If it's Tech it's Here!

Square Panda makes learning phonics easier and fun for all kids

March 25th, 2019

Square PandoSquare Panda came into being when the CEO noticed his daughter, who had dyslexia, was struggling to learn to read. Many children with and without dyslexia do not learn easily using only a pencil and paper or listening to a teacher lecture. The innovative thing about Square Panda technology is that it integrates visual, auditory, and tactile learning so that every child can grasp the skills to use phonics in reading.

In the showcased game, a child can place letters in the tray in any order. The chameleon in the game reads the letter combination to the child. If the child has formed a real word, then a picture of that thing may be displayed. The chameleon reads the letter combination, even if it does not form a real word. In this way, the child is still learning sounds and phonetics and learning the correct way to spell through experience. If a child spells several correct words in a row, they are rewarded. If a child attempts to spell words unsuccessfully several times in a row, the chameleon begins to suggest letter combinations or displays a picture and asks the child to try to spell the name of what he is seeing.

There are ten different games available to play with this hardware. The games range in age appropriateness. For instance, there is a lullaby game available for the youngest players and a more complicated bowling game for older players. The child can choose which games he or she enjoys most, and still get the benefit of learning without the tedium of a classroom setting. The interactive nature of Square Panda keeps children entertained, while they are learning.

Being the mother of a very tactile child, I can easily see the benefit of this type of technology. Classroom experiences and homework can be nerve-wracking for my child and me. Many of you know what I’m talking about. Imagine a learning experience your child could enjoy, that was capable of helping them become a better reader! Square Panda is the solution for children who have become frustrated with traditional learning experiences.

For more information, please visit their website. They have sets available for the home and the classroom, as well as replacement smart letters. Pricing for the home set starts at $69.95.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Whirlpool eases your laundry and space problems in one simple machine

March 24th, 2019

Whirlpool waher dryer comboPeople with tight space problems will be excited to learn that Whirlpool has solved that particular problem in the laundry room. Without compromising on the size of the interior drum, they have created a combination washer/dryer that does the job of two separate machines quickly and efficiently. It is called the Smart Front Load Washer and Dryer.

It has a Load-and-Go feature which is an automatic detergent and fabric softener dispenser. It can hold enough soap for up to 40 loads. It has a sensor to measure how much soap to dispense based on the weight of your laundry. When you are running low on soap or fabric softener, the Whirlpool app can automatically reorder through your Amazon Dash account. It also has the feature to be connected to Wi-Fi so you can control it remotely. You can also get notified on your smartphone when the load is complete so if you are away for the machine, you can still know.

The control screen is large enough to read easily and is well-lit with bright colors. That makes it user-friendly and the choices for the cycles are directly available. They have a full-size drum, which is 4.5 cubic feet and is 27″ in diameter. They have recently come out with a smaller model of 24″. Probably one of the most exciting features is the fact that they are ventless and can be used everywhere, especially since they are powered with a 110-volt plug instead of the old bulky 220-volt version. In having the combination of two big machines into one compact one, there is no problem of losing precious space in your laundry area, so having it where it the most convenient place is a true advantage, especially for apartment dwellers who do not have a dedicated washer and dryer hook-up.

The price point is at $2199. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Smart Oven+ by KitchenAid is changing the way you prepare your meals

March 24th, 2019

KitchenAid Smart Oven+Everything now in your home has become “smart” and your kitchen is no exception. KitchenAid has come out with a very smart oven to help make cooking easier and fun. The KitchenAid Smart Oven+ is a new idea for revolutionizing your meal prep. Taking inspiration from their very popular stand mixer, the new oven currently offers options to expand your cooking capabilities.

This very versatile oven is designed with a modular plug that connects to three different attachments. The first one is a grilling rack that has high-intensity heat for faster cooking and searing. It’s like grilling outdoors without worrying about the weather. The heating element fits down inside the grate and the grease drips down inside so there are no flare-ups. This design also helps for a more evenly heated surface. The steamer attachment is another option. The pan is quite large so you can easily plan a meal for the entire family. This also is great for desserts such as cheesecake, souffles or creme brulees. It provides a water bath that is very important to such foods. A third attachment is a baking stone. This one is porcelain covered enamel that heats very quickly and makes your food very crisp, especially nice for pizza and French fries.

