Amazon Launches In-Car Delivery, Testing Privacy Boundaries

Amazon is rolling out an in-car delivery service that allows its delivery drivers to deposit packages in the trunks of specific vehicles. That’s similar to the feature introduced last year that lets drivers drop off packages inside customers’ homes. Taking another step into its customers’ lives is a risky move in an atmosphere where privacy concerns are paramount. Still, Amazon vice president of delivery technology Peter Larsen says customers “love features like keyless guest access” and that “in-car delivery … gives customers that same peace of mind.” Continue reading Amazon Launches In-Car Delivery, Testing Privacy Boundaries

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

In light of Facebook’s latest revelation that data from as many as 87 million users — not the 50 million figure originally reported — was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted he made a “huge mistake” by not paying more attention to the potential for abuse. Facebook further revealed that marketers, using a now-disabled feature that distributed profile data connected to email addresses and phone numbers, could have harvested data from “most people on Facebook.” Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before federal committees next week. Continue reading Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

Skydio R1 Drone Touts Advanced Visual Tracking, 4K Camera

Several companies have offered drones that can, more or less, follow a target and avoid obstacles. But now a new company, Skydio, has introduced the $2,499 R1 drone that shows significant promise. The R1 doesn’t use GPS or wearable trackers for 3D vision tracking, yet is able to avoid obstacles from all angles at speed (about 25 miles per hour). The high-quality device, which Skydio describes as a “self-flying camera,” is also easy to use. The R1, via camera lenses that point up and down on a two-axis gimbal, also records 4K video. Continue reading Skydio R1 Drone Touts Advanced Visual Tracking, 4K Camera

Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Snap Inc. is planning to launch a second version of its video recording glasses this fall followed by a more ambitious version in 2019 that will include two cameras and other features. In addition to new colors and water resistance, the second version aims to fix bugs and provide needed performance improvements. The potential price tag would be around $300, which is more than double the $130 cost of the first version. News of additional versions comes just months after Snap announced it lost $40 million on the original. Continue reading Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Wearables at CES: Formerly Hot Sector Having Growing Pains

At CES in recent years, wearables were a surprise hit, with sophisticated fitness bands, fashion-forward bracelets and necklaces, smart fabric and watches. At CES 2018, at the Sands, about 50 manufacturers held court in the Wearables Marketplace, that featured wearables both tried-and-true and somewhat new. If nothing seemed to catch fire, it’s a reflection of what the 2018 CTA Consumer Tech Industry Forecast already revealed: wearables are flat, with a mere 1 percent growth in revenues over the last year. Continue reading Wearables at CES: Formerly Hot Sector Having Growing Pains

CES: Ujet Unveils Energy-Efficient Scooter With Smart Battery

Ujet rolled out its first energy-efficient, lightweight, portable, electric smart scooter at CES. Priced at $8,900 or $9,900, depending on which smart battery is selected, the Ujet weighs less than 100 pounds due to the frame’s alloy and carbon composite materials, and tires constructed of single-wall carbon nanotubes. Easily chargeable via a standard outlet (no charging station required), the scooter can be controlled remotely by an Android or iOS app that provides access to customer support, performance monitoring, ignition system, locks, directions, location, even the ability to disable the Ujet in the case of a theft. Continue reading CES: Ujet Unveils Energy-Efficient Scooter With Smart Battery

GoPro Debuts Hero6 Black and 360-Degree Fusion Cameras

GoPro has unveiled two new action cameras, the Hero6 Black, an updated version of its flagship camera targeting adventurous photographers, and the Fusion, a 360-degree spherical camera that will ship in November. The Hero6 Black includes a first-ever custom processor built for GoPro, and includes a digital zoom, better voice control, more user-friendly editing software and the ability to transport footage three-times faster than the previous version. It is priced at $499, about $100 more than its predecessor. Continue reading GoPro Debuts Hero6 Black and 360-Degree Fusion Cameras

