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Wait till you see the tech in this self-service beer tap by Arrow

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Arrow ElectronicsIn an effort to collect significant user data in a new, simple and efficient manner, Arrow Electronics combined several different technologies to create a very impressive IoT application. What is presented as a high-tech, self-service beer tap, is actually so much more. With the use of the Arduino Maker 1000 Board, an Intel Processor with Wi-Fi module, they were able to create these beer tap coolers that are coupled with temperature and flow sensors.

This beer tap is then able to provide data that not only facilitates the sale of the product but also manages optimal temperature and provides restocking data. Customers merely engage with the touchscreen and choose their beverage, which is automatically dispensed, while management is able to monitor and measure output on the dashboard. That data is then coupled video demographics that is gathered from the onboard camera. The camera watches while the customer makes their choice, then AI technology from Intel is able to determine their specific demographics. Like their sex, age range and even facial expressions. These data points provide the retailer with a significant amount of information about what types of customers are purchasing which products. This allows for a product portfolio that will appeal to a wider audience so they can target promotions and stock levels accordingly. All of this comes together in a simple display.

This beer tap does a great job of demonstrating Arrow’s capability to work from the sensor, all the way to the cloud. They took embedded sensing, coupling it with embedded computing and visual analytics. They then related that data in a retail environment on a dashboard. And the separate components that make up this technology is easily transferable into other areas of consumer data analytics. For example, the facial recognition that is being used in the beer tap can be used in any number of other consumer settings. It is able to provide real-time analysis of the moods of shoppers while compiling that data to be used for advertising, direct marketing, and product placement.

For more information on all of their products and applications, check out their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Opal Digital has a brand new way to interact with 360 videos and games

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Opal DigitalHave you ever put on a VR headset and experienced something you wish you could share with the people around you? That’s pretty difficult when you’re fully immersed inside of an enclosed headset. There is a way to share a 360 video with a group of people, however, thanks to Opal Digital. Their very unique screens create a full 360-degree image to be enjoyed by a group instead of an individual.

One of the intents of the hardware is education. By including one of these screens in a museum or art gallery, the facility could present a new type of experience. For example, you could get an immersive view of the artist’s studio, making a stronger connection between the viewer and the artist. With the 360-degree screen, that presentation can not only be viewed by a group but could be experienced as a group.

The most obvious use for the technology, however, is entertainment. In fact, the company is working with Keith Arem, a well-known videogame insider, who has worked as talent director on titles such as Call of Duty. His expertise has led the company to consider various new entertainment experiences. What he really likes about the idea is being able to create multiplayer capabilities without isolating the players from the audience, or even from one another.

The idea is to partner with companies to sponsor installations in places where people will congregate naturally, such as movie theaters. Imagine a multiplayer game based around an upcoming film available in the lobby of your local theater. What about games in shopping malls or airports, where you’re always waiting around for someone or something to happen. These screens can make those experiences more interesting and, with partnerships, not cost the player anything.

Opal screens are available from the company with a range of prices depending on included options.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Vuze makes creating VR and 360 videos and photos incredibly easy

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Vuze CameraVirtual reality headsets and environments are becoming more and more popular. Nintendo has even thrown its hat back into the ring over 20 years after the first attempt at the technology. The problem is, there is not nearly as much content available for the hardware as there should be. There are some still cameras that have made their way into the market, and most phones can take a panoramic-style 360 photo. Video content, however, is still not as popular as it could, and should, be. Vuze cameras might just change that.

The VUZE+ looks a lot like a small Wi-Fi router but has 8 lenses around the outside ring. Using those lenses, the camera is able to create video content in full 360 degrees, which is perfect for virtual reality headset. It also features spatial audio, meaning that, by moving your perspective, you can change the sound that you can hear. It is almost like being there. The camera has a standard camera mount on the bottom, allowing you to set it up somewhere, maybe at a concert or conference, and record.

The VUZE XR is the smaller version of the VUZE+ and features only 2 lenses facing forward. Rather than a full 360-degree video, the XR produces a 180-degree frame. This is perfect for portability, as holding the camera in your hand will put your body as half of the frame anyway. Luckily, the camera is designed exactly for portability, with a handle and collapsible lenses.

