Ressence made a mechanical watch that pairs with your smartphone

Many hybrid watches only resemble classic timepieces on a superficial level. If you want a watch with a true mechanical movement, you have to forego modern conveniences. Ressence wants to fix that with its newly unveiled Type 2 e-Crown Concept. The watch, designed with the help of Nest co-founder Tony Fadell, only requires conventional setup when you initially set the time. From then on, a paired iPhone app can automatically set the watch to one of two time zones using its namesake e-Crown. If the power reserve runs out or Daylight Savings Time kicks in, you don’t have to use the old-fashioned setting mechanism unless you want to — you just have to tap on the watch face.

The design uses both kinetic and solar power to keep running, and it’ll even automatically open shutters to reveal the solar cells when the battery runs below 50 percent.

You can’t buy this exact watch. As the “concept” name indicates, it’s a technology demonstrator. Ressence does plan a production version of the Type 2 later in 2018, though. And this could represent the future of mechanical watches for the industry at large. Purists may insist on manually winding their watches (and they still can), but these digital elements could make mechanicals more accessible to a generation that has grown up with smartphones. They can enjoy the automatic timekeeping of a smartwatch without having to accept the battery life and style sacrifices that frequently come along for the ride.

Via: Hodinkee

Source: Ressence

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Google Duo allows you to call people who don’t have the app

Duo is Google’s video calling app, and it looks like the tech giant wants to spread the word about it. According to Android Police, Duo users can now call people who don’t have the app installed and who haven’t registered with the service. It works like any other Duo communication, except that at the end of any call, recipients who don’t have the app installed will then be prompted to install Duo. They also have the option to decline future Duo calls from that person. We’ve contacted Google for confirmation.

It’s a good move for accessibility — and should encourage those who do have the app installed to use it more widely. Additionally, it will help expand the user base. Cody Toombs at Android Police notes, though, that he wasn’t able to reach all of his contacts through Duo. It’s unavailable for all non-Android phones (sorry iPhone users, you’ll just have to install Duo first), but Toombs reports there are likely more criteria that play into who you can contact. However, it’s unclear what they are.

This is all thanks to the App Preview Messaging feature, which allows Android users to use supported messaging apps to contact people who don’t have said app installed. Google’s smart messaging app Allo has supported App Preview Messaging since its launch, but the design for recipients without the app installed was a bit clunky. Android Police notes that it’s been refined, giving a better preview for what it would look like if the person installed Allo.

Source: Android Police, Google

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A first-time CES entrepreneur, age 82

On the first official morning of CES, Carol Staninger stopped and started her motorized wheelchair through the cavernous Sands Expo and Convention Center, trying — sometimes failing — not to clip the herd of eager attendees who overlooked the octogenarian at chest height.

A service elevator took Staninger, with gray hair, a pale-yellow jumper and silver brooch, to the show floor. She politely received a flyer from an over-perfumed woman representing a French shoe company. She consulted her flip phone to find the rest of the team. And eventually, Staninger arrived at her booth in the trade show’s startup section, opposite an electric-skateboard showcase and a Korean company selling iPhone cases with embedded stun guns.

“I have arrived,” she said to her team.

More than 170,000 people from 150 countries are at this year’s CES, but it’s rare to see an 82-year-old startup entrepreneur. For Staninger, president of Ancer LLC — a blend of her name and her two children’s, Andrea and Eric — it’s her first CES. The last time she even passed through Las Vegas was the other side of the year 2000.

Raised in Winter Haven, Florida, she started working for a local hospital at age 19 and remained there for 42 years, mostly as a secretary. Her first brush with technology was in the 1960s, when she was introduced to an IBM electric typewriter. “I embraced technology, word processors and computers,” she said. “It just made things better.”

In the summer of 2016, well into her retirement, she read news reports of infants who died after being accidentally left in hot cars. Often left in safety seats that face backward in a momentary lapse of caregiver concentration, there were 42 such deaths last year in the US and 742 since 1998; the majority are children 12 months or younger.

“You see a little child, and you know this child will never grow up,” she said. “He’ll never walk on the beach, never have children, never grow up. His life is over before it began.”

