Folding Playhouse at Gadget Show Live



Folding PlayhouseMy little girl loves playing outside but I’ve noticed over the years that many of her outdoor toys become damaged and discoloured from the elements of sun, wind and rain. While small toys can be put away in the shed, larger items have to stay outside to be battered about. Kev and the Folding Playhouse may have the solution for at least one garden toy and he tells me more about the development of the product from idea to the current concept model and plans for the future.

The Folding Playhouse is what it says. It’s an outdoor plastic playhouse that folds down, either for storage or for conversion into an arts and craft table. It folds in around 15 seconds and can be reassembled just as quickly. Once completely folded, the Playhouse is not only easier to store in the garage or shed, it can be taken in the back of a large family car for fun at friends’ and relatives’ houses.

Folding Playhouse Prototype

The picture above shows a 3D printed miniature version of the Folding Playhouse. The final version will be in bright colours, about 1.5 m high, 1.4 m wide, 1.3 m deep, with the potential to customise with stickers or decals. With all new products, feedback is vital and there’s been plenty of that at Gadget Show Live as part of the British Inventors’ Project.

Kev and his team have been in contact with toy companies worldwide to bring the Playhouse market and the expectation is that this would sell for under GB£200. There’s more information on the Folding Playhouse website, which has some interesting market stats – did you know that 30 million outdoor toys were sold in the UK in 2014 generating nearly £350 million in sales?


iTENS Wearable Electrotherapy Review



itensAs many of you know in 2004 I had a very serious back injury which resulted in steel rods,  screws and assorted hardware supporting my L1 Vertebrae, which essentially got smashed like a pancake during a swimming pool accident. I suffer today from chronic back pain, and I refuse to medicate. Through monthly Shiatsu treatments I am able to keep most of my symptoms at bay. For day to day relief though, I have for many years now had via prescription a “wired” Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device, that I keep in my bedroom that connects via clumsy wires. While it does a great job it’s kinda pain to use due to the wires.

So when I got the opportunity to review the highly portable wearable iTENS controlled via an App, which does the same exact thing as my wired device without the wires I could not wait to give it a try. During the week I was at NAB I was spending a lot of time on my feet 8-10hrs a day resulting in a very very stiff and sore lower back. Each evening back at the hotel I attached the iTENS Wearable Electrotherapy device and from my iPhone was able to command the iTENS in several modes from muscle massage and muscle relaxation to get some needed relief.  I suppose I could have worn it during the show, but I think that would have been a little weird.

For those of you that have used a (TENS) before you know their value. For me my (TENS) has always been about pain relief, and its benefit of not having to ask or maintain a muscle relaxer prescription.  Overall the iTENS treatment I performed on myself convinced me that the folks at iTENS have put together a product that I can stand behind and give my full endorsement!  I do not do this lightly and for someone that has used a wired (TENS) device for years these folks have a winner!

Priced @ $99.00 this is a great investment. You will have to purchase replacement gel pads from time to time, but if you follow the instructions  you will get 10+ uses out of one set.  Every once in a while a product comes to market that can be used by millions and this is it.

 


LG GPad X 10.1 Review



lgpadThe LG GPad X 10.1 is probably the largest Android Tablet I have reviewed. I used this one over the course of two weeks in ways most people use tablets today, playing games, watching videos, responding to email, and interacting on social media. It was a true pleasure to lay in bed with this tablet and kick on a movie. For its size it is very lite for the size and was comfortable holding. The screen brightness is not as bright as some Samsung tablets I have reviewed, but I personally like really bright screens much to the annoyance of my wife.

Specifications of the LG G Pad X 10.1 include:

10.1 inch 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution IPS LCD screen
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.26 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM
32GB of internal storage with microSD expansion card slot
Android 5.1.1
7400 mAh battery
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
Rear 8 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel front facing camera

I was able to use it on two very long flights without the device running out of power. LG says 10 hours, and I probably got a little more than that out of it. The finish of the table is nice with beveled edges, with the Micro CD card stashed along the edge with the std on/off, volume controls on the side as well. Headphone jack was at the bottom of the screen.. The camera was nice and created images that I would expect for a device in this price range. Priced @ AT&T for $249 with a qualified service plan or $17.50 for 20 months the price is really a bargain for what you get.