Both cameras produce video at 5.7K, which is far above the industry standard. In addition to still photos and video, both cameras are also able to be used for live streaming through YouTube Live using a paired mobile device. The VUZE+ is available for $999 and the VUZE XR is available for $439.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The VMAXX woofer returns to the Cerwin Vega Mobile speaker lineup

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Cerwin Vega Mobile VMAXXWhen it comes to car audio, there are a lot of choices, and so it takes a lot to make a name for yourself. Cerwin Vega Mobile has certainly done just that, making itself the oldest car audio company in the world. Over the past few years, the company has been reaching back to its classic products and reintroducing modernized versions. In the past, we spoke with Larry Frederick about the Stroker, and this year he showed us the VMAXX woofer.

This product, which was previously produced around 15 years ago, was a popular product. In fact, for a while, it was the company’s most popular woof. Unfortunately, because of a problem with the frame, the company decided to discontinue it. Since then, loyal customers have continued to ask on social media that the company bring it back and, thanks to new materials and better manufacturing processes, the frame issue has been solved, and so the VMAXX has returned.

Rather than just bringing back the original design, however, Frederick wanted to design the speaker to be a heavier-duty, more powerful product. He focused on the things that he could easily control, like the size of the magnet, the size of the voice coil, and the amount of travel for the cone. While he recommends that people not get caught up in the trick of a big magnet and theoretical wattage, he does note that the magnet on the VMAXX is fairly large.

It is important for anyone purchasing a high-end speaker system to understand what it is they are buying. A 1000 watt speaker with only a 1-inch voice coil is never going to accomplish the advertised volumes. The same goes for other components on your system, such as the copper wire being used. The last thing you want is for your speaker or wire to get too hot and for glue or shielding to come apart.

The VMAXX woofer from Cerwin Vega Mobile will be available soon for around $249 to $279.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Jammy is a digital guitar that makes travel easier for players

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Jammy guitarWhile the guitar is one of the most popular instruments to learn, it is also one of the most difficult to transport. The large size makes it nearly impossible to bring onto a plane, with several well-known incidents of professional players having their guitars damaged during transportation. That is where the Jammy portable guitar comes into play. Unlike a regular guitar, the Jammy can snap apart into 2 pieces, making it small enough to fit into a backpack.

The Jammy is a fully-capable digital guitar featuring real steel strings. Rather than using the strings to create sound directly, the Jammy is a MIDI controller, turning your actions into digital commands. Those commands can, naturally, replicate the acoustics of a guitar, but can be used to produce any number of collections of sounds. The best part of all of this is that all of the signal processing can be done directly on the guitar, meaning you don’t need a phone or tablet in the mix for the Jammy to work. This gives you the power of digital audio without the lag of external processing.

On the device is a collection of audio interfaces. The first is the obvious: a 1/4″ jack, which is the standard for connecting an electric guitar to an amplifier or professional sound system. If you’re not playing in public, you can use the 1/8″ jack, which is the standard jack for headphones. With that, you can play entirely privately, using your own choice of headphones. Finally, it also features a MIDI interface over USB-C, so that you can connect the Jammy to a computer. Jammy can then be used with any number of music programs to create beats and more.

The Jammy can currently be preordered for $399, with a future retail price of $499.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Soundbrenner modernizes the metronome with a wearable device

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

Soundbrenner Pulse and Soundbrenner CoreWhen you think of products that are ripe for innovation, your short list probably does not include the metronome, the traditionally pyramid-shaped device that musicians use while practicing to keep their rhythm. Luckily, the team at Soundbrenner felt differently. This team of musicians saw that there were some obvious pitfalls to the traditional metronome device and set out to solve them with the Soundbrenner Pulse.

The first, most obvious problem is that the sound of the metronome can easily get drowned out by music, especially if you’re practicing as a band. There have been some solutions, but none of them are great, like having multiple devices or trying to mic the timer. With Pulse, however, loud music isn’t a problem. This device is worn on your wrist like a watch, or can be attached to a guitar strap, or however you feel comfortable, and uses light and vibration to overcome the limitations of audible timing. All you have to do is tap the face of the Pulse to the rhythm you want to set, and the Pulse will keep the rhythm until you tell it to stop.

Another problem with band practice is keeping the whole band in sync. The Pulse allows you to sync up to 5 devices together, so everyone is on the same beat. This is done via Bluetooth, using one device as an active and the rest are set as passive recipients. This gives a band the ability to stay together as they learn a new song, or even during a performance, where acoustics in a venue can throw off the group’s rhythm.

