Safeguard Against Water Damage with D-Link’s Wi-Fi Water Sensor

D-Link LogoHumans have done much over the centuries to try and control the flow of water around us. And in many parts of the developed world, we’ve created intricate water distribution systems that have helped to create a baseline quality of life unparalleled by anything in history. And while most modern indoor plumbing is generally reliable, sometimes it breaks down, potentially causing all kinds of damage. When plumbing leaks start, a quick response is crucial to avoid excessive water damage. But what do you do when those leaks occur in the middle of the night, while you’re asleep? Or when you’re not at home? D-Link has provided a solution with its new Wi-Fi Water Sensor.

The concept behind the D-Link DCH-S160 Water Sensor is pretty simple. Just place the sensor in an area of concern for potential water problems (near a sump pump or water heater, next to a washing machine, etc.) and plug it into a wall outlet. When the sensor detects water in its vicinity, it will immediately send an alert to the mydlink smartphone app, letting you know you should check out the situation. D-Link’s Wi-Fi Water Sensor can also be paired with a Wi-Fi siren to assure you’re alerted in the event of a water problem.

The D-Link Water Sensor retails for around $75.00 and can be found at most electronics retailers.

This Ring Light Promises an end to Dull Selfies

Ring lightI’ll admit, as a male growing ever closer to the age of 40, I’m not much of a selfie taker. Regardless, the culture of the selfie is becoming more prominent with each passing day. Like it or not, selfies aren’t going away anytime soon. Proof of this can be found in the proliferation of accessories designed to maximize one’s selfie experience. Most prevalent among these being the selfie stick. And while that particular item may solve one problem when it comes to taking selfies, there are still other pressing selfie-related matters that need to be addressed. Specifically, what do you do when it’s time to take a selfie in low-light conditions? A new ring light called Kira being developed in Japan may have the answer.

This ring light clips onto the top of a smartphone providing a wash of directed, even light towards the holder of the phone. Thus improving the conditions for selfie taking in low-light environments. Kira can easily be stowed in a purse or pocket and then attached to a smartphone as needed. It’s worth nothing that many smartphones don’t have flash LED’s on front-facing cameras. So, Kira is filling a need there. It’s also possible to see uses for this accessory beyond selfies. The ring light could be useful for video chat applications like Skype and FaceTime, too.

Kira is currently raising money thru a Japanese crowdfunding site. No word yet as to when the device might be available for public purchase and/or how much it’ll cost.

3-D Printed Cap Detects When Milk Goes Bad

biohazardWhen exactly does your milk go bad? There’s a helpful “sell-by” date printed on the packaging to give you an idea of the liquid’s shelf life. But at best, that date is an educated guess. Of course, sometimes it’s really obvious when milk has gone sour. But sometimes, it’s not so easy to tell. Fortunately for me, Jen has a keen skill for detecting when food products have gone bad. But on my own, I know I’ve consumed my fair share of food items that were probably better sent down the drain or into the trash.

Once again, new technology comes to the rescue in the battle against spoiled milk. Using 3-D printing, engineers have developed a cap that can be used with milk jugs to determine when the milk has gone bad. The cap uses a special sensor that’s able to detect changes in electrical signals caused by the proliferation of bacteria. To test your milk, all you need to do is tip the container until some of the milk comes in contact with the cap. From there, the cap will indicate if the milk is still good or not.

Researchers are hoping to find ways to expand this technology to other food products, eventually including things like Internet connectivity so food sensors can report directly to computers or smartphone apps. Finally, we’ll able to use an actual product of science to know when our leftovers have become an actual science project of their own!

3-D Printed Headphones Are Here

3-D headphonesAs more and more people are consuming audio like music and podcasts on the go, the need for headphones has increased. But many headphones are either easy to lose or they stop working after a short period of time. I know I’ve been stuck many times over the years having to face a long bus ride with a fully charged media player and a portable set of headphones that no longer work, no matter how much I manipulated the audio cord and connection jack. Now, getting that next pair of headphones might be as simple as firing up the nearest 3-D printer.

