SilverStone EP03 USB 3.0 Charging Hub with Display Review

Introduction


USB hubs are nothing new and an essential tool for port multiplying which allows you to connect more devices to your system than you have ports available. This is particularly useful for mobile systems that come with very few ports on their own, but a stationary system can benefit equally from a good USB hub. In today’s review, I am taking a closer look at SilverStone’s EP03 USB 3.0 hub with built-in supercharger function and an integrated display for monitoring voltage and current on all ports.

At heart, SilverStone’s EP03 is a 4-port USB 3.0 hub capable of 5 Gbps transfer speeds. It is naturally also compatible with both USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices on both the host port and the individual connectors. That in itself is nothing new, but everything else is. In fact, this is a pretty smart hub.

When you pick the EP03 hub up and hold it in your hands, you have no doubt that this is a quality built hub. It feels sturdy and it also looks pretty good with its simple plastic case and top plate made of brushed aluminium.

The top is also what instantly reveals one of the features that make this USB hub unique, the built-in display. You can watch the current and voltage in real-time on the display for each of the four ports. Port selection is handled by the small button next to the display which lets you cycle the four ports.

As the display already indicates, this isn’t just a USB hub for peripheral and drive connection, it is also an intelligent charging station that can satisfy users’ increasing demand for fast charging of power-hungry mobile devices. It can deliver 2A to each of the four ports simultaneously and is fully compliant with the USB power delivery specifications 1.2 (BC 1.2).

In addition, the built-in protection mechanism ensures the EP03 can deliver power evenly and safely according to the number or the state of battery charge of connected devices. All these features can also be used to check if a new/replacement charging cable is up to the task and comes with the proper specifications compared to your original cable.

The SilverStone EP03 comes with an AC adapter included which both ensures that you have enough current to all ports, but also allows you to use it as charging station with the use of a host system. It comes with built-in over current and over voltage protections too, so all your connected devices should be safe.

The hub is built around a Genesys Logic GL3522 chipset which actually is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller, but that just leaves internal headroom and ensures the best possible connection.

Feature Highlights

  • Integrated display for monitoring voltage and current
  • Supports current up to 2A for each USB port
  • Provides four 5Gbps Super Speed USB 3.0 USB ports
  • High quality brushed aluminum design
  • Supports over voltage and over current protection
  • Includes AC adapter for stable power delivery
  • Compliant with USB power delivery specification 1.2

Package and Accessories

SilverStone always has some great looking packages for their devices and it’s no different for this USB 3.0 hub with fast charging and power meter. It presents itself colourful to the user and begs to be taken home. I know I wouldn’t walk past it.

The rear of the box explains the features in multiple languages.

One of the sides has more details on the product itself in the form of images and text.

And the other side has all the detailed specifications. Overall, a box that tells us everything there is to know about the product inside.

Inside the box, we find a USB 3.0 cable, an AC/DC power adapter, a user guide, and the USB hub itself.

EV Wireless Charging Almost as Good as Plugging In

Wireless charging for electric vehicles has been an option to their owners for some time now, but the existing solutions are hardly efficient, with charging times far longer than the typical wired charger and there was no assurance of compatibility especially for larger vehicles. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists are close to solving the wireless charging issue for good. Their latest wireless charger is a 20-kilowatt unit that touts up to 90 percent efficiency, which should be close to matching many plug-in chargers, while charging just by proximity, such as when you pull into your garage. This new charger is just as safe as ever, despite the massive increase in power output, as the magnetic fields that transfer the energy fall of quickly.

This charger won’t be available for consumers anytime soon, unfortunately, and would not render plugging in completely obsolete for those needing a charge in a hurry. The laboratory is not stopping here either, with the next aim being to develop a 50 kW wireless charger with similar efficiency, which would be able to match many of the “quick charge” systems that are currently on the market. Should they succeed, it will be a milestone achievement for electric vehicles, as plugging in would no longer have any benefit as well as making electric vehicles far more convenient to charge up and use. An on-the-move version of the technology is also in the pipelines, which would allow EVs to charge while travelling down specific routes without needing to stop and replenish their supply, which would really change the game for electric vehicles. Powered roads for electric cars could be real sooner than we think!

Preview Build Stops Windows 10 Mobile Charging

There are always risk with upgrading your software, even more so with software that is still in a testing phase. We’ve all been through the pain of updating your computer and having it stop working, now it would seem that some users of the latest build for Windows 10 Mobile are experiencing the same thing.

