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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.
Hexoskin has added to its product lineup by announcing the Artic Smart shirt, the first cold weather biometric smart shirt in the world. The Arctic Smart Shirt is made of Merino wool, providing heat insulation, breathability and body metrics. The shirt will be released next month and ship with a $199 MSRP.
The Arctic Smart Shirt can monitor heart rate, step count, sleep duration, calories burned, along with heart rate recovery, heart rate variability, breathing rate, breathing volume, activity level, acceleration, cadence and much more.
"Athletes train year-round and we wanted to create the ultimate base layer that would allow them to train smarter even in the cold weather months," said Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, Hexoskin CEO and co-founder. "With the addition of the Arctic Smart Shirt, we yet again prove that we can continue to grow as a company and provide smart garments to our customers that live up to their needs for information, style and comfort."
Pebble's smarwatch has just received a version 2.8 firmware update that has seen 80 languages supported alongside notification support for Android applications.
Looking at Pebble's website, you can see their comprehensive list of languages on offer and how some of them are displayed on your handheld interface. But the most exciting update here comes in the form of Android notification support. Available for use with both iOS and Android systems, Pebble was missing the crucial ability to tee up with your Android phone, pushing notifications from this device handily to your wrist watch. Fixed in the latest update, we wouldn't be surprised to see Pebble stocks rise a little in the coming weeks.
Pebble's Vice President of Software Engineering, Kean Wong, released a statement saying: "This new app has been the culmination of months of work by our fantastic Android team to re-build our Android app, focused on notification improvements, increasing stability and performance, and providing a solid platform for the long roadmap of great new features we have planned. Full notifications support, is a significant improvement-one we'll build on to provide more amazing notification features soon."
Their 2.1 Android app will be a phased roll-out on Google Play as according to Pebble staff - take a look to see if you've been granted the new capabilities.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.