All posts by PLUGHITZ Live

Lighthouse Tech aims to improve safety for visually impaired @ CES 2023



Lighthouse Tech Visual Impaired Smart GlassesOver the past decade, it seems that everything has become smart. From lightbulbs to refrigerators, to even glasses, everything is getting smarter. In some cases, the benefits have been obvious, such as being able to control lightbulbs without having to go to a particular place in the room or having special wiring. However, some items being smart have mostly been gimmicky, like glasses. That is until now – as Lighthouse Tech has a new take on the tech, making it a truly useful addition for many users.

What is Lighthouse Tech?

Lighthouse Tech is a company making smart glasses for a new demographic – those with visual impairment. In general, smart glasses have included pretty pedestrian features, such as Bluetooth speakers or cameras. On the other hand, we’ve seen products like Google Glass, which were both ahead of their time and surprisingly useless.

Lighthouse Tech has thrown out all of those ideas and totally changed directions. These glasses are not intended to make you look techy. Instead, the glasses themselves look entirely like normal glasses. These glasses, however, are designed to help improve the safety of wearers with visual impairments by giving alerts and information about hazards that other safety measures generally miss.

In particular, the glasses are intended to find items outside of the range of a walking stick. This includes, but is not limited to, low hanging tree branches, street signs, store signs, and more. Specifically, the glasses look for things that are hanging or physically separated from the base to which they are attached.

How does it work?

The Lighthouse Tech glasses are designed to protect the safety of their wearer. This is done using front-facing sensors. These sensors are able to detect obstacles within the path of the wearer, as well as the distance between the glasses and the obstacle.

The glasses are able to provide feedback to the wearer through vibration. This is an important detail because, if the glasses are to be used on the sidewalk on a bust street, audible feedback, including beeps and speech, would be difficult to hear. In addition, audible feedback would make the glasses more obvious for their intention, possibly making the wearer more self-conscious about wearing them. The design of the glasses, which are traditional and low profile, are intended to go the other way. Thus, audible feedback would undermine the concept.

To improve feedback, the company also offers a small, connected bracelet. This allows the wearer to move the feedback from the temples to the wrist. For many, the wrist is a more sensitive area of the body and can help improve the awareness of the safety alerts.

Summary

The Lighthouse Tech glasses are currently in active development. The company is searching for beta testers to give the tech a try and give feedback. Once beta testing has completed, the company will finalize the device and bring it to market. To learn more about the company and the product, or to sign up to be a beta tester, head over to the company’s website.

Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.

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Withings plans to allow you to monitor urine tests at home @ CES 2023



Withings Home Urine AnalysisFor many people, there are medical conditions that require constant active monitoring. Others have needs that can progress in unexpected ways, and whose trajectory can be monitored easily. However, the technology to track these conditions has generally been limited to doctors’ offices or companies like Lab Corp. However, in the past few years, the ability to monitor and track a person’s health has been miniaturized to the point where we can now do it at home. One company that has been at the forefront of this medical democratization has been Withings.

Who are Withings?

Withings is a company that makes a variety of at-home health and medical tracking devices. The brand has been around for a number of years and produced devices ranging from connected scales to blood pressure monitors. Most of the company’s devices are fully connected and sync together into the Withings app on your mobile device.

This integration of devices can give you a better overall view of your health, from tracking weight loss progress to steps taken and even a regular log of blood pressure. The system can also be integrated with data from other providers, including Apple and Google. Together you can track your activity, weight, and more.

Withings urine analysis

This year at CES 2023, the company showed off an entirely new entry into the product lineup – urine analysis. The new product is called U-Scan and is intended to help you keep track of a variety of important body metrics at home without any need to go to a lab. In fact, the U-Scan is like a urine analysis lab in your bathroom.

Now, the initial question might be, “Why do you want urine analysis at home?” That is a perfectly reasonable response, as it is a fairly new idea. The reason is that there are a number of health metrics that can be determined and monitored using this analysis. Using the U-Scan, you can monitor these metrics at home without doing anything special or outside of your existing habits.

