AURA Strap for Apple Watch - an accessory for an accessory for an iPhone! This clever watchstrap improves some of the Apple Watch's health/fitness tracking features and adds some sensing in the strap and analysis in their App and adds to the Watches capabilities to keep on top of performance and wellness when doing sports, on a diet or just want to stay fit and be healthy. The new strap and companion app (for Apple Watch and iPhone) help users to measure their body composition (fat/muscles percentage) and hydration levels to track fitness/diet progress and get more personalized insights to improve their lifestyle. Bioimpedance is the core technology which expands the Apple Watch health tracking capabilities. Analyzing the upper body, it can track lungs and breathing changes, compare them with pulse data and even assess risks of heart failure and notify the user, his doctor, or emergency contact about it. AURA Strap cleverly transfers results to the Watch via ultrasound, which is much more energy-efficient than BLE.

Oh, and it's quite a nice looking band as well. Noone will know what you are up to unless you tell them!

I have seen a number of stand alone, smartphone app and accessories over the past few years appearing on the scene. None of them have seemed to make it to critical mass in the consumer space. I'm not sure what the best form factor is, but if in fact the quality of the translation is not right on the money, that will be the stumbling block. This area was often inaccurate, at times humerous and sometimes created misunderstandings. Since this has improved greatly in the last year, the products now have a chance. I came upon this product as I was Judging entries for the Last Gadget Standing Event at CES 2020. The judges selected the Ambassador Interpreter as a finallist. It appears that it is a high quality translation tool for professionals and consumer travelers of all backgrounds. From training to travel, groups to solo, the wearable Ambassador allows you to have smooth conversations free from the constraints of language barriers. A frequent traveller's dream. Its wearable over-the-ear design makes it versatile for natural and professional-grade live translations.

Three main application areas are:
To Listen - As an interpreter, Ambassador actively listens for someone speaking near you and translates their speech into your native language. To Lecture - Ideal for groups and conferences, set your Ambassador to translate everything you say and stream it through your smartphone’s loudspeaker or a paired audio system for your audience. To Discuss and converse - Share one of the Ambassador units with the other person so you can both understand and communicate in your native languages real time.

Another Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist!

I'm always looking for the value of consumer technology! This one caught my eye because I have a need for this in my home!  The Phyn Smart Water Assistant Uses AI to make leak detection and water savings simple. Coupled to a Smartphone App clearly shows how much water each and every fixture in a home uses, enabling tracking of water consumption, identify areas of excess use, and take action to conserve and save money. Can be installed with no plumber required, the DIY device is easily installed under a sink and provides water monitoring for the entire home, alerting homeowners within seconds of a leak being detected.
The key is AI  and ML software coupled to pressure sensing technology and the intelligent analysis and reporting (via smartphone)
You can track and view your water use daily and monthly to get ahead of your water costs. Using pressure sensing technology Phyn learns your system and communicates your water usage down to each fixture, and even sees leaks and ice crystals forming in your pipes well before they even have a chance to freeze over and burst, giving you time to time to take action and avoid damage.
With shut off valve accessory Phyn can automatically close off the water supply when problems are detected and alert homeowner within seconds of a leak being detected.

Published in Internet of Things

I have been following BeBop Sensors “smart fabric” technology for a few years now and hoped that this particular sector of their development efforts would be the one that in the end would catch my eye as an important touch and haptics element of AR and VR applications. They appear to have been working non-stop on their enterprise-friendly haptic technology! Simulating the sensation of touch while in a virtual space is not a simple task, therefore many of the other available solutions are rather cumbersome. Their haptics producing wearable allow users to “feel” virtual objects while immersed in a VR experience and is simply a glove (less than a glove, actually :-)  

