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


XOEye Streaming Safety Glasses

Posted by Andrew at 10:08 PM on January 22, 2014

XOEye LogoThere’s no doubt that wearables are where it’s at right now, but devices such as Google Glass or Recon goggles are very much luxury toys. XOEye Technologies have taken a more practical approach, developing safety glasses with built-in video cameras and microphones for use in business, typically manufacturing, construction and field service industry. Don and Todd talk to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye.

Currently in the prototype stage, the XOEye solution streams HD video and sound from the glasses across the internet to a remote viewing station, where an expert can review and discuss what the wearer is seeing, usually in an attempt to solve a problem. The wearer can hear the expert through small speakers installed on the glasses, so a conversation can take place between the wearer and the expert. Although still in the early stages of development, XOEye is exploring different materials for the glasses and a range of additional sensors, such as gyros and accelerometers, and other enhancements including a torch.

The final product is expected to come to market in June and there’s more information at www.xoeye.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Seal Shield Waterproof Covers

Posted by Andrew at 10:05 PM on January 22, 2014

Seal Shield Logo

Todd and Don chat to Bradley Whitchurch from Seal Shield about their latest products aimed at both the healthcare market and technology users with active lifestyles. With expertise in waterproof and anti-microbial technologies, their core products are washable keyboards, mice and TV remote controls.

In the video, Bradley demonstrates the Seal Shield’s washable True Type keyboard by submersing it in warm water, along with an iPhone and iPad covered in Seal Shield’s Life Proof Shield. The Life Proof Shield is a skin which covers the product, keeping the water out and bug-free.

The Life Proof Shield is $29 for the iPad and can be purchased in a combo with the Life Proof Bumper case for $59 from Seal Shield’s site and other good retailers. More information at www.sealshield.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Ventev Battery Packs and Chargers

Posted by Andrew at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2014

Ventev LogoVentev offers innovative combined battery packs and chargers for smartphones and tablets. Scott Franklin, Director, chats with Todd and Don about Ventev’s latest mobile accessories at CES.

External battery backs for smart phones and tablet are very common these days, but the benefit of Ventev’s unit is that the charger is integrated into the pack itself; there’s no need for additional external charger. Scott shows off three different packs in the interview;

  1. the powercell 6000+, a 6000 mAh unit ($74.99) that plugs directly into the mains electricity socket. Two USB ports, rated at 1 A and 2.1 A.
  2. the powerdash r900, a cylindrical 900 mAh unit ($39.99) which charges from a car cigarette lighter. One USB port rated at 2.1 A when plugged in and 1 A when running from the battery.
  3. the utilitycharger 2100, a charger only ($39.99) but powers from both from the mains and from a car lighter. Two USB ports rated at 1 A each.

For more information on availability, visit Ventev’s website at www.ventev.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Aurasma Augments Adverts

Posted by Andrew at 12:23 AM on May 1, 2012

Aurasma LogoAt Gadget Show Live, Aurasma were showing-off their impressive portfolio of augmented reality advertising campaigns. The list of clients is long and illustrious, including BBC, Sky, Bentley, Dunhill, Marks & Spencer, ebay and Stella Artois.

If you haven’t experienced augmented reality, it’s the overlaying of computer-generated imagery onto a real-world view as seen through a smartphone or tablet camera. The applications are myriad, from showing a video when the camera sees a billboard poster to providing information about the artist when looking at a painting.

AuraAurasma’s augmented reality app is available for both iOS and Android, and once loaded on your smartphone, you can start looking for enhanced adverts, which Aurasma call “Auras“. These have additional content which you can only see through your phone. Auras can also be created for real locations and while most of the Auras add animals or cars into the scene, they can also be used to put tourist information in the view.

In the last of my interviews from Gadget Show Live, I chat to Tamara from Aurasma, who told me more about Aurasma and Auras.

Jumbo iPieces at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 3:38 AM on April 28, 2012

Jumbo GamesiPieces from Jumbo are a new range of games that join traditional tabletop games with iPad game apps. In a nutshell, the iPad becomes the game board and game pieces are placed on the iPad. The game app displays the board but being an app, can bring animation and other effects to the game. Sheer genius.

There are four games which can be download from the Apple AppStore; Snakes & Ladders, Fishing Game (Magnetic Fish), Game of Goose and Air Hockey. I didn’t recognise Game of Goose, but it’s a traditional Dutch game: Jumbo is a Dutch company.

The iPieces themselves are sold in small packs, with different iPieces for each game – the picture below shows the pre-production packaging. Each iPiece pack is £9.99.

iPieces Games from Jumbo

Here are the game pieces, the iPieces themselves. On the left are two fishing rods for Fishing Game, in the middle the pucks for Air Hockey and on the right, two “men” and a ladder from Snakes and Ladders. As with any game, the number of players varies. The Game of Goose has six players, but Air Hockey only two.

iPieces

If you are worried about the iPieces scratching the iPad screen, there are felt pads on the bottom of the iPieces which I imagine would be good enough for occasional use. Hardcore Air Hockey players might want to invest in a screen protector.

The game boards are brilliantly reproduced by the apps and unlike the original board games, these can have animations and sound. I’ll be reviewing each app in more detail in a future post.

Game of Goose

New iPieces games are coming soon, including Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Ludo, Pool and Stratego.

If you want to learn more, listen to my interview with Catherine from Jumbo.

