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One technology that has me excited along with the Oculus Rift is Sixense Entertainment's STEM System, which is currently on Kickstarter. Sixense had an original goal of $250,000 but they are now at $531,448 at the time of writing.
The developer has added a new stretch goal to its Kickstarter campaign, which would see them add STEM support for both Android and iOS devices if they reach $700,000. There's another 17 days for this to happen, so we should see them hit this goal quite easily. The Kickstarter campaign reads: "An updated Sixense software development kit will support Android 3.2 or higher and iOS 6 and higher, allowing STEM System developers to bring Sixense motion tracking to a huge installed base of mobile devices."
It also adds: "Our video above shows a virtual camera application for which we've heard a lot of requests. The STEM System running on Android and iOS will enable applications like the virtual camera, or even the ability to turn a mobile device into a VR head-mounted display."
I think that 2014 is going to be the breakout year for virtual reality, with kick-ass products like the Oculus Rift which isn't even close to a consumer launch yet. But, now we have Vision Sensor hitting IndieGogo, which the team give a description of "creates new seeing capabilities for the Oculus Rift."
Vision Sensor is basically augmented reality for the Oculus Rift, which sees two sensors and a sensor attachment cover strapped to the front of an Oculus Rift Developer Kit. It features a resolution of 1280x480 at 60FPS, and weighs just 75g so that it doesn't feel too heavy with the Rift, and Vision Sensor on your head.
The team at Vision Sensor say that there are 3 new possibilities to add to the user experience, with the first being an Immersive AR Experience. The second is Intuitive Operation (Mixed Reality) and the final possibility is Regaining Lost Vision. The first, lets you be in the world of Oculus Rift, but still stay in the real-world through augmented reality.
Intuitive Operation allows your fingers and hands to become an interface, replacing the traditional mouse and keyboard (or controller/Razer Hydra). The final part is regaining your loss of vision when the Rift is on your head and in front of your eyes.
For those of you who were looking at buying the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, you might want to just hold off on that as there's rumors that the South Korean company is working on the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch for a release early next year.
Korean language news site, Daum, reports from unnamed industry sources that Samsung is already working on a second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Daum is reporting that the second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch would work on a larger range of Samsung smartphones, compared to the first-generation Galaxy Gear which will only work with the Galaxy Note III smartphone at launch.
It's a bit worrying that Samsung would launch a second Galaxy Gear so close to the first-generation unit, but this just makes Omate's TrueSmart "Smartwatch 2.0" device stand out much more.
Today, Garmin announced the launch of two new items to its Forerunner line of GPS smartwatches. The new Forerunner GPS 220 and GPS 610 running watches take Garmin's involvement in wearable technology to an entirely new level.
Both of these wearable GPS's act as a personal coach by alerting you of your distance traveled, lap times, and even recovery times needed before attempting another strenuous run. Both models feature color screens, with the 620 being touch-enabled. The 620 also predicts your race time and gives you personalized oxygen consumption estimates. When combined with Garmin's HRM-Run technology, the 620 is able to measure how long your foot is on the ground rather than in-flight, which lets you compare your time per step to previous events.
"Whether running indoors or out, Forerunner 620 and 220 will change the way runners look at training," said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. "Advanced features in the 620 such as recovery advisor, VO2 max estimate, race predictor and stats on running economy, combined with connected features and training plan options found in both the 620 and 220, make these watches must haves for runners of all levels. To keep runners motivated the watches also notice if runners hit any personal records on that run, like their fastest mile, 5k, 10k, half or full marathon or their longest run to date."
The finalists of VR Jam 2013 have been announced, which was a joint venture between Oculus VR and IndieCade. If you're lucky like me and own an Oculus Rift headset, you can download 14 of the 20 finalists' submissions, with two dragon simulators to try out.
