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It looks like Google is pushing up the release of its Glass headset, where it will begin selling the wearable device to consumers on April 15. The search giant will make Glass available to the US public for a limited time, starting Tuesday.
Google hasn't said just how many Glass units it will make available, but the quantity would be very limited. The company said in a blog post: "Every day we get requests from those of you who haven't found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too. That's why next Tuesday, April 15th, we'll be trying our latest and biggest Explorer Program expansion experiment to date. We'll be allowing anyone in the U.S. to become an Explorer by purchasing Glass".
Most people, myself included, expected Google to push Glass out later in the year - so this feels like an extension of the Explorer program, and not the real consumer version. I'm expecting the real release to be much more powerful in terms of hardware, something the current Glass device lacks.
The United States Air Force has been testing out Google's popular, but still not available Glass headset for military use. VentureBeat is reporting that the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided (K)nowledge (BATMAN) research team is excited over the possibilities of Glass in the battlefield.
The reasons behind this is thanks to Google Glasses and "its low power, its low footprint, it sits totally above the eyes, and doesn't block images or hinder vision". 2nd Lt. Anthony Eastin, a Behavioral Scientist on the team said: "The goal is to build software for research purposes for future endeavors".
Soldiers equipped with Glass on the battlefield would be capable of accessing important information quicker than before, which would remove the requirement of lugging around laptops and other much less portable electronics. Glass isn't the exact answer to all of the military's problems, but for $1500, it definitely is a cheap (at least for the military) alternative.
Developer Diego Araos has used a Parrot AR drone mixed with the virtual reality goodness of Oculus Rift, to use head movements to control his aerial drone. The video below shows it all.
Depending on Araos' tilting his sight and head, the drone moves to his movements. The project, according to the video's description, is "open source and a fork of another of my projects drone-swarm (to control several AR Drones within one network)". You can actually download Araos' creation on GitHub, if you so happen to own both products required.
When I first saw the Samsung Gear Fit device, one of the things that bothered me most about it was that the content on the screen was shown in horizontal orientation only. That's not exactly ideal for viewing in all situations when you are wearing the device on your wrist.
I'm not the only one that bothered with Samsung announced that the Gear Fit has been updated with a new option that lets the content on its little screen be offered in a vertical orientation. Having the content on the screen in a normal watch orientation will definitely make it easier to use.
The feature was reportedly confirmed as available on a Gear Fit on display in the official Samsung Store in South Korea. There is no word on when the update will roll out to other countries. If you have the update or the ability to view content on the screen in vertical orientation let us know.
Samsung started taking pre orders on its new wearable devices, the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit not long ago. The wearable products all have compatibility with certain Samsung smartphones and offer fitness tracking tech and smartphone notifications. The most feature packed of the devices is the Gear 2.
The gang at iFixit has taken a new Gear 2 and torn the smartwatch apart to see what it looks like on the inside and to get an idea what it would take to fix the device. We know the Gear 2 is waterproof and that waterproofing comes in the form of a gasket between the two halves of the case and around each of the screw holes.
One of the good things the teardown found was an easily removable battery. If that battery stops taking a charge you can open the case and replace it with no trouble at all. In fact, one of the only parts that isn't easy to take apart is the LCD assembly. It looks like that entire assembly has to be replaced in one piece if you break a screen. The overall repairability score for the watch is 8 out of 10.
LG has already unveiled its Android Wear-powered G Watch, but now we're hearing some more information on LG's wearable device. LG talked its G Watch with Pocket-lint, where it showed the site a non-working prototype of the G Watch, but in its final design.
Pocket-lint wrote: "As the original mock-up pictures, already revealed by LG suggested, there will be no buttons on the device at all. The design offered a solid, seamless build that wasn't heavy but certainly felt premium". The Android Wear-powered smartwatch will arrive with interchangeable straps, which should have people impressed.
All we know so far is that the G Watch will be powered by Google's Android Wear platform, with more details shared at Google I/O in June.
Oculus VR is ramping up its Rift DK2 unit, which features a 1920x1080 display inside of the VR headset. GameFace Labs is a company you may not have heard of, but it has just announced that it is the first company to show off a prototype VR headset with a 2.5K display.
2.5K is just a fancy way of saying 2560x1440, where at this resolution, it is pushing out 78% more pixels than a 1080p-based display, such as the Oculus Rift DK2. Ed Mason, CEO of GameFace Labs explains: "The upgrade to 1280 x 1440 per eye is monumental. Individual pixels are hard to detect at first glance, making it a more immersive and comfortable experience in every single game and experience that we've tried. A lot of the 'presence' described by devs at the Valve [prototype VR headset] demonstration can be attributed to their use of higher resolution (and lower persistence) panels, which has a noticeable impact in suspending disbelief and tricking the brain".
Better yet, the company is just stopping at 2.5K, as it wants to get one of the most powerful mobile solutions into its VR headset, making mobile VR a reality. This is actually something I talked about Oculus VR doing, but it seems that GameFace Labs is the one we should be watching. The company is rubbing up against NVIDIA's very impressive Tegra K1 aka Jetson, which is a super powerful system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution that has a quad-core processor running at 2.3GHz with a 192-core GPU.
The rumors about the Apple iWatch will never end until the product launches. Even then, the rumors will only transition to what the next version of the device will have. A new iWatch rumor is making the rounds that claims the iWatch might have a UV light exposure sensor. That would allow the iWatch to monitor for risk of sunburn.
The rumor suggests that the sensor would come from Silicon Labs. That company announced an interesting sensor with a host of functions earlier this year. Other than monitoring UV light exposure the chip can also track heart rate, pulse, blood oximetry, and supports proximity and gesture control with infrared and ambient light methods.
Despite being packed with features this chip is surprisingly small at 2mm square. Rumors continue to suggest that the iWatch will ship later this year with as many as 10 million units selling in 2014. A rumor in February suggested that the iWatch would feature solar, induction, and motion charging.
Any Google Glass owner will tell you that their favorite feature of the wearable glasses is the ability to record first-person videos without having to hold a heavy camera that obstructs their normal view. Today Glass owners got a new feature thanks to Livestream that allows them not only to record the world around them in first person view, but allows them to stream that live feed straight to the internet.
While Android and iOS users of the Livestream app for some time now, this is the first time we have seen a live broadcasting app for Google Glass from Livestrteam. The glass app is much more simple than its mobile device counterparts, and but it does retain the ability to let users view the active chat, and watch their own video in real-time. Getting up and broadcasting is easy as well, and users simply have to say, OK Glass, Livestream," and the app will pair with an event and begin broadcasting your feed live to the internet.
Modern virtual reality is still in its infancy, and social networking company Facebook hopes its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR will help usher VR technology into the future. The buyout initially raised alarm, but news also excited virtual reality supporters, anxious for large companies and mainstream users to pay attention to the budding technology.
The Facebook team has been left intact and the social media company doesn't plan to rebrand Oculus VR - or the company's Oculus Rift - which could be made available to consumers before the end of the year.
Facebook's acquisition of Oculus immediately raised concern, though company founder Palmer Luckey previously addressed the issue. Keeping the company at its Irvine office in southern California allows Facebook-owned Oculus to remain close both to video game studios and Hollywood.