The U-Scan device makes its presence almost unseen while still providing its value. The device is only about 90mm in diameter and fits into the toilet. So long as it is in the right location, you literally need to change nothing about your bathroom time in order to gain the benefits.

Benefits of U-Scan

The device is able to test for and monitor a variety of biomarkers. The cartridges that are inserted into the device contain a dozen different test pods, which is where the tests are carried out. Once the tests are completed, the device syncs the data to your Withings app to be compared against previous results as well as other Withings data.

If something is out of sync, the app is able to alert you to changes in your body’s state. For example, the U-Scan is capable of tracking nutrition and hydration. If you work out, which can be logged into the app, and then your electrolytes or water level are low, the app is able to let you know that your post-workout behaviors might need a change.

Summary

The Withings U-Scan is in active development and will be made available to the public in the near future. To learn more about Withings, U-Scan, or to sign up for launch alerts, you can go to the company’s website.

Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.

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Chipolo helps you track personal items that might get lost @ CES 2023



Chipolo Simple Device TrackingHave you ever lost your keys or wallet? Of course you have! And it always happens at just the wrong time. You’re running late and headed out the door and your keys are nowhere to be found. Now you’ve got to spend time that you don’t have looking for your keys, making you even later for wherever you’re headed. Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve this problem thanks to the team at Chipolo.

What is Chipolo?

Chipolo is a company that produces a line of products to help you find what might get lost. The product works by attaching a small Bluetooth LE tracker to the item that you want to track. When you need to locate the item, simply open the corresponding app and, if you are within range, press a button to cause the tracker to make noise.

If you are outside of the transceiver’s range, you still have the ability to track it. By default, the app will show you the last place that it was encountered. If you are in a remote place, or in a private location, you will see a map showing where your device last encountered it. If the device is in a more public place, it can be tracked live through interactions with other phones and tablets within range.

Why Chipolo?

The line is similar to some of the other brands you may have heard of, but with a variety of benefits that are lacking with others. Firstly, the most obvious difference is that Chipolo makes products that work with both Apple’s and Google’s ecosystems. So, no matter what type of phone you own, you still have the ability to use a Chipolo tracker.

Another benefit is that the trackers come in a variety of colors and styles. For example, if you are looking to put one in your wallet, the company offers a slim tracker that looks like a credit card called the CARD. For keys, backpacks, and other uses, there is a small round tracker with a mounting hole in it, called the ONE. Offering multiple styles with different purposes makes the product more versatile. Having one product that tries to do everything means that it doesn’t do anything great.

In addition, the ability to purchase in different colors allows you to really personalize your experience. You can also easily differentiate between two similar items because of the color of the Chipolo tag attached. For example, our team has several of the same camera bag, but we can differentiate between the team bags because of the color of the tracker.

Which Chipolo to choose

If you are securely in the Apple product family, the line you want to look at is the Spot. This family works with Apple’s Find My ecosystem, allowing all iPhones and iPads to help locate it. If you are in the Android camp, or you have a mixed collection, then the original family is for you.

Either way, both product families are available for purchase today. To learn more or to buy some for yourself, head over to the company’s website, or find the products on Amazon or Best Buy.

Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.

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Familink makes a truly connected photo frame for families @ CES 2023



Familink Connected Photo FrameDigital picture frames are not a new product category. In fact, they’ve existed nearly as long as LCD screens have been affordable. However, as time has gone on, new features have been added to these products in order to make them easier to use for those to whom we really want to give them. The biggest issue has been giving a photo frame to an older member of the family and never being able to change the photos. The team at Familink looks to fix that with a truly connected device.

What is Familink?

Familink is a company that specializes in creating products that allow families to share photos. In particular, the company focuses on allowing family members to share photo experiences with their older loved ones. There are currently 2 product offerings for the company: The Magazine and The 4G Photo Frame. The Photo Frame is the product that was shown off at the show this year. It is a traditional digital picture frame, but with a few added features.

