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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.
Computex 2015: We're just a few days away from Computex 2015, and the tech world will turn its focus towards Taipei. Traditionally used to show off PCs, mobile devices, and other consumer-centric devices, there could be a new focus at this year's show: wearables and products that connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).
As consumers become more comfortable with wearables, Computex could be a major launching pad for announcements - with Acer, ASUS, and other major Asian companies expected to announce new consumer wearable products. In addition, smaller companies could use the major tech trade show to announce and launch devices, especially if they can connect to smartphones and tablets.
Meanwhile, IoT should have a major presence at the show, and with more business partnerships being forged, consumers are looking ahead to the future. An estimated 30 billion to 50 billion Things will likely be on the market by 2020, and the emerging market will only accelerate higher.
The Apple Watch is expected to help propel smartwatches and the wearables to the next level, but it still seems to be nothing more than a want over an actual need, according to a recent survey.
Although 39 percent of Apple Watch owners report being "very satisfied," 36 percent are neutral on the device, and 25 percent of users reported being disappointed. However, the Wristly survey only asked 59 Apple Watch owners, so future studies will likely use significantly larger sample sizes.
One owner's comment stood out: "I think the watch is good, but I feel that it is not a technological need but a technological want. I feel like your life will be fine either way. It's fun to have, it's a conversation starter, it does make a few things a little bit easier, but it's not a necessary thing to own."
The WellBe wearable bracelet will help wearers understand the stressful periods of their day - and how to better deal with the stress. If the wearable detects someone is stressed, it is able to recommend a short break - or meditation exercises to help quickly reduce stress.
WellBe tracks a wearer's heart rate, monitoring resting heart rates and heart rate variability. The collected data connects to your smartphone's calendar via Bluetooth inputs data based on a stress-calculating algorithm.
After quickly reaching $100,000 on Indiegogo, it looks like interested consumers can expect WellBe bracelets to begin shipping before the end of the year.
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group will work with Levi's on a new smart fabric that can track touch gestures. As part of the Project Jacquard program, both companies think this is a "dazzling opportunity" to help push the wearables market to a new level.
Ideally, a wearer would be able to swipe their finger over a jacket sleeve or somewhere on their pants to silence a phone, skip song tracks, and other innovative features. Levi's is the first partner for Google, and neither company announced any specific timeline for product releases.
"We cannot expect global fashion industry to change just for us even though we're Google," said Ivan Poupyrev, Director of the Technical Program Lead at Google, in a statement published by CNN Money. "We have to adapt to the textile industry."
A Montreal man claims he was pulled over for using his Apple Watch smartwatch while driving, receiving a $100 fine and four demerit points.
Jeffrey Macesin recounted his story while speaking with the CTV Montreal Canadian TV news station, after being cited by a Quebec Highway Safety Code that prohibits using a "handheld device that includes a telephone function."
Here is what Macesin said in a recent interview: "Going towards Vaudreuil, there was a cop car behind me and he didn't have his lights on yet, but then he turned them on and I thought maybe he just wanted me to get out of the way. I was just confused."
Lenovo is the No. 1 PC manufacturer in the world, and has aspirations to take over the server market, but isn't satisfied calling it a day in those markets alone. The Chinese hardware manufacturer used its Lenovo Tech World event to publicly show off concepts of a unique dual-screen smartwatch.
The Magic View smartwatch concept would feature two screens, a typical display and a virtual display that can be up to 20 times larger. Users can view photos, read a map, watch a video, or interact with the smartwatch in a safer, more comfortable manner.
Lenovo's Magic View is still in early-stage development, but looks like it could have huge potential.
A custom headset has been designed to help give air travelers the ability to enjoy a sense of balance, hopefully preventing motion sickness. Only one percent of passengers are believed to suffer from motion sickness while flying, but this is a rather unique way to help make them a bit more comfortable.
The headset is able to trick the wearer's eyes and brain by presenting a virtual horizon - and if the aircraft shifts, the headset also adjusts. It's an overly simple technique that airliners may want to invest in, as a way to help make travel a bit more comfortable.
"By having the aircraft control the movement of the virtual world in the headset, what the body feels and what your eyes tell your brain become the same thing," said Leon Codrington, product development manager at Flow IFE, in a statement published by Sky News. "It's when you get a difference in those two that motion sickness is induced."