Despite the single known issue, some users have been reporting that the Lumia 550 has a whole other problem. The error is that it doesn’t pick up when it’s charging, meaning your battery can only go one way, down.

Neowin reports that in their own testing they were not only left unable to charge their phone but it was also no longer recognised when it was plugged into a PC, meaning the default response of using Windows Device Recovery Tool’s was impossible.

There is a major problem with this, if you want to update your phone you require at least 50% battery, so once you fall beneath that not only can you not charge your phone but when a fix comes out, you won’t be able to update and get it.

While there are always problems with the “fast ring”, as Microsoft calls their initial group of testers for new builders, this problem will possibly cause some people to lose their phones altogether, a rather serious problem.

Meem – The Charging Cable That Will Backup Your Phone for You

So honest answers only, when was the last time you backed up your computer? We are recommended to do this every week but so many of us leave it until we’ve already lost our computer to some nasty malware or power surge. If we do that to our computers with all our pictures and documents on, what do we do with our phones? Do you ever back up your phone? Meem, a company in the UK, is looking to help you do just that.

One of the reasons we often ignore backing up is because we don’t think we have the time, we are simply too busy or in a rush. Ways to speed this up are to back up while you are doing something else, downloading updates? time to back up. With a phone this is more difficult because we rarely leave the devices alone, constantly checking for messages or emails.

The one time we do leave our phones alone is when they are charging, normally overnight. The Meem cable comes with internal storage that copies your phone contacts and photos every time you use it to charge your device, this means that you just simply charge it like you would at the moment and have an instant backup from your phone.

Kelly Sumner, chief executive of the company behind the device, said that while many phones use the cloud to back up your devices, some don’t trust online service and you are limited by the requirement for an internet connection.

Have you backed up your phone recently? How about any other device you use every day? I think this cable will help a lot of people with their devices, giving you security and safe knowledge that your data is there if anything happens to your phone.

Lexar Releases A Bunch of New Flash Products

Lexar released a bunch of new flash-based products and we naturally also want to update you on these. While HDDs are the go-to medium for NAS and SSDs for the PC systems, we shouldn’t forget about our portable storage and mobile devices.

The drive pictured above is the first of Lexar’s new flash drives and it is actually an SSD, just an external one. We have previously reviewed Lexar’s Professional Workflow SSD in the same form factor and that is compatible with the Workflow drive dock system, and this new Lexar Portable SSD is compatible to that system too despite not being from the Professional Workflow series.

The compact and durable drive reads with up to 450MB/s and writes with up to 245MB/s, making it quick and easy to take your files on the go. The LEDs on the front work as capacity meter and the drive is available as 256GB and 512GB models. Since it’s a full-fledged SSD, the drive supports NTFS, FAT, and exxFAT without any trouble. The Lexar Portable SSD will be available in Q1 2016 with MSRPs of £120.99 (256GB) and £200.99 (512GB), a more than fair price.

The second new Lexar product is the 1800x microSD card with impressive speeds that hold up to even the most demanding tasks. The Lexar 1800x is available as 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models and it leverages Ultra High Speed II (U3 technology) to provide you with the best experience. The card is capable of speeds up to 270MB/s read speeds and is designed for high-speed capture of extended lengths of 4K, 3D, and 1080p full-HD video and high-quality images.

Lexar’s Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II cards are already available with an MSRP of £65.99 (32GB), £109.99 (64GB), and £219.99 (128GB).

The next new Lexar product is quite ingenious. Whether you’ll want to call it a 3-in-1 drive or an Apple Lightning charging cable with built-in flash storage, you’d be right. The JumpDrive C20i is all that and also a USB 3.0 flash drive at the same time, completing the 3-in-1 scenario. The drive can read with up to 95 MB/s and write with up to 20 MB/s for easy expansion of your iPhone or iPad memory. The new JumpDrive C20i flash drive will be available in Q1 of 2016 and have MSRPs of £28.99 (16GB), £39.99 (32GB), £56.99 (64GB), and £79.99 (128GB).

