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IFA 2016: 3Doodler PRO rewrites 3D printing rules

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3Doodler, maker of the original 3D printing pen used this week’s IFA in Berlin to showcase its professional-grade 3D printing pen, the 3Doodler PRO. 

The sleek tool is aimed at creative professionals, like architects, engineers and artists, and is ideal for prototyping designs, concept development, and communicating their creative vision in 3D form.

Unlike other pens on the market, the PRO materials include wood, copper, bronze, nylon, and polycarbonate, complementing more than 65 compatible varieties of plastic from the 3Doodler Create range.

Maxwell Bogue, Co-Founder & CEO said: “Beyond the numerous upgrades, what really makes the PRO so unique is how the device and materials come together to answer the needs of professionals. When we started the 3Doodler journey back in 2013, we had world-leading architects telling us, ‘I want to do this’. ‘This’ was a quick wave of the pen in the air, with plastic solidifying in its wake.

“With new materials like polycarbonate, that dream is a reality. The high-performance PRO can be used for the most advanced of purposes to bring concepts to life, and become an integral part of the creative process.”

The PRO boasts new features including tactile adjustable dials for temperature and speed, an adjustable fan for user control over the cooling of the plastics, and an LCD display to show the pen’s settings. Encased in a lightweight carbon fibre shell, the pen‘s radically re-engineered drive system is designed specifically for the range of new materials. In combination with the high-speed fan, polycarbonate plastic can be used to create a solid structure in one swift gesture, making it ideal to quickly sketch out blueprints, either on a surface or in the air.

Daniel Cowen, Co-President, said: “The 3Doodler has outsold any other 3D printing device on the global market. We now have pens specifically designed for crafters, adults, children, and with this, the most advanced pen ever, professionals. Whether you’re eight or 80 years old, hobbyist or professional, the 3Doodler range of products has never been more inclusive. After being first to market, we are now pushing the boundaries of 3D creation to ever more users and use-cases.”

The pen is packaged in a premium storage case, together with accompanying accessories, including a portable battery pack, Nozzle Set, DoodlePad, and 100 strands of specialty plastic.

3Doodler PRO Specifications

●      Carbon fiber shell

●      Temperature and speed adjustment: Adjust temperature from 100°C to 250°C, speed settings between 10% and 100%; all via tactile adjustable dials

●      LCD display showing the desired temperature and indicators for each level

●      Side switch to adjust the cooling fan: Off, Low or High

●      A radically redesigned drive system for use with professional materials and filaments

●      New larger drive to keep the PRO going for longer with more intensive use

●      Plastics range: wood, copper, bronze, nylon, and polycarbonate

●      Priced from US$249

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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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