Gadgets for Geeks

Leap Motion Adds Gesture Control to VR

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Leap Motion Adds Gesture Control to VR

Gesture control specialist Leap Motion focuses its attentions on virtual reality as it presents Orion-- a hardware and software solution for the addition of tracker-free gesture control to VR headsets.

The hardware side of Orion is a small device users clip on VR headsets. It packs an array of 3D motion sensors and promises to track the wearer's entire body (including arms and legs) as well as hands and fingers faster, farther and with less latency.

The other half of the solution is software the maker claims can work out accurate hand tracking even in case of distorted angle, occlusion, backgrounds and lighting conditions.

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The Oral-B App-Enabled Genius Toothbrush

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The Oral-B App-Enabled Genius Toothbrush

Smart devices affect just about every area of customers' lives, down to and including their mouths-- at least as seen at MWC 2016 with the Oral-B Genius, an app-powered electric toothbrush complete with video recognition.

A successor to Oral-B's SmartSeries line of app-powered toothbrushes, the Genius promises to take oral hygene even further through "Position Detection Technology." Essentially, the toothbrush combines built-in motion and acceleration sensors together with video of the user's face and a special recognition algorithm to help one improve their brushing technique.

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Make Short Work of Folding the Laundry with Laundroid

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Make Short Work of Folding the Laundry with Laundroid

We are truly living in wonderful times-- if one is to believe Tokyo-based Seven Dreamers, folding the laundry will soon be a thing of the past with Laundroid, the laundry-folding robot. Yes, really.

While it bears an ominous resemblance to HAL 9000, the malevolent artificial intelligence from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Laundroid's only purpose is to perform one of the more annoying household tasks. As seen in a CES 2016 demonstration, one simply needs to dump freshly-washed laundry in a drawer before setting a predetermined folding pattern.

According to the company getting a machine to fold the laundry is actually more complicated than one might imagine, since it involves advanced image analysis and a suite of robotic tools. As such it takes a few minutes to fold each item, but then again don't we all?

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Microsoft Details HoloLens (Limited) Battery

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Microsoft Details HoloLens (Limited) Battery

Microsoft evangelist Bruce Harris gives a few details on the HoloLens augmented reality headset at a Tel Aviv event-- including the fact the device battery lasts for 5.5 hours of regular use.

As reported by Petri, "heavy loads" slash battery life to just 2.5 hours. The power issue also limits the display capabilities of the headset, leading to a field of view "similar" to a 15-inch monitor close to the viewer's face.

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Parrot Opens CES Drone Disco

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Parrot Opens CES Drone Disco

Parrot differentiates from the quadcopter drones it helped make popular as it goes Disco at CES 2016-- a fixed-wing consumer drone similar to a toy glider, if one with high-tech drone twist.

The idea behind the Disco drone is simple enough. To fly it one simply needs to toss it in the air before an autopilot AI takes over, with no further piloting skills required. The autopilot even takes care of landings, while an assisted control-based system allows users to play with pitch without risk of bad maneuvers or stalling.

The built-in 14MP camera is the one found in the Bebop 2 quadcopter, and is complete the same 3-axis digital stabilisation.

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The Smallest VR Headset at CES

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The Smallest VR Headset at CES

Customers curious about the possibilities of virtual reality yet cannot afford a headset? Homido might have a solution at CES 2016-- the Homido Mini, a small accessory for the viewing of smartphone-powered VR experiences.

The Homido Mini consists of a plastic frame and a pair of lenses. It allows users to enjoy any VR app compatible with Google Cardboard by simply attaching the frame to an iOS/Android device, without need to actually wear a cumbersome (if not outright uncomfortable) headset.

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Samsung Sticks Giant Touchscreen on Fridge

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Samsung Sticks Giant Touchscreen on Fridge

CES is a good place for wacky home appliances, and Samsung already has an amazing example of the art-- the "Family Hub" refrigerator complete with 21.5-inch touchscreen and companion smartphone app.

The fridge even has cameras inside, allowing one to remotely check its contents via smartphones. And in case such functionality is not enough it also alerts users when they need to be certain foods, tell if they are on sale and even lets one order said foods (at least in Samsung's home Korea).

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The Smallest Camera-Equipped Drone

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The Smallest Camera-Equipped Drone

Drone maker Axis announces the Vidius-- a palm-size camera-equipped quadcopter the company says small enough not to require Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration in the US.

According to recent FAA regulation change users need to register drones weighing between 250g and 25kg by 19 February 2016. Vidius owners do not need to bother with such paperwork, yet the tiny drone is able to stream 420p video to mobile devices via wifi.

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Prague Gets Apple Museum

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Prague Gets Apple Museum

A recently opened "Apple Museum" in Prague claims to host one of the "largest private collection of Apple products and memorabilia in the world," with 472 exhibits covering both iconic and more esoteric products.

Located in 3 buildings in the Prague old town, the museum features fully functioning Apple computers ranging from 1976 until 2012, including an Apple Lisa. Other displays show the evolution of products such as the iPod and iPhone, as well as Steve Jobs memorabilia such as business cards from his NeXT and Pixar days.

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The Apple Store's First Cooking Gadget

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The Apple Store's First Cooking Gadget

A first cooking device arrives in Apple retail-- the Anova Wifi Precision Cooker, a  wifi- and Bluetooth-connected means for customers wanting to partake in sous vides cooking.

For readers not in the know, sous vide essentially boils down cooking ingredients in a water bath set at a precise temperature. According to Anova the Precision Cooking takes care of heating the water and circulating it around the pot, with temperature and cooking time duties handled via companion iOS app.

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The Pryme Vessyl App-Enabled Cup

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The Pryme Vessyl App-Enabled Cup

Mark One, the company behind the Vessyl "smart cup," launches a similar device app-connected dedicated solely to tracking user water consumption-- the Pryme Vessyl.

The Pryme Vessyl measures all the water the user drinks during the day, with a special hydration algorithm working out how much water one needs to actually consume as based on factors such as age, weight, sex and activity level. The cup also synchs with the Apple Health or Jawbone Up apps, and is supposed to help users stay at the "Pryme" of hydration.

"Many of us still follow the 8 cups per day, one-size-fits-all approach to water consumption, but everyone's hydration needs are unique--fluctuating day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour," the company claims. "Pryme captures a variety of factors such as height, age, weight and sex, as well as changing variables like sleep and exercise, to help you understand your personal hydration needs."

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