Familink’s 4G Photo Frame is a great way for families to make sure that their elderly loved ones are able to enjoy photos even when they don’t have access to the latest technology. With its simple setup and easy use, it’s an ideal choice for those who may not be tech-savvy. As a bonus, it’s also a great way for families to stay connected even when miles apart.

Why choose Familink?

Firstly, the frame works without Wi-Fi, making it perfect for elderly individuals who may not have access to such technology. However, if the family member does have Wi-Fi at home, then the frame can be connected to that network instead of relying on cellular connectivity.

Secondly, it is made ready to use right out of the box and requires minimal setup. This is ideal for a family member who is technically challenged. If everything is ready to go right out of the box, it means that there is no need for a phone call or a trip to visit just to help setup the frame.

Thirdly, it has an automatic switch off at night so that you don’t have to worry about it running all night long. This is a feature we have begun to see in smart screens, allowing the screen to reduce power consumption as well as ambient light created within the house.

Fourthly, the photos are displayed instantly and can be changed from any smartphone or tablet via the Familink app. This allows family members from around the world to send new photos to the screen to update your family on their lives. The updates can also be done without installing an app, by either sending photos to a special email address or even through Messenger.

Summary

The Familink team looks forward to continuing to bring innovative solutions to families everywhere and connecting families together in ways that have never been done before. In today’s world of technology, it’s nice to have a product that allows us to keep the important people in our lives close even when they are far away. To learn more about the company or to purchase the frame for $149, you can go to the company website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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TWT Audio makes durable headphones for music and gaming @ CES 2023



TWT Audio Durable HeadphonesWhen you work with audio hardware, you know that it can be fragile. This is especially the case when you take something like headphones and put them into a public space, like a school, library, or gaming center. When people don’t have to pay for something, they don’t have a lot of respect for it. This is known as the tragedy of the commons. However, sometimes a company comes along to tackle these common issues, like TWT Audio.

Who is TWT Audio?

TWT Audio is a brand that designs and produces headphones. The brand started out in the educational space producing headphones for schools. The top challenge that they experienced in schools was the durability of the headphones. Kids didn’t have any interest in maintaining headphones that weren’t theirs, especially in an environment they might not want to be in. So, the company took on this challenge to help reduce costs for schools.

Today, the company has taken what it learned in the educational sphere and has applied it to the consumer market. By bringing the concept of durability to consumer headphones, they have entered into an interesting space that has been sorely lacking for years. In addition, the company also focuses on keeping the cost of the products down while also making them visually unique.

TWT Audio’s focus on design

The initial products from the product line are focused on standard headphone use – music and speech. These headphones are comfortable and durable, while also sounding great. But the company has another differentiator – modular design. Many of the products have the ability to replace the pieces that take the most damage through usual use. For example, if your ear cups wear out or start to shred, which they will, you can unclip them and replace them.

Another aspect of modular design is in the cabling. The cable itself can be removed, allowing you to replace it in the event the cable wears out. We know that these cables, no matter what you do to prepare, are going to wear out, so this is a nice option. However, it also gives the ability to change the type of cable. Want to hook up to a headphone jack? No problem. Connecting to a computer? That’s an option. Looking to connect to a Hi-Fi system? That cable exists, too. So, one headset to rule them all.

In addition to the standard audio headphones, the company is also releasing their Victory series – a line of gaming focused headphones. They feature the same focus on quality and durability, but with different tuning. Rather than tuning the headphones for speech and music, the Victory series is tuned for foley. Foley is an term for the physical sound effects in media, such as snapping celery to create the sound of a punch.

In this case, the tuning allows a gamer to hear things like gunfire and footsteps in more detail than other sounds. With that focus, a player can get a better feel for where another player is in relationship to themselves.

Summary

TWT Audio products are available for purchase now. Headphones range in price from around $20 to $180. To learn more about the company, you can go to its website. To purchase one for yourself, you can find them on Amazon.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The future for BenjiLock is secure and brighter than ever @ CES 2023



BenjiLock Biometric SecuritySince we first encountered BenjiLock in Eureka Park in 2017, the company has changed a lot. Those early days were at a tiny booth with a non-functioning prototype. Before we got to see them again, the company had been on Shark Tank and partnered with Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary. O’Leary put together a partnership to help Founder Robbie Cabral bring the product to market with manufacturing, sales, and more. Today, the company is looking at its next phase in life, including helping to support other startups at CES.

