Tag Archives: Gadget Reviews

Virchybike Lite indoor bike puts you in the heat of the race

By all appearances, Virchybike Lite looks like a normal indoor bike. But look a little closer and you’ll notice a few differences. Instead of just adjusting the seat’s height, you can also move the seat forward and backward, and the handlebars can be moved horizontally and vertically as well. If you don’t quite know where to align everything, Virchybike’s app will guide you through the bike fitting proces when you first get it. Like a lot of other indoor bikes, you can also adjust the resistance levels (the app also has programs that auto-adjusts the resistance for you) and there’s a heart-rate monitor as well.

Speaking of the app, that’s really at the heart of what makes the Virchybike Lite proposition a compelling one (the app is Android only for now, though Virchybike says an iOS version will be out next year). You can either select a mode where you’re cycling through real-world courses, or play it safe with a Studio setting that mimics the feel of a spin class. There’s also an interesting VR mode, where you can use an app called “rora”, slap the phone in a VR headset like the Gear, and cycle through virtual worlds like you can on something like the VirZoom.

No matter which mode you pick, Virchybike says that the app will monitor your progress and heart rate, and will suggest modes that will cater to your particular fitness level. Oh, and you can also enable “Multiriding” and race along with family and friends if they happen to have Virchybikes too.

Perhaps the most interesting bike mode is the one that has you riding through 70-plus different real-life courses around the world. As you’re cycling through the course, you’re not just watching the road; the topography of the map actually matches the incline of your bike as you cycle along. Plus, the faster you cycle, the faster you move through the map. You also have the option changing your “gears” as you race.

And if you decide to pay a little extra, Virchybike is also going to throw in an accessory called the VR Fan. Connect it to the app, position the fan towards you and it’ll attempt to simulate the wind blowing in your face as you breeze through the Tour De France.

I saw a demo of the Virchybike Lite at a booth at TechCrunch Disrupt, and it looks like a pretty well-made bike. The seats adjusted well, and the app looks pretty polished as well. It showed me data like the cyclist’s heart rate as well as the speeds and inclines of the entire course. It doesn’t look as cool as the Virchybike Pro, which was also there for demonstration, and it definitely doesn’t have the same tilting frame. A spokesperson said that the Pro is more for professionals and gyms, while the Lite is more for home use. Unfortunately, there was no VR fan in sight, as the Virchybike folks are still looking for manufacturing partners for it.

Virchybike was created four years ago by Jaehyun Shin, a self-professed sports lover who wanted fitness to be more accessible to the masses. Specifically, he wanted to alleviate the boredom and tediousness so often associated with exercise. The first bike Shin and his team created was the RX Cycle in 2015, which then evolved to the Virchybike Pro in early 2017. But as that was a little too expensive — over $1,000 — Shin decided to make a Lite version for what he calls “family use.”

The Virchybike Lite went on Kickstarter today with a $15,000 goal, and at the time of this writing, is already almost 80 percent funded. Virchybike hopes to deliver the bikes (and the VR fans) to backers by February of next year.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/19/virchybike-lites-realistic-courses-put-you-in-the-heat-of-the-r/

Toys ‘R’ Us might declare bankruptcy soon

Amazon raked in an estimated $4 billion in toy sales last year, up 24 percent from 2015 according to analytics firm One Click Retail. That amount is over a third of what Toys ‘R’ Us brings in, which has seen five years of decline. Bargain competition and diving prices have hurt the toy giant’s attempts to recover.

Bain Capital, KKR Co. and Vornado Realty Trust engaged in a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout of Toys ‘R’ Us back in 2005 to take it private. The toy giant has struggled to emerge from under so much debt, which has blunted its expansions in physical and online storefronts. The company spent $100 million over the last few years to launch a new website this summer, but it still lags behind Target, Walmart, and most significantly, Amazon.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/18/toys-r-us-might-declare-bankruptcy-soon/

Kevin Hart made a family-friendly mobile game

His new mobile game, Gold Ambush with Kevin Hart, looks like another piece of that upbeat empire. Featuring Hart, his wife Eniko, as well as children Heaven and Hendrix as playable characters, the game is a Temple-Run-meets-Clash-of-Clans combination in a medieval setting. It’s light on violence and big on Hart’s wide, cartoony grins. It should play right into his brand. But just days after issuing an emotional apology on Instagram to his wife and kids following rumors of infidelity — as reported by TMZ — the timing is poor.

