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The VMAXX woofer returns to the Cerwin Vega Mobile speaker lineup

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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Plott takes the frustration out of hanging pictures on the wall

March 9th, 2019

PLOTT Cubit tapemeasureIf you’re anything like me, you absolutely hate trying to hang things on a wall. It seems like it is nearly impossible for me to get everything to line up. One item is always a little lower than the others, or there is a larger gap between two of the items than the rest. A number of augmented reality apps have come out to help you design what it should look like in a perfect world, but that never helps me get it right in reality. The Plott Cubit is the perfect device to help bring the idea to reality.

The device looks very similar to a standard tape measure, which is an appropriate design. It is designed to take your augmented reality room decoration design and help you get all of the measurements right on your wall. This is accomplished by pairing the Cubit with your smartphone and its accompanying app. First, you map out your wall, using the camera, marking the corners. Then, you photograph the items that you are trying to hang, enter their measurements, and the hanging point is on the item. Then, you place the items on your virtual walls, testing the layout using AR in the room.

Once your wall is all set up, you take the Cubit itself to the wall in question and let it guide you to the right spot. Arrows on the screen will point you in the correct direction, and when you find the spot for a nail it will beep. At that point, just mark the spot on the wall and move on to the next spot. The Cubit is accurate within 3 millimeters, which is far closer than I have ever gotten using traditional measurements.

The Plott Cubit will be available soon from big-box retailers and online.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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VOLO Beauty has a cordless hairdryer that reduces damage to your hair

March 9th, 2019

VOLO Beauty infrared hairdryerFor some types of hair or hairstyles, the only way to get your hair dry correctly is with a hairdryer. Unfortunately, hairdryers produce a lot of direct heat and can do a lot of damage to your hair. It can also be difficult to accomplish because most dryers have surprisingly short cords. VOLO Beauty has a new product designed to help people deal with both of these products. Since last year, the product has gone from a working prototype to being fully-functional and available for pre-order.

The VOLO Go Cordless Hairdryer is, by the suggestion of its name, a cordless dryer. Using a lithium-ion battery, this new dryer can be used without being tethered to the wall, allowing you to use it while you get ready for your day. To make this possible, however, the company could not use traditional heating. That is because a standard hairdryer uses about 1600 watts of power when in use. In fact, they require special power adapters when you travel with them internationally.

Instead of traditional heating, the VOLO Go uses infrared heating. There are a few benefits in infrared, with one being a significant reduction in the amount of power required. Reducing power usage allows for a smaller battery, also meaning less weight. But, more importantly, infrared can dry your hair without all of the damage caused by traditional heating. That is because it doesn’t apply all of the heat to the outside but instead works from the inside out.

In addition to the Go, VOLO has also released a towel, designed especially for hair. Whether or not you plan to use a dryer, towel drying is an important step in helping prevent damage. The VOLO Hero is a microfiber cloth, which we all know makes for easier and quicker drying. It features a strap in the middle, which allows you to easily tie it on top of your head, so you can continue your routine while your hair dries.

The VOLO Hero is available now for purchase for $39, and the VOLO Go is available for pre-order for $27 with a retail price of $399.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Rocking Bed brings the comfort of being rocked to sleep to everyone

March 9th, 2019

Rocking BedIf you have ever slept on a cruise ship, you know that the gentle rocking of the boat can significantly improve how you sleep. This is the realization that Mark Russell, founder of Rocking Bed made after a cruise. He went looking for a product that could replicate that sensation on dry land and found only a hammock. Of course, a hammock isn’t quite the same, as it is mostly for outside use, and encompasses a person in a way that can be strange. So, he set about to create a device that could help him sleep.

The Rocking Bed is a product whose name says a lot about its use. It attaches to the existing frame of your standard bed and provides a gentle swaying motion. While it might sound strange initially, think about this: almost all humans have been rocked to sleep at some point in their life. It is such an established idea that many rocking devices are made for babies, and the idea of babies sleeping better in a car is well established. Somehow, the idea has never been brought to adult sleeping, despite the clear connection between rocking and the feeling of safety and security, which can be relaxing, bringing on restful sleep.