This year, the company is introducing the Soundbrenner Core, a new take on its established product. In addition to all of the features of the Pulse, Core brings some cool new capabilities. For example, Core has the ability to assist in tuning. Using a contact microphone and a removable faceplate, the device can help any musician get their instrument into proper tune. It can also be used to measure the decibel level in the room you are in. In addition, the Core can be used as a smartwatch, receiving notifications from your phone, making it a perfect companion for any musician.

The Pulse is availabe now for $99, and the Core is available for pre-order on Indiegogo InDemand.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The Canon Rayo projector packs a large image into a very small package

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Canon Rayo S1 projectorWhen most people think of Canon, their first thoughts tend to be of cameras, and for good reason: the company has been making cameras and lenses since at least 1940. But soon, some people might think of projectors first thanks to the Rayo S1 mini projector. While Canon is no newcomer to projectors, the S1 takes on a whole new market in a big way. This little device is able to produce an 84-inch image with only about 3 meters of throw distance while being only about the size of a portable CD player.

This projector is the perfect companion for any salesperson, as they can easily carry it in their laptop bag or briefcase and, since it has an internal battery, they won’t even need to find a power supply in the room where they are giving their presentation. Imagine being able to easily set up in a coffee shop without having to sit in just the right booth.

In addition, the S1 itself runs a version of Android right on the projector. Because of that, you can install apps directly onto the device and use it without any external device plugged in. A member of the Canon team discovered that if he strapped the projector to the side of his bed, he could use Netflix on his ceiling without any setup.

At $259, this mini projector can even be part of anyone’s travel bag. Rather than carrying every possible cable that a hotel television might have so that you can watch Hulu at night only to be disappointed because the hotel TV doesn’t have working HDMI ports, you can bring the S1 projector with you and know that it is going to work without any problems.

The Rayo S1 mini projector should be available this May from Canon.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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A blast from the past combined with robotic futurism at Crosley Brands

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Crosley turntablesTo so many of us, Music is Life. And Crosley Brands is right there with us. There is always so much fun stuff to explore and we have an absolute blast when we visit their booth at CES. Honestly, this year may just have been the most fun yet. The retro feel and cool vibes come second only to the hospitality of the Crosley crew. They always share our excitement while giving us a tour of their new products.

First up was Jason Menard, Director of Marketing, to show off their new cassette players. That’s right, radios with cassette tape players. These sweet little players were brought back by popular demand as many customers have been asking for them. And as cute as they are, don’t let the retro look fool you. They are chocked full of every modern technical convenience that you want. You can make bae a rad mixtape easier than ever before thanks to the ability to use a flash drive, sd card, and four different radio bands. And you won’t need to dig out your Mr. Mike to sing along with the recordings of your favorite tunes because there’s a mic built right in. And the upgraded model boasts a functional VU meter. You’ll be able to ramp the volume up to the max and adjust the bass and treble to your own specs with the adjustment knobs on top. If you’re ready to start a new mixtape collection of your own, you can grab yours from Amazon with the following links, CT100, CT200.

Next up was the most impressive and fascinating new product in their line. It provided almost as much entertainment as the Bellagio fountains for our PLuGHiTz Live crew, as it was equally hard to pull ourselves away from the musical theatrics. Chris White from Sound Leisure demonstrated the full-sized LP Jukebox that he designed. Everybody knows that we love all things robots and this masterpiece is integrated with lights and music. So basically, all of our favorite things. We were mesmerized! In the past, they’ve done the 7-inch singles, CD’s and Digital in past jukeboxes but this is the first one that’s playing full-size records. It holds ten LP’s and it’s mechanical so it will change them automatically. You can play each side. It also has Bluetooth and auxiliary inputs and outputs that allow you to run extension speakers off of it, as well. There’s a fully functioning remote control so you can even change the color of the lights with the flick of a button. You’ve got 10 hours of music really without leaving your chair. And really, you won’t want to because it’s truly music and a show.