“I’m making the game fun but I’m also making it family-friendly without forcing that down people’s faces,” he told Engadget in an interview conducted before his public confession. “It’s a game for everybody.”

The game was made by StandUp Digital, a self-described “celebrity mobile entertainment company” that Hart is a partner in, spun off from app developers Pinxter Digital.

As a game, Gold Ambush is not groundbreaking. Its mechanics mirror the endless runner, world building and tower defense games which overcrowd app stores. Pinxter says there will be inside jokes from Hart’s stand-up performances thrown in. But the key value-add is the mere presence of Hart, a man with 54.5 million Instagram fans, whose star is still rising.

Asked what’s different about this game, Hart responds: “What’s unique about this one is that you’ll be able to play with me and my family. You can pick me. That’s how you win. Cheat code: Kevin Hart.”

Hart says he’s been a gamer from the days of Super Mario Bros. on the NES as is a fan of the Madden NFL and NBA 2K series. His kids, meanwhile, are “big Minecrafters.” Recently, he’s been playing Mortal Kombat with his son.

“He’s big on the fighting games so he destroys me, but as a dad, you’ve got to sit there and just take it,” Hart says. “Talks trash to me the whole time, doesn’t teach me moves or nothing. But it’s good, it’s a good time.”

Has his knowledge of gaming helped with becoming a partner in a mobile entertainment company?

“Not at all,” Hart says. “This is a completely different world that I’m now getting educated on.”

Mobile gaming lines up with another aspect of Hart’s brand. Aside from being a fountain of energy and optimism, Hart portrays himself is as a business mogul who started stand-up comedy at 18 and is now building an entertainment empire. He’s far from the first celebrity to slap their name on a smartphone game, and even dabbled in a Doodle Jump-style app in 2011. But it wasn’t until last year that mobile gaming overtook PC and console gaming for the first time with revenues set to reach $46.1 billion — 42% of the gaming market — in 2017, according to Newzoo.

When our conversation turns to the amounts of cash in the sector right now, with games like Mobile Strike with Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering massive revenues, Hart lights up.

“It’s a lot of money. This is why I’m over here in the gaming world” he says, chuckling. “Welcome Kevin Hart. This is why I’m here. I want some of that. I want to do what they did.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/18/gold-ambush-with-kevin-hart-interview/

‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ smashes Steam’s peak user record

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has broken another Steam record, and this time it might stick. The battle royale shooter just surpassed Valve’s Dota 2 to claim the all-time record for peak player count, with 1.34 million gamers fighting for survival versus a little less than 1.3 million for its rival. That’s not bad for a game that was only released in Early Access form in March.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/17/playerunknowns-battlegrounds-sets-all-time-peak-user-record/

Ben Heck’s mini pinball: All about the control board

So here’s where the team is at with the control board for their miniature pinball machine: Felix has put together a prototype board with the Arduino and Teensy microcontrollers, which will control the solenoids and take input from bumpers, buttons and other mechanisms that Ben is designing. Ben had to reprint the disc for the pop-bumper, though, and now it will fit with the conductive metal rings to give us a circuit that can help rack up the points. Let us know what you think about the build so far over on the element14 Community, and please do share any comments you have about C++ programming.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/17/ben-hecks-mini-pinball-mechs/

Pirate Bay ‘borrows’ visitor CPUs to mine virtual coins

The site tells TorrentFreak that it was testing the feature for about 24 hours as a new way of generating revenue, and that it could eventually be enough to replace ads. In short, don’t be surprised if this becomes a mainstay of the site going forward. Users have found that they can block the miner through their browser settings or add-ons like ad blockers, so it’s not inescapable.

Without warnings, however, many inexperienced visitors won’t even realize what’s happening, let alone figure out how to stop it. And that’s the real concern. While there isn’t much sympathy to be had for pirate site hosts eager for revenue, the unsuspecting visitors are another story — they didn’t ask to bog down their systems.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/16/pirate-bay-hijacks-cpus-for-digital-currency-mining/