Brain Chips Are Here To Help

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Brain Chips Are Here To Help

As smartphone technology has advanced over the years there have been efforts to make sure no users are left behind.  Android Accessibility features have evolved alongside to help users with disabilities.  These have ranged from voice commands to braille displays.  And now, thanks to BrainGate, even paralyzed users who can’t pick up a phone have the opportunity to use one.

The IBCI unleashed:

Researchers have developed a new brain-computer interface that lets people with paralysis control a tablet fresh out of the box.  In the study, three participants with tetraplegia used the IBCI (intracortical brain-computer interface).  The IBCI was then connected to the tablet with a point-and-click wireless Bluetooth mouse.  The end result being that user were able to move a mouse around on the tablet screen and interact without ever touching the product.

Testers were able to use common apps ranging from web browsing to texting to playing music on a piano app.  Two of the users were able to use the device to “chat” with each other in real time.  Let me again emphasize that all of this was able to happen with a tablet that had no altercations done to it.  Users who were unable to move their arms or legs at all were able to experience the cutting-edge technologies that a lot of us take for granted.

Android Accessibility:

While the research for this achievement has been done by BrainGate, Android has taken steps as well to try making smartphone technology accessible to any and all users.  Android Accessibility’s feature set includes things such as the TalkBack function and Braille display.  TalkBack allows users to interact with their devices using spoken feedback.  The BrailleBack feature lets people connect a refreshable braille display to an android device via Bluetooth.  This way users can read their phone even though they can’t see the screen.

There are other Bluetooth connections that Android thrives on such as switch, keyboard, and mouse.  These help users with limited mobility, and they’re constantly undergoing innovations and improvements.  Fuchsia, proclaimed as Android’s successor, is working heavily on these kinds of integrations.

Taking Tech to The Next Level:

BrainGate’s research is truly amazing, but we also shouldn’t just pigeon hole it into something that can help those with paralysis.  As this technology continues to develop it will likely expand into all of our life’s until we’re eventually at the “Google Glasses” stage.  By this I mean seeing an entire virtual work around us and being able to interact with just our thoughts.

I’m incredibly excited to see this helping people experience what they otherwise couldn’t.  But there’s tons of opportunity for every smartphone user to utilize this tech down the road too.  What are your thoughts on the IBCI?  How far off do you think we are from this being a commodity that we all by at the store?  Let us know in the comments below!

Hands Up For Hands Off Hardware

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Hands Up For Hands Off Hardware

Have you ever held your phone for so long that your hand start to cramp up?  Maybe I just have a problem and need to get off mine.  Regardless I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that I could navigate at times without having to actually touch my screen.  Thanks to Google’s new app Voice Access this is becoming a reality.

What is Voice Access?

Plenty of people could benefit from using their devices while their busy doing other things.  Whether it’s cooking a meal or driving a car it’s nice to at least have the option.  Google’s Central Accessibility Team agrees with this and after years of research has release an app that lets users move to and fro in apps using just their voices.  We’ve had things like Google Assistant around for a while now, but this is taking things up a notch.

Voice Access has actually been in beta for a couple years, but non-stop development has finally made it ready for a production release.  Users are able to open and close apps, compose text messages, click buttons, watch videos (ok that one doesn’t really take touch in the first place).  Long story short there aren’t a lot of interactions that you can’t replicate using your voice.

So How Does It Work?

Voice Access offers users control of where they want to go by placing numbers on the screen near possible interactions.  Users can say what they want to click on and also issue commands such as “turn down the volume”, “turn off device”, or “scroll up”.    In other words, there are common sense interactions, and for everything else there are little paper clips floating around and if you say their name they’ll help you out.

Users can even modify their texts as they type them.  For instance if you wrote a text to a friend saying “Do you want to get dinner tonight?” but then changed your mind you could ask Voice Access to modify.  Simply say “replace ‘tonight’ with ‘tomorrow”, and the text would become “Do you want to get dinner tomorrow?” This kind of feature is particularly useful when you consider that the majority of people using hands free devices for interactions will be texting.

A larger market:

But it isn’t just for convenience’s sake.  In the United States alone millions of people have mobility impairments that could limit their hand function.  Voice Access offers people a chance to use phones to their full capacity when that capability might not otherwise have existed.  It will also be interesting to see how this develops as Fuchsia rises in popularity.  That alternative operating system is based around audio interactions so the two could certainly have some innovation in the years to come.

What do you think about hands free devices?  Have you thought of any other ways users could use their phones other than with voice commands?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Android Auto Is on A Roll!

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Android Auto Is on A Roll!

