Tag Archives: gaming

Blacklyte: From home decor to smart gaming accessories @ CES 2024

Blacklyte gaming chairs and desksBlacklyte, a brand that initially started as a home decor company, has broadened its product line to include gaming peripherals such as gaming desks, gaming chairs, and lighting. The company stands out from traditional furniture companies by developing its own software and algorithms to interpret in-game data, synchronize it, and convert it into light signals displayed on the desk.

Smart gaming desk with customizable lighting

The Blacklyte Atlas Desk is versatile, catering to various uses including gaming competitions, education, streaming, music, and other forms of entertainment. The company’s experience in the home decor industry inspired the creation of this product. To cater to their specific needs, Blacklyte designed their table from scratch. After a year and a half of testing, they developed a patented layered sandwich design that maximizes strength, lightweight, and magnetic capabilities. The table is magnetizable, allowing for easy attachment of accessories, extendables, cable management, and corner lights.

As they developed their products, they encountered challenges with synchronizing games and music with traditional LED lights. This led them to devise algorithms that go beyond merely reacting to voice commands. They analyzed games and created a graphic algorithm to read and interpret game data, which is then translated into lighting effects on the desk.

A unique aspect of Blacklyte’s Atlas Desk is its software, which reads the game being played and interacts with the lights accordingly. While the company keeps the details of their algorithms confidential, they have collaborated with pro gamers and universities to test and refine their product. Feedback and customization suggestions from these testers have helped Blacklyte optimize the lighting effects. They have also worked with psychology majors from the University of Toronto to design lighting that enhances performance and improves daily use. For instance, the desk can be set to a morning mode with energizing blue hues to wake up the user or a rest mode with warmer tones to facilitate sleep.

Light therapy for various applications

Ambient lighting in airplanes changes to help passengers sleep or wake up. This concept is similar to how the Atlas Desk by Blacklyte uses light therapy to create different moods and enhance the gaming experience. The company is working with psychologists to extend their system of light therapy for to increase a player’s abilities, both in-game and in the real world.

The importance of light and color in our everyday lives, affecting our mood and energy levels, is a key focus of Blacklyte’s Atlas Desk. It takes the concept of sunrise alarm clocks a step further by integrating light cues into the workspace. This customizable lighting can serve as a gentle reminder to adjust one’s activities and help maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

In conclusion, Blacklyte’s Atlas Desk offers a unique and customizable lighting experience for gamers and other entertainment enthusiasts. By developing their own software and algorithms, the company has created a desk that syncs with games, music, and other forms of entertainment. The desk’s design, including its layered sandwich construction and magnetic capabilities, adds functionality and customization options.

With the collaboration of pro gamers and psychology experts, Blacklyte has optimized the lighting effects to enhance performance and daily use. This innovative product demonstrates the potential of integrating technology and design to create a more immersive and personalized gaming experience.

The Blacklyte Atlas Desk is not yet available, but is coming soon. The desk will retail for $1,099 and will be available from the company’s website, as well as their retail partners. To learn more about the Blacklyte Atlas Desk or any of their other products, check out their website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Skyted: The Solution for Secure and Private Conversations @ CES 2024

Skyted security maskDuring CES 2024, we got to take a look at the latest version of the Skyted mask, which is a sound-absorbing mask that allows users to make completely silent and confidential calls anywhere at any time. The mask has been developed to solve the problem of people talking loudly in public places, such as trains and airplanes, and disturbing those around them.

Silent, secure mask for confidential calls

The mask features resonators developed by The French Aerospace Lab that absorb all frequencies of the user’s voice, preventing any sound from escaping the mask.

The purpose of the mask goes beyond simply preventing disturbance to others. It also addresses concerns about espionage and the need for secure and confidential calls. All data and voice emitted from the mask are encrypted, ensuring that no information is leaked. The encryption process starts from the microphone and continues through third-party carriers, providing a high level of security.

The mask not only provides a solution for confidential calls but also ensures that the user’s location and surroundings are not revealed during the conversation. This feature is particularly useful for individuals who want to maintain privacy while making calls, such as those on vacation or conducting business in different locations.

In terms of connectivity, the mask can be used with either wired or Bluetooth connections. It offers both a jack and USB-C port for different user preferences. This flexibility allows users to connect the mask to their devices easily.

The Skyted mask is described as a travel-friendly device that can easily be carried in bags. It is noted that the mask is not just another ordinary face mask, but a specialized product with a specific purpose. The hosts highlight the importance of understanding the purpose of the mask and its potential benefits.

The target market for the Skyted mask includes frequent travelers, such as business people who spend a lot of time on airplanes and trains. It is also suitable for commuters who want to make calls during their daily travels, saving them time by starting their calls earlier. Additionally, the mask is useful for individuals who want to have private conversations in their vehicles, as it cancels out both their voice and external noise.
In terms of cost and availability, the podcast does not provide specific information. However, it suggests that the mask is targeted at a range of customers, including frequent travelers and commuters. The availability and pricing details would need to be obtained separately.

