Google Plans to Release Modular Mobile Phone in Puerto Rico

Google wants to redefine the way mobile devices are designed, built and sold. The Ara Smartphone, expected to release later this year in Puerto Rico, is a unique mobile device with replaceable components. Owners of the Ara will have the option to purchase additional hardware from a store, to enhance and upgrade their mobile devices rather than having to buy an entirely new phone every couple of years. A growing number of developers are reportedly working on a wide range of Ara modules. Continue reading Google Plans to Release Modular Mobile Phone in Puerto Rico

Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality

Magic Leap, the startup that raised $542 million in a funding round led by Google, has filed a patent for “cinematic reality,” in which users will get access to the company’s augmented reality tech through a headset and belt pack. Magic Leap’s system stores content in the cloud, and any augmented reality content can be configured to fit in with the user’s physical environment. The patent lists interesting possible uses for the technology, from grocery shopping and home decor to surgery and hospital stays. Continue reading Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality

Sensors/MEMS Session: Biometric Information for Wearables

Developers of health and fitness wearables — currently the industry’s biggest segment — are challenged with providing accurate and reliable biometric information. If the consumer cannot be convinced that calories burned, steps taken, and blood pressure numbers do not reflect reality, then health and fitness wearables will never gain the traction they need to become mass market. Enter Valencell, a core technology provider for biometric information to silicon providers and OEMs. Continue reading Sensors/MEMS Session: Biometric Information for Wearables

CES: The Quantified Self – Is There a Model for Making Money?

Is there a practical business model for wearables? A CES panel on “What’s New in the Quantified Self” did a deep dive on that question, with panelists drawing from their own early experiences. Engaging consumers with wearables is proving to be much more difficult than anticipated, say the panelists, who report that 85 percent of wearables are abandoned after one month. Success may rely on the industry identifying models that address interaction with data and long-term consumer engagement. Continue reading CES: The Quantified Self – Is There a Model for Making Money?

Google to Launch Health Data Aggregation Service Google Fit

Google Fit, a health data aggregation service, is expected to launch at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco next week. The service will compete with Apple’s new HealthKit app framework, which launched last week. It will also compete with Samsung’s Sami, a similar biometric data platform. Google Fit aims to store data from wearable activity tracking devices — including Fitbit, Jawbone UP and Nike FuelBand — along with the related smartphone apps.

Continue reading Google to Launch Health Data Aggregation Service Google Fit

Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in early discussions to create a joint venture in next-gen panel tech for mobile devices with key Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. While OLED tech for TVs has been a pursuit of numerous companies, LG and Samsung have led the charge for smaller screens in mobile devices. According to people familiar with the matter, Japanese manufacturers hope they can compete with their Korean rivals in smaller panels through the new joint venture. Continue reading Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things produces significant amounts of data from objects embedded with sensors and machine-to-machine communications. According to Verizon’s VP of Connected Solutions Mark Bartolomeo, the Internet of Things is growing over 100 percent a year. Companies are using this technology to improve the management of supply chains, equipment and customer demands. The energy, transportation and digital cities units are the fastest growing sectors in Verizon’s Connected Solutions. Continue reading Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Researchers at MIT have developed a method for teaching computers to understand what is happening in video content. The method uses a similar approach to textual analysis, such as natural language processing, by looking at each part of a video to figure out what the whole thing means. The researchers created an algorithm to identify what occurs in individual frames of the video, and then determines what those mean when combined in a certain order. Continue reading Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

In Strategic Move, Nike Lays Off Majority of FuelBand Team

Nike may be gearing up to shut down its wearable hardware efforts, after laying off the majority of its FuelBand fitness tracker team. The 70-person team, part of the tech-focused Digital Sport division, is responsible for developing and revising hardware including the FuelBand and Nike+ sportwatch. A person familiar with the matter told CNET late last week that about 70 to 80 percent of the team was let go. However, employees from Nike Digital Tech, responsible for Web software, were reportedly not affected. Continue reading In Strategic Move, Nike Lays Off Majority of FuelBand Team

IEEE Predicts That Our Daily Lives Will Be Gamified by 2020

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) suggests that 85 percent of tasks in an average person’s daily life will include game elements by 2020. Gamification is already being integrated into social media, data collection, the healthcare industry and more. Social media sites including Foursquare, Yelp and Facebook are incorporating game and reward features. For example, they encourage users to check into restaurants by rewarding them with badges and titles, such as “mayor” of a restaurant. Continue reading IEEE Predicts That Our Daily Lives Will Be Gamified by 2020

Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Foxconn executives have been in talks about robotics with former Android executive Andy Rubin, specifically to discuss new robotic technologies and speed up deployment of robots in its factories. Rubin asked Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to help integrate a tech company that’s being acquired by Google, which last year acquired eight other robotics companies. In the meeting, Gou was said to have expressed excitement over automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin. Continue reading Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

VIPE: New Virtual Holodeck System Used for Training Simulation

The Army Contracting Command is looking into new technology for effective training methods. Northrop Grumman believes it has a solution with its Virtual Immersive Portable Environment (VIPE) Holodeck technology. The VIPE Holodeck is a 360-degree virtual training system that allows users to participate in simulations, mission rehearsal and data visualization. The technology works by using a Kinect integration navigation sensor, which allows users to feel immersed in the environment. Continue reading VIPE: New Virtual Holodeck System Used for Training Simulation

Google Working on Contact Lens to Monitor Glucose Levels

We saw a number of compelling wearable solutions at CES this month. Now Google has a new project in the health realm of wearables, a smart contact lens for diabetics to help monitor their glucose levels. The lens measures those levels with tears, using a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor embedded in the lens. Prototypes can generate readings every second, and Google is even looking into inserting LED lights that could alert contact lens wearers to glucose levels that are either too high or too low. Continue reading Google Working on Contact Lens to Monitor Glucose Levels

Wearables Waiting For a Killer App to Take Them Mainstream

Considering a mere five percent of U.S. consumers wear activity trackers, will wearables ever cross-over to the mainstream? Even the experts in this field have trouble agreeing. Steven Pierce, of IBM’s global business development, said we’ll have ten devices on our bodies very soon. “Wearables will be the key source of information in five years,” he said, listing implantables and injectables as future wearables. But Sonny Vu, founder of Misfit Wearables, disagreed. “Five years isn’t that far away,” he said. “I don’t think science will advance that fast.” Continue reading Wearables Waiting For a Killer App to Take Them Mainstream

CES Panel: Sixth Sense is Digital, Say Wearables Innovators

At a panel provocatively titled “The Sixth Sense is Digital,” several wearables pioneers gathered to discuss the evolving changes and direction of the burgeoning industry. NeuroSky CEO Stanley Yang started it off with a series of important questions: “First, you have to ask — do I need to wear anything? If I do, what’s helpful? After motion tracking, what do you do with it? Who can design the next wearable technology for the masses with the functions we need?” Continue reading CES Panel: Sixth Sense is Digital, Say Wearables Innovators

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