Category Archives: Gadgets

iStaging is bringing the conference feel into the virtual @ CES 2021



iStaging virtual conference platformVirtual reality, and its flat-screen equivalent, have seen an increase in popularity in recent years. One of the places that we have seen this technology take a strong position has been in real estate. The ability to virtually explore a new house, apartment, or condo ahead of a visit can help prevent spending time seeing a place that doesn’t fit your needs. iStaging started in that space, but has recognized a new need and is applying its technology to this new market.

The new market in need of virtual space technology is trade shows, like CES itself. Some shows have taken a simplistic approach, where it’s more like browsing a standard website. Some shows, though, have looked to keep the feeling of an in-person event while still being virtual. That is where iStaging’s new offering is really standing out. The app creates virtual meeting venues and experiences by putting control in the hands of the owner.

The system is designed to give full control to the conference owners. There are no hard and fast pre-existing layouts that you are forced to conform to, making it different from in-person events. You can create DaVinci-era open-air amphitheaters for presentations. You can create custom presentation spaces for each exhibitor. You can even create a virtual meet-and-greet area, where people can walk around and meet other attendees. In fact, you could even create a “chill zone” featuring music, artwork, and more.

Obviously, nothing is going to replicate the feeling and energy of a traditional conference in every way. However, with technology like iStaging’s virtual expo venues, we can get as close as possible. If you are planning a virtual event and are looking for a VR-style experience, you can learn more about features, processes, and pricing by heading to the iStaging website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Quantum Operation is removing needles from blood glucose @ CES 2021



Quantum Operation blood glucose monitorFor those living with diabetes, one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining your health is the constant use of needles. There are needles for insulin injection and needles for blood glucose level readings. Many people have a problem with the idea of needles, with a strong concentration in children. But, with diabetes, there is no way around it – they are a part of your daily life. But, a new wearable device from Quantum Operation Inc. is looking to ease that stress, especially for children.

Wearable technology has become a normal part of our lives, and many have a strong focus on health and wellness. However, this new wearable device adds to those features by being able to calculate your blood glucose level without the requirement of a needle or actual blood. This is a literal game-changer for those with diabetes. No longer do you need to stick your finger several times per day in order to get your level.

But, it is important to note that this is not a single-minded product. It is, in fact, a full fitness tracker. It offers temperature, step counting, heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry. Several of these are features available on many mainstream devices, while others are highly unusual. The idea that a watch can regularly track your blood oxygen levels is fantastic. This is a metric that is important in the COVID-19 era, and usually requires a special device that you stick your finger in. Being able to track it more regularly could mean you can spot a problem earlier.

The product is currently in a prototype phase with very positive results in early tests. The system still requires clinical trials in multiple countries, including the company’s home country of Japan, before it could be made publicly available. However, you can still get more information and follow the device’s development process by heading to the Quantum Operation Inc. website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Albi Home M makes the perfect wine pour every time @ CES 2021



Albi Home M wine systemThe popularity of wine has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. A recent survey showed that wine is preferred to beer for Millenials in everyday situations. With popularity comes a renewed focus on innovation in the space. One of the most interesting changes coming to the wine market is from Albicchiere – Albi Home M.

Albi Home M is designed to be the perfect wine companion. Depending on who you ask, the lifespan of wine, once opened, varies, but is usually very short. In Italy, they’ll tell you that it’s vinegar within 24 hours. General wisdom suggests that it should be used within a few days. With the Albi Home M, you can keep wine good for up to 6 months.

The extended life is accomplished through the combination of a couple of advancements. The most important is the transition of wine from a glass bottle to a bag. The company is working with brands to offer their wines in these bags, but you can also transfer your own wine into a bag at home. You then put the bag into the machine, which sits on your counter. The machine itself is then able to take all of the excess oxygen out, helping to preserve the wine.

From there, the machine takes over all of your needs. It keeps the wine chilled, with three cooling modes – allowing you to keep it quiet, keep it drink-ready, or optimize power consumption using an AI-powered energy saver. When you’re ready for a drink, the Albi Home M pours for you, resealing the bag and removing oxygen again. And, best of all, it’s always the perfect temperature.

The Albi Home M will be available starting at $349. To learn more about the product or to sign up to learn when the product becomes available, head over to the Albicchiere website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The applications of Chirp Microsystems’ ultrasonic range finder @ CES 2021



Chirp Microsystems ultrasonic range finderIf you are in the hardware design, robotics, automation, or home security industry, you are probably familiar with ultrasonic range finders. These are sensors that can offer a lot to a user. The best part is that many industries can make use of this technology.

Chirp Microsystems is right now the only manufacturer of ultrasonic range finders with MEMS technology. Here is everything you need to know about it.

The Uses Of A MEMS Ultrasonic Range Finder

Here is everything such a range finder can do:

  • Presence sensing
  • Position tracking
  • Range finding
  • Object detection
  • Object avoidance
  • Narrow and wide-field detection
  • And much more

However, the problem with these range finders has been that they are bulky. Chirp Microsystems has changed the game by introducing MEMS technology so that these range finders can become more compact and portable.