Fitbit to Launch First Real Smartwatch With Focus on Fitness

Fitbit will debut its first true smartwatch, the $300 Ionic, in October. This new gadget, however, is focused on the company’s core competency — fitness — although it still offers typical smartwatch functionalities, including music, mobile payments and push notifications. Since Fitbit views health and fitness as the killer app, the Ionic offers an expanded range of health-oriented functions. Fitbit co-founder/chief executive James Park said the decision to take this tack was because he saw that consumers have been confused about the purpose of smartwatches. Continue reading Fitbit to Launch First Real Smartwatch With Focus on Fitness

Tech Firm Is First to Offer Employees Implantable RFID Chips

A Wisconsin-based technology company, Three Square Market, is offering its employees the chance to have a microchip injected between their thumb and index finger. The grain-of-rice sized chip, once injected, will allow an employee to swipe her hand to pay for food in the cafeteria, enter the office building or accomplish any other task involving RFID technology. Though the implant might sound like overreach, more than 50 of the company’s 80 employees have signed up for the implant when it is first offered on August 1. Continue reading Tech Firm Is First to Offer Employees Implantable RFID Chips

‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

According to the latest figures from Apptopia, mobile AR game sensation “Pokémon Go” has reached 752 million downloads and has earned more than $1.2 billion in revenue. The freemium game supports in-app purchases; total revenues for last year topped $950 million. The game “had about 60 million monthly players in June, with 20 percent of them opening the game at least once a day,” reports VentureBeat. “While that’s down from the app’s peak last August, which was at 100 million monthly users, it’s still a huge number.” Apptopia breaks down the game’s players: 57.4 percent are male, 38 percent are millennials (ages 19-34), and 32.5 percent are 18 or younger. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Google’s Spanner, developed a decade ago, created a way to store information across millions of machines in a multitude of data centers around the world. Despite its global reach, Spanner behaves as if it operates in a single location, meaning it can reliably replicate and change data without contradicting actions taken at a different location, and retrieve copies if one of the centers goes down. Since its creation, Spanner has become the foundation for 2,000 Google services including Gmail and AdWords. Now, Google plans to unveil Spanner to everyone as a cloud computing service. Continue reading Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Fashion, Sensors Join Forces in Luxury Bracelet with a Secret

Dr. Gerald Wilmink, founder and chief executive WiseWear, did not set out to create a high-fashion bracelet with sensors that allow the wearer to discreetly call for help in an emergency. His initial impetus to create wearables came from his grandfather, who suffered from a disease that combined features of Parkinsons and Alzheimers. That’s why WiseWear’s first wearable was a hearable, WiseAid, that combined the features of a hearing aid with an ability to predict falls, by looking at motion, balance and gait. Continue reading Fashion, Sensors Join Forces in Luxury Bracelet with a Secret

CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

As noted by Bolter and Grusin in their seminal work Remediation: Understanding New Media, there is a trend towards transparency of the supports that underlie media content. For example, consider the current obsession with grinding down smartphone bezels so that all that remains is a gleaming, five-inch window into the world of “Angry Birds.” Or, look to the excitement of panel manufacturers who boast of new color spaces, dynamic ranges, and resolutions. Virtual reality presents the possible apotheosis of this kind of mediation: a technology where content has no borders, instead utilizing the totality of one’s senses, the net cast by its content so wide that the machinery which deploys it becomes eclipsed. Continue reading CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

Amazon Makes its First Commercial Drone Delivery in the UK

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos reports that, on Dec. 7, the company made its first commercial drone delivery — of an Amazon Fire streaming device and popcorn — to an Amazon shopper in Cambridgeshire, England. The drone took off from a nearby Amazon warehouse and flew two miles in approximately 13 minutes. Amazon will now test drone deliveries in that country with two more customers near Cambridge, where it has a drone testing facility. The company hopes to expand the trial to up to dozens of people in the next months. Continue reading Amazon Makes its First Commercial Drone Delivery in the UK

CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Eighty-four million wearables were sold in 2015, and experts are predicting the market will grow to 245 million by 2019. That means that, once again, CES 2017 will be the venue to check out the latest commercially available products and the newest technologies that will power wearables of the future. MEMS and sensors are key to wearables’ capabilities and, Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, says CES 2017 will showcase some “exciting” new wearables features. Continue reading CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market