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Stern Pinball Reinvents the Internals of the Pinball Machine

February 26th, 2015

Stern logoPinball is as American as apple pie and baseball cards. Sure, it might have originated in England, but there’s nothing like visiting an old school arcade and seeing a classic Stern Pinball machine sitting in the corner, waiting for you to put a quarter in. Since 1986, Stern Pinball has been constantly coming out with new and exciting tables and at CES this year, the goal was to show off the latest innovations in pinball games.

In the past, pinball machines could be a diaster to fix. If something went wrong, and you weren’t an expert, that machine was never going to get fixed. The old systems had a motherboard, and a bunch of wiring that ran through the entire game. The units were extremely heavy and plus, there was always this old, dusty LCD display that never really “popped” into today’s world.

Now, with Stern’s new technology, the machines feature a bus system, eliminating the giant wiring harnesses. There’s also all LED lights, a much lighter power supply and it’s now easier to maintain. Moreover, you can have a multi-colored LED display to really brighten a room, making the machine more noticeable. New machines even come equipped with WiFi, allowing multiple machines to sync up and communicate with one another for a more multiplayer experience. As you can see, with Stern’s new innovations to an old classic, pinball is back with a new facelift and is ready to win over the minds and heart of the next generation of gamers.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Razer Looks Sharp in the Living Room with New Gaming Devices

February 26th, 2015

RazerRazer, the hardcore gamer’s favorite peripheral company, has leapt from just the standard mouse and keyboard and is moving into the living room for your entertainment. Whether casual or enthusiast, Razer has something lined up for both of those gamers with their latest products.

Razer’s mission was to bring PC gaming into the living room without needing an expensive and high-end computer. Razer’s newest product, the Forge TV, an Android TV-powered microconsole that allows games, music, movies and PC gaming all from the device. For the skeptics out there, what’s different about the Forge TV’s Android box is the buy-in from developers. Razer is working with top-level game studios to have popular and well-known titles show up on the Forge in order to entice gamers to try out the platform.

Further enhancing the living room experience for gamers is Razer’s PC game-streaming technology, called Cortex Stream. Coming later this year, you’ll be able to stream desktop PC games to the Forge TV at only $99.

Lastly, Razer introduced their newest peripheral, made for the living room, called the Turret. The wireless mouse and keyboard combo will run you $129, and really makes living room gaming comfortable. The lapboard features a magnetic mousepad to keep the mouse from falling to the floor, and the keyboard has anti-ghosting technology to keep your keystrokes sharp and intentional.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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Xi3 Stands Tall Even with its Small Form Factors

February 26th, 2015

Xi3Xi3 has grown exponentially in the past few years. Shaking up International CES 2011 when the company debuted with an incredibly tiny computer, Xi3 won the Innovation Award that year for the Xi3 Modular Computer that only took 20 watts to operate. Three years later and the company has expanded to more form factors and styles to fit the needs of a broader market. And outside of the micro-computer, the Xi3 is launching a gaming console and a server this year as well.

For the computers, Xi3 showed off some new hardware as CES. The latest box features an AMD quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, up to 1TB of storage and can come pre-loaded with Windows or Linux. On the Intel side of things, Xi3 is working with the NUC line of hardware, allowing i3 and i5 Broadwell chips to live inside a unique and fully-powered case.

The X7A runs you $839 at the base model, up to $1,900 for all the features and power you need. For the NUC series, the Leon starts at $569, the Lear costs $599 and the Elli costs $469, all for the base unit of the computer.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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Gaming Gets Real, and Physical, with the Omni

February 26th, 2015

OmniGamingSystemThere’s been a push in the gaming industry lately for a more immersive experience while you play. Sure, the Kinect does a great job and the 3DS makes looking at games a little more enticing, but what if you could get your whole body into it? Well, get ready to “enter a new world” with Omni.

Omni is an omni-directional treadmill-like device that allows a player to run, jump and walk in 360-degree virtual environments. With active sensors attached to the bottom of a pair of specially-designed shoes, the software and hardware detect what the player is doing, and based on how fast they move, it reflects that in the game. The player is also secured to an Omni Harness, which allows the user to stay within the confines of the walking surface.

