The My Learning Table by D-Redshop

My Learning TableD-Redshop introduced their newest learning device for children, the My Learning Table. They took the idea of the old fashion learning table by Fisher Price and brought it into the twenty-first century. The table works in conjunction with the My Learning App available on the iPad which goes in the middle of the table. The My Learning App has different games to play depending on the learning level of the child. Each game helps the child to learn something like the alphabet, numbers, color matching, eye-hand coordination and more. It is based on the award system. The idea is to integrated touch with physical interaction. Children learn while have fun at the same time. The My Learn Mini is similar to the My Learning Table, expect that the mini is separate from the tablet. Great for times and circumstances when the My Learn Table is not practicable. It works with the My Learning Mini App on the iPad.

The My Learning Table should be available for around $100.00 at various retail stores. D-redshop the maker of the Learning Table is looking for developers to develop apps for the My Learning suite. Further information about developing for the My Learning suit is available contacting D-Redshop.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net and Daniel J. Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Sphero Meets Sharky the Beaver

Sphero LogoGNC first saw Sphero at CES last year and it’s a really cool toy: a rugged waterproof ball controlled from a smartphone or tablet. So what has Sphero been up to in the past year…Todd and Don find out from Ian Bernstein, CTO Founder.

While the  hardware is unchanged from last year, Sphero has grown the number and type of companion apps from around 5 apps to over 20 with several produced by third parties. New on the scene is a mixed reality app which uses the tablet or smartphone’s camera to track Sphero and overlay Sharky the Beaver on the device’s screen. It’s particularly fun as the real-world interaction with Sphero creates a relationship with the cartoon character which makes it that bit more believable.

Sphero works with both iOS and Android devices, and retails for around $130. Lots of fun and there’s an SDK if you feel like rolling your own (sorry!)

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

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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Parrot AR.DroneRemote control vehicles are fun and remote control aircraft doubly so. Imagine then how much fun a remote control quadricopter is, especially when it’s controlled by wifi from your smartphone. Todd takes flying lessons from Parrot’s Julian.

The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is an update of the original AR.Drone, with the main difference being an HD camera on the drone which streams video footage of the flight back to the device so the operator can see what the Drone is seeing. The AR.Drone 2.0 is controlled via wifi from either an Apple or Android  tablet/smartphone.

There’s some pretty sophisticated technology in the AR.Drone. For example, it has a downward-facing camera that the Drone uses to track motion over the ground. On a windy day, the Drone can hold position over a spot by using this camera to detect wind-blown motion and then compensate for it. Very clever and cool.

The AR.Drone is pricey enough but not unaffordable at $299. Available now from good retailers worldwide.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Daniel Lewis of The Audacity Podcast for the TechPodcast Network.

Tablet Nirvana

I’ve been playing around with tablets for a while now along with several smartphones along the way, and I believe I’m getting very close to my idea of what the ideal tablet should be.

I started out with a Nook Color. The original Nook Color is a nice piece of hardware with a beautiful 7″ inch color screen, but the hardware behind it was somewhat lacking. The original Nook Color’s processor was a bit slow, and the performance lagged somewhat. I even experimented with other versions of Android on it. What I found was that I loved the 7″ inch 16 x 9 format color screen size, which is close to ideal, but the processor was too slow, it didn’t have an integrated GPS chip, nor did it have functioning Bluetooth capability. Overall, the hardware just wasn’t enough to push it beyond the locked-down version of Android that Barnes and Noble shipped on it. I ended up finding the Nook Color a good home and sold it.

Next, I got an iPad 2. I really like the iPad, and I still have it. The iPad 2 came close to the ideal tablet, but it lacked an integrated GPS chip. It is also a bit bulky to easily handle with one hand. The problem came with the upgrade to iOS 6. I drive a truck over-the-road, and I was constantly using the integrated Google Maps. Google’s satellite maps are very clear and detailed, and I often make use of Street View as I’m constantly having to travel to new places I’ve never been before. iOS 6 ripped out the quite superior Google Maps and substituted Apple’s inferior also-ran excuse for a replacement. I can see no good reason for them doing this, other than a lame back-stabbing attempt to punish Google for coming out with Android. I am still quite unhappy with the loss of mapping functionality. Of course I realize that I can simply go to the Google Maps website and use Google’s satellite maps along with Google Street View, but doing it through the browser is an inferior experience to what the original iPad Google Map once was before iOS 6 took it away. By the way, I’ve never found much use for the integrated cameras in the iPad 2. Mostly I’ve used the forward-facing camera for occasional video Skype or Facetime chats.

A few days ago, I purchased a 32 gigabyte Nexus 7 manufactured by Asus, priced at $249 for the 32 gigabyte version and $199 for the 16 gigabyte version. After using the Nexus 7 for a while, I think I might be in tablet heaven. I love the 7″ inch 16 x 9 widescreen size. It can easily be held in one hand. Also, it will easily fit in many inside coat pockets.

The Nexus 7, which of course comes with Google Maps and turn-by-turn street navigation, has an integrated GPS chip. It also has a powerful quad-core Tegra 3 processor, along with full Bluetooth functionality. It has a forward-facing camera for video chatting, along with great battery life, and a stellar high definition screen.

I’m finding that I’m tending to reach for the Nexus 7 rather than the iPad 2. The Nexus 7 is so light. The iPad 2 now feels a bit clunky and kludgy.

