time to get his head round it too. It's similar in concept to the old PlayStation TVs, except you don't need glasses to make it work. The screens are entirely passive - there's no electronics - and the video projectors don't have to be massively powerful because the reflectivity is so good. Personal or pico projects with less than a thousand lumens are fine.

MirraViz sells combinations of hardware and screens for home entertainment or gaming setups, and they sell the screens on their own too. A 52" screen costs $699, 75" is $899 and 94" is $1299. They also offer full experience setups.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Monkey Bidouille Showcased Beautiful PC Cases

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Monkey Bidouille Showcased Beautiful PC Cases

2018-03-19

When it comes to PC computers, there are basically two styles to choose from: a plastic box, or a flashy case with LED lights for gamers. What if neither of those two options fits your personal style? Monkey Bidouille has an aesthetically pleasing solution for you.

Don spoke with Antoine from Monkey Bidouille at CES 2018. The company is made of just two people. They have created a PC case that is made of wood and aluminum. It uses noble materials, and is handmade in France. Their PC case is designed to sit horizontally. You can put whatever components you want to inside the case.

Monkey Bidouille brought a prototype of their PC case to CES 2018. They launched a Kickstarter shortly before CES 2018, with a limit of 50 units. Their plan is to eventually make it possible for people to customize the design of the PC case when they place their order on the website. The wood can be screen printed, in a similar way to how the designs are placed on skateboards.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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This episode was originally published on Geek News Central.

E-Vone Smart Shoe With Falling Alert System

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E-Vone Smart Shoe With Falling Alert System

2018-03-17

Our shoes protect our feet from the environment. E-Vone has created a smart shoe that can provide a different kind of protection. These shoes send an alert when the wearer has fallen down and enables a rescue team to find that person.

Don spoke with Anne from E-Vone. They have created a smart shoe with technology that can detect when the wearer has fallen. The shoe instantly sends an alarm through the secure cloud to a rescue team. After that, the smart shoe vibrates to let the wearer know that a rescue team is coming to help them.

The shoe was designed for more than one population. There is a version designed for workers who work in isolated situations. This shoe is durable and has a steel toe. Another version of the shoe was designed for older people who want to stay in their own homes instead of in an assisted living situation. E-Vone makes comfortable smart shoes in styles for women and styles for men.

To make this work, E-Vone is selling a service. It requires a service fee (of 30 Euros a month). The person pays for the service and leases the shoes. They receive a new pair of smart shoes each year. E-Vone will start selling this service in France and Europe in September of 2018. They intend to release the service in the United States and Japan in two years.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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This episode was originally published on Geek News Central.

Gamevice Turns Your Smartphone Into a Console Device

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Gamevice Turns Your Smartphone Into a Console Device

2018-03-17

Mobile gaming is fun, but there are limitations. While some video games are specifically designed to be played on a smartphone or tablet, most are not. This leaves gamers with the frustrating problem of trying to play a game that doesn't function very well with touchscreens. Gamevice solves this problem by turning your smartphone into a console device.

Todd spoke with Rob from Gamevice at CES 2018. Gamevice is the name of the both the company and the product.

Gamevice is a controller that hooks onto the lightning port on your smartphone. It gives immediate feedback on any game you are playing. It turns games that are really poor on a touchscreen into games that actually have a chance to be played on a mobile device. Gamevice lets you easily play Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, MOBA's like Lineage, Street Fighter, and more video games on a mobile device. They have about 1,000 games in their catalog.

Gamevice can be tightened up in the back. It fits anything for a iPhone 6 to an iPhone X, is compatible with Android phones, and can be used on iPads and iPad minis. You can purchase Gamevice for $79.99.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Can You Hear the Thunder with OWC?

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Can You Hear the Thunder with OWC?

2018-03-17

OWC is one of the stalwarts of the Mac world, bringing enhancements and accessories to Apple devices year after year. Let's be honest, this is the team that gives you back the ports that Apple takes away. This time round, OWC is expanding its range of Thunderbolt 3 products. Don finds out what's new with AJ from OWC.

Incredibly, OWC is celebrating its 30th anniversary: the company started when Apple launched the iMac - remember the ones with the fruitcoloured cases? Today, OWC offer products for both Windows and Mac, and in particular, there's a new Thunderbolt 3 dock out with support for both OSes. The new dock "offers 12 ports including dual Thunderbolt 3, five USB 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet, S/PDIF, combo audio, Mini DisplayPort, SD Card Slot, and supports laptop charging". Sadly, there's no Firewire but if you need that, check out the older version. Available in Q1 2018, it's priced at either $279 or $299. Video says one, press release says the other.

Also of interest to speed freaks is the ThunderBlade v4, which is the fastest external drive on the market today, shifting an astonishing 2800 MB/s read and 2450 MB/s write. It's pricey with MSRP from $1,199 (1 TB) to $4,999 (8TB), but you get what you pay for and I'm sure it'll be in demand from video producers. Again, there's a difference in price between video and press release.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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This episode was originally published on Geek News Central.

Smarten up the Garage Door with Skylink

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Smarten up the Garage Door with Skylink

2018-03-16

Converting a house into a smart home shouldn't mean replacing every electrical device for a new smart model. A cheaper and greener way is to add smart features in with wireless accessories. A good example here is Skylink Nova which adds smart capabilities to automatic garage doors at relatively low cost. Don and Frank take a closer look at Skylink Nova and its accompanying ecosystem.

The Skylink Nova is wired into an existing garage door opener using the standard connections used for the interior open/close button. Once connected up, the Nova can be remotely controlled with the Skylink smartphone app (iOS and Android). Nova is also compatible with If This Then That (IFTTT) platform and Alexa so the garage door can be opened (or closed) by talking to an Echo.

The Nova itself looks like an LED light fixture and works as a smart home hub too, communicating with up to 100 smart devices. In addition, it can detect sirens from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house. When one of those is heard, Nova will automatically open your garage door to aid in ventilation in the case of an emergency. Skylink's Nova will be on sale in the spring for under $100.

Interview by Don Baine, The Gadget Professor.

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Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.
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This episode was originally published on Geek News Central.

Develop Mental Focus with BrainCo

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Develop Mental Focus with BrainCo

2018-03-16

Being "in the zone" reflects that total mental focus and clarity that comes to people concentrating hard. For athletes and professionals, it can take years of practice and hard work. For us mere mortals, BrainCo offers a way to learn how to focus. How? Professor Don gets all brainy with Max.

The idea behind BrainCo is to use their Focus One headband with gamification to improve mental concentration. The BrainCo band reads small electrical impulses in the wearer's brain and picks up on changes in the frequency and amplitude of the impulses (EEG). As everyone's brains are different the band establish