62 year-old builder Dennis Anselmo of Alberta, Canada (pictured below) had his life saved by the Apple Watch. He was working on building a fence when he suddenly began to "feel terrible"; at first he thought he must've been coming down with a fever, but a glance at the device told him his heart rate was above 210BPM (55-75 is normal, and Anselmo usually sits at 50). At this point an ambulance was called, and paramedics determined he was having a heart attack before rushing him to the hospital where they cleared artery blockages, preventing a second attack.
"They told me that if I had gone home and gone to bed - as many people do - I would likely have had another, more serious bout in the middle of the night," said Anselmo. "Those second attacks are the ones that kill. That is a common problem."
The Band 2 from Microsoft is one of the most advanced, if flawed, fitness trackers around, and its price was already decent considering the wealth of sensors it packs into its moderately svelte body. But Microsoft is discounting it to $175.
The $175 price is only for a limited time and won't last forever. But if you do decide to drop the cash down, you'll get a small OLED display attached to a small battery with a gyro meter, barometer, heart rate sensor, UV sensor, VO2 sensor, accelerometer and a GPS for good measure. The strange proportions and the bulk from sensors placed on both sides might take some getting used to, and the battery might only last around two days, but it's a far cry more advanced than the usual bands.
There's certainly a lot of competition lately with fitness bands, many offering some surprising value for the money, and of course, there's the addition of sensors to the burgeoning smartwatch segment making them excellent alternatives. But the lines are being blurred, though. The price reduction of the Band 2 might signal a more permanent price-cut coming in the future, or it might be a sign that we're to see a new Band product from Microsoft in the near future.
Designed to appease those who love both adventure and technology, Garmin has announced the Vivoactive HR and Vivofit 3 smartwatch models, set for release sometime in March or April this year.
The Vivoactive HR comes packed with up to eight days of battery life, an always-on touchscreen that can be read in full sunlight, a 24/7 heart rate monitor and plenty of features for those who are looking to take it golfing, cycling, swimming or more. This watch is able to track pace, distance, intervals, speed, calories and more, depending on what sporting or action function you want it for.
The much smaller Vivofit 3 allows for functionality with Gamin's Move IQ, a daily activity tracker. Designed as a thinner model, this product is able to automatically recognize when you are running, riding or swimming, utilizing Gamin in Connect to sync your activity throughout the day, stored for later consideration.
Wearable computing is just becoming a little more insane. If you told me 15 years ago that I could be carrying a computer in my pocket, strapping one to my wrist and even having the option to slide one on my finger - I would have called you quite mad. In comes 2016 and Gizmodo has just told us that researchers in Australia have developed the basic technology needed for a smart contact lens.
Developed by RMIT University and the University of Adelaide, this new technology is a stretchable nano-scale device that can be used to manipulate light, allowing it to be fully transparent yet still alter light for the person looking through it. While not a full smart device itself just yet, this is the first (and a major) step towards technology being further incorporated into the lives of many.
Wondering how it works? Adelaide University's Dr Withawat Withayachumnankul stated that "With advanced techniques to control the properties of surfaces, we can dynamically control their filter properties, which allow us to potentially create devices for high data-rate optical communication or smart contact lenses." He further explained that "The current challenge is that dielectric resonators only work for specific colours, but with our flexible surface we can adjust the operation range simply by stretching it."
One of the first things people think about when VR is talked about; would be the fact that people will eventually 'live' in the virtual world - which is no different to spending 12-18 hours a day playing any form of games (mobile/PC/console).
Well, one artist has spent 48 hours inside of the HTC Vive, reporting a nausea-free VR experience. Thorsten Wiedemann, the founder and artistic director of the A MAZE Festival, told VICE: "I had no physical problems, no burning eyes, killing headaches or nausea". This was after 48 hours inside of the HTC Vive, for an art project called 'Disconnected' earlier this month. In the 25th hour, Wiedemann had a panic attack which nearly caused him to drop out, but he powered through - and all went well.