The last new Lexar drive is a little more traditional and it is called the JumpDrive S45. The tiny nano-styled drive is designed for a plug-and-stay setup with its low profile. It is capable of speeds up to 150MB/s reading and 45MB/s writing and be available in capacities up to 128GB. An impressive capacity for a nano-drive. Depending on the capacity, the JumpDrive S45 comes in different colours: Orange, Blue, Teal, and black. Along with the JumpDrive S45, you also get the EncryptStick Lite software for 256-bit AES encryption of your content. The flash drive has MSRPs of £7.99 (16GB), £10.99 (32GB), £18.99 (64GB), and £28.99 (128GB) and will be available in Q1 2016.

Lithium-Ion Battery With Heat Control Created

Lithium-ion batteries are used in everything, from your phone to handheld gaming devices. They are the basis for most portable powered devices but by design, they are typically quite old. While they’ve received their upgrades over time, lithium ion batteries have the same flaw a lot of technology has these days, overheating. Ever wondered why a phone or a hoverboard exploded? Fear not, Stanford researchers have come up with a new lithium-ion battery with heat controls!

The new design allows the lithium-ion battery to shut down when it gets too hot, then when it’s cool enough it will automatically restart. Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford state that not only can the device turn itself on and off repeatedly but it does so “without compromising performance”.

Typical a lithium-ion battery contains two core elements, two electrodes and a form of gel or liquid that carries charge between the two electrodes. People have tried to solve this problem before by adding a flame retardant to the gel used in some. When punctured or overcharged, a lithium-ion battery tends to rise in temperature and at around 150 degrees celsius they catch fire, eventually exploding.

The new battery, however, uses a tiny bit of nano-technology, by coating an electrode with a poly ethylene film with tiny nickel particles with spikes extruding from the plastic surface. When the battery heats up, the film expands meaning the spikes are pushed away from each other and the electric charge can’t be carried through the nickel elements. When it cools they retract and the charge can start to flow again.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dell Demos Wireless Monitor With Phone Charging @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Monitor technology has progressed at an exponential rate and the future looks very promising with OLED, and Quantum Dot displays around the corner. However, one of the more unusual developments is a 23-inch 1920×1080 wireless monitor by Dell which allows you to mirror your screen on any Android or Windows device via Miracast and Bluetooth. Not only that, the stand has an integrated wireless charging sensor which supports both QI and PMA standards. When testing this functionality on my own handset, it became apparent that the pad has no problems with unibody design handsets, or devices with a glossy back cover.

The monitor will go on sale March 31st with a retail price of $429.

More iPhone 7 Details

Every year we see another selection of technology released, sometimes contain new technologies and sometimes old technologies are continued into the next selection of hardware released. One market that keeps moving forward is the mobile market and Apple looks to continue with its iPhone 7. With rumours about it being waterproof spreading, it was only a matter of time before we got more iPhone 7 details, something we now have.

A source that is said to have had knowledge of the plans detailed several features that have long been rumoured. The big one will be that the iPhone 7 will come without the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and will instead use a propriety headphone jack built into the lightning port and created in collaboration with Wolfson Microelectronics. With rumours flying around since their patent application for the new headphone connection, the new system is said to feature noise-cancelling technology created by Wolfson Microelectronics both within the phone and the headphones themselves in order to help reduce background noise. The source continued to say that other companies would need to buy a licence to use the technology within their own models.

The source states that they are also putting in wireless charging technology (after considering it in their last two iPhones) into the iPhone 7, alongside the new waterproof status that its said to carry.

While it is still several months before the phone begins production, many iPhone users will no doubt worry about the need to buy expensive headphones or an adapter in order to listen to music on their iPhone without wireless headphones.

Tesla Supercharger Catches Fire

Tesla cars are well-known sites all around the world now with the Model S being known as a rather amazing piece of technology. The electric sports car contains a ludicrous mode which can accelerate 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, a rather impressive sight. The S model, however, is getting some bad attention in Norway when it went to top up.

Tesla’s electric cars are known for being the first step into reliable and everyday usable cars, however, a particular owner got a surprise during a routine action in Norway. After pulling up the a supercharger station, and inserting its plug for the lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle caught fire. The owner was not at the car when the incident happens so no one was harmed, but as you can see from the image above, the car was not so lucky.

While people are quick to argue and debate over what could have caused this user one Reddit user, bjornnyland, was quick to point out that this was a temporary station which actually delivered 13kW more than a standard station, which typically deliver 105 kW. After stating that he had used the charging point several times and that it had stopped on more than one occasion, he was quick to state that it may or may not have had something to do with the fire.