What is BenjiLock?

BenjiLock is the world’s first biometric padlock with a traditional key. The importance of having a biometric padlock allows you to go to the gym without having to carry anything with you. We’ve all had a phone fall out of our pocket or had to go look for our keys later on. With the BenjiLock, you can safely leave your items in a locker without having to carry a key.

The importance of having a physical key allows for a backup. Batteries die – and always at inopportune times. With other smart padlocks, if the battery dies, you’re possibly out of luck. You’ll have to cut the expensive lock off and throw it away. However, with the physical key, you’ve got a way to open the lock in that situation.

BenjiLock also now offers a wider range of products. The line now includes a biometric deadbolt and biometric bike lock, offering the convenience of unlocking your door or bike without keys. BenjiLock hopes to revolutionize home security, bike safety, and more with its innovative technology. By expanding the ecosystem, more people in more situations can go about their days without the need to carry as many keys.

BenjiLock at CES 2023

This year, the company took a different approach to CES. Rather than having its large blue booth on the show floor, Robbie spent his time helping to bring awareness to other startups exhibiting at the show in Eureka Park. BenjiLock sponsored the startup pitch event on the CTA Stage with Canon, allowing BenjiLock to help new startups get their start by giving them a platform at CES. BenjiLock was able to use its resources and experience from standing out in Eureka Park just six years ago to give back and help other startups get their big break.

This event was in partnership with the CTA Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Consumer Technology Association, the organization that oversees CES. The event was intended to showcase the best startups and entrepreneurs in technology, giving BenjiLock a chance to help out where they originally got started. Their support of the CTA Foundation really shows how far they’ve come since their first appearance at CES in 2017.

BenjiLock has gone from a small startup with big dreams to an established company ready to give back. The company is continuing to innovate, bringing biometric technology to the masses in a way we’ve never seen before. Robbie Cabral looks forward to what the future holds as the brand continues to grow and expand their product line. BenjiLock has come a long way since 2017, and with its support of other startups through initiatives like this partnership with the CTA Foundation, the company is setting itself up for even more success in the years to come.

Summary

The entirety of the BenjiLock product line is available now through the company’s website, as well as Amazon, Ace Hardware, and more.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Whispp is bringing language back to those with disabilities @ CES 2023



Whispp Voice Enhancement TechnologyFor many people, natural speech can be a challenge. Whether it be because of a stutter or throat cancer, speaking becomes an uncomfortable thing to do. But, through modern technology, there are solutions to help people overcome their speech limitations. Whispp has brought out a technology to help bring natural and normal volume speech capabilities to millions of users.

What is Whispp?

Whispp is a speech recognition technology that can convert whispered or vocal cord impaired speech into natural, normal volume speech. This technology works in real-time to provide users with an audible and comfortable speaking experience that they can be proud of. With its incredible accuracy, the system is making it easier for people with speech disabilities to express themselves freely and confidently.

At Whispp, the company is dedicated to providing our users with the best speech technology available. They strive to empower people with speech disabilities and help them speak freely, audibly, and confidently. With the technology, millions of users can now express themselves without fear or limitation.

How Does Whispp Work?

Whispp works by using an algorithm that takes in whispered or vocal cord impaired speech and converts it into natural, normal volume sound. This technology also allows users to customize the output of their voices so that they can have control over how they are heard. In addition, the system supports both natural speech and whispered input.

When out and about, the system uses a microphone plugged into a smartphone to gather audio from the user. For one on one conversations, the listener would likely wear an earbud. But, in a group, you can also use the speaker on the phone as an output. For making calls, users simply use the Whispp app to initiate the call and the technology continues to work.

The software is also available for the desktop, bringing the natural processing to other platforms. Once installed, Whispp can enhance audio on systems like Teams and Slack, or even Skype and Discord.

