Category Archives: Entertainment

Stern Pinball launches new titles for iconic pinball fun @ CES 2021



Stern Pinball Led ZeppelinZach Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Stern Pinball, joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about some of their newest machines and what makes them stand out in the arcade market. Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”) is the oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of arcade-quality pinball games on the planet, churning out eye-catching pinball machines for more than 30 years.

Pinball is the universal language of fun, says Sharpe, bridging generations and cultures across decades. For 2021, Stern Pinball released some iconic titles including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stranger Things, Avengers, and their amazing Led Zeppelin, complete with Immigrant Song and 9 other songs, which took years to acquire the rights to use in the game.

SPI offers a full line of commercial and consumer pinball games, merchandise, parts, and accessories that are sold to pinball operators, enthusiasts, and fans around the globe. Each of their cornerstone titles is available in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models. Pro is the coin-operated machines players will typically find in bars and arcades. Premium and Limited Edition models are found more commonly in private collections and typically feature a few more moving parts, such as the Electric Magic Device found in the Led-Zeppelin machine. The device rises from the floor of the machine and features a spinner and ball capture that literally changes the whole trajectory of a game.

The Premium and LE models also incorporate an Expression Lighting System with nearly 100 intelligent LEDs that simulate a graphic equalizer choreographed to the music. With their new Spike 2 technology, the machines are also easier to maintain and repair, with less complexity, fewer components to break and easy serviceability.

Visit the company’s website to see the full collection of SPI machines, as well as to access their Pinball Locator so you can find Stern Pinball machines out in the wild to play.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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AfterShokz offers get great sound and unparalleled comfort @ CES 2021



AfterShokz bone-conducting headphonesMost of us couldn’t get through the day without our headphones. At work, we use them for conference calls and to listen to our favorite podcasts and music. Away from work, they get us through everything from long workouts to helping us fall asleep, and they are invaluable in helping us escape when uncle Billy brings up politics at family functions. For these reasons and more, they are truly on our list of essential items. But let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to find that perfect pair that fit properly, especially when we tend to use them multiple hours per day. Headphones crush your ears and make it impossible to hear anything that is going on around you. Earbuds are never the right size and some of them are downright painful. And just like your favorite pair of socks, there’s always one of those little silicone tips that has gone off in search of a better life. But luckily, technology keeps forging on to find us a more perfect personal listening experience. And AfterShokz may have done just that. We were very happy to be able to meet up again with Donnie Coryea, Retail Marketing Specialist at AfterShokz, during our coverage of CES 2021, to find out what’s new with them.

Although most of the gamers that follow our coverage most likely already know about them, we know that the average consumer probably does not. AfterShokz makes open-ear, bone conduction headphones. What? Stay with us, it’s actually really cool. The thing that sets them apart from regular headphones is that they are designed to not go in or on your ears. They sit just outside of the ear and the bone conduction technology delivers the sound right through your cheekbone and directly to your inner ear. This technology allows you to stay aware of your surroundings while using them. They are great in office settings where you may need to hear the phone or be available for your manager and co-workers. They are also great at home where you might be awaiting a delivery or need to keep an ear out for the kids. They can also help you stay safe during outdoor activities and workouts. And gamers are falling in love with them because they are able to play for longer durations without their ears bothering them. No matter how you choose to use them, they really do fit into daily life much better than a standard pair of earbuds. You can leave them on while shopping or dashing through the airport and keep your music on or make a call. Or, in the case of our production team, they can answer a question from the green room without having to awkwardly pull aside the earcup from one side of their headphones and then try to get them set again.

With four different models to choose from, there is something for everyone. All are Bluetooth and offer a level of water resistance. Batter life starts at 6 hours on the Air and OpenMove models and it goes up to 8 hours on the Aeropex and there is 16 hours of talk time for the new OpenComm Headset with Noise-Cancelling Boom Microphone.