The important additiion to the functionality is that the latest iteration of its one-size-fits-all Forte Data Glove can now be combined with the Oculus Quest controllers, integrating BeBop’s hand tracking technology with the Quest’s 3D tracking for real life VR experiences. Together, these two tech systems, along with BeBop Sensors SDK, enable users to experience force, location, size, weight, bending, twisting, and various other senses of touch. BeBop Sensors software can now actually be integrated into the Oculus controllers’ 3D tracking functionality, so available to third party developers can now include haptics in their VR content and applications experiences. The Forte Data Glove has an adapter that quickly straps the small Oculus 3D controller onto the gloves so users can “feel” with their hands what they are exploring in their 3D Virtual experiences.
Forte Data Gloves are already in use by Fortune 500 Customers for Training, Medical Trials & Rehabilitation, Robot & Drone Controls, VR CAD Design & Review, and more, but I will now be most keenly watching the AR and VR applications and content sectors for killer apps for adding this element of our five senses to their experiences. (Smell is next BTW)

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

A good example of how innovative thinking can produce something from thin air! Samsung’s "SelfieType" will use artificial intelligence combined with the mobile’s camera for image recognition, and we can use it on any flat surface, such as a table, the plane’s seat tray or the kitchen countertop, among many other options.  Not for "hunt and peck" typists like me, but for touch typists only me thinks.  As long as they can become 'touch-less' typists. This is a great example of how the combinations of ingredients in a smartphone can be used in new ways to virtually do new things. That's what caught my eye. 

As the name implies, this is a technology that uses your phone's selfie camera to essentially act as an invisible keyboard by analyzing your finger movements.
Using the front (selfie) camera of the device and artificial intelligence, it analyzes the finger movements and converts them into QWERTY keyboard inputs.
Currently, Samsung SelfieType is in the development and testing phase in the company’s C-Lab. As clever and technologically elegant as it seems, even if it works, it probably doesn’t completely replace the need for a physical keyboard or even a touchscreen keyboard. But it sure will get people's attention when they see you doing it!

But virtual keyboards of the projecting type, with visible virtual keyboard in front of you have been around for a long time (15+ years) and never really caught on, but in that case it did mean carrying along with you an extra bit of hardware. “SelfieType” is part of the Korean manufacturer’s C-Lab start-up incubation project and promises possibly to eliminate the typing surface of physical keyboards to be used with our smartphones, tablets, and other future devices. So we will have to wait until this finds its way out of the Labs in a year or two to know. One thing going for it is it's just an app. No hardware to buy or distribute/deliver.

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

flic2Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist at CES2020.

Pushing a tactile button is the most satisfying and straightforward way to initiate an action. Flic 2 buttons are innovative finger-tip-sized wireless buttons that can be stuck into place in your house, your car, at work on your desk, etc.
Control Smart Home, apps, and online services with the ease and pleasure of pushing a button.
A set of buttons comes with a very small home Hub (Long range and which BTW has IFTTT and other apps incorporated) but your phone can also act as a hub so wherever you go you can have switches with you that do things e.g. in your car, at work, etc.
Flic 2 can talk to and initiate actions on smartphones, tablets, or computers directly, so any app or business system can add physical smart buttons to their services in offices, and even public spaces. The Hub itself can support over 60 simultaneous, individually configured buttons in a large house and it supports Apple HomeKit.
I found it very simple to assign functionality to flic 2 buttons in the app, that anyone can do it in seconds. attach a speaker to the hub and it can act as a doorbell or alert or talk to you. Each button can have different functionalities whether a simple push, double push, and 3 second hold. Assign anything from a simple light switch to complex routines to each action. This is what I call a “Business without Bounds”! It’s a platform not just for Apps, but for inclusion in existing apps and the small buttons are being incorporated in other commercially available physical items.
For example a fishing pole company is incorporating FLIC into the butt end of a pole that they sell; When you catch a fish you push the button on the rod and thanks to the smartphone in your pocket, it instantly records time, place, weather conditions and lets you add a picture of the fish. Push it twice and it will take a picture of you landing the fish (if your phone is pointing in the right direction)
A handbag company is incorporating it into their bag so one of its three switch press modes can be panic button, another telling someone where you are and the third, to initiate an Uber pickup, with current location, etc.
This is not just little switches for the lights at home, but you can put these everywhere to do all sorts of things. Didn't catch my eye at first, but did when I saw what the button press could do in my world of clicks!

