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Wearable device technology looks more promising than ever, especially for medical health tracking, but it still remains a novelty, according to a report from PwC. Samsung, Apple, and other companies heavily involved in wearable hardware development hope to use health technology as a springboard to reach new consumers.
More than 80 percent of those surveyed believe these devices, however, pose a significant risk to their privacy - and that is an issue that software and hardware developers will have to address. As security breaches continue to increase, while also capturing mainstream media attention, companies are trying to encrypt all wireless data.
It seems consumers would be interested in testing wearables if their primary care physician recommends a product and service for them. However, doctors are largely waiting to see how the industry evolves, though partnerships are being created between tech companies and hospitals.
Microsoft is just a few weeks away from launching a smartwatch, in an effort to join in on a booming consumer business sector, according to a report published by Forbes. The device will be able to track the wearer's heart rate and can be used on multiple mobile platforms, with a battery life of over two days.
It appears Microsoft wants to launch the device in time for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, as the wearable market is expected to dramatically grow. In the past, Microsoft had its Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) technology, but the market has significantly evolved since then. The company wants to promote Windows and other Microsoft products across a wider variety of products, and this could be a good step forward.
The smartwatch market has a number of different appealing models for consumers, including the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, and products from other companies.
Fitbit will soon launch three new fitness trackers, with the top-of-the-line model being the new Fitbit Surge. Surge will be more than the average wearable, with the company referring to it as a "superwatch".
The new Fitbit Surge should be priced at $249, with the superwatch featuring built-in GPS tracking, PurePulse heart rate monitoring, and the ability of real-time workout data for various activities. The superwatch will provide users with stats on distance, pace, elevation climbed, heart rate intensity, and more. The new Surge will also carry over Fitbit's 24/7 activity tracking, where it'll make sure that you're getting enough sweat generated on your body each day.
Sleep tracking continues over, with the Surge having its, and your stats wirelessly synced over to the Fitbit app. Surge will also have "smart" notifications for phone calls and texts, and you can also control your music playback from Surge, which is a nice touch - pun not intended, but hey it works. Surge will launch in three colors: black, slate, and a colorful tangerine option.
Floating around in space can't be all that fun, and after being up there for days, weeks, or months on end, you'd get pretty bored, right? Well, NASA is looking at solutions to this boredom, where it is looking at creating a VR holodeck, using the Oculus Rift.
Scientists over at the University of Dartmouth's Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation lab (DALI) have been working on this type of software and technology since 2001, where they recently received a grant of $1.6 million from NASA to fund their work. They are now on a mission to create virtual environments and digital therapists to de-stress astronauts in deep space, as well as help manage inter-personal conflicts, if they were to arise.
Dartmouth research professor Lorie Loeb said in a press release that the team was working on multi-sensory experiences, something that included smells and sounds that would "trick the brain and make people feel as if they are in a variety of beautiful and calm settings, such as with their family at home or strolling on the beach". Not only that, but the team is working on digital therapists that would "assess and manage psychosocial problems to prevent them from becoming serious enough to jeopardize a mission".
Taking a few minutes from making beats, Will.i.am has just unveiled his Puls wristband. It's a smartwatch to the rest of us, but it doesn't need to be tethered to a smartphone in order to send text messages, make calls, or send emails.
Will reiterated that it's not a watch, as smartwatches don't normally come with SIM cards, but the Puls does. It also features speakers, and a curved screen along its body, which makes it look quite stylish. The Puls also rocks 16GB of on-board flash, 1GB of RAM, GPS, a battery that wraps around the bracelet, pedometer, and accelerometer.
The Puls runs an Android OS, with Qualcomm providing a Snapdragon processor to go inside. Puls connects to the Internet through 3G, but it also connects through Wi-Fi. This means that it can have carrier plans through companies like AT&T in teh US, and O2 in the UK.
Google is laying out plans to invest $500 million into Magic Leap, and its "cinematic reality" technology. The $500 million investment hopes to see Magic Leap reach its goal, building the next big VR device.
Re/code is reporting that Magic Leap's technology can "deliver a more realistic 3-D experience than the kind offered by current technologies, including Oculus Rift, the 3-D headset". Earlier in the year, Magic Leap raised $50 million, but an injection of a half a billion dollars will surely boost things up considerably.
Rony Abovitz, the founder of Magic Leap, explains his idea of "cinematic reality", where he said: "Those are old terms - virtual reality, augmented reality. They have legacy behind them. They are associated with things that didn't necessarily deliver on a promise or live up to expectations. We have the term cinematic reality because we are disassociated with those things. When you see this, you will see that this is computing for the next 30 or 40 years. To go farther and deeper than we're going, you would be changing what it means to be human".
The first person suspected of Internet addiction related to his overuse of Google Glass has been treated - and he reportedly used Glass up to 18 hours per day and rarely took it off - becoming irritable when he wasn't using it. The problem was so bad that the patient had what was described as having a "nearly involuntary movement" of his right hand up to his head, and then tapped the area with his forefinger.
Following 35 days of treatment for Internet addiction, the patient's irritability dropped, along with less movement of his right hand to his temple to activate the device, scientists noted.
"People used to believe alcoholism wasn't a problem - they blamed the person or the people around them," noted Dr. Andrew Doan, US Navy Substance Abuse and the Recovery Program (SARP) head. "It's just going to take a while for us to realize that this is real."
Six percent of the UK population are currently using a wearable device, and that number should double to 13 percent of the population next year, according to studies. It will be a drastic increase from 2.8 million people up to 6.1 million, as more citizens become familiar with smartwatches, activity trackers, fitness bands, and other popular wearables.
The YouGov study predicts that 4.7 million people, roughly one in 10 UK residents, will use some type of wearable before the end of 2014 - a number that will be greatly helped with the release of the Apple Watch. Companies such as Samsung, LG, Apple, and other major technology brands are developing wearables to appeal to casual users.
Manufacturers will need to create innovative software that will be able to keep customers engaged - and wearing the devices - as growth is expected to accelerate.
The VR market is beginning to heat up, where we have the biggest player in the room with Oculus VR and the Rift, which has had multiple development kits, prototypes and an up-and-coming consumer version of its VR headset. But now Carl Zeiss, the infamous lens maker, has stepped up with a new VR headset: VR One.
VR One is priced at $99, and is a smartphone VR headset that is aimed at the mass market. VR One is based around the same principals of Samsung's Gear VR, which was co-developed with Oculus VR, but with a much less specific hardware requirement. The VR One will work with any smartphone that that is 4.7 to 5.2 inches, but VR One still has one big requirement: users will have to order different "drawers" to install their smartphones, to accommodate for the different sizes between the slew of handsets on the market that would be between 4.7 and 5.2 inches.
Carl Zeiss' new VR One won't be released until 2015, but it'll be priced at $99 which should have the mass market interested. The required drawers, depending on your smartphone, will set you pack $9.90 each.
Today hasn't been a nice start for wearables, with HTC announcing it has delayed its wearable until 2015, and now according to a new report, ASUS won't have much stock of its upcoming ZenWatch when it first launches.
VR-Zone is reporting that ASUS will have just 300, yes - just 300 of its ZenWatch units for its first run. The site is claiming that ASUS will launch these handful of units as an exclusive launch in Taiwan for the first batch, its home turf. Why the delay? It looks like ASUS could possibly be facing manufacturing issues, with its watchface being imbedded into a curved stainless steel chassis, with Gorilla Glass 3 stomped on top.
This curved style could be forcing ASUS to push production back to ensure it gets it first, testing out the initial 300 first before pushing them out to the world.