What Makes The MEMS Ultrasonic Range Finder By Chirp Microsystems Unique

Chirp Microsystems has introduced ultrasonic range finders within a compact package of 3.5 millimeters. Of course, this is not all. It also provides accurate range measurements regardless of the objects, colors, and sizes than previous technology did not detect.

Besides that, the range finder can work in all types of lighting conditions, heating conditions, and noise conditions. It also consumes incredibly low power because the technology is based around a silicon package. So, this ultrasonic range finder is set to change the game for many industries soon.

Final Words

If you are in automation, robotics, or any industry that requires a range finder, Chirp Microsystems should be your top choice. Their technology is one of the top ones out there that will provide you with much more flexibility. It is primarily a game-changer for all the hardware designers out there looking for more functionality and flexibility.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Energizer Connect is a perfect solution for your smarthome @ CES 2021



Energizer Connect affordable IoTSmart home devices are becoming nearly ubiquitous, but there can often be huge costs involved. The products themselves can be expensive, they can require additional devices, like hubs, or even subscription services. But, one brand that has been ubiquitous for decades itself has taken on the challenge of making connected devices that avoid all of these financial issues: Energizer Connect.

Energizer Connect has a wide variety of connected devices, ranging from indoor lightbulbs, outdoor light fixtures, switchable outlets, and security cameras. In addition, all of the devices are controllable through a single Energizer Connect app. You can set up schedules and smart scenes, make devices respond to one another, and more. This year, the company is expanding its line with some new products in its lineup, particularly in outdoor security.

First up is a smart 1080p HD indoor/outdoor battery camera. This camera features full HD video and is battery-powered, meaning you can install it in places where you might not be able to run a power cable. However, if you are able to power it, you can do that, as well, using the included weatherproof power cable. Inside is a long-lasting battery (this is Energizer after all), which is made to run longer because the camera is able to go into a low power mode when not being fully used. The camera attaches to the base using a strong magnet, so pulling it down to charge is easy.

Next up are the spotlight and dual floodlight offerings. These lights can be used for both home security and general daily usage and entertaining. The floodlight offers an integrated security camera with motion and people detection, as well as activity zones. It also features night vision for general night usage. It also has 2000 lumens of multi-white light available for all uses. There is also a smaller spotlight version, which offers 1000 lumens.

Some of the products are available now, while others are coming soon. To learn more about the product offerings or to make a purchase, head over to the Energizer Connect website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Kawantech is moving smart technology to the streets @ CES 2021



Kawantech smart public lightingWe live in a world of “Smart” everything. Smartphones put the world in our hands. Smartwatches put an entire computer on our wrists. Smart cars can direct, park and even drive us. We have even done interviews for companies that have come up with smart clothing. And although we here at PLUGHITZ love it all (ok, most of it), it’s getting to the point where new ideas for smart technology are beginning to get mocked and seen as a bit of an overreach by some. So, we have probably hit that point where there’s really nothing else to smarten up, right? Well… No. Some engineers are actually so insightful that they are able to see amazing potential in even the most common items. And Kawantech is one of the companies that share in this ingenuity.

In fact, they are a company that has been created by skilled entrepreneurs that have experience in connected vehicles and infrastructure. And while we are all aware of the strides that have been made in automobile electronics and technology, most people don’t even think about making the actual infrastructure smart. But Kawantech believes that cities actually need digital infrastructure, as well. This will help to get a whole new generation of public services that are based around mobility. A modern city with new technologies can bring added safety and also improve daily life. But creating all new components to add to the current infrastructure would be cumbersome, costly, and possibly bad for the environment. But what they have created is actually a great idea that, in concept, will save money, resources, and even lives.

Their concept is smart public lighting, specifically streetlights. By adding a brain (KARA) inside of streetlights, cities will have the ability to regulate energy, keep the streets safer and even help to alleviate traffic jams. What a great idea! Taking an existing, and useful, object and modifying it to be even more useful. Their concept adds sensors that can be enabled to do things like monitor and report traffic conditions to existing map apps that will add another layer to help commuters better navigate their routes. And uses/features can continue to be upgraded as time goes on and be better adapted to the needs of the users. As for the light itself, it is engineered to be extremely energy efficient. For starters, they will only light up when needed. They will also have the ability to be brighter on the sidewalks and crosswalks than in the streets, to make sure that pedestrians are always well lit and can easily be seen by drivers. Overall, this will allow for energy savings of up to 70% for the cities while keeping the citizens safer and happier.

To find out more, make sure to watch the full interview and visit the Kawantech website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Karamba Security is preventing hacking into the IoT @ CES 2021



Karamba Security IoT protectionSecuring the Internet of Things is a complicated task. We’ve seen small and large companies, as well as small and large devices, get hacked. Sometimes the hacks happen on the cloud side, but too often they come from the device side. Not too long ago we covered a scenario where DVRs, cameras, and more, were all being used as part of a botnet to create attacks against other networks. Karamba Security focuses on protecting those devices.

