New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

Amazon unveiled its Video Skill API, a new tool set to help content creators turn virtual assistant Alexa into a sophisticated TV remote. With the API, Alexa can search for titles, actors or genres; play or pause media and adjust the volume. Developers can also create their own Alexa commands. It keeps track of enabled services, which means the user won’t need to specify a provider or device or add any extra commands. Alexa already controls Fire TV, but the Video Skill API now opens up those controls to any cable or satellite TV company. Continue reading New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Sony announced the launch of its Future Lab Program, a new research and development initiative “that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.” Sony’s program will share prototypes with the user community during development and welcome feedback to help refine projects. The first project — a hands-free interface that offers a new way to experience audio — will be featured in Austin at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Continue reading Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Google launched a pilot for Hands Free, a mobile wallet application that allows a buyer to use her phone for purchases without taking it out of her purse. The pilot, conducted in the southern San Francisco Bay area, is available in a few stores and designated McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations. The cashier’s system can detect the user’s phone; to close the transaction, the user asks to pay with Google and gives her initials to the cashier. The cashier can also detect if the user is the same person in the Google profile. Continue reading Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

Apple has patented an advanced gaze-tracking graphical user interface that could eventually allow users to control their CE devices without having to lift a finger. Gaze-tracking controls are usually inhibited by the Troxler Effect, a visual phenomenon that sometimes makes the computer cursor disappear. However, the new tech utilizes hardware and software solutions to solve the problem caused by the effect. Apple could potentially use this new interface in Mac laptops, iPhones, iPads, and even the next generation Apple TV. Continue reading Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google has released a Glass software update that includes some substantial new features. Update XE12 provides users with the ability to snap a photo with a discreet wink, adds a lock screen function for improved security, offers options for uploading Glass-shot videos directly to YouTube, and intros Hangouts integration for messaging and chatting with friends. Additionally, the Google Play Music app is available and the long-awaited MyGlass app for iOS is being rolled out. Continue reading Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass

Google has released a new Google Glass version of its Field Trip app, which will act as a virtual tour guide based on a user’s location. The app alerts users to things and places of interest nearby, such as entertainment events and details on historical sites. The new update could be particularly useful for tourists, although they will have to walk around a city while wearing the Glass device. It has the potential to be used with ads and more Google services. Continue reading Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass

SIGGRAPH: Disney Creates Air-Based Touch Feedback System

Disney Research has created a haptic, or touch feedback, system that uses bursts of air. The AIREAL system simulates touch, or tactile sensation, in three-dimensional empty space. The haptic feedback can be applied to countless applications and situations, and may offer new ways for users to interact with their devices. The concept is to make touchless experiences, such as motion and gesture control, a physical interaction. This will ultimately give the user a more natural, touch-like perception. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Disney Creates Air-Based Touch Feedback System

Public Testing: Google Glass Available to Select Consumers

On Wednesday, Google announced it is accepting applications for people who want to try out its futuristic Google Glass eyewear. Previously, they’d only been made available to software developers, but it is clear the company wants to find out what the public thinks of the anticipated product. Additionally, Google announced more information about the product, whetting the appetite of the curious. Continue reading Public Testing: Google Glass Available to Select Consumers