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aifi_speaker.gsenwkwokcyyfxjeny3eSwedish company aiFi has a wonderfully designed and implemented stackable speaker system.  You can stack the speakers either side by side or on top of each other and an IR port will link them.  Audio characteristics of the speaker array will adjust to optimum as speakers are added.  Each speaker unit is autonomous, has a ~ 8 hr battery life and Bluetooth, analog line-in (1/8″ /3.5mm plug) or  S/PDIF optical input.  The speakers have a gentle radius so if you have 20 speakers set side to side they will form a circle.   There’s also a multi-color LED bezel and an app to control the speakers.  I like to imagine a group of friends all using an aiFi individually but also getting together for parties and everyone brings their aiFi to stack together.

And here’s a cool stealth feature – if 2 “master” speakers, each with their own audio input are paired, one will randomly become the new master – because you know “there can only be one.”  So place your bets on which genre will reign supreme.

CES – Day 1

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Much marching to and fro at both the LVCC and the Venetian/Sands today.  The startup section at Eureka! Park was particularly interesting.  Small is Beautiful.  And let there be light.  More info and images on all the companies and organizations mentioned in this post to follow.

There were several optical wireless booths: newly-formed demonstrated a low-cost 1/8″ audio plug “LiFi” receiver and other work in progress and also hosted a megabit LiFi demo from / – a tech development agency of the French Government.  Both use elegant LED light panels from

The Center on Optical Wireless Applications from Penn State (  presented work (in collaboration with Beijing Institute of Technology on both optical positioning and content delivery.   LiFi could be the coolest thing at CES this year. announced their UV-C LED smart phone sterilizer.  You place the device into the pocket-sized polymer flip-top case and then activate a 3 minute cycle of UV-C exposure.  “Cooties” on all exposed surfaces are neutralized. demonstrated their mobile keyboard for those who are on the move and can’t be bothered to set a traditional keyboard down on their lap or other stationary support.  The QWERTY keyboard is split into 2 sections, one for each hand and you can type and “air mouse” to get your work done fast and on the go. demo’d their free educational software with a twist.   Your elementary school child can earn time on an Android device by correctly answering math questions. demo’d their handwriting detecting math  and geometrical form manipulation classroom apps in the booth. demo’d their 1000 watt, ultra thin, lightweight speaker which received a 2014 CES Innovation award. demo’d their portable hydrogen powered electrical power device.  Very cleanly conceived and designed, it will be available from Brookstone later this year.  It comes with one 25 watt/hr (5 amp/hr@ 5 volts) hydrogen canister (~5 smart phone charges )  that you can exchange for a full one so you will not be contributing to the solid waste stream.

Rayovac announced and demo’d a family of recharge devices ranging from a trio of integral Li-ion polymer packs – 6, 2 and 0.8  amp/hr plus a CR123 and a quad AA replaceable battery-powered recharger. demo’d their new wellness/home monitoring apps along with their other apps and backend services for security and monitoring.

Last but not least, my favorite billion-dollar startup company, 3M, had some new display films, brighter display screens and more multi-touch screens.  Developing apps for multi-touch screens is becoming much more streamlined and accessible.  Hopefully this will lead to more compelling educational applications..

Wait wait…don’t tell me! Who knew National Public Radio had an R&D department.  Besides developing a variety of radio signal analysis tools for station operators, NPR Labs collaborated with Catena Radio Design to develop an FM radio receiver for deaf people that would enable text display of emergency radio broadcasts.   It is called the “Nipper One” and it is currently being pilot tested in the Gulf Coast region.  The emergency warning text is sent to the display PC or Android device through a USB cable.   More details to come on this product from the “Bell Labs of NPR.”

On a less serious note, how much geek cred would you give to an NPR Labs  t-shirt?  Check out this artist’s depiction of said garment.  What a fine conversation starter this shirt would be.

To be clear – this shirt is currently just a figment of my imagination.  We  need to politely pester the good folks at NPR to add this item to the NPR Shop.  You can email the NPR Shopkeeper via the link at the bottom of this page. Maybe ask for “Ask Me Another” Rubik’s Cubes too?

Sennheiser CXC 700 Noise Reducing Earbuds

Sennheiser CXC 700 Noise Reducing Earbuds

The Sennheiser CXC 700 is a compact, high quality ear bud with 3 NoiseGard/digital modes to cancel high, medium and low frequency noise.  The mid-cord control unit is used to set the volume, the specific NoiseGard mode, and to activate the TalkThrough function which allows conversation without removing the earbuds.  The control unit also contains a single AAA battery to power the NoiseGard and Talk Through functions. Without this battery, the CXC 700 will still play your audio.  It has a 4.5 foot long cord and comes with an in-flight adapter, a 1/4″  stereo plug adapter, a cleaning tool, diaphragm protector and carrying case.  Suggested retail price is $319.95 with availability in early 2011.

Yurbuds Premium Earbuds

Yurbuds have a clever way of keeping earbuds – those small earphones that fit in your ear – securely in place with no external hooks, hoops, or loops while you bounce or jounce about. They offer you a range of different-sized soft rubber tips/covers that fit in your ear canal and keep the buds from falling out. To figure out which size tip fits you best, you hold a coin below your ear, take a digital photo and either email it in to Yurtopia or use their free Iphone app. Then you’ll know which size to order.

If you’re not driving, then plug in both ears and crank the volume up. But if you’re the driver or walking about near a busy street, you should keep one ear unplugged and open for situational awareness!

Oh yeah, if you use these as much as I do, skin oil will eventually collect on the Yurbuds, wick in between the rubber covers and the rigid earbud housing and make things slippery. I almost lost a Yurbud! When you get this buildup, wash the rubber covers in soapy water and also wipe off the rigid earbud housings. Good as new baby!