The hacker’s main objective is to gain control over the device. Once compromised, the intention of the device can be changed. The new intention could be as part of a botnet, like mentioned above, or even more sinister. Take, for example, a connected camera. The intended usage is for the camera to stream video directly to a cloud server, where you can then login and view the video. But, a hacker might have the intention of seeing your camera, either for anti-security or anti-privacy purposes. Being able to get in the middle and prevent that attack in the first place is where Karamba Security fits in.

Too many companies don’t think about security as an important aspect of the product design lifecycle. Either there are no experts within the company or no time resources dedicated to the project. That’s where security controls and systems from experts fit in. In the engineering world, we tend to want to let experts on a particular topic handle those complicated topics. Security is, by far, the most important and the most useful to let security experts handle.

Currently, Karamba Security is working with a number of clients to integrate their technology into over 12 million connected devices. To learn more about their technology, or to engage the company about integrating it into your own project, head over to the Karamba Security website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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FINDY helps you find your glasses when you lose them @ CES 2021



FINDY eyeglass finderIf you wear glasses, one thing you are familiar with is the panic when you cannot find them. At some point, everyone puts their glasses down and has no idea where they are. Many people spend way too much time searching for those misplaced glasses. But, if you have FINDY by Foxsmart, your phone can do the hard work for you.

FINDY is a very small Bluetooth LE device that attaches to your glasses. The device pairs with your phone, giving you a location service for your lost glasses. In our conversation, you get to see the surprise reveal of the FINDY being worn from the first moment, showing just how small this gadget really is. If it is going to be worn on your face, small is going to be important. Because of the design of the device, you can use it for more than just your glasses. Slip the tracker into a sleeve and connect it to your keys.

The device works similarly to a Tile, in that it uses Bluetooth to log your device’s current location when the two devices connect. When they disconnect, the last location is reported to the cloud service. This gives you the ability to see where you were. Once you are close to it, and you still can’t find the glasses, you can use a signal strength meter to get closer. Hold your phone to your body to block the signal and determine the quadrant it is in. Once you have a direction to face, you can get a hot/cold meter to get even closer.

The FINDY is available for sale now, with a regular price of $49.95 (but a sale price right now of $34.95). To learn more about the product or to purchase one for yourself, head over to the Foxsmart website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Direct Smarter All-in-Sensor protects your connected home @ CES 2021



Direct Smarter All-in-SensorIf you have followed our CES 2021 coverage, one of the major trends you have likely noticed is the growth of the connected home and smart home. With lighting, cameras, temperature sensors, and more, our homes are getting more and more connected. But, there is a problem inherent in those connections – privacy. The Direct Smarter All-in-Sensor is a new solution to maintain your privacy while getting the benefits of a connected home.

Over the past few years, we’ve discussed a number of scenarios where a connected home has been invaded or various levels. Ring doorbells can be accessed by law enforcement without a warrant in communities across the country. In some cases, indoor cameras and even baby monitors have been accessed by the outside world. In some cases, hackers have actually spoken to children through these breaches. While testing a new product in our office, we accidentally got paired with a local camera in someone’s home.

The Direct Smarter All-in-Sensor is a device looking to prevent just that scenario. The general problem with a connected home is that it relies on a connection to the internet for each device. That connection pushes all data to a cloud server somewhere, where hackers have a single point of entry to access hundreds, thousands, or millions of devices. This device allows you to keep all of your individual sensors behind your firewall, and connect directly to this instead of the cloud.

The device itself has a collection of sensors built-in, but it can be expanded using additional tabs. This can include alarm capabilities, smoke detection, and more. You can also add external modules, such as smart power, and more.

The Direct Smarter All-in-Sensor can be pre-ordered now for $198. To learn more about the product or to purchase one, head over to the Direct Smarter website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Soul Blade earbuds want to help improve how you run @ CES 2021



Soul Blade runner earbudsMany of us always take our music with us. Whether we have over-ear or on-ear headphones, or in-ear earbuds, a lot of people carry some sort of personal audio product with them all the time. However, one group often struggles to find earbuds that work for them – runners. The new Soul Blade true wireless earbuds helps to address the concerns of runners, while adding capability for others.

The standard consumer earbuds tend to not be designed to stay in during intense motion, such as running. Specific devices tend to treat a symptom, like running a strap behind the head to keep from losing it. The Soul Blade earbuds address this problem the way older sport buds once did – with little blades inside the ear to hold them in place.

But, this isn’t where the Soul Blades really set themselves apart. The truly engaging feature of these earbuds is the health features. Built-in to the earbuds is a collection of health monitoring sensors, which can be used to track running form and vital stats. The system is even able to provide warning before injuries.

When there is an area of your form that requires improvement, a voice will chime in through the earbuds and let you know. Some of the capabilities aimed at running form include head angle, body tilt, and stride distance. At the end of the run, the connected SOULFIT app can give you detailed information about your form and any mistakes you may have made. You can also see visual representations of potential injury. You also get more traditional information, such as time, speed, calories burned, as well as a map of your run.

The Soul Blade true wireless earbuds will be available around the start of Q2 2021, and will retail for $199. To learn more about the company and its full product line, you can head to the Soul website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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