Quick Bytes

Device of choice
According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, more young adults own smartphones than laptop or desktop computers. Compared with three years ago, when 90 percent of young adults owned computers and only two-thirds owned smartphones, today nearly 86 percent of adults under 30 own a smartphone and 78 percent own a laptop or desktop computer. Sales of MP3 players, gaming consoles and e-readers also have decreased among this age group. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

Wear or be square
The wearable technology industry is projected to grow 64 percent over the next three years, reaching $25 billion in 2019 when more than 245 million devices are expected to ship. Already, wearables are penetrating all walks of life, including parenting. Devices are available that monitor a baby’s sleep quality or rely on Bluetooth to monitor a child. Today, high-tech products make homes safer and keep families connected. For example, TrackR is designed to track kids, dogs and luggage. For gamers, high-tech wristbands, such as Mighty Cast, are said to enhance the video game experience. As innovation improves the ability to diagnose, monitor and treat illnesses and diseases, wearables are also taking over the digital health market, which is expected to reach $5 billion in 2016. Examples of newer offerings include Slendertone – a weight reduction belt that targets and tones muscles – and Oaxis – a fitness band designed to turn daily exercise and activities into a game. OrCam – a wearable computer vision device – is designed to assist the visually impaired. For the fashion conscious, wearables are available as smart jewelry and smart clothes.

Too good to be true?
After raising over $2 million in a successful Kickstarter campaign this past May, Next Thing Co. promised that when pre-orders opened for CHIP – the company’s $9 computer – the price would remain unchanged. (The company did briefly change the price to $8 on Cyber Monday, and invited potential customers to spend their saved dollar on stamps, bottled water or other such necessities.) The open source budget computer is the size of a credit card and reportedly capable of generating documents and spreadsheets, browsing the Web and email, and playing thousands of video games. With the addition of Pocket CHIP, CHIP is transformed into a full-fledged portable computer. One gets what one pays for, however, and consumers should not be surprised to learn that CHIP is very hackable.

Enhanced viewing
Hisense Group announced the availability of its smart television featuring the company’s independently developed SOC-level graphics engine chip. The chip reportedly improves the dynamic range of the LCD TV screen, as well as the dynamic contrast ratio, color gamut, definition and fluency of movement. High-end televisions are equipped with a master chip and a TCOM chip. Given the prevalence of 4K and 8K chip sources, and broadcasting and resolution needs of video streaming media, larger screens require graphics engine chips. The combination of the three chips are said to significantly improve the computing performance through interdependent and simultaneous operation. Hisense is the first Chinese company leveraging the three chips and to independently develop the SOC-level graphics engine chip at such low production costs. In addition to home applications, Hisense aims to introduce the graphics engine chip to the medical, drawing and movie monitoring sectors.

What’s hot in travel?
Heated luggage! In fact, heated luggage is said to protect travelers from bedbug infestations. Not a bad thing considering that the recent rise in bed bug infestations. Bedbugs are found in airplanes and hotels, as well as in hospitals, nursing homes, movie theaters, retail stores, universities and public schools. In response, ThermalStrike, features a line of products with state-of-the-art infrared technology that is lethal to all stages of bed bugs. The National Pest Management Association recommends exposure to temperatures above 118°F for bedbug management, and the company’s luggage is designed to exceed these temperatures to kill all stages of bedbugs and eggs, while regulating temperatures that are safe for most items. Available in a 20-inch carry-on and 24-inch upright, ThermalStrike luggage is TSA- and FAA-compliant and features an ultra-thin heating system with an integrated thermometer, which automatically shuts off after reaching the desired temperature to kill all life stages of bedbugs. In addition, the company recommends that travelers:

  • Be prepared. Check hotel rooms for bedbugs and use bedbug-proof luggage.
  • Be Alert. Bedbug signs include itchy, red welts on skin; black fecal material in mattress folds; and black/red spots on sheets.
  • Be Aware. Bedbugs hide in common spots like trains, buses, movie theaters, the gym and other public places.

For more information, visit www.thermalstrike.com.

For your TV viewing
Attention weekend couch potatoes: AfterMaster TV has introduced a device designed to eliminate distorted and inconsistent television sound levels, regardless of the speaker system or audio controls. The AfterMaster TV box is not much bigger than an iPhone and connects via HDMI cables, between an A/V source and a television. Developed by a group of music industry professionals, including music engineers, producers and audio specialists, AfterMaster TV reportedly delivers:

  • Clearer, louder and balanced dialogue
  • Less need for volume adjustment
  • More fullness from small speakers

The system works on a standard HDMI cable or satellite box, as well as gaming consoles, such as PS4 and Xbox, as well as streaming products like Apple TV and Roku. For more information, visit http://www.aftermaster.com.

New in transportation
Why drive to work when you can scoot? The Kruzer – a two-wheel electric self-balancing scooter – has been engineered to respond to the body as it leans. The rider steps on the scooter, leans and goes forward, backward or in circles, up to 7 MPH. Features include:

  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Up to 10 miles of battery life on a single charge
  • A two-hour charging time
  • Portability

The best part: There is no bike rack or parking space required.