Another thing for you to love about AfterShokz is the price. It starts at just $79.95 and tops out at $159.95. So whether you are looking for endurance, lifestyle or communication, there is a set that is perfect for you. You’ll also find a nice little assortment of accessories on the AfterShokz website. My personal favorite are the colorful After-Sockz. If you get yourself a pair (and are able to keep one from getting irretrievably lost in the abyss), be sure to upload a pic of them in the comments here or on any of our social media sites.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Blacknut has a huge catalog of cloud streaming games @ CES 2021



Blacknut cloud gaming platformThere is no doubt that the future of gaming has a big place for cloud streaming services. There have been a number of companies, including Microsoft and Google, who have gotten in on the game. However, there seems to be a lot of question over the stability of and the commitment to these platforms. One company that is showing both stability and commitment is Blacknut.

The company has taken a very similar approach to Microsoft, in that the service is a monthly fee and includes all of the games in the catalog. The games in the catalog have no ads and no in-game purchases. Your game state is stored in the cloud, meaning that you can start your game on your phone and continue it on the computer, or vice versa. But, how many games are available? Currently, the service offers over 400 games with n ew games added weekly.

The catalog is also very diverse. There is a large collection of Japanese games with anime styling, such as BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. There are a lot of racing games, from big name franchises like Asphalt, Gravel, and MotoGP. And, there are weird games, like Overcooked and Farming Simulator 19. There is definitely something for everyone.

The service also has a strong focus on families. On your single subscription, you can create up to 5 profiles, so everyone has their progress separately. There are also parental controls, disabling access during certain times and limiting access to games with certain ratings.

Blacknut is available now for $15.99 per month, with a 50% discount for your first three months with discount code WELCOME3M21. You can play games on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Fire TV, and Google TV. To learn more about the platform, browse the catalog of games, and start your subscription, head over to the Blacknut website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Soul Blade earbuds want to help improve how you run @ CES 2021



Soul Blade runner earbudsMany of us always take our music with us. Whether we have over-ear or on-ear headphones, or in-ear earbuds, a lot of people carry some sort of personal audio product with them all the time. However, one group often struggles to find earbuds that work for them – runners. The new Soul Blade true wireless earbuds helps to address the concerns of runners, while adding capability for others.

The standard consumer earbuds tend to not be designed to stay in during intense motion, such as running. Specific devices tend to treat a symptom, like running a strap behind the head to keep from losing it. The Soul Blade earbuds address this problem the way older sport buds once did – with little blades inside the ear to hold them in place.

But, this isn’t where the Soul Blades really set themselves apart. The truly engaging feature of these earbuds is the health features. Built-in to the earbuds is a collection of health monitoring sensors, which can be used to track running form and vital stats. The system is even able to provide warning before injuries.

When there is an area of your form that requires improvement, a voice will chime in through the earbuds and let you know. Some of the capabilities aimed at running form include head angle, body tilt, and stride distance. At the end of the run, the connected SOULFIT app can give you detailed information about your form and any mistakes you may have made. You can also see visual representations of potential injury. You also get more traditional information, such as time, speed, calories burned, as well as a map of your run.

The Soul Blade true wireless earbuds will be available around the start of Q2 2021, and will retail for $199. To learn more about the company and its full product line, you can head to the Soul website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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VirtuItaly brings the art gallery experience to your home @ CES 2021



VirtuItaly virtual art galleryThe past year has stolen a lot from us, but one of the biggest losses has been the ability to travel and experience new places and cultures. Traveling is big part of life for many people of varying backgrounds. The experiences of going to parks, restaurants, and galleries is hard to give up. However, thanks to ArtCentrica, we can experience the art of Italy through VirtuItaly.

While VirtuItaly is designed to be an immersive platform that allows for in-person and remote experiences, the last year has certainly placed a focus on one part of the business. That aspect is a fantastic virtual platform that can help bring the experience of a classic art gallery to you, wherever you are. Through the platform, you can explore a large collection of paintings in a whole new way.

While normally, you must view the paintings from a distance, with VirtuItaly you can get up close and personal. In fact, you can use the platform to get so close you can see the individual imperfections in the paint. In our demo, we get to zoom into a painting to the point where you can see brush strokes and canvas cracks. The detail is absolutely stunning, and gives you the ability to experience the art in new ways.

One of the other things that sets the platform apart is the way they work to digitally restore the artwork. The art restorers research the materials that were available and popular for tinting paint in the time the work was created, and use that to determine what the colors would have been originally. This means that the vividness of the colors are likely closer to the original work than the reality is today.