We all love our smartphones.  Unfortunately, some of us love them a little too much.  As fascinating as they are there are certain times in life when our attention should be elsewhere.  One of these is when we’re driving, as evidenced by the number of accidents that happen thanks to texting.  Luckily Android Auto is on the rise to increase the number of hands-free experiences.

Android Auto:

A few major announcements have come this month announcing partnerships between Google and automakers planning to include the Android operating system in their vehicles.  For those that don’t know, Android Auto is a mobile app developed by Google to mirror features from Android devices to a car’s dashboard or a headset.  By doing so users are able to interact with key features such as Google Maps, playing music, and texting without having to ever pick up their phones. 

Android Auto supports touchscreen dashboards as well as button-controlled head-sets.  Along with these is the more encouraged hands-free voice command.  It was first revealed at Google I/O in 2014, and now is available in 28 countries around the globe.

Upcoming rollouts:

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has signed a multiyear global agreement to embed Android in vehicles.  Toyota will also be allowing Android Auto devices to connect directly to cars for the first time.  And as the most recent development Jaguar has announced plans to add CarPlay and Android Auto to their vehicles.  The story is pretty much the same from car company to car company, but it’s clear that adoption is the trend.  And that’s a good thing both for innovation and safety.

The end goal for Android Auto is to create a seamless experience for users moving from their phone into their car.  If there are no apps that a user can’t experience hands free, then there’s no motivation to use your phone while driving.  And if there’s no motivation to use your phones while driving, car accidents are going to be much less frequent.  You could say it’s a noble cause, or you could say it’s just a business decision to get user’s more engrossed in the product.  Either way it has a positive externality.

What are your thoughts on what the future holds for Android Auto?  Do you think Apple’s software in vehicles is giving it a run for it’s money?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

APERLITE YH-500 Camera Flash

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APERLITE YH-500 Camera Flash

Aperlite-YH-500C

As many of you know I use a Cannon Rebel T5I and Tamron lens to shoot all of my youtube videos and family pictures. I have many times taken my video lighting out to light up the family to take some nice pictures. I figured it was time to get a nice flash and hopefully leave those big video lights put away. I am hoping the Aperlite YH-500C is the answer to those Lighting needs.

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Lets talk a little bit about the features on this flash, the back lit display is clear and easy to use and the function buttons are readily accessible with plenty of room if, like me, your fingers are a bit sausage like. My only concern is the power switch. A rotary affair, it doesn’t feel very robust. That may be just my perception and it may prove me wrong over time but at first glance, I’d like it to feel a bit stronger.

The battery configuration is the usual four AA size cells and these sit vertically in the body of the flash. Once again the cover of the battery compartment felt a bit flimsy but once it was secured the whole flash felt reassuringly solid. The flash is secured to the camera hotshoe using the more traditional rotary collar and whilst this is not as convenient as the quick release system , it is firm and feels safe.

With a guide number of 58 this is a powerful flash and had no problems lighting up the average size room. TTL metering ensured that exposures were spot on and there were no communication issues between the camera and the flash with the zoom function adjusting automatically as I changed the focal length of my zoom lens. Recycling times with duracell batteries were almost instantaneous after lower output flashes and mere milliseconds after a full discharge. This will drop off i am sure, as the batteries loose power but I have to say, for a camera flash in this price bracket, its very impressive. Add to this the capability to use it as a slave flash, the port enabling use of an external power pack, the built in, pull out reflector and you’ll be checking the price to make sure there hasn’t been a mistake. Used both direct and bounced, this flash stepped up to the plate and performed extremely well. Here are some pictures for comparison.

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picture one is with direct flash, picture two i am bouncing the flash off of the ceiling, and the third picture is my favorite with it asset to 60% angle and the white reflection board out. these are just a couple examples of how this camera flash really lets you change the look of your phones. The problem with the direct flash is that the background is to dark and if you just reflect then the front of the box it to dark but with the angle and reflector up it is just right. 🙂 thumbs up.

You will not regret the space it takes up in your camera bag! If you are interested in this affordable Camera flash then pick on up HERE for a great price.

 

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Specifications

Circuit Design: Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
Guide Number: 58 at ISO 100 (105mm) maximum
Flash Modes: Canon E-TTL II, E-TTL, M, Multi
Wireless Modes: Canon Wireless TTL, S1, S2
Flash Coverage: 24-105mm
Vertical Angle: 0 – 90°
Horizontal Angle: 0 – 270°
Internal Power: 4 AA batteries
Battery Life: 100-1500 flashes
Recycle Time: up to 3 seconds
Color Temperature: 5600K
Flash Duration: 1/200 s to 1/20000 s
Flash Power Adjustment: 8 levels of output control (1/128 – 1/1), 22 levels of fine tuning
Weight: 368 g

If you are interested in this affordable APERLITE YH-500 Camera flash then pick on up HERE for a great price.

