Wearable-Devices

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The Great Google                                    

Google Inc. unveiled payment services, security upgrades and access to HBO movies and shows for its popular Android software, seeking to push back against growing competition from rivals such as Apple Inc.

The new version of the mobile software, called Android M, will include Android Pay, which enables transactions at more than 700,000 stores in the U.S., Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android, said at the Internet company’s annual developers’ conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Google is investing to extend Android’s reach by keeping users engaged on its services and attracting them to new platforms using the software, such as televisions, autos and wearable devices. The Web-search company’s mobile operating system grabbed 79 percent of the global smartphone market in the first quarter, down from 81 percent a year earlier, as Apple’s iPhone gained ground, according to Gartner Inc.

“For M, we have gone back to the basics,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products. “We have really focused on polish and quality.”

The conference, called I/O, comes less than two weeks before the start of Apple’s developer event at the same location. The companies are vying to attract software makers with more media platforms, better tools and new opportunities to make money from applications. Innovative mobile apps, such as messaging features, puzzle games and news services, can help keep users on the companies’ platforms.                         

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

The Google Glass of Helmets Wins at SXSW 

SXSW’s sixth annual accelerator pitch event wrapped up on Sunday with over 500 companies applied, 18 finalists and 6 winners. Taking home the big win in the Wearables category this year was the Google Glass for motorcyclists, the Skully Helmet.

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Wearable Device Reads Text for the Blind

FingerReader is a wearable ring that scans written text and reads it out loud to visually impaired readers.

The prototype is created by MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group.  As readers trace lines of text with their finger, the camera determines the words on the page and translates the text to speech to recite each word out loud to the reader. The ring will vibrate if the user’s finger starts to shift off the correct line of text, or if they’ve reached the end of the line.

When moving to a new line, the device compares the words it’s already processed to make sure it doesn’t repeat a piece of text.

While only in the prototype stage, if successful, this piece of wearable tech could render braille books obsolete.  What other types of technology have you see that help those with disabilities?

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Wearable Tech in Tokyo                                             

If you can’t make it to the Wearable Expo happening in Tokyo, these are what you can expect to find: smartglasses, fitness trackers, smartwatches, health monitors and even pet communication devices.

Consumer-electronics companies are turning out wearable gadgets that anyone can buy — and increasingly on the cheap. Health and fitness devices are expected to dominate this market in the next few years.

On second thoughts, would you really want to know what your cat thinks?

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

Official Blocks News

by Giulio Minotti, Phonebloks

The development of the first modular smartwatch proceeds apace. In the last newsletter the Blocks team presented a second functional prototype smaller than the first and more powerful. As with Project Ara, the modules can now be customized with interchangeable covers. The Blocks team presented new prototypes of the modules with a new design and new colors. The pre-sale of the first modular smartwatches went very well with 1000 units sold in just two days! The team has also won the People’s Choice Award at Intel’s Make It Wearable finals and there presented the first prototypes to the CEO’s of Intel, Nike and Louis Vuitton. On a side note: Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is also excited about Blocks! 

'Wearable devices—technology that people will want to display on their bodies, for all to see—represent a new threshold in aesthetics. The tech companies that mastered design will now need to conquer the entirely different realm of fashion. And that could require technologists to unlearn a great deal of what they think they know.'

more.

Okay, well, maybe “computer” is a stretch, but this ring abacus is from the Qing Dynasty, which reigned in China from 1644 to 1912.  The ring, which is a fully functional counting machine at 1cm x 0.5cm big, is made of seven rods with seven beads that are seamless in their construction, even when viewed under a microscope. 

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The Potential of Google Glass

Creative agency, Purple Rock Scissors, has put together a great concept video really showing the potential of Google Glass. Their ideas span across a number of everyday activities including:

– Food & Diet
– Instructional
– Educational
– Social
– Productivity
– Entertainment
– Athletics & Training

Which one of these are you most excited becoming a reality?

HTC to release wearable device this year, feels ‘positive and optimistic about 2014’

From Bloomberg:

HTC Corp. (2498) said an updated version of the One smartphone, its first wearable device and a renewed focus on marketing will help turn around the company this year after two straight annual declines in revenue.

“We feel positive and optimistic about 2014 when compared to 2013,” Chang Chialin, chief financial officer and head of global sales for the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company, said in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. He declined to provide a forecast ahead of an investor conference call scheduled for Feb. 10.

Once the leading smartphone maker in the U.S., HTC’s sales dropped 30 percent last year as product delays and a shrinking marketing budget caused it to lose share to LG Electronics Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. A wearable device will be available by this year’s Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges, Chairman Cher Wang said.

Read more by clicking on the source link.

Image credit: CNET

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Wearable Tech: Head & Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Think Wearable Tech is just about Pebble and Google Glass? This infographic by footwear retailer Brantano, breaks down this technology by body part to give you the real lay of the land.

Awesome to see InteraXon’s Muse on the list as well as the Apple Smart Shoe.

Source: http://mashable.com/2013/05/04/wearable-tech-fashion/