One of the interesting things about rocking to sleep is that, once you are asleep, the rocking is no longer required. That is why the Rocking Bed has a timer built-in and turns the monitor off after 30 minutes. Obviously, if you’re not already asleep at that time, you can start the timer up again. The timer also helps to prevent the motor from wearing out quicker, as motors all have a lifespan. If the motor does wear out on the bed, however, you can order a replacement, rather than replacing the entire product.

The Rocking Bed can be pre-ordered now, with a down payment of $245.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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LifeDoor can add an extra barrier between you and a house fire

March 6th, 2019

LifeDoor fire safetyNo one should have to live through a house fire, but it is a good idea to be prepared in the unlikely event that it happens. Smoke detectors are a great first start to protecting your home and the people in it, but there is more that can be done to be safe. Not everyone knows that a closed door can make a huge difference in the damage done to a room. Firefighter Joel Sellinger saw the major differences between two rooms in the same home and came up with LifeDoor to help save lives.

Joel responded to a fire, only to discover that the elderly occupant had died because of smoke inhalation. The room she had been in had an open door and sustained severe damage. The room next to hers, however, had a closed door and nearly no damage. It was then that he decided that he needed to find a way to make this scenario a thing of the past.

LifeDoor is a seemingly simple device but provides huge value. This small box simply attaches to your door by replacing the top hinge pin. Once installed, you calibrate it by opening and closing the door just once. Once it knows what the door looks like closed, it is ready to go. It doesn’t need to connect to a network, or have you replace smoke detectors across your home. Instead, LifeDoor listens for the sound of an existing smoke detector and automatically closes the door, protecting the people in the room.

In addition to closing the door. LifeDoor also repeats the smoke alarm noise, helping the person or people in the room to know there is a danger. It also has a built-in light that illuminates the room to help you get out safely.

The LifeDoor will be available soon for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Pani helps homeowners track and manage their daily water usage

March 6th, 2019

Pani water meterWhen thinking of ways to help save money, most people think of reducing their power usage, but few people think about reducing their water consumption. However, with a few simple steps, reducing water usage can make a big difference. The problem is that tracking water usage can be a difficult task. Luckily, we’ve got Pani, a connected water meter for the appliances in your home.

For most households, around 75% of all water is used by the shower, toilets, and faucets. The Pani is designed to be attached in these locations to monitor exactly how you use water in your everyday life. Once your pattern is established, the Pani is able to start giving suggestions on how to reduce water usage, as well as incentivizing you to do so. The more water that you are able to eliminate from your daily usage, the more money is donated to charities that are dedicated to providing clean water to those who don’t have access.

The idea came about when founder Allen Tsai was in Nepal helping to build water wells. The experience really changed his view on how water is used, realizing that people in the US take the availability of water for granted. He wanted to help people realize just how scarce water can be in the world, as well as helping them to reduce their usage. He even reached back to his experience and chose Pani as the company name, which means water in Hindi.

In addition to the conservation features, Pani also provides some safety issues. If the device recognizes a leak on a device, it is able to send a notification to alert you of the problem. From there, you can act to turn off the water and get the leak fixed.

The Pani is coming soon, and you can join the mailing list to get notifications about availability.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Raven can help protect your vehicle and the people riding in it

March 6th, 2019

Raven Connected CarWhen you’re driving around, there are a host of reasons why you might want to have a recording of what is happening around you. Whether it be to document a car accident or just something interesting happening on the side of the road, being able to capture the moment could be handy. With the help of Raven, that desire becomes a reality. We had the opportunity to speak with Raven last year, but the device has gotten even better since then.

The product started as a great way to keep track of a car and make sure the occupants are safe. With the built-in GPS, data connection, and forward and rear-facing cameras, Raven makes it easy to follow a vehicle’s journey and check in if something seems off. The idea came about when the founder’s daughter was driving through a snowstorm, and he simply wanted the peace of mind that everything was okay. All of these features made doing just that a possibility.

