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Tag Archives: Bluetooth

OhGizmo! Review: The SWITCH Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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Earlier this year, Native Union introduced their new SWITCH wireless portable speaker into a market that is already saturated. However, we still agreed to sit down and take a look at it for any of you considering purchasing such a device.

The SWITCH is more than just your small party wireless sound system; it serves both as an external battery and as a conference call unit. It comes with a full duplex microphone that allows all participants to converse simultaneously for up to 16 hours. The battery life is quite impressive, considering it features three speakers, “including an active sub-woofer with an enhanced bass-reflex system.” This results in an unexpectedly crisp and distortion-free sound, even at high volume, making it the perfect candidate for a small apartment, office, or picnic gathering.

The SWITCH has a simple, yet practical and appealing design, with an intuitive multifunctional button and a large volume control wheel. After some extensive use, it remains tight and there is no sign of looseness. The brick-like shape of the device lets you use it in a vertical or horizontal postion, depending on the needs. To top it off, the rubbery material coating that comes in several colours gives it a high-quality feel.

Native Union is selling the SWITCH for what initially seemed like a hefty price tag: $149.99. Getting to play with the product, however, made us feel like the price was somewhat justifiable, especially for someone that will use all of its features. As mentioned before, it would work great for personal use, but also in a corporate environment, where both conference calls and socializing events take place.

[ Product Page ]

Be ‘That Guy’, By Putting The boomBOTTLE On Your Bike Runs

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It’s a known fact that everyone loves ‘that guy’ who goes around the neighborhood loudly blaring his musical preferences from an overpowered boombox, for all to enjoy. It then stands to reason that you’d be the most popular kid in the block if you decided to replace your water bottle with Scosche’s boomBOTTLE, a waterproof set of 40mm speakers (and “passive subwoofer”) that fits in a standard bicycle’s water holder bracket thing. It accepts streaming audio in a variety of Bluetooth profiles, and even has an auxiliary audio jack if your music player doesn’t do wireless. Its large size also means the batteries should be good for about ten hours of playback time, more than enough for you to entertain innocent passersby on even the longest of routes.

It’s $149.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

Add An Electric Propeller To Any Home Made Paper Airplane, And Control It With Your iPhone

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TailorToys have been making the PowerUp systems for quite some time now, but their new 3.0 version has iPhone control. That’s awesome, but let’s start at the beginning, because we’d never even heard of the 1.0 or 2.0. The PowerUp devices are little electric propellers that clip onto the tip of your paper airplane, and give it some thrust. This way, gravity, aerodynamics and paper airplane engineering aren’t the limiting factors; battery life is. And yes, this works with just about any paper airplane, from the shitty to the elegant. The 3.0 version seems to have added iPhone control, though we don’t have any details on just how well the plane is controlled with this scheme. It would appear that the new device doesn’t just give the plane forward thrust, but would allow you to steer as well. Considering the toy just won Popular Science’s Best of Toyfair award, we’re going to go ahead and assume it’s pretty well done.

They should be available later this year for an unspecified price. Considering previous generation models are going for around $17, we can’t imagine it’ll be that expensive.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ] AND [ Gizmodo ]

Use Sonar And Your Smartphone To Catch Fish

Assuming that going fishing isn’t just an excuse for you to go get drunk on a canoe, the Realsonar system pictured above might interest you. It’s an ultrasound device mounted on a buoy, which then communicates with your smartphone through Bluetooth. In this fashion, you get to see where the fish are up to a depth of 150ft. It works at about 4 frames per second, which should be plenty for you to cast your line in the direction and depth required.

But that’s not all the Realsonar does. There’s a Bite Alarm that lets you know when a fish is nearby, so you don’t even have to look at the screen (or even put your line in the water) while you wait. There’s also a mapping feature that lets you get an idea of the underwater topography, which is welcome to any boat owner that doesn’t want to run aground. Salinity and temperature sensors give you an idea of water conditions. And should you lose your buoy in the dark, you just press a button on the phone and it’ll light right up.

