Category Archives: Smart Tech

This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: Facebook Oculus, HTC One, And Microsoft’s Glass Clone

Emerging technologies such as advanced virtual reality could have major implications for people with disabilities. For example, mobility training could occur in a virtual world where scenarios that require the user to problem solve as a precursor to mobility training within the naturalistic environment. What are some other possible applications for people with disabilities or their caregivers or both?

TechCrunch

Are you ready for the future?

Facebook certainly is, considering the social giant just bought Oculus VR, which makes virtual reality gaming headsets, for a cool $2 billion. And Microsoft is joining in on the fun, with reports indicating that the company has purchased wearable computing technology similar to Google’s Glass.

And in less revolutionary news, HTC finally revealed the latest-generation HTC One smartphone, which had been leaked so hard in the weeks prior to the event that we weren’t even sure if we wanted to cover it anymore. Yet here we are, discussing it on the podcast.

This week’s episode of the TC Gadgets Podcast features John Biggs, Matt Burns, Jordan Crook, Natasha Lomas, and Darrell Etherington.

Have a good Friday, everybody!

We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific. And feel free to…

View original post 36 more words

BeHere Lets Teachers Take Attendance Using iBeacon Technology

This could have some interesting implications for people with disabilities that have challenges related to topographical orientation. The indoor positioning technology also could help caregivers responsible for seniors with advanced Alzheimer’s, for example, to ensure they do not wander. What other examples can you provide?

TechCrunch

While Apple’s iBeacon technology is already being adopted by both large and small retailers, we’ve started to see other use cases pop up for this new indoor positioning technology, which involves Bluetooth LE-enabled transmitters that can communicate with nearby iOS 7 devices in order to push alerts, or even interact with other devices in your home.

Now a small team of developers based in Brazil have come up with a new angle for iBeacon: taking attendance in the classroom.

Their new application called BeHere, first spotted by Apple blog 9 to 5 Mac, turns a teacher’s iPad into an iBeacon that automatically identifies students as they enter the classroom with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch application also running the same BeHere app.

Students’ profiles can also be connected to Facebook, allowing BeHere to include a profile picture, too.

behere-appPlus, students can use the app after class starts to ask for the…

View original post 233 more words

Cosy Is A Smart Heating & Home Control System Coming Out Of Cambridge, U.K.

Environmental control can be most helpful to people with disabilities and their caregivers.

TechCrunch

When Google shelled out $3.2 billion for Nest, it poured a fresh wave of attention and interest into smart home automation systems — even though it’s not entirely clear whether Google swooped on Nest more as an acqui-hire (of Tony Fadell and his team) than a desire to further feather its connected home credentials.

Whatever Google’s intentions for Nest, it’s unlikely to focus early effort pushing connected home hardware into markets far from Mountain View. And that’s giving a bit of breathing space to European Nest alternatives.

There’s German startup Tado, for instance, which last September raised $2.6 million. And soon there will likely also be Cosy: a smart home control system being developed in Cambridge, U.K. — aiming to ship product next month.

The initial Cosy system will include the inevitable mobile app to allow the users to control the connected hardware and access the Cosy cloud…

View original post 1,070 more words

Motorola Introduces The Moto 360, Its First Smartwatch Based On Google’s Android Wear

TechCrunch

Motorola is an early partner for Google’s new Android Wear smartwatch SDK, and that’s not surprising given that the company was Google owned until Lenovo began the procedure of buying it in January. The new Moto 360 has a round face, which is one of two options for Wear devices (square is the other) and features the “Ok Google” voice control highlighted by Google for its new spin-off mobile OS.

Moto360_Macro_alt1_with text

The hardware features “subtle alerts and notifications,” and Motorola is selling it as a premium, fashion-first advice that uses high-end materials in its construction. It’s coming in a variety of styles as well, and should launch this summer beginning in the U.S. first.

Already with just two products officially unveiled, we have a look at a couple of different approaches to how Android Wear OEM partners might differentiate themselves. LG’s G Watch looks focused on being essentially a straightforward…

View original post 42 more words

Why Can’t A Startup Build A Self-Driving Car?

TechCrunch

Editor’s note:   Peter Yared is the CTO/CIO at CBS Interactive.