All of these are Yummly-integrated and that makes it very easy to cook even when you are not at home. Yummly is an app that is for guided cooking, which is very helpful to the novice cook or even an experienced one. The app also features Yummly pros, such as Carla Hall that will walk you through some of their recipes. It can be connected to your mobile device to help you start or stop the oven, or even adjust the temperature during the cooking time.

The price point for the Smart Oven+ is $3000. for the single oven with a microwave above and $4700. for the double oven. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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FoldiMate makes your laundry day great and gives you back your time

March 24th, 2019

FoldiMate robotic laundry folderFor a lot of people, the absolute worst part of doing the laundry is when it comes time to fold it. The washer and dryer do the important part for them, but when it needs to be folded, they just haphazardly shove it around and wind up with a lot of wrinkled clothes. We all have that one friend with a clothes chair or a decorated treadmill! We were very happy to talk to Gal Rozov who is the founder and CEO of FoldiMate, a fascinating robotic laundry folder.

FoldiMate is a new concept to help make a bothersome task for some people a pleasure. Gal told us that even his children fight over who gets to fold clothes! It is mainly designed for shirts, towels, and pillowcases. It is able to fold neatly and accurately up to 25 items in 5 minutes. The execution of this is very easy. You simply grab the item by the shoulders, facing you and clip it onto two uniquely designed clips and it automatically pulls the item into the machine. While that is happening, you put on the next item after it opens up again.

The appliance plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet so that makes it very versatile. The possibilities for placement are endless in your home, depending on your space limitations and your work habits. Some folks like to put them in the laundry area while others want it in their bedroom. It is also incredibly energy-efficient. He is also thinking about the possibility of using them in laundromats for their customers to experience.

While last year they were in a prototype mode and this year they were extremely honored to receive the Best of Show Award at CES for 2019 from Business Insider.

The FoldiMate is planned for public release in late 2019. The price point is uncertain at this time but they are hoping for around the $1000. range. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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ZOOZ can provide amazing savings on your home power usage and bill

March 23rd, 2019

ZoozThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is The Smartest House, a dedicated Z-Wave marketplace and makers of the ZOOZ line of smarthome products. The company boasts streamline technology not available anywhere else in the Z-Wave world. The first product displayed is the ZOOZ light switch. This switch comes with a dimmer and can control all the lights in your home from one central hub. There is no need to change out any wiring. Just install the one switch, and every light in your home can be controlled through your Z-Wave system.

Next up is the ZOOZ powerstrip. The power strip comes with five outlets, which can be controlled individually or all together. You can turn off nonessential outlets with the push of a button. The power strip also comes with USB ports for easy charging of your mobile devices. One of our favorite features is that it can issue reports on each of the outlet’s power usage. You will be able to narrow down which devices are using the most power in your home. Also, the power strip notifies you through your Z-Wave system when any of your devices are fully charged.

There is also a double plug available. Like the power strip, the double plug measures power usage and notifies you when a device is fully charged. The double plug is a more streamlined choice, with only two outlets instead of five, and still comes with a USB port. The two outlets can be controlled individually or together. An advantage to the ZOOZ double plug is that two of them can fit into one receptacle. The Smartest House produces the only Z-Wave double plug device which is not too bulky to fit alongside another double plug in the same receptacle.

These products make life easier and your Z-Wave system more functional while saving you money on your overall power costs. You can now be more in control of the devices which are using power in your home. You can learn more about the ZOOZ line of products on their website, and you can purchase them directly from The Smartest House or Amazon.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Z-Wave.Me has products to enable makers to join the Z-Wave movement

March 23rd, 2019

Z-Wave.MeThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is Z-Wave.Me, a company that helps to facilitate the development and production of Z-Wave products. Some of their products are aimed at makers, such as the RaZberry, a module that can connect to any Raspberry Pi model and add Z-Wave capabilities to a project. This is great for either an amateur who is learning the technology or making a custom project for their home. It is also perfect for a professional as they prototype a new idea.