These headphones are the work of designer Maxime Loiseau and they use an innovative design in terms of an electronic device being created with 3-D printing. The process uses what’s called “roll to roll” manufacturing, making the parts very thin. In fact, these 3-D printed headphones are made from only eight pieces, where a typical set of phones could require up to 50 individual parts.

Since these headphones are made with “printed electronics,” there’s need for only one wire for each headphone. And if you’re worried that these headphones will sound weak, don’t. The speakers are made with piezoelectric cells that provide quality comparable to traditional headphones.

The headphones are powered by Bluetooth and they use a lithium-ion battery. The battery is also made as part of the 3-D printing process. These headphones were presented during New York Design Week 2015. They are likely to go thru some tweaking and modifications before hitting the production line. Check out this video to see the production process in action.

Polar Team Pro Brings Advanced Coaching System to Elite Sports Teams

Polar logoPolar is an established manufacturer of monitoring products used by professional teams across a wide range of sports. Now the company is entering a whole new product category with the release of its new Polar Team Pro.

Polar Team Pro is a comprehensive system that begins with tracking devices players can wear while on the field. These devices use GPS data to send real-time information about the player’s location on the field, with near-field communications options to fill in coverage gaps. Those player-based sensors transmit data back to a base station that then syncs up with an iPad app that gives coaches a complete view of what the team is doing during a game.

Polar Team Pro would be an invaluable tool for any team that’s looking to enhance, improve, and maximize player movements on the field. The information gathered by the system will allow coaching staffs to analyze plays and see where their teams’ weak points are, and where things should be adjusted for greater future performance.

The Polar Team Pro set begins with 10 sensors, 10 straps, 1 dock, 1 washing pouch, and 1 shoulder bag. The system can be scaled up for a total of 60 sensors, as needed. Pricing starts at 5999 EUR and goes up from there. If you’re interested in using the Polar Team Pro with your own sports organization, get in touch with Polar for more information.

Logitech Focuses on Design with Rebranding

Logi logoLogitech is probably one of the best known manufacturers of computer accessories. If you’ve ever bought a mouse, keyboard, USB hub, external hard drive or a computer cable, odds are good it was a Logitech product. But I guess the folks at Logitech are feeling that the Logitech brand is growing a bit long in the tooth. They announced earlier this month that they will be rebranding the company from “Logitech” to simply “Logi.”

But don’t fret. Logitech, err… Logi, will still be there to handle all of your computer accessory needs. But the company will be aiming for a newer, more vibrant and (per the press release) “younger” approach with more of a focus on design aesthetics as opposed to just plain old mice, keyboards, and cables.

Meet the new Logitech, a company you know and trust, but now with a colorful new attitude and re-imagined logo you’ll love. And, meet Logi – our new label.

While our commitment to excellence in peripherals hasn’t changed, we’re dedicating focus on design, hiring our first-ever chief design officer, Alastair Curtis, and delivering products that create amazing experiences in the everyday places of your life. We’ve put design at the core of everything we do and everything we are, from our products to our brand identity.

On top of a colorful and bold new look, you’ll start to see and hear the name Logi. The Logi label will appear on our newest product categories, and expect some twists and a few surprises in new categories.

The company also promises that its first Logi-branded product is right around the corner. Check out the splashy new commercial they made to introduce the updated brand. DESIGN!

Ingress comes to Android Wear

Ingress LogoI started playing Ingress earlier this year. I’m still pretty new to the game and I can’t say I’ve made an awful lot of progress. Ingress is an augmented reality game where players choose factions and then battle for control of portals that exist in the real world. Once a new portal becomes available, players from the two factions (either Enlightened or Resistance) can hack the portal and try to ultimately take control of it. As factions continue to claim more portals, they can then link those portals to eventually take control of larger areas.