Staninger began conceptualizing a monitor for children left in a back seat, shopping it first to the Florida Polytechnic Institute then to Charles Ferrer, president and CEO of Florida manufacturer CMS WorldGroup.

Called Save Our Loved Ones, its prototype is a motion monitor slightly smaller than a home fire alarm attached to the inside of a car’s roof. It links to a keychain fob. When the fob is 15 feet or more from the car, the sensor looks for movement and sets off an alarm if it detects even a slight chest expansion of 1 mm. Under a collaboration between Ancer and CMS Worldgroup, Staninger and Ferrer aim to release the product by fall 2018. They expect it to retail at $ 300, with the hope that it becomes integrated into car manufacturing in the future.

In the meantime, she’s thinking of new safety-oriented businesses too: for instance, a sensor for heavy mowers to sense depressions in thick vegetation and stop crashes. “One idea leads to another,” she said.

In her five days at CES, she and Ferrer are aiming to license or sell the Save Our Loved Ones — particularly given Staninger’s age and her investment of $ 170,000 in the project so far. “We’re focusing primarily on the larger communications companies, larger device manufacturers, to gauge their interest,” said Ferrer.

“I’ll go anywhere, speak with anyone,” Staninger said. “I’m just going to experience whatever happens.”

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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Dell’s new Mobile Connect software puts your phone on your PC

Having to look at your phone while you’re in the middle of writing an important report can be incredibly distracting. You pick it up to see who texted, and end up browsing the 300 other alerts that accumulated. There’s tools that lets you receive your text and call alerts on your Macs or PC, but it’s mostly limited to Apple and Samsung devices. The rest of us don’t have a good catch-all solution yet. Dell hopes to change that with its new Mobile Connect software, which will come preinstalled in all new XPS, Inspiron, Alienware and Vostro laptops in 2018.

The new system uses a proprietary blend of Bluetooth and WiFi to let you control your smartphone from your laptop, so you can answer texts, make and receive calls and run full apps on your PC. But, as expected, functionality is limited on iPhone — you can only receive and start calls and messages — apps are limited to Android, which will even show a mirror of your phone.

During a recent demo, I watched as a text sent to an Android phone arrived on both the handset and the connected XPS 13. I could reply from the laptop, or even pull up contacts to message or call. If you initiated a phone call from your laptop, you’d be using the PC’s microphone and speakers for your conversation. On iPhones, you’ll be able to see and reply to incoming calls and messages, but receiving alerts from other apps like Facebook and Whatsapp is limited to Android.

Since the iPhone compatibility won’t be ready until the end of January, I wasn’t able to verify how well it works. But based on what I’ve seen so far, Dell’s Mobile Connect software is a powerful and useful way to keep up with your smartphone notifications as you work on your PC. While other companies have made similar software in the past (Samsung Sidesync, anyone?), none have offered as many features and as much cross-platform compatibility. Mobile Connect could end up being a feature that draws people to Dell laptops in the future, that is, until other companies start offering something as capable.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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Merge is the closest thing we have to an AR Nerf gun

The folks at Merge picked a fitting name for their augmented-reality company, considering that their latest product combines the fun of Nerf guns with the fantasy of first-person shooters. The 6DoF Blaster is a lightweight plastic gun with four clickable buttons, including the trigger, and a space for a smartphone to rest horizontally across its top. The game plays out on the screen, with players ducking, walking and shooting as if the action were taking place in the real world.

The game Merge is showing off for the 6DoF Blaster looks a lot like Superhot, and it’s a lot of fun. Players shoot neon robots in a simplistic 3D environment, and the extra buttons allow them to zoom in, slow down time and reload in an instant. It plays seamlessly, following crouching and walking movements just fine. Think of it like a Nerf gun, but without the mess of squishy bullets to pick up when the fun is done.

The 6DoF Blaster will cost about $ 30 when it’s available this summer (in a few different colors, no less). Merge plans to open up the entire ecosystem to outside developers and see what kinds of experiences they come up with. The iPhone version of the demo game is built in Apple’s ARKit, which is also open to developers, though there’s also an Android version.

