Category Archives: camera

Bluetooth Versus Wired



Coloud The Snap Active EarbudsFor some months now, persistent rumors have been flying that the next iPhone will do away with the 3.5mm wired headset port. There have been plenty of people arguing both against and for this idea. Some people say that the demise of the wired headset port is inevitable.

As an over-the-road truck driver, I’ve been using Bluetooth devices for years. To be perfectly honest, the majority of Bluetooth headsets suck, regardless of price. They typically suffer from poor audio quality, especially those intended for phone calls.
I have yet to find a Bluetooth microphone that produces anything approaching acceptable quality for anything other than phone calls.

Bluetooth stereo is great for certain uses, such as in the car or for use with certain Bluetooth speakers intended for casual listening.

With this in mind, let’s examine how a smartphone would work without a 3.5mm wired jack for the way people use these devices today.

I see plenty of people using wired headsets, day in and day out. That tells me that, unlike the floppy drive, which was dropped because most software was being shipped on CD-ROM’s, the wired 3.5mm headphone jack is NOT obsolete. The 3.5mm headphone jack is NOT falling into disuse. There are still millions and millions of people using wired headsets with their smartphones on a constant basis. Wired headset use is NOT dropping off.

Modern smartphones are also extremely good high-definition video cameras. While they have built-in microphones, because of the 3.5mm headphone jack it is also possible to plug in a wired microphone. Wired microphones on traditional consumer camcorders have either been absent or an option for costlier prosumer models. Take the 3.5mm wired headphone jack away and the option of plugging in a superior wired microphone goes away with it.

If Apple takes the 3.5mm wired headphone jack away, it doesn’t matter to me, because I don’t have an iPhone and don’t want one. There will be plenty of remaining Android models to choose from that keep their senses.

In fact, there have already been Android smartphones available on the market that leave out the 3.5mm wired headphone jacks. The Chinese company LeEco released three jack-less phones in April of this year. Ever heard of them? Me neither, until I did a search. I don’t get the impression they are burning down the barn with popularity.

I make extensive use of Bluetooth as well as the 3.5mm jack on my phone. I will never buy a phone that doesn’t offer a 3.5mm jack any more than I would buy a phone that doesn’t offer Bluetooth or WiFi.


Smanos Launches K1 Smart Home at Gadget Show Live



Smanos LogoIn the last of my smart home interviews from Gadget Show Live, I look at one of the new entrants to the market, Smanos. The Dutch firm announced their new K1 Smart Hub at the show and while it’s a good-looking piece of kit, the K1 is coming into an increasingly crowded space. I chat with Rafael about Smanos and the difference it brings.

Coming from a security background, Smanos has brought its understanding of that space to the smart home. The first iteration of the K1 focusses on security: the starter kit includes a siren, door/window sensor, motion sensor and keypard with the Smart Hub. As might be expected, the devices use Z-Wave for communication and there’s an app for managing and controlling the system, so additional sensors can be added easily.

Smanos K1 Smart Hub

In order to set Smanos apart from the competition, the K1 has well designed sensors that wouldn’t look out of place in a bijoux pad. All white and chrome with surface detail, it’s clear that the sensors are part of a matched set, and not awkwardly thrown together to meet a functional need.

K1 Smart Home

In addition to the K1 Smart Hub (GB£249), Smanos launched the UFO panoramic Wi-Fi HD camera (£149) with a massive field of view, and a smart video doorbell (£159). Both of these look neat.


TomTom’s Golfer 2 GPS Watch at WTS



TomTom LogoTomTom are well know for their in-car navigation devices with over 75 million of them sold since 2004, including specialised variants for motorbikes and trucks. Building on their success with GPS, TomTom has launched wearable devices for runners and golfers. Tom tells Andrew all about the company’s latest developments.

TomTom GolferAnnounced at the Wearable Technology Show, the new TomTom Golfer 2 is a GPS watch designed to help golfers improve their game by using automatic shot detection for detailed post-round analysis at the nineteenth hole. Incredibly, the Golfer 2 has knowledge of over 40,000 courses worldwide. It will cost 249 € when released in May.

