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CES 2019

Yamaha shows a maneuverable prototype electric scooter with 3 wheels

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Yamaha MotorElectric vehicles are quickly becoming a popular place for companies to experiment with unique designs. While electric cars get all of the attention, there are some very interesting things happening in the space. From golf cart style neighborhood vehicles to scooters, electric is all the rage. Yamaha has long had a presence in this space, especially with motorcycles, but is testing some new ideas.

One of those experiments was on display at CES 2019. Rather than what we expect from Yamaha, a two-wheeled vehicle on which you sit, this prototype bucks both of those expectations. Rather than sitting on it like a motorcycle, this is designed to be stood on, like a skateboard or scooter. It also features 3 wheels instead of the more traditional 2 or 4, with 1 in front and 2 in back. Obviously, 3 adds stability over only 2 wheels but gives more maneuverability than 4.

The vehicle is rear wheel drive, meaning that the 2 wheels in the back actually propel the vehicle forward. The front is designed with a handlebar, similar again to a scooter. In the same style, the handlebar controls the positioning of the entire front of the vehicle, giving it the ability to turn quickly and tightly. In the booth, a representative demonstrated how easy it was to steer in a fairly confined space.

As of right now, this device is just a prototype, meaning that it might not come to market as it exists today. Like cars, a concept vehicle is simply a way for engineers to experiment with concepts. The company expects to test the vehicles in Japan this year, though they do not have a timeline for a wide release, either in Japan or overseas. To see all of the development on this and other vehicles, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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John Deere shows off how GPS, cloud, AI, and more help farmers daily

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

John DeereWhat many people do not know is that one of the most technology infused industries in the world is farming. Most modern farming would be completely impossible without the unbelievably large and powerful machines that reside on farms. The leader in farming machinery, as well as computing, is John Deere, a name that even non-farmers are familiar with. The company was at CES 2019 to show how technology that is just barely emerging in consumer technology has been used for farming for a while.

The best example of a technology in use for agriculture that is just making its way to the consumer market is self-driving vehicles. Farmers have been using incredibly large self-driving machinery for years to both plant and harvest fields. Using incredibly precise onboard GPS, this 20-ton machine is able to steer around a field with an accuracy of 2.5 centimeters. This level of precision is essential in agriculture, as a small variation can be the difference between harvesting and destroying a field.

Some of the more recent versions of these machines are able to learn all about a field on its own, using over 100 sensors. Connecting these sensors to the cloud, farmers are able to keep track of the job being done and the quality of the job being performed. Combined with the precise GPS driving, these machines are just shy of being able to set them in the field and walk away.

One of the most interesting advancements in agricultural machinery is the ability for them to be truly multipurpose. In fact, they are referred to as factories on wheels. After a tuning process, they can be used for an entire process, from harvesting grain to separating it with intense detail. Essentially, when the machines come back from the field, the grains can be ready to run into a silo and sold or used.

Whether or not you’re a farmer, there is a lot of exciting technology to learn about at John Deere’s website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Coral One is a dual purpose robot vacuum that protects your privacy

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Coral RobotsIt seems that everyone is wanting to buy a robotic vacuum these days. They’re great for households with pets who shed, homes with a lot of traffic in and outside, or really just about anyone. The problem with the concept is that there are always going to be places that the robot cannot reach. For example, they’re not going to clean your stairs. That means that you’re still going to have to keep another vacuum in the house for those harder to reach areas. The Coral One is a robot vacuum that helps to solve that issue.

Unlike other products in this category, the Coral One is actually two products in one. Obviously, it is an autonomous vacuum cleaner, but it features a handheld cleaner on the top. When you need to clean the stairs, or maybe get pet hair off of your bedspread, simply pull the handheld vacuum off of the top of the device and take care of what you need. Once you’re done, return the piece to the top of the robot and you’re done.

