Items tagged with Gadgets

What was that I was saying about wishing that Google Glass had prescription lens inserts? It appears I wasn’t the only one who thought that would be a good idea, because it’s happening. Google is partnering with Rochester Optical to produce the first custom lenses for Google Glass. Buried at the bottom of a press release announcing that Venture Glass founder Tim Moore was joining its ranks as both an R&D guy and a marketer, Rochester Optical said that would be making “custom prescription, fashion, and sport lenses for Google Glass”. Current (non-prescription) Google Glass lens inserts The new lenses will be available in early 2014, and most likely they’ll take... Read more...
For consumers, the 3D printing market is developing rapidly, and recently one of the vectors for growth has been on the 3D scanning side of things. Industry mainstay MakerBot and upstart Rubicon have both announced consumer-oriented 3D scanners in the last few months, and now 3D Systems (maker of the Cube 3D) has one, too. The Sense 3D Scanner presents a totally different approach to 3D scanning than MakerBot and Rubicon; while the other two have users place an object on a rotating disc, the Sense is a handheld device that you can pass over just about anything, from a small object to a full-size person to really anything 10 feet by 10 feet in size. 3D Systems is spinning it as “physical... Read more...
Our eyes got all misty dreaming about the future portended by the Phonebloks modular smartphone design when we heard about it in September, but thanks to Google-owned Motorola (as well as Dave Hakkens, the Phonebloks designer), that future could be coming astonishingly fast. Motorola announced that it’s actively working on modular smartphone designs via its Project Ara. It’s a project of the Motorola Advanced Technology and Projects group, and the very words Paul Eremenko uses to describe it in a blog post are a breath of fresh air: “We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers... Read more...
For people without children, the concept of a smartwatch for kids might sound galling, but if you’re a parent who’s laid awake at night thinking about how to give your kiddos a way to stay in touch and available when they’re old enough to have some independence (but too young to be trusted with a real phone), it sounds amazing. FiLiP is a smartwatch designed for children ages 4-11 that gives them a way to call a parent with one touch. One touch also lets parents call them or locate them, too. The device uses an iOS or Android app to let parents connect to the watch, and if you have more than one child, you can simply create multiple profiles. For voice calls, FiLiP uses 2-way... Read more...
Wearable computing is a burgeoning market, as smartwatches proliferate like rabbits and a consumer release of Google Glass looms on the horizon, and Intel is officially getting in on the action. Intel Capital, the chipmaker’s investment wing, has made a “significant investment” in Recon Instruments, a company that makes HUDs (heads up displays). The amount of the investment was not disclosed, but Intel did say that it’s involvement would go towards product development as well as marketing and sales. Intel’s technology will find its way into Recon products, and the latter will benefit enormously from the former’s manufacturing and operations expertise, as well.... Read more...
Roku’s family of streaming media boxes have proven as popular as anything in that market, and the company is rolling out a refreshed lineup with new names: the Roku 1 and Roku 2 (which are more in line moniker-wise with the Roku 3, launched earlier this year), as well as an entry-level offering called the Roku LT. The Roku LT will run you just $49.99 and offers up to 720p HD quality. The Roku 1 is a step up and offers 1080p HD for $59.99, and the Roku 2 ($79.99) adds a headphone jack and dual-band wireless capabilities. The flagship Roku 3 ($99.99) has the same features as the Roku 2 but with Ethernet and USB ports, a remote control, and motion control support. And of course, the devices... Read more...
Although it went unmentioned in yesterday’s Apple hoopla, there’s reportedly an Apple TV software update coming from Cupertino, and it will land the same day as iOS 7, on September 18th. Of all of Apple’s products, Apple TV probably gets the least attention, but according to AllThingsD, this update will bring with it some choice features, in particular a new trick for AirPlay that will allow users of Apple TV to play content they’ve purchased via iTunes on someone else’s Apple TV. However, it’s likely that more Apple TV changes are coming; for one thing, the hardware is due for an update, and for another, Apple just recently dropped the price of refurbished... Read more...