In addition to that, Merge also launched its “Cube” last year, a $ 15 device that uses a smartphone to create holographic, augmented-reality effects. If you point your smartphone at it, for example, you can use an anatomy app to explore different parts of the human body, such as the brain or lungs. Combined with the 6DoF Blaster, Merge aims to create an AR platform for a wide range of genres, including education.

The Merge Cube

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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After Math: CESpocalypse Now

Get hyped everybody, it’s CES week! This is the high holy holiday of tech geekdom, a pilgrimage through the hallowed halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Everybody’s going to be there. LG will be showing off an 88-inch 8K TV, Neutrogena is debuting its skin-grading iPhone accessory, and Honda has all of the adorable mobility bots. Numbers, because how else will we count down to the show’s opening?

4: That’s how many of its concept mobility robots Honda is showing off at CES this year. They’ve got a companion-bot, wheelchair-bot, a wheeled pack-bot, and an autonomous ATV. $ 1,000: That’s how much Vuzix’s Alexa-enabled AR glasses will set you back, assuming you’re the sort of person who needs a pair of Alexa-enabled AR glasses right friggin’ now. Or you could wait until 2019, when the company figures the price will drop by half.

3: That’s how many 3D printers XYZPro will be displaying at CES. There will be the $ 45 da Vinci 3D Pen Cool, which promises not to burn the heck out of your fingers with molten plastic; a $ 230 tablet-controlled da Vinci Nano printer, and the burlier $ 4,000 da Vinci color AiO for small businesses that can both scan and print items in full color.

Also 3: Is the number of new service robots that LG plans to unveil at CES this year. You’ve got the Serving Robot, Porter Robot and Shopping Cart Robot — each doing exactly what its name implies.

88: That’s how many inches diagonal LG’s ludicrous 8K OLED display is. That’s 11 inches and an extra 4 K’s bigger than the ginormous monitor LG showed off at last CES. Oh the difference a year makes.

0-100: That’s the scale by which Neutrogena’s SkinScanner concept iPhone accessory will grade the quality of your skin. Should your epidermis be found lacking, the scanner’s app will direct you to Neutrogena’s website where you can buy various tinctures and topicals to “fix” the “problems” with your skin. Or you can just love yourself for who you are on the inside and not worry about meeting some unobtainable societal standard of beauty.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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Intel faces multiple lawsuits over chip security vulnerabilities

Intel is already facing multiple lawsuits over the chip security flaws revealed earlier this week. Gizmodo reports that three have been filed so far — in California, Oregon and Indiana. All three are class action complaints and note Intel’s delay in disclosing the vulnerabilities — it knew about them for months — as well as reduced performance caused by subsequent security patches. The Register reported that PC slow downs could amount to as much as five to 30 percent, but Intel has said that its solution’s impacts are “highly workload-dependent” and won’t be noticed much by the typical user.

It’s still early — the flaws were only officially revealed on Wednesday — so Intel could be facing more lawsuits going forward. In the week following Apple’s reveal that it intentionally slows older iPhone models to prevent sudden shutdowns, it was hit with a number of lawsuits in multiple countries.

Intel says 90 percent of affected chips should be patched by the end of the week while companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple are also releasing updates to mitigate the effects of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Via: The Verge

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Neutrogena’s scanner shows your skin in excruciating detail

Neutrogena has unveiled a device that attaches to your iPhone and can tell you more about your skin issues and convince you to (wait for it) buy more Neutrogena products. The SkinScanner from the Johnson & Johnson-owned company attaches to the top of an iPhone, and can take a magnified image of your skin and measure the moisture content. An AI-enabled app called Skin 360 then analyzes the data and gives your skin a 0 to 100 rating and show how it’s improving over time.

Skin scanners are nothing new, as you can find them in spas and cosmetics stores like Sephora. However, the SkinScanner makes the concept cheaper and more consumer-friendly by sticking it on a smartphone. By doing so, Neutrogena is targeting younger users who are comfortable with tech and don’t necessarily buy creams or cosmetics the traditional way.

The device uses 12 LED lights, a 30x magnifier and a moisture detector at the edge of the camera. To use it, you just open up the Skin 360 app, place it directly against your skin and grab some images. The resulting (very) closeup photos show your pores, wrinkles and moisture in (possibly shocking) detail.