Like other robotic vacuums, the Coral One initially maps your home. However, the company takes a different approach to the process. While many other companies take the imagery and layout that they scan and upload them to remote servers, Coral does not. Focusing on privacy, the mapping process does not include any cameras but instead uses infrared and capacitive sensors, plus a collection of proprietary algorithms to determine the house’s layout. Most importantly, the information stays local to the device and is never made available to Coral. This protects your privacy, as video or photography from inside your home could easily reveal your most sensitive times.

The Coral One is available now for $699. For more information on the product, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The DJI Osmo Pocket brings their 3-axis gimbal to a one-handed camera

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

DJI Osmo PocketWhen people think of consumer drones and multirotor copters, they almost certainly go directly to DJI. There is no name more synonymous with the product category, in fact, for both consumers and professionals. One of the reasons that DJI is so popular is the incredible stability of their cameras, care of a very sophisticated gyroscopic stabilizer. The stabilizer is so good at what it does, that the company has decided to bring it outside of the drone and into a new product, the Osmo Pocket.

This new product is a small, handheld video camera is able to record in full UHD 4K resolution, at 60 frames per second. It can record for 140 minutes on a charge, all in an incredibly small body. But, where DJI really sets the Osmo Pocket apart from the crowded is by bringing their 3-axis gimbal to the camera. This single feature makes the camera incredibly attractive for all sorts of video creators.

The most obvious usage is for amateur sports videography. Whether you’re running up and down your kids’ soccer pitch or filming your friends’ newest skateboard trick, this is a great camera. It’s because of the stabilization. You can literally run with the camera and the gimbal can keep the frame level and steady. All of this is made possible while still managing to pack everything into a single-handed design.

The gimbal is mechanical but digitally controlled. This gives the camera the ability to do some great capabilities that you simply cannot get with a generic gimbal. For example, ActiveTrack, a feature which allows you to tap on a subject on the screen and the camera will continue to follow the subject as it moves, as well as while the camera moves. Again, this makes following a kid’s soccer game or skateboarding video far easier to film.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is available now for $349, and can be found in accessory bundles, as well.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Blue Microphones shrinks their popular Yeti, and adds a new Ember

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Blue MicrophonesFor new media, including podcasting and game streaming, one brand of microphones is nearly everywhere: Blue Microphones. From the Yeti to the Snowball, it seems that these microphones are everywhere. Since the company’s original microphone designer, Skipper Wise left to pursue other projects, the product lineup has begun to expand quickly. At this CES, the company was showing off a few of those newer products.

In addition to the popular Yeti microphone, Blue has introduced the Yeti Nano. This product made it to market at the end of 2018 and has really begun to find its market. The Nano has a similar design to the standard Yeti, but with a smaller footprint. It offers two of the four modes on the Yeti, both cardioid and omnidirectional, but sheds the stereo and bidirectional modes. The biggest difference, though, is the color palette. While the Yeti is generally known for its subdued colors, the Yeti Nano features bright red, blue, and gold as options.

Blue might be best known in the consumer space for their USB microphones, but the company got started because Skipper disliked every studio mic he had ever used and designed exactly what he wanted. Following in that almost 25-year legacy is the new Ember. This microphone is powered over XLR, meaning that it is intended for proper studio recording. It is a features a cardioid pickup, with a front-facing condenser capsule. This mic will be perfect for a full studio build out, versus the Yeti or Yeti Nano, which are really designed to enhance an existing desk with a quick and easy setup. As with the majority of studio microphones, it ships in a single color: dark grey.

