Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Verbatim Demos LED Bulbs at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 12:41 AM on April 13, 2012

Verbatim LED LightsVerbatim are best known for their data storage products and I can remember having piles of Verbatim floppy disks back in the day, as it were. Younger readers will know the company for blank DVDs, memory cards and USB memory sticks but Verbatim have recently launched an LED lighting business.

Offering direct plug-in replacements, the goal is to encourage consumers to replace existing incandescent lights with LED-based equivalents. The power savings can be considerable with 60 W bulbs being replaced by LEDs closer to 10 W in power.

Verbatim LED Lighting Demo

At The Gadget Show Live, Ian tells me more about Verbatim’s LED lighting products and why we should all switch over.

Bedol Water Powered Clock

Posted by geeknews at 2:41 PM on March 11, 2012

For those looking to be more Eco friendly and eliminate the need to buy batteries or plugging in an alarm clock, you will want to check out the Bedol Water Powered Alarm Clock. The Bedol Water Clock uses ions in ordinary tap water to power the clock. Powering your clock is as simple as filling it up from the tap, in 6 months or so when ionization is low, and the clocks LED display dims just dump the water out and refill and your back in business.

The price is right on this device at $26.00 and can be picked up at bedol.com they come in a variety of styles and colors.

Note: This device drove a nice science discussion here as my kids spent some time online figuring it out. I guess what they teach in science class in schools these days is not what it used to be.

Fulton Innovation’s Wireless Charging

Posted by Andrew at 12:02 PM on February 26, 2012

Fulton Innovation logoThe great thing about CES is that every now and then an unknown shows off something cool. I’d never heard of Fulton Innovation but they have smart products based around wireless power transmission. Todd learns more about eCoupled from Dave Baarman.

Fulton Innovation have developed an inductive coupling solution that scales from simply making a magazine cover light up as you walk past to being able to charge a whole bag of devices without taking them out of the bag. Electric cars could be recharged by parking in the right spot and not by plugging them in.

Not all of these products are ready for market just yet, but inductive charging efficiencies are on a par with plug-in chargers though economies of scale are needed to bring the prices down to a point where it’s built-in as standard. Palm’s Pre range of smartphones used inductive charging with the Touchstone and the Motorola Droid 4 has inductive charging as an option. As a Pre 3 owner, it’s brilliant not having to fiddle with cables and I hope more devices come to the market with inductive charging in 2012.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network, and Dave Lee from Waves of Tech.

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GreenSmart Eco-Friendly Gadget Gear

Posted by Andrew at 8:37 AM on February 16, 2012

GreenSmart Laptop SleeveA good bag can make travelling a pleasure and it’s important to choose the right bag for your needs. It’s even better if its a “green” bag. Andy and Courtney interview Tom Larsen from GreenSmart on their range of eco-friendy travel bags and gadget gear.

GreenSmart’s unique selling point is not just that the bags are good-looking and functional, it’s that the bags themselves are made from recycled materials, hence both the “green” and “smart”.

On show are laptop and tablet sleeves in a neoprene-like material made from recycled plastic bottles. There’s also a backpack made completely from recycled materials.

To reduce packaging waste, GreenSmart designs the retail display of the product as part of the bag itself. For example, a carry handle is used to hang the bag from the display rail while it’s on show in-store.

GreenSmart bags are on sale on-line and in select retail locations.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Green Plug Brings Control to AC-DC Conversion

Posted by Andrew at 10:33 PM on February 14, 2012

Green Plug LogoAs energy prices rise and green credentials come under scrutiny, each step in the energy path is being examined for inefficiency. Andy and Courtney listen to Paul Panepinto from Green Plug on their technology.

Green Plug have developed a digital controller to optimise the conversion of electricity between AC and DC. For the non-engineers, AC (alternative current)  is what is in your wall socket and DC (direct current) is what most of your gadgets use. All those power bricks and wall warts are transformers combined with AC to DC converters to change 110 V AC to 12V / 5V DC.

Green Plug has pioneered the use of intercommunicating digital power and load processors to optimise the AC-to-DC power conversion and increase efficiency. It’s an area that has been typically overlooked in power management but Green Plug has reduced the implementation cost to make the inclusion of the technology cost-effective. Over the next few years, it’s likely that this technology will start to appear laptop and phone chargers, so keep an eye out for it.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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SolarKindle Lighted Kindle Cover

Posted by Andrew at 8:31 AM on February 3, 2012

SolarKindle Lighted Kindle CoverThe E Ink screens of e-book readers are much easier on the eyes than traditional LCD ones but as they’re not backlit, reading in low light or the dark is a little tricky. SolarFocus‘s lighted Kindle cover solves this problem and more. Andy takes a look.

