Category Archives: Gadgets

Absolar finds the best locations for solar installation @ CES 2021



Absolar solar logisticsFor those of us in places like Florida, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, or Hawaii (where most of our CES team members have property), the idea of solar power is ubiquitous. You don’t really have to consider whether or not installing panels on your home or business will be productive or if the investment will ever be able to pay for itself. However, for those in other parts of the world, that is a real consideration. In order to help determine where solar will be a success, Absolar was created.

The company has created a fascinating system that combines two standard CES technologies, LiDAR and artificial intelligence, in a service that is not an autonomous vehicle or robot. Instead, they use massive yet detailed LiDAR scans of an entire city to map out the physical structure of an entire city. From that scan, they apply a machine learning algorithm in order to determine the surfaces on which solar panels will be the most productive and which will pay for themselves.

The technology was developed in conjunction with local governments in England in an attempt to reduce carbon output and non-renewable energy dependency. The LiDAR scans were made available by the government, and the data models were generated by Absolar. Together, they were able to map out a large number of buildings that could benefit from the installation of solar technology.

Even more interesting is that the technology is not limited to solar technology. With the scans and a new data model, they could identify other benefits, including green roofs, which is a trend that is starting to gain steam in the West. By training a new AI, new benefits can be achieved.

To learn more about Absolar or to find out how they can help your green initiatives, check out their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Ariel is a solar-powered robot for easy pool cleaning @ CES 2021



Ariel by Pivot Solar BreezeThere are so many pool owners these days and as everyone knows, there is a lot of upkeep to make sure it stays clean. Who wants to jump in to cool off if there is a layer of leaves and debris floating on top? Even worse, once you’re done cleaning, you are too tired to enjoy the pool. Paul Sim from Pivot Solar Breeze introduced us to a contemporary new robotic cleaning system for your pool. It’s called Ariel and it literally runs itself because it is solar-powered.

Most people clean their pool in what Paul says is an upside-down method. That is, cleaning with the device that resembles a stingray, which snakes along the bottom of the pool. By the time the debris is on the floor of the pool, it has decayed and created bacteria. It then requires more chemicals to bring the pH to a safe level, also forcing the filtration system to work harder than it has to.

Ariel floats along the top and literally scoops the debris and bugs before they decay and sink to the bottom, making the cleaning process easier. The robot has a paddle wheel that powers the movement to pick up the leaves, bugs, and debris into a mesh screen. There is a window to see how much has been collected so that it can be easily emptied. Being solar, Ariel only runs while the sun is out, making it self-powered. There is a 12W solar panel that also keeps the lithium metal battery charged.

It weighs a little less than about ten pounds. Even when the debris is collected, it shouldn’t be much more. That makes it light-weight to lift out and empty. It will be available in the second quarter, just in time for pool season. Your pool will always be “party-ready!” It retails for $528 but there is a CES special for $468. For more info go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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TROVA has it locked up tight, for hiding things in plain sight @ CES 2021



TROVA privacy boxesPrivacy for certain things is important these days. Who wants to have a secure place to store things that screams out that there is something of value inside it? Scott from TROVA has brought a sleek secure storage box that is cleverly designed as a decorative accent piece for your home.

TROVA is a personal biometric safe used for secure storage “out in the open.” It is wirelessly connected through Bluetooth and secured with your phone’s biometrics. To open the box and access the contents inside, open the app on the connected phone and sign in using fingerprint, facial recognition, etc. Some of the models offer the ability to unlock with the multi-function button but that severely limits the security.

It’s made of aluminum alloy that is very strong. TROVA offers a few ways to physically secure the box. For simple installation, you can use the Kensington lock to connect it to your desk or table. For a stronger lock, it has internal bolts that are hidden from both the inside and the outside of the box. It is also able to send alerts based on different events. For example, if your TROVA gets too far from your phone, you can get an alert on your phone. You can also get a warning if the box is left open or it’s been moved.

The HOME offers a few added benefits. You can be notified if another user unlocks the device. There is an internal organization with a clever sliding shelf system that allows storage of several layers of items. It also offers Wi-Fi and NFC which gives more options for unlocking it.

TROVA GO and TROVA GO plus are available now for $199 and $229 respectively. The TROVA HOME is available for pre-order for $549. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Zibrio is here to keep you balanced and in good health @ CES 2021



Zibria balance trainingThere’s nothing worse than falling and possibly getting badly injured. Falling is the #1 reason for trauma deaths. Part of the reason many people fall is poor or improper balance. Zibrio, which looks and functions like a bathroom scale, has been developed for helping to find your area that needs attention.

Many times people aren’t even aware that they have a balance problem. Balance is defined as your postural stability, which means it’s your body’s ability to maintain an upright and stable position. That means standing, walking, or being active. The three things that make up this postural stability are sensory output, which deals with the inner ear and the bottom of your feet The second is a processing link to your brain or input, and the third is output which tells the brain to react.

