Category Archives: Special Media

Special Media Events

Instant Wine Aeration with Aveine at CES 2018



As serious wine connoisseurs know, you have to let red (and some white) wines breathe after opening, allowing them to aerate for the best aroma and taste. As a generalisation, the younger the wine, the longer it needs to rest before drinking. Very young wines might need a few hours, but half-an-hour is the minimum. And simply taking the cork out doesn’t count: the wine needs to be decanted (or double-decanted back into the bottle) for proper aeration. If this sounds like too much effort, then take a look at Aveine, a connected aerator and winner of a CES Innovation Award.

Thanks to the connected aerator Aveine, you can immediately taste any wine in ideal conditions without having to wait 30 minutes or more. Place the aerator on the bottle, scan the label with your smartphone and serve. The smartphone checks for the wine in its database, connects to the Aveine and adjusts the aeration so that the aerator breathes the right amount of air as the wine is poured allowing it to breathe in an instant. Any red wine will benefit and there’s no waiting around or pouring into decanters.

The Aveine aerator is launching on Indiegogo in March – signup for notifications at Aveine. Retail pricing is expected to be US$200 with deals on Indiegogo. Delivery in June.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Beautiful Tracking Shots with Wiral at CES 2018



Tracking shots have traditionally been the preserve of the professional filmmaker or broadcaster, first with cameras on dollys and tracks, then with  Steadicam and now there are cable or wire systems (SkyCam) that can move in three dimensions to get some really amazing shots. While these are all still expensive, the amateur filmaker can achieve a similar effect with Wiral Lite at a fraction of the cost. Todd hangs tight with Emilie.

The Wiral Lite system consists of a steel cable plus a motorised camera mount – the cable cam – that hangs from the cable and it’s a little like a miniature cable car. The cable is strung between two strong points, say, a couple of trees or street lights, and the cable cam is hung on the wire under tension. It needs the tension so that the rubber wheels can grip on the cable and move about. Cameras up to 1.5 kg / 3.3 lb can be carried by the cable cam so it can easily hold a GoPro. The remote control  moves the cable cam back and forth on the cable with adjustable speed.

The Wiral was successfully funded on Kickstarter in the autumn raising over US$1,000,000 and is now also crowdfunding on Indiegogo. There are currently perks at US$239 with delivery expected in August.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Cycle Safely with the Smart Light by Cosmo at CES 2018



After the success of their smart helmet light for motorcyclists, Cosmo Connected are back at CES with a new version for bicyclists. For once the smart moniker is well deserved and it really could save lives. Todd goes for a ride with Emily.

Winning three CES awards in 2018, the Cosmo team’s smart helmet for cyclists builds on bike version. With investment from Michelin, the new helmet light not only shows when the cyclist is braking but also when they’re going to turn. For braking, the light uses accelerometers to detect deceleration but for turns, it’s more sophisticated. The smart light is pre-programmed with the cyclist’s expected route and then uses GPS to anticipate upcoming turns, indicate either to the left or the right as appropriate. This is particularly useful for cyclists who have regular routes such as commutes.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, the Cosmo smart light can automatically call for help via the rider’s smartphone (Android / iOS) using Bluetooth.

The new cycle light will be available in the summer for US$59 – that’s amazing value and I’ll be getting one. As promised, here’s last year’s CES video for the motorbike light.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Smelly Garbage or Old Dumpster? NeOse Pro Knows the Difference at CES 2018



Smell is one of the last human senses to be conquered by machines, with human noses still assessing and testing a wide range of products such as tea, perfume and body odour. French firm Aryballe Technologies are smell specialists with their new NeOse Pro, which aims to bring consistency to the market. Todd sees the end for Q Graders….

Aryballe’s NeOse Pro brings objective analysis to the identification and measurement of odours and smells. The NeOse Pro isn’t designed to suggest what’s a good smell or a bad one, but rather that a standard for a smell has been met. This could be for quality control purposes in a fragrance or to detect fruit ripeness. There’s a wide range of opportunities in food, beauty, medical and manufacturing. New car smell anyone?

The NeOse Pro is intended for commercial uses so the hand-held unit won’t be on the shelves of stores anytime soon. Businesses will need around US$10,000 to get their hands on the device.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Watch Lassie Come Home by Wagz at CES 2018



The smart home is where-it’s-at, and while there are all kinds of automated lights, plugs and switches for people, there’s a growing market for the “internet of pets” – activity trackers, smart beds, smartphone apps. Jenna throws Todd a bone and shows him the latest kit for the connected canine.

The Wagz team have range of products which work round a connected collar. As expected, the collar tracks steps and activity, building up data on the pooch’s fitness and lifestyle. There’s LED lighting to avoid road accidents and the smart dog collar has an OLED display for name and owner info. Amazingly the collar has built-in GPS with 3G/LTE mobile connectivity, meaning it’ll phone home tell you where your mutt is when it gets lost. There’s even an option for a camera to get a dog’s eye view of the world that streams in real-time. Now you can watch Lassie come home as it happens. Here girl!

