Petnet SmartFeeder review: Robot pet feeder meets smartphone app with mostly good results

PCWorld

When I first heard about the Petnet SmartFeeder, I bristled. How could something so basic as feeding a pet be in search of a smart solution? I deposit a half-cup of dry kibble in my dog's bowl twice daily--done and done. Is no human endeavor sacred? I can see that there are times when an automatic pet feeder makes sense: an unpredictable work schedule, say, or an impromptu invite, either of which could step on the toes of your pet's meal time.


Aquanta and its smart water-heater controller are back with new promises to slash your energy bill

PCWorld

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water accounts for fully 18 percent of the typical household's annual energy consumption, second only to the amount of energy consumed to heat and cool their residence. And because the typical tank water heater keeps 40 to 50 gallons of water piping hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week--whether or not anyone is home to use it--20 to 50 percent of the energy is completely wasted. Following an aborted crowd-funding campaign in late 2014, Aquanta (formerly Sunnovations) is now taking pre-orders on its Aquanta "learning" water-heater controller, which it expects to ship in July. In a note to its would-be backers when it cancelled its Kickstarter campaign, the team said while its campaign was unsuccessful, the exposure it garnered lead to "a sizable number of large and exciting strategic and distribution partners to contact us." Fast forward 18 months and Aquanta CEO Matthew Carlson tells me his company has "had test units in the field for more than a year."


Is Facebook Building An Autonomous Car?

#artificialintelligence

Today at the Frankfurt motor show, one of the biggest and most prestigious motor shows in the world, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, spoke before German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now what is Facebook and most importantly, Sheryl Sandberg doing at an automotive industry event? The obvious answer that comes to mind when one relates Facebook and the car industry is the billions of advertising dollars the industry spends on marketing and advertising. However, that does not seem to be Facebook's game plan, as highlighted by Sheryl and shown at their pavilion. Facebook seems to have a strategy of leveraging its capabilities in social marketing, AR & VR and interestingly, who would have thought of it, leveraging its advanced AI and deep learning capabilities to support the development of autonomous vehicles.


Eufy RoboVac 11 review: A budget-friendly dust buster

PCWorld

With their budget-busting prices, robot vacuums are a convenience many of us can't afford. That makes the Eufy RobotVac 11 a welcome addition to the brigade. You won't get premium features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, mapping, or camera navigation with this $250 vacuum, but you will get cleaning power comparable to premium models, at a fraction of the cost. Its charcoal finish is adorned with nothing more than an Auto button and the Eufy logo on its tempered-glass top. Its front bumper houses the 11 infrared sensors that help it navigate, and an ample-sized dustbin takes up the bulk of its backside.


Meural's connected frame displays fine art with no subscription fees

PCWorld

Desktop digital picture frames have largely faded away, a side effect of the ubiquity of smartphones. Now the next thing to go digital is the artwork on your wall, such as the latest connected-art canvas from New York City-based Meural. The 27-inch, 1920x1080 display is large enough to be a focal point on your wall or fireplace mantle, and it taps into a collection of more than 20,000 pieces of art via an 802.11n Access to the collection is included in the 495 price of the frame (a "Lightbox" model sells for 595). The frame has 8GB of built-in memory, so you can store a number of works at once.