Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Let’s be honest – our vision of the future is mostly cobbled together from Back to The Future 2, which means that we’ve all been eagerly awaiting hoverboards and robot petrol stations since 1989.
But the thing we’ve always REALLY wanted to happen is actually going to happen – that’s according to Nike, who have announced that self tying laces will be in stores by 2015. Yes, it’s not just Marty McFly who will get to have his hi tops fastened automatically – finally, the future is here!
Nike patented self-tying laces in 2010, and introduced a high tech homage to Michael J. Fox’s shoes the same year – but although they were fancy schmancy and featured a built in LED panel, you still had to tie the laces yourself like someone from 1955.
But one of Nike’s big designers, the gloriously named Tinker Hatfield, has promised us self tying laces. His words? ‘Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES!’
That sounds pretty darn conclusive, doesn’t it? Now all we need are Deloreans and Mr Fusion home energy reactors and we’re sorted.
A post on SlickLogin‘s website said:
“Today we’re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way.”
“Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free – and they’re working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn’t be more excited to join their efforts.”
Seeing as Google have a large range of products, this could be introduced to Android phones, Chromebooks, tablets and their inevitable robot army.
So how does this all work? Well, SlickLogin’s technology uses a variety of things to kick off the authentication process. Loads of tech is combined so that it can verify that your smartphone is near your computer. Your computer sends out a unique frequency out of the speakers and your smartphone app recognises it, allowing you to log-in.
Just sounds like more things that could go wrong and end up in a more frustrating experience.
However, previous reports and tests have noted that no-one can record the audio signal and just play it back later as a way of getting at your personal stuff. They could, however, pinch your phone, and then you’re screwed. We’ll just have to wait and see what the fuss is all about.
Basically, the device is a thing that lets you wirelessly display stuff from your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever, to your TV. Obviously, if you’ve got a Smart TV or a smart box, this is no use to you. However, if not, this little gadget is retailing for around £20 ($35 in The States) and will be a must-have.
Especially great if, for example, you only have the BT Sport app on your phone or tablet, and want to watch it on the large TV.
Chromecast will wirelessly broadcast from pretty much any mobile device to any TV that has a HDMI port. Once you set-up, with the Chromecast app, you’re away! It works with Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, laptops or desktops and Chromebooks.
If you’re the sort to do presentations and such, this’ll be a useful tool, but for most of us, it’d be great for streaming shows and movies. Rumour has it, that the Chromecast will be released in the UK next month, which is great news.
Sony’s Walkman MP3 player is a pretty robust piece of kit, but this year, they launched a waterproof version for swimmers. In a bid to catch people’s eye, they decided to market it – confidently – submerged inside a bottle of water.
That’s a bit mental, but clearly a smart piece of advertising. Have a look at the video below. Might be useful if you want to listen to some sad trombone music in a flooded area.
It’ll be the Samsung that has a curved screen and it seems that there’ll be two versions to get your hands on. It has been much muttered about and there’s a lot of noise about them swapping the Amoled screen for an LCD one instead.
Further rumours state that the device will have a 16 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera with Snapdragon, as well as an improved processor. They won’t be having something that scans the iris of your eye though.
So what are Samsung up to? Well, while many – notably Apple – are talking about a world where there are no desktop PCs, Samsung are joining suit and releasing a load of products that aim to replace notebooks, desktops and laptops. Their new products – the new Galaxy TabPro and the Galaxy NotePro – show that they think the future lies in having a load of tablets and related devices.
The new tablets go on sale at the end of this February and the beginning of March and the high-end versions of the new products will have a large 12.2-inch display. Seems like a gamble as previous attempts at releasing huge tablets didn’t go down too well at all. Samsung are betting that the more tabs they release, the better.
The new devices will be fitted with Office-esque programs that work on Android (called Hancom Office) and they’ll, for the most part, be compatible with their Microsoft counterparts.
Are Samsung correct that we’re all moving toward a solely touchscreen world or are they jumping the gun? Are offices going to start binning off all their desktops in favour of giant tablets? Seems unlikely.
This six-week pilot scheme promises that the technology will allow staff to “deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet”.
Staff will use a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system, in a bid to make everything more efficient and give customers more information when needed, provided you find yourself in the Upper Class Wing.
Dave Bulman, director of IT, Virgin Atlantic, said: “Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience. We are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”
It also seems like staff will be able to walk around filming customers with Glass too and that all that lovely information about who is flying could be used for marketing gains and whatnot. If you see one of these concierges, be sure to ask them if they’re recording you at all.
Soon we might not have to fill out loads of forms and go into a photo booth for a snapshot of us looking half dead, then pay 80 quid for the privilege of British passport.
No – in the future, a machine dubbed an ‘electronic bloodhound’ might be able to smell us to find out whether we are who we say we are.
Researchers in Madrid have been working on a new electronic sniffing identification system that at the moment is 85% accurate, which is a higher success rate than the current facial recognition software.
They explained: ‘There are recognizable patterns of each person’s body odor that remain steady. Therefore, every person has his/hers own odour and this would allow his/her identification within a group of people at an accurate rate higher than 85%.
This result leads the way to improve personal identification that is less aggressive than other biometric techniques being used today.’
The sniffer machine would be installed in airports, and would get a good noseful of us as we walked through. Some people smell of turnips and Lynx Africa, others smell of fry-ups and disappointment, and the machine should be able to ID them all.
And our unique whiff is apparently easier to match than our faces on a photo – which as anyone at the arse end of a 10 year passport will tell you, can be pretty unreliable.
The researchers got the idea by observing the techniques of police trained bloodhounds, who can identify and track down a person from a sample of their body odour.
