Posts Tagged ‘improve’

XBMC looks to improve Android video playback with ‘Gotham’ beta

Version 13 of XBMC’s media center software, codenamed Gotham, is now ready for your official beta-testing pleasure. The foundation — which started the project for the Xbox and spawned apps like Plex and platforms like Boxxee — kicked off work on…

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Time Warner Cable to improve network in NYC and LA, promises faster internet, more reliability, better service

TWC Maxx: the extra ‘x’ means it’s better. At least, that’s what Time Warner Cable would have us believe about its thusly named new initiative to improve the quality of its pay TV and internet offerings in Los Angeles and New York. The plan is to …

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I’ve Seen The Future Of Health Tech And It’s Going To Improve Your Life In 2014

11517696044_ab9390c9ec_c (2)

I just returned from the most exciting Consumer Electronics Show I’ve ever covered. Thanks to extraordinary demand for gadgets that make us healthier, stronger, and smarter, the technology industry is putting some serious brain power behind the next generation of wearable health devices. Over the next year, a torrent of new devices is hitting the market to provide automated elite coaching, a pocket-sized clinical lab, and your own personal assistant.

Labs In Your Pocket

It seems that nearly every time I rush head-first into a new diet or exercise program, I find months later there’s some crucial oversight that’s holding back my progress or actively destroying my body. Exasperated in frustration, I drag myself to a clinic for expert diagnostics, only to discover simple advice I should have been following from the beginning.

Now, nearly every expensive lab test I’ve gotten over the past year is coming to the delightful convenience of my smartphone. The Sensoria smart sock correctly diagnosed that I make the runner’s rookie mistake of heel striking, leading to a workout-stopping knee pain (available this spring).

Valencell’s PerformTech in-ear heart-rate monitor calibrated my V02Max (a common measure of endurance) in a nearly painless five minutes of light stair-stepper work on the CES show floor (available now). The results were within 5 percent of lab-test results I received months earlier and helped me know that two months of running San Francisco’s hills are probably paying off.

Quality rest is just as important as hitting the gym. The Basis B1 wristwatch, Sleeprate app, and Withing’s Aura bed pad will diagnose the quality of the major stages of sleep, including crucial REM cycles.* I got a preview of Sleeprate’s heart-rate-monitor-powered app, and apparently I’ve got a nasty restless sleep cycle (Basis update coming January 21, Sleeprate January 23rd, and Aura in the spring).

Unlike a lab test, these devices can follow you wherever you go, ensuring you actually follow through with the advice. Many of us work so hard at self-improvement; it’s nice to know that our time isn’t going to waste.

Automated Elite Coaching

The defining feature of the world’s sharpest coaching minds is a broad novel strategy that is meticulously applied to each student. The delicious replicability of elite coaching makes it ripe for automation.

While last year was all about fitness gadgets that monitor activity, “what’s going to happen next is teaching technique,” said Ruth Thomason of Cambridge Consultants. Cambridge was showing off the ArcAid basketball free-throw technique video analyzer. Normally available to college sports teams with budgets larger than the entire Humanities Department, this kind of video technology could bring elite coaching to the masses.

The marathon-enthusiast fitness company, Polar, is releasing what claims to be the most advanced training watch on the market. The Polar V800 meticulously tracks heart rate to advise athletes when they’re overtraining, analyzed through a free online web app, Polar Flow (available in April).

There’s also hope for my fellow ADHD brethren: Interaxon’s Muse headband is like a mind-reading meditation coach. Using classic techniques from the field of neurofeedback, the behind-the-ear mounted EEG device measures brainwaves to coach users into a state of meditative peace. Unlike its competitor, Neurosky, which is mostly used for brain-controlled computing (and women who love to wear rotating cat ears in San Francisco), the muse will track improved mindfulness over time.

In the same way online education is bringing the teachings of world-class professors to anyone with an Internet connection, the future of health tech will be to essentially roboticize elite coaches in the devices we wear on our bodies.

The Digital Mother

“Sit up straight and brush your teeth!” Sometimes, we know exactly what we’re supposed to do, but just aren’t very good at following through. The latest health tech is here to gently nag you into better health.

The Lumo Lift is a vibrating shirt pin that buzzes whenever it detects slouched shoulders. It’s pretty much impossible to answer 5,000 emails a minute and remember to sit up straight for eight hours. This little guy helps you remember (available in the spring).

For objects around the house, the aptly named “Mother” device imbues everyday objects with the nagging power of our lovely moms. Sen.se’s Mother interacts with satellite “cookies” that know when and how an object is being used; for instance, whether a bottle of pills is being picked up and poured upside down. The same goes for a jar to water the plants (available in the spring).