Discovering the Hidden Power of Android

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How to harness the full power of your Android devices.

 

Android Devices today are very powerful; many of them have faster processors than your 5 year old laptop, and a higher screen resolution than that old 480p tv you bought 10 years ago. But even today, we are still faced with the fact that there are just some things that you cannot do on a smartphone that you can do on a laptop. Things like using a keyboard and mouse, or a wired controller, or being able to get into the main filesystem of your device etc. But today I am going to be showing you a few neat tricks that you can use to make these things possible.

 

Keyboard and mouse support using an OTG cable

Have you ever wanted to use your phone like a computer, to write that book report, or important document you are working on? But then you realize that your phone does not have a usb port to actually support this feature? Well all is not lost, because there is a way to make this possible. You can use a USB OTG cable to harness the power of using a keyboard, and mouse and to plug in usb drives to Android. Not only are these cables very useful, they are very cheap, some selling for just a few dollars depending where you get them from. They are very easy to find on Ebay.com and Amazon.com.

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Best of all, you do not have to do much of anything to get this working, since android already has this support of keyboards and mice built in. As for usb support, all phones are different and some phones require root and a root file browser, such as ES File Explorer, or Solid File Explorer to take advantage of using USB OTG storage.

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How to gain access to the hidden parts of Android

For those of us who like to be able to tinker and tweak our devices, or to be able to see what makes our devices tick, there is a way for us to be able to do this. Since Android is a form of linux, we are able to gain what we call Root access to a device. This root access gives us the ability to do many advanced tasks on our phones that are not possible to for the average user to do. Things such as:

  • Access and change the main filesystem using a file browser
  • Access the terminal emulator
  • Add or remove system apps to free up space
  • Backup and restore apps using titanium backup
  • Change the color and look of many parts of the system, such as the status bar menu items etc.
  • Flash a custom recovery, and install custom roms
  • Overclock the processor to make the phone faster, or underclock it to save battery life
  • Use a custom audio driver such as Viper for Android
  • The possibilities are basically endless!

 

Rooting not only does all of this to your current device, but you can also do this with an older android device and give it a second life; the after life 🙂

 

Conclusion

So to sum it all up, the possible ways to use your Android device to the fullest are basically endless. The features that i have talked about here are just scratching the surface when it comes to the possibilities that Android holds. So before you go and think about buying that next Iphone, think to yourself what things can I do with an Android that i can’t do on Iphone.

 

By: Tristin L.

One Awesome Android Accessory The NFC Ring

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NFC RING

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One Awesome Android Accessory is the NFC Ring. If you own a NFC enabled device you can program the NFC chips in these rings to do many cool task for example Unlock your phone, launch a web site, start playing music, share your contact info, and so much more. When you link the NFC Ring with something like the Tasker App the possibilities are endless. These Rings come in the 3 styles shown above and in just about every size. I think the price point at 50 dollars is also fare. if you would like to check these out you can visit the site HEREAlso i would recommend searching on Amazon for NFC Rings if you don’t like the style of these 3 rings. I am planning on picking one of these rings up really soon and may do a review on it once i have it in hand. Please comment and let me know if any of you have tried a NFC Ring and how you liked it. 

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I think I am getting this one V1NTAGE

 

Picyourway PHONE CASE

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Picyourway PHONE CASE

Picyourway phone case is one of my favorite finds to personalize your phone case with exactly what you want pictured on it for a great price. Logan Miller is the owner of Picyourway and Each case is made-to-order as the customer chooses their design, colors, etc. The whole process of the cases is called sublimation printing. Sublimation printing is when special ink (sublimation ink) is heated up, it turns into a gas and ends up forming a bond on the case which has a polymer coating. The benefit of using the sublimation method is a full-color, photographic-quality image that does not crack, peel, or wash away and trust me its so much fun to see any picture you always wanted on a case come to life. I have been using my case for my GS5 for 2 months now and im very rough on case and i dont have a single scratch or any imperfection showing nor do i expect i will. The are 2 types of cases, hard plastic and a softer rubber but not as soft as the gell case which i really dont like anyhow and i have tested both versions and  fit of both case is perfect and no button issues such as volume/power ect. Im absolutely amazed at how good the pictures i sent look on the case, its so refreshing to have a personalized case exactly to my liking and for under $13 its even more of a reason for me to order another one. I will edit this article soon as Logan has his website up and running but here is link to purchase your case. https://www.etsy.com/listing/217608049/personalized-custom-apple-iphone-4-4s-5?      https://www.etsy.com/listing/217609705/personalized-custom-samsung-galaxy-s3-s4?

