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Monster Makes Monstrous Donation

Monster teamed with Tidal in the name of hurricane relief. The audio manufacturer’s philanthropic arm, Monster Cares, played a role in the Tidal X: Brooklyn charity concert, held last week at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. One thousand $399 Blaster boomboxes were donated, which were then autographed by the performing artists in order to be auctioned to raise funds for disaster relief. Participating artists at the concert included Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled, Yo Gotti (shown above) and Kaskade, among many others. It was hosted by Angie Martinez and featured appearances by Rosie Perez and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Monster also donated $50 from the sale of every Blaster or Ravebox sold on its website to disaster relief, as well as provided a $25 coupon to all Tidal X attendees.

Our Take: No surprise seeing Monster step up, as the company is no stranger to philanthropy. It has a long history of supporting such varied charitable organizations as Segs4Vets, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the Shane Victorino Foundation.

BenjiLock Swims With The Sharks

Robbie Cabral, founder of smartlock manufacturer BenjiLock, appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” as part of an effort to secure investment from Mark Cuban, A-Rod and Co. The company has developed a rechargeable padlock with fingerprint-recognition technology.

Our Take: We wish this TWICE Picks and VIP Award winner good luck!

It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s … CNN?

CNN is now permitted to fly drones over large crowds of people as a method of recording news events. The news outlet received a Part 107 waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) over people, something the news outlet called a first for the industry. The drone CNN will use, the Snap UAS, can capture 3,840 by 2,160 video at 30 fps. It weighs just 1.37 pounds, reducing the chance of injury should recording go haywire.

Our Take: Transitioning from old-school news copters to drones will not only reduce the chance of injury in the sky and on the ground, but it offers the opportunity to broadcast a completely new, immersive perspective to viewers at home.

Mini Me: Sphero Scales Down

Sphero introduced a diminutive version of its popular robotic ball — but with a few big additions. For one, the Mini smart ball can be controlled not only by a smartphone but also via facial recognition. Its exterior shell can be swapped for five different colors, and it features color-changing LED lights. The ball, which is about the size of a ping pong ball and pairs with a user’s smartphone, can be interactive as part of several games or programmed using the company’s Edu app. It even comes with a set of mini bowling pins and cones.

Our Take: The Mini’s suggested retail is just $49.99, making it the most affordable Sphero device yet. We foresee the smart ball being stuffed into quite a few stockings this year.

Now That’s What We Call A Systems Crash

Best Buy Geek Squad agent Brandon Majors was buried beneath a full load of limestone gravel when the truck carrying the load lost control and overturned. Majors’ Geek Squad-branded Toyota Prius was buried beneath the gravel, crumbled around him “like an action figure in shrink wrap,” he said. Thankfully, firefighters were able to dig him out, and he walked away from the accident with nary a scratch.

Our Take: It’s a good thing Majors wasn’t navigating a Geekmobile from the previous fleet, as those now-retired VW Beetles could have been crushed like a …. All puns aside, we’re glad he escaped unscathed!