Three Headphones in One – British Kickstarter Campaign Redefines the Audio Experience

volant soundA new British tech startup is hoping to reinvent audio devices; starting with their unique 3-in-1 headphones, launching on Kickstarter on the 30th June.

Volant Sound’s headphones combine three audio devices into one, allowing the versatility of earphones, the comfort and sound quality of headphones and the freedom of Bluetooth; giving you a solution for every listening occasion.

Many consumers listen to headphones for 4 hours every day and own 3-4 pairs of headphones and earphones for different listening scenarios. This device is designed to completely simplify the selection into one product for endless uses. Think earphones to commute, headphones to work, earphones to exercise and so on.

Volant headphones allow you to switch between earphones, wired headphones and Bluetooth headphones. The patent pending switch mechanism automatically redirects sound signal from the earphone speakers to the headphone speakers when inserted under the unique sliding wings.

The collaboration has been completed with multi award winning London design consultancy Therefore Design.  Dreamt up by Joshua Church, a 25-year-old British entrepreneur, Volant Sound designs patent pending innovations that bring versatility to modern day listening.

Volant headphones are striving to be more than just another quirky Kickstarter campaign; with three products in the pipeline and a handful of patents at their disposal, Volant is the audio underdog to keep an eye on.

www.volantsound.com

Upmarket gadgets for the modern home

Running a dinner party is not just a chance to show off your cooking skills, you can also show off the latest upmarket gadgets.  Whether it’s preparing the setting with the latest flash vacuum cleaner or impressing your friends with your vintage wine collection we have the three cool gadgets to help you keep up with the Jones’s.

CORAVIN MODEL TWO (WINE NEEDLE)
The upmarket gadget that appears in Michelin Star Restaurants in Europe is now appearing in the best restaurants in New Zealand.

Coravin Model Two is a revolutionary new wine access system that has been featured in Viva Magazine, Cuisine Magazine, GQ, Vogue, Wired and other publications as a game changing invention that allows the user to access wine by the glass without having to open the whole bottle. It was just launched in New Zealand in March, and is already being used to serve wine in restaurants such as The Grove, Whitebait, The Northern Club, Stafford Rd Wine Bar, and many others.

The Coravin is only intended for use on bottles of wine with a cork – not screw tops.  While New Zealand leads the way in screw caps, the majority of the world’s fine wines – particularly European, are stopped with corks.

With this device you can dust off an old bottle that you’ve been saving and pour a small glass, keeping the cork sealed and the wine preserved.  When you extract the needle, the cork reseals.

Why use Coravin?
· Flexibility and Freedom: The ability to taste different wines in the course of an evening without having to have all the bottles open. Match tasting menus or seasonal dishes, offer guests a glass of their preferred wine of choice without a Chardonnay drinker having to drink a Sav because its open – or enjoy a glass of white while cooking then switch to red if you’re serving meat for a main.
· Quality: Each glass is served in perfect condition. You might just want one glass, but all the more reason to have one glass of something really good, not open something cheap just because its only Tuesday night and you have cross fit the next day and won’t want to drink afterwards.
· Waste Reduction: No more drinking the rest of the bottle so it doesn’t get wasted, or letting it oxidise and throwing it out.

Price: $675. The Argon capsules cost $20 each, enough for 18 glasses.
Website: http://www.coravin.nz
Importers website: http://www.stvincentscave.com/

 

DYSON CINETIC BIG BALL ANIMAL
The vacuum that self rights when toppled.

Machines that tip over, and are awkward to manoeuvre. Bins that are messy and fiddly to empty. Hoses that can get in the way, and tools that can disappoint. Some barrel vacuum cleaners can be cumbersome and frustrating. So Dyson engineers set out to solve these problems. The result: The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball vacuum.

Conventional vacuums fall down and stay down. The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball barrel self-rights when toppled. Dyson engineers made this possible by assembling the vacuum’s components in a spherical array, with the heaviest nearest to the floor. Placing them inside a curved body with a low centre of gravity means that whenever the vacuum is displaced, gravitational forces will automatically return it to its upright resting position.

