If it's Tech it's Here!

IOGear Brings Thunderbolt 2 Dock/KVM Switch to CES

April 18th, 2017

iogear logoThunderbolt-based docks are turning into big business thanks to recent developments in computing hardware (mostly on behalf of Apple). Docks have been used for years to make it easier to use laptops in desktop situations. But what if your desktop already has a computer on it? Todd met with David from IOGear to gett the answer to that question.

David showed off the new Thunderbolt 2 KVM/Docking Station from IOGear. This dock is more than just a standard port extender for a laptop computer. Here are some details:

  • Built-in KVM switch allows you to connect two computers to the dock at the same time
  • Two Thunderbolt 2 inputs
  • Thunderbolt expansion port allows for connecting up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices
  • 4K 30hz video output
  • Analog and optical audio I/O
  • eSATA connection, USB 3, and USB 2 connections for storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet port

This new dock/KVM device is available for purchase now at a price of $399.95.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

PowerVision’s Underwater Drone is Exploring the Deep at CES

April 18th, 2017

PowerVision LogoAerial drones and quadcopters have been mainstream items for a few years now. It seems like every day, amazing new videos are posted online of landscapes, cities, or large events. While everything happening on the ground is being recorded from the air, there’s another part of the planet that’s being completely ignored: Under water.

Todd had a chat with Merlin at the PowerVision booth. Merlin talked about his company’s impressive new underwater drone. This drone uses a 100-foot tether that can go up to 30 meters deep. The drone comes with integrated lights and a 4K video camera that can take 13 megapixel photos. The drone also has a built-in sonar to help find fish. There’s even an attached fishing hook that can carry bait to help lure hungry fish to the drone’s location.

PowerVision’s new underwater drone will go on sale at the end of next month, and begin shipping in the spring quarter. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

SwiftPoint Z is an Award-Winning Gaming Mouse at CES

April 18th, 2017

SwiftPoint logoFor most computer users, a mouse is a pretty boring input device that has probably two buttons and maybe a click wheel installed. But there’s a whole world of high-end computer mice out there, many of them aimed at the gaming market.

Todd spoke with Grant from SwiftPoint about his company’s latest gaming mouse known simply as Z. SwiftPoint’s Z Mouse has more buttons than a typical mouse, allowing for up to 50 different click-based actions. Z Mouse has a built-in gyroscope that makes it easy to control things like pitch and yaw used in flight-sim games, replacing the need for a joystick or other type of controller. Z Mouse is being brought to market thru a successful Kickstarter campaign. Once the campaign is fulfilled, the mouse is expected to make it to the retail market in March of this year, where it’ll retail for $229.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

PapaGo’s Geko Smart Whistle is Keeping Things Safe at CES

April 18th, 2017

Papago GekoA personal whistle may seem like a fairly old-fashioned thing to bring to an event like CES. But PapaGo’s new Geko smart whistle is anything but old-fashioned. Todd met with Paulina from PapaGo who listed out all of the features of this award-winning product.

The Geko smart whistle connects to a user’s mobile device via Bluetooth. If the user triggers the whistle, either by blowing thru it like a standard whistle, or pressing a button built into the whistle, the whistle sends a signal to the user’s phone, which in turn contacts three different people by text, e-mail, and telephone (phone calls available on Android devices only). These messages are predefined to let the recipients know that the sender is in trouble, along with a map of the sender’s location. When the whistle is triggered a second time, it sends an “all clear” message to let recipients know that the user is now safe.

The PapaGo Geko smart whistle is already available for purchase for $49.99. The whistle will send up to 30 messages for free, but users can purchase more messages if needed.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Flir Duo Flies with Autel at CES

April 18th, 2017

Flir created a minor sensation few years ago with the Flir One thermal imaging attachment for smartphones costing only a few hundred bucks. Building on this, Flir have launched the Duo, a dual sensor compact camera designed to be carried by drones. John gives Todd a quick demo of the new Duo and see if you can spot the GNC cameraman.

The Flir Duo combines both visible light and thermal sensors into a single camera which can be carried by any drone that attaches GoPro cameras.  The visible resolution is full HD at 1920 x 1080, whereas the thermal camera is only 160 x 120. This might seem poor but the resolution of thermal imaging tends to be much lower. Flir has a nice trick called MSX blending where the visible and thermal images are combined to give more detailed pictures. There’s a demo here.