An upgraded model

This is not the first time we have seen the Skyted mask at CES. In 2023, we were first introduced to Skyted, but the device we saw never made it to market. Since then, the company has redesigned the mask to address feedback from those who saw it in action.

The design of the mask has been slimmed down and the weight has been reduced, making it more comfortable to wear. The technology has also been upgraded to cancel out even low frequencies, which are harder to eliminate.


Overall, the Skyted mask offers a unique solution for individuals who require silent and secure communication. With its sound-absorbing technology and encryption capabilities, it provides a way to have confidential conversations without disturbing others or compromising data security. This innovative product has the potential to revolutionize the way people make calls in public spaces and ensure their privacy and security.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Roland BRIDGE CAST makes game streaming a lot easier @ CES 2023

Roland BRIDGE CASTVideogame streaming has become a major part of the entertainment industry. In our offices, you can almost always find at least one Twitch stream running with one of the popular streamers. As the industry grows, new issues are introduced. For example, the RIAA has recently discovered what’s going on with Twitch and started handing out DMCA strikes for music usage. Gamers have been looking for a middle ground on this issue, and the Roland BRIDGE CAST might just be the solution they’ve been looking for.

What is the Roland BRIDGE CAST?

The Roland BRIDGE CAST is a new audio interface designed specifically for online broadcasters. This can be gamers, podcasters, and more. The device is a broadcaster’s dream with all of the inputs you can need. Across the back, it features an auxiliary input and a line out, both of which are 1/8″ jacks, as well as a 1/8″ headphone jack.

The interface has also got dual USB-C ports. One is a dedicated power port, which is a nice choice for those who aren’t going to have the device in a highly trafficked area. The other is for connecting the mixer to a computer for input and output of sound.

Most importantly, the Roland BRIDGE CAST features an XLR jack for a microphone. This allows you to use any type of professional microphone you might want to use. To make the offering better, the XLR jack has 48 V Phantom power to support the more powerful professional microphones like the ones we use in our studios.

What sets the Roland BRIDGE CAST apart?

One of the features that really sets the Roland BRIDGE CAST apart from the other competing options is its dual mix option. This means that you can have two separate and unique outputs coming from the same set of devices. The most common usage today would be for different music options for the streamer and their audience.

Why might a streamer want to hear something different from their audience? Because of copyright concerns. Many gamers like to listen to certain music to help get them in the zone to play better. But, to include that audio as part of a public broadcast, the streamer can be hit with DMCA strikes for using copyrighted music without permission. By using dual outputs, the gamer can listen to the copyrighted music that they want to listen to while playing something else, such as royalty-free music publicly.

On that topic, the Roland BRIDGE CAST system actually includes a large collection of royalty-free music that can be used safely on streams. So, those who are looking to keep their streams both entertaining and legal can use this collection as part of their public feed.


If you are a streamer or podcaster and are looking for a serious audio interface, the Roland BRIDGE CAST is a solid choice to consider. It is not yet available but is expected to launch in Quarter 2 of 2023. To learn more about the Roland BRIDGE CAST, head over to the product page.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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TWT Audio: affordable, powerful and customizable headphones @ CES 2023

TWT Audio gaming headphonesWe all know that there are many choices out there when it comes to the headphone market, but few companies try to be as customizable as possible or try to balance affordability with high-quality audio. You’re usually going to get quality sound with a decent design and a high price tag, or an affordable price with stale audio and LED lights to distract you from its flaws. TWT Audio wants to change up the formula with their current line of headphones.

Modularized parts are one of the key focuses for this line. Detachable ear cups, not just the cousin mind you, are available across the board. They have different styles of earcups, different colors, and earcups made of materials designed to deal with moisture from working out. This can especially appeal to gamers and streamers who are also fitness buffs. You’d have the ability to move from your streaming rig right to your workout area and swap to your sweat-resistant ear cups for a worry-free workout stream.

The audio cable is also modularized. The input device is swappable: you can go from a USB-C connection to a USB-A connection to a 3.5mm connection or even a 1/4 inch connection into an amplifier if you wanted. Seems to be just a quick screw removal from under the ear cup, and simply swapping the part and you’re good to go. TWT Audio is making sure that the customization aspect is as easy as possible.

Audio Quality is an aspect they want to emphasize in their gaming model, the Victory 250XG model. Not seen in the interview, I got a good demonstration with a Fortnite match. Projectile paths, sounds of vehicles, and footsteps were all coming from their precise directions. Along with that, the proper volume of sounds depending on their proximity to your character. Sounds were crisp and clear and it’s hard to believe how close these headphones come to the higher-end, more expensive headphones on the market.