SilverStone Releases EP03 Hub with Fast Charging and Power Meter

USB hubs are by definition quite generic, but once in a while a hub comes along that is a little different from the last. We’ve seen USB hubs with LAN combined as well as those with built-in KVM support, but SilverStone’s newest USB hub stays simple in that regards. Instead, the new EP03 comes with high-power charging function on all four ports and a built-in monitoring display that can display the current voltage and the current for each port.

SilverStone’s EP03 smart hub can charge four devices at the same time and supply up to 2A on each port simultaneously thanks the additions of a power supply. The hub naturally also works as a normal four port 5Gbps USB 3.0 hub for splitting up one port for four devices.

The EP03 comes with a beautiful brushed aluminium top plate that gives the hub that extra nice finish. The rest of the hub is made of plastic. It supports over voltage and over current protection to make sure that none of the connected devices will be damaged in case of either.

The new SilverStone EP03 will be available on December the 18th for a recommended end-user price of $33 USD plus VAT.

Razer Mamba 16,000 DPI Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


Razer, one of the biggest and most recognisable gaming brands on the market, are back once again with their latest version of the popular Mamba mouse. The Mamba comes equipped with a range of extreme features that are said to put it far above the competition, making it ideal for competitive gaming, but also just as versatile for day-to-day at home use and work.

“Boasting the world’s most precise 16,000 DPI gaming mouse sensor, the Razer Mamba provides you with unsurpassable accuracy, so you’ll have an even greater edge over your competition. With its ability to track 1 DPI increments and a lift-off cut-off distance as precise as 0.1 mm, the Razer Mamba helps you to react instantly while you skillfully maneuver your way to victory.”

The 16,000 DPI sensor is going to provide some interesting benefits for gaming, as you’ll be able to swap DPI and quickly navigate even the largest RTS/MOBA maps with extreme precision. Being able to tune in your own DPI settings in 1DPI increments is also pretty special, as it frees you from the constraints of some mice, which only allow you to pick various levels, such as 200/400/800/1600/etc. Not content with a fully customizable sensor, the mouse buttons can also be tuned using an included tool, allowing you to pick from a lighter response, or a more distinctive click, and everything in-between.

Still not enough features? How about extensive RGB lighting customisation, or the choice to switch between wireless and wired modes with a 1ms response time? Plus the cable means you can use it in wireless mode, but continue using it while it is changing, so there’s no excuse to stop playing.

The packaging is nice and simple, with a great image of the Mamba on the front, as well as a few specs on the side detailing the adjustable switches and the charging system.

Around the back, an image showing off the charging dock, which also comes with RGB lighting effects.

The box opens out to reveal a quote from Razer, as well as a steel tin presentation box.

The box is the perfect safe house for the Mamba, helping you protect your investment when ever you need to store the mouse between uses.

In the box, you’ll find the usual documentation, the charging dock, a black braided cable and, of course, the Mamba mouse.

Solid State Batteries “Could” last a Lifetime

Among the many annoyances of a tech lovers life which includes, overheating, constant patching, hacking and dropped connections, there is the term battery or lack of considering your average smartphone is dead by the end of each day. Don’t get me started on your run of the mill double A battery, it was fine for a Gameboy, until you had to unreel a long wire with a plug on the end to continue playing, but not for today’s hi-tech toys.

Hopefully, an evolution is on the horizon after researchers at MIT and Samsung have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, which in this case is the electrolyte. The premise involves developing a solid electrolyte instead of the current liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables. Current batteries use a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging, this process has been responsible for the overheating and fires which have caused high-profile disruption.

Another advantage of a solid state electrolyte is the ability to limit degradation to near 0; therefore such batteries could last for “hundreds of thousands of cycles.” Researchers also state these batteries provide a 20 to 30 percent improvement in power density. This means the amount of power that can be stored in a given amount of space can be increased.

By reducing these factors, researchers are hopeful this technique will improve efficiency and waste of the common battery, which in turn will benefit consumers. On a side note, it will be interesting to note how you would put this into practice with the aim of analysing if these batteries would really last for hundreds of thousands of cycles. Indefinite lifetimes in theory, let’s see what a Galaxy S6 makes of that.