Although it might make smartphone hardware and UI designers feel the same way a fine chef does when a diner dumps ketchup all over their steak, there’s a smartphone add-on button in the works called Pressy that would let Android users perform a number of actions with simple button clicks. Pressy is a tiny button that fits into your headphone jack, and it’s surprisingly unobtrusive. It works with its own app, so users can set up a number of quick actions, including sending a message, taking a photo or video, recording a phone call, sending your location in case of emergency, and more. All of that is configurable through the app, so you can decide how many clicks will do what. By default... Read more...
We’ve covered the Google Chromecast in some detail, including our full review, and we’ve found that using the device is incredibly easy, including with the Chromecast app for Android. Google has now expanded app availablity by introducing an official Chromecast app for iOS, as well. Like the Android version, Chromecast on iOS is free, and it lets you “cast” video from YouTube and Netflix as well as movies and music from Google Play to your TV or other display. You can quickly set up your Chromecast device with the app, which includes connecting to your wireless network and managing settings. The addition of an iOS Chromecast app was of course to be expected, and now it’s... Read more...
Some people are just gluttons for punishment. A pair of self-professed online distraction addicts, Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff, have created a tool called “Pavlov Poke” that will zap them if they spend too much time on Facebook and not enough time working on their dissertations. The Pavlov Poke works by using a UI Inspector (the duo used their Mac’s UI Inspector), a bit of code to produce an onscreen alert when a site is visited too frequently, a USB-connected Arduino to send the shock circuit, and electrodes connected to metal strips on a keyboard rest. Admittedly, the Pavlov Poke is essentially a gag (and isn’t a real product that you can buy), but it does speak... Read more...
The trade-in industry is exploding, spearheaded by annual renewals of hot products (iPhone, Galaxy S, etc.) that folks just aren't interested in waiting for. So, in order to get the hottest, latest, and greatest right away, many have turned to trading in older gadgets in order to cut into the price of a new one. This isn't a new concept in the video game industry; GameStop and other retailers have accepted trades on older games for years, and even re-sell those older games to those who are looking for a cheaper fix. But now, Walmart is looking to boost interest in its electronics department. After a weaker-than-average Q2, where Walmart blamed a lot of that on the lack of new and buzzworthy gadgets,... Read more...
Microsoft has a new keyboard and mouse combo out called the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, and they don’t look like your average devices. Instead of a flat keyboard, the device is split into two sections, giving users a domed and angled typing surface. The idea is that the user’s wrists and forearms will be more relaxed and resist pronation; the curvature of the keyboard is designed to follow the curve of your fingertips for a more “natural feel” when typing. The mouse has the same concept in mind, and the circular device had the right and left buttons slid just a bit to the right, with a large contoured thumb rest; there’s also a Windows button that will pull up the... Read more...
Wearable computing is increasingly becoming something that makes sense for average users, and here’s another reason to take the plunge: the NFC ring. Simply put, the ring is equipped with two NFC transmitters or “inlays”--one for public use and a secure one for private use--and it allows to wearer to perform actions such as unlocking a phone or sharing WiFi information. NFC ring maker John McLear also suggests use cases such as unlocking the door of your house, sharing links to websites or photos, and sharing contact information (bringing heightened importance to the handshake), and even launch apps on a phone. The device is simply constructed out of titanium and steel and consists... Read more...
A pair of enterprising fellows are raising cash for a device called Poppy that purports to turn your iPhone into a 3D camera, which is the prototypical sort of Kickstarter project: interesting, quirky, and just a bit outside the lines of what the average consumer might want to buy. You can slot in an Apple iPhone 5, 4S, or 4, or a 5th-generation iPod touch, and anything you view will be in 3D. If that sounds like a grown-up version of the legendary Viewmaster toy, that’s because it is. Poppy’s creators are actually attempting to recreate that effect, only with a smartphone camera. The principles are the same: The device combines right eye and left eye views to form a 3D image, and... Read more...
The team behind the exciting Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is hard at work and demoed a prototype 1080p HD version of its flagship product at E3 this week. “Raising the resolution for the consumer Rift has always been one of the highest priorities,” wrote the team in a blog post. They say that the higher-res version will double the number of visible pixels and generally enhance the immersion factor of the image. The image’s brightness, contrast, and color will also enjoy a notable improvement. Although this prototype may not be what we see in the final, consumer-ready version of the Oculus Rift, developers can continue to create for the headset without worry, as the team... Read more...