The Blue Yeti Nano is available now with a suggested price of $99 but can be found for as low as $79 on Amazon. The Blue Ember is also available now for $99.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Podcasters and musicians alike Shure are going to love these new mics

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Shure MicrophonesOf all of the products that we love on the CES show floor, microphones are certainly near the top of the list, for obvious reasons. So we were really excited to see the new technology at Shure’s booth this year. Shure has been in the market since 1925. They specialize in wired and wireless microphones, personal monitor systems, conferencing solutions, and a host of other audiophile products. Their newest product, a part of Shure’s Motive line, is the MV88 Mic. It is a stereo microphone, which you can plug into your smartphone for convenient use. The product comes with a stand and phone attachment, allowing you to take video with your phone while getting optimal quality sound from the stereo microphone. When you plug the MV 88 into your smartphone, it automatically takes over as the default mic and the installed app pops right up on the screen and you’re ready to make adjustments and start recording. It will default to stereo mode but you can adjust the width of how wide or narrow you are trying to cover and change it to cardioid or bi-directional.

Shure created an app to go along with the MV 88, although you can use your default app or an app produced by another company, as well. You can record and edit your sound with the Shure Motive Audio App, making adjustments to both your sound and video quality. You can use this software to change both the sample rate of the audio and the audio file type.

When recording in stereo, the app lets you adjust your sound to your specifications. You can also set presets for your sound quality choices within the app. Making changes is as quick and easy as the touch of a button or slide of your finger across the touchscreen. It remembers all of the changes you have made and will already be set to your specifications the next time you use it. The MV88 kit sells for $249.00 and you can get yours now on Amazon Prime.

Shure also produces the microphone Daniele is using in the video. The KSM8 is a nickel-plated, dual-diaphragm microphone. It has a wide frequency, so it picks up your voice without struggling to find the perfect spot to stand or hold the microphone. This microphone sells for $499.00 and is also available on Amazon Prime.

You can find out more about these microphones and the entire Shure line by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Schaeffler’s new BioHybrid changes the inner city delivery process

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

SchaefflerWe really enjoyed our visit to the Schaeffler pavilion at CES 2019. Another one of the new designs that completely fascinated us was this really cool looking delivery cycle. Team leader of digitalization, Dr. Alexander Sharp, took some time to show us their new BioHybrid. What, at first glance, appeared to be an adapted motorcycle is actually an electric bike. It is human powered and also battery driven, which is how they derived the name, BioHybrid.

Basically, the rider can pedal to control the velocity of the vehicle and since it is technically classified as a bicycle, it is allowed to operate in bike lanes. As an electric bike, it can travel anywhere that a standard bicycle is allowed, without the need for a drivers license, but with quicker speed and a larger payload. And unlike a traditional bicycle, it also offers protection in bad weather, as it is can be customized with a cab for the riders. As with other Schaeffler products, customization is a large part of the design process. For example, the unit in the interview is outfitted as a two-seater passenger model with also some space for storage. Another unit on display was more of a pickup or delivery unit with a single rider and a larger capacity for carrying cargo.

This BioHybrid line has some really great technology built in, as well. It offers variable and regenerative charging while being operated, and the batteries are also removable to be charged remotely, as well as offer a level of theft detergent when wanted. And not only does the cab of the bike offer protection from weather, but there is also a plethora of other modern conveniences. It is fully connected with Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, and 4G, with 5G on the horizon. There are also smartphone and smartwatch apps that allows you to monitor and control the BioHybrid with functions like keyless entry, vehicle location and verify charging status, to name a few.

The company is very excited about the release of the BioHybrid in 2020. You can find out more information by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Better mobility and versatility in big cities is Schaeffler’s vision

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

SchaefflerAlthough not typically part of our main coverage here at PLuGHiTz Live, we do really enjoy seeing all of the different automobiles at CES. And when we came upon the Schaeffler pavilion and saw what they were showcasing this year, we knew that we had to stop and take a closer look. Project manager, Martin Laumann, was gracious enough to give us an exclusive tour of the new Schaeffler Mover.