Thank you MIT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of computerworld

New UK Road Charges Your Electric Car as it Drives

With the electric car market set to explode, the biggest worry for petrol engine drivers thinking of transitioning is ‘range anxiety’ – or, ‘how far can I get on a single battery charge?’ – since charging points are hardly as common as the traditional petrol pump. A new endeavour in the UK, however, could change all that. Highways England, the government body responsible for road maintenance in the UK, is set to trial a special motorway lane designed to charge electric cars as they drive later this year.

“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways and major A roads,” Mike Wilson, Highways England Chief Highways Engineer, said in a press statement. “The off-road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country.”

The tests is set to last around 18 months before on-road testing begins, so we’ll be waiting at least a year-and-a-half until we see the technology implemented on UK motorways and dual carriageways. Despite the special lane, though, Highways England is also committed to installing plug-in charging facilities for electric cars every 48km (nearly 30 miles) along major motorways.

Thank you ScienceAlert for providing us with this information.

Surface Charging Move Over – Wireless Charging Now Possible!

Wireless charging is a big selling point for a lot of devices. The ability to just place your phone or laptop down on a pad and charge without having to plug in your cable is an appealing one. The problem with this approach is it’s not truly wireless. After all the pad has a cable running from the socket and then you have to place your device on the pad and leave it there while it charges. A team from Korea hope to swap surface charging for a truly wireless experience.

A team from Korea’s Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST) have created a system where you can charge a device wirelessly. Comparing the system to WiFi the “Wi-Power” system is said to be able to power devices up to half a metre away and in any direction from the main device. The system uses two coils, the first of which (the transmitting coil) can send power to a variety of devices at the same time while the second coil (the receiving coil) doesn’t even need to be pointed at the transmitter to start charging your devices.

With it being safe around people, KAIST have formed a company to produce the technology commercially. TESLAS Inc will focus on developing the technology for everyday use, so soon you could find your phone charging itself the second you step through your front door, at least once they increase the range.

Thank you GEEK for the information. 

Patriot, Luxa2 and Antec USB Battery Head-to-Head Review

Introduction


Smartphones, eBook readers, tablets, portable gaming devices and so much are vital to our daily lives. Ok perhaps not all the devices we use each day are vital, but they’re important to each user in their own way. One thing many of these devices, if not all of them, is that they run on batteries and these days you’ll find that most devices have a built-in battery that is charged via USB, or if you’re an Apple fan, a lightening cable. There’s nothing worse than being on a night out, away on a business trip, out camping, or even just relaxing at home, only to find out your battery is dying or has died. We’re not always within easy reach of a charging socket and carrying around the mains adaptor isn’t always the most practical solution. This is where mobile USB battery recharges come into play and today we’ve got three solutions to try out. The real question is, which one is best suited to your needs?

In the office today I have the Patriot Fuel+, the Antec Lifebar 10 and for something a little different, the Luxa2 PL1. Each of these is designed a little differently from each other, so let’s get right to it and see what they have to offer.

The PL1 was included in this test, as I loved the unique approach to its design. It doesn’t come in a leather pouch, it is the leather pouch.

The stitched design is really nice and it’s quite slim too, meaning it’s going to fit easily in your jacket pocket or handbag very easily. It’ll also look more stylish that a big hunk of plastic.

There’s a magnetic cover on one end, just flip it open and you’ll find the microUSB charging socket (in) and the standard USB charging socket (out). The PL1 is rated for 2800mAh.

The compact size is easy to hold in your hand and the overall quality feels very good.

The Fuel+ is a lot bigger than the Luxa2 device. It’s got a stylish white and red theme, but it’s quite clear that this is a big mobile battery. There’s a set of LED lights down the side to show you how much charge is remaining, as well as a master power button.

There are two charging ports on the Fuel+, a 2.5A and a 1A; perfect for charging a high power device such as an iPad, as well as a mobile phone at the same time.

The Fuel+ is rated at 900mAh.

It’s not very big overall, as you can still hold it in the palm of your hand, but it is quite thick, meaning it’s not going to be suitable to fit in your pocket.

The Antec Lifebar is the largest and the heaviest of the three devices and comes with a metal exterior that not only looks great but also makes the unit feel more durable than the others.

Like the Fuel+ it has two charging ports, a 2.1A and a 1A.

There’s a small power button on the end, which could be a little better in terms of quality if I’m honest, but there’s also an LED light that can be used a torch if you double tap the power button. There’s also four small LED lights above the charge (in) MicroUSB that show the current charge remaining.

