Category Archives: video

Get the Whole Screen for Multiplayer Gaming with MirraViz at CES 2018



Having friends round to your house for multiplayer games is always fun, but the more there are, the smaller each player’s screen becomes as they share part of the TV. Split even a big screen into quarters and the immersive effect is lost. But what if all the players had the same large screen? MirraViz have got it covered.

The MirraViz projection screens are highly reflective but brightly reflect the light back in a tight cone, rather than scattering the light widely as a nomal white screen would do. When used with a video projector, this means that only someone sitting close to the projector sees the image. Think of the screen like a reflective street sign in the distance lit up by headlights: only the driver and passengers see the bright reflection from the sign.

As light beams don’t interfere with each other, the screen can reflect light back from multiple sources without distortion, so several projectors can be used with one screen. As a result, each player sees only their gameplay…..but on the full sized screen. Whoa!
It’s kind of hard to imagine, but think of walking round in front of the screen. Only one gaming screen is seen at a time but as you walk round the screen changes between players. Don’t worry, it takes Don a little time to get his head round it too.

The screens are entirely passive – there’s no electronics – and the video projectors don’t have to be massively powerful because the reflectivity is so good. Personal or pico projects with less than a thousand lumens are fine.

MirraViz sells combinations of hardware and screens for home entertainment or gaming setups, and they sell the screens on their own too. A 52″ screen costs US$699, 75″ is $899 and 94″ is $1299. Available now.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Manage Diabetes with DiabiLive App at CES 2018



Diabetes is a disease that affects increasing numbers of people in developed countries where obesity, lack of exercise and genetics are causing epidemic levels of the condition. Simplistically, the pancreas becomes unable to manage blood sugar levels as it (usually) can’t to produce the right amount of insulin. Don and Nicholas discuss the problems facing diabetics and how DiabiLive‘s new app can help manage the disease.

Winner of a CES Innovation Award, DiabiLive have a developed a smartphone app which calculates the correct amount of insulin to inject based on three parameters (physical activity, diet, sugar level). In addition, the app plans ahead based on past history to warn of possible low sugar levels.

The app’s algorithms are based on medical science and protocols: the app is awaiting FDA approval, hopefully within 2018.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Track the Supply Chain with YesItIs at CES 2018



Tracking environmental conditions is important for many industries, particularly food & drink and pharmaceuticals. Often products have to be kept below a certain temperature and any deviation above this means that the product has to be disposed of. French firm Yes It Is is working hard to provide a continuous unbroken record of the environment surrounding the goods. Sandra shows Allante the prototype of their sensor tag module.

Traditionally the recording of environmental conditions is done by equipment installed in the building or the refrigerator. To match the data to a particular product means that the time in and out needs to be recorded so that relevant periods can be checked. Wouldn’t it be better if the sensor was small enough and battery powered so that it could be packaged in with the product? There would then be a complete and unbroken record of the environmental conditions from production to use.

Yes It Is are working hard on this problem and are developing tags that have a year’s worth of battery life, record the environmental data and can be scanned by a smartphone to retrieve the data. The plan is to have the tag small enough to fit in a label within a year!

Allante Sparks is a video producer at PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Get Cooking with a Cauldryn at CES 2018



Stainless steel insulated water bottles are commonplace today and have largely taken over from the glass vacuum flasks – the latter are just too delicate, especially for camping and hillwalking. And while the steel bottles are good are keeping stuff warm, the liquid has to be hot in the first place….or does it? Cauldryn Fyre bottles have a built-in heating element which not only keeps liquids warm, it can actually boil water. Colten and Joe have a quick Americano.

The Cauldryn Fyre water bottles feature a modular design, offering a 16-ounce, stainless steel, vacuum insulated bottle with the revolutionary Fyre heating element. The standard Cauldryn Fire is powered from AC but the Fyre Mobile features a rechargeable battery to heat the liquid and keep it hot all day. The mobile base has a couple of USB charging sockets too. There’s a DC base available for heating from 12V / 24V.

The Cauldryn Fire system is modular. Want a smoothie? There’s a blender attachment. Need a light? Snap in the rechargeable battery. It’s even got integration with Ok Google. Seriously, I want one of these.

The Cauldryn Fire is shipping now. The standard Fyre is US$69.99, Fyre Mobile is $129.99 and additional battery units are $69.99. DC base $9.99.

Colten Clymer is one of the team at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Fibaro Doubles Up With HomeKit at CES 2018



Fibaro are one of the bigger names in smart homes with a wide range of products from simple light switches to complex controllers. Originally based around Z-wave, their accessories now work with Apple HomeKit, and integrate with other systems like Philips Hue. Allante and Rich take a quick spin through some of Fibaro’s new products.

First up is a smart power plug with a USB charging port and a coloured LED which changes colour according to the amount of power being drawn through the socket. Although the colour-changing is fun, the measured power can be used within a smart home to initiate other actions or send a warning. Should the iron have been on for a hour?

Next is the big The Button which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a big red button, though it does come in seven different colour. Press it and stuff happens. What happens is configurable by the user – turn on the lights, sound an alarm, play music.

All the products are on sale now, priced between US$49 and $59.

Allante Sparks is a video producer at PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Know Your Ionising Radiation with Icohup Rium at CES 2018



Geiger counters are great for detecting and measuring ionising radiation but their biggest flaw is that they can’t discriminate between the different types of radiation; alpha, beta or gamma. Icohup‘s Rium detector addresses this with a compact and stylishly wooden unit. Allante and Billy discuss the benefits of radiation detectors without mentioning a single nuclear disaster.

