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Car-seat wins Samsung tech talent contest

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A simple, lightweight safety car seat for children between the ages of two and ten is in the process of patent registration ahead of full prototype development and commercial launch.

“We are proud to announce that ‘The Precious Cargo Child Seat’ has been named a winner in the recent Samsung South Africa Launching People – Mixed Talents competition,” says Michelle Potgieter, Director: Brand and Product Marketing and Communications. This innovative product is designed to make child safety seats safer, more affordable and easily portable.

Product designers, Trenton and Tracy Carr, began development on a new style of safety seat in 2008, when they discovered that existing baby car seats on the market were cumbersome and expensive, as well as difficult to transfer from one car to another. As children grow taller, booster seats and other car safety products available on the market can often leave a lot to be desired.

On the back of extensive research, the Carrs designed a new system based on a washable upper body vest and a lightweight booster seat that doubles as a suitcase for the vest. “The vest is a full upper body restraint that serves as a cocoon for the child’s vital organs in the case of an accident and there is no risk that he or she will ‘submarine’ – slide down under a seatbelt restraint on impact,” says Trenton Carr. In addition to being safer, the product is so portable and lightweight that a child can carry it himself.

Manufacturing will be done in South Africa, with ‘The Precious Cargo Child Seat’ expected to retail for under R2 000, offering vests available in three sizes for children up to the age of ten.

The prototype has been widely welcomed by parents as well as seeing a major baby goods retailer expressing interest in stocking the product. “The win in the Launching People – Mixed Talents challenge will help fund the process of securing intellectual property protection, which is a key step on the road to full production and market launch,” Carr continues. “Another important step will be securing funding, for tooling the moulds for the manufacturing of the seat component.”

“As a winner of Samsung Electronics South Africa’s Launching People – Mixed Talents competition, the that ‘The Precious Cargo Child Seat’ offers a safe and reliable product, which we believe the market will respond positively to due to its high quality design,” adds Potgieter.

“The Launching People – Mixed Talents challenge, now in its second year, is supported by Samsung South Africa in line with its focus on innovation and supporting new business development in South Africa,” Potgieter says.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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