36 Dyson Cinetic™ tips separate the microscopic dust that can clog conventional vacuums. Vacuums with Dyson Cinetic™ science do not lose suction, and capture dust, dirt and microscopic particles down to 0.3 microns in size. And the dust separation is so efficient that there’s no need to wash or replace a filter.

Available from electrical stores nationwide.

Price, from $799, the “Animal” version shown costs $1099
Website: http://www.dyson.co.nz

 

MAGIMIX LE GLACIER ICE CREAM MAKER
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Whether it`s naughty ice cream or virtuous sorbet – this machine makes 1.14 litres (2 pints) of your favourite home made dessert in less than half an hour. Comes with large feed, stainless-steel bowl and recipe book full of tempting ideas. Why not use yoghurt or fromage frais as a base for your favourite flavour low calorie ice cream?
Requires pre-freezing in a four star freezer for 12 hours.

Price: $329
Website: http://millyskitchen.co.nz/brands/m-to-q/magimix/magimix-le-glacier-chrome.html

Take Control With These Cool Gadgets

In the old days, life was hard.  If you wanted mood lighting at home you needed an electrician.  If you wanted to measure your heart rate, you needed to visit the doctor.

But now, there’s a reasonably priced gadget for every situation.

Here are three gadgets which show you how to take control of your life through off-the-shelf technology

 

iDual range of lights from Jedi Lighting.

Discover what mood lighting can do with your home and change your lights to your mood at any moment of the day with this low-cost solution.

The revolutionary iDual LED lighting system will appear in Bunnings Warehouse stores from July, giving Kiwis the ability to change lighting to one of 750 colours at the touch of a button.

The iDual range from Jedi Lighting gives the user the ability to change the lighting to suit their mood by the push of a button. And all they need to do is swap out their standard light bulbs for an iDual light globe – it’s that easy.

The light comes with a simple remote control which controls all of the different moods and light scenes.  At the click of a button you can choose one of the dynamic colour scenes which change the colour and intensity of the bulb.  Options include ‘functional white’ for working; ‘night’ to help get the kids to sleep; ‘ocean’ for creating ambience in the bathroom and ‘party’ for entertaining. Push the ‘wake up’ button in the morning and the room slowly brightens into a day light brightness.

The range also includes downlights, spotlights, ceiling lamps, portable lights and outdoor lights.

A second product, the 2-in-1 will also be available.  This bulb changes from a warm low light to a bright daylight when you second click the power switch.  You are no longer stuck with one intensity of bulb in a light setting – and you don’t need to muck around with dim switches either.

Price: The colourful iDual bulbs start at $49.98 while the 2-in-1 starts at $17.98

Website: www.bunnings.co.nz

 

AliveCor Heart Monitor (Mobile ECG Sensor).

Smaller than a credit card, the AliveCor allows you to capture a medical-grade EKG in just 30-seconds from anywhere, anytime.

The monitor attaches to the back of a smartphone and is easy to use. Simply start the app, then hold your fingers on each of the sensors for 30 seconds. AliveCor’s proprietary technology converts electrical impulses from user’s fingertips into ultrasound signals transmitted to the mobile device’s microphone.

Unlike smartwatches and fitness trackers which simply measure your pulse, this device measures your heart rhythm and tells you whether it is normal or in atrial fibrillation (unusual activity from your heart).

Who can benefit?

The AliveCor Heart Monitor provides individuals with the ability to track heart health anywhere, anytime at an affordable cost. Those who can benefit include individuals with suspected or diagnosed heart conditions and health conscious individuals.

It may be of benefit to existing patients or to people who are undertaking lifestyle changes (through diet and exercise) who may wish to record and track their progress.

The free app, AliveECG, available for iOS and Android, together with the Heart Monitor, records and stores single-channel ECGs. The medical grade tracings are comparable to Lead I on standard ECG machines.

 With secure data storage in the cloud, users can access their ECG data confidentially anytime, anywhere, grant access to their physicians, print PDFs and email it to caregivers and health professionals.

Available from: http://www.uhealth-nz.com/

Price, $215.

 

Geko Device for “Neuromuscular electrostimulation.”

The Geko device, uses neuromuscular electro-stimulation technology, which is clinically proven to increase blood circulation, helping with a range of conditions.