No, it’s not challenging devices like the Razer Edge, NVIDIA Project SHIELD, or even the intriguing Wikipad, but MOGA is angling for the mobile gaming hardware market with its mobile game controllers. The company announced the second generation of its controllers with the MOGA Power series, which succeed the MOGA Pocket and MOGA Pro controllers. The latest pair feature dual analog joysticks, D-pad, four control buttons, right and left bumpers, and more, and the controller will actually charge the connected mobile device while users are playing, which delivers much longer gametime. The Pivot app gives users access to MOGA’s library of 100 or so games, and the controllers support multiplayer... Read more...
TiVo has won more than its share of patent disputes pertaining to its DVR technology over the last few years, winning settlements from AT&T ($215 million), Dish Network and EchoStar ($500 million total), and Verizon ($250.4 million). The latest companies to lose against TiVo are Cisco and Google-owned Motorola Mobility. (Motorola made lots of set-top boxes for the likes of Time Warner Cable.) According to BusinessWeek, Cisco and Google (which inherited Motorola’s legal troubles when it bought the company) will have to fork over a combined total of $490 million to TiVo, with Cisco being responsible for $294 million of that amount. In the wake of the settlements, TiVo enters licensing... Read more...
There’s yet another entry in the smartwatch market, and this one’s from Poland, the effort of Reardon Technology. The company is launching an indiegogo campaign in an attempt to raise some funds to kick its Boddie smartwatch project into high gear. The device will feature a 1.44-inch display and an aluminum enclosure. Inside, there’s a pair of MSP430 microcontrollers, 2 x 16KB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0/BLE, a microUSB port, and a 7-day battery. It also has a dedicated OS and an impressive array of extras including an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, and two thermometers. The Boddie is designed to connect to iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth and will let the wearer... Read more...
There’s just something about smartwatches and Kickstarter, isn’t there? The latest smartwatch to whip up crowdsourced funds fast is the Agent Smartwatch, which is designed for fashion as well as function. The device is compatible with Android 2.3 and up, the iPhone 4S and newer, and Windows Phone 8 devices. Inside, it has a dual-processor design (a 120MHz ARM Cortex-M4 processor and a secondary AVR co-processor), a 1.28-inch display, Qi wireless charging capabilities, and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE. It’s also waterproof and has a vibration motor, 3D accelerometer, and an ambient light sensor. The battery should last 7 days under normal use and 30 days when used only as a watch. The... Read more...
For whatever reason, the smartwatch “craze” has been more of a low-level buzz than one might expect, but plenty of companies are getting in the game nevertheless. Google is no exception, and after a hearty helping of rumors to that end, Google has filed a patent application that indicates that the company might have one of its own in development. (The patent title is pretty clear: "Smart-watch with user interface features.”) This Google smartwatch makes no clear mention of Bluetooth-type connectivity, which has been something of a hallmark for these devices, although it does detail all manner of wireless connectivity such as WAN, LAN, satellite (indicating perhaps GPS capabilities),... Read more...
Leap Motion is hustling; after securing a bundling deal with ASUS and announcing the availability of its standalone gesture controller later this spring, the company announced that its technology will be embedded into select HP computers. This summer, HP will offer the same sort of bundling deal that ASUS offers, where the Leap Motion controller will ship with certain PCs; however, at some point in the relatively near future, HP will embed Leap Motion technology into HP devices, which is significant. Which devices will get the Leap Motion treatment and when remains to be seen. As part of the bundling deal, the HP PCs will include Leap Motion’s Airspace as well as access to Leap Motion’s... Read more...
GameStick, a small computer-on-a-stick with a companion controller that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and plays Android games, has done the Kickstarter thing as well as could be expected, and now the company has shipped developer units. The GameStick team says that over 600 developers have jumped on board the GameStick bandwagon, including indie and major studios, although one batch of devices has been held up in customs. However, Kickstarter backers won’t be seeing their GameSticks until the middle of June due to some manufacturing changes (which seem to be de rigeur with these Kickstarter darlings that experience an unexpected demand for volume.) GameStick says that it was initially... Read more...
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