Gadgets :: February 8, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

The SmartCraft Sunflower outdoor shade umbrellas aren’t expected to be available until later this year or early 2018, but I still think it’s a really cool, innovative product worth mentioning.

What they refer to as “The worlds first Autonomous robotic shading system” can be used as a standard umbrella, which it does just fine; you’ll get a lot more out of it with what seems like endless smart home features.

The shade has a pair of security cameras, Wifi, Bluetooth, tells you how long you have been in the sun and is app (iOS/Android) and voice controlled. There’s also an embedded microphone and speaker system.

And best of all there no power connection needed since everything you need to keep it running is supplied by solar power. In addition to keep you in the shade non-stop, it has a USB connection for charging mobile devices and other USB powered accessories.

If for some reason the sun isn’t available, it will store enough power to last  more than 72 hours.

On its own, the Sunflower tracks the movement and position of the sun, collecting solar energy and best of all it stays in a position to shade you.

The WiFi is an optional add-on cellular data connection, which allows it to become a WiFi source.

A table attachment and a beach/grass attachment are included. A drink holder, which will cool or heat your beverage can also be added.

http://shadecraft.com pricing is expected to be around $2,000

If you’re an Apple fan the iHome (iPLWBT5) docking clock radio and triple charging is for you.

The nightstand-sized device (9.46-by-4.10-by-4.65-inches) is AC powered and will handle the hat trick of devices many Apple users have; iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Cable free charging is done with a top sided flexible lightning port, which allows you to charge an iPhone, even with most cases on. An Apple Watch charing dock is on the right side, all you do it lay the watch on it for charging.

On the back is a USB port to connect your cable for charing an iPad or even non-Apple devices. All the charging features have certification from Apple for safe charging.

In addition to the power charging, It has all the basics you want: dual alarms, speakerphone, Bluetooth and a nice sounding Reson8 speaker chamber system facing the front. An aux-in port is also built into the back for connecting a non-Bluetooth device.

An auto dimming display on the front shows you the time, which is auto synced clock with the time from your connected iPhone. There are six FM presets and a battery backup.

Most of the control buttons, including power and the ever popular snooze, are on the top. Time sync, Bluetooth, aux-in and power are on the back.

www.ihomeaudio.com $129.99

There’s nothing positive about drinking and driving and a product called Drivesafe express will only cost a few dollars to help keep people from going behind the wheel when they have had too much alcohol.

For $12.50 you get a pack of 5 single-use breathalyzers. Inside the tube, which you blow into, are crystals that change color depending on if the user has been drinking or not.

Depending on how much alcohol has been consumed, the higher the alcohol concentration, the darker the pigmentation. You get the results in 2 to 4 minutes from the device that can be carried in a pocket, purse or computer bag. They measure 3.95-inches long by 0.45-inches in diameter and weighs 2-ounces.

According to the company, the devices are accurate with a plus/minus 5-percent margin and the results are displayed on a quad-colored BrAC strip.

https://mydrivesafe.com

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