On a 10- to 20-year horizon, large-scale technological innovation is going to center around machine intelligence, robotics and sensors. Each of these fields requires gargantuan amounts of capital and a lot of patience, a combination well beyond the scope of even the most progressive venture capital firm.

As Google has demonstrated with its self-driving car, the combination of machine intelligence, robotics and sensors can already perform better than a human at a complex task such as driving a car, something that 10 years ago was unthinkable to most people.

No doubt, Tesla has built an amazing car and after much trial and tribulation, brought it to market. However, General Motors had already shipped a production electric car years before. Tesla took advantage of the innovator’s dilemma, where legacy car companies are virtually incapable of embracing electric-only cars and integrating…

View original post 688 more words

Samsung Working With Startup Partners To Add Gesture-Based Smart Home Control To TVs

Environmental control is now becoming a part of the mainstream technology which should drive prices down for what used to be a specialty item.

TechCrunch

Samsung is reportedly (via WSJ) preparing for a smart home control interface that uses your smart TV to recognize basic hand gestures, directed at the objects you actually want to control. So, for example, it would allow you to point at a lamp to turn it off or on, or to other nearby objects to affect them in different ways.

The shift is a bit of an extension of what Samsung already offers, which is basic gesture control of their smart televisions, but turning the TV itself into a sort of smart home hub. The report from the WSJ claims that Samsung is in talks with VTouch, a tech startup that creates the gesture control software, which explains how its so-called “virtual touch” interaction software would replace on-screen controls and manual reports with the finger tip and pointing.

Typically, these control interfaces haven’t been huge successes with users, but…

View original post 206 more words

TrackR, The Coin-Shaped Dongles That Help You Locate Lost Items, Now Talk To Each Other

Great for seniors or people like me who misplace things!

TechCrunch

TrackR , the Bluetooth Low Energy-powered dongles that help you find missing or misplaced items, like your car keys, wallet, purse or bag, or even your dog, are now being upgraded in order to communicate peer-to-peer with other TrackR devices so that, when you’re out of range, you’ll be able to tap into a larger network for better support. Because such a task requires a network to actually exist in order to be worthwhile, the company is also giving away $100,000 worth of TrackR technology to kickstart its efforts.

Formerly known as Phone Halo, the company was founded by Chris Herbert and Christian Smith back in 2009, as a spinoff from a project at the University of California Santa Barbara’s engineering school the year prior. TrackR’s initial device, the “WalletTrackR” (designed, as the name indicates, to be carried in your wallet) was soon crowdfunded into existence.

It was later followed…

View original post 363 more words

Emotient Raises $6M For Facial Expression Recognition Tech, Debuts Google Glass Sentiment Analysis App

TechCrunch

Emotient , a startup based out of San Diego that works in the emerging area of facial expression recognition, is today announcing a $6 million round of funding and its first steps into applying its technology in the wearables market: a new piece of “glassware” for Google Glass that measures sentiment analysis based on reading people through the headgear’s camera.

Longer term, the aim is the become the sentiment analytics engine for “any connected device with a camera,” the company notes, with a SaaS model based around its API a fundamental part of that strategy.

The Series B round of funding was led by Seth Neiman, formerly a general partner at Crosspoint Venture Partners and now leading new VC firm Handbag. Previous investor Intel Capital also participated — bringing the total raised to date to $8 million since the startup was first founded in 2012.

Emotient says that the funds…

View original post 505 more words

Bosch And Hillcrest Make A Bet On Wearable Head-Mounted Computing With New All-In-One Sensor System

TechCrunch

Head-mounted computing probably still seems a bit far-fetched to most every day users, but component manufacturers and tech suppliers are already gearing up to provide a future supply chain with the parts it needs to build such devices affordably and easily. Bosch Sensortec and Hillcrest Labs are two companies working in this space, and they’ve come up with complete sensor package for head-mounted display device manufacturers.

The Oculus Rift, Google Glass, the Recon Jet; all of these head-mounted computing systems share a need for embedded sensors to make their magic happen. Hillcrest and Bosch want to simply the manufacturing process so that the next wave of follow-on devices emulating these and other first-gen wearable computers can come to market quicker and easier, with lower development costs.

What they’ve created to make that happen is the Bosch Sensortec BNO070 system in package (SIP), which contains Hillcrest’s SH-1 sensor hub software. That…

View original post 200 more words