Traditionally, Ingress could only be played using either Android or iOS apps running on smartphones or tablets. But now, Ingress is available on Android Wear devices. Now it’ll be easier than ever for players to locate portals and interact with them, as the Ingress interface will be readily available on devices like wristwatches, sparing the need to remove a pocketed phone or having to pull a tablet out of a backpack or bag.

The Android Wear version of Ingress is available for download thru the Google Play Store. So get out there and get to hacking those portals! No matter which faction you’re on, Ingress can be a lot of fun and it’s a good way to get some exercise, too.

Jewelbot Bracelets Teach Girls How to Code

Jewelbots logoFriendship bracelets have been a popular item for girls for decades. When I was a kid, I spent time carefully braiding embroidery floss so I could give the finished friendship bracelets to my BFFs.

Today’s girls can enjoy the modern version of the friendship bracelet. It’s called Jewelbots, and its Kickstarter campaign has 27 days to go.

Jewelbots do more than let the whole class know that you have a best friend. They can actually teach girls to code! Out of the box, the Jewelbots can flash or buzz when it detects that friends are nearby, and it can be used to send secret messages to those friends.

Girls that want more from their Jewelbot can make that happen by learning how to code. Jewelbots are open source and can do anything a girl imagines it doing – so long as she figures out how to code it.

The bracelets come in ten different colors. The Jewelbot fits onto a bracelet. It looks like a cute flower design. The Jewelbot needs to be paired with a phone via Bluetooth in order for it to work. That same app can be used to modify the behavior of their Jewelbot. The app is free and compatible for both Android and iOS.

To start with, a girl can choose to make her Jewelbot light up, vibrate, or do both. She can choose if the light should flash, pulse, or spiral. Once she figures that out, she can use what she learned to have her Jewelbot do more things. Some suggestions include: indicating when she has a like on Instagram, or a message on Facebook, to send SMS, to get a weather update, or even to notify her parents about something.

The coolest thing about Jewelbots is that it gets girls interested in basic engineering logic and lets her collaborate about it with her friends. These friendship bracelets can inspire girls to get into STEM fields (at an age when many girls start dropping out of STEM).

Power Support Anti-Glare Film Set for iPhone 6 Plus Review

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my iPhone 6 Plus. But one problem I keep having to deal with is screen glare, especially in sunlight. The problem is compounded by my visual impairment and it makes the phone almost unusable outdoors. After doing some online research, I decided to pick up a Power Support Anti-Glare set at my local Apple Store.

Power Support anti-glare set for iPhone 6 Plus


Power Support anti-glare set

The set is pretty straight forward. It comes with a set of instructions along with two adhesive anti-glare films and one adhesive dust remover. For good measure, I removed my iPhone from its protective case (the instructions don’t specifically recommend doing this) and polished the screen using some Juce screen cleaner. Next, I used the included dust removal adhesive strip by applying one half of the strip at a time until the entire front of the phone was covered.

Power Support dust remover


Power Support dust remover

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Griffin’s New Premium Lightning Cables Now Available

Griffin Premium Lightning Cables reversable USBGriffin has announced that their new Premium Charge / Sync Cables with Lightning connector are now available. These cables have easy-connecting reversible USB that can be plugged in regardless of the orientation.

The Premium Charge/Sync Cable’s reversible USB connector works in any full-sized USB port regardless of how it’s plugged in, making it the easiest-to-connect USB plug ever.

Through brutal bend and environmental testing, the redesigned cable has proven that it’s built for a longer, more reliable life. The durable braided nylon cable jacket resists kinking and the anodized aluminum housing stabilizes and protects the Lightning connector from physical stresses.

Griffin Premium Lightning Cables

Griffin’s new Premium Lightning Cables are available in 5 feet ($29.99) or 10 feet ($39.99) in 3 sleek colors – silver, gold, and space gray – to perfectly coordinate with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.