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


Dario: Diabetes Management for the Smartphone

Posted by J Powers at 10:40 AM on November 14, 2013
Dario

Dario

Eventually, I’ll have to really watch my blood sugar. I have a history of diabetes in the family. I remember when my brother had to carry the pouch around with him. Glucose monitors have gotten smaller, but still remained simple – reading your current blood sugar levels.

Enter in Labstyle Dario – the glucose monitor.

This is a device that uses your smartphone to record and remember your blood sugar information. The companion device holds strip cartridges (25 strips inside) that read your blood sugar.

The strip connects via your headphone socket to transfer information. The device works with iOS and Android devices through the app on December 12th. You can then monitor your blood sugar, get tips as to what you should eat so you don’t spike again, create a case history and journal and even send information to your doctor.

Of course, diabetes is a big issue. The International Diabetes Federation estimates an increase of 8.4% in 2012, which makes 371 million cases of Type 2 diabetes in adults. This is due to obesity and lack of exercise. They also expect the numbers to continue increasing over time.

Dario will debut in the US at the upcoming Geekdom. For more information, check out MyDario.com.

HeartMath Inner Balance for iOS

Posted by Andrew at 6:46 PM on January 30, 2013

HeartMath LogoIt’s a brave man who attempts to find inner balance at CES, but Jamie gives it a go with HeartMath‘s forthcoming Inner Balance.

HeartMath’s Inner Balance combines an iPhone app with a heart rate sensor, providing a feedback loop that helps people control their heart rate, relax and relieve stress. The sensor gently attaches to the earlobe and measures heart rate variability. The app uses a breath pacer and graphical display of the heart rate to help the person concentrate and control their breathing and pulse rate.

The Inner Balance sensor will be available in February for $99 and the free app can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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GrandCare Systems

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:30 AM on January 28, 2013

GrandCare System GrandCare Systems is a comprehensive software system that can be used to help caregiver monitor their love ones from a distant. It was originally created to help maintain social contact, through chats, email, pictures, video, games, reminders and things like local weather and news. Overtime it was discovered that it could also be used to monitor health conditions, such as glucose level, blood pressure, and other medical information. It can capture the information on site and in almost real-time. It does this through add ons such as a device that indicates when a pill-box has been open or when a scale has been used. These add ons are connected to the main device wirelessly. Alerts can be sent to the caregiver either through email or text message based on the need of the patient.

The GrandCare Systems is software based and it is built into a specific device at the present time. This is something they hope to change in the future so that the software can be used on various devices. The caregiver may access the alerts and information on any device. The base cost for the device and software is $600. There is an additional cost based on the number of add ons. There is also a monthly fee to for text messages and email to the caregiver.

If you have an elderly parent living alone, this can help you give you peace of mind.  Knowing that you can still care for them even if you are not there.

Interview by Chris Montera of  and the Health Tech Weekly

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Omron Strapless Heart Rate Monitor

Posted by Andrew at 6:18 PM on January 26, 2013

Omron Healthcare LogoLifestyle health products are very popular and Jamie Davies looks at one of the amazing healthcare products on show at CES 2013, the new Omron Strapless Heart Rate Monitor.

The Strapless Heart Rate Monitor does away with more usual chest belt, replacing it with a device that’s more akin to a chunky wristwatch, which can be worn all day and not just at the gym or when working out. Optical sensors read the blood flow from capillaries in the wrist to calculate the heart rate, helping the wearer hit their fat burning zone and making their workouts more effectively. The monitor fully integrates with Omron’s lifestyle ecosystem, uploading heart rate data to their fitness portal.

The Strapless Heart Rate Monitor (HR-500U) will be available at the end of January for $149 and can be pre-ordered at Omron Fitness’ online store.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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TEDxBelfast 2012

Posted by Andrew at 11:48 PM on June 7, 2012

TEDxBelfastAt TEDxBelfast last night I was inspired by the stories of individuals who passionately believed in an idea and then made that idea a reality. From working with autistic children to building a new arts centre, these people all made a difference. Presented in Titanic Belfast in front of the replica of the famous staircase, it was an unforgettable evening.

Titanic Staircase

As with all TED conferences, the presentations will be posted on-line but that will take a week or two before they are ready. In  the meantime, these are the speakers, their stories and how they made a difference.

David Maxwell of Tyrone Timberframes presented his work with Habitat for Humanity in building highly energy-efficient homes that have no central heating. The significant cost of fossil fuel-based energy can be a big factor in poverty and these homes can save the inhabitants over £1000 per year.

Maureen Murphy, Director of Aurion Learning, grabbed attention with the headline that 70% of training was wasted and proposed an innovative way of providing effective training using the acronym ASSAULT. One of the best bits was that of story-based approach that hooked the learner and got them more emotionally involved.

