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President Obama hopes for Congressional approval on funding for police body cameras and training how to use the devices, offering $75 million over three years while matching state funding. If approved, this would provide upwards of 50,000 body cameras on police officers across the country, with local and state lawmakers also showing increased interest in this wearable technology.
The overall initiative is worth $263 million after training is included, White House officials told reporters. The White House is holding a number of meetings between the government, law enforcement representatives and civil rights leaders - with officer body cameras expected to be discussed.
Despite increased interest in officer body cameras, there are still certain concerns from all sides regarding the technology. Privacy experts are worried that officers won't disclose they are recording, with added certain that officers could simply forget to turn on the devices while on patrol.
Google Glass has revolutionized interaction with wearable computing devices, and many expect it to be the model for the future of wearable computing devices. The Google Glass concept is extraordinary, but the underlying technology has been a bit of a disappointment. The current models are based on the Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor, which is outdated to say the least. The processor first made its debut in the Motorola DROID RAZR back in 2011, and Texas Instruments has since vacated the mobile processor market. The old technology provided Google with a solid base of proven hardware, but falls short in computing power and battery life.
Industry insiders are reporting that Intel processors will power the next revision of Google Glass. Utilizing Intel's mobile processors will provide more computing power and better battery life, along with bringing in x86 functionality. More computing power will speed the interface and allow developers to create powerful apps that are in line with expectations for mobile devices. Current Google Glass models are also a bit bulky, and an updated processor and chipset will enable Google to significantly reduce the size and weight of the device.
The mobile market is not immune to trends and fads, and sometimes they can run counter to established norms. At first users wanted the smallest phone on the market. In the prehistoric pre-smartphone era some phones were so small they were almost impossible to dial. Smartphones changed that trend, and initial small versions have given way to phablets. Once again, bigger has become better. Cicret looks to solve the problem for us all with the largest useable screen packed into the smallest device possible. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but the design is genius.
The Cicret Smart Bracelet debuted on Indiegogo and just finished its round of funding. The Smart Bracelet looks like a simple bracelet but has an embedded memory card, processor, accelerometer, vibrator, USB port, Bluetooth functionality, and Wi-Fi. The most important components consist of a pico-projector and an array of 8 proximity sensors. The projector beams the screen down onto the users forearm, and the proximity sensors track fingers to allow device interaction. The video below is simply amazing.
TZOA is a new project on Kickstarter, that is hoping to raise $110,000 to fund its wearable enviro-tracker. TZOA "measures your personal air pollution and UV exposure in real-time using advanced sensor technology", according to its Kickstarter page.
It will arrive as a small round tracker that has sensors on it that keep an eye on air quality, UV light, humidity, and temperature. All of this data is fed to a companion smartphone app to quantify the environment around you. From within the app, you can find out the quality of the local air, and upload this data to a crowdsourced pollution map of your town. That last bit, is a very nice trick.
The team is still in the early stages of building TZOA, with a projection production run starting in summer 2015. A $135 pledge on their Kickstarter page will secure you one of the first TZOA sensors off the production run.
Apple has updated the site for its Watch wearable, giving the world a much more detailed look at its first wearable. We get a look at pretty much every angle of Apple's upcoming wearable, form the top, side, the lush corners and most of all; the features.
The company has split the site into seven different sections; Timekeeping, New Ways to Connect, Health & Fitness, Design, Technology, Gallery and Films. All of which are filled with information on Watch, and a different story to be told. Check out the Apple Watch website for a super-detailed look on Apple's first wearable.
We've just received confirmation that Razer's new smartband, the Nabu, is finally confirmed for release - coming next week, first to the North American market, followed by the rest of the world soon after.
We've covered the Nabu's specifications and features before. As quoted by Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, the Razer Nabu is designed to work as "a cross between a smartwatch and a fitness band. It's a wearable device focused on helping you live smarter."
According to email contact between Razer's Australian promoters, Surprise Attack, the Razer Nabu release will begin next week. Coming at a price of $99.99, this new technology offering has been tested by "500 of Razer's most loyal fans" whom were given the ability "to buy the bands earlier in the year for a single dollar".
Sony is reportedly working on a new watch that utilizes e-paper, and could be released as early as 2015, as the Japanese electronics company restructures and shuffles focus on select technologies. The watch face and wrist band will be made of e-paper and the surface area will be able to display time and its appearance can be modified.
Instead of being a next-generation smartwatch, Sony hopes that the watch will include style alongside functionality.
"The innovation program is very important, but it will take time and require some risk taking," said Sado Nagaoaka, Hitotsubashi University professor. "It's not that Sony ran out of new ideas, but rather, it's taking too long to restructure, and gigantic losses have starved new businesses of funds."
The unfortunate incident between officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown, which left Brown dead and many people rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, has become a prominent platform in the promotion of body cameras. A growing number of police agencies are deploying wearable cameras, typically clipped to an officer's uniform, as a method to record officer interactions with members of the community - and a way to help provide insight into deadly encounters.
"The findings suggest more than a 50 percent reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly 10 times more citizens' complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment," according to a Police Foundation-commissioned study.
Department of Justice officials and other law enforcement experts share similar findings - and believe the use of body cameras could help prevent future incidents like in Ferguson. Civil liberty groups say the videos would help prevent officers from abusing their authority, while law enforcement groups mention citizens would be less likely to falsely accuse officers of wrongdoing.
As buildings in Ferguson, Missouri, remain ablaze from a night of chaos related to news that Darren Wilson, the police officer that killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, wouldn't be indicted, the Brown family wants officers to begin wearing body cameras.
Here is what the family said following news the officer wouldn't be indicted: "Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera. A growing number companies are now interested in developing wearable body cameras, and due to a growing number of high-profile incidents across the country, there is a more lively debate if police agencies should adopt their use.
Meanwhile, there are so many fires in Ferguson, fire crews are having trouble to respond to all of them, especially as vandals continue to pose significant safety threats.
Jeri Ellsworth has taken to Twitter to announce that the Technical Illusions team is finally shipping their first pair of castAR glasses. You might remember the startup took to Kickstarter to raise $1 million, spearheaded by ex-Valve engineers Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson.
The AR glasses feature active shutter glasses, a camera for input and a projector that displays 3D images onto a surface. The company caalls the device "the most versatile AR and VR system" but it has more strength in its AR side, with its VR side not working until you buy the optional clip-on. We should hopefully have a pair in the coming months, so keep checking back here at TweakTown.