Am I ready to sell the iPad? Not just yet. I want to wait a while and see how it shakes out. It’s still handy to be able to have two separate devices to watch streaming videos on — when one runs down, I can switch to the other if I don’t have them plugged in.

The Nexus 7 is an incredible value. Now that the vast majority of apps also come in Android versions, why needlessly spend hundreds of dollars extra for a product where the manufacturer has a proven history of deleting popular functionality with so-called upgrades?

The MirrorCase

MirrorCase The MirrorCase by RHP Multimedia was originally designed for the iPhone 4 and 4s, however it was a little too bulky for some users. The new design for the iPhone 5 and iPad is much sleeker. The mirror can be pivoted. It can work either when the iPad or iPhone is in landscape or portrait mode. The mirror slides back into the case when you’re done and you can then use the camera as you would normally.

If you take a lot of pictures or videos with your iPhone or iPad you know that it can get quite awkward after a while. The MirrorCase allows you to hold your iPhone or iPad in a more natural position while taking pictures or videos. You can save everything directly to the iPhone or iPad camera roll. You can set different resolutions to save storage space. There is a built-in acoustic port which directs the sound back toward the user. There is also a built-in stand which you can adjust to various heights. The mirror itself is a second surface mirror with a piece of glass on top to prevent the mirror from being scratched. When you take a picture using the mirror there is no distortion added to the photo by the mirror. The basic app on the iPhone and iPad are free. The plus app which is available for $00.99 adds sharing features and in app access to the camera roll.

The iPad version is $79.95, the iPhone 5 version is $59.95 and the original case for the iPhone 4 and 4s is $49.95. The original case for the iPhone 4 and 4s is available now on the MirrorCase website and the iPhone 5 and iPad cases are available for pre-order and should be release around the end of the 1st quarter.

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

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MultiCharger-X by iLuv

iLuvMultiCharger-X by iLuv can charge and sync up to ten iPads in at once. You can stack one MultiCharger-X on top of another. You can daisy chain up to three MultiCharger-X  in a row so you can sync up to thirty iPads with one MacBook. The box has a locking feature so you can lock the iPads up to keep them secure overnight. You have the option of putting casters on the bottom so you could roll it across the floor or you can also lock it to the floor. Each slot charges independently so you don’t need to fill all slots for it to work. There is an individual LED light to indicate charging level of each slot. You can go from charging to syncing with the touch of a button.

This type of device would be great for businesses where a lot of the employees use iPads. For example if you have a sales force and you want them to all to use the same PowerPoint presentation you could easily sync that presentation to multiply iPads from one Mac. Employees who use iPads for work could place them in a slot when they leave. The iPads then could be synced and charged over night so they would be ready for them in the morning

The MultiCharger X will be available around May-June and will cost $799. It should be available at various retail stores and on the iLuv website.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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HeartMath Inner Balance for iOS

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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iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor at CES

iHealth LogoJamie chats to Adam about the iHealth blood pressure monitor, an FDA-approved device that uses Bluetooth to transfer health data to a smartphone or tablet.

The new version  of the iHealth blood pressure monitor builds takes the original docking device and adds wireless data transfer using Bluetooth. The first version integrated with iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads but the Bluetooth feature expands the potential of the monitor to other smartphones and tablets. A cloud service complements the free app providing tracking and monitoring features and integration with other healthcare systems.

Aimed squarely at the home health market, there are two different models priced at $79 and $99, which is very affordable. Check out iHealth’s online store.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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Griffin MicConnect for iOS at CES 2013

Griffin MicConnectJeffrey Powers goes all Pop Idol when he chats to Jackie from Griffin Technology about the newly announced MicConnect, which connects iOS devices to XLR mics with phantom power.

The Griffin MicConnect is a small brick adaptor with an XLR socket (input) on one side for the microphone and a 3.5 mm jack on the other to connect into an iPhone, iPod or iPad. A 3.5 mm socket provides for headphone monitoring of the sound source and for condenser mics, the unit takes two AA batteries to provide phantom power (48V).

(As an aside, I’m not 100% clear if this is iOS only – the 3.5 mm jack looks pretty standard and there’s no reference to special apps being required so if Android is your OS of choice, it might be worth contacting Griffin directly.)

Included in the interview is Griffin’s updated Mic Stand Mount, which is now compatible with all iPad models (not Mini), and unsurprisingly holds an iPad on a mic stand. Jeffrey reckons the MicConnect and the Mount are a great combo for the mobile podcaster. Pricing-wise, both the MicConnect and the Mount are $39.99 but the MicConnect won’t be available until June.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine for the TechPodcast Network.

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Pure Jongo at CES Unveiled

Pure LogoAt this year’s CES, Pure launched Jongo, the world’s most affordable (and colourful) multi-room music system. Vicky tells Todd all about it.

The Jongo range will shortly include a couple of wireless speakers and a hi-fi adaptor, all with both Bluetooth and wi-fi built-in. Music can be streamed using the Pure Connect app via wi-fi to any speaker in range or else smartphones and tablets can stream music directly to the speakers using Bluetooth. Both Apple iOs and Android devices are supported and it uses the existing wi-fi infrastructure: there’s no need for special transmitters.

The S340B speaker will be available soon and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Price is listed as $229.
The stereo speaker (T640B) and the hi-fi adaptor (A140B) will be on-sale in the summer with MSRPs of $329 and $119, respectively.

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

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