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Wearables are booming right now with more and more of the devices hitting the market all the time. Apple is constantly rumored to be working on the iWatch and a new patent has surfaced from Microsoft that shows the software giant is looking to get into the market.
The patent shows a smartwatch that has heart rate monitoring and other health and fitness capabilities. It will show how many calories the wearer burns like most products out there. One interesting difference between the Microsoft smartwatch seen in the patent and others on the market is that the Microsoft product can be detached from the watchband.
Qualcomm has added a new feature to its Toq smartwatch that users of the device might find interesting. The new feature is called Toq Talk and it is powered by Nuance voice to text technology. Toq Talk lets users of the smartwatch respond to text messaged using their voice.
Nuance voice recognition text is featured in a number of products. It's rather well known for not begin all that accurate at times. Siri on iOS devices is powered by Nuance and its voice recognition engine is also used in voice systems inside some cars.
Most have been wondering when we'll see the Oculus Rift headset released to consumers, with that all being thrown up in the air after Facebook acquired the VR startup. Well, that announcement has been made at the Facebook F8 developer conference.
Oculus VR has said that it will release the Rift to consumers next year, but there are a few big, and good reasons why we're not getting it this year. The company is hiding an even better Rift inside the secret "Valve Room" in its Irvine, California-based HQ. Crystal Cove is the best public display of Rift so far, but this new Rift in the "special room" is reportedly even better.
Chris Dixon, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, talked about this next-gen prototype, saying: "Crystal Cove is 50% of what they are running in LA. You go into a room. It's a special room. Fancier headset. ... In user testing it gets to a level of realism where almost all people feel that it's realistic". He continued: "Imagine everything you can see now, but it's a little bit pixelated. Eventually that [pixelation] will go away".
I'm excited to see what Oculus VR can do, but with Facebook's influence and bank account behind it, the future of VR is only just beginning.
Music has become one of those must have things when it comes to what many consider a successful workout, and Adidas knows this. Today the company announced that it would be adding the ability to play Spotify offline tracks to its MiCoach Smart Run wearable fitness tracker. While the fitness tracker has had Spotify support for some time now, offline track playback was not enabled.
Several websites have confirmed from Adidas that the offline functionality will be enabled and that more features will be coming to the MiCoach Run before the end of the year. Most likely the software update will arrive for users to download around the holiday season later this year. No word was given on what the new features may be, but we are sure that they will be awesome!
While Google Glass has been regarded as a major advancement in wearable technology, the general public has been, for the most part, hesitant to purchase a pair of Google Glasses themselves. While I am sure that there are thousands of early adopters, techies, and trend followers who have dived head first into the world of Glass, the $1500 price tag makes it very hard for many consumers to swallow, including myself.
According to new estimates, Google Glass is only comprised of about $80 in components which leaves one to wonder why exactly the new technology is worth the $1500 premium that Google has placed on it. Now before anyone jumps on me, I am sure that manufacturing, packaging and marketing cost are factored in as well, but at tops, I see Glass being worth only about $350-500. I also get that Google needs to recoup some of the R&D cost on Glass, but even then a $550-700 price tag would see fair.
Another update is coming for Google Glass, which will see photo and and video backup, as well as the ability to remove photos and videos from your timeline, and smarter phone answering.
Backing up photos and videos only takes place when Glass is on charge, and connected to your Wi-Fi network. If you want to force a backup, this is now possible, where you simply swipe up to the Auto Backup card in Settings and tap it to begin backing your Glass up. Clearing videos and photos from your timeline, according to Google its: "one of our top community requests". Clearing all of the photos and videos from your timeline can be done by tapping the Auto Backup card, and then swiping up forward.
The last part of the update is to Glass being smarter at answering phone calls. If you answer the phone call with your smartphone, the smartphone will take over the audio, if you answer on Glass, the Glass will be responsible for audio. If Glass is left inactive (such as when it detects it's not on your face) then phone calls won't be blasted to it.
2014 has definitely been the year of the wearable, and with the sector growing more with every passing day more retailers are finding better ways at capitalizing on this trend. Today Amazon.com announced that it has launched a new online storefront that is dedicated 100-percent to wearable technology.
"Wearable technology is an exciting category with rapid innovation and our customers are increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices," said John Nemeth, Director of Wireless and Mobile Electronics at Amazon. "We're thrilled to bring our customers a store with the largest selection and great prices that helps eliminate the guesswork when deciding which wearable devices best fit their needs-whether that is tracking activity, staying connected through smart watches or capturing their next adventure with wearable cameras."
Sitting here in Australia writing my news, I'm tethered to my smartphone because my 4G access is faster than my 8Mbps home Internet connection. I know what lag is, but do you? Well, Swedish broadband provider, Ume.net, has used Oculus VR's Rift headset to display how lag would be if it were in real-life.
Ume.net used an experiement it called "Living with lag," where four volunteers went about in their daily lives using an Oculus Rift, strapped up with a Raspbeery Pi, webcam and noise-cancelling headphones. This gave the volunteers simulated lag in two parts: 0.33 seconds, or a full 3-second delay. The results are quite amusing, with the lagged out volunteers stuffing about in their normal daily lives.
Most people who have played Fallout 3 loved the idea of the wearable Pip-Boy 3000 device, well, a five-member group called Team Reno have done just that - created a Pip-Boy 3000 like device.
Team Reno created the device as part of NASA's SpaceApps Challenge, which saw designers creating wearable technology for future space travelers. Team Reno's device was capable of displaying relative humidity, altitude, latitude and longitude, atmospheric pressure, ambient temperature, object temperature, and radiation levels.
The team wrote about their entry, saying: "We wanted to make a piece of popular science fiction into a reality so we chose the Pip-Boy 3000 from the game Fallout 3. The goal was to bring environmental sensors into an easy-to-use cuff device that could help a wearer determine if their environment is safe for navigation or helmet removal".
There are some incredibly exciting devices coming out this year, with the Virtuix Omni VR treadmill being one of them. Virtuix, the company behind the VR treadmill, has just received $3 million in a round of investment.
Virtuix has said that it will use the investment to increase the amount of staff it has, improve the mass production as well as the distribution of the Omni treadmill. The Virtuix Omni begins shipping in a few months to its Kickstarter backers, after which it will go on sale to the general public - and hopefully arrive at my house for a good old thrashing.