The innovative device is a simple, convenient and time efficient electronic device designed for athletes to accelerate sports recovery after exercise and minor injury for improved performance.

Small, painless electrical impulses gently stimulate the common peroneal nerve behind the knee which in turn activates the calf and foot muscle pumps of the lower leg that return blood towards the heart.

It is endorsed by the medical team behind the British and Irish Lions rugby team.

It may also help long haul travellers avoid the threat of deep vein thrombosis which is caused by long periods of leg inactivity.

Similar devices are used in New Zealand hospitals to help patients undergoing  long operations.

Neuromuscular stimulation in the lower limb emulates the process normally achieved by walking (up to 60%) but without the patient having to move or exert energy and without discomfort

The Geko can help athletes recover faster, relieve muscle soreness, reduce swelling after injury and improve general sports performance.

Powered by a small battery, with software controlled by up and down buttons, the Geko device has 7 stimulation levels and is worn comfortably above the peroneal nerve . The increase in blood circulation reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the lower leg within 24 hours.

A simple, self-adhesive device that is applied to the back of each knee, the disposable, one-size-fits-all Geko device is designed to avoid the need for more complex procedures.

Price: $59.50

Website: http://www.uhealth-nz.com/

Work It – stylish business gadgets to help you get the job done

Powerful, portable and fashionable, these are three of the essential elements when it comes to business gadgets.

Your technology needs to be on hand, help you do the job and if it makes you look smart and stylish, well that’s even better.

Today we’ve chosen three pieces of technology that more than fit the brief.

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S – The Best Business Tablet Going?

In a strange turn of events, Samsung have teamed up with Microsoft to create the best business tablet since, well, since Microsoft created the Surface.

Yes, this is Samsung’s first version of a device similar to the successful Microsoft Surface (which is now onto its fourth generation)

The Galaxy Tab Pro S is pitched as powerful enough to be a full desktop replacement.

Stylish and elegant the device sports a Super Amoled display – that makes it the first Samsung Windows tablet to have a 12 inch display made from the same material that their excellent mobile phone screens are made of. Some people find the contrast and colour of Super Amoled to be a bit bright and nasty but I love it.

The tablet becomes a business tablet mainly because it comes with Windows 10 and 4G/LTE connectivity, meaning you get computing power provided on the move. Additionally the Tab Pro S can be adapted to work with most desktop monitors – creating a full desktop environment.

Unlike many unnamed 2-in-1 devices, (cough iPad Pro – cough Surface Pro) the Tab Pro S comes with keyboard and track pad included. The keyboard is a fuller size creating a more familiar computing experience.

Samsung Galaxy Smartphone can also pair their device with the Galaxy TabPro S to create an authentication tool – unlocking your screen when the two devices are in close proximity, and sharing files between each device.

Price: $1,799 for the wifi version and $1,999 for the 4G version.
Website here.
2. Huawei – Awesome Android Smartphones, the Mate 8 and Leica Camera Toting P9.

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Remember the 80’s? You could spot a business person a mile away thanks to their power suits with skyscraper-like shoulder pads and their ridiculously large mobile phones. The phones (and shoulder pads) have certainly gotten smaller but a mobile phone is probably still the number one business accessory.

And in 2016, here’s the big question, is Huawei the new superpower in Smartphones?

These two devices certainly make it appear so. The large Mate 8 and the just announced premium P9 happen to be two of the best Android smartphones going.

The P9 is the hero device, going on sale on the 1st of June. The stylish design, with a sandblasted aluminium case and a rich, 5.2 in full HD screen would look good in any boardroom situation.

Huawei have gone all out on the camera with this phone, gaining the endorsement of one of the most recognized names in premium photography, Leica.

When I say camera, I mean cameras – there are two 12mp cameras on the rear of the device, one of which is black and white only. The P9 melds the images from each camera into one shot producing better low light photographs and superior professional quality images overall.

The P9 is so premium it is even endorsed by Hollywood Stars, Scarlett Johanson and Henry Cavill. The TV and Cinema advert was filmed in Shanghai and our very own Wellington. See if you can spot Te Papa in the video below.

Mate 8 Price, $1,099, available in space grey with 32 GB of storage.