Wiedemann said that spending considerable time in VR will be common in 2026, where he said: "normal that you jump into VR to meet your international friends in Social VR Rooms and go on crazy adventures together. But a long trip will be still special and could be understood as a controlled drug experience".
Samsung is getting in on the gold rush with a special gold version of its Gear S2 Classic New Edition smartwatch. Pre-orders are on now in Europe for €480 ($520). If it's cheaper than you expected, that's because the watch is merely gold-plated with a stainless steel body, not solid gold.
Apple recently launched a solid gold version of its Apple Watch for $10,000, and Huawei is coming out with a gold Nexus 6P for $500, a rose-gold watch with Swarovski crystals, and a MediaPad N210 gold tablet (pricing on the latter two is to be announced). If you're a tech geek into bling, now's a great time to be alive.
It looks like Apple will not be unveiling the successor to its first wearable in a few months, with the Apple Watch 2 to arrive later in the year.
It looks like the original 18-month refresh cycle for Watch is true, and there won't be much changed from the original wearable. According to TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, Apple Watch 2 will include newer casings and improved battery life, but it won't arrive in the March-April timeframe that has been previously rumored.
Panzarino still says that Apple might unveil new "design partnerships" for Watch 2 in March, and new accessories to keep the momentum of Apple Watch chugging along. He also added that we might see a minor update to Apple Watch with a FaceTime camera early this year, but it will not be a "full Watch 2.0". Panzarino added that he talked with Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin, who said that there's no evidence that Apple would be releasing a full-fledged Apple Watch 2 anytime soon.
But when it came to the Rift headset itself, he said: "Our OLED displays and control over the viewing environment make it one of the most accurate displays you can get. In the near future, VR displays are going to surpass traditional displays in almost every way".
Palmer continued, saying that the Rift display is calibrated out of the box, so that PC gamers won't have to do it themselves. As for virtual desktops, Palmer did tease that developers are building virtual desktop applications right now. He said: "There are several people building virtual desktop applications. The biggest limitation is resolution per degree and lack of 1:1 pixel mapping compared to traditional displays. You can do it, but applications like PS and Maya are better on a normal monitor for now".
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has been giving some golden nuggets of information thanks to his AMA session on Reddit, where he even referenced the failed Virtual Boy from Nintendo.
Palmer responded to a Reddit member asking on his comment for the Virtual Boy, where he said that it doesn't qualify as true VR. Palmer said the Virtual Boy had "[no] head tracking, low field of view, [and was] essentially a monochrome 3DTV". He added that the Virtual Boy failing was a "real shame, too, because the association of the Virtual Boy with VR hurt the industry in the long run".
Palmer did say one positive thing about Nintendo's 'VR' device, is that "It did have the first LED display in a consumer device, though - probably the best contrast of any display up to that point!"
During the AMA, Palmer said Oculus is against jump scares in VR, but he also said that the PlayStation VR isn't as high-end as the Oculus Rift, too.
Palmer Luckey, the flip flop wearing founder of Oculus, has come out slamming the PlayStation VR during his Reddit AMA. During the AMA, he also said that jump scares in VR are "such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR".
Talking with the International Business Times, Luckey said that PlayStation VR isn't as high-end as the Rift. He said: "It's also worth noting that their headset isn't quite as high-end as ours - it's still, I think, a good headset - and the PlayStation 4 is not nearly as powerful as our recommended spec for a PC". I agree, the PS4 just isn't anywhere near as powerful as a PC - and so the PlayStation VR will suffer in some way.
He continued, saying that the PlayStation VR itself is good, but the Rift is better quality - as it requires a better PC than what the PS4 contains, hardware wise. He continued: "I think that there's not many people who already own a PS4 who don't own a gaming PC who are going to go out and make that roughly $1,500 all-in investment in the Rift. It really is a separate market. They're bringing virtual reality to a different group of people who I don't think were ever really a part of our market anyway".