Smarthome Devices Offer Many Benefits, Raise Privacy Concerns

As was evident at CES in January, a number of smarthome products are entering the market, designed primarily for home security and automation. Most of the products include camera features and the ability to easily watch and/or record activity via apps and mobile devices. While surveillance inside the home isn’t new (think nanny cams and video security systems), the new wave of affordable devices intend to democratize and perhaps even glamorize home surveillance. For homes with multiple inhabitants, this may raise questions regarding privacy. Continue reading Smarthome Devices Offer Many Benefits, Raise Privacy Concerns

Arri Brings Amira Digital Camera to Burbank for Early Preview

In advance of Amira’s launch at NAB, Arri has sent four prototypes of its new digital camera on tour. One camera is visiting the company’s Burbank facility for early previews and limited testing. The $40,000 shoulder-mount Amira, which uses the same imaging sensor as Arri’s $75,000 Alexa digital cinematography camera, is expected to ship in April. Lighter and smaller than the popular Alexa, the Amira is intended for productions such as documentaries and TV news magazine programs. Continue reading Arri Brings Amira Digital Camera to Burbank for Early Preview

Paper: Facebook Launches Mobile App for Streaming News

Last week, Facebook finally unveiled Paper, its much-anticipated mobile app that allows users to enjoy a personalized news stream. The app is launching today for the iPhone (an Android release has yet to be announced). Paper is essentially staffed by a computer algorithm and human curators, based on links shared by Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Paper offers news in sections, similar to those of a newspaper, and uses smartphone tech such as gyroscopes and sensors to help drive interactive navigation. Continue reading Paper: Facebook Launches Mobile App for Streaming News

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

Free Music Streaming from Spotify and Rdio is Now Unlimited

Spotify has removed streaming time limits for all users. The company announced last week that it would offer unlimited free music streaming via the platform’s desktop app and on the Web. The move follow’s last month’s announcement that Spotify would offer free shuffled music streaming to its phone and tablet apps. Less than 24 hours after Spotify announced lifting its time restriction, competitor Rdio revealed that it would do the same in the United States. Continue reading Free Music Streaming from Spotify and Rdio is Now Unlimited

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

Internet of Things: Google to Buy Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion

Google is making a run for the connected home. On Monday, the company announced it is acquiring Nest Labs, a maker of smart smoke alarms and thermostats, for $3.2 billion. This is Google’s second largest acquisition to date, behind the 2012 purchase of phone maker Motorola Mobility. Nest Labs is considered a poster child for the Internet of Things movement, a key focus of last week’s CES in Las Vegas, where companies showcased sensor, communication, and computing tech to make everyday life easier.  Continue reading Internet of Things: Google to Buy Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion

Sony Introduces New $1,999 4K Consumer Camcorder at CES

Sony introduced its FDR-AX1 Handycam last September, which the company billed as “the world’s first consumer 4K camcorder.” However, its price tag, form factor and extensive features seemed more professional than consumer. At CES, Sony unveiled the more compact and affordable FDR-AX100, which at $1,999 should appeal to 4K early adopters. The Ax100, expected to hit shelves in March, features a 1-inch 14.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, larger than those typically found in camcorders. Continue reading Sony Introduces New $1,999 4K Consumer Camcorder at CES

Rovi Team Experiments with Brainwaves Project to Control TV

Through its cloud-based platform, Rovi powers digital entertainment solutions in discovery and personalization for leading brands. A small band of dreamers at Rovi demonstrated an experimental project at the guide makers exhibit at Caesar’s Palace during CES. Using a headset that monitors both brainwaves and nearby nerve activity, after a short training period it was possible to go from watching TV to the guide with a literal blink of the eyes, and then select a new program with a bit of concentration on the guide. Continue reading Rovi Team Experiments with Brainwaves Project to Control TV

CES: Liquid Image Demos 4G Live Streaming via Action Cam

Liquid Image unveiled a new mini camera during CES, which is capable of streaming live video to the Internet over 4G LTE wireless. Intended for extreme sports, news coverage and point-of-view footage, the $200 EGO LS will be available in the U.S. in June. Users can record 1080p video at 30 fps or transmit over 4G LTE in lower resolution WQVGA at 30 fps. The camera was demonstrated in Las Vegas attached to a $200 Verizon 4G network module. Continue reading CES: Liquid Image Demos 4G Live Streaming via Action Cam

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

Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Even a cursory look at the news coming out of CES makes it clear that wearables have garnered a lot of the buzz. Smartwatches, augmented reality headsets, digital health solutions and fitness tracking monitors are all the rage here. What’s not clear is if wearables will ever intersect with the entertainment industry. Although the question itself may seem risible, it’s worth remembering that most people dismissed the mobile phone as an entertainment device only a few years ago. Continue reading Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

A Conversation with Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park

On the heels of an announcement that Fitbit has partnered with fashion designer Tory Burch for a range of high-fashion wearables, Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park spoke to CES attendees about what else is new for the pioneering fitness activity tracker. “Android compatibility is important for us,” said Park. “We’ve worked with Samsung and expanded to 12 more devices. Motion Tracker is a new feature of our iPhone app that gives people an introductory experience to fitness tracking.” Continue reading A Conversation with Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park

Tobii Sets Sights on Gamers and Consumers with EyeX Tech

Their last appearance at CES sported a “gaze-controlled” version of the arcade game “Asteroids.” This time around Tobii is dreaming bigger and announced a new partnership with SteelSeries to prove it. The eye-tracking experts are working with the gaming peripheral manufacturer to deliver a unique controller capable of navigating the virtual world in a more natural way. As these devices won’t be available until the middle of this year, however, Tobii is whetting appetites with its new Windows-ready EyeX controllers. Continue reading Tobii Sets Sights on Gamers and Consumers with EyeX Tech

YEI Demos PrioVR Suit: Combines Motion Capture and Gaming

Billed as, “professional grade motion capture without cameras, cords, or specialized studios,” YEI Technology is promoting its PrioVR suit as the next step in full-body immersion. The 17-sensor, inertial sensing suit can be put on with minimal effort and promises to offer 360 degrees of low-latency, wireless motion capture. The system offers a great deal in terms of virtual reality gaming, but could also make waves for independent cinematographers looking for low cost motion capture. Continue reading YEI Demos PrioVR Suit: Combines Motion Capture and Gaming

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