The Realsonar system is in the funding phase on IndieGogo. It’s $79 if you get in early, though there’s plenty of room right now.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

MeterPlug Helps You Keep Tabs On What’s Consuming How Much Power

The economy may not be in the tank as it was a couple years ago, but let’s face it, it’s not booming either. Every penny counts and one area where you can make a big difference is in energy efficiency. The appliances and electronic devices that are in your home all consume power, sometimes even when they’re not on. MeterPlug is a simple box that sits between your device and the AC outlet, and monitors the power flowing through. It then communicates information this to a smartphone through its Bluetooth chip. To take things further, it uses GPS data to figure out how much power costs in your particular neighborhood, and is able to give you a running cost as opposed to raw power data. This makes it dead simple to know who’s the worst culprit in those outrageous power bills. But that’s not all. Not only does MeterPlug inform you, it helps you solve the issue as well by cutting off power to any appliance you want, either manually through the press of a button on your smartphone, or automatically after setting up a few rules. It’s smart, but at $50 per plug ($85 for 2 as an early bird price) it is a bit costly. Granted, it could end up paying for itself after a while, so it might still be worth a look. The IndieGogo campaign is almost fully funded, with potential delivery slated for April 2013.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

New Sensor Constantly Monitors Bicycle Tire Pressure

Cars with TPMS sensors are pretty common these days. These are the ones that tell you when you’re getting a flat tire, by constantly monitoring the pressure within. It’s smart, and safe, and about time cyclists got the same treatment. The BTPS sensor aims to do just that, connecting to your smartphone and informing you of the pressure of your tires accurately, between 0 and 174psi. Admittedly, the device is more useful as a convenient indicator of tire pressure; it sure beats having to bend down every time. And since many road bikes need a regular air adjustment, the simple phone-glance convenience is appreciated.

“The BTPS unit itself consists of a pressure sensor, circuit board, and battery. When used with tubeless tires, it is mounted on the rim tape. If tubes are being used, it’s stuck right onto the tube, like a patch.” Currently weighing only seven grams (0.25 oz), it shouldn’t affect your ride in the least. It’s going through funding with Kickstarter though, and is quite far from its goal. Still, if you want one for yourself, a $140 pledge will get you a pair of tubeless-specific BTPS units.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

StickNFind Bluetooth Stickers Help You Find Anything

The cost of things like Bluetooth chips is constantly dropping, which means they can start being used in more and more products. The StickNFind Bluetooth stickers are meant to be relatively inexpensive coin-sized stickers that you affix to pretty much anything you want to keep track of. It uses low-power Bluetooth and has a range of 100ft. With a couple of well thought out features, this makes for a pretty useful product. First thing it does is to simply let you play a game of “hot or cold”, indicating on a radar-like display whether you’re getting closer or farther from the tag you’re trying to locate.

Of course, sometimes you may not be within range of a particular tag, so the “Find It” feature sends you a notification once it comes within range. Aside from letting you find objects, this feature allows for some creative uses like notifying you of when your significant other pulls up in your driveway, or alerting you when your luggage comes out of the baggage carrousel.

Finally, the Virtual Leash feature does the exact opposite and sends you a notification when selected tags go out of range. Perfect for pets, or heck, even kids.

Currently undergoing funding on IndieGogo, a starter kit of 2 StickNFind stickers is $35, while 6 will set you back $90. If fully funded, delivery is scheduled for March 2013.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ CNet News ]

ShockBox Is A G-Meter For Potential Head Injuries

Playing contact sports is all fun and games (literally) until someone gets a concussion, or worse. It’s not always easy to tell between the player that’s laying on the ground because he got the wind knocked out of him, or the one that needs medical attention because his brain got a shakeup. The ShockBox is a special sensor that is meant to be placed either on or inside a helmet, and it contains two things: an accelerometer and a Bluetooth radio. Should any one player experience a severe hit, a signal is immediately sent to a paired smartphone (say, the coach’s) with impact data and analysis. It uses long range Bluetooth, so the device has a range of up to 100m, and one smartphone can pair with up to 128 sensors at once. This means you could conceivably monitor an entire team, and provide medical assistance when needed. ShockBox installs with 3M double sided tape, which is provided with your $149 unit. Yeah, that’s a lot of money to fork over when you’re decking out an entire high school football team, but if you’ve got the budget, you don’t want to be skimping on safety.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

The Hop! Is A Suitcase That Follows You Around

The Hop! is pretty cool. It’s a compressed air-powered piece of luggage that has a set of caterpillar tracks, and is able to follow you around the airport. It locks onto your cellphone signal and triangulates its position and then attempts to remain at a fixed distance from you. If it fails at this and “gets lost”, the suitcase locks itself down and your phone vibrates to alert you. It’s called The Hop! because it’s supposed to remind you of a bellhop.

We can foresee a couple of problems with this, not the least of which is the presence of electronics that could intrigue the very competent TSA agents. And the fact that you won’t really be able to say that your luggage was “with you” at all times. And also, well, it’s not a product you can purchase at the moment. It’s a concept and one working prototype, but there’s no other info.

Hit the jump for a video of the herky-jerky machine and links.

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