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Wearable Computing Posts - Page 1

Seattle Police Department will outfit officers with body cameras

The Seattle Police Department will move forward to outfit officers with wearable body cameras, after the deal hit a hiccup due to a large number of open record requests by an anonymous programmer. The programmer operates a YouTube video that posts 911 calls, surveillance and police footage, embracing a beneficial open record laws.

 

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"Under the law, they get requests regardless of whether or not I go away, and they view what I do as part of the solution," the programmer said. The programmer dropped the requests as part of an agreement that will have the police department provide him with video footage of police interactions and arrests with the public.

 

Police agencies are interested in wearable video cameras for officers as a better method to clear officers - and possibly press additional charges - on suspects. The Seattle Police Department has been under federal monitoring for more than two years, due to excessive force complaints against officers.

First thoughts: Sony's Smartwatch 3

Sony have just launched their latest offering to the ever-growing smart watch market. Even though originally claiming that they weren't interested in entering the Android Wear market in the beginning, they've decided that they want a slice of the market.

 

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Sony's flagship watch comes with the following specifications:

  • 1.6-inch transflective LCD screen with a resolution of 320 × 320
  • 420 mA when the built-in battery
  • 4GB built-in memory
  • Snapdragon 400 processor
  • Measurements: 36mm x 10 mm x 51 mm
  • Body weight of 38 grams, 36 grams strap
  • Light sensor, acceleration sensor, gyro magnetometer, GPS
  • IP68 level of protection
  • NFC and Wi-Fi

 

The Smartwatch 3 is designed in a 'low-key' styling, not meant to be so much as of a fashion statement when compared to the Motorola 360, for example. As you may have noticed, the Smartwatch 3 comes in a few very bright color offerings including pink and yellow - not for the feint if heart. Alongside this, Sony's product comes with a silicone wrist strap - giving the feel that this product is designed for an athletic and/or younger audience.

Continue reading 'First thoughts: Sony's Smartwatch 3' (full post)

XOO Belt, a belt that can charge your smartphone hits Indiegogo

Nifty has taken to Indiegogo to fund its latest product, the XOO Belt. What is the XOO Belt? It's an actual belt, with a 2100mAh internal lithium ion battery that features either a Lightning connector, or micro USB connector to charge your smartphone.

 

 

Your smartphone can be sitting in your pocket while it charges it up, which is a really nice feature. The battery technology that the UK-based company used it actually a flexible battery, placed inside of the belt itself. Nifty explains: "We've hidden six overlapping layers of cutting-edge flexible battery within each belt, giving a base power of 1,300 mAh of charge. Add this to the 400 mAh in each buckle-for a total of 2,100mAh-and you've enough to fully charge an iPhone 6 with some left over".

 

Nifty is hoping to secure over $50,000 to get the XOO Belt off the ground, and onto your hips, and at the time of writing they had $30,534 of their $50,000 goal, with 29 days left to go. This means that the XOO Belt will receive its funding without a problem, but the two early-bird products are sold out. 'The early-bird belt' had 100 units available, selling them all at $99 each, while 'The early-ish bird belt' is also sold out, at $125 each. The next level is 'the belt belt' which sells for $155.

 

Nifty hopes to start shipping its XOO Belt's to backers in July 2015.

Continue reading 'XOO Belt, a belt that can charge your smartphone hits Indiegogo' (full post)

Police adopting officer body cams, and don't inform while recording

A growing number of police agencies are adopting body cameras that officers wear while on patrol, providing a better account of what happens during interactions with the public. The cameras, about the size of a pack of cigarettes and worn on an officer's chest, can record at angles civilian cell phones and police cruiser in-dash cams can miss.

 

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"In a couple of decades... every public safety employee, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, everybody will have them," said Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) chief. "I think it improves behavior on both sides of the camera, which is our goal."

 

In addition to police officers behaving more appropriately, citizens - and potential suspects - could behave better if they know they are being recorded. However, there are privacy concerns because police officers are not required to inform people if they are recording.

Continue reading 'Police adopting officer body cams, and don't inform while recording' (full post)

Apple will offload tasks from Watch to iPhone when it launches

We are finally learning more about Apple's first wearable, Watch, as the company has released its WatchKit for developers to tinker with. We now know that third-party apps will require a connected iPhone in order to work, as the processing for Watch is offloaded to the iPhone, with the Watch just rendering the result.

