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USB for the Power Mad


USB powerSure, anybody can charge a phone or tablet using a USB power adapter, but what about plugging the device directly into a wall outlet? That’s where a USB wall outlet comes in. You can charge a phone or tablet directly without a separate adapter and save on space and clutter. Here’re five ways to power up a room full of tablets.

  Power2uNewer Technology’s Power2U is a direct replacement for the typical AC outlet, but it adds a pair of USB power plugs alongside the traditional 115-volt outlets. You’ll need an electrician install it, it’s available in three colors and you can get it in 15- or 20-amp versions. The USB outlets supply 5.2-volts at up to 2.5 amps for each plug. Unlike the others, it comes with a face plate that has slide-open doors, which cover the USB plugs and turn off the power when they’re closed. It costs about $23.

IbcGetAttachmentCan you do without the AC outlets? Leviton Decora USB4P outlet replaces the 110-volt plugs with four USB ports. Capable of delivering up to 4.2-amps of current at 5-volts, it has a microprocessor to balance its load to that it can charge four high-current tablets at once; any single device can draw up to 2.1-amps. You’ll need to have an electrician install it and the Decora outlet set comes in white, ivory, light almond, gray and black for $40.

Rca WP2UWR_1If you don’t mind giving up one AC outlet, RCA’s Wall Plate Charger can do the trick for charging. It plugs right into the wall, so you don’t need an electrician. It sticks out slightly and yields a pair of 2.1-amp USB charging ports as well as a regular old 110-volt AC outlet. It sells for $15 and the company also makes one that has four USB charging slots.

Rnd 31SYNpGpj-LRND’s $20 3.4-amp Fast Charging Station takes this idea a step farther and is perfect for rooms with lots of tablets. It plugs right into a wall outlet and is bigger than the other two, but combines three 110-volt AC outlets with a pair of USB charging ports. The bonus is that, unlike the other two, the 3.4-amp Fast Charging station has a 540 Joule surge suppressor to protect delicate equipment from dangerous voltage spikes.

  51uwQbaA5YL._SL1500_By far, the easiest to install and use of the five is the Pro 4USB Port AC Wall Charger. It plugs right into a wall outlet, has four 5-volt USB power ports with blue LEDs to show they’re working and won’t hog both outlets. In fact, a traditional double AC outlet can accommodate two of the 4USB chargers for 8 USB outlets. On the downside, while a single device can take up to 2.1-amps of its output, with two devices the current draw drops to 1.05 amps each. With four items connected, they can only take 0.5-amps each, which can slow charging. It’s available at Amazon.com for $11, making it the bargain of the group.

 

 

 

 

 

Hands-Free Pad

IMG_3147Whether it’s for displaying sheet music or just to read with your hands free to take notes, the AirTurn Manos Universal Tablet Mount is a great way to suspend a slate. The $49 hardware works with everything from an iPad and Surface slate to a Samsung, Sony or LG tablet. In fact, the AirTurn will work with just about any tablet that has a 13-inch or smaller screen, even if it is in a case. Its spring-loaded fingers securely grab the sides of the tablet to allow the pad to rotate 360-degrees and be tilted to a comfortable position.

 

Teaching in the Z Dimension

Kidsengine_manz_boyWhile educational 3-D materials for projectors are few and far between, zSpace can get kids to learn about science, engineering and technology in all three dimensions with its zSpace 200 workstation. You can work and interact with virtual holograms of everything from a set of gears or levers to the dissection of a frog or how the heart works. Students manipulate, rotate and zoom-in and -out of models that appear to float in space in front of the screen with a tethered pen. The company’s Gallery has over 500 3-D models that pertain to architecture, engineering and zoology while the Studio modeling software is for students and teachers to build their own 3-D worlds along with tools for measuring what’s going on.

Accessories that Stand up to Spills

X1800-Black-3It’s never a good idea to mix electronics and liquids, unless they are Rapoo’s latest wireless keyboard and mouse combo. The X1800 set connects with a computer via a 2.4GHz link and is spill resistant. Available through Canada Computers, it costs $20 and its battery should be able to run for a year.

Never Lose Anything

Zrq425-phone-tag_0bn09t0bn09t000000The Protag Duet tag is so smart that it cannot only alert you that you’ve left your phone behind, but your bag as well. Inside the plastic tag is an RFID chip, speaker and just enough electronics to sound the alarm when it and your phone get separated. Plus, it can find your phone, either by pressing Duet to make the phone ring – even if the phone is set to silent – or by tracking its location. The $29 device works with Android and iPhones.

Color by Numbers

Fx-9860G2_PK_FCasio’s FX-9860G2 scientific calculator not only now has a backlit screen for better viewing, but can be had in a variety of colors, including pink, blue or white. Designed for grades six through graduation, the calculator has a built-in spreadsheet program that can help with science classroom lab work and business assignments. It can work with statistics, conversions, regressions as well as a variety of graphing tasks. The calculator costs about $80.

Volume without the Wires

Iloud_iklipstudio_gb_bThe name iLoud says it all. It’s the wireless speaker that puts the emphasis on high quality volume. The $300 sound system has a 40-watt amplifier and inputs for musical instruments as well as the ability to connect with tablets and phones via Bluetooth. No bigger than a dictionary, it delivers rich full sound and the ability to fill a room with audio.

Pocketful of Sound

KzqNBfyCc9BxPgC-sLNM_7AbWDZOvTTSxshH9UeesTMSpeakers don’t need to be big and bulky anymore because NudeAudio’s Super-M can fit lots of audio into a pocket-sized case. Despite its size, Super-M connects to any tablet or phone via Bluetooth, sends out audio in a 360-degree pattern of rich sound and is waterproof; it even has a string so that the speaker can be hung on a hook. Inside, the speaker has four Neodymium drivers as well as a pair of passive radiators, yet fits into a pocket. It’s available for pre-orders on KickStarter for $99 with an anticipated August delivery.

 

Cord-free Audio

901_lifestyle1Regardless of its source, kids can listen to audio lessons, podcasts and video wirelessly with Califone’s 901 Wireless Headphone. Rather than the headphones connecting directly with the source, they work via a small connection box that plugs into a headphone jack. The set’s batteries should be good enough for a  full school day of listening and has a 20-foot range so that students can listen in different parts of the room. It costs $59.50.

Powering Up the Classroom

Banner-juice-powerConnecting and powering up computers will get a lot easier with Bretford’s Juice system that allows schools to incorporate AC outlets or USB plugs and network connections into many of their tables. The power module has flip up outlets that fold away when not needed and up to eight tablets can be daisy chained with an innovative cable that has a magnetic connector.

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