Although not a brand-new product, I was impressed by the TomTom Bandit, an action cam with a killer feature. After a fast off-piste descent down a mountain, just shake the Bandit and it will assemble a highlight clip in minutes using sensor data to figure out the most exciting parts of skiing. As Tom mentions in the interview, the pain of video editing is one of the main reasons action cam owners don’t use their cameras. The Bandit costs from GB£269. I want one!

(Apologies to Tom – the last part of the interview didn’t record properly)


Cupris Smartphone Scopes at Wearable Tech Show



Cupris LogoThe smartphones in our pockets have cameras that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago, yet most only take a couple of selfies. So why not use these miracles of engineering to do more? Cupris‘ phone case converts the smartphone into a digital medical instrument. Helene tells Andrew more about their upcoming products.

The Cupris smartphone case mounts specialist medical lenses in front of the smartphone camera to take images and videos. The first device is an otoscope (right) for examining the eardrum and the second is an ophthalmoscope (left) for retinal imaging. The big benefit of digital imaging over the traditional scopes is that the pictures can be added to the patient record for review at a later date.

The otoscope will be available soon for less than GB£100.

Cupris Medical Imaging


ZED Stereo Camera Captures the World in 3D



Stereolabs logoStereolabs is the leading provider of 3D depth sensing technology for autonomous robotic and augmented reality. Their ZED 2K Stereo Camera is the first high definition stereo sensor for depth perception. It helps you to capture the world in 3D.

Nick spoke with Stereolabs Product Manager, Marc Beudet, at CES 2016. They talked about the Stereolabs ZED 2k Stereo Camera. Marc explained what is unique about it, how it works, and some of the ways it can be used.

The ZED 2K Stereo Camera relies on two RGB sensors. It is basically two smartphone cameras put together. There’s no infrared projectors or other fancy stuff. The camera captures the world. Next, that information is sent to a computer that uses processing power to generate a 3D image of the environment. The ZED 2K Stereo Camera can work in outdoor environments as well as indoor environments.

It is basically plug-and-play. Download the SDK from the Stereolabs website. The product is meant for developers. They will need an external host computer. The camera can be placed on a drone. The only limitation on the things that can be done with the ZED 2K Stereo camera is the developers imagination.

The ZED 2K Stereo Camera is priced at $449 and is available through the Stereolabs website.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Kodak PIXPRO 4k 360 Action Cam at 2016 CES



Kodak Digital DevicesTodd Cochrane talks with Paul Meyhoefer, Vice President, J.K. Imaging Limited, Kodak about the Kodak PIXPRO 4k action camera. The Kodak PIXPRO 4k action camera uses a 4k sensor to record 360 degree video with a 235 degree band of view.

The unit is able to use WiFi to produce a lower resolution live view on your Android or iOS mobile devices so you can check your camera aim. The device includes stitching software and editing software for both Windows and Mac.

The unit can support up to a 128 gigabyte Class 10 (or higher) Micro SD card. An RF remote control is sold separately for $45. Underwater housings and other mounts are available for sale on the website.

Kodak PIXPRO 4k pricing is $449 for the camera by itself. The Premiere Pack which includes various accessories is priced at $499. The Dual Pro Pack is priced at $899 and includes 2 cameras and accessories. The 360 degree videos produced are compatible with both YouTube and Facebook.

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Fasetto Link Packs in the Features



Fasetto LinkNormally a wireless NAS unit wouldn’t merit a second look, with plenty of choice from big OEMs like Seagate to small crowd-funded efforts. But when this wireless NAS unit is the size of a matchbox, holds 2 TB and weighs 4oz, it’s definitely worth another viewing. Marlo and Nick examine this miniature marvel with Luke Malpass from Fasetto.