Comfort level is always important and these do not fall short of other quality headphones. The ear cups are cushioned as well as the band over your head. It’s adjustable enough to fit over my large head and hair. Many headphones in the affordability classes cut costs in these areas in particular, so I think it’s important to note that TWT Audio seems to have found a sweet spot with these products.

Notable aspects of each model: the Victory 250XG gaming headset has an omnidirectional “silicon flex” mic, come with mesh ear cups and the ear cups’ angle can be adjusted for comfort options. The Revo headset has the boom-lift activated mute feature and stealth release changeable cable and ear customization options. Ultra Durable Pro doesn’t have the customization options but it has the same functionality and audio quality that TWT Audio is becoming known for. Lastly, the Ultra Ergo is perfect for your work-at-home or office settings.

TWT Audio is taking the market by storm and with their plans for partnerships with educational programs and esports organizations, I’m sure this will be a brand for many to know and love. The 4 product names I mentioned above are all currently available on Amazon via the links below. Also, the Audiophile and Gaming Pro headsets should be available sometime in the near future.

The current line of headphones are available now: The Victory 250XG retail for $39.99, the Ultra Durable Pro retail for $31.99, and the Ultra Ergo retail for $20.99. There is also the REVO headsets run $36.99 and are available for volume purchase.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events.

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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.


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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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.


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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Skinetic adds haptic feedback to virtual reality and more @ CES 2023

Skinetic Haptic Feedback VestPlaying a videogame is intended to extend the experience of entertainment into a more personal connection. With a movie or TV show or even a play, you watch what is happening and pretend to put yourself into the action. With a videogame, however, you are in control over the experience – sometimes in small ways and others in large ways. However, we’re still generally separated from the game in a variety of ways, but Actronika wants to bring you directly into the game experience with Skinetic.

Who is Actronika?

Actronika is a company specializing in haptic technology. While we all think of haptics as the phone vibrating when we touch it, there’s much more to the technology. In this case, the company focuses on a more high-definition version of haptics. The more focused technology allows for the creation of different haptic zones as well as different textures.

This technology has come together to form Skinetic – a haptic vest that can provide feedback during an entertainment session. The vest is able to replicate the sensation experienced by the character on the screen while not intentionally hurting the one experiencing it. The best part is that this is not limited to gaming. In fact, it can be used across nearly any type of entertainment.

Skinetic in gaming

The Skinetic vest is a perfect companion for gaming. When you’re playing a game and a grenade goes off nearby, being able to feel that explosion makes the game a more immersive experience. But, because of the detail of the vest, you can also have a smaller experience, such as being tapped on the shoulder.

While this seems like a perfect companion for traditional gaming, it’s even better for virtual reality. VR glasses are specifically designed to place you in a first person perspective for your entertainment experience. By adding Skinetic into the mix, the experience truly does become more personal as well as more immersive. The game can bring you into the action and leave you with more of a consequence for failure.

Skinetic in movies and television

While interactive entertainment is the most obvious place for Skinetic, it can also work well for passive entertainment. The inclusion of haptic feedback into movie and television can help to pull you more into the entertainment. In gaming, you’ll have consequences for your own actions, while in this example you’ll have consequences for the actions of the characters on screen.

How does Skinetic work?

Skinetic has to be integrated into the development of the entertainment experience. For example ,a videogame developer must know about Skinetic and build for it. Fortunately, we’ve already seen some big titles get on-board, including the VR experience Half-Life: Alyx, which many consider to be one of the definitive VR games.

Development is made easy, though. Unlike many gaming tools, Skinetic support can be built outside of the game.development tools, you can create and test the individual textures and feelings.ect and quicker development. Once you have your texture, you can import it into your game.

The vest is incredibly detailed in design. There are 20 action zones, meaning that if someone taps you on the left shoulder, you can feel it only on the left shoulder. This is something that sets it apart from other VR vests, in that the experience can be tailered to the game environment.


The Skinetic is still under development, but developers can get ahold of a prototyping kit or evaluation kit. For consumers, you’ll have to wait only a little while, as the pricut is intended to hit the market in May 2023. To learn more about Skinetic and Actronika, head over to the company’s website.

Picoo: World’s first game console designed for outdoor play @ CES 2022

Picoo game consoleIn a world where technology is constantly pulling us indoors, Picoo has created a game console designed to get kids outdoors and active again. The system is a portable, screenless console that requires no access to Wi-Fi or mobile networks during playtime. This makes it perfect for outdoor use, as it eliminates the need for any connectivity. It is also Bluetooth enabled, so parents can use the accompanying app to control gameplay.

How does Picoo work?