On September 19 the winning team will be announced, where they will receive a $10,000 grand prize as well as a trip to the Oculus HQ. The winning team will also win a trip to the IndieCade Festival which takes place between October 3-6, where they will have a showcase exhibition of their game. For the full list of finalists, we have:
- Alone - Bryan Cohen
- Chick Walk - Kevin Tsang
- Ciess - Edward McNeill
- Don't Let Go - Yorick van Vliet
- Dragon - Morgan Jaffit
- Dreadhalls - Sergio Hidalgo
- Dumpy - Brian Schrank
- Elevator Music - Julian Kantor
- Epic Dragon - Aurelien Kerbeci
- Komorebi - Fernando Ramallo
- Lost Route - Sergey Brezhnev
- Nostrum - Robert Yang
- Private Eye - Jake Slack
- Roleplayer - Joerg Pressel
- Shiny - Janina Woods
- Sight Line - Tomas Mariancik
- Specter Seekers - Ryan Anderson
- Stargazer - David Kalina
- TimeRifters - Doug Wolanick
- Virtual Internet Hacker - Lau Korsgaard
Omate seems to be doing quite well on Kickstarter for its TrueSmart smartwatch, requiring $100,000 of funding. But, Omate has hit a home run with its 'Smartwatch 2.0' pulling in (at the time of writing) $744,499 of funding with 7 days left to go.
We thought we'd get in contact with them and ask them a few questions about its upcoming 3G-capable TrueSmart device.
Q: Who is Omate?
A: Omate stands for
- Outdoor mate: Purposely designed to accompany you on outdoor activities - especially in wet environments like swimming, surfing or mountain biking - keeps you connected and gives access to calls, notifications and your favorite sporting apps.
- Office mate: No need to pull your phone out during that office meeting to check if you got that email or call you were waiting for.
Samsung may have already announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Omate has impressed the world with its TrueSmart 'smartwatch 2.0' device, but it looks like the previous market leader, Apple, may be behind considerably with its own smartwatch, the iWatch.
DigiTimes has released a new article stating that the Cupertino-giant, who just launched its new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C smartphones, is experiencing low yield-rate problems, with upstream supply chain sources of DigiTimes stating that Apple is only receiving 30-40% of its original order volumes: "The iWatch is built using powder metallurgy technology and then processed by CNC equipment. Since Apple requires the iWatch be thin and light and still features an elegant design, it has been known that this will pose a great challenge to the device's chassis suppliers as well as related component makers and back-end process service providers."
Apple is expected to launch its iWatch device sometime in mid-2014, with manufacturers Inventec and Quanta Computer the companies behind the manufacturing muscle for the iWatch.
Have you ever wondered what a pair of Google Glass looks like under an X-ray machine? I know I have, and some recently posted photos are showing just that! Website STEMbites has just posted a full set of photos of a pair of Google Glass being X-rayed.
This is something I would love to see more of. While teardowns like those posted by iFixit are cool, these are much cooler. They show you how intricate and precise everything fits together inside these micro-devices and it really makes one appreciate the engineering and skill that goes into creating something this powerful in such a tiny package.
Earlier this week, Samsung released their long awaited and highly anticipated Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The new companion device is designed to augment Samsung Galaxy devices and provide the end-user with a much more rich and immersive "smart technology" experience. TweakTown's Johannes Knapp is at IFA 2013 and got to go hands on with the new device.
At the moment, the Galaxy Gear only works with the newly launched Galaxy Note 3, but Samsung is promising functionality with many of their Galaxy-branded products in the future. The Galaxy Gear features a 1.63-inch 320x320-pixel Super AMOLED display that is surrounded by a brushed aluminum frame. A 1.9-megapixel camera is embedded into the rubberized wrist strap, and the device is powered by an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM to keep things running nice and smooth.
The Galaxy Gear runs a highly modified version of Android 4.3 and is said to more closely resemble Windows Phone rather than any of Samsung's Android-based skins. Samsung says that the device will feature 70 optimized apps on release day. If you're interested in getting your hands on a Galaxy Gear before anyone else, head over to Verizon and pre-order yours today.
Qualcomm has just stepped into the smartwatch game, announcing its Toq smartwatch at its Qualcomm Uplinq 2013 conference. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs announced the smarwatch, which featured a Mirasol color screen that can be viewed outdoors in bright sunlight.
Toq features wireless charging capabilities through WiPower LE, which is a nice touch. Qualcomm's Toq will display notifications, and it should feature applications of its own. The Toq can also control music playback and play locally to wireless headsets, but it's also capable of screening calls and showing a bunch of different watchfaces.
Qualcomm does it a bit different with Toq and its Mirasol display, which never turns off. Even with it never turning off, Toq can last multiple days between charge. Qualcomm will release a limited amount of Toq smartwatches in the next couple of weeks, with stock building up in the coming weeks.