Root programming robot helps STEM knowledge branch out

editors-choice-300x96With the world becoming increasingly modernized, the importance of having children engage in the principles of programming as early
as possible has skyrocketed. And while it’s easy to see the financial benefits of that exposure, what’s more important is the analytical and critical thinking it develops in those young minds. This is why the Root was created.

Root is a Roomba-looking robot that focuses on teaching both kids and adults valuable programming skills. The robot itself can attach itself and navigate walls or just wander about on the floor and is equipped with a variety sensors for coders to play with. The Root’s companion app has three levels. The first has a graphical interface that non-readers can use to learn basic concepts of events, sequences, loops, states, functions, priorities, timing, program stepping and debugging.

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RoboRanger serves as your personal safety device

Portable safety devices can come in really handy when there is an emergency. But many of them require being tethered to another device or Bluetooth connection to a smartphone, which a lot of consumers –- especially senior citizens – don’t often have.

RoboRanger is a water-resistant personal safety device that features a loud, 130-decibel alarm, around-the-clock monitoring, and friends/family notification. It also has a standalone connection to 911 and provides 24/7 coverage virtually anywhere in the world, its makers say. Plus, it connects directly to GSM and GPS without a smartphone or other device. It requires one simple motion to activate during an emergency situation: users just have to pull its pin and that will activate the alarm and transmit the user’s exact location to a professional 911 response team.

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Behind its cute smile, the Plobot teaches tykes to program

The idea of teaching young children about the nuances of programming logic is quickly becoming more commonly accepted. Doing so benefits all types of skills, from visualization to problem solving, and help children confront the challenges of a rapidly developing world.

The Plobot is another in a long line of completely physical programming toys created to help children explore the world of progamming world in a very tactile way. Created by NYU robotics professor Rudi Cossovich and ex-Google engineer Sean Purser-Haskell, does away with syntax and computer screens while still educating children about algorithms, loops, conditionals, and more. Command cards are core to the Plobot experience, with each representing a block of code. Kids can tap or swipe them on Plobot’s head to string them together and create a program the robot follows, with the play card serving as an execute function. (more…)

Helium smart light uses machine learning to light up the home

Smart lights are undoubtedly cool. What’s not is the time spent digging through a light’s companion app for just the right setting, or having an assistant like Siri or Amazon’s Echo misunderstand a user’s command to turn one on or off. The Helium machine learning smart light is trying to get rid of the fuss for a smoother smart light experience.

Helium is three things in one: A machine learning connected light bulb, a night shift feature light, and a Wi-Fi extender. Its machine learning capabilities take into account time, location, weather, proximity and behavior to make it context aware. This results in lights turning on by themselves when entering a room, for example, and shifting to a bright white light during work hours for increased productivity or a warm white light right before bed for to better adhere to the body’s internal rhythms. (more…)

The Smach Z portable gaming PC is the chosen one

The dream of any hardcore game: A handheld gaming PC powerful enough to play AAA titles. With the Smach Z, that elusive dream has finally come true.

The lightweight portable device looks like a cross between a laptop and an old-school Sega Game Gear, but with all the functionality and power of a gaming PC. The Smach Z comes in two versions: A regular version and a Pro version. Both share an AMD Merlin Falcon CPU clocked at 2.1GHz, a Radeon R7 GOU clocked at 800MHz, a 6″ 1080p touch screen, an accelerometer, gyroscope, a Wi-Fi module and five hour battery life, but differ on RAM, internal memory, and the presence of a front-facing camera for Twitch streaming and a 4G LTE connection. (The regular version sports 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, while the PRO ups its to 8GB and 128GB.) All together, this unassuming device can play almost any game on Steam at high to medium settings, including the latest AAA titles. (more…)

The Roboming’s sleek design can’t hide lack of functionality

The robot revolution is well underway, but it’s still a long way off from the stuff of science fiction books, TV and movies. For now, robots like the Roboming Fellow are filling the gap between the inevitable, more advanced creations — and does a fair job at doing so.

The Roboming Fellow is a small but sleekly designed robot built for companionship, light home security, and pets. Its calming blue LED light and pan/tilt capabilities almost give the device its own personality, so that a user’s voice commands are not only met with them being carried out but with a little nod and shake as well. Roboming can also scan and create a map of the home, useful for navigating to a user or for patrols when a user is gone. (more…)

CamBuddy Pro controls your camera from smartphones, tablets

Smart controllers that allow photographers to operate their cameras via smartphone have become much in-demand, especially for interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs). That’s largely because they allow people to control the main features of those typically bulky cameras right from the palm of the user’s hand.

CamBuddy Pro is a Wi-Fi-enabled smart controller for ILCs that offers live-view, time-lapse and four built-in triggering sensors. It works in conjunction with a free Joopic app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and works up to 100 feet away from the camera. CamBuddy Pro starts shipping in December. Future pricing is $149. But Kickstarter backers have been able to order one for a pledge starting at $89 for early birds. Its makers are out to raise $30,000 by Nov. 13.

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The LyfieEye tosses Android users a bone in 360°

While the technology industry pivots toward more immersive experiences, the ways in which users can actually create this content are limited. And those that are available can be prohibitively expensive.

The LyfieEye is a spherically-shaped 360° camera designed with Android phones in mind. It takes HD quality photos and can record videos of up to 30fps with its pair of dual cameras, each of which takes a 180° video. The camera’s proprietary system then stitches the two videos together in real time for the final product, which can then be shared on Facebook, Youtube or to a virtual reality headset and consumed that way. (more…)

Blincam spectacles snap pics with just a wink

The rise and tumultuous fall of Google Glass was a case study in dealing with a product that was too progressive for its time. Outside of the privacy concerns it generated, one of the more widely appreciated features was its ability to take pictures with a single tap of the finger, leading to more natural and candid shots of friends, family and other important moments.

The Blincam takes this feature and makes it central to what the product does. Designed as a super lightweight wearable that clips onto any pair of glasses, all it takes is a single wink for the Blincam to take a photo. Then, through a Bluetooth connection, it will send those photos to a paired smartphone for storage and sharing. (more…)

The Cuciniale helps whips up whatever you want without a fuss

Much to the chagrin of the many who aren’t well-versed with the kitchen, cooking with consistently good results requires years of professional cooking experience. Unfortunately, most people don’t have that and end up serving a lot of under- and overcooked food. To help address this issue and to cut down on the time spent in the kitchen overall, the Cuciniale cooking system was born.

The Cuciniale intelligent cooking system consists of a multi-sensor wireless probe, an induction cooktop and a companion mobile app. Together, it guides users through the process of making any meal. While the induction cooktop is fairly straightforward, the key to the cooking system is the wireless probe which serves as its brain. Users simply select the food and desired preparation style from the app and stick the probe into the food itself. From here, the app will not only calculate the size and density of the food to accurately control the cooktop’s heat but also alert users when to participate themselves. (more…)