CES ShowStoppers: Hackaball programmable toy, Fasetto Link mini NAS

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The ShowStoppers event at this year's CES was expectedly crowded with new gear from both startups and stalwart industry players, but two products stood out from the crowd: Hackaball and the Fasetto Link mini NAS.


Hackaball, a children's toy designed to create an interest in programming, started life as a Kickstarter in 2015, and the company behind it is ready to start shipping product in March.

The device itself is relatively straightforward, consisting of a rubberized sheath wrapped around a durable outer shell, inside of which is a miniature computer complete with gyroscope, accelerometer, vibration motor, multicolor LEDs and a speaker. It's what kids can do with Hackaball that makes it different.

With the Hackaball app, available on iOS or OS X, kids (or adults) can roll their own software by selecting from a preset selection of input and output commands, device configurations and more. Games can be created from scratch directly on an iPad, then sent to Hackaball for execution.

For example, a sample routine called "Don't wake it!" monitors for motion input as players pass the ball back and forth. If a player passes the ball too quickly or shakes it, internal LEDs illuminate red, the ball rumbles once, makes an explosion sounds and ends the game.

Hackaball is priced at $85 and is expected to launch in March.


Fasetto Link is an incredibly small storage device that packs quite a punch. Inside an unassuming 48mm-by-20mm square plastic chassis lives a complete NAS system boasting up to 2TB of fast SSD storage, a quad-core ARM CPU with 4GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac with Fasetto ARCH networking and a rechargeable battery with Qi wireless charging.

Fasetto even threw in a 9-axis accelerometer, compass and gyroscope, as well as an IP 69K rating, making Link shock resistant and waterproof up to 45 feet.

While the official tech specs page on Fasetto's website says Link can connect to up to 20 devices at once, with 7 simultaneous streams, representatives at the company's booth said they were feeding HD video to at least 13 clients at one point. Transfer speeds top out at 1,900Mbps, while network connections are accomplished directly from one device to another via Web browser, meaning it's OS-agnostic.

The internal 1,350mAh lithium ion battery is good for two weeks of standby or eight hours of streaming, Fasetto says.

Link will be available in the fourth quarter, though final pricing has not been decided. Representatives said a 250GB model should set you back around $275, while a 2TB version could come in at about $1,400.