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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.

mac_pro

Apple Rumor Roundup

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Apple’s October 22 event is almost upon us, and rumors are swirling as to what products will be revealed.

Held at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple’s October product reveals have become an annual event in recent years. Previous October events have seen the announcement of the iPad Mini, The iPhone 4S, and the Macbook Air.

apple_oct_inviteThe teaser tagline for Apple’s 2013 event is “We still have a lot to cover.” While this may be a direct reference to a smart cover for a new slim iPad 5, it may also simply refer to the breadth of product announcements that are expected at this year’s event.

Whatever the case may be, the iPad 5 will almost certainly be the centerpiece of the show. Analysts feel the iPad’s camera is overdue for an upgrade, and an improvement from 5MP to 8MP on the rear camera is almost certain. A larger aperture is also expected, with lens ASP to increase 10 to 20%. This would bring the camera comparably in line with the one on the new iPhone 5s.

Apple also has strong impetus to add a retina display to the mini due to competition from the Nexus 7 and similar entry-level tablets, though analysts are conflicted on whether this move is yet possible from a supply standpoint. Both the iPad Mini and iPad 5 should see a boost in processing power, with Apple expected to add an A7 chip to the iPad 5 and a an A6X to the iPad Mini. Both models are also expected to go slimmer as well, though the addition of a retina display could actually force the Mini to become slightly larger and heavier. The iPad 5 is also in line for an infusion of color similar to the range available with the iPhone 5s. Space grey has all but been confirmed thanks to leaked pictures, but silver and gold are still speculative at this point. There is a possibility that the iPad 5 will see a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for one-touch unlocking of the device, but there is an equally strong possibility that Apple will want this to remain an exclusive feature of the iPhone 5s.

The New Mac Pro

Though attention will largely be fixed on the iPad, the Mac will not go without an appearance… something I am personally more excited about than the incremental iPad updates. I have been waiting for the new mac pro to ship since it was previewed earlier this year. There are multiple Mac Pros in our office (including my own) that are in desperate need of an update. I will be purchasing at least three new Mac Pros as soon as they are available.

Improvements to the Macbook Pro are also anticipated – a better Facetime camera, 802.11ac WiFi, and increased battery life.

On the software front, the official release of OS X 10.9 (Maverick) is expected to be announced. It is also possible that a new version of iWork will be revealed. There is an outside possibility that some revamp of Apple TV will also be announced.

nest_protect

3 Cool IoT Devices

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A famous New Yorker cartoon said that “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” Soon, however, most Internet users may not even be alive. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), which will make it possible for physical objects to communicate directly with one another–no humans required.

Right now our computers are clueless when it comes to the physical world. But thanks to cheap embedded sensors and ubiquitous low-power Internet connections, machines will soon be able to do much more – from warning patients of an impending heart attack to automatically reordering office supplies when they start to run low.

While these ideas may sound like science fiction, some innovative companies are already helping to build the Internet of Things. Here are three interesting examples:

meet_tod_339tod Smart Beacon
Pronounced “toad,” the tod is a tiny Bluetooth device that notifies you when it enters or leaves a specified area. You could have it send you a text message when your child comes home from school, or trigger an alert if your dog get out of the back yard. Check it out here.

Nest Thermostat
When you think of sexy hardware, your thermostat is probably the last thing that comes to mind. Nest hopes to change that and I have two of them installed at my house. The company is headed by Tony Fadell, who played a lead role in developing the iPod, and the Apple DNA shows in the Nest’s minimalist design. But the Nest is smart as well as beautiful. It saves energy by learning your schedule, and connects to your Wi-Fi network so you can adjust the temperature even when you’re away from home. Nest recently released a smoke and carbon monoxide detector as well.

Scout Alarm
Scout is using technology to shake up the stodgy home security market. The base station connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and it also has a 3G cellular modem for back-up protection. Instead of relying on an old-fashioned keypad to disarm your security system, Scout lets you use your smartphone. Naturally, you can also control the system remotely from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

As motion sensors, Bluetooth transceivers and other relevant technologies become continuously smaller and cheaper, the market for Internet-connected devices is set to explode.