There a two versions, the Duo and Duo R, with the latter providing calibrated radiometric temperature measurements, i.e. it can tell accurately how hot an object is. The Duo is priced at US$999 and the Duo R is $1,299. Available now.

Flir have partnered with drone makers Autel Robotics and paired their Duo with the X-Star Premium drone for an all-in-one package including customised flight software. Oddly the package appears to be available only to US military and no word on price.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Razer’s Project Valerie Triple Screen Laptop at CES

April 18th, 2017

One of the best things about motor shows are the preposterous concept cars that will never see the light of day and serve only to showcase the manufacturer’s technology. Razer are verging into this territory with a bonkers triple 4K screen laptop, codenamed Project Valerie, where the three screens combine to give a whopping resolution of 11520 x 2160. And get this….the screens will automatically expand and collapse – so cool. Aimed at the (very) serious gamer or esports player, it’s totally awesome and no doubt will have a price tag to match when (if?) it goes on sale.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Bitdefender BOX Protects the Smart Home at CES

April 18th, 2017

With the arrival of the Internet of Things, installing antivirus software on a PC isn’t going address malware lurking on a smart home control unit. A different approach is needed and Bitdefender’s BOX might be the solution. Dan talks to Todd about what Box offers over traditional security products.

The Bitdefender Box is a small hardware device which is connected into a free port on the main router – it’s similar in size to the control units for SmartThings or Hue. Once configured via Bitdefender’s Central Account or the companion smartphone app, it monitors the network traffic for suspicious activity. Box provides several layers of security over and above standard antivirus with everything from URL filtering to anomaly detection.

Bitdefender Box is available now for US$129 in the first year, with an annual subscription of $99. The next gen Box is expected in the summer, priced at $199. Box is currently only available in the USA.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Get the Zzzzs in with Witti at CES

April 18th, 2017

Witti are reasonably well-known for their Beddi collection of stylish bedside clocks and lights which both help the sleeper doze off and wake them gently in the morning. Expanding their product portfolio, Witti is introducing Sleepi and Todd finds out from Alfred what it can offer snoozers.

Sleepi is a sleep monitoring system, comprising of a bedside light and clock, a sleep tracker that goes under the mattress and the obligatory smartphone app. The app tracks sleep and wakefulness, providing a report in the morning. What makes Sleepi different is that it works with smart homes to figure out what interrupted the sleep, e.g. the room was too hot, and then adjust the temperature automatically. That’s smart.

A Kickstarter launch is planned for Sleepi, with shipping towards the end of 2017. Expected retail price around US$149.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Real and Virtual Play Combine with Sam’s Curious Cars

April 18th, 2017

Learning is best done when fun and what’s more fun than play? Sam’s Curious Cars fall right into this sweet spot and Todd gets an interactive demo from Joachim.

Sam Labs have created a series of component-based toys (think chassis, wheels, motors) that can be built up to make a vehicle – in this instance a car. The components are compatible with Lego bricks, so builders can really express themselves.

Once constructed, the car can be controlled by other components, like a switch for power and a slide for left and right. The car can also be controlled by an app and for advanced learners, the cars behaviour can be built up using control blocks in the app. It’s designed to introduce some of the key concepts of programming without actually having to code.

There’s a series of six different sets, priced from US$99 and the Curious Cars are $199. Additional sensors and motors can be bought separately. Available now from the Sam Labs shop and other good retailers.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!

Craft Beer at Home with iGulu at CES

April 18th, 2017

Fancy a beer? Me too, but I’ve never brewed my own, though his might change with the iGulu automated home brewing system. Todd looks for some refreshment in the hot halls of tech.

Winning a CES Innovation Honoree award, the iGulu machine brews a beer from ingredients to fresh beverage in anything from seven days to a couple of weeks, depending the receipe. Everything is done in the iGulu, from initial mixing and mashing to the fermentation and pour, with sensors ensuring that the final product is perfect. There are receipes for everything from lagers to stouts and the process can be tweaked via the iGulu app to suit personal taste. There’s a small screen to control and check on progress of the brew. I’m feeling thirsty….

The iGulu is available for pre-order via Indiegogo starting from US$550, with an expected final retail price of US$800.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

Become a GNC Insider today!