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CES 2014 - Oculus VR unveiled its latest prototype Rift headset at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 a few days ago, with a new 1920x1080-resolution, AMOLED-based display on-board. Not only that, but it had positional tracking abilities, which lifts it to an entire new category.
The new codenamed Crystal Cove headset took out the 2014 Best of CES prize, and rightly so, it sounds like a kick-ass upgrade to the already awesome product. It should only be success for Oculus from here on out, which has secured Doom and Quake god John Carmack, nearly $100 million in funding, with its latest funding round securing $75 million.
Video eye company Vuzix will beef up its M100 smart glasses by including the company's proprietary Nuance Communications voice recognition software. The M100 Google Android-powered wearable display glasses won't need a data connection or software update for the new embedded voice software. Simple voice commands can be used to control and navigate the M100 menu system, opening the door to better user interaction. The software will be available with the Vuzix M100 2.0 OS release set for later this year.
"Vuzix is focused on delivering powerful wearable technologies to the industrial, medical and prosumer markets," said Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO, in a statement. "By integrating Nuance's voice technology into our M100 platform, we've given our customers even greater flexibility in the way they can use our smart glasses to solve issues that challenge their business."
The consumer market is seeing tremendous interest in wearable electronics, such as smart glasses, but it's the enterprise that could lead to wider adoption. Companies now realize the importance of staying on the technology forefront, so don't be surprised to see wearable electronics everywhere.
CES 2014 - Oculus VR has just unveiled its new Oculus Rift prototype, which has been codenamed 'Crystal Cove'. The new virtual reality headset features positional tracking, and a brand new AMOLED-based display.
The new Crystal Cove prototype features positional tracking, where it uses multiple LEDs and an IR tracking camera which works out the position of the headset, in 3D space. One of the major downsides to the current two prototypes (the 720p and 1080p models - both of which I've used) is that there is motion sickness for some people, but this new positional tracking addition should help those who get sick, not feel nauseous.
The positional tracking will also push some new features into games, such as leaning around corners, or over cover to shoot enemies. But the biggest addition here is the new AMOLED display, which is a low-latency panel, versus the LCD-based tech which had motion blur galore. With the new headset, you should be able to turn your head in a game or demo now, without the blurring associated with the previous development kits.
Longtime watch maker Casio announced a new sports watch using Bluetooth 4.0 technology so owners can check personal fitness data wirelessly - and control a smartphone's music player directly from the watch. The STB-1000 includes Apple iPhone compatibility, Bluetooth 4.0, and third-party iOS fitness apps, such as Wahoo Fitness and Abvio Runmeter.
"This is an ideal sports watch for countless recreational runners who exercise with their iPhones," said Shigenori Itoh, Casio America CEO, in a statement. "In addition to the compatibility with several apps, it has a battery life up to two years and a versatile, water-proof design that makes it easy to use and wear before, during and after any workout."
The watch will run for around two years with a single battery, and doesn't require frequent recharging like many sport watch and GPS units.
Consumer electronics company Scosche unleashed the Rhythm Smart+, an armband fitness wearable that includes a heart rate monitor that doesn't include a typical chest strap. The device can connect to smartphones, watches, and exercise equipment within 100 feet. It can withstand rain and sweat, and allows for easy sync to view and save physical activity on a mobile device or PC. Release date and pricing was not included with the product launch.
"Rhythm Smart+ marks a major step forward in the evolution of our line fitness trackers," said Kas Alves, Scosche Executive VP, in a press statement. "A smaller footprint, unrivaled biometric data accuracy and compatibility with the most popular health and fitness app available create a complete offering."
CES already has proven to be a great event to showcase casual fitness products, and Scosche joins several other companies in the market. The ability to accurately track steps walked, distance and calories, and then send or share the information is an excellent advancement.
CES 2014 - Intel's freshly appointed CEO, Brian Krzanich, took the stage at the chip maker's keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas to unveil a slew of new smart devices.
One of which is dubbed Jarvis, which reminds me of Tony Stark's AI in Iron Man - also named Jarvis, which is a Siri-like, voice-controlled virtual assistant. Instead of cramming the virtual assistant into a smartphone or tablet, it has done so within an earpiece. Jarvis can be paired to a smartphone app, where it can then remotely interact with your device.
From Jarvis, you can get directions, look up restaurants or stores, or many of the other commands and applications that Google Now is capable of - which is a lot. Intel's Jarvis is only in the reference design stage right now, so we should expect some vast changes between now and when we can install them into our own ears.
CES 2014 - Last year when I met with Oculus VR here in Australia at PAX AU, I walked away knowing that the future of VR was in good hands. Now, the creator of Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, has been invited to the White House's We the Geeks: Future of Computing event.
Luckey isn't the only big name going, as we'll also see Mark Papermaster, who is the Chief Technology Officer at AMD, Alex Hawkinson, the CEO of SmartThings, Alex Kipman from the Microsoft Kinect team, and Wil Wheaton, who starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has a kick ass role on The Big Bang Theory, too. The event takes place on January 8, where a bunch of the in-people of tech will be there to talk about the following points of discussion:
- What new computing advancements might we see in the next few years? What about 10-15 years from now?
- What are the technological breakthroughs that need to happen to get there?
- And finally, what might be the impact of the ever growing intelligent connection of people, processes, data and things?
GPS company Garmin entered the fitness band market by announcing the Vivofit fitness band able to easily track and share fitness data. The LCD shows time of day, number of steps, daily fitness goal, goal countdown clock, calories burned, and elapsed distance, which can be accessed with a button located below the display.
Garmin plans to release Vivofit sometime by the end of March, with a $129.99 MSRP with no heart rate strap - or $169.99 with a heart rate strap. The Vivofit will learn the owner's activity level and can automatically assign realistic daily exercise goals, making it even easier for users to track health. The wearable band can be worn 24/7 and only needs the battery changed after around one year of continued use.
Garmin has been a longtime leader in exercise and outdoors GPS accessories, but the company didn't want to be left behind in a potentially lucrative casual fitness market.
CES 2014 - Pebble has just unveiled an all-new smartwatch in the Pebble Steel, which is made completely from stainless steel, and a CNC-machined body, and boy does it look slick.
The new Pebble Steel smartwatch is priced at $250, and will be available with its predecessor on January 28th, with pre-orders open today. The new Pebble Steel is a much nicer looking smartwatch, with some marine-grade premium steel helping it look beautiful. We have Corning's Gorilla Glas technology on the face, which should keep most small scratches at bay.
On the side of it, we have tactile metal buttons, a magnetic charging port on the right hand side, and a choice between both leather and metal bands. The Pebble Steel also has a new RGB LED ligiht which will indicate the charge state, but this is open to developers with the SDK.
CES 2014 - Not to be confused with the guy who created Minecraft, but Notch is a new motion tracker that takes motion tracking to an entire new level.
Every single sensor in Notch collects accelerometer data, with 10 sensors pushing back the data to a user's smartphone at all times. The data collected is enough to allow skeletal tracking, as well as a much more detailed analysis on how your body is moving. Walking isn't a problem, but for physical movements like swinging a tennis racket, or a fly-kick, it will offer much more data into how the mechanics of the body are at that particular time.
Stepan Boltalin, CEO and co-founder calls it "symbolic muscle memory", which is a way of quantifying the motion of the body in a way that most professional athletes only know by physical feel. Boltalin explains: "Martial artists want to know the height of the kick, the amplitude, all of that."