The Lifebar is slim enough to hold in your hand, but it’s length and weight make it a little too much to keep in your pocket.

Google Wants to Turn Old Payphones Into Smart Pylons

Google has big plans, we all know that and maybe one day they’ll take over the world as some fear, but up until then they are doing a lot of cool things for all of us. One of the things they are working on is to bring free WiFi for everyone and that project starts in New York.

Google announced their Sidewalk Labs project earlier this month, an independent google-owned company that would focus on improving city living through technology innovations, but otherwise the giant didn’t specify what that company would do. The first task is now to bring widespread Wi-Fi to large cities around the world and they’re starting with New York as a testing ground.

Sidewalk Labs now announced that it is launching Intersection, another new company formed of Control Group and Titan. Those two names might not sound familiar but they are the ones behind the LinkNYC plan who’s plan is to convert old phone booths into ad-supported Wi-Fi pylons. If the project is a success, it is planned to roll it out to more cities in the near future.

The Pylons aren’t just designed for Wi-Fi connection and advertising space, they will also work as charging stations, offer free domestic phone calls and a touchscreen with city information.

The information is still sparse, but it looks like it is happening sometime between now and this fall.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NY Post

Emergency Smartphone Charging with USB Type-C

With the recent announcement of Android M at the Google I/O developers conference, it has been stated that smartphones running this operating system and that are equipped with USB Type-C (or USB-C that Apple has fondly called it); has the ability to charge another smartphone or similar device with the use of a reversible USB-C cable.

This effectively turns any Android M and USB-C smartphone into an emergency battery pack. Just say your friend needs a quick boost of juice, simply plug the phones together and hey presto, you’ve just given life. This could be used across a wider range of products, such as smart watches (if they use cables) and possibly even laptops and tablets; however, we charging a larger device probably wouldn’t yield huge power transfer due to the comparable size of the smartphone battery compared to the tablet or laptop.

USB-C is the future, not only is it reversible at the plug, but it can give power, provide video output and transfer data. Larger hardware such as laptops and desktop computers haven’t fully embraced USB-C due to the lack of components out there that use the new standard.

I can’t wait for this to become the true USB standard; not having to worry about what way the cable goes in just seems like a dream when you’re constantly unplugging peripherals.

Thank you to Mashable for providing us with this information.

Harvest WiFi Signals to Charge Your Smartphone

The folks at Nikola Labs have been busy creating an amazing piece of kit. On the surface looks like any ordinary protective case, though it packs a punch, wirelessly charging your smartphone through the conversion of RF Signals “Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE”. Here’s how it works:

“Nikola Technology efficiently converts RF signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE into DC power using its proprietary energy harvesting circuit. The result is usable energy that can provide power to mobile devices wirelessly.”

A closer look at the specs shows careful thought taken in terms of design, everything you’d need to track, harvest and maintain battery life are in place, this includes a Signal Strength Indicator, RF Harvesting Antenna and RF – DC Converter.

Nikola Labs have joined forces with Ohio State University original creator of this technology with a goal of bringing the product to market in a year.

This technology could revolutionize various fields, communication being the most obvious, also in terms of disaster relief, where infrastructural damage may cause disruptions in service, this technology could keep life-saving tools up and running.

It launches on Kickstarter in a month at the price of $99, with plans to ship within the following 4 months. I’m really looking forward to further developments in this tech, it’s one to keep our eyes on, plus it looks like something The Flash would be rocking, would you?

Thank you NikolaLabs and for providing us with this information.

uBeam Wireless Charging with a Difference

We all know wireless charging is a new fad, put your phone down on a specific mat, tea coaster or part of a lamp and you get your phone charged without having the hassle of plugging it in. Well now it seems uBeam has changed the game.

Previously, wireless charging could only happen when the device was in direct contact or within a few centimeters of the charging device; normally a few pieces of paper were enough to block the signal. Well now, uBeam has designed a way to send wireless power at a distance of up to 15 feet, yes 15 feet!

The technology comes from ultrasound, this is similar to the ultrasound used to look inside people to find abnormalities or babies; so it is safe for humans to be around. It is still in early testing days, but the company has come a long way in a short space of time. It all started out with a massive phone case and a huge sender box; this has now been condensed down to a pretty average looking phone case and a sender that resembles a WiFi router.

