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"Father of Wearable Computing" Assaulted for Using Augmented Reality Glasses

clock July 18, 2012 20:25 by author Jeremy

Thus far, only excitement has followed the recent wave of augmented reality headsets (Google Glasses, Olympus' Meg 4.0). But no one has stopped to consider the possible negative repercussions that may come with these fancy pieces of eyewear. Steve Mann, however, got to experience those repercussions firsthand.

Said to be the "father of augmented reality" and "father of wearable computing," Mann has been researching and creating various headsets for decades. His gear doesn't record like the Google Glasses do, though; instead, his recent wearables (the EyeTap) actually help people with sight-related issues. This didn't stop him from being attacked by what Mann claims were McDonald's employees in Paris, France.

McDonald's has refuted this, claiming that their employees were only helpful. Mann also has some proof in the form on pictures taken by his EyeTap. Ironically, since the device only helps with sight, it doesn't normally take pictures; but due to attempts by the perpetrators to forcefully remove the device from Mann's head, the EyeTap malfunctioned and started taking pictures of those in sight. This was also after the perpetrators had ripped up various doctors' notes describing Mann's need for the headgear.

This may be seen as the first major incident involving augmented reality glasses since the new wave of interest has appeared. The big question on everyone's minds now though, is: What will happen when Google and other companies try to make these glasses mainstream? Will passerbys react violently, claiming rights for privacy?

Sources: sott.net, slashgear, dailymail.co.uk



Google Glasses Tempt Olympus and Apple to Join the Spectacle-Fray

clock July 6, 2012 01:07 by author Jeremy

Last week, Google showed off their latest advances with their Google Glasses: several professionals jumped out of a helicopter, equipped with the Google Glasses Explorer Edition, and made their way towards the I/O 2012 Event. This week, we're seeing two other companies who may possibly tred along the same path of technological-eyewear: Apple and Olympus.

Olympus' headgear doesn't actually have a camera like the Google Glasses do, nor are they a standalone-unit. Instead, the augmented reality spectacles will connect via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet. Olympus boasts that the Meg 4.0, the current prototype, will last for 8 hours; however, they expect users to use the glasses in 15-second spurts every three minutes, which just doesn't seem as feasible.

Meanwhile, Apple doesn't even have a working unit yet. Their big news comes in the form of a patent granted to them earlier this week. The patent allows for a dual-lens, dual-HUD eyeglass that projects images directly to your eyes. This would provide a more immersed experience than just simple glasses. Also, by using stereoscopic projection, the user would more likely avoid motion-sickness.

The Olympus augmented-reality glasses have no current release date, and Apple's "iGlass" (for lack of an official name) hasn't even been touted as a product idea - a patent doesn't necessarily mean there's already a game-plan behind it. However, if Apple does join the fray, then we'd be closer to centralizing our market on eyewear and heads-up displays...which definitely can't be a bad thing.

Sources: slashgear, gizmodo



Google I/O 2012 - Jelly Bean, Nexus 7, Nexus Q, and Project Glass

clock June 28, 2012 00:40 by author Jeremy

Today marked the start of Google's I/O 2012 event. Their main attraction, which was heavily hinted at, was the release of their latest Android version, 4.1 Jelly Bean. With each new iteration of the OS, we acquire faster processing speeds and better software. Google opened up by introducing Project Butter, which is what makes the processes on Jelly Bean smoother. "In Jelly Bean we also introduced triple buffering in the graphics pipeline... this allows the CPU and GPU to run in parallel without waiting for each other." The entire OS now runs at 60 fps consistently. The devices running Jelly Bean now also bring more CPU power as soon as you touch the screen, and the OS anticipates where your finger will be next.

Perhaps one of the more exciting features of Jelly Bean, however, is its voice-search function. Similar to the Apple iPhone's Siri, the Android device will answer questions or perform tasks you issue via voice. The demonstration Google provided seemed very slick, and responses arrived quickly as well.

A new feature, Google Now, will memorize patterns of behavior, as well as using your calendar and search history. In case you routinely take a bus, Google Now will keep this in mind and offer regular bus routes. Google Now can even keep updated information on your favorite sports teams.