Huawei P9 Price, $1,099, available from June 1st.

Gadget 3. USB Cufflinks

USB Cufflinks

In business, you always need to have a trick or two up your sleeve so you can maintain your competitive edge. So why not have a USB drive or two up your sleeve as well.

These novelty cufflinks might just save your skin in a business meeting. If your laptop crashed and that incredibly important document can’t be accessed online, you’ll be glad you saved a spare copy on your cufflink. For real.

Each cufflink has a hidden USB flash drive held in place by magnets. And they don’t even scream GEEK!! – They look like a normal pair of shiny silver cufflinks with an executive looking all metal casing.

Available from Amazon.

Price: $22 NZD plus postage.

Cool camera technology any Kiwi can afford

When you think about cameras today you may think of the one built into your phone.  But do you also think of Surveillance, 3D or Virtual reality? In modern society cameras are everywhere and they are getting smarter. To prove the point here are three cool cameras with amazing uses.

Gadget 1. HP Spectre X2 Tabet with an Intel Realsense Camera

 

The HP Spectre X2, from $1699, is a hybrid computer with a little something special added.  The integrated tablet and keyboard device features an Intel Realsense 3D, depth-sensing camera.  With this technology it’s possible to scan real world items and then turn them into 3D printed objects.  Canny gamers have even been using the camera to scan themselves and load their photo realistic avatars into games – which they can then play on the Spectre X2.  It’s almost like a scene from Inception isn’t it?

www.hp.com/nz

 

Gadget 2. Ricoh Theta S

 

 

If you’ve been on Facebook or YouTube lately you may have seen the latest in video technology, 360° videos which the user can drag to see all angles in the scene. The Ricoh Theta S camera, $349 USD, is one low cost solution that allows you capture your own 360° shots.

The spherical images the camera records provides a world view that is simply incomparable with standard photos and movies. Images of your entire surroundings can be captured with one simple push of the shutter, or if you prefer, you can use remote and manual shooting by using the app.

Spherical images can be posted to social networking services from the app and shared easily with friends. You can also send your spherical images to friends by mail or using a wide range of apps by saving them to a smartphone album.

Website: https://theta360.com/en/

 

Gadget 3:  Swann One Security System

 

Swann are world leaders in DIY security systems which can stay on site and then come with you if you move premises. It is a complete solution allowing you to control every element of your home or business security from just one app, via your smartphone.

In New Zealand there are two starter kits to choose from; the alarm kit which has a smart hub to connect to your wifi and three movement sensors ($599) and the video monitoring kit which has the alarm elements plus a soundview camera for live video surveillance ($799).

Owners can add to the base kits with items like a siren, a smart plugs, smart door lock or an outdoor camera. The SwannOne Smart Hub even has a built-in microphone which listens for glass windows and door breaking, and will notify you if it detects them.

Website: www.swannone.com/nz/

 

Mothers Day Gift Ideas from the Gadget Guy

It’s nearly Mother’s Day so now is a good time to have a think about gifts for the tech-savvy mum.  Sure, flowers and chocolates are always appreciated, but today’s modern mum also looks for technology that helps her to keep track of her busy life.

We’ve had a look at the latest gadgets from the big names in tech and are pleased to bring you the following gift guide.

S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, $1,399. The water resistance of the GS7 is perfect for Mums.  Forget the worry about dropping the phone in the bath, the worry of the kids drink bottle spilling all over it – those days are gone with the GS7.  The bigger battery capacity is also a great feature for Mums on the go (and those whose children watch videos on their phone and drain the battery life), while the always on display means the time is always visible.

Website: http://www.samsung.com/nz/galaxys7/

 

Rose Gold Gear S2

Samsung Gear S2, $749. Wearable technology with a sleek design, this smartwatch ensures Mum’s are connected to the best technology and can assess everything from their wrist.  They can check the weather forecast, track their heartbeat or reply to txt messages from the kids, all with a twist of the bezel. The Rose Gold is a colour Mum’s will love.

