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Wearable Computing Posts - Page 4

Facebook to 'continue investing heavily' into Oculus VR

Even though Facebook has spent $2 billion so far on its acquisition of Oculus VR, the money won't stop flowing. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said during the week: "We've mostly been a company that has played on top of the different mobile foundations other people have built".

 

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He continued talking about his social network, explaining: "One of the things I care really deeply about on a 10-year arc for the company is having a different relation to what the next set of computing platforms are. We can help define what the next generation of computing is going to be". When pressed about Oculus VR, Zuckerberg said: "We're really excited to welcome that team. They're extremely talented and have pulled off something that people have been talking about for a really long time and now is possible thanks to the technology that team has developed".

 

When it comes to the future of computing, Zuckerberg said to investors: "Expect us to continue investing heavily, and our costs will increase. There are huge opportunities to build the next generation of computing platforms". Oculus VR and virtual reality itself isn't Facebook's only interest, with Zuckerberg telling investors that augmented reality, vision technology and AI are things that the social network is looking into. Zuckerberg added that whether they pay off in a "five or 10-year time frame" or even "further out than that".

Cyberith Virtualizer hits Kickstarter, immersive VR gaming is close

After what has felt like years of teasing, Cyberith has finally placed its immersive VR gaming device on Kickstarter, known as the Virtualizer. The Virtualizer is a locomotion device for virtual reality gaming that allows gamers to move freely within the VR world.

 

 

The Virtualizer has been in development for two years now over at Cyberith, but now it is on Kickstarter. The cheapest way to get your hands, or body into the Virtualizer is to pledge $599. For $599, you get the Virtualizer without the sensors, which is a kit that is "specifically targeted at developers and researchers who want to track movement with/via different sensor solutions like optical tracking or the PrioVR Suit from YEI Technology".

 

For $699, you're getting the real deal: the Virtualizer. This is the early bird special, with the first 150 backers receiving their Virtualizer for a special price. On top of this, these 150 backers will have their name registered in Cyberith's hall of fame as VR pioneers. The Virtualizer has a current ETA of March 2015, but this could charge for various reasons.

Continue reading 'Cyberith Virtualizer hits Kickstarter, immersive VR gaming is close' (full post)

Apple awarded patent for smartwatch in the US

Rumors continue to swirl that Apple is getting ready to launch a smartwatch in the US. A patent has now been granted by the USPTO that covers an electronic wristwatch that was originally filed in July 2011. The patent certainly shows what Apple was thinking about a wearable device as far back as three years ago.

 

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The patent is US Patent 8,787,006 and went public yesterday. If you are hoping that the patent will shed light on what the iWatch, or iTime device might be like, all the patent really shows is what Apple was thinking in 2011. The watch in the line art with the patent looks nothing like the bangle we have seen in concept renderings.

 

The watch in the patent is a wristband that has a mobile device component that can be clipped onto the band worn on the wrist and can function when off the band too. The patent does call the device iTime, but no note of a trademark being filed for that name has been found. This patent almost looks like a spinoff of the iPod nano watchbands that were common a few years ago.

Commonwealth Games to be recorded in both 360-degree VR and 4K

During the Commonwealth Games that take place between 24th July and the 3rd of August, BBC Research and Development will be conducting a few trials and public demonstrations. These experiments will see a number of industry partners working together to help create the future of BBC R&D's vision of the future of TV. These broadcasting milestones include:

 

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  • The first ever Ultra-HD broadcast of a Commonwealth Games
  • The first major live event to be produced and delivered entirely over the Internet
  • The first UK trial broadcasting live coverage over 4G mobile networks
  • The first live virtual reality broadcast combining 360 degree video with 3D audio
  • The first public outing for several cutting-edge BBC R&D projects demonstrating the editorial and creative potential of a new Internet-based broadcasting system

 

The biggest part here is that we're going to be seeing the first live VR broadcast done, which will use a combination of 360-degree video with 3D audio. The BBC R&D team will be getting a hand from UCL, where they will create "the most immersive live virtual reality broadcast to date". The demonstration will involve "a panoramic, 360 degree video camera, and a 3D audio microphone will be placed into the SSE Hydro Stadium in Glasgow, streaming the live feeds to an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in the Glasgow Science Centre". They continue, by teasing that "This provides the viewer with the sensation of being transported inside the stadium and being part of the crowd. This work forms part of ongoing projects to explore the creative and editorial potential of new consumer audio-visual technology".

Continue reading 'Commonwealth Games to be recorded in both 360-degree VR and 4K' (full post)

Smartwatch makers aiming for children and those monitoring health

Smartwatches piqued the interest of technology enthusiasts, but has largely fallen flat to appeal to casual consumers. To create new marketing hype, LG Electronics, Filip Technologies and VTech Holdings are catering devices to children, which could be an easier sale than to adults.

 

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Basic smartwatches from children, like the VTech Kidizoom smartwatch, is simple and affordable: $60 with no Wi-Fi or 3G/4G support. Keeping kids mobile with technology could be used for both education and entertainment, supporters say. Meanwhile, smartwatches from Samsung, Apple and other companies rely heavily on technology, including mobile connectivity, to constantly monitor blood sugar levels and other medical data.