What Are the Benefits of Whispp?

Using Whispp can bring many benefits to people with a voice disorder or stutter. When using this particular technology, users are able to express themselves clearly and confidently without worrying about being misunderstood or misheard. In addition, Whispp can help reduce the social stigma associated with voice disorders or stutters as it allows people to feel more comfortable speaking without fear of embarrassment. Finally, it also offers increased privacy and noise reduction features so that users don’t have to worry about disturbing others while they are speaking.

Everyone should have access to an accessible and comfortable speaking experience. That is why the company strives to provide users with the best technology available – one that can make a real difference in their lives. With Whispp, no one should ever feel limited when it comes to expressing themselves and communicating with others.

Summary

Whispp’s technology is available on the market today for both mobile and desktop platforms. To learn more about the technology or to try it out for yourself, you can go to the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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ALIA brings comfort to the world of high fashion shoes @ CES 2023



ALIA Custom Fit ShoesIf there is one truth in the fashion world, it is that there are two types of shows: comfortable and fashionable. It seems that no one has been able to combine the two categories into one. Either a woman wears sneakers or heels – and never the two shall cross. However, ALIA (Active Lift in Alignment), has a system that allows them to take incredibly accurate measurements and produce a shoe that is both fashionable and comfortable.

What is ALIA?

Dr. Taryn Rose, co-founder and CEO of ALIA, sums up the mission of the company in a straightforward way, saying, “Why can we get a man on the moon, but we can’t get a woman down the street comfortably?” It’s a solid question, as shoes are far from a new product category. With all of the time spent designing shoes, why does it seem that none of that work has ever produced a comfortable high heel?

Sure, the concept of the high heel is not necessarily one focused on comfort. In fact, it is all about accentuating certain parts of the body. But, Dr. Rose believed that there must be a way to do both at once. She decided to include technology in the process in order to produce comfortable and sexy heels for women, as well as comfortable dress shoes for men.

How does it work?

ALIA has includes various materials that are traditionally not found in shoes. For example, the surface area of the shoe that comes into contact with your feet is made out of carbon fiber. This produces a strong outer body that is able to hold the foot in place better and is more stable than just a fabric, while also being incredibly light weight.

In addition to the unconventional materials, ALIA also uses technology in an interesting way. There is an accompanying app that allows you to essentially take a 3D scan of your feet. This gives the company an incredibly accurate measurement of your feet. Using the scan, the company is able to view your foot in various modes.

With the measurements, ALIA is able to recommend or produce a perfectly fitted shoe just for you. Looming at the scan, they can recommend the right shoe for your foot, but also shows where the might be issues with the fit without alteration. For example, a pink highlight on the scan indicates that the area of the show should be enlarged in order to get a perfect fit. Implementing technology into the process allows the company to produce bespoke, made-to-measure shoes at scale, making them available for more people.

Summary

ALIA’s shoes, which sell under the brand name Enrico Cuini, are available to order today. The shoes are not inexpensive, but do fit comfortably into the designer shoe category. The shoes range from around $800 to $2000 for a pair. To learn more about the company, its products, or to order a pair for yourself, you can head over to the company’s brand website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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ATBHASH is using blockchain to provide safety and security @ CES 2023



Over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of companies implement platforms based on blockchain technology. However, these platforms are often not enhanced by the permanent and unalterable nature of the technology. But, there are a lot of places where blockchain technology can be of use, and Parisian company ATBHASH is implementing them for safety and security purposes.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is a revolutionary form of distributed ledger technology that enables secure and efficient transactions without the need for an intermediary. It is a decentralized system that keeps track of data across a network of computers, using cryptography to ensure the integrity and security of all transactions.

Put simply, blockchain is a digital ledger system where records or blocks are secured by cryptography and can be shared across a vast network of computers. Each block contains a timestamp, transaction data, and the digital signature of the previous block – creating an unchangeable chain. This makes it virtually impossible to modify or delete any data stored on the blockchain without having access to every node in the network.