Website:  http://www.samsung.com/nz/galaxy/gear-s2/features/

 

Sweet Sounds

 

Sony Extra Bass Speaker

Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Speaker, $299.95. For mums who love music on the go.   Sony’s brand new Extra Bass SRS-XB3 wireless speaker delivers deep, punchy bass with clear vocals and rich detailed sound. It is water resistant and has an ultra long battery life.  Mum can stream chill out sounds for relaxation but this gadget comes into its own when playing the latest dance beats out loud. Mums still love to groove right?

http://www.sony.co.nz/extrabass

Panasonic Wings

When Mum needs a bit of me time she can jog with these fancy Panasonic Wings, $249.95.  The digital wirelesss headset means no wires to snag when connected to your phone. Quick charge in 15 minutes means she can hit the track whenever the mood takes her.

The premium BTS50 model features waterproofing for extra protection from rain and dirt, and can also be cleaned by washing the headphones under running water. This model also features stylish blue LED lights embedded along the edge of the headphones, providing increased visibility and safety for anyone who exercise early in the morning or at night in the dark during the winter months.

Panasonic is an official worldwide partner for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has provided each New Zealand’s Olympic athlete with their own pair of WINGS headphones.

Website: http://www.panasonic.com/nz/consumer/tvs-home-theatre-and-audio/headphones/clip-type-headphones/rp-bts50e.html

Rose Gold seems to be the new black, and it’s also the colour of the new Macbook, priced from $2,399,  released just last week.  The brand new model has the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.

With no moving parts or vents, MacBook is entirely fanless for silent, efficient performance. It has fast wireless connectivity which makes it perfect for tasks like streaming content to your Apple TV using AirPlay, exchanging files quickly using AirDrop or using wireless headphones.

With iMovie, GarageBand and the suite of iWork apps it is also great for easily making home movies or even learning to play piano and guitar. The MacBook starts at $2,399 inc. GST.

Website:  http://www.apple.com/nz/macbook.

All prices correct at time of publication.

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Getting encased in crystal at the Connect Expo courtesy of Intel

The Connect Expo and related “Next Big Thing Summit” ran to great acclaim in Melbourne earlier this week.  Business leaders from around the region came to network and to understand how ICT and emerging digital technologies are shaping the future of work and life in general.

At the Expo I saw numerous examples of businesses who are adopting cutting edge technologies such as virtual reality, robotics and the Internet of Things to carve out strongly differentiated market positions.

I attended courtesy of Intel who along with IBM were diamond sponsors of the event.  Intel had a prominent presence with a large stand showcasing both their own products and those of OEM partners such as HP and Lenovo who were displaying equipment with 6th Generation Intel Core vPro processors inside.

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Part way through the day I was asked if I would like to have my head etched in crystal using 3D scanning and laser technology.  Well how could a Gadget Guy refuse a request like that?

The process started when Glen from Intel scanned me with a Lenovo X1 tablet.  The tablet has an Intel Realsense 3D camera which can measure depth and distance built into its rear.

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Using the Sense App Glen was able to render a 3D image of my head and shoulders on the tablet.

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Next, the image was tidied up and sent to a Spark II Crystal Laser Engraving Machine for printing.

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It was the first time I had seen one of these beasts in action and the sight of green lasers sparking and progressively etching my face into a clear block of crystal was astonishing.

These machines have practical uses, such as creating trophies and tourist keepsakes but they are also great for experiential events – apparently football fans queued for several hours at the 2016 Superbowl to get their own 3D etched cube memento.

Here’s a short Instagram video showing the process in Melbourne and the end result.

Elsewhere at the Expo I spoke with a number of businesses including Australia’s Virtual Reality Ventures who design VR experiences for brands and also the Melbourne arm of One Fat Sheep, the successful Christchurch augmented reality business.

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At the Next Big Thing Summit, Kate Burleigh, Intel’s Managing Director A/NZ delivered a great keynote on business in the age of digital disruption.

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Kate’s presentation painted an inspiring picture of businesses dealing with a “vortex of change” that forces them to be agile and get products to market in “weeks rather than years” and all of this in a security environment where “trust is won in drips but lost in buckets”.

To round things out, special guest Tom Garrison,  General Manager of the Business Client Platforms Division,  took the stage to show how Intel’s 6th Gen processors enable better collaboration through beautiful technology devices such as the HP Elitebook Folio business and the Lenovo X1 Yoga.

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