Fransuer Makula grew up in the slums of Kenya but is now a teacher in a prestigious school in Northern Ireland. Describing the harsh reality of existence as a street child, where death is commonplace, he related how the children dared to dream big. In the midst of utter poverty, these children wanted to grow up as doctors, nurses and lawyers. Fransuer established “Jengana” to help orphans, street children and schools in West Kenya.

Colleen Hardwick, billed as an urban geographer and serial entrepreneur from Vancouver, laid out the loss of personal engagement in democracy. The statistics she presented on the fall of voter turnout over the past few decades were shocking. To counteract the anonymous global nature of the web, she’s developed PlaceSpeak, a community-based website that lets local people be authenticated as stakeholders in local issues without necessarily giving up that anonymity.

Next was an absolute gem…acoustic guitar duo Declan McKerr and Andy Toman, aka Gypsy’s Wish, serenaded TEDxBelfast, equipped with a brand-new George Lowden guitar. His guitars are world-famous with owners such as Eric Clapton and Mike Oldfield. Sublime.

Following a musical theme, Chris Blake, Principal Horn with the Ulster Orchestra, talked about the work he’d done with autistic children and the therapeutic value of music. The results were truly ground-breaking, increasing the evidence between autism and musicality.

Dr Nigel Hart took us all on a trip to the peaks and Mt Everest in particular in his talk on Mountains, Medicine and Mantras. Clearly a keen mountaineer, he combined his medical training with his passion to investigate the effects of hypoxia on humans at altitude. During his climb to the top of the world, he had to rescue another climber who had collapsed. Apt for many shared endeavours, his response to the famous climbing question was not, “Because it’s there” but rather, “It’s not the height or the distance, it’s the people you travel with.”

Anne McReynolds, CEO of the Belfast Metropolitan Arts Centre, had TEDxBelfast captivated by her struggle to get a world-class arts centre built in Belfast. Starting in 1996 and finally opening in 2012, it’s an amazing story of architects and artists (“good clients get good buildings”), buildings and space. If you want to build an arts centre, Anne should be the first person you talk to.

Colin Williams of Sixteen South tackled the “Can’t Do” attitude that has often afflicted Northern Ireland with a great story of “Can Do” success. It’s likely that you’ll never have heard of Sixteen South, a children’s TV production company but if you have kids under five you’ll have heard of Sesame Tree, Big City Park, Pajanimals, and Big & Small. Working with the BBC and The Jim Henson Company, Sixteen South produces these great TV programmes here in Northern Ireland. Fantastic.
Colin’s business plan was pretty clever too. “Do some good, make some money, have some fun.” Good advice for anyone.

Chris Horn completed the speaker line-up with his inspiration for Dublin’s Science Gallery, an exhibition space that takes a creative and artistic approach to the presentation of science and related issues. By taking the traditional remit of a science museum and combining it with the changing presentation of an art gallery, the Science Gallery is an innovation in itself that has proved tremendously successful. So much so that Google recently awarded the Science Gallery $1m to setup other Galleries around the world.

Overall, it was a great evening, with inspirational speakers in a fantastic setting. Thanks also to Davy Sims and Gary Burnett and Mark Finlay for organising #TEDxBelfast.

Gunnar Digital Performance Eyewear

Posted by Andrew at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2012

Gunnar Phenom EyewareGunnar‘s digital performance eyewear is a range of spectacles designed for people who spend too much time in front of a screen. Typically stylish and yellow-lensed, Todd occasionally wears a pair of Gunnars while doing the GNC show.

Joe Croft dropped in to show off the latest specs and Gunnar currently has a four-way line-up with Advanced Computer, Advanced Gaming, Premium 3D and Advanced Outdoor eyewear. As you might guess, three out of the four are primarily for indoor use only.

The Advanced Computer eyewear is for those people who use computer screens all day and the glasses help with the typical symptoms of prolonged computer use, such as a lowering in the blink rate leading to dry eyes, tired eye muscles from short range focussing and poor light quality from fluorescent lights. The technology in Gunnar glasses addresses each of those issues to make the eyes more comfortable while using a computer screen.

The new Spring 2012 collection is now out at Gunnars. Prices from $80 – $300 for standard lenses. Budget up to $700 for custom prescription lenses from Zeiss.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee of Netcast Studio for the TechPodcast Network.

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Hearing Loss Help From ClearSounds

Posted by Andrew at 10:20 PM on February 14, 2012

ClearSounds LogoSurprisingly, one in five Americans over the age of 12 has hearing loss severe enough to affect communication and in over a third of the cases, the loss is from noise exposure, not age. ClearSounds produces a range of stylish products that help people overcome their hearing loss and communicate again. Andy and Courtney talk to company president, Michele Alman of ClearSounds.