The experience is further enhanced by a virtual reality headset, like the Oculus Rift. The Omni, however, is not tied down to one VR device, and instead can work with many of the devices currently in the market.

Out of the box, two games that were both developed in-house comes with the Omni. One of them is a training simulator, not only prepping you to take on the real baddies in Omni’s Shadow Ops game, but also teaching you how to actually use the hardware. Popular games also work with the device, as the Omni is just a game controller. It only takes ten minutes to put the handful of pieces together and you can be off and running, literally, in no time.

The Omni is currently available for pre-order at $699 and comes with everything you need to get started. All you have to do is enter shoe and harness size and the Omni, upon release, will be delivered to your doorstep.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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A Unique Smartphone Makes Snail Games a Group to Keep an Eye on

February 26th, 2015

SnailGamesSnail Games first started in 2000 in China as a software developer that made several popular games. With the popularity of mobile, it made sense for the company to also get into the mobile space, becoming a telecom in China as well. Snail then bought a hardware manufacturer to round out the trifecta of logical endeavors to make a platform in which to have their games play on their own phones, all on their own network. Snail’s focus at International CES was to spread its reach into Europe and naturally, the United States.

Snail’s mobile device, the W3D, has four shoulder buttons, four face buttons, dual analog sticks – everything a normal gamer would expect to have on a controller. This takes mobile gaming to a new level, by building the controls into the phone and not requiring add-ons to play while on-the-go.

Moving into the home console, Snail Games also is launching an Android-powered gaming system. The company already has interest from a large number of developers and publishers to set the console up for success. With the console launching in China this year, Snail looks to bring its device to the US as soon as they can.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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Kiband Helps Keep Your Child Close to You

February 26th, 2015

kibandA trip through Eureka Park at any CES is always bound to lead to new and exciting products and individuals who are passionate about those products. That’s the exact case with Kiband, a company that formed around a direct necessity and problem that impacted its CEO.

Kiband started with its CEO that lost his child at a 4th of July event for about 15-20 minutes. After trying leash solutions and other methods that really didn’t work out for him, he created his own company to try a change up the market.

The key with Kiband is prevention and less of informing you of when your child actually gets lost. Using the parent’s phone, the Kiband sets up a local geofence around the smartphone, and as the child approaches the perimeter set by the parent, the Kiband will first vibrate. If they then venture outside of the proximity, the device will then use an audible tone to alert the parent.

The distance is totally customizable by the parent and allows them to give the child as much leeway as they deem safe. The Kiband is also easy to set up, as it instantly connects to the phone and the app is made for those who are less tech savvy.

Still in research and development, the kids who have tested the device have really taken a liking to it and didn’t want to remove it because it looked cool and was minimally invasive. Pricing will be around $100 to $120, with pre-orders available through an Indiegogo campaign, and delivery estimated to be in the summer.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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Meccano Introduces Your Favorite Robotic Pal, the Meccanoid

February 26th, 2015

MeccanoMecanoidRobots are something we all know and love, regardless of age or experience with technology. They’re just one of those things that you want to play with and learn more about. Luckily, Meccano is looking to make all of that possible by introducing a robotic friend that can be fully programmed to do a variety of things through a multitude of input methods.

For those familiar with the Erector Sets of the past, you may have already been familiar with Meccano, just under a different name. But now, Meccano will be bringing its name, along with its flagship product the Meccanoid, to stores across the world, beginning in August of 2015.

The Meccanoid stands four feet tall and comes in a simple-to-build kit. Once built, you can use different ways to tell the companion what to do. The easiest is the “mirror” method, where you press the record button on the robot and move its limbs around. Upon pressing the play button, the robot will do what you made it do, along with playing back any audio it recorded along the way. You can also program it via a smartphone that you connect to the Meccanoid via Bluetooth, or with a computer connected with USB. There’s even the possibility of hooking up a Kinect or similar device, and having the robot follow your every move using tracking, which is really cool.

