Anyone who uses the factory sound system on their PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone knows that they leave much to be desired. Those looking for better audio have typically had to hard-wire their devices to speakers and subwoofers that are plugged into outlets...but who wants to hassle with a spaghetti bowl of wires?
With Bluetooth wireless technology, gamers, movie fans and music lovers can improve their sound experience while doing away with yards and yards of speaker cable and power cords. Logitech UE Mobile Boombox Bluetooth speakers are among the most requested items at the Whidbey Telecom Technology Retail Center in Freeland.
Made for Logitech by its subsidiary, Ultimate Ears, a premier headphone maker, these speakers deliver great sound that fits in your pocket (provided your pocket is big enough to hold a 4.5” inch by 2.6” rectangular box). A carry case protects them when you’re on the go, but it’s not really necessary. Mobile Booms have a touch metal speaker grill and their oval-shaped cases are wrapped in durable rubber, so you won’t likely break them if they slip through your butter fingers and hit the porch deck.
Mobile Booms have rechargeable batteries that provide approximately 10 hours of sound if, say, you want to take them poolside or on a picnic. And these Bluetooth-equipped devices work wirelessly at a distance of up to 50’ feet. One more cool feature: if you want to synch them to your smartphone, all you have to do is tap the phone on the speaker. Provided your phone is NFC-enabled (most newer smartphones have this mobile access technology), you’ll be instantly paired up.
Looking for another cool computer add on? Check this out. First, PC users controlled computers with a mouse. Then a trackball. Then a track pad. Now there’s...thin air. With the Leap Motion Controller, your hands become the input device. Grab, drag, catch, crush, steer, move, tap, and resize objects on your screen just by moving your hands in the air. Infrared optics and cameras sense your every motion. It can even track all 10 of your fingers simultaneously to within a hundredth of a millimeter!
Released in July of 2013, the Leap Controller is Mac and Windows compatible. Its micro-USB powered motion detection device is about the size of a hotel soapbar and sits on your desktop. Simply by moving your hands in the plane above it, you are able to direct the actions on the screen. As you play with the controls, the LEAP actually learns your user patterns to improve your level of control.
The Leap Motion integrates with a range of desktop applications such as web browsers and iTunes. You can wave your hand to flick through web pages or pause the music in the background and even rotate your finger to dial the volume up and down.
To get the most out of your Leap Controller, you’ll want to buy software developed for the Leap Airspace App Store. At present, there are about 140 apps available. These include games, creativity software, and cool exploration software such as the Google Earth that allows you to fly through 3-D space like Superman. You can also explore the planets with Solar Walk, essentially a guided galactic trip.
There are a number of programs of interest to artists. For example, running the Core Painter Freestyle program allows you to select brushes and colors, then create original artwork on your screen. Another program, Freeform, let’s you shape clay on a virtual potter’s wheel. And zPots allows you to create freeform designs that can be made into real objects with a 3D printer.
Have an aspiring Mozart in your home? They’ll especially like the selection of music software such as AirHarp, which is exactly what you imagine. You just move your fingers in a plucking motion and music comes out of your speakers. Naturally, there’s also a program for the original air controller, the Theremin. And still another, Virtual Bongos, that will probably drive moms and dads nuts.
Though the controller may certainly gain favor among artists, designers and other serious creative-types, it’s most likely to be an initial hit among kids and gamers who will be enchanted with their ability to play using only their hands. For example, in the game Balloon Buzz, your finger controls a bee who flies along, popping balloons with its stinger. Another popular game, Cut The Rope, allows you to free tethered candies that swing through space. Just swish your finger tip like a knife. If your timing is good, the candies drop into the mouth of a hungry little monster. Kids love it!