The Schaeffler Mover is a compact, urban vehicle platform that contains some impressive technical components. The most important being the Econo Modules on each corner that include a 90-degree steering system in the electric wheel hubs. These “Intelligent Corner Modules” allows for a high degree of maneuverability as well as room for a high degree of comfort for passengers. The platform offers an adaptable design that allows for a flexible implementation of different vehicle bodies. Although it is currently being displayed as a simple rigger platform, equipped with four seats, it can be outfitted as needed with, say, a passenger cabin or one for cargo. It is also currently outfitted with a joystick and a touchscreen for drivability. All steering commands are electric, which means in the next generations, it can easily be set up to function fully autonomously.

With the prospect of mobility requirements changing in rapidly growing metropolitan areas, Schaeffler considers this platform to be the perfect solution. And although they do not necessarily see it being privately owned or having individual users, they do feel that it meets the demands of a large city and offers the flexibility to enhance the overall living environment for residents. With its small footprint, tight turning radius and the ability to drive sideways, it is truly a multifunctional vehicle platform. For cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, these customizable vehicles are perfect for fleets that offer services such as rideshare and deliveries.

To get more information about this and other Schaeffler projects, make sure to check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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BenjiLock is here to secure your stuff with the convenience of biometrics

Monday, March 25th, 2019

BenjiLockOne of the things our team loves the most about CES is getting to see companies start out in Eureka Park, the show’s startup section, and end up having a major presence on the show floor. The best example of that transformation is definitely BenjiLock. When we first encountered Robbie Cabral in 2017, he had a small booth in Eureka Park with a large, nonfunctioning prototype. The idea was sound, but the technology wasn’t there just yet.

The following 12 months were big for BenjiLock, with a successful appearance on Shark Tank and a big investment from Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary. Following O’Leary’s investment, the company got the attention of Hampton Products, makers of the Brinks Home Security line of products. For sure, Hampton is a company that knows security products and brought BenjiLock into the fold, with a large presence at CES 2018.

Since then, another year of growth. In 2019, not only did Robbie have working products to show off, he announced the availability of the locks. These biometric padlocks offer both fingerprint scanning, as well as traditional key unlocking. The key is perfect in the event the battery dies, or you need to give someone else access to the device temporarily.

In addition to the standard padlock, Robbie has announced a new, smaller model, with a very specific purpose: travel. The smaller BenjiLock is designed as a luggage lock and is TSA-compatible. That means that you can use it on your suitcase when going through the airport, but you don’t have to worry about the lock being cut off if security needs to access your bag.

The standard BenjiLock padlock is available now from ACE Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, and more. The new TSA-compatible BenjiLock padlock will be available in the near future.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Sphero Specdrums: The most fun you’ll ever have tapping your fingers

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Sphero SpecdrumsDo you ever sit at your desk and tap along to the beat of a song? Is the steering wheel in your car a full-on drum set when your favorite song comes is playing? If you’re like me, you’re a world class drummer in your own head. So, for all of us who don’t quite have the time or drum set to become rock stars, Sphero has introduced Specdrums.

Specdrums are sleekly designed, Bluetooth enabled, app connected rings that detect color, combined with accelerometers that detect tapping. So you are able to play music on anything in the world around you. They are a fun new musical instrument that provides an accessible, portable, and tactile way for anyone to create music anywhere. You can play on the included color pad, or really on anything, like your shirt, a drawing or even a bowl of fruit. They are perfect for beginners who want to explore but also open-ended for advanced musicians to get creative and show their chops. Specdrums provides an outlet for whether you are practicing music using your hands without loud, expensive, and large physical instruments.

They work by sending a very quick, low latency color signal to the app on your device. The colors can be programmed in the app to have a specific sound for each color. They also have curated packs in the app for different genres of music. Each pack has a combination of loops that continue to play like drum or baseline and also some instruments like a keyboard. With all of these great features, they sound great right out of the box. And with all of the customization choices available, you’ll have your own amazing creations in no time. They offer sets with one ring for $64.99 or expand your play experience with a 2 ring set that allows you to switch it up using two hands with more versatility or to play with friends for $99.

You can get more information and grab your own set on their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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