VirtuItaly is available now, with a free trial to see what it is all about. To learn more or try it out, check out the VirtuItaly website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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ScopeMedia gives online fashion retailers a boost @ CES 2021



ScopeMedia fashion assistantAs consumers, the overall process of bringing an already well-established line of products to market seems to be routine and relatively simple in our minds. For example, if we want or need a new suit, we visit retail stores (whether brick and mortar, online, or more commonly by some combination of both) to shop and ultimately make our purchase. As far as the supply chain, we inherently know there are designers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, and wholesalers/retailers involved in the process. However, we usually never stop to consider that, in this day and age, there are many other intricacies involved in helping us get to our final purchases. Actually, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes for any industry, and especially when trying to improve upon processes and sales growth. The fashion industry is no exception to this. We had the chance to discuss one of these industry improving technologies with Paul from ScopeMedia this year at CES 2021.

As a leading developer of visual-based personalization and recommendation services, ScopeMedia has conducted years of research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as Computer Vision and has developed quite an interesting system. The result is a smart visual recommendation system that involves an innovative fashion index for e-commerce retailers. As internet shopping becomes more prevalent, adding a machine learning approach to all aspects of the design-to-purchase process is a smart path to take.

Their platform can easily be integrated into eCommerce stores to assist retailers to increase customer interest and sales, as well as improve the overall shopping experience. They have a unique Fashion Index model that is specifically designed for the fashion industry. It’s not only good to increase consumer satisfaction and increased sales, but it also helps retailers conduct trend analysis on the back end.

Be sure to watch the entire video to get more information and if you would like to give their technology a try for yourself, you can check out their demo store.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Impulse Neuro-Controller makes you faster when gaming @ CES 2021



Impulse Neuro-ControllerFor gamers, one of the most important things is controlling your timing. Every fraction of a second in response time can be the difference between getting the shot or getting shot. Gamers go out of their way to find just the right mouse and keyboard to be able to speed up their reaction times ever so slightly. But, as Avram always says, you can also speed up the slowest part of your computer – you. One way to accomplish this is with Impulse Neuro-Controller from Brink Bionics.

The Impulse is a fingerless glove that works with your existing gaming mouse to improve reaction times. Rather than waiting for you to click, it literally reads your mind and acts early. It is able to read your impulses (hence the name) from your hand using biosignals. Using an AI algorithm, the glove is able to learn your behaviors and act on them ahead of time.

Just like any bio-feedback device, it takes some time to train. Everyone reacts differently to different stimuli. For example, if you are training a brain control headband, you need to determine certain things to think about and map those thought patterns to specific actions. With the Impulse, you simply set it up for training and plan like normal. The system is able to read your biosignals and connect them with your actions on the computer. Once the connections are made, it is able to work ahead of you to produce results before you are able to click.

The Impulse Neuro-Controller is ideal for players of first-person shooters, real-time strategies, multiplayer online battle arenas, and more. To learn more about Impulse and Brink Bionics, you can head over to their website, which currently takes you to their Indiegogo page, which has a lot of additional information.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Tovertafel brings joyful play to late-stage dementia patients @ CES 2021



Tovertafel interactive gamesSjoerd Wennekes is the co-founder of Tover, a Dutch company that specializes in interactive games for people with severe cognitive disabilities, and he joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about their signature product, Tovertafel.

Tovertafel, or Magic Table, is an interactive gaming system for people with late-stage dementia or other cognitive impairments. Using a ceiling-mounted projector equipped with computer hardware and sensors, the device projects images onto any existing table in a care facility, creating simple interactive games for life enrichment. The games are played by touching the projected images, for instance, the action of swiping away projected autumn leaves or bouncing the image of beach ball back and forth between one another.

Tovertafel is a care home-friendly system, requiring no connections to external computers, or any sophisticated installation process. The ceiling-mounted device has a wide-angle lens with an adjustable projection field that can be used on any size table. Family members or staff can easily use the remote and get right to playing together without the need for special instructions.