Today, the Raven is much more than that. In fact, it is a complete connected car system. It connects through the car’s diagnostic port and is able to do all of the things that a consumer diagnostic computer can do, such as read trouble codes, manage fuel efficiency, monitor speed, and more. Using the data connection, this information can be watched remotely, so parents can keep a better eye on their kids.

More than just parents can find a lot of value in the Raven, though. In fact, the company has brought out a number of fleet management capabilities. When put into a corporate vehicle, the system can replace the features of a GPS tracker, a “tattler,” and more. The cameras can be used to make sure the right people are in the vehicle. The GPS can be used to ensure that routes are being followed, and if not, follow where the vehicle has gone. The diagnostics capabilities can help a fleet manager predict maintenance issues before they become a problem.

The Raven connected car is available now with a variety of options.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Pillo Health makes managing your medication regiment easier and safer

March 3rd, 2019

Pillo Health medication dispenserIf you are one of the millions of people who take multiple pills per day, you know how difficult it can be to maintain your regiment. Between mixing up which days you take which pills, and possibly forgetting entirely, there are a variety of problems that can happen. In fact, for the older population who are trying to age in place, or people with chronic illnesses, the most common result is hospitalization. That’s where Pillo Health comes in.

This happy looking device is a smart pillbox, which is designed to help those who have complicated pill schedules maintain their schedule and, therefore, their health. Using voice activation, the Pillo is able to dispense medications as needed, with reminders built-in to keep you on schedule. If there is more than one device in the house, the Pillo can be set to only respond to a single user, preventing two people from mixing up their medications.

But Pillo is more than just a medication dispenser. In addition to dispensing, it also maintains your compliance through a series of processes. If you are out of compliance with your plan, Pillo can notify your support system, which can include medical professionals, including doctors and in-home specialists, friends, and family. They can then intervene in the case of an emergency.

Outside of medication aspect of the hardware, Pillo is also able to help with other aspects of your daily health program. It can keep track of other medical appointments, with doctor appointment and therapy reminders. You can also use the voice interface or touchscreen to get information about your health and the health impacts of the things in your life. For example, you can get calorie information about your favorite snack. You can also get general information, including local weather.

The Pillo is available now for $499, with a $39 monthly subscription for the extended suite of functionality.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Heatworks is saving electricity by reinventing the way we heat water

March 3rd, 2019

Heatworks tankless water heaterYou may not know this, but the way we heat water has not changed in most of our lifetimes. The current process is not energy efficient, has little to no temperature control, and is truthfully a little gross. The coils that are used to heat the water get covered in a buildup and sit right in the water. Luckily, that is all about to change, thanks to Heatworks, which has reconsidered the concept from the basics.

The new technology uses graphite electrodes instead of coils. These electrodes push electricity across the water, using the minerals in the water. This process heats the water nearly instantly and can do it within a degree of a predetermined target. There are many benefits to this technology, not the least of which is no longer needed a hot water tank, where a heater constantly keeps a large supply of water hot. This change is a large portion of what saves electricity.

Another huge benefit is the ability to use hot water in more than one application at once, without the fear of running out of hot water. We’ve all had to make the tough decision as to whether to take a shower or run the washing machine, knowing that doing both will guarantee that the tank runs out of hot water.

While the company is working to license the technology to standard appliance manufacturers, they have produced some products themselves to go along with the standard in-home water heater replacement. The most impressive of which is a small, self-contained dishwasher called Tetra. The appliance is designed to be used on a countertop and requires no water hookup. Instead, you simply pour a gallon of water into a tray and, when the process is complete, empty the water from another tray.

In addition to Tetra is a water pitcher called Duo. This pitcher can pour hot water on-demand from one spout and can be set to a specific temperature while pouring cold water from the other spout. This is perfect for use with coffees and tea that have an ideal temperature for flavor, which most do.

The Heatworks Model 3 water heater is available now for $799, with a regular retail price of $899. The Tetra and Duo are both in final development, and you can get updates on the website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Jammy is a digital guitar that makes travel easier for players

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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