If Raspberry Pi isn’t your platform of choice, the company also offers the Z-Uno, an Arduino Uno-inspired board that incorporates communication for Z-Wave. They also offer the UZB, a USB-interface for being able to control Z-Wave devices from a computer. For a maker or product designer, these capabilities really open up what can be done accomplished in a short period of time. For installers, Z-Wave.Me offers an altered version of the Z-Uno, which comes in a sealed case to prevent atmospheric and weather damage.

A number of interesting projects have been done using the maker hardware produced by Z-Wave.Me and were on display at CES. For example, a water leak detector, featuring a remote sensor, was built on top of the platform. They also demonstrated an entry control system that uses NFC in the plate to detect a card and sends a Z-Wave command to unlock a door, turn on a light, or any other Z-Wave capability.

The RaZberry module is availabe now for $55. The Z-Uno maker board is available now for $70. The UZB interface is available now for $35.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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FIBARO Walli brings a distinct new look to your smarthome setup

March 23rd, 2019

FIBAROThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that makes the smart home possible, but Z-Wave is the technology that makes it work together. What it means is, no matter what company you buy your products from, if it is part of the Z-Wave Alliance, you know that they will be compatible with one another.

One member of the Z-Wave Alliance is FIBARO, with a visually distinct style of smarthome accessories. While most companies take a very subtle approach to their designs, FIBARO skews the other way, choosing instead to use bright colors and bold designs. The newest addition to their smarthome lineup is their Walli line, a line of round outlets and switches.

Following the company’s design language, these products are designed to stand out and look good. Whether you are looking at an electrical outlet, a dimmer, switch, or shutter control, all of the products are circular. Many of the products also feature a lighten ring around the outside, which is also something the company has been known for in their existing wall plug line. They even offer matching outlets for cable, Ethernet, and USB.

FIBARO has also updated its Home Center app. The new version brings with it a much more streamlined interface, designed to make using the products easier. More importantly, and certainly most interestingly, the app has added into it machine learning and analytics. The app is able to learn the user’s behaviors and find and suggest new scenes that could improve their daily routine. For example, if you regularly turn on two sets of lights right after unlocking your front door, the app might be able to create a scene for you to automate that process.

The Walli line will be available soon in Europe, with a planned launch in the US in late 2019 or early 2020. FIBARO’s other products can be found on Amazon.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The DoorCam 2 from Remo+ gives renters the security of a camera

March 22nd, 2019

Remo+ smarthome cameraHome security is one of the most consistent technology fields because it is important for everyone. No one wants to live in a scenario where they don’t feel safe, both inside and outside the home. The past year has made security outside of the home even more important than ever, with the increase in thefts of packages by “porch pirates.” Remo+ has a new camera to make this accessible to everyone called DoorCam 2.

Knowing that someone is at your door is great, but installing cameras or video doorbells is not always possible. For example, if you live in an apartment, you may not even have the ability to place a doorbell, let alone something as complicated as a security camera. You still want to know if someone is outside, either to protect packages or simply to know who is at the door. The new DoorCam 2 requires no special installation, as it simply fits over the top of the door. That means no holes, and no lost security deposit when you leave.

Adding to the ease of installation is that there is no power cable required for operation. The camera can be powered by a battery that will run for up to 12 months. If plugging the camera in is more your style, though, you can power it off of a standard micro USB cable, which comes with the camera.

When someone comes to the door or comes into the active frame of the camera, you can receive an alert on your mobile phone. From there, you can then open a two-way conversation with the person, either to say you’re not available, ask them to wait, or tell them to leave.

In addition to DoorCam 2, Remo+ also has more traditional style video doorbells. The RemoBell S, the newest member of the family, is the first hardwired video doorbell from the company. You will have the same type of alerts as the DoorCam 2, based on activity in the field of view. For those whose door faces a neighbor’s door, or might have a long field of view, you can customize what field will alert.

