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Time to Find the Right Holiday Gadget – FTF News

As part of an ongoing series, FTF News will report on the gadgets that will justify your hard-earned bonuses.

(Editor’s note: As we race into the winter holiday season, it’s time to consider the cool gadgets that will evaporate your hard-earned bonuses. I have been attending the Pepcom consumer products events for the press and during the holiday rollercoaster ride I will be reporting upon a wide variety of offerings from the practical to the esoteric. This time out I am focusing on the practical: smart beds and umbrellas and robot puppies that don’t need pads or clipping.)

Time for a Smart Bed that Tracks Your Sleep?

Beautyrest, known for its mattresses, has jumped onto the sleep monitoring bandwagon with “a patented sleep monitoring system that pairs with any mattress or foundation, allowing individuals to make their bed a smart bed.”

This sleep-tracking device monitors many factors such as current behaviors, sleep variables and comparisons of biometrical similarities and offers “personalized tips” to help people get a better night’s rest.

The Sleeptracker artificial intelligence (AI) engine “is the result of significant resources invested in research and development,” says Arthur Kinsolving, chief technology officer (CTO) of Fullpower Technologies, an IT partner of the Beautyrest Brand. “With the power of AI and machine learning, the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor will continue to stretch its lead and deliver unprecedented deep insights into consumers’ sleep patterns.”

In fact, this smart bed approach includes an AI Sleep Coach to review “improvement over time and provides effective, easy-to-implement, personal sleep tips based on a comprehensive analysis of individual sleep patterns and external factors that may impact sleep quality,” according to Beautyrest officials.

In short, the Beautyrest Sleeptracker:

  • Offers sleep pattern monitoring of two individual sleepers simultaneously;
  • Plugs into a wall outlet, is non-invasive and requires no changes to day-to-day bedding;
  • Measures respiration and heart rate for “deeper sleep analysis (wrist-worn wearables can’t monitor the essential respiration vital sign and are notoriously inaccurate for continuous heart rate monitoring);”
  • Can automatically monitor sleep data when users fall asleep unexpectedly;
  • Pairs with the Sleeptracker iOS and Android smartphone app to offer details — “providing users with a minute-by-minute snapshot of their journey through each sleep cycle: light sleep, deep sleep and REM;”
  • Features a “Sleep Cycle Alarm that detects a light stage of sleep in order to wake users at the ideal time in their sleep cycle.”
  • And integrates with the Amazon Echo control device that allows for “control of other smart home elements from a single device, such as thermostats, lights, music, alarm systems, door locks and more.”

More information and a video can be found here.

Fully Automatic Umbrellas that Do Everything But Stop the Rain

A high-end umbrella maker, ShedRain, says that its offering are a combination of “luxury, artisanal craftsmanship and superior engineering,” which would be a change from the $10, short-lived bargains one can find during a downpour in Manhattan.

Based in Portland, Ore., ShedRain says that it has “the greatest rain laboratory” from which to develop its wares, which it’s been doing for seven decades.

Some of the latest ShedRain offerings are:

  • The e-Motion for $99.00: This is ShedRain’s “fully automatic” umbrella that is motorized umbrella “not only close the canopy, but also slide it all the way down to the handle — in one motion with the push of a button.” It’s a battery powered device that “can be recharged with a connector included in the handle of the umbrella with one charge lasting a full 150 openings and closings! This rainy weather must-have is available in a stick or compact version.”
  • The Stratus, priced from $85.00 to $115.00: The Stratus Collection offerings have “250+ individual, quality parts, hand assembled, and created from new molding that was specifically crafted for this ultimate ‘affordable luxury’ piece,” the vendor says. “A Trilobe shaped profile deployed into both the shaft and ribs for superior torque and strength defines the Core technology. … A patented Flange (small disc at the base of each umbrella) protects umbrella tips from catching on fingers, clothing and other items. A removable handle strap makes it versatile and easy to carry on the go. Each umbrella is enclosed in a freestanding canvas case … The collection features a Compact Manual Umbrella, a Compact Auto-Open/Auto-Close Umbrella, a Manual Stick Umbrella and a Manual Stick Solid Wood Crook Umbrella.”
  • The Vortex Vent, $100.00: This umbrella was created “to withstand hurricane force winds,” and features “the new Anti-Inversion Strut system combined with the highest quality components. The newly patented Anti-Inversion Strut (AIS) system works to reduce umbrella inversion and mechanically support the rib structure. … The canopy features 360-degree venting designed to release pressure and reduce stress on the frame. Elastic vent straps join the upper and lower canopy to stretch under high-pressure forces and allow rapid air release. Energy-absorbing shocks are meant to reduce joint interaction stress. At its core is the shaft made with the highest grade of Aircraft Quality Aluminum.”

A Robot Puppy that You Program 

Hasbro has a solution for those parents who want to give their six-year-olds (and older) children, a dog minus all the care. The Furreal Makers Proto Max, priced at $119.99 and available now, is a combination of robotics and toy-making.

“Want a dog who chases its tail whenever his nose is pushed?” asks the vendor. With this pup, parents and kids can “program their own dream pup” or download an app “for a more expansive coding experience.”

This 21st Century pet offers:

  • A “simple 8-piece build” that promises “a quick assembly and easy customization of their pup’s sounds, color, and eye animations;”
  • Personality Plus: “Kids can take their pup’s personality to the next level by programing 10+ activation points while connected through Bluetooth. Kids can assign a response which includes over 400 sounds and 100 eye animations along with lights and motion;”
  • Remote Control Play: “Kids can command their pup in real-time, run the routines that they have coded using the app, change the light patterns and send happy, sad, silly, and more emotions to their puppy,” the vendor says;
  • Games and More: “Play a variety of interactive, app-based games with your ultimate pup, like a virtual game of fetch.”

The app for this robot pup was slated to be available for download via the Apple App Store and Google Play in the fall 2017. This pooch, which requires 4 AA batteries, will be available exclusively via Amazon, according to Hasbro.


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