The Fasetto Link is a small waterproof cuboid just 48 mm by 23 mm, yet holds a 2 TB SSD along with 802.11ac wireless connectivity. Able to connect to 20 devices at the same time, it can stream to seven of them at once. It has a write speed of up to 1.5 Gb/s so it’s entirely feasible to have multiple wireless action cameras recording simultaneously to the Link. If that’s not enough, it uses Qi wireless charging to recharge in less than an hour.

Now this doesn’t come cheap – the 2 TB version US$1,449 but the price does fall with the capacity and a 256 GB version is only $349. The Link will be available in Q4 2016.

Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch and Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Papago is a Dashcam Frontrunner



Papago logoAmericans are just beginning to use dashcams in their vehicles (but they are commonly used outside of the United States). There are many good reasons to use one. Papago is the frontrunner when it comes to dashcams. Their dashcams not only record your drive but also have useful safety features.

Todd and Don spoke with Marketing Rep of Papago Inc., Rachel Quaill, at CES 2016. They discussed the many uses and features of Papago’s dashcams, and focused on the GoSafe S30. It is Papago’s higher end model in their GoSafe series.

The GoSafe S30 is super compact and lightweight. It has a Sony sensor, which, in conjunction with the GoSafe S30 high quality lens, gives you super high quality nighttime vision. The video it produces will not have the fish eye look. In addition, you can take the camera off the mount and use it to take photos.

You can mount the GoSafe S30 to your windshield either with a suction cup or a sticky mount (that is intended to be permanent). Plug the camera into your dashboard. You can set up the video resolution however you want, but 1080 HD is recommended. The camera will start recording (both video and audio) when your vehicle starts moving. If your car is hit, the GoSafe S30 will automatically write protect that file.

Safety features include stop sign recognition. The camera will alert the driver when a stop sign is coming up. It can also alert the driver when the car ahead of him or her has started moving. You can set a driver fatigue alarm to remind you to stop and take a rest. There is also a light reminder that tells you to turn on your headlights.

The GoSafe S30 is priced at $179.99 and is available now. Check the Papago website for a full list of retailers that sell the GoSafe S30.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and he holds classes at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Olloclip Studio is an iPhone Photographer’s Dream Come True



Olloclip LogoWith its high-quality cameras and extensibility thru apps, the iPhone ushered in a whole new era of photography. It was obvious early on that the iPhone would be used for more than just taking snapshots, and a wide range of accessories have been developed to complement this. One thing that’s been tricky, however, is dealing with all of these different lenses, mounts, and other accessories so they work together and take up a minimal amount of space. Popular iPhone accessories manufacturer Olloclip has come up with its own clever solution, the Olloclip Studio.

Daniel met with Tim at the Olloclip booth. Tim demonstrated the many different functions of the new Olloclip Studio. This product is a standalone iPhone case that works with different clips and attachments to turn an iPhone into a true photography studio. Olloclip Studio is compatible with all of Olloclip’s lenses. Studio also allows for cold shoe attachments in either landscape or portrait mode. There’s even an included “kickstand” that makes it easy to view the phone from a seated position. Olloclip Studio is on sale now for $89.99.

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Altec Lansing Headphones at 2016 CES



in_ear_sport_front_black-1024x512Scott Ertz interviews Jill Byeff, marketing for Altec Lansing. They discuss Altec Lansing’s latest innovative line of headphones and earbuds.

They discuss the new DVR DJ style headphone. The headphone has a built-in 1080p 30 frames per second video camera that has 8 gigabytes of memory built-in as well as an SD card slot to increase video recording capacity. There is also an app that allows the headphones to stream video back to a smartphone or tablet. The DVR headphones will sell for $199 and be available in Q2.

They also talk about the Freedom True Wireless Bluetooth earbuds. These earbuds are waterproof, have a 100 foot Bluetooth range, and even have built-in GPS so you can use a “find my earbuds” feature in an app in case you misplace them. Their earbuds are priced from $29.00 to $99.00 depending on features.

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