Category Archives: Toys & Gaming

Hardware Breakthrough Makes Controllers a Dinosaur in VR

USENSIf virtual reality wasn’t already futuristic enough, along comes uSens, a piece of virtual reality hardware that makes it possible to have interaction with your hands, something that wasn’t available before now. It is meant mostly to be used socially rather than for gaming.

The tracking device has 2 infrared cameras and 3 LEDs and uses advanced algorithms to determine the position of your hands in 3D space. This simple approach makes it inexpensive and accurate, a big draw for many consumers. It is very easily installed for headphones and sensors are embedded rather than added-on for accuracy. This makes hand tracking and room tracking a thing very close to reality.

This product is mainly made for developers of headsets at a cost of $100. and will be available in a few weeks.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Invisible Touch with HandScape at CES

Handscape logoHandScape claim to be “Reinventing touch” and honestly, it’s not far from the truth. Their HandyCase puts a touch-sensitive panel on the back of a smartphone or tablet which lets the user work the device without fingers obscuring the display. LG has put buttons on the back of smartphones before but HandScape take it to the next level. Todd and Marlo see the possibilities with Tong Luo, founder and CEO.

Originally a Kickstarter project, the HandyCases for iPhone and iPad incorporate a touch-sensitive digitiser into a shell case. With multipoint capability, the touches, swipes and taps are transmitted via Bluetooth to the device which then reacts as if it had been tapped on the front display. This is genius. Imagine holding your smartphone in your hand and being able to scroll through your contact list by stroking the back of the phone with with one finger, and then double tapping to dial the number. Fantastic!

Cases are currently available for select Apple products with prices up to about US$150. It’s not 100% clear from the website what works now and what requires developer support so if you are thinking of buying you might want to confirm to avoid disappointment.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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CES 2016 Wrap Up Show & TPN Picks

The TPN Team present their 2016 TPN Picks to 10 companies that we felt had the best new products at CES 2016. Off the 1000’s of companies booths we walked by these 10 where tops by our team.

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CES 2016 Primer

Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central gets our CES channels fired up with a primer of what is to come in the coverage department from the 20 team members of the Tech Podcast Network who start preparing to head to Vegas in a couple of days.

Meccano Introduces Your Favorite Robotic Pal, the Meccanoid

MeccanoMecanoidRobots are something we all know and love, regardless of age or experience with technology. They’re just one of those things that you want to play with and learn more about. Luckily, Meccano is looking to make all of that possible by introducing a robotic friend that can be fully programmed to do a variety of things through a multitude of input methods.

For those familiar with the Erector Sets of the past, you may have already been familiar with Meccano, just under a different name. But now, Meccano will be bringing its name, along with its flagship product the Meccanoid, to stores across the world, beginning in August of 2015.

The Meccanoid stands four feet tall and comes in a simple-to-build kit. Once built, you can use different ways to tell the companion what to do. The easiest is the “mirror” method, where you press the record button on the robot and move its limbs around. Upon pressing the play button, the robot will do what you made it do, along with playing back any audio it recorded along the way. You can also program it via a smartphone that you connect to the Meccanoid via Bluetooth, or with a computer connected with USB. There’s even the possibility of hooking up a Kinect or similar device, and having the robot follow your every move using tracking, which is really cool.

The Meccanoid can be built into a bunch of different forms, from a normal robot friend to an automated trash retriever, to anything else you can think of. With the ability to fully code the bot, the combinations of forms and functions are practically endless.

Meccano also won the Last Gadget Standing event at CES 2015 with its Meccanoid product.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Unleash the AirDog (at CES)

AirDogWith the advances in drone technology, it’s easy to fly most drones these days. To fly a drone well and record video at the same time still takes a great deal of skill. It’s especially difficult if you are the pilot, cinematographer and star all at the same time. If this is your problem, then the AirDog is the solution. Todd cries, “Havoc” and lets slip the AirDogs of war.

The AirDog drone has two unique selling points. First, it folds up to fit into a backpack and second, it can follow its owner from the air, filming the action. The owner wears a wristband somewhat reminiscent of Jack Harkness which lets the drone track the owner’s position. Various parameters can be set to adjust how the AirDog positions itself relative to the owner, such as height and distance. Seriously cool.

The AirDog will be available later in the year for $1,500 but are open for a little under $1,300. You’ll also need to get yourself a GoPro camera.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.


Perfect Your Swing With Babolat Play

Babolat PlayTo improve at any skill or game, it’s often practice, practice, practice but today’s technology can help point out the areas to work on. Babolat‘s rackets are world famous and used by some of the top tennis professionals and for tennis fans, Babolat have developed a connected tennis racket based on their AeroPro Drive to help them hone their game. Eva shows Todd the new racket, Babolat Play.

The Babolat Play racket looks like an ordinary racket on the outside but with sensors integrated into the handle, players now have access to a pile of information – power level, impact position on the racket head, type and number of strokes (forehand, backhand, serve, overhead smash), top spin or back spin, all provided through a smartphone app for both Apple and Android. The racket can be taken on court for six hours between charges and over 150 hours of performance information can be recorded between downloads, which can be either via USB or Bluetooth.

The Babolat Play racket will be on sale in March for $349.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.


Jamstik Guitar For Your iPad

Zivix LogoLearning to play a musical instrument is both challenging and rewarding but fitting practice into today’s busy lives can be difficult. Zivix Jamstik – the guitar for iOS – could be the answer. Chris Heille from Zivix shows the two Todds a few riffs.

The Jamstik is 16″ lightweight, portable guitar with six real strings and five frets designed to fit into modern life. It’s also a MIDI guitar controller which wirelessly connects with the iPad, iPhone and Mac. The Jamstik gives you the ability to use all of the nuances of guitar playing to control your favourite music creation iOS apps or Mac software.

Jamstik is a new idea in guitar controllers because it uses infrared light to “see” what your hands are doing in real time. Unlike other MIDI guitar solutions that rely on audio analysis and conversion to MIDI, the Jamstik scans the fretboard to detect what your fretting hand is up to before your picking hand ever hits a string.

If you want to learn the guitar, the included JamTutor iPad app will get you going through the basics of playing guitar without the hassles of tuning, lesson scheduling or expensive guitar teachers.

The Jamstik is available now for $299 from a range of retailers including select Apple stores. If buying direct from, look out for the limited time discount code CES2015JSSAVER.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.


TPN Picks Awards

Each year the TPN team picks 10 companies that our team feels are deserving of a TPN pick. The awards are for what we feel is cool at CES and excites us the most. This years 10 picks are exceptional.