Mind you, this isn’t cheap – the basic collar will cost US$295 – and for the camera version, it’ll set you back a cool US$495. Pre-orders are open for expected deliveries in Q2 2018. The Wagz collar will also be available in stores as it was recently picked up by Black and Decker. Integrating with the collar are a pet feeder (US$250) and a pet door (US$250) which will be available later in the year too.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Go Cordless with the Volo Go at CES 2018



For relatively small devices, handheld hairdryers use large amounts of power for anything up to ten minutes at a time. As a result, it’s one of the last things you’d think to be successfully battery-powered. Nevertheless, the team at Volo Beauty have taken on the challenge to develop the world’s first cordless hairdryer, the Volo Go. Todd discusses the problem with Ryan and Jonathan.

Their approach for the Volo Go has been to re-engineer the hair dryer, changing from heating the air to heating the hair via infrared. This reduces the power demand to only 600 W – that’s about a third of a traditional hairdryer – without increasing drying time. At this level, battery-power is feasible, and the Volo Go lasts 14 minutes on a charge. As the average drying time for a woman’s hair is 7.5 minutes, this is ample. Extra batteries will be available for extended use.

The Volo Go will launch in summer 2018 priced at US$388, with a Kickstarter campaign in the spring.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Flic Gets Smarter with Flic Hub at CES 2018



Flic‘s smart Bluetooth buttons will be familiar to GNC readers as I reviewed them back in 2017. To be honest, the buttons aren’t that smart but it’s the clever smartphone software that does all the cool stuff. Consequently, if the Flic button is out of range of the owner’s smartphone, it’s somewhat useless. Fortunately Flic recognised this and announced an Indiegogo campaign for a Flic Hub that would take away the reliance on a nearby smartphone. Todd clicks with Elin to find out what’s new at Flic.

The new Flic Hub removes the need for a nearby smartphone in a home or office environment and lets Flic smart buttons integrate more closely with other automation and process management systems. Flic is looking to grow in the enterprise with customers focusing in the safety and hospitality industries.

The Hub can communicate with more Flic buttons so in theory, there could be hundreds of buttons in a location, and the integrity of the overall system is improved without dependence on the smartphone vendors. This creates a more reliable and dependable platform that enterprise customers are looking for, taking Flic beyond smart buttons.

The Flic Hub is expected to go on-sale shortly.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Just a Drop of Blood with Apollo Medical Devices at CES 2018



With the advances in medical sciences and technology, there’s often no longer the need to “Send it to the lab, stat!” to get up-to-date info on blood chemistry. Soon, readings will be given at point of care in a few minutes, if not seconds. Todd consults with Brian on their latest blood diagnostic device.

Apollo Medical Devices has been working with Case Western Reserve University in Ohio to develop a point of care blood diagnostic unit that uses a drop of blood to give information in seconds on eight key indicators such as sodium, potassium, pH and blood oxygen.

The new devices should be in production with 12-18 months and cost will be in line with industry norms for the test.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Code Your Crab and Train Your Tortoise with BinaryBots at CES 2018



Self-assembly robots and smart toys are great for introducing and teaching children the basics of coding. It’s a hot area at the moment, especially with Nintendo Labo coming soon, but here we have British outfit BinaryBots and their animal-themed programmable robots. Todd and Chris play with the smart pets.

The team at BinaryBots have a range of robotic toys starting with straightforward cardboard-based models through to more complex creations using the Totem construction kits. There are crabs, spiders and tortoises, each will unique actions. The robots can be connected up to a BBC micro:bit computer for coding and programming. Children can code their robot and to see how it responds to light and other stimuli.

The cardboard-based robots are available now with the new Totem-based ones arriving in April. They’re priced at GB£40 / US$55 for the cardboard models and GB£60 / US$80 for the Totem, though you’ll need to buy your own micro:bit for the latter.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Need a Housesitter? Ask Kevin at CES 2018



It’s a sad statistic that around half of us in the Europe and US will experience a break-in or burglary during our lifetime and unfortunately, I’m one of those. Most burglaries are over in less than five minutes and by the time the police turn up, the criminals are long gone. Smart homes and security alarms only go so far and what you really want is to deter the burglars from breaking in at all. You need a housesitter and Mitipi have one called Kevin. Todd thought Kevin was a minion

Kevin is the first IoT device to simulate the presence of people in a room by emitting light, shadow effects, and sound, meaning burglars will think someone’s home, and won’t want to break in for fear of being confronted or even caught.

Kevin is extremely easy to use. Place the device in a main room with a window, say, the living room. Once set up, Kevin can be controlled via the buttons on the box, or through the companion app. To pretend someone is home, Kevin uses a smart logic that considers multiple factors such as location, language, weather and home type to produce a realistic simulation with light, sound and shadows.

Kevin is currently on Kickstarter and the best pledge is SFr249, which is around GB£190 or US$270. Delivery is expected in December 2018.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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