The Meccanoid can be built into a bunch of different forms, from a normal robot friend to an automated trash retriever, to anything else you can think of. With the ability to fully code the bot, the combinations of forms and functions are practically endless.

Meccano also won the Last Gadget Standing event at CES 2015 with its Meccanoid product.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

Zolt Proves That Great Things Come in Small Packages

February 26th, 2015

ZoltIt’s no secret: Everyone, at least once in their life has forgotten a charger or brought the wrong one on a business trip or vacation. What if there was one charger that you could bring that could handle 2 devices and a laptop? And what if the charger automatically knew what voltage and wattage to deliver to the devices? Meet Zolt.

The world’s smallest laptop charger was a 2015 International CES Innovation Award Honoree. Zolt’s ability to charger a laptop and two other devices at the same time is what makes it so unique and truly a product that stands out from the pack.

Zolt comes with a 6-foot proprietary cable that’s the same color as the charger, which comes in an assortment of flavors. It also features the a bunch of different laptop tips that charge almost every device on the market today. Your Lenovo laptop, Apple iPad and any micro-USB device are all on the list of the hundreds of devices in total that can work with Zolt.

Weighing in at only 3 ounces, and available for a special pre-order price of $79, or $99 when launched, Zolt looks to makes its debut sometime in Spring 2015.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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A Glasses-Free 3DTV and Gaming Experience with Ultra-D

February 26th, 2015

UltraDOne of the things that were considered a “sleeper pick” in this year’s CES trends was 3DTV and gaming combining on the big screen in your living room. Up until now, the implementation hasn’t really been great and the technology used has caused eye strain for many who have used it. Luckily StreamTV Networks’ Ultra-D product looks to alleviate all of that with their latest announcement.

Introducing a glasses-free 3DTV experience for gamers and TV-watchers alike. For the TV, standing in a certain spot isn’t required. The 4K TV’s cones overlap, giving 140-degrees of viewing angle, and comes in different sizes all the way up to 89″. You can also set the depth of the 3D, so for sports you can tune down the 3D effect but can turn it up when you want to. This is one of the few on the show floor where my eyes different hurt when I was viewing the TV.

For gamers, the company has partnered up with a bunch of different game developers in order to create a gaming experience unlike any other. On that list of dev studios is Epic Games, who you may know as the creators of the Unreal Engine. The company also wants to target any developer who wants to use the Unreal or Unity engine and also wants to add in a 3D experience via the SDK. All five companies that have partnered with Ultra-D so far had the 3D up and running in 25 hours or less.

The key here is the zero-latency method that is used in order to not frustrate gamers, especially those who play first-person shooters or other “twitchy” game titles. Game developers, like you, also hate lag. So to make 3D work, it’s all done through algorithms that create a real-time depth map of the camera that is already in place, leaving essentially no extra work for the developer. This conversion process causes 4 milliseconds of lag, however, the SDK eliminates the lag entirely. It just needs a little bit of information from the video game and puts little stress on the GPU in order to make that happen.

If you’re a developer and want to get a hold of this, you can visit www.movebeyond3d.com. They are also working on launching some hardware in a style similar to the Oculus Rift, just to get it out there and get people to use it.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

Shortcut Labs Announces the Flic, a Programmable Button to Simplify Your Life

February 26th, 2015

ShortcutLabsFlicLots of talk surrounded the Shortcut Labs booth at Eureka Park this year at CES. The company had taken to Indiegogo to launch a new product, Flic, that is set to make life easier with the literal touch of a button.

This Bluetooth-enabled, programmable button has three different ways to press it, and each of those can be programmed for a specific task using the Flic app. Whether you want to select a certain playlist on Spotify, navigate to a destination on your GPS app or create your own command, all of that can be done with Flic.

A 6-pack was going for $99 on Indiegogo during CES, and Shortcut Labs managed to blow past their goal reaching over $700,000 in funding, 801% of their goal. That’s a truly impressive feat for something so unique, and it’s simplicity is what wins over consumers.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live