Winner of a CES Innovation award, Icohup’s Rium uses scintillation spectrometry technology to not only detect levels of ionising radiation but also the type. This means that the Rium can determine if the radioactivity is natural or industrial, or if it’s a Cobalt, Uranium or Cesium source. The Rium unit is about the size of a packet of biscuits and is tastefully made of wood. Not sure if there’s a scientific reason for this, though it looks good anyway, and the small size means that it can be carried by a drone to record radioactivity in potentially hazardous areas.

Data is collected and displayed by a nearby smartphone and with geotagging of the radiation information, maps can be built easily to show radiation hotspots. The data can be transferred either by Bluetooth or by USB.

The Rium will be available shortly from Icohup for €399 (about US$500).

Allante Sparks is a video producer at PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Get the Perfect Pint with HOPii Personal Brewery at CES 2018



The popularity of craft beer has ensured a steady stream of smart gadgetry that helps ferment and brew the perfect pint. Here we have the HOPii personal microbrewery which successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in the autumn raising US$380,000. Allante drinks it in with Jong, CEO of HOPii.

The HOPii advertises itself as a one touch brewery – put the ingredient pods into HOPii device and press START. HOPii does the rest and brews the craft beer for you at its perfection. The HOPii beer pack contains all the ingredients needed – a three-litre bottle of wort, some dry hops and other flavors plus a pack of yeast. The pre-prepared wort gives the HOPii a bit of a headstart, as it were, and the smart features of the HOPii control the internal environment to develop the best beer.

If you want to do your own thing, HOPii has a special “Brewer’s Mode” so you can ferment your own personal craft beer with your specific ingredients. You can put in your own custom recipe into HOPii and ferment your own wort, dry hop, flavours and once ready, set it to the beer’s best drinking temperature or your personal preference.

Although the Kickstarter has finished, it’s now “InDemand” over at Indiegogo for US$399 and delivery in June 2018. Cheers!

Allante Sparks is a video producer at PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Help with Mental Health from HabitAware at CES 2018



Often there can be no outward signs of mental health illness but some people exhibit unhealthy behaviours such as hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting. The team at HabitAware are helping address these physical symptoms of mental health issues with a wearable device that picks up on these cues. Allante tries it out with Aneela.

The HabitAware Keen is a wrist-worn wearable that’s very similar in style to a fitness tracker. The Keen uses gesture-detection technology to recognise when the wearer is engaging in behaviours associated with poor mental health. For most people, biting their nails is just a bad habit, but for many with mental health issues, it’s a symptom of something much more serious.

The way Keen works is by initially training the device to recognise problem behaviours. Using a smartphone app (iOS and Android), the wearer replicates his or her behaviours for a short period. So if it’s hair-pulling, this is simulated for around 15 to 20 seconds. Once Keen has been trained, it vibrates when the behaviour is detected and alerts the wearer to their subconscious habit. The wearer can make the decision to stop and overtime, retrains the brain away from negative behaviours.

The Keen bracelet is available now from HabitAware priced from US$149.

Allante Sparks is a video producer at PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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Develop Mental Focus with BrainCo at CES 2018



Being “in the zone” reflects that total mental focus and clarity that comes to people concentrating hard. For athletes and professionals, it can take years of practice and hard work. For us mere mortals, BrainCo offers a way to learn how to focus. How? Professor Don gets all brainy with Max.

The idea behind BrainCo is to use their Focus One headband with gamification to improve mental concentration. The BrainCo band reads small electrical impulses in the wearer’s brain and picks up on changes in the frequency and amplitude of the impulses (EEG). As everyone’s brains are different the band establishes a personal baseline and works on changes from that baseline to understand when the person is relaxed, focussed or distracted.

While wearing the Focus One headband, the owner plays a smartphone game which takes information from the headband and responds as the wearer mentally focusses. Simply, the person has to focus to do well in the game. Overtime, the person learns how to focus their mind.

The BrainCo Focus One reinforces good mental behaviour and this can be especially useful for children who have learning difficulties such as ADHD, but it also has application in ensuring that teachers are engaging with their students.

The FocusOne isn’t yet available to buy but if you are interested, you can register on the BrianCo website for an early bird discount.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Can You Hear the Thunder with OWC at CES 2018?



OWC LogoOWC is one of the stalwarts of the Mac world, bringing enhancements and accessories to Apple devices year after year. Let’s be honest, this is the team that gives you back the ports that Apple takes away. This time round, OWC is expanding its range of Thunderbolt 3 products. Don finds out what’s new with AJ from OWC.

Incredibly, OWC is celebrating its 30th anniversary: the company started when Apple launched the iMac – remember the ones with the fruitcoloured cases? Today, OWC offer products for both Windows and Mac, and in particular, there’s a new Thunderbolt 3 dock out with support for both OSes. The new dock “offers 12 ports including dual Thunderbolt 3, five USB 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet, S/PDIF, combo audio, Mini DisplayPort, SD Card Slot, and supports laptop charging”. Sadly, there’s no Firewire but if you need that, check out the older version. Available in Q1 2018, it’s priced at either US$279 or US$299. Video says one, press release says the other.

Also of interest to speed freaks is the ThunderBlade v4, which is the fastest external drive on the market today, shifting an astonishing 2800 MB/s read and 2450 MB/s write. It’s pricey with MSRP from US$1,199 (1 TB) to US$4,999 (8TB), but you get what you pay for and I’m sure it’ll be in demand from video producers. Again, there’s a difference in price between video and press release.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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