While the projection technology is not new, how Tover utilizes it is unique. The company focuses on late-stage dementia patients who lack the ability to activate themselves, those typically living in long term care facilities who are often subject to apathy – the total lack of feeling and emotions which is the primary cause of death in dementia patients. Tovertafel games are designed to stimulate the portions of the brain that are not damaged by diseases like Alzheimer’s so that even people in the last stages of dementia can experience some joyful quality of life.

Care professionals utilizing the system have noted that patients playing Tovertafel games are more physically active, engage in more social activity, and seem to experience more joy and less sadness while playing with the Magic Table. They’ve also found the system improves the relationship between caregivers and residents and increases happiness for care professionals, family members, and friends alike.

Tovertafel is used in over 5000 cognitive care facilities in 12 countries. The company is launching in North America this spring.

Visit the company’s website to learn more.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Fauna Audio is putting amazing audio into your glasses @ CES 2021



Fauna Audio GlassesListening to our favorite songs and movies, and even taking conference calls are all very important aspects of our daily lives. And it seems that we usually need to make sure that we aren’t disturbing coworkers and others around us. Now, we all love a good set of headphones. But, honestly, they can be quite bulky and even impractical in a lot of settings. Earbuds are great. But even they don’t always fit the best and, like headphones, aren’t always perfect in the office, while driving or even taking a walk, because many times you can’t hear what’s going on around you. Luckily Fauna Audio has been working on this very thing. Their new line of smart glasses is an excellent solution, not to mention quite fashionable.

It was a pleasure to have a discussion with Isabel from Fauna Audio this year during our coverage of CES 2021 and learn more about them. And even though the virtual nature of the show this year has made exhibiting some of the products a little more difficult, it was actually a great way for us to get a good look at the smart glasses in action, as she was using them for the interview. This sleek and stylish eyewear features MEMS loud-speakers that are produced by USound. With these speakers located in both temples, they boast technology that concentrates the sound around the ears to reduce audio leakage and are designed to only be heard by the listener. These easy to use glasses pair with your devices via Bluetooth, have a built-in mic and also a digital voice assistant, making them perfect for hands-free calls.

They didn’t stop their design process with only great style and sound, either. They also wanted the best for your eyes. They have included Zeiss DuraVision BlueProtect lenses in their regular line, as well as Carl Zeiss Vision for their line of sunglasses. These lightweight, high quality, and durable lenses are BPA free with more than 99% protection from UVA/UVB rays and offer distortion-free, clear vision. The frames are also designed to allow for the lenses to be easily swapped out with most prescriptions lenses.

Currently being sold in Europe, they are hoping to launch in the U.S. soon. To learn more about their convenient and stylish audio eyewear, make sure to watch the full interview and check out all the specs and designs on their website.

Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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BOON Spotlight provides private and personalized shopping @ CES 2021



BOON Spotlight AI shoppingAt CES 2021, Todd Cochrane sits down to talk to Dylan Grey, founder of BOON, an award-winning startup from the UK that is revolutionizing online shopping with psychological research and AI technology.

The company has built the technology to create a personalized shopping experience using a unique combination of psychology and AI. The startup works with online retailers to deliver engaging experiences and increase their conversion rates, while also guaranteeing complete data control and privacy to the user.

BOON Spotlight leads consumers through a set of fun, image-based questions that use filtering and a psychology-backed AI to give meaningful product recommendations. The service uses groundbreaking AI and powerful filtering to shortlist the best products for each shopper, helping them discover their next purchase. BOON’s technology can be used as a personal shopping assistant or a gift finder. Shoppers can instantly replace any of their recommendations to curate a list of top picks. BOON’s AI continuously learns and improves from feedback like this, so each subsequent shopper gets a better experience and better recommendations.

The majority of consumers say they want better control of their data, but that can be a challenge for conventional tracking-based product recommendation technology. One of the benefits of BOON’s technology is that every consumer controls what data they provide and remains anonymous throughout. They took a new approach when designing their AI, building with privacy-in-mind from the ground up. Through the survey questions, users control what data they provide, and all responses are forgotten as soon as the window is closed – no cookies to track you for months on end.

Research shows that BOON’s technology will increase conversions by up to 85%. BOON has found that consumers love the experience: 96% participants complete all the questions once they start, they are up to 85% more likely to checkout, and they have a 35% larger basket size.

Improve your customers’ experience now by connecting with BOON via their website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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