Currently, only the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Xoom are scheduled to get Jelly Bean, and their OTA updates will arrive mid-July.

Hardware-wise, I/O '12 saw the release of the Nexus 7, a Google-tablet made in conjunction with Asus. The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet with a 1280x800 HD display, a Tegra 3 chipset, quad-core CPU, and 12-core GPU. Since the device was built around Google Play (which replaced the previous Android Market), the tablet more-than-efficiently makes use of screen space when reading books/magazines and watching videos downloaded from the market. The tablet is available starting today at $199.

Google also showed off their Nexus Q today, a social steaming media player. The Nexus Q is a little black ball that connects to either your television or external speakers. When controlled by your devices, the Nexus Q will pull media from the Google Play Store to play to their connected devices. All this is done via the cloud, of course, and multiple Q's can be played simultaneously, turning your entire house into a media-centric home. The downside to the Q is that it currently only supports the Google Play Store, meaning no access to Netflix or Spotify.

Last but not least, Google showed off a spectacular preview of Project Glass: skydivers equipped with a version of their Google Glass Explorer Edition made their way toward the Moscone building via air (and even rapelled in through the roof), while the entire crowd watched. Designed to fit like glasses, these spectacles (if you can call them that) are positioned just above your eyes in order to capture video directly from your point of view. It can store video internally (albeit not much, yet), and is available for pre-order in the US at Google I/O only, for $1500.

Source (and pictures): TheVerge



Google ICS List - Ice Cream Sandwich Compatibility, Part 2!

clock March 6, 2012 00:03 by author Jeremy

For those savvy in the ways of the smartphone, an upgrade to Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS (4.0) is like an early Christmas treat (pun intended). We previously posted a list of phones that would get the new operating system; since then, Verizon and Motorola have updated the list on their end, and we figured you might want to know. Check out the bolded items for the latest additions.

 

 

Samsung
Phones:

  • Galaxy S II
  • Galaxy Note
  • Nexus S

Tablets:

  • Galaxy Tab 7 Plus
  • Galaxy Tab 7.7
  • Galaxy Tab 8.9
  • Galaxy Tab 10.1

 

HTC
Phones:

  • Amaze 4G
  • DROID Incredible 2
  • Evo 3D
  • Evo Design 4G
  • Rezound
  • Rhyme
  • Sensation
  • Sensation XL
  • Sensation XE
  • ThunderBolt
  • Vivid

 

Motorola
Phones:

  • Admiral
  • Atrix 2
  • Atrix 4G MB860
  • DROID 3
  • DROID 4
  • DROID BIONIC
  • DROID RAZR
  • DROID RAZR MAXX
  • DROID X2
  • Electrify
  • MOTOLUXE / XT615 / XT685 (Asia Pacific/China)
  • MILESTONE X2
  • MT870 (China)
  • MT917 (China)
  • Photon 4G
  • Pro+
  • RAZR
  • XT605 (Latin America)
  • XT882 (China)
  • XT928 (China)

Tablets:

  • Xoom
  • Xoom 2
  • DROID XYBOARD 8.2
  • DROID XYBOARD 10.1

 

Sony Ericsson
Phones:

  • Xperia Active
  • Xperia Arc
  • Xperia Arc S
  • Xperia PLAY
  • Xperia Neo
  • Xperia Neo V
  • Xperia Mini
  • Xperia Mini Pro
  • Xperia Pro
  • Xperia Ray
  • Live with Walkman

 

LG
Phones:

  • Optimus 2X
  • Optimus 3D
  • Optimus Black
  • Spectrum

 

Asus
Phones:

  • Asus Padfone

Tablets:

  • Eee Pad Transformer
  • Transformer Prime

 

Other
Phones:

  • Meizu M9
  • Meixu MX


Keynotes from the D9 Conference, 2011

clock June 6, 2011 23:45 by author Jeremy

Engadget has done quite a number of liveblogs in their day, and their most recent stories are up from last week's D9 Conference. We'll give a quick wrap-up of the interviews from Google's Eric Schmidt, Hewlett-Packard's Leo Apotheker, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, Nokia's Stephen Elop, and AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. (Oh, and be sure to put on any cautionary-equipment you may have: these company reps get a lot of burns, hardballs, and snide comments thrown their way!)