Picoo is comprised of two main parts: the console and the controller. The console attaches to a belt worn by the child, while the controller can be used either in hand or attached to a stick for further reach. Both are water-resistant, making them perfect for outdoor play in any weather condition.

Games on the console are designed for gross motor skills development, social and communication skill-building, creativity stimulation, and imaginative play. The style of gameplay helps to foster something that traditional videogames cannot: discovery. Because the kids are outside, they are exploring and discovering new aspects of their world. This exploration encourages and improves imagination, which is the key to personal development.

Being outside and moving around is also great exercise, something that can be lacking in kids’ routines. This has been even more evident in the past few years with things shut down in parts of the world. Exercise will help with physical development as well as building strength.

With over 25 games currently available (and more being developed all the time), Picoo has something for everyone.

Who is Picoo for?

Picoo is for kids aged three and up. It’s a great way to get younger children active and engaged in outdoor play, helping them work on essential skills and have some fun along the way. By eliminating the screens, the game becomes more about playing rather than focusing on something external. This helps to foster social interactions that get lost in traditional video games.

Because of the wide range of games that come with the console, plus the additional games that are available, Picoo really can be enjoyed by everyone. While asking most adults to go outside and ply tag results will result in confusion and answers of no, this product can provide the perfect way to break down that barrier and get adults running around like children having fun outside.


Picoo is available now in a variety of options. The primary kit is the Starter Set, which includes 4 Picoo controllers, 5 games, 4 helper cards, and 2 USB-C charging cables. The included games are Lightning Bolt, Whack-a-mole, Zombierun, Hide-and-Seek, and Kaleidoscope. Many more games are available to extend the fun.

For educational and group settings, Picoo can be purchased in larger sets. Rather than 4 controllers, the educational set comes with 12 controllers, plus the accessories to make them work, including games and chargers.

All of these options are available now. To learn more about the product, the games that are available, and purchase one for yourself, you can go to their website.

Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.

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Stern Pinball launches new titles for iconic pinball fun @ CES 2021

Stern Pinball Led ZeppelinZach Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Stern Pinball, joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about some of their newest machines and what makes them stand out in the arcade market. Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”) is the oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of arcade-quality pinball games on the planet, churning out eye-catching pinball machines for more than 30 years.

Pinball is the universal language of fun, says Sharpe, bridging generations and cultures across decades. For 2021, Stern Pinball released some iconic titles including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stranger Things, Avengers, and their amazing Led Zeppelin, complete with Immigrant Song and 9 other songs, which took years to acquire the rights to use in the game.

SPI offers a full line of commercial and consumer pinball games, merchandise, parts, and accessories that are sold to pinball operators, enthusiasts, and fans around the globe. Each of their cornerstone titles is available in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models. Pro is the coin-operated machines players will typically find in bars and arcades. Premium and Limited Edition models are found more commonly in private collections and typically feature a few more moving parts, such as the Electric Magic Device found in the Led-Zeppelin machine. The device rises from the floor of the machine and features a spinner and ball capture that literally changes the whole trajectory of a game.

The Premium and LE models also incorporate an Expression Lighting System with nearly 100 intelligent LEDs that simulate a graphic equalizer choreographed to the music. With their new Spike 2 technology, the machines are also easier to maintain and repair, with less complexity, fewer components to break and easy serviceability.

Visit the company’s website to see the full collection of SPI machines, as well as to access their Pinball Locator so you can find Stern Pinball machines out in the wild to play.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Blacknut has a huge catalog of cloud streaming games @ CES 2021

Blacknut cloud gaming platformThere is no doubt that the future of gaming has a big place for cloud streaming services. There have been a number of companies, including Microsoft and Google, who have gotten in on the game. However, there seems to be a lot of question over the stability of and the commitment to these platforms. One company that is showing both stability and commitment is Blacknut.

The company has taken a very similar approach to Microsoft, in that the service is a monthly fee and includes all of the games in the catalog. The games in the catalog have no ads and no in-game purchases. Your game state is stored in the cloud, meaning that you can start your game on your phone and continue it on the computer, or vice versa. But, how many games are available? Currently, the service offers over 400 games with n ew games added weekly.

The catalog is also very diverse. There is a large collection of Japanese games with anime styling, such as BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. There are a lot of racing games, from big name franchises like Asphalt, Gravel, and MotoGP. And, there are weird games, like Overcooked and Farming Simulator 19. There is definitely something for everyone.

The service also has a strong focus on families. On your single subscription, you can create up to 5 profiles, so everyone has their progress separately. There are also parental controls, disabling access during certain times and limiting access to games with certain ratings.

Blacknut is available now for $15.99 per month, with a 50% discount for your first three months with discount code WELCOME3M21. You can play games on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Fire TV, and Google TV. To learn more about the platform, browse the catalog of games, and start your subscription, head over to the Blacknut website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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