But question is – how is the machine going to get our smell off us in the first place? Instead of passport photos are we going to have to send a sweaty hanky to Her Majesty’s Passport Office? Or do it through the Post Office’s new ‘Scratch, Sniff and Send’ service?
Apple’s ‘secret’ iWatch project is hotting up, ‘insiders’ say, and the company are currently hiring a bunch of medical boffins and sleep experts to work on their new wearable product.
Considering none of us have worn a watch since about 2002, the craze for wearables is slightly baffling, but the iWatch might at least look OK, rather than something you might find in the Star Trek wardrobe department in 1967.
It’s (app)arently developing a new app called Healthbook for the wireless watch, which can monitor your sleep and your underarm sweat or how many times you when to the toilet or whatever. That’s very much in line with a lot of similar health-related products, like Sony’s health gizmo The Core – which was showcased at CES 2014 in January.
According to patents filed by Apple in 2011, the iWatch might have a curved screen and be a kind of fancy wristband with apps all along it. (Above is an artist’s impression of what it might look like). Apple are also rumoured to be working on a way to charge it without having to plug it into the wall, and it’s rumoured to be coming out late this year.
So if all goes well, soon we could be having anxiety related convulsions about our blood pressure/heart beats, and annoying everyone on the bus by talking into our wrists. ‘Watch’ this space. (groan)
P.S. I would LOVE to have a friend called ‘Rosie Funk.’
Another day, another way to pay for stuff your smartphone. The race to create a secure mobile payment system has been long and arduous, full of unscheduled toilet breaks, but the most convincing platform so far is the dreadfully named Weve, which will be unveiled today. (Weave? We’ve? We HAVE?).
The reason it’s convincing is simple – Mastercard is helping to develop the system, and Vodaphone, 02 and EE are backing it.
Paypal, Google, Zapp, Orange – they’ve all attempted mobile payment platforms, but so far, we’re still not paying for our bread and milk with our iphones.
But Weve was formed by a triumvirate of British mobile companies – which cater for 80% of UK mobile customers – and Mastercard are currently building a system which will link bank cards to SIM cards. Then, they plan to sell the system to individual banks, so that customers can pay using their branded apps. All you do is tap your phone onto a card reader (like an Oyster card) and you’re done.
So will Weve finally put pay to plastic?
‘Mobile payments are the thing that everybody’s talked about but nobody’s managed to do,’ boasted Weve chief executive David Sear, possibly from the saddle of a white steed. ‘It’s been a mess. We bring scale and people with mobile devices. Mastercard is doing the same for bank customers – one infrastructure provided by Mastercard talking to one infrastructure provided by us.’
IT CAN’T FAIL.
Business cards, like most of the people that use them, are distinctly lo-fi. They’re a relic from another era, when suits were polyester and depressed salesmen could smoke in the lobby of the Marriott while contemplating suicide.
Despite Linkedin, however, these little glorified scraps of paper are here to stay amongst the schmoozers and the losers of the business world. But a small crowdfunded start up called TouchBase has created a new kind of business card – with patterns of conducive ink embedded in them like a QR code – which can be read by your smart phone.
So the idea is, you just do the Masonic handshake, whip your new business buddy’s card across your phone screen, and it reads the contact details and saves them to your phone.
At the moment they’re only designed to work with iphones, but if you want to be on the cutting edge of business card technology, a $25 donation will get you 36 of the new cards. OK, so they’re a bit pricey, but the beauty of them is that you don’t have to GIVE THEM AWAY. Just scan them in, and close the deal.
Alternatively, you could just ask your new contact for his/her phone number and put it into your phone. Or sleep with them and steal their phone. You’re the boss.
Apple look like they might be planning their own internet, as they’ve been beavering away, weaving together a network capable of delivering huge amounts of content to customers, thereby giving them greater control over the way they distribute their online products, simultaneously doing the groundwork for more traffic if it decides it wants to go harder with their television services.
Of course, Apple have been using the iCloud service but, it looks like they have much grander ideas. With their own internet infrastructure, they can support everything they do under one roof and the company are signing long-term deals to lock up bandwidth and making steps to get more control.
Bill Norton, chief strategy officer for International Internet Exchange (they help companies sort out their internet traffic agreements) reckons that Apple has bought enough bandwidth from carriers to move hundreds of gigabits of data each second.
“That’s the starting point for a very, very big network,” Norton said. Instead of having to go through third-parties, Apple will be able to deliver content straight to consumers. These stories back up the idea that Apple will be building their own television sets (they’ve been ramping up interest with their Apple TV set- top box with more partners and more prominence for a while now).
Looks like there’s going to be a virtual landgrab between Google, Apple and Facebook.
We’ve not had any phones blowing up in people’s pockets for a while, almost like it has gone out of fashion – be it the fault of people not making stuff up or phone manufacturers taking the jeopardy and thrill out of phone buying.
So thank the stars for the throwback fun of 13-year-old student from Maine who is now suffering from first and second degree burns after her iPhone exploded into flames while in her pocket.
It has been reported that the young woman was sitting in class when she heard a weird noise coming from her pocket. Then she saw smoke coming from her pants. It wasn’t burning loins, but rather, her gadget was ablaze.
Two fellow students leapt to the student’s assistance while the rest of the class went to find help to put out the fire. Apart from that weird kid at the back of class who probably enjoyed the spectacle.
While trying to help the girl out of her trousers, the iPhone fell out of her pocket, all molten.
There’s no known cause for this incident but obviously, it isn’t the first time it has happened. No matter. The good news is, is that the girl in question was taken to a local treatment centre and was discharged without much fuss.