They have commercialized NASA technology to help with finding balance problems. The technology was used with the astronauts inside their boots on the moon to make sure they had good enough balance for the mission they were on. Zibrio developers wanted to be able to help people find our where they had balance problem so that they could avoid falls and potentially serious injuries. They found that the company was 2-5 times better at finding high-risk problems than what the doctors were doing. Wanting it to be a friendly device, they made it available for in-home use as well as in your doctor’s office so you can use it daily, weekly, or monthly.

Your balance changes daily and with Zibrio you can track it and find out where you need to focus to improve it. There have been cases where elderly people have started out scoring very low and using Zibrio, have been able to raise their level of balance. This has been a great help in assisted living facilities where there is a high risk for falls. The senior population, which has a 28% chance of falling, is the group that needs to improve its balance. Some unfortunate ones never recover.

Zibrio comes with a consumer app, which shows such things as your sleep, and your stress level, both of which directly affect your balance. Knowing where a problem is part of the solution to keeping you upright and healthy. The measurements can be retrieved in 60 seconds and you will find out where you are on a scale of 1-10. The border of the unit lights up in the color that indicates the area of concern. Green is good, yellow is marginal, and red is the area you need to take care of.

The cost of this amazing product for the consumer is $299. For the clinical version that is used in your doctor’s office, the cost is $449. For more information go to the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Nomadplug makes traveling a breeze for your devices @ CES 2021



nomadplug foreign travel adapterA hardware startup is not an easy thing to accomplish. There are numerous obstacles out there just waiting to slow you down, such as currency fluctuations, your certifications, selecting your manufacturer, or even a global lockdown! Now there is a great product called Nomadplug, created by Ryan Silberman. Nomadplug is an international travel adapter that has been in development for 3 years. It’s sleek and small, making it very lightweight to travel with. Speaking of travel, it functions in all of the 195 countries!

Nomadplug is a slick new product for many reasons and these are what sets it apart from other travel adapters. Unlike most travel adapters that have an individual piece for each plug type, Nomadplug does it with one interlocking connection. You simply disconnect the stack at the location you need and plug it into the wall. It also uses a rare earth magnet for keeping all the interlocking modules together.

On the backside is a universal plug so you can use almost any device from any country in any outlet in any country. The only limitation is that the device must support the voltage of that particular country. This makes traveling with modern phones, tablets, or computers easy. The plug features an easy to use hinge that prevents it from falling out of sockets.

In addition to the adapter, there will be three USB-C chargers that can also be used for your laptop and mobile phone. That means no more traveling with extra power bricks! The model that is available now provides 18W and a single USB port. Future models will be available with 30W and 65W, both offering more than one USB port. You can currently purchase the current model in a variety of colors for $76.44. For more information go to the company’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Skreeneo SoClean makes public touchscreens safe to use @ CES 2021



Skreeneo SoCleanIf you’re like me, you hate public touchscreens. Just the idea of touching something that someone else has been fiddling with seems gross. However, the technology is getting more common and will get even more common over the next few years at places like fast food, convenience stores, and grocery stores, as these places are forced into additional automation. However, the fear of touching public screens is even greater today, thanks to public health concerns. Fortunately, Skreeneo has technology that alleviates the concern while eliminating constant screen cleaning.

The Skreeneo SoClean technology uses silver ions to act as a barrier against bacteria. The ionized protection blocks the instantaneous growth and proliferation of microbes. When the silver ions come into contact with the bacteria, they prevent them from growing. With no reproduction path, the bacteria die in place, preventing them from spreading the disease to the next user, no matter the public health situation. It also prevents the devices from discoloring prematurely.

The SoClean technology is available in a variety of forms. The company offers unique kiosk and touchscreen solutions for business and display, with the SoClean technology pre-installed. So, if you are installing a new kiosk system, anything from self-checkout to autonomous hand sanitizing stations, you can have it be sanitary from the start. However, if you already have the technology in use, you can retrofit those devices with an add-on film.

As the demand for autonomous systems increases over the next few years, the importance of keeping those systems clean is going to increase. If you are working on a solution, for your business, Skreeneo’s SoClean technology should be part of your project research. To find out more about the company and its digital signage and SoClean technology, head over to their website for more information.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Wonder Painter – Tech Podcasts Network Best of CES 2020 Award



Wonder PainterThe Tech Podcasts Network team awards its TPN Best of CES 2020 Award to Wonder Painter.

As a kid, almost everyone imagined themselves as the protagonist in their favorite stories. Heck, most adults do it when they read. However, those picture books never actually feature your face, right? Wonder Painter has created a technology that can directly bring any drawing or photo to life. The technology can allow publishers to use the reader’s drawing or photo as an integral part of their storytelling experience.

