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smart_contact_lense

Google’s Camera Embeded Contact Lenses

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A Fix For Glassholes

The concept behind Google Glass is cool… just like the concept behind a bluetooth headset is cool. Unfortunately, both of these technologies make you look, well… uncool (sorry my Google Glass wearing friends – I love ya!). Do I want the utility of these devices? Hell yes. I would also like the utility of a fanny pack. However, you will never catch me wearing a fanny pack, bluetooth headset or Google Glass (unless I am wearing all 3 for a costume party).

In order for Google Glass to catch on the form factor needs to dramatically change and it appears that Google is working on the initial stages of just that. Google made a patent application for a new invention it is developing that enables a pair of contact lenses to be embedded with a camera component, control circuit and sensor. When paired with another device such as a smart phone, or a streamlined version of Google Glass, the implications of smart contacts could be huge. Not only could the device be something the general public would wear, but it could be the first step towards a borg-like future.

terminator_vision-550x235A Huge Step Forward

Smart contacts could enable the user to be able to see the detail in objects located at a distance without the use of binoculars or other ocular devices. It is also possible that the lenses’ sensor capabilities could be expanded to include other measurements, such as temperature or pressure. The lenses could also enhance our visible spectrum and display streaming information in realtime.

It is likely that at some point in the not too distant future smart contacts will  become standard medical devices designed to enhance a person’s quality of life, such as cochlear implants and hearing aids. Google has previously revealed a functional prototype of the smart contacts designed to monitor glucose levels for diabetes patients. In the future people with eye health issues and deteriorating vision could use these contacts to help augment vision that is currently failing or restricted.

Yes, there are all sorts of privacy and ethical concerns. But like it or not man and machine are starting to merge.

Phase one is wearable tech.
Phase two is implantable tech.
Phase three is voluntary, proactive functional replacement of perfectly good organs and limbs.

intel_edison

Intel Edison : The SD Card-Sized Computer

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CES 2014 was interesting as always…. but apparently it was too interesting because I forgot to actually post this way back.

One of the most intriguing pieces of new tech I saw at CES this year was the Intel Edison. It is a tiny, SD card sized processor aimed at wearable computing. The Intel Edison runs on a dual-core Quark SoC with a Pentium instruction set, operates on the Linux operating system and includes built in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It is essentially the smallest fully-functioning computer I have ever seen. There is an app store for the Edison and a version of Wolfram Alpha’s Mathematica built in that is specifically for the device.

The Intel Edison will be made available sometime during the middle of 2014.  The business of wearable technology is still in its development phase, but with more and more people buying smart watches and glasses, I believe that components like the Edison will propel more companies to enter the space. It lowers the bar for hardware developers and lets them build off of an existing framework.

Will it take off? Only time will tell.




ces

What to Expect at CES 2014

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ted_murphy_cesEvery year technology and marketing professionals from around the world meet in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES was originally a trade show exclusively for consumer electronics professionals, but has since grown to a much larger event that encompasses all things social, internet, marketing, electronics and everything in between. While the show technically isn’t open to the public, the reality is that it isn’t too difficult to get a pass if you really want to go.

I have been attending for the past four years and providing television commentary for FOX. I have the pleasure of roaming the show floor to find the next big thing and I will be out there again this week. Here is what I am looking forward to seeing so far, but I am sure there will be more product announcements as the week goes on.

Audi Goes Android

Google and Audi have leaked plans to announce a new car entertainment system at the show. It is speculated that this new system will use Google’s Android OS and will be available in the new Audi’s in 2014. The Audi/Google system is still in development stages, and details are expected to emerge this week. This is exciting news for app developers and will create an entire new economy around in-vehicle infotainment. Now…. when will we see iOS running in vehicles?

samsung-105-inch-curved-ultrhd-tv

4K Displays

Sony is focusing on 4K technology, hinting that they will announce Ultra HD enhancements in smart phones, laptops and camcorders. Samsung’s will be showcasing their 105” curved 4K televisions with an 11,000,000 pixel resolution. Other oversized televisions will also be on display from LG and Samsung. 4K streaming technology will be presented for both Netflix and YouTube. Netflix has plans to include 4K capability into smart TVs. YouTube plans to have Ultra HD videos on display at several television booths to demonstrate what can be done with a home system.