Powered by AT&T network performance is what you would expect from AT&T and I had no issues with signal quality even in some pretty dense buildings and environments from my travel.


X2 Underwater Jetpack by Supermarinovation at Gadget Show Live



SupermarinovationEasily the best thing at Gadget Show Live, the Supermarinovation x2 is a “wearable personal underwater propulsion device” but it’s much more fun thinking of the x2 as an underwater jetpack. With only three main components – two arm-mounted thruster units and a battery backpack – the x2 brings Superman-like flight to swimmers and free divers. Shown as part of the British Inventors’ Project, Chris tells me about the x2 and its development from idea to product.

x2 Sport Underwater Jet Pack

Aimed at swimmers and snorkellers, the idea is to get down to the interesting bits of the ocean as quickly as possible to get as much bottom time before having to pop back up for air. With the two power units at full pelt, the x2 propels a swimmer at around 7 mph, which is fast for a person underwater. Playtime is about an hour, though this is more reflective of the swimmer’s capabilities rather than the x2 going flat out, and it’ll be depth rated down to 10m (33 feet). Most reefs are well within this depth.

The outer shells are all 3D printed and a small number of advanced prototypes have been sold with a full launch of the x2 anticipated later in the year. Prices are expected to be around GB£4,000 for the x2 Sport and £8,000 for the Pro version. I’ll take two for my superyacht.

Since Gadget Show Live, a new x2 has been announced, the x2 Compact, which attaches the propulsion units directly to the back battery pack. A fourth product called the Hammerhead is in the works too, which is held in front with both hands and then pulls the swimmer along. Check out the renders in the Facebook links above.


Startup Sleepbus Offers Comfortable, Affordable Overnight Rides From L.A. to San Francisco



Sleepbus LogoI live on California’s Central Coast, just about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You’d think being in a location like this would make it easy to get to either of these urban centers. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. The process is somewhat manageable by car, but that’s not always an option. There’s a local bus service that does limited shuttle service to L.A. Institutions like Greyhound and Amtrak are available but they can be costly and slow. Many solutions have been proposed to try and make transiting across California easier, with the most recent being a bullet-train style rail system that may never see the light of day. Fortunately, there is a new startup taking this challenge head on.

Sleepbus is a new company that carries passengers between San Francisco and L.A. Sleepbus gets its name from the overnight timeframe the bus operates. The Sleepbus coach comes with sleeping berths for passengers, as well as onboard Wi-Fi, snacks, and assorted beverages. A Sleepbus ticket currently costs $48 but is expected to go up to $65 in the near future.

Sleebus is such a smart idea, it almost seems like a no-brainer. Make it affordable and convenient to travel between two of the Golden State’s biggest cities. Hopefully, Sleepbus will be a great success and add a stop or two between L.A. and San Francisco. Even tho I’d only need to ride for half of a typical Sleepbus trip, I’d gladly pay the full fair for such an easy way to travel.


Moochew Baby Seat and Lunch Box at Gadget Show Live



Moochew LogoTravelling with children is akin to planning a military operation at times, with tons of gear and provisions catering for every eventuality. Looking to simplify maneuvers in the field, Moochew is a collapsible baby seat that doubles up as a cooler bag or lunch box. Taking part in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, Arun tells me more about the Moochew.

The Moochew is a backpack which can be filled with food, drink, wipes, nappies and toys ready for travel and adventures. The compartments are insulated to keep everything cool and once it’s time to eat, the Moochew unzips to change into a child seat which will attach to most standard chairs. Cleverly, the contents of Moochew can be extracted from the sides of the bag, so once the child is in the seat, he or she doesn’t need to be moved to get into the storage area. Genius!

