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CES 2015

Vysk Makes Your Smartphone a Secure Phone

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

As expected, one of the tech trends this year revolves around the topic of security. Be it computers, the Internet and of course, our personal cell phones. In line with that, Vysk, a smartphone security company, is on a mission to make sure that everyone can have access to privacy. A smartphone case paired with an app makes this all possible.

Vysk introduced three different levels at CES. The entry-level option gives users private text messaging, private photos and a shutter for their camera, all within the case. The next level gives consumers all of those features, along with 120 percent extra battery life, to give you that extra juice you need. The final selection, the QS1, stands to be the world’s most secure form of voice communication. Sliding a switch sends you into privacy mode so that someone cannot listen in on conversations, like in a private business meeting.

What’s really unique about Vysk’s encrypted photo gallery is its combination of three codes. The first code opens up one gallery, the second another, and then the third initiates a self-destruct process, destroying the contents of your photo gallery. A last resort indeed, but definitely a good option to keep in your back pocket.

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

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Qualcomm Flies Into Robotics with New Snapdragon Processor

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

QualcommQualcomm has been involved with robotics quite a lot over the past few years. A key reason the company set up their own mini-booth in the South Hall at CES was to show off how the Snapdragon processor is the perfect SoC for the robotics space. On display and demonstration was the Snapdragon Cargo – a robot that could fly, drive, pick up objects and see the world in 3D.

The processor is small enough yet still packs a huge punch, all while being extremely lightweight, which is important for robots, especially flying ones. We saw some interesting technologies specifically demonstrated by Qualcomm. One of them was depth-from-stereo, taking stereo cameras and creating a depth map, allowing the robot to see its world. It also knows where it is in 3D space. Based on these maps it draws, it can fly autonomously without crashing into objects. This is perfect for the drones that have been popular as of late. The range can essentially be as long as you wish, all based off of how far apart you space the cameras.

Another demonstration included a robot that could pick up toys and sort them into appropriate bins, all by looking at the color, shape and density of the toy. The bins could be placed anywhere in the room and the robot was able to find them without problem.

More information can be found at Qualcomm’s Robotics website.

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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Intel Shrinks Down the PC with New NUC Line

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

IntelNucIn a screening at Intel’s suite, the company showed off their latest Next Unit of Computing devices, or NUCs. These super tiny PCs feature the latest Core i3, i5 and i7 Broadwell processors, with some of them even running Braswell chips, all within a 4-by-4 design.

This latest series of NUC has ditches the mSATA storage interface and moved into M.2, allowing for lightning fast read and write speeds to the disk. USB 2.0 ports are also a thing of the past, and the NUCs all feature USB 3.0 ports only. Some of the higher-end models also feature a mini-DisplayPort v1.2 output, giving the ability to connect three monitors to this mini PC. All of this power packed into such a small frame means that it can not only replace your home theater PC, but could easily replace most users’ desktop PCs.

There are three distinct enclosures for the NUC, depending on which processor you select. The two that will be commonly sold are 115mm x 111mm wide and are either 29.8mm or 48.5mm tall. Your differentiator there is going to be whether or not you want to fit a 2.5″ SSD inside the NUC.

What I found most intriguing was the customizable lids that can be interchanged on the NUC. One of the prototypes on display was a Hauppauge TV tuner that was attached to the top of one of the NUCs, allowing full TV capture and playback, built right into the top of the PC. There was also a NUC that wore a lid that had NFC capability built into it, and Intel said there would be another dozen or so lids to choose from in the near future, with hopes that more partners will join in to create other lid styles.

One surprise was saved for the end, and that was the Intel Compute Stick. Donning Windows 8.1 with Bing, 32GB of storage, 2GB RAM and a Baytrail processor all within a device that can fit in your pocket, the Compute Stick can plug into any TV or monitor. Intel looks to sell this extremely compact computer for only $149.

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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Can I WeMo That? Yes, I Can

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

WeMoHome automation is a growing and popular category of tech, but the problem still persists that most of the products out right now are fragmented, in that they don’t speak to each other or to one universal system. There are only a handful of solutions doing that, and we can now add WeMo to that list.

WeMo is a home automation system under the Belkin umbrella. With over 25 products under its belt already, ranging from switches to lighting to sensors and coffee makers, you can absolutely WeMo anything. The difference with WeMo is that you don’t need an overly-expensive kit to get started. You can simply begin with the devices that you want and grow from there.

Beyond the simple light switch turning on and off, WeMo is scalable so that if you want your electricity, temperature and even water being monitored and controlled by WeMo, it can all be achieved, giving you a fully smart home.

All of the products live in the same WeMo app. By partnering with top manufacturers in several categories, WeMo can make the smart features for the product, while companies like Osram Sylvania can continue to make the best lights, which is what they’re good at. It doesn’t stop there, as appliances like coffee makers, crock pots, heaters and air purifiers can now all be smart with the help of WeMo.

Unlike most systems, WeMo uses if this then that (IFTTT) technology, which it will be rolling out to almost all of its devices throughout the year. Using IFTTT, WeMo’s Insight Switch allows you to monitor energy usage, which can be activated based on different events, like it being too hot outside.

Lastly, WeMo Water is a device that installs easily under your kitchen sink without any professionals required. It monitors your water usage from one single point in your home, including all your sinks, toilets and even sprinklers. WeMo Water can also detect leaks, which is especially useful while a user might be away from their house and not have the ability to get home right away. Home automation is not only convenient, but it keeps you safe.

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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Beam Adds a Real Human Touch to an Otherwise Robotic Interaction

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

BeamPlsIf you want a unique and totally different interview, you have one right here. Nick stands with a Beam, a product by Suitable Tech that brings real human interaction to a robot. Beams are controlled by pilots, which are simply people who control the Beam. Standing at about five feet tall, a full, crystal-clear display sits on top of the Beam, along with 360-degree cameras (even one at the bottom of the Beam) and two microphones, allowing the pilot to see and hear everything going on at the Beam’s location.

Beam is easy to use. Simply grab a laptop and connect to your Beam via WiFi, then all you have to do is control the device with your arrow keys. The Beam also has many uses. If you simply want to not be tired while roaming the show floor at CES, the Beam is perfect for you. Or, if you’re needing to always monitor activity at your grandmother’s house, the Beam can move around with her as she goes about her daily routine. While some may be okay with having Facetime or Skype on their phones, the mobility and personality of a Beam is what makes it so special.

Battery life on a Beam is about eight to ten hours, and comes with a docking station that it moves into to charge. While charging, the Beam is fully functional and communications can still take place. A hefty price tag of $19,995 will get you a Beam+ and allow you to teleport wherever you decide to ship it to.

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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Stern Pinball Reinvents the Internals of the Pinball Machine

Thursday, 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.

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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Razer Looks Sharp in the Living Room with New Gaming Devices

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

Gaming Gets Real, and Physical, with the Omni

Thursday, 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!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live

A Unique Smartphone Makes Snail Games a Group to Keep an Eye on

Thursday, 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!
Follow F5 Live: Refreshing Technology on Twitter: PLuGHiTzLive; Facebook: F5 Live; Google+: PLuGHiTz Live