Suffering from a hearing loss is less about the physical impairment and more about the isolation and withdrawal that occurs when it becomes difficult to hear what’s going on. The problem doesn’t only affect the afflicted; friends and family stop calling and phoning because it’s simply too hard to have a conversation. In turn, the lack of contact leads people into depression.

ClearSounds have a range of products aimed at remedying everyday situations – people with hearing loss want to use cool tech too. The ClearSounds i700 iCreations Phone is combination landline and iPhone dock. The enhanced handset combines a DECT cordless phone with a Bluetooth receiver so only one handset is needed to take both landline and mobile phone calls.

For watching TV, the ClearBlue Bluetooth TV/Audio Listening System is a Bluetooth transmitter and headphones receiver. Rather than turning the TV volume up until it rocks the house, the headphones let the individual set the volume just right for them.

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

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Careverge Takes A Social Approach To Health

Posted by Andrew at 11:04 PM on January 25, 2012

Careverge logoThe fast pace of modern Western life doesn’t lend itself to a healthy lifestyle and many of us struggle to keep on top of the weight and exercise regularly, including myself. Careverge can help as a one-stop health and well-being site that brings together fitness, health and support in one place. Careverge’s Henry de Phillips talks to Jamie Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show about what the site can offer.

Careverge’s approach is to create a social networking environment to encourage good health behaviours rather than to simply sell a product or a plan. The site brings networking, gaming and recommendations together so that within only a few moments of starting to use the site, the individual is given personalised suggestions on reading and possible activities. The focus of Careverge is to encourage people to health through fun while providing quality health information and support to reach their goals.

Careverge is free to use for consumers.

Interview by Jamie Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

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Intouch Remote Health Monitoring

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:22 PM on January 22, 2012

Intouch Health InTouch Health along with Verizon had developed the RP Express and the RP 7 Mobile Robot and other similar devices to allow doctors to access their patients from remote locations. The RP Express is a mobile device for an individual to carry in the field. The RP 7 Mobile Robot is made for hospitals or other medical facilities. Both devices allow you to plug in medical instruments including EKGs, Ultrasound equipment and other devices directly into the machine allowing doctors to take and read vital signs from anywhere in the world. The video and audio are in real time and work over the Verizon 4G network, or wifi. (I am not sure what happens if the 4G or wifi networks are not available, hopefully there is a solution to that problem.) The doctor can control the RP 7 Mobile Robot and the RP Express from any computer that has the control station installed on it. The RP 7 robot allows for 178 degree field of view.

These devices are FDA cleared for connection to diagnostic medical devices on wifi. They are still going through the approval process for the 4G version. They hope to have those versions available for hospitals later this year. It is nice to know that now people in remote areas have a way to get access to the medical care, including the specialist that they need.

Interviewed by Jamie Davis of The Pod Medic and the Tech Podcast Network

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Withings Internet Connected Baby Scale

Posted by Andrew at 12:20 AM on January 10, 2012

At CES in Las Vegas, Withings has announced its wireless Internet-connected baby and toddle scale, winner of a 2012 CES Innovations Award. Developed by the French company, the Smart Baby Scale incorporates WiFi, Bluetooth and the low power Bluetooth Smart connectivity and allows parents to accurately record their child’s weight from birth.

Withings Smart Baby Scale

Using the Smart Baby Scale, parents can view the weight readings from any net connected device, such as PC, laptop, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using the already available WiScale app. Parents can easily pass on their child’s weight profile to their doctor, family and friends and the scale can also update Facebook and Twitter. Messages can be sent to email addresses with new readings and, if desired, parents can put together a scrapbook with notes and photos to create a story of their child’s growth.

Cédric Hutchings, Withings co-founder says, “We are very excited to announce our Smart Baby Scale and offer parents an amazing new way to take care of their newborn or young child. The success of our WiFi Body Scale has proven the benefits of connected weight tracking on adults and we were eager to also bring these benefits to babies and children. We are thrilled that our Smart Baby Scale was awarded the prestigious CES Innovation Award and this further reinforces our vision of designing smart communicating devices that help families take better charge of their health”.

The Smart Baby Scale complements other Withings products such as the adult Withings WiFi body scale and the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. Parents are able to monitor their child’s weight on the same dashboard they view their own weight and blood pressure. (Hmm, I wonder if parents are as inclined to put their own weight on Facebook!)

No news on pricing but the Smart Baby Scale will be available from Q2 of 2012. The WiScale app is available now for iOS devices from the App Store for free.