The SolarKindle lighted Kindle cover is a combination of a hard case, LED light, battery and photovoltaic charger. The Kindle clips into the back of the case which has a white LED reading light at the top. The solar cell is on the front cover, letting the SolarKindle charge the battery when the cover is closed. The clever part is that the 1500 mAh battery not only powers the reading light but also the Kindle itself, giving several days of extra reading from a fully charged battery.

SolarFocus won a CES Innovation Honoree Award for the SolarKindle – congrats. Available now for $79.99.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Allure Energy Intelligent Thermostat with Proximity Control

Posted by Andrew at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2012

Allure Energy graphicAllure Energy introduced their latest energy management product, EverSense, at CES 2012. Andy learns how to save money on your electricity bill from Kevin, Allure Energy.

Allure Energy’s EverSense, a thermostat replacement technology, is based around a tablet device that can make intelligent energy decisions on your behalf. The proximity control feature raises or lowers the temperature in your based on how far away you are from your home. By using a GPS app on your iPhone (or Android smartphone) that sends back your location, EverSense knows where you and if you are coming home, it adjusts the temperature to your preferences. Cool.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Nest Learning Thermostat at CES

Posted by Andrew at 11:48 PM on January 18, 2012

Nest Smart ThermostatThe nest thermostat has received more than its fair share of press coverage recently, but that’s because it’s both smart, cool and well-designed. Todd chats with Kate from nest about this great new product.

The nest thermostat is a smart thermostat that learns from your habits and behaviours and adjusts itself to match them, turning the heat up when you want it and down when you are out of the home. It’s exceptionally easy to use – you turn it up, you turn it down, that’s it. The nest has several learning modes, including schedule learning and activity detection, which help it keep you comfortable but the energy costs down.

The nest thermostat costs $249 but it’s on back order because it’s been so popular. The thermostat comes with everything you need to install the devices yourself, including a screwdriver!

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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PowerSkin Charges Smartphones and Portable Gamers

Posted by Andrew at 6:48 AM on January 11, 2012

At CES International 2012, PowerSkin has announced new portable power solutions for smartphones and other rechargeable devices. SolarCharge, Key Charge and Gaming Skins are all designed to keep the mobile user going for longer.

PowerSkins SolarChargeThe SolarCharge is a universal charger for all types of smartphone including iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and it comprises a 1000 mAh battery paired with a solar panel in a one-piece housing. The SolarCharge recharges smartphones (and other devices) via a supplied micro-USB connector and other connectors are available for non-standard devices. The battery in the SolarCharge itself is recharged via USB from a PC, via a micro-USB mains charger or from the sun through the solar panel, so there are plenty of options for the mobile user. The blue rubberised skin has embedded LEDs to show the battery’s charge level.

PowerSkins KeyChargeThe KeyCharge has a smaller capacity at 750 mAh and is intended for a quick boost rather than a full recharge. Small enough to fit on a keychain, the KeyCharge only comes with a micro-USB connector and consequently is not suitable for use with iPhones or iPods. Two variants are available to cater for the different positions of the micro-USB connector on smartphones, i.e. side or bottom. As with the SolarCharge, the KeyCharge is recharged via a micro-USB connector, either from a PC or from a mains adaptor.

Also on display at CES will be PowerSkin’s Gaming Skins for iOS and Nintendo 3DS, which were announced in December 2011, along with an array of battery-boosting smartphone skins for all the popular makes.

PowerSkins

PowerSkin’s SolarCharge, $69.99, and KeyCharge, $24.99, will both be available beginning February on www.Power-Skin.com. Visit PowerSkin’s booth at the Hilton Suites, Booth # 28-128.

Orange “Sound Charge” T-Shirt for Glastonbury

Posted by Andrew at 12:18 AM on June 21, 2011

The music festival season is underway in the UK, with Glastonbury Festival starting tomorrow. To celebrate, Orange have invented a t-shirt that recharges mobile phones using a piezoelectric material to convert sound waves into electricity. Over a weekend of music, the t-shirt will produce enough juice to charge a smartphone.

The t-shirts were developed by Orange in conjunction with GotWind, renewable energy specialists. The piezoelectric film charges a battery pack from which the wearer can then charge his or her phone. At the Festival, user testing will determine which musical performances give the best charge. Personally, I’d guess the loudest.

Andrew Pearcey, Head of Sponsorship at Orange UK said: “In a vibrant festival environment such as Glastonbury, sound is such an obvious medium that it seemed like a natural fit to use it in the development of this year’s prototype….It could even influence trends in fashion, with designers looking to integrate this passive charging solution into clothing.

Orange has a history of innovative phone charging solutions for festivals. Last year, the Power Welly generated power from walking and in previous years there have been the Power Pump and the Dance Charger.

You can read the full press release here – it’s hilarious and there’s a video too. You couldn’t make this stuff up.