Lastly, we had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Bingaman, President of Deer Park Distributors and Carrie Colliton, Co-Founder of Record Store Day. In recent years, Crosley has celebrated Record Store Day with a special new product. This year it’s the adorable RSD 3 Mini Turntable. It uses 3-inch vinyl records, which were popular in Japan in the early 2000s. They are bringing them back for a launch with the mini turntable on Record Store Day, which is April 14th. It will be available in hundreds of record stores on that date, along with an assortment of vinyls for playing. Titles from artists like the Foo Fighters and Jack White will be among the first released. This cute little guy is small in size but large in sound. It has a built-in speaker but also a USB power headphone jack and can be hooked up to any external speaker. Carrie pointed out that this is a perfect way to celebrate the day. Record enthusiasts will have a cute, portable little turntable that will play one song and bring happiness. The vinyls can be played and shared like playing cards as people listen together. The price point is still to be determined, but they expect it to be in the $70 range. I know that we’ll be looking out for one of our own. If you purchase one as well, don’t forget to come back and leave comments about how you like it and which tunes you have.

To get more information about these and their entire product line, check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Amazing and affordable sound to fit all of your needs from TCL

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

TCL HeadphonesNo tour of the TCL booth at CES would be complete without checking out the sound systems. We already know that they make amazing TV’s that get better every year. However, as the sets get thinner, the more difficult it gets to deliver good sound. Bruce Walker gave us the skinny on their new sound tech.

In the next couple of months, TCL will be introducing a family of sound bars that are designed to deliver a great audio experience. The line up will contain two families of sound bars called the Alto 5 and the Alto 7. Both will be available with or without a wireless subwoofer. The Alto 7 improves the audio of the Alto five by having separate woofers and tweeters in the main sound bar for better clarity. The 7 has a slightly bigger subwoofer and also has the ability to have HDMI connectivity. This allows for one cable connection to the TV for automatic communication between the two for easy control. The best part is that these sound bars that are under $200 but deliver very good and robust sound quality. There are also three preset sound modes including movie , music, and news to tailor the sound to what you’re watching and offer a great home theater experience on a budget.

Also in the sound section, this year is a new family of headphones that aim to appeal to a wider and younger audience. The lineup includes the SOCL for the inspired lifestyle, the MTRO for a bold sound, the ACTV that are perfect for any workout and their ELIT headphones that will deliver premium performance. And we have to say, the prices can’t be beaten. Prices range from $10 to $99 but don’t think that you will have to skimp on features. From 18-hour battery life to an integrated remote and everything in between, you will be able to match the perfect set of headphones to every aspect of your life.

To learn more about the entire TCL line, click here to visit their website after you watch the full interview.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Powerful performance and superior picture quality in these TCL TVs

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

TCL TelevisionsCES is so much fun! There are seemingly endless venues and halls with everything from record players to autonomous vehicles. There’s so much to take in, everywhere you look. For a truly unique experience, I have to say that walking through Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is simply amazing. It is absolutely mesmerizing to see the grand displays of technology that encompass this most exciting hall of the show. Whether it’s your first time through the hall or your hundredth, a true tech junkie can’t help but almost feel giddy when surrounded by all of the lights, sounds, and displays.

Once some of the initial shock and awe start to settle in, it’s always so nice to visit those friendly faces at the booths in which we have developed a relationship with over the years. One of these companies for us is, without a doubt, TCL. From their press conference that kicks off the week on Monday at Mandalay Bay, to their booth at LVCC, we thoroughly enjoy our experience with them, every single year. We were fortunate to meet up again this year with our friend, product evangelist, Bruce Walker.

While we were perusing through their array of television sets, Bruce spent some time with us to discuss some of the newer technology that will be coming out soon. As was a common theme with most of the larger television vendors here on the show floor, 8K technology is ramping up for what appears will be a huge explosion into the market and our media rooms. And it probably goes without saying that the demos on the floor were quite impressive. TCL is leading the way with bringing this new tech to us in a responsible manner. They are not trying to merely hit the market with these new sets, they want to make sure that their customers get the quality that they deserve from the number two retailer of television sets in the US in 2018. As we all know, just throwing together an 8K set is not enough because when they hit the retail stores, there will be extremely limited content actually available in 8K. That’s why they are including an up-conversion technology that will be able to handle the existing, lower resolution content and give you the best picture possible.

Also coming up will be an enhancement to their Roku sets. Not only will they continue with this feature built right in, but it will be Smart Roku, connecting to other smart devices in the home and with voice recognition that will know your voice and interact with you conversationally with its four built in, directional microphones. It will be simple and easy to use. You’ll have a hard time deciding if that is your favorite feature or the 33 million pixels that offer up to a 300% improvement in picture quality.

You can learn more about their existing line, and keep an eye out for these new releases, by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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