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Inateck Bluetooth Keyboard

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Inateck Bluetooth Keyboard

HOME OR ON THE GO AND COMPACT SIZE

I was looking for a light weight/compact and if possible a inexpensive bluetooth keyboard for my tablet (nexus 10) and at times my Galaxy S5 and this inateck mini wireless bluetooth 3.0 keyboard fit my needs perfectly. Inside the box was ●A Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard ● A Charge Cable ●A owners Mannual so just what you need to get up and running. The size of the keyboard was perfect for home or on the go and comes in black or white and i am reviewing the black unit as you can see in pictures. The keyboard uses Bluetooth 3.0 module chip and has speeds up to 24 MB/s so speed wont be a factor no will battery life as the unit has Super-efficient built-in 200mA lithium battery, replaceable, works for up to 4 months in standby without charging with 8 hours of continuous use every day. The unit is also compatible with 3 operating systems of Apple, Android and Windows so no worries what operating system your on and my Galaxy S5 and nexus tablet has android 5.0 operating system which is new and i had no issues there. I used the unit on a 15in macbook/W7 and android tablet as well as a android phone and never a issue with any of them and the overall ability to prop up my tablet and type out my emails or post on facebook a much better experience. .Another factor i liked is there is no noise on “key strokes” and that may seem like a non factor but i do alot of catching up on emails ect late at night so that was a added feature im sure others will like. i was able to be over 30ft from tablet and still keyboard functioned perfect.The curve-shaped design of the individual keys shortens the distance between finger movements while typing for fast results and just seemed to flow really great in my first week of testing.As i get older its getting very hard to use built in keyboards on devices so if your like me and need a better way to type on your device without straining your eyes this is a perfect unit for you. I was very impressed with the overall ease of pairing devices to the keyboard and the compact size and really impressed with the price at under $27.00. HERE AT AMAZON

By: Darren W.

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Anker matte screen protector

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Anker matte screen protector

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Im very protective of my devices so the day Anker asked me to review there product i was very happy as i was soon going to be buying a few protective products and i always start with my screen so this is my review of the Anker matte screen protector given to me by Anker for a fair and honest review. First off Anker gives a lifetime warranty on all screen protectors so no matter how long you had it on they will replace it so huge plus 1 to Anker.   I received the package on time and packaging was done very well and and inside the box (eco. friendly)  was a white sleeve that was rather thick to prevent bending of any kind to the screen protectors which was very good idea as other screen protectors i have purchased were not packaged quite so well as these so that was my first good impression and along with the 3)screen protectors was – Microfiber cloth – Bubble Removal Card – Dust removal sticker – Manual. The provided users manual was simple to read and follow unlike other manuals the have such fine print i usually toss them aside and go for it. The note 4 is a rather unique and tough device to apply a screen protector to as the edges are curved so i was leery of getting the screen protector on just right for me but i had no issues applying the protector following owners manual and i even had a small dust speck almost in the center but i used the provided dust removal sticker after lifting the screen protector from the corner and the sticker worked perfect and i have never used one before so that was a great item to have included in your kit. after the installation it was time to put it to a few everyday tests, first i checked what i use also which is the S-pen and i had zero issues using S-pen so i moved on to color saturation compared to another note 4 and was very pleased to see no noticeable differences as well as just using hand and fingers to swipe screens or everyday actions using fingers such as gameplay which i do alot of. I next moved outdoors where i work in construction around dust/snow and rain and i was able to test in all 3 elements and even in 22 degree weather or bright sunlight i had not one issue with seeing screen or any corners lifting ect.  Im very rough on my phones and i am in a job where i need my screens protected and this anker screen protector is exactly what i needed to keep my note 4 safe and scratch free. For a price of $5.99 for 3 as listed http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NG6H4EA  I think its too good a deal to pass up for 100% screen protection. I also used a Zagg Invisible shield protector and paid $10.45 for just 1 but i noticed “halo” affect around the edges and like i said im very picky so it has since been replaced with the Anker matte protector. As you will see from the pictures the form and fit is just outstanding using the Anker protector and i also noticed some other companies cover the sensors now to some its no big deal and i understand but in my case i love the look of a form fitting/clean screen protector. Hope this helps answer some questions and really hope you give Anker a try because im very happy to be using there protector on my note 4. saved this for last for a reason but inside the Anker packaging is a small square paper asking “happy” or “unhappy” with instructions on what to do depending on answer and i can now answer “happy” added a few pictures also on white note 4 for added viewing options