 

"Children as well as the elderly are ideal customers for wearable technologies," Jong-seok Park, head of LG Mobile Communications, in a recent statement. "Wearables allow us to stay connected without the worry of losing a device or the inconvenience of having to carry a large item in a pocket."

Continue reading 'Smartwatch makers aiming for children and those monitoring health' (full post)

Google's Larry Page clashes with Samsung over smart watch direction

Google's CEO Larry Page has slammed Samsung for picking its own Tizen in its smart watches over Android Wear, according to a report.

 

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The Information claims Samsung's chairman Jay Y Lee and the Google CEO held a "tense private meeting" at the Sun Valley Allen & Co conference. Page allegedly spoke to Lee about his frustrations Samsung was heavily pushing Tizen devices like the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo over the Android Wear enabled Gear Live, and told Lee how he'd prefer it if the company focused on Android Wear, particularly as the latter is compatible with a wider range of Android smartphones and tablets.

 

The report, if true, could be indicative of a larger debate about the future of smart watches. As we reported earlier this year, there was some controversy when Samsung appeared to favor its own software rather than Android. Consumer wearable tech, specifically smartwatches, is very much in its infancy - with some of Samsung's own efforts largely being considered a swing and a miss to date. Although Samsung is the top Android manufacturer at the moment, tensions over which direction to take the emerging market could well cause conflict. That is, of course, reliant on if smart watches take off at all.

Oculus VR delays first shipment of Rift DK2 units until next week

Oculus VR were meant to begin shipping off the first batches of its new Development Kit 2 headset, but no one has received notification of their shipping details on the second Rift unit just yet - myself included.

 

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I had e-mailed Oculus VR around 20 hours ago now, asking for an official comment, but was told there was no official comment. Hours later, a post by cybereality appeared on the Oculus VR forums, saying: "We've decided to hold the initial shipment of DK2s until the middle of next week so that we have an additional week to polish and QA the new Oculus SDK. We've been working on this update for over a year, with a focus on making the Rift easier to use and develop for. There are multiple major improvements including overhauled device and display handling, and we want to make sure the new SDK ready for integration by thousands of developers when DK2s start arriving at doorsteps".

 

I think this is fair enough, but it would've been nice to have Oculus VR say something at the beginning of the week. Surely they would've known the new SDK wouldn't be ready, but it's only a few days. Cybereality added: "Sorry to make everyone wait another week. We wouldn't delay if it wasn't important. The good news is that this only affects the very first group that would have received their units, and this doesn't change the total number of units that will ship in July. Again, we'll keep everyone posted. Thanks for bearing with us!

Google pushes out XE19.1 update for Google Glass

If you own Google's wearable device, you might want to make sure that it is updated to the latest version of firmware: XE19.1. The latest software for Google Glass is just a minor update, with improved connectivity that will see Glass keep a more stable connection to your smartphone.

 

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Google explains: "We now do a better job of handling occasional network issues when you ask Glass to do something like, "ok glass, send a message to...". The voice menu user interface looks like it has also received a slight facelift, with a cleaner UI with white text over a black background now being featured.

Rift DK2 customer tries to sell his VR headset on eBay for $5,000

A US-based Oculus Rift DK2 pre-order customer had attempted to sell his Rift DK2 unit (once he received it) on eBay for $5,000 - but once the VR community saw what was going on, they contacted Oculus VR which swiftly cancelled this order.

 

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This person claims to have made his pre-order on the morning that Oculus VR announced the Rift DK2 unit, and is based in Laguna Beach. He went to eBay to sell his pre-order for some $5,000 - but was shut down within hours. 'cyberreality' on the Oculus VR forums, who is the Community Manager for the Facebook-owned VR start up, said posted in the Oculus VR forums: "Don't worry guys. We found him and cancelled his order".

 

The forum exploded with praise from future Rift DK2 owners with posts such as "This was literally the highlight of my afternoon" from 'racerx2', and "AWESOME!! Thank you!" from the thread starter, 'kingzope'.

Scientists patent a new flexible nano-pixel bendable screen technology

Scientists were able to invent a nano-pixel ultra high definition. The researchers at the Oxford University were able to achieve this by using a very small layer of a phase-change material which also allows you to be bend while maintains thousandths of a millimetre thickness.

 

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Phase change materials are used for heat management purposes, and is used in rewritable DVDs. The layer is kept between two transparent electrodes and were able to produce pixels are as small as 300 nanometers which is smaller than the width of a human hair.This technology and has a lot of usefulness especially for wearable technology that benefits from foldable or flexible screens while having minimum thickness, such as smart contact lenses.

 

This implementation will still time take to appear as ready-to-use products. As of now, they aren't able to use it to display movable pictures but it is able to produce different colour changes. Professor Harish Bhaskaran explained,"The cool part about this is that the functional part is very thin. Because of that you could actually have displays that are non-intrusive, because you can keep the electronics far away."

Continue reading 'Scientists patent a new flexible nano-pixel bendable screen technology' (full post)

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