Starting with Google's keynote on May 31st, we're presented with Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, followed soon after by- wait, seriously? Is that Glee's Jane Lynch?

Claiming to be the temporary CEO of "News Corp" (which, ironically, owns All Things Digital and thus D9), she apparently ripped on News Corp's iPad-only publication The Daily, cracked a joke about Glenn Beck, and even took a major swing at Sarah Palin! Talk about a grand opening for keynotes.

Eventually, Google's Eric Schmidt hit the stage and talked up Google Music as his first order of business. He admits earlier on that getting the music industry to work with non-Apple companies has been hard. He also defended Google's privacy-issues: some believe that they're just holding too much information, with even Steve Jobs calling Android a "probe in your pocket". According to Schmidt, data and information collected is only held for roughly 12 to 18 months, all of which is anonymous. And if you still think that Google has too much power with privacy, just take it from Schmidt himself: "If you've spent any time with the U.S. Government, you may start to feel more comfortable with this data in the hands of a private company." Ouch.

Their 12 to 18 month rule may not apply to Google Wallet, however: "[T]hat'll fall back onto widely regarding credit card policies already in place. We have a strong policy inside of Google to not data mine this stuff to create a surprise." Sounds good enough for me! This quote followed an actual demonstration of Google Wallet itself, which was also shown at the Google Wallet press event on May 26th.

On June 1st, there were three speakers to go through, starting with Hewlett-Packard's Leo Apotheker. With the combination of both HP and Palm, webOS is ready to become an active participant in the market against Android and iOS. And with webOS, HP is gaining a much larger foothold into the software business; it can be run on laptops, smartphones, and even printers. But being the large company that HP is, it has to battle against just about everyone on numerous fronts. Whether they can handle this Jack-of-all-trades approach has yet to be determined.

Later on in the day, D9 met with Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, who gave a full preview of Windows 8. While this isn't the official name, Windows 8 is supposed to be Microsoft's OS for tablets. Rather than a start menu like Windows PCs have, the "desktop" will consist of tiles, like apps on a smartphone. The appearance of these will change depending on the tile: for example, a social networking tile's picture might reflect a recently-made post on twitter.

Also, there are different keyboard types and settings depending on how you want to use it. And at certain times (such as when running Excel), you'll run into familiar-looking Windows 7-esque desktop, to which Sinofsky commented, "We don't think people should have to give up things they know to deal with a new form factor."

The last keynote of the day was with Nokia's Stephen Elop. Much of this keynote revolved around Nokia's game-changing business plans, including their transition to Microsoft's Windows Phone instead of staying on the Symbian-train. According to Elop, staying with Symbian would have taken Nokia up to 6 years to really catch up with the rest of the world; siding with Android wouldn't have out well either due to issues revolving around differentiation.

Finally, on June 2nd, AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega had to defend against the onslaught of irritated demands and questions about his company's lack of service. Earlier in the interview, de la Vega promised better signal strength in both New York City and San Francisco. This transitioned to the subject of the possible AT&T / T-Mobile merger, which could help bring LTE service to 97% of the U.S. population, as opposed to the 80% AT&T could achieve on its own. Nonetheless, there was still much skepticism toward AT&T's LTE-service, comments over the possibility of overcharing in the past and current expensive prices.

De la Vega did have a bit of good (or at least interesting) news to share, though. First off, he made direct references to possible shared data plans between a single user's multiple devices. There aren't any official plans behind this yet, so it may be a while before we see it in action, if we even do. Also noted was the fact that their femtocells (which are used to help boost signal strength in relatively-weak areas) could actually reduce quality in areas with already-high signal; this wasn't known before, so be sure you're using the Femtocell accordingly!

Between the Google Wallet and webOS hoping to emerge well in the market, last week's D9 Conference went off with a hitch. Now all that's left is to see if these new fads catch on!

Source/Pictures: Engadget, AllThingsD



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