Investors are throwing themselves at this project, wireless charging is the future without a doubt. It all started off with a small amount back when the company started out a few years back; then the ‘Series A’ reaped $10 million back in October. Despite how huge this could be, uBeam’s founder is not milking it just yet, with a Series B estimated to take $50 million, but with a valuation of $500 million depending on progress. So far, Starbucks is the only major player to make their name known for interest in the product, but rumours are pointing in the direction of many other companies looking to invest.

I’d be seriously interested in this technology, imagine walking around a shopping centre and having your phone charged for free. Although I bet this wouldn’t be for long, if it can be regulated like WiFi; there will soon be a price put on it.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Off Grid Solar Charging Implemented in San Francisco

With electric vehicles (EVs) starting to gain traction in the automotive world, ways of charging them when ‘out and about’ has been a small concern for some motorists. This has now been tackled head on by the company Envision Solar, with the introduction of three separate solar powered charging stations; I like the sound of car docks myself.

So what does this mean? Basically, there are three completely off the grid charging stations dotted throughout San Francisco. These are transportable stations only taking up the space of a normal sized parking spot and are completely free for users to utilise. They are Level 2 charging stations, capable of generating 3.3 kilowatts of energy; that’s not much, but it’s better than plugging in at home or at any other on-grid charging station. The charging station is also equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack that stores 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity; saving it for a rainy day.

These charging stations are on a fixed term basis, staying at their locations within San Francisco for a few months at a time. All of which, they will be gathering information such as charge frequency and duration. After 12 months, the company will analyse the data and choose which spot will be best to store all three of these stations to then be made a permanent feature.

All green energy for all green cars, sounds like the right way forward and would make excellent use of open car parks that are directly in sun, keeping the car cool on a hot day and also giving you some charge.

Image courtesy of EnvisionSolar

The IKEA Wireless Charging Collection Hits Stores This Spring

IKEA is introducing a lineup of wireless charging furniture and accessories that are hitting stores in late spring. The collection includes lamps, end tables, single and triple charging pads, and an installable wireless charging pad.

The whole wireless charging sensation is something that hasn’t really taken off since it hasn’t been mass adopted in the past few years like so many wish it would have. There have been many devices that have adopted the technology and adapters made to take use of the tech in the form of cases and battery adapters.

It has been known for a while that IKEA planned to introduce this lineup, but it just announced that they will go on sale in late spring. The lineup consists of standard Nordmärke wireless charging pads that are $28 for the single and $65 for the triple. Then there is an actual furniture line that will have the Qi standard charging pads built-in. An even cooler product is the Jyssen wireless charger, a $30 pad that you can install into existing furniture with a $5 Fixa hole saw set that they will also be selling. That should make it a breeze and very affordable to make your whole house wireless charging friendly, from your desk to the kitchen counter there are tons of possibilities.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Tesla Model S Update Makes it ‘Basically Impossible’ to Run out of Charge

No this doesn’t mean a conventional fuel burning engine, solar panels, or even a support car with additional batteries. This is basically a hardware monitor and GPS update. The new update will more accurately monitor how much charge you have left, how far that will get you and if there are any available spots at charging stations within range.

The new update features the following:

“Automatic Emergency Braking

This new Collision Avoidance Assist feature automatically engages the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision. Automatic Emergency Braking will stop applying the brakes when the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the brake pedal, or sharply turns the steering wheel. 

Blind Spot Warning 

Blind Spot Warning assists the driver to change lanes safely. When Model S is travelling between 20 mph (30 km/h) and 85 mph (140 km/h) and detects a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot, a white arc will appear on the instrument panel near the bottom of the speedometer. If a collision with the vehicle becomes likely, two red arcs will appear, the steering wheel will vibrate, and the driver will hear a chime.”

So this is a preventative measure. So correct me if I’m wrong, but this is like a human looking at their fuel range and tapping it into their phone/ Sat Nav to work out where the nearest station is? Well now, Tesla does all that for you.

Thanks to TweakTown for this information

Always Short an USB Port? Try Brando’s New 49-Port USB Charging Hub

Have you ever found yourself short of just one USB port to connect whatever device you’re just holding in your hand? Of course you have, and it makes no difference how many ports you have. This might change with Brando’s new 49-Port Hub.