Published in Internet of Things
I have noted Bebop's sensing fabric for a few years now and knew that it would find it's way into some valuable applications spaces soon. Princpally being applied to wearables such as shoe insoles, sleeve control, etc. But it was this year's featured product that Caught My Eye - an interactive input glove for VR. The fabric specification was impressive, but it's the Touch and Haptics AI that make this a potential component for many applications.  
So I was very pleased to see the BeBop Sensors Forte Wireless Data Glove system, a fully featured affordable data glove to incorporate haptics and super accurate, rapid sensing for gaming and AR/VR environments for a more realistic VR experience. The hand tracking system tracks fingers and fingertips with haptics, the Forte Glove is an ultra-comfortable one-size-fits-all glove, conducive to lengthy Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sessions due to its light weight and open airy design. Light and simple looking, it also can be worn inside a glove, for example. Sensing speed and accurately sensing finger movements are key features along with tactile feedback to the fingertips.   
The glove provides Super Accurate Rapid Sensing with data rates at 150 frames per second. With lag time eliminated, triggering has near instantaneous response times -- perfect for the most demanding Applications and Games.
Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

Contextual technology gathered up and situational relevance and intelligence added. To call this security conscious "vehicle-to (and from)-everything" platform a Dash Cam is a bit of an injustice to the scope of this connected car ecosystem. Connects directly to the car's OBD port so know's what's going on internal to the vehicle systems and puts that into the contexts of info, location plus driver and family to deliver valuable set of person centric capabilities. The feature list is long, but the Raven, with cameras looking out and in and all knowing connectivity delivers peace of mind while driving. Not just for driver and passangers, but for family as well. This caught my eye because of what the overall technology combination delivers when the IoCar intelligently intersects with access to information, the IoT and IoMe and mine. 

So many stated features. Here's what they say. (my comments in parenthesis) 
Raven gives cars the intelligence and voice needed to proactively communicate with drivers and their families, making them smarter, safer and more connected while on the road.
At home, at work or a thousand miles away, Raven’s always-on and always-connected system gives family members and car lovers unprecedented peace of mind with:
*  Live streaming camera views, both road-facing and in-cabin 
* Security alerts (car broken into?)
* Departure and arrival notifications (mapping)
* Driving reports (even capture time lapse synopsis of journey)
* Gesture controls (and voice commands coming soon)
* Next-turn navigation
* Weather condition updates
* Vehicle diagnostics
* Wi-Fi hotspot
Raven unmasks the sophistication and intelligence locked under the hood in today’s vehicles and makes it readily accessible to drivers.
Raven has been designed and engineered from the ground up by a highly accomplished team passionate about best in-class performance and user experiences.

(The connectivity to the web and to a defined group of friends and family is a real value proposition understated here)  Worth a visit to the Raven Website for more details on use cases and how it works.

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

I am always seeking what I call “technology enabled, consumer driven change”.

There is growing evidence that health conscious consumers will instigate much of the rapid change in healthcare, rather than organically in the healthcare industry itself. This is effectively where  personal emphasis on wellness and preventative healthcare will emerge rather than from the reactive nature of your relationship with your healthcare provider.

So here is one more personal item that could change the dynamics of heart health not just in terms of monitoring vitals, but also in building a very valuable contextual database of clinical data specific to the wearer! Normal Looking, and according to Omron, “Clinically Validated & Accurate” 

The HEARTGUIDE Wrist Watch works with a smartphone App and has a long list of vital sign monitoring sensors, but now Omron adds one measurement that has been missing from wrist wearables to date - a Blood Pressure Monitor.
It syncs with the Omron app to track and share vital data about your heart health and keeps track of physical activity and sleep as well.
Currently undergoing FDA testing, available later this year for about the same price as an Apple Watch.
But the real bonus for me came from a discussion I had with Dr. David Albert, MD, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of AliveCor - an affiliate company to Omron Healthcare who I met with on the Omron booth. It is likely that the EKG Atrial Fibrillation sensing and recording of Alivecor’s Kardia Band device will also be incorporated in future versions. Kardia Band is an available product, a clinical grade wearable EKG which is already FDA-cleared and replaces your original Apple Watch® band. It provides access, analysis and data storage of a 30-second EKG anytime, anywhere.
Add that to your personal heart health Database!

A Cardiology Department on your Wrist!

Published in Digital Healthcare


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