Moochew Closed Moochew Open

The Moochew is available now for GB£39.99 from the webstore. My children are now a little too big for the Moochew but had it been around three years ago, I would definitely have bought one.


Facebook – YouTube – Livestream Live #1111



So tonight I tried the new Facebook Live feature and had Facebook – YouTube – Livestream all live at the same time . To get the Facebook quality up where I want it I need to make a couple of cable changes, but overall it’s not bad. Facebook stream is not as good a quality as YouTube, but I am pretty happy with the results. You can check it out here.. Also I am glad to be back in the saddle and get you folks all caught up on what has been happening.

Download the Audio Show File

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Azoi Kito+ Health Tracker at Gadget Show Live



kito_homepageOnly a slightly bigger than a credit card, the Azoi Kito+ is a personal health tracking device that measures ECG, heart rate (pulse), blood oxygen, skin temperature and respiration rate. I’ve seen the Kito tracker a couple of times now and every time I see it, I’m impressed that such a small device can gather so much data for so little money (GB£99). Miran from Azoi tells me more at Gadget Show Live.

The Kito+ works in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet to measure the five stats mentioned earlier. The user holds the Kito+ with both hands and two fingers from each hand rest on four measurement points for about 20 seconds, during which the time the Kito+ records the data and passes it on to the Kito app. In real-time the app shows the ECG graph trace and other figures are shown once they’ve stabilised.

Azoi Kito+

As can be seen from the picture, the Kito+ can be embedded into phone cases for the Apple iPhone 6-series of smartphone cases. It’s not essential and the Kito+ works fine outside of a case with Android or other Apple devices. The Kito+ isn’t tied to one person, so a whole family can share the unit.

The Kito+ is available now from Azoi’s webstore for GB£99, which I think is great value when you think of the technology and potential value of the data. I’ll be bringing a full review of the Azoi Kito+ to GNC in the next few weeks.


Stebles Carbon-Fibre Bike at Gadget Show Live



Stebles LogoContinuing GNC’s coverage of the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, I met Mark of Stebles Bikes and his interesting road bicycle with carbon-fibre mudguards integrated into the bike frame. Mark tells me more about his new design and the problem it’s trying to solve.

As an enthusiastic cyclist himself, the thinking behind Mark’s idea was “more riding, less cleaning”. Often keen riders have two bikes, one with mudguards for rainy days and one without for better weather. Obviously it’s expensive to have two good bikes, so why not have one bike with streamlined, lightweight mudguards?

Stebles Bike

Mark used 3D printing to create the initial prototypes and the next stage is to produce the necessary aluminium molds for the frame parts. It’s an expensive business so Mark has a GoFundMe campaign if you want to support him and get the project to the next stage.

Looking to the future, a British-made version of the bike is likely to cost around GB£5,000 but Mark aims to get this cost down to make the bike affordable to wider range of riders.


VRGO Moves in VR at Gadget Show Live



VRGO logoAR and VR are lining up to be the next big thing and the headset space is filling out with plenty of competitors from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard. Less obvious in the space are the motion controllers and other gadgets helping to make VR an immersive experience. Into this category falls the VRGO Chair, a hands-free motion controller that takes advantage of what we humans often do all too well – sitting down. Joe from VRGO gave me a demo of the VRGO Chair.

Originally a Kickstarter campaign, the VRGO was successfully funded back in December 2015, and won the second prize in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live. Looking not too dissimilar to a flat-topped Weeble, the idea is that the VR player sits on the VRGO and controls their movement in the VR world by tilting or rotating the VRGO. It’s pretty cool and totally intuitive after only a few seconds.

VRGO Chair

The VRGO chair uses low latency Bluetooth to communicate with VR headsets, PCs, tablets and smartphones. The VRGO can mimic both analogue (joypad) and digital (keyboard) controllers, and simplistically the further you tilt, the faster you move. Sitting on the chair leaves the player’s hands free for other controllers.

The VRGO will be delivered to Kickstarter backers within the next month or so before going on sale at around GB£250. A lower cost version is in the works, aiming for a price of about £100.