The new hub is designed to allow you to connect and charge up to 49 USB devices at once, may they be your Smartphone, Tablet, or other USB devices. It is capable of reliably supplying 0.5 – 1.5A per port without overheating or becoming a fire hazard. Comes with a USB cable, but the power supply must be purchased separately. We suggest 60A 5V PSU if you want to supply 1.2A to all 49 ports.

It comes with a 90cm USB cable, but you need to have your own PSU as that is what is used to power it and comes with overvoltage and overcurrent recover functions.

You shouldn’t run into any clearance issues with 36mm distance between the ports, but it will take up some space with its 350 x 231 x 38mm area and weight of 1050g. A hub like this won’t come cheap either, as it will set you back $174.00.

Thanks to Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Ikea Planning to Sell Wireless Charging Lamps and Tables

We live in an era where our smartphone and/or tablet battery is one of our top priority for the day. Often we forget to plug them into a charger while at home or at the office, only to notice we can barely unlock them to see a notification once we are outside.

Ikea seems to have been thinking about the same problem and appears to have a rather high-tech solution, offering its customers a range of lamps and tables that come with wireless charging technology. Floor, table and work lamps are just a few of what Ikea offers in terms of lighting solution, along with a pair of bedside tables that come with individual pads which would add more charging locations to homes.

It seems that the furniture supports the Qi wireless standard, which is the leader in the wireless charging standard around the world. Since one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers which sell their handsets with built-in Qi wireless charging technology is Microsoft and its Lumia series, Ikea is also offering to sell charging covers for Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S handsets in order to use them with its furniture.

Ikea is said to start selling the furniture in the US and UK in mid April, having a starting price of around £40 in the UK. Pricing in the US is still to be confirmed.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Waterproof Rubix Cube-Like System Runs Linux, Heads to Kickstarter

Is it a new shiny rubix cube? It could look like one, but in fact Cuberox is a Kickstarter project that includes 16×16 screens on a waterproof casing, having it powered by Linux and wireless charging.

The coolest rubix cube-like project is said to give you the ability to run various applications, making it the perfect home or even office solution. Having it based on a Unix platform, it gives the user limitless possibilities of running a separate app on each side of the cube. From a developer’s perspective, the device could be a gold mine and JavaScript, which is the main coding language for the device, would be the pickaxe.

In terms of specs, the device is said to feature built-in speakers, multicolored smart backlit technology, wireless connectivity and charging, all encased with a waterproof seal.

The device has currently surpassed the $35,000 mark for its ultimate $150,000 goal and has less than 30 days to go. More information on the device and project can be found over at Kickstarter.

Thank you Kickstarter and Tweak Town for providing us with this information

Portable USB Wall Charger Roundup

Introduction


Quite often you’ll find yourself traveling to another city, state or country and be met with the all-too-common sinking feeling when presented with your hotel room power point options – only one or two annoyingly placed ports. If you’re like me, not only have you forgotten a power board, but you’ve got multiple devices to charge via USB ports. Furthermore, if you’re heading on a holiday or business trip – it’s likely that you’re carrying a myriad of battery-powered devices: a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and GoPro being just the beginning of a very long list.

Being left with your standard issue 1-port USB smartphone charger won’t do you much justice, pulling out your bulky laptop isn’t always the best solution due to them being heavy and slow to charge – this is where USB power hubs come into their element. They’re also suitable for a home environment, offering between two and five handy USB ports to charge your devices overnight or while you’re sitting on the couch.

Thankfully for us, we’ve had a couple of wall USB chargers provided to us for testing. Read on for a quick round-up on these life-saving devices and what conditions we think they suit best.

The full list of products in this roundup and their pricing is as follows:

Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds

Reuters reports about an Israeli company that claims to have developed a prototype that could charge a mobile phone in 30 seconds.

“Using nano-technology to synthesize artificial molecules, Tel Aviv-based StoreDot says it has developed a battery that can store a much higher charge more quickly, in effect acting like a super-dense sponge to soak up power and retain it.”

The technology could eventually charge a car in minutes, rather than hours – this would be something of a massive breakthrough for electric cars, with battery charging being one of their biggest drawbacks.

The company says that the technology now exists, but needs to be refined before it can be implemented into consumer devices. They’ve received $48 million in funding to help them achieve that goal and say that it could be ready for all of us in 2016.

Source: Reuters