Imagine a story about two kids going on an adventure – it’s a fairly standard kids book concept. However, using Wonder Painter’s technology, that story can feature you and your best friend as the kids going on said adventure. During the story, the two of you need a horse to get across a large field. Simply draw your own horse and the drawing comes to life as your transportation. This is nearly every kid’s dream scenario and it is now a possibility.

The company has published a few demo apps to the Apple App Store to show off the basics of what their technology can do. While these demos are a ton of fun, the really important part is the technology. It is available in a platform-agnostic way, making it possible to build for the web, iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, and more. The company licenses this technology to content creators to allow them to make their own products and services more interactive. They are currently working with LG, Baidu, Alibaba, and more to make interactive applications a reality.

If you want to see the technology in action, check out the Wonder Painter apps in the App Store or the company’s website. You can also learn about the SDK, Cloud service, and ask for a private demo of the development tech.

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URGONight – Talking Sound (TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award)



URGONightThe Talking Sound awards its TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award to URGONight.

Have you ever had a period of time where you just couldn’t sleep at night? Maybe a week leading up to a big event like CES. Maybe you’ve got a big project at work that you’re worried about. Maybe you can’t figure out what’s going on, you just can’t sleep. That’s where URGONight comes in. Their product is a training device for your brain that helps you learn to get into the right state to sleep.

Rather than the common scenario of wearing a device while you sleep, which can negatively affect your sleep, URGONight is worn during the day. Even better, it is worn for only a few minutes per day. It does this using an electroencephalogram (EEG) sensor combined with brain exercises on the connected app. The device is based on existing technology that was previously only available to those who took the time and expense to go to a sleep clinic.

Early testers seem to love the device. The fact that it doesn’t require wearing the device to bed is seemingly the most popular feature. The fact that it doesn’t use any wave emissions or sounds is a big deal, too, though. Because it doesn’t try to make any changes through the device itself, it can create ease of mind for the user. And, even without any electronic stimulation, users could see lasting results, thanks to the guided exercises. Those exercises are recommended based on the readings of the device with the intention to help you sleep faster and better.

URGONight is not currently publicly available, but it is coming. If you want more information about the company, the product, or want to sign up for updates, you can check out the company’s website.

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MicroVision – The Gadget Professor (TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award)



MicroVisionThe Gadget Professor awards his TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award to MicroVision.

Over the past few years, the cost of projection technology has come down significantly. That has been paired with the size of the technology getting smaller. On Black Friday 2019, we saw pico projectors being offered for less than $100. However, these devices don’t provide a lot of value for most consumers. That’s because the way we interact with our computing technology has changed, as well.

Most people expect the screens in their life to be touch. Nearly all laptops, definitely all phones and tablets, and even a lot of desktop (all-in-one) computers offer touch input. Projection screens, however, still require external input – that is until now. MicroVision has developed the Interactive Projection Engine – a very small hardware array that allows developers to produce devices with touch-enabled projection.

The demo device we got to see allowed for nearly any standard video input and computing output to connect to a device. We saw the projector connected to a phone with impressive touch recognition capabilities. But, the possibilities are endless, especially when connected to a computer. Even in our portable broadcast studio, this projector would make traveling easier, because it would eliminate the need for monitors.

Imagine being a business traveler, maybe you’re a salesperson. You don’t know what your client might have in a conference room. You don’t want to pack a full projector, but the pico projectors tend to be too dim. This technology, however, is laser-powered, making it possible to use it in standard lighting. We even saw it on our wall in the studio with our lighting and the light of the convention center.

The demo device is available for developers through an application. The company is working with manufacturers to produce commercial products based on the technology.

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Voiceitt – The Tech Ranch (TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award)



VoiceittThe Tech Ranch awards its TPN Picks Best of CES 2020 Award to Voiceitt.

Over the past few years, we have seen a variety of products that provide language translation services. These products are great for traveling abroad or if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t speak the language. Most of these products require communication within a very limited set of parameters in which even strong accents can be a problem.

But what if you communicate in a non-traditional way? How can you easily communicate with people who are not used to your style? Millions of people have vocal disabilities, due to stroke, cerebral palsy, and other causes. That is where Voiceitt comes in – it provides a way to verbalize communication for people of all abilities. The product is based on the idea that verbal communication is an essential human need, whether you’re ordering food or telling someone “I love you.” For those who have limited speech capabilities, the limitations are difficult to overcome.

Voiceitt is designed specifically to understand and respond to non-standard and dysarthric speech. This is accomplished through a mobile application, which is currently in a closed beta phase. It allows for face-to-face, real-time communication with friends, family, and people around you. This can bring an aspect of everyday life for most that was previously unavailable, helping to build stronger and more meaningful connections.

If you are one of more than 10 million people in the United States or Europe who suffer from speech disabilities or are the caretaker of one of the 8 percent of children with a temporary or consistent communication disorder and would like to join the beta program, you can apply to join on their website.

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