Technology You Can Wear

Wearable gadgets hit the scene big at the 2013 CES, and the 2014 show is expected to expand this technology into sunglasses, glasses and ski goggles. Will someone create a Google Glass killer before the technology really gets off the ground? We will have to see. Sweaters, handbags and smart clothing are also expected to be a big focus of the show. Smart watches and smart phone apps intended to encourage a healthier lifestyle will be displayed in their most recent incarnation.

Like all other CES shows you never really know what you are going to see until you get there. Let’s hope for some awesome.

aereo_header

Aereo Disrupts Television Broadcasting

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Aereo provides a disruptive alternative to cable and satellite television. The company takes over-the-air broadcast television signals and re-transmits them as an online stream to their own customers. Instead of you having an antenna on your roof, you lease a micro antenna (pictured below right) from Aereo that is located at their network operations facility. This facility pulls down all the local signals in the best quality possibly through your micro antenna, encodes the signal for the interwebs, and allows you to watch anywhere (though you are supposed to only watch in your local market).

I have seen the service in action and the quality is amazing.

aereo_antenna_smallShows can be viewed on any compatible television set (through a Roku box or AppleTV Airplay,) tablet, computer or smartphone. Aereo also allows viewers to record their favorite programs through a remote DVR. They charge very low monthly rates ($8/mo in Atlanta) and intend to keep costs down for their customers.

When it was launched, Aereo was sued for copyright infringement by many of the large television network companies. The plaintiffs argued that Aereo is illegally stealing television signals and broadcasting content that it does not own. Aero states that all they are doing is passing the media on to its customers through their leased antennas, which should not be regarded as theft. The courts continue to allow Aereo to operate, much to the dismay of traditional broadcasters, but the battle is far from over. Earlier this month the four major broadcasters asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case.

Aereo

Backed by Big Money

Headquartered in New York City, Aereo was founded by Chet Kanojia, who remains the CEO of the company today. Kanojia graduated from Northwestern University with a masters degree in computer systems engineering. The company is backed by Inter Active Corp (IAC), an internet company chaired by Barry Diller. IAC owns a large number of powerful brands and companies, such as Match.com and About.com. Aereo is also supported by First Mark Capital and First Round Capital. Since its inception Aereo has raised over $60 million.

Aereo’s target market is fairly wide reaching. The technologically savvy who covet the latest devices and gadgets love Aereo, as do the frugal who wish to save money on their television bills. Aereo is available in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Houston and Miami. They will be expanding to other cities near term, you can check availability here.

What are your thoughts? Should this be legal or not?

Orlando Soccer Stadium

Orlando Invests $94.5M in Arts & Entertainment

By | art, orlando | No Comments

Yesterday’s decision to approve a venues package of $94.5 million has stirred up quite a buzz in the city beautiful. The vote, announced Tuesday evening, was passed 5-2, to much community acclaim and relief. The funds provided by this package will go towards civic improvements in the downtown area, underscoring Orlando’s commitment to becoming a world-class city for work and play.

The infusion of capital will benefit the Orlando area through three core improvements:

  • $25 million towards a multi-form hall designed to seat 1,700 guests at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts.
  • $12 million towards the Citrus Bowl, earmarked to be applied as part of a $200 million renovation project that will add 5,000 club seats to the stadium’s capacity, and go towards improving stadium amenities (which are currently terrible).
  • $20 million will go towards the development of a new soccer stadium, eventually intended to be the home base of the city’s very own Major League Soccer team. 

While some might protest the distribution of government funds on these venues, I believe that is a myopic stance to adopt. By backing these city-centered arts and entertainment initiatives, city planners are investing in a rich cultural future for their constituents. These assets will prove invaluable as the city attempts to attract and retain the creative class – the artists, designers, engineers and visionaries who want to live in a progressive city.

In addition to benefitting Central Florida residents directly, it should also stimulate alternate tourist markets, such as those vested in performing arts, professional soccer, and other sporting interests. This, in turn, will help to support ancillary business concerns, such as hospitality, retail and dining. This is a far-reaching investment that will broadly impact the financial futures of the citizens of Orlando. I give the vote a big thumbs up and congratulate Mayor Dyer and his team on their success.