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 By Darren

RAVPower RP-WD02 Wireless File Wireless Filehub

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RAVPower RP-WD02 Wireless File Wireless Filehub / Portable Travel Router

Something i never used before is this RAVPower RP-WD02 Wireless Filehub / Portable Travel Router  but theres so much more to it than just the title. It is probably the best investment I have made for ALL my mobile devices. I was on the fence about what wireless wifi storage to get Seagate, Kingston Wi-drive, Airstash and lots more but decided on the ravpower. Main reason was that it had a micro SD card slot and USB port to connect a multitude of different storage devices. And lets be honest, how many SD cards, microsd cards, portable hard drives and usb flash drives do we have laying around? There is soooo much potential with this product and some very nice surprises that I found out that makes this wifi disk a MUST have for all the tech geeks in us.

Bonus, it doubles up as external battery pack. 6,000mah may not be a lot but it does come in handy in those critical must have a charge situations. Specs:

Wireless wi-fi storage and external battery pack 6000mah
Micro SD card slot
USB slot

The size of the wifi disk is about the size of a small portable hard drive, fits perfect in the palm of your hand and thats perfect size in my opinion.

To connect to the device you must make a wifi connection to it. It is named “WiFiSD-158E” and the password is “11111111”. That is 8 ones BTW.

Performance:

I was able to pick up a wide array of storage media. SD card, microsd , Flash drives ranging from 4gb to 32gb with many different brands. It was able to power a Seagate portable hard drive no problem while a SD card was also in the sd card slot.

Many different devices were used to connect to the wifi disk: Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Ipad 4, Acer laptop, Coby Cryos android tablet, galaxy S3, Iphone 5 and a t-mobile S2.

It says that up to 5 devices can be connected to it.

I was able to play all sorts of video files from it, divx/xvid, avi, mp4, mkv, mov…..720p,1080p. It handled it like a champ.

I connected 5 devices and tried to stream a divx file all at the same time. It worked flawlessly, no stutters, no audio drops.
Now I dunno about HD 720p or 1080p files with 5 devices trying to stream from it. Will try more tests later.

You can access your connected storage via 3 different ways:

Now, you can use the recommended mobile apps mobile fun (android) and airstor (IOS) to connect to the device to see your connected storage options. They are nice clean simple apps. Reminds me of an “ES Explorer” type file explorer. Pretty fast, smooth and it simply just works. The one thing the APP is a must for is to make it a wifi hotspot. What that means is that you can configure it to connect to your regular home internet router so that when your device is connected to it; you can still have internet access. Basically it acts like a wireless bridge for your router. Once configured you don’t have to use the apps ever again.

You can even use your browser to go to “10.10.10.254” and connect via a web interface. The default username is “admin” and there is no password. You can configure it to have a password; which I did via a wizard tutorial. This is nice since you can connect your laptop to it and access the connected storage.

The last option was a little thing I figured out and was pleasantly surprised! The wifi disk can be accessed via ANY file explorer app that can make SAMBA/SMB connections! File explorers such as “ES Explorer” and “Solid Explorer” have this ability. I personally recommend solid explorer (more on that in a bit).

You just have to set it up

For solid explorer press the “jump” button, then “Network” and then “SMB/CIFS” button. Jump>Network>SMB/CIFS
Now press the plus sign button at the top right. It will cause a popup that you will need to fill in the appropriate info.

Display name: can be left blank
Computer name or ip address: enter 10.10.10.254
Authentication method: can set as “Log in as guess” if you did not use the web interface to make a pass word. If you did make a password set it as “store encrypted password”
Username: admin
password: whatever password you made via the web interface

Now you should be able use the file explorer to navigate the connected storage options:

SDCARD-Volume1 = SD card slot
USBDisk-Volume1 = USB port connected storage

Now you don’t need an extra app to use the wifi disk. Use the file explorer you love and know!

Solid Explorer is my recommendation because it has the two pane option when in landscape mode. With the two panel mode, you can navigate to the “SD card” with pane 1 and then navigate to the “usb port” with pane 2. This will allow you to transfer files between the “sd card” and the “usb port” storage seamlessly and easily! There was a step by step guide on amazon how to transfer files between two attached storage options on the wifi disk, but this makes it sooooo much easier!

Build Quality: Seems solid, not too flimsy but quite light. Nice colored LED’s that aren’t too bright.

Gripes about it:

Only comes in white; no black option. It sticks out like a sore thumb next to all my other devices.
Does not come with a wall charger; but will use any usb charger which in my opinion are VERY minor.

If you would like to pick on up you can get it for about $50.00 from Amazon HERE