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Computex 2015 - NVIDIA wants to help gamers in Taiwan experience virtual reality, and brought its GeForce VR Experience to Computex 2015. The idea behind the effort is to allow consumers to enjoy VR for the first time, ahead of a likely onslaught of VR headsets in the coming years.
Gamers interested in VR will have to be ready to spend for it, especially if they need to purchase new PC components. However, it's expected gamers will see a drastic increase in VR-themed software releases in the coming years - and NVIDIA teamed up with CCP Games for a Tron-like VR experience, which you can read about here.
"VR changes the way you play and experience games by putting you in the game," NVIDIA said. "When you're in VR, you're directly in the action with a full 3D world all around you. Move your head and the view changes. Move your physical body and your virtual body moves with it."
Do you want an affordable wearable? Forty percent of wearable devices are priced at less than $100, as the market quickly evolves.
The top five wearable manufacturers based on Q1 2015 market share: Fitbit (34.2 percent), Xiaomi (24.6 percent), Garmin (6.1 percent), Samsung (5.3 percent), and Jawbone (4.4 percent).
"As with any young market, price erosion has been quite drastic," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst of Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. "We now see over 40 percent of the devices priced under $100, and that's one reason why the top 5 vendors have been able to grow their dominance from two thirds of the market in the first quarter of last year to three quarters this quarter."
Computex 2015 - We haven't seen too much about smartwatches since CES Las Vegas back in January, but ASUS has been working on a new model since then - the ASUS VivoWatch.
Featuring a 128x128 resolution, low power consumption and Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the internals boast a 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate sensors with "ASUS VivoPulse technology," Bluetooth 4.0 and up to 10 days worth of battery life with 'normal operation' taking place - ASUS claims this beast will charge in only 1-2 hours.
Wrapping up the feature list is a water resistance rating of IP67, a standard 22mm strap size and a small 50g weight.
Computex 2015 - One of the more impressive VR demos that I've personally played around with happened today with NVIDIA and CCP Games, the studio behind EVE: Valkyrie.
There were a few demos that NVIDIA and CCP Games walked me through, with the first providing a totally new way of doing things. CCP Games used a Kinect sensor to capture images of your body in real time, and then used that to bake it into their VR demo. This allowed for much more precision in the VR world, and as CCP Games put it to me: it makes your arms, the best thing to use as 'controllers'.
In the demo itself, I was able to press little circles in front of me that would act as the UI, going into different parts of the experience. I was able to pick up flaming energy balls which I could then throw around the world, or electricity balls that would spark and send things flying when you threw them.
Computex 2015: Ahead of Computex, Acer announced three new wearables for its Liquid lineup, introducing the Leap Active, Leap Fit and Leap Curve. Using the touchscreen display, you can operate any of the new additions with just a few finger swipes.
The Liquid Leap Active has been created for younger, socially active users - tracking physical activities throughout the day, and sleep patterns each evening.
The Liquid Leap Fit is similar to the Active, but includes a heart rate sensor, tracking the wearer's heart rate monitor. A built-in stress sensor also identifies periods through the day when you're most stressed.
Computex 2015: Connected technology designed to support the Internet of Things (IoT) will receive a large amount of attention during Computex 2015, organizers in Taipei believe. Even though it has taken a few years for manufacturers to work out the kinks, many of the 1,700+ exhibitors in Taiwan should have smart tech products available to visitors.
"Smart living and wearable technology remain the focus, but visitors will find more mature products," said David Liu, from the Taipei Computer Association, in a statement to AFP.
IoT products have been demonstrated at past Computex shows, along with CES and CeBit, but this year has seen a flood of better established offerings.
Virtual reality is still very much in its infancy, as many consumers are following the technology, but may not be ready to embrace it just yet. However, there is plenty of development currently underway, though it's just a very small number of companies involved in VR headset production that we can expect to enjoy in the near future.
"It's a very small community [in VR] around here," said Dr. Jonathan Waldern, owner of DigiLens, in a statement to The Guardian. "The cost of development in this realm is so high that very few corporations would take it on. Only the big three - Microsoft, Google, Facebook. Apple is the fourth, but isn't so prominent."
Not surprisingly, consumers interested in embracing VR must be ready to spend - if not for the headsets themselves, but the PC hardware that will allow them to support a fully enjoyable VR experience. It's expected gaming, movies, and other sectors will continue to see increasing VR interest, though it will take some time.
With Google I/O 2015 now over, one of the more interesting things that the Google ATAP team unveiled was Project Soli. Project Soli is a Kinect-like system that is also similar to Leap Motion, where it will eventually see gesture-based controls to Android wearables.
Project Soli uses a "broad beam radar to measure doppler image, IQ and spectrogram" reports Engadget. The chip itself recognizes movement, velocity and distance, which can all be programmed to change the input based on that distance. This will see gesture-based controls on mobile devices in the near future, with hand motions that would be quite natural, something that Technical Program Lead from ATAP, Ivan Poupyrev, explains as: "What we propose is that you use a hand motions vocabulary".
The Project Soli chip itself features a 60Hz radar spectrum, going nuts at 10,000 frames per second. The final chip will feature everything required to be plug and play, including the antennas. ATAP says that the device can be made to scale, and that they are still working on finalizing the board. The team has already gotten the device from the size of a pizza box, to around the size of an SD card in just 10 months time. Project Soli will hopefully be rolled out to developers later this year.
Apple recently pushed out Watch OS 1.0.1 to the Apple Watch, which looks to have watered down the heart rate monitor on Watch compared to when it first launched with v1.0 software.
Before the v1.0.1 patch, Watch was recording the heart rate of Watch wearers every 10 minutes, but post-patch, it is no longer being recorded anywhere near as frequent. Apple has updated its website, where it has said: "Apple Watch attempts to measure your heart rate every ten minutes, but won't record it when you are in motion or your arm is moving". The original v1.0 software did not differentiate between a Watch user and their arm being still, or moving.
Watch owners thought that the original software was recording their heart rate details without problems, but post-patch, users are up in arms over the new heart rate monitor. Some are questioning whether Apple baked in the change to safe battery life on Watch, but at the cost of the heart rate monitor not being as accurate as the original OS when it launched not too long ago.
Financial institutions are gearing up for a growing number of their customers using various forms of mobile payments while shopping. During the Wearable World Congress in San Francisco, executives from MasterCard, Capital One and PayPal discussed how each company is embracing the market - and watching to see what products and services emerge.
"As we look at the future, consumers are clearly interacting with a whole host of new devices that extend beyond plastic or the devices in their pocket," said Stephane Wyper, VP of startup engagement at MasterCard. "How do we enable all of those connected devices to be payment devices?"
As the number of wearables reach the market, they could play a major role in how payments are made - moving away from the idea that just smartphones will be used for transactions. The use of smartwatches and other wearables, which keep owners connected, provide new opportunities for banks and credit card companies.