From there, the app’s built-in AI compares your skin to other folks your age and assigns a maximum score of 100 for the aforementioned categories. Clicking on the “improve” button will, naturally, take you to Neutrogena’s store, when you can pick up products to fix your problems.

It’s probably not healthy to obsess on your pores and wrinkles, and as we noted with the Way skin sensor, the solution for dry skin is generally to drink more water. And while the tech is kind of cool, as with much of the beauty industry, it seems designed to make you feel bad about yourself so that you’ll spend more money. Nevertheless, it’s not terribly expensive at $ 50, so it might be worth a go for some. Neutrogena will be showing it at CES 2018, so we’ll try to get an, um, closer look.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

Source: Neutrogena

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Samsung’s next-gen chips point to Galaxy S9 face detection

Samsung has unveiled its next-generation smartphone chip that will give its upcoming Galaxy S9 some iPhone X-like features, including face unlocking and animated emojis. The Exynos 9810 is built on its second-generation 10-nanometer fabrication tech, and will outperform the current flagship Exynos 8895 chip by up to 100 percent in single-core mode, Samsung said. The chip is likely to be sold in Asia, while US and European customers will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip.

Samsung emphasized that the new chip will be much better at AI, improving face detection, image recognition and other deep learning activities. That, in turn, will allow it to do real-time scanning of your face in 3D.

“Hybrid face detection enables realistic face-tracking filters as well as stronger security when unlocking a device with one’s face,” the press release notes. In other words, future Galaxy smartphones will offer Samsung’s answer to Apple’s FaceID and animated emojis. Samsung notes that the chip has a separate, secure processing unit for fingerprints, iris scans and other sensitive biometric data.

By utilizing both hardware and software, hybrid face detection enables realistic face-tracking filters as well as stronger security when unlocking a device with one’s face. For added security, the processor has a separate security processing unit to safeguard vital personal data such as facial, iris and fingerprint information.

The Exynos 9810 is one of the first chips with a Cat.18 LTE modem featuring 6x carrier aggregation and up to 1.2Gbps download and 200Mbps upload speeds. Samsung also promised better image stabilization, reduced noise in low light, 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second and “real-time, out-of-focus photography in high resolution,” it said. On top of that, you’ll be able to playback video at up to 10-bits (1.07 billion colors) with VP9 support at Ultra HD resolutions.

The Exynos 9810 is now in mass-production, Samsung says, but the big question now is whether the chip for the rest of us, the Snapdragon 845, will have exactly the same feature set. From what we saw late last year, however, it appears that the chip functions and specs are nearly identical. That’s not too surprising, because Samsung is reportedly also building the Qualcomm chip using exactly the same second-generation 10-nanometer fab process.

Source: Samsung

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Google is reportedly looking to sell Zagat

Google is planning to offload Zagat, the restaurant reviews service it snagged for $ 151 million in 2011, amidst plans to reign in its mammoth portfolio, according to sources who spoke to Reuters. The company has reportedly held “informal talks” with interested parties for a deal that would encompass the Zagat brand name and website. There’s no word on how much Google is after for the service, with the big G keeping mum on the matter. We’ve reached out just in case it gives up on the silent treatment.

Former Google exec Marissa Mayer championed the Zagat acquisition, and its listings were quickly added to Maps and Google+ Local pages, with becoming a free service. A redesigned app and website followed in 2013. Then everything went quiet. Years passed without an app update in sight (aside from the odd bug fix). Finally, in 2016, Google gave iPhone users a cleaner app design and some location-based recommendation features. On the flip side, the tech titan recently expanded its search snippets for restaurants with the addition of waiting times.

Zagat’s small team is a blip in Alphabet’s infrastructure, dwarfed by its other units, which encompass everything from consumer hardware (think Pixel and Google Home) to its “other bets” (high-risk ventures like Waymo, X, and Verily). Although Google remains its kingpin, these gambits are also showing signs of growth.

Established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979, Zagat began life as a burgundy-coloured pocket-guide to restaurants and cities. In its current guise, the site features a mix of crowdsourced reviews and editorials.

Source: Reuters

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