The immutability of records stored on the blockchain provides a robust platform to store data securely and transparently. It is widely considered to be the most secure form of ledger technology, with potential applications in a vast range of industries from shipping and logistics to finance and healthcare. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize how we do business by eliminating intermediaries, reducing transaction costs, increasing trust between parties, and streamlining the process of transferring assets.

ATBHASH for construction

The company began its blockchain journey in the construction space. By using blockchain technology, the company was able to produce a platform that creates a way to track a building project without the risks inherent in digital data. The platform is called CEERTIF. As the project proceeds, all steps are logged into the system. This gives auditors and inspectors a detailed and step-by-step insight into the building project.

Because of the blockchain backend, everyone involved can be assured that the data has not been changed within the CEERTIF platform. However, if it has been changed, then an audit log is available to show every change and when it happened. This way there are no questions about the integrity of the data being presented – a problem that happens normally in construction.

ATBHASH for domestic violence victims

Using the same core technology that made CEERTIF possible, ATBHASH has launched another blockchain product called NANSHE. This product focuses on the victims of domestic abuse rather than the construction industry. Using NANSHE, victims can safely and securely present evidence of domestic abuse.

The safety and security of the platform is the most important part in this case, as victims are often scared to come forward because of the potential backlash from reporting the crime. The platform, however, allows them to do so in a way that the abuser cannot find out about, and therefore cannot respond to.

In addition, because of the blockchain technology, there is no way for someone to hack in and change the data or delete it entirely. This is because blockchain data is immutable. This protects the victim’s safety and ensures the authorities can pursue the case without fear of loss.

Summary

Both platforms – CEERTIF and NANSHE – are available t use now. To learn more about the company and its products, head over to their website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Skyted is a noise isolation mask for calls and streaming @ CES 2023



Skyted Noise Isolation MaskToo often these days, we are forced into places that are not conducive to conversation. This is exacerbated when you’re on the phone or computer. This happens because microphones, in general, do not discriminate between sounds. These microphones pick up whatever sound they hear and push it to the other side of the call. In a loud area, this means it’s nearly impossible for the person on the other side of the call to hear anything you say. This is the problem that Skyted is hoping to solve.

What is Skyted?

Skyted is a headset, of sorts, intended to improve sound quality while in a loud environment. At first sight, it might appear to be a little odd. However, the design is well-tested for years. That’s because the device is modeled after the systems used on fighter jets. The device fits over the mouth as a full mask, allowing for sound to be isolated and directed toward the microphone.

Skyted is different than other headsets because it is designed to block out background noise. This means that when you are in a loud environment, such as a game center, or simply talking on the phone in public, your sound will be isolated and clear for the people you’re speaking with.

Other headsets may attempt to filter out environmental sounds, but they are limited in what they can do. With the Skyted headset, you can be sure that your sound is clear and crisp even in a loud environment.

Who is Skyted for?

One of the great strengths of Skyted is its versatility. Because the mask microphone is designed to work with Bluetooth, it can be used for a variety of purposes. The original purpose is to allow for public phone calls – limiting the background noise, but also preventing people around you from having to listen.

In the past few years, however, other types of public calls have become commonplace. in particular, Teams and Zoom calls have become a regular part of doing business, especially while traveling. But, working in public has become a normal situation, even for those not traveling.

In addition, gaming in public has become more common. Gaming centers, like our friends at STRYKE eSports in Tampa, are popping up in more places. Online gaming is enhanced by live chat, which is equally difficult in public. But, with the Skyted system, you can chat with other players without having to hide in a pod and without disrupting the gamers around you.

Another aspect of public speech where the Skyted can really be a benefit is streaming. Obviously, if you’re streaming a game in a game center, the benefits are clear. However, there’s a lot of In Real Life (IRL) streaming, where people stream their experiences with games outside of a studio. This applies to games like Pokémon GO, where you have to be in the wild to play. Once again, this device will help you isolate yourself from the people around you while streaming.

Summary

Skyted is planning to be made available through pre-orders starting in March 2023. To learn more about Skyted or to pre-order one for yourself, you can go to the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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