Nanodots Magnetic Construction at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 12:37 AM on April 26, 2012

Nanodots are small but strongly magnetic balls ideal for playing and building shapes. About 5 mm across, they’re incredible tactile and once you start playing with them, it’s very hard to stop. They’re surprisingly heavy, but great stress relievers.

Nanodots

New to the UK, Nanodots come in a range of four colours – original, silver, gold and black – but they’re all the same size and fit together. Purchased in packs of 216 balls, there are enough to make small cubes, pyramids, diamonds and so on, but the fun really starts when you have lots of balls. Here’s a chess set.

Nanodots Chess Set

If you look closely, you’ll see that the chess pieces are on a Nanopad. It’s a magnetic mat that works with the Nanodots to help build structures that would otherwise be impossible (because the balls would slip or skid away on a ordinary surface). There are more amazing Nanodot creations at Dotpedia.

The Nanodots are available direct online and from other good retailers. Listen to my interview with Daniel to learn more.

TP-Link Mini Wireless Routers at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 12:22 AM on April 25, 2012

TP-Link WR702N wireless-n routerTP-Link had a large stand at The Gadget Show Live with a huge range of different products on show. Switches, ADSL modems, wireless routers, IP cameras, Powerline adaptors; you could easily build a complete home IT infrastructure using only TP-Link products.

What caught my eye was a range of portable mini wireless routers, “nano routers”, that were smaller than paperback books. Three different models were on show; the first was the TL-WR702N, a relatively standard 11n wireless router but only 57 mm square and 18 mm deep – it’s the one shown in the picture left.

Second was the TL-MR3020, a bit bigger at 74 x 67 x 22 mm but offering 3G connectivity via a dongle as well.

Finally, a brand new wireless router was on display, the TL-MR3040, that included a rechargeable battery giving several hours of use. More rectangular than square, it uses a 3G dongle (rather than integrated SIM tray), to get mobile connectivity. Price is expected to be less than £50.

Eric from TP-Link took me through their range in more detail.

WD TV Live at The Gadget Show Live

Posted by Andrew at 12:27 AM on April 23, 2012

WD TV LiveWestern Digital’s TV Live series of media players has been around for a couple of years and they’ve gained a sizeable following with over 3.5 million devices sold. The 3rd generation WD TV Live has been released recently and Daniel Mauerhofer was kind enough to give me an interview at The Gadget Show Live.

The new WD TV Live model introduces wi-fi connectivity which was absent on the previous model and it’s now been localised for the UK market with the inclusion of iPlayer and Spotify. Coming in two models, one without an internal hard drive (£99), which is available now, and a second which will have a 1 TB drive and will be available later in the year (approx. £129).

As ever, there’s a complementary remote control app for Android and iOS devices, which looks pretty useful; it’s certainly more than just a button-for-button replacement of the IR remote control.

My personal pet peeve in this area was that media players seemed either play from the local network or stream from the Internet but it was a rare device that could do both. The WD TV Live does both so it’s a thumbs up from me.

JayBird Headphones for Sport

Posted by Andrew at 2:45 PM on April 22, 2012

JayBird SportsbandTo be honest, I’d never heard of JayBird headphones until I came across them on the DAD Audio stand at Gadget Show Live. However, having listened to their pitch, I’d consider a pair for use at the gym or during sport. Why? Because JayBird specialise in headphones and earbuds that are sweat-proof and difficult to dislodge.

On show were two Bluetooth headsets, the Sportsband and the Freedom. As you might expect, the Sportsband is a traditional headband model with modern styling (shown left), whereas the Freedoms are earbuds (show below) with a twist.

Jaybird FreedomsKeeping earbuds in during exercise is a constant problem, and the Freedoms solve this problem but having a cunning in-ear hook that latches onto part of the ear. This ensures that the earbuds stay in the ear no matter how active and sweaty the wearer gets.

If you are in the UK and are interested in picking up a pair, JayBird headphones are sold online by DAD Audio. Both models are currently £99.

To learn more, listen to my interview with Stephanie at the Gadget Show Live.

WOWee ONE Portable Speakers at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 5:43 AM on April 22, 2012

Portable speakers were much in evidence at Gadget Show Live, though frankly some had the acoustics of a tin can rather than than anything close to hi-fi. Fortunately the WOWee ONE range of portable speakers tend towards the latter and while I doubt that musical purists will be impressed, those of us who simply want our tunes out-and-about will be satisfied.

WOWee ONE Pro

There are three models in the WOWee ONE line-up; the Classic, the Slim and the recently announced Pro (shown left). Although there is a conventional speaker included, all of these portable speakers are designed to vibrate the surface they’re lying on to produce sound using a unique gel pad on the bottom of the WOWee ONE that helps transmit the vibration from the speaker to the surface.

The Classic and the Slim need a cabled input (3.5mm jack) but the new Pro can make a wireless Bluetooth connection with a smartphone. The Pro also has a mic and can pair as a handsfree kit. With built-in rechargeable batteries, expect to get 10 hours of music from the Slim and the Pro but double that to 20 hours for the Classic.

I listened to both the Classic and the Slim at the Gadget Show and I though the sound was great for an impromptu party. The Classic seem to have the edge in the quality and range, probably because of the greater mass. Prices are a penny shy of £50, £80 and £130 for the Classic, Slim and Pro respectively.

I interviewed Magnus Hammick and he told me more about their products.