 

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Apple's WatchKit also revealed some animations being pre-rendered as an image sequence on the iPhone, before it is blasted up to the Watch for display. We also don't know what will happen if your iPhone disconnects from Watch while you're looking at it, as the Watch apps are installed to the wearable by "your existing app" found on your iPhone. The documentation does state that Apple will support "fully-native" Watch apps in the future, but this won't happen until this time next year.

 

One thing we know for sure, is that the Watch will come in two different display resolutions; 272x340 for the 38mm Watch, and the 312x390 for 42mm version. Apple won't start selling its Watch until "early 2015", but it could be delayed a little later into the year yet.

50% of consumers thinking of a smart wristband will buy a smartwatch

The wearable electronic devices market will reach 68.1 million units in 2015, a slight drop from 70.1 million units in 2014, the Gartner research group said. The industry will take a hit as consumers consider a wider adoption of smartwatches, especially devices that can be easily paired with their Google Android or Apple iPhone smartphones.

 

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The five most prominent fitness wearables currently on the market: wristbands, sports watches, heart rate monitors, smart garments, and other fitness monitors. While sport watches and heart rate monitors are common place, newer generation of devices are disrupting the market - but not fast enough to prevent the onslaught of smartwatches that will be released in 2015.

 

"Smartwatches having retail prices of $149 or more will typically have the capability to track activity and have accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to their smart wristband cousins," said Angela McIntyre, Gartner research director. "The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication. However, some smart wristbands have the ability to display and send text messages. The overlap in functionality between smart wristbands and smartwatches is expected to continue."

Intel MICA wearable will have Google alerts, AT&T data plan support

Intel previously unveiled the My Intelligent Communication Accessory (MICA) wearable, an expensive and stylish wearable bracelet geared towards women. MICA wearers won't need to carry a smartphone and will be able to connect to Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other online services through an AT&T data plan, and indicates Intel wants to find new ways to connect with consumers.

 

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"We really approached this first and foremost about why would a woman want to wear this everyday, and how can it be incorporated into her wardrobe," said Humberto Leon, Intel creative director. Intel purchased wearables firm Basis earlier in 2014, as a number of hardware companies jump into the wearable market.

 

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had to claw its way into the smartphone and tablet markets, after losing out to ARM and other rivals, but wants to ensure it is an early adopter in the wearables market.

Google Glass consumer launch likely in 2015, but nothing is certain

The Google Glass consumer wearable headset is still expected to launch in 2015, but interested buyers shouldn't hold their breath as they wait. Unfortunately for Google, it appears that some developers are jumping off the Glass bandwagon, losing faith in the high-priced wearable, as several other developers will focus more on business users.

 

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Chris O'Neill, Google Glass head of business operations, previously had this to say: "We are as committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launc this product until it's absolutely ready." The company still reportedly has hundreds of employees working on Glass, especially trying to drive interest in Glass Explorer, but potential consumer development remains up in the air.

 

Consumers have shown interest in new generations of Glass, but don't want to purchase a product that doesn't have a strong backbone of apps and third-party support. Along with losing developer support, several Glass executives left Google throughout 2014, saying the current wearable market isn't big enough to continue such high-profile work.

Some Google Glass supporters losing faith in the wearable product

The Google Glass wearable could be losing support from early adopters and supporters, as Google pushed back a consumer launch. Wearables have a great opportunity for business and military use, but widespread consumer adoption could prove difficult, especially if developers are jumping ship. Nine out of 16 Glass app makers recently said they have dropped Glass-related projects, with three others shifting from consumer to business focus.

 

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"We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent," said Chris O'Neill, Google Glass Head of Business Operations. "We are committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launch this product until it's absolutely ready."

 

Whether it's Glass or some type of wrist-worn wearable, the entire wearables market receives a lot of media attention - and analysts expect the industry to develop its success in the coming years. However, software and hardware developers must be ready to invest time and money into wearables, knowing that an immediate return on investment (ROI) is unlikely.

South Park's latest episode has Cartman 'stuck' in the Oculus Rift

The latest episode of South Park, if you haven't already watched it, has Cartman using the Oculus Rift. Cartman gets stuck in virtual reality, resulting in Kyle having to 'go into' VR to 'get him out'.

 

 

The compilation video above shows you all of the parts of the episode that involve the Oculus Rift, and I'm hoping that the guys and girls at Oculus have seen the episode, realizing they've just made the mainstream (even more so than they already have) hitting an episode of South Park.

Continue reading 'South Park's latest episode has Cartman 'stuck' in the Oculus Rift' (full post)

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