The RemoBell S is available now for $99, and the DoorCam 2 will be available starting in April 2019 for $199.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Moona can now make struggling with sleep a thing of the past for you

March 22nd, 2019

Moona Sleep AssistantAs many of us well know, getting a good nights sleep can be a challenge. Aside from factors such as unusual work schedules or new parenthood, insomnia is reportedly one of the most common sleep problems. For every person who has a problem with sleep, there is another person with some advice or something they should try to fix the issue. But obviously, it’s not that simple. Or is it? The folks at Moona have what they feel is the perfect solution.

Their mission at Moona is to help those who struggle with sleep, as according to their statistics it affects one-third of adults in the United States. And it’s not just a matter of people feeling tired all of the time or missing out on things in their lives, which quite honestly is bad enough. But more importantly, not getting an adequate amount of sleep on a consistent basis has serious health consequences, as well. It also obviously can affect relationships and work productivity. For all of these reasons, they’ve worked to find a better solution and through their research, they found that temperature is actually a key factor in sleep quality. And if this sounds odd to you, just think about how many times in your life you have flipped your pillow over to get to the cool side.

Some studies have shown that lower temperatures in the area of the head and neck actually help people to not only fall asleep more quickly but also stay asleep longer, reaching a deeper level of sleep. It is based upon this research that they developed their technology. Moona is a smart system with a pillow pad that is inserted on top of any pillow. It is connected to a bedside device with a pump that continuously circulates water through the pad to help keep this important head and neck area cooler, and thus allowing for better sleep patterns. Now, they realize that merely having this cooling technology is not enough because it’s not a “one size fits all” kind of solution. Every person is different, so along with the cooling pad is the ability to customize the user settings to your exact specifications. You’ll be able to set the perfect fall asleep temperature, stay asleep temperature, and even the perfect wake up temperature for you. That’s right, you can program it, right from a phone app, to gently help wake you up on the morning by warming up. Temperatures can be customized and preset from 70 to 97 degrees. They have also tested the product for durability, so you will not need to worry about any leaking no matter how restless you are when you sleep.

Moona is expected to retail at $399, but for a limited time, you can get a discount of $100 during their preorder campaign. After you’ve watched the interview, head over to their website to get more information and order one for yourself.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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This Irish company is bringing the smartest solution to the smarthome

March 22nd, 2019

Xunison X-BrainThe smarthome continues to get smarter with the new X-Brain from Xunison. The X-Brain can become your “brain” for all of your smarthome devices but it does not end there. There are 5 capabilities/devices included in 1 main hub so not only does the X-Brain give you easy access to all of your smarthome devices, it also comes with a built-in router, the ability to connect straight to your TV, fully included antivirus and firewall software to keep your smarthome and devices safe and parental controls for internet access and devices connected.

The CEO of Xunison, Ryan O’Donovan discusses the juicy details and specs for this new, innovative product. Once you finish the quick and easy X-Brain setup by connecting it straight to your television, you have full access to all of its capabilities through the X-Brain remote control. The router information is easily accessible through the application and allows you to be able to update your ID and passwords. There is also an option that allows you to view all of your connected smarthome devices such as other TVs, smarthome assistants, or even your smart refrigerator. From here you have full control of internet access to any device at any given time, and a list of the websites each device accesses on your network. This feature is fantastic for parental controls when you want your child to go to bed at a certain time without fear of them accessing their devices late in the night.

Security is another very important topic that Xunison has certainly taken care of. Each device comes armed with secure antivirus software and firewall that will keep your X-brain as well as every connected device safe from hackers and vulnerabilities. If there is a breach in the X-Brain, you are immediately notified of the hack and ways you can prevent this from happening again. Also note, if there is a breach in one X-Brain, all other X-Brains sold around the world are learning from each other and other attacks. They are updated every day in the background so there is no need to sit through regular updates that stop usability.

The Xunison X-Brain is expected to be launched in the first or second quarter of 2019. This product will be for sale at $229 and could be found online at the Xunison website or in person Costco, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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