How the iPhone enhances ReSound’s hip new hearing aids


ReSound's LiNX hearing aid is the first controlled by the iPhone. Pairing with the iPhone adds a surprising amount of useful functionality. Photo: ReSound
ReSound's LiNX hearing aid pairs with iPhones to add surprisingly useful functionality. Photo: ReSound

LAS VEGAS — Hearing aids aren’t sexy, so a lot of journalists here at International CES breezed right by ReSound’s booth.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The Danish company has been in the hearing aid business for 75 years, and launched the first iPhone-connected hearing aid at CES last year. Now the company is a back with a full lineup of iPhone-compatible LiNX hearing aids. The devices address the whole range of hearing loss, from the mild to severe.

As I approach 50, I’m wondering if I need a pair myself, so I went to check them out. I was impressed. Connecting a hearing aid to an iPhone adds a lot of very useful functionality.

HP Sprout is a fun Franken-puter with wild tricks up its sleeve


HP's Sprout touchscreen computer scans objects and run them into 3D files. It's fast and fun. Credit: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac
HP's Sprout touchscreen computer scans objects and turns them into 3-D files. It's fast and fun. Credit: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Of all the amazing technology on show here at International CES, the most surprising so far is Hewlett-Packard’s weird Sprout, a multitalented Franken-puter that looks like a ton of fun.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The HP Sprout is a touchscreen computer married to a multitouch pad, with a projector/camera/3-D scanner peering overhead. It looks like a bad prop from a Lego version of War of the Worlds.

I’d seen the press releases when it launched last October and had pretty low expectations. It just looked too weird. But I was genuinely delighted to see it in action.

Casper is the friendly mattress that arrives in a box


Casper beds come in boxes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Casper mattresses come in boxes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Bryan Chaffin loves his Casper mattress.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 “I don’t even know where to start,” effused the Mac Observer executive vice president. “It’s the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on. It was dead-easy to set up. It’s just incredibly comfortable.”

Chaffin is a satisfied customer of Casper, a New York startup shaking up the tired old mattress industry. Casper is doing everything differently, from the design of its all-foam mattress to the way it sells and ships direct to customers.

What? Us? Scared? Garmin shows no fear of Apple Watch


Garmin watch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Garmin's chunky new Fenix 3 Sapphire sport watch faces stiff competition from Apple Watch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — When Garmin launches a $600 smartwatch just a few weeks before Apple is about to introduce its category killer, the company must be pretty confident.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015Here at International CES, Garmin is showing off its new line of Fenix 3 Sports Watches — multisport fitness trackers with built-in GPS that can pair with a smartphone to show various alerts and notifications. It comes in three models, including the handsome Sapphire, which has a hard sapphire crystal face. It’s a beauty, but surely doomed, right?

When asked if Garmin was worried about the Apple Watch, due to be launched sometime this spring, a spokeswoman confidently said absolutely not. She explained that Garmin’s watches are unapologetically outdoor fitness devices built for sportspeople who want a watch to do very specific things — track workouts – and aren’t interested in beaming heartbeats or sending emojis.

“They are purpose-built,” she said, gesturing at the display. “They’re built for hiking, biking and running. Garmin has been in the wearables market for 10 years. We’re not worried at all.”

Crazy motorized skates cut walking time in half


Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
These motorized skates cut walking time in half. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — For eight years, Paul Chavand been working hard to bring the world a pair of motorized skates. Why? To revolutionize the simple act of walking. Chavand’s dream is turn a simple stroll into an effortless glide on motorized wheels.


But don’t call them skates. Chavand, a mathematics teacher from France’s Burgundy region, gets rather upset at that. Skates imply imbalance, falling over and wildly flailing arms. Chavand’s Rollkers require no “skating.” You just stand still and the motorized wheels zip you along. Balancing is as simple as standing up, the inventor says.

So instead of “skates,” he calls his invention, rather comically, “under shoes.”

The big question is why you’d want them.