2014 is going to be an exciting year for digital health. For years, technology has conspired to transform our upright bodies into hunched-back zombies. Now, it can make us all ubermen. Bring on the gadgets!

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I’ve Seen The Future Of Health Tech And It’s Going To Improve Your Life In 2014

11517696044_ab9390c9ec_c (2)

I just returned from the most exciting Consumer Electronics Show I’ve ever covered. Thanks to extraordinary demand for gadgets that make us healthier, stronger, and smarter, the technology industry is putting some serious brain power behind the next generation of wearable health devices. Over the next year, a torrent of new devices is hitting the market to provide automated elite coaching, a pocket-sized clinical lab, and your own personal assistant.

Labs In Your Pocket

It seems that nearly every time I rush head-first into a new diet or exercise program, I find months later there’s some crucial oversight that’s holding back my progress or actively destroying my body. Exasperated in frustration, I drag myself to a clinic for expert diagnostics, only to discover simple advice I should have been following from the beginning.

Now, nearly every expensive lab test I’ve gotten over the past year is coming to the delightful convenience of my smartphone. The Sensoria smart sock correctly diagnosed that I make the runner’s rookie mistake of heel striking, leading to a workout-stopping knee pain (available this spring).

Valencell’s PerformTech in-ear heart-rate monitor calibrated my V02Max (a common measure of endurance) in a nearly painless five minutes of light stair-stepper work on the CES show floor (available now). The results were within 5 percent of lab-test results I received months earlier and helped me know that two months of running San Francisco’s hills are probably paying off.

Quality rest is just as important as hitting the gym. The Basis B1 wristwatch, Sleeprate app, and Withing’s Aura bed pad will diagnose the quality of the major stages of sleep, including crucial REM cycles.* I got a preview of Sleeprate’s heart-rate-monitor-powered app, and apparently I’ve got a nasty restless sleep cycle (Basis update coming January 21, Sleeprate January 23rd, and Aura in the spring).

Unlike a lab test, these devices can follow you wherever you go, ensuring you actually follow through with the advice. Many of us work so hard at self-improvement; it’s nice to know that our time isn’t going to waste.

Automated Elite Coaching

The defining feature of the world’s sharpest coaching minds is a broad novel strategy that is meticulously applied to each student. The delicious replicability of elite coaching makes it ripe for automation.

While last year was all about fitness gadgets that monitor activity, “what’s going to happen next is teaching technique,” said Ruth Thomason of Cambridge Consultants. Cambridge was showing off the ArcAid basketball free-throw technique video analyzer. Normally available to college sports teams with budgets larger than the entire Humanities Department, this kind of video technology could bring elite coaching to the masses.

The marathon-enthusiast fitness company, Polar, is releasing what claims to be the most advanced training watch on the market. The Polar V800 meticulously tracks heart rate to advise athletes when they’re overtraining, analyzed through a free online web app, Polar Flow (available in April).

There’s also hope for my fellow ADHD brethren: Interaxon’s Muse headband is like a mind-reading meditation coach. Using classic techniques from the field of neurofeedback, the behind-the-ear mounted EEG device measures brainwaves to coach users into a state of meditative peace. Unlike its competitor, Neurosky, which is mostly used for brain-controlled computing (and women who love to wear rotating cat ears in San Francisco), the muse will track improved mindfulness over time.

In the same way online education is bringing the teachings of world-class professors to anyone with an Internet connection, the future of health tech will be to essentially roboticize elite coaches in the devices we wear on our bodies.

The Digital Mother

“Sit up straight and brush your teeth!” Sometimes, we know exactly what we’re supposed to do, but just aren’t very good at following through. The latest health tech is here to gently nag you into better health.

The Lumo Lift is a vibrating shirt pin that buzzes whenever it detects slouched shoulders. It’s pretty much impossible to answer 5,000 emails a minute and remember to sit up straight for eight hours. This little guy helps you remember (available in the spring).

For objects around the house, the aptly named “Mother” device imbues everyday objects with the nagging power of our lovely moms. Sen.se’s Mother interacts with satellite “cookies” that know when and how an object is being used; for instance, whether a bottle of pills is being picked up and poured upside down. The same goes for a jar to water the plants (available in the spring).

2014 is going to be an exciting year for digital health. For years, technology has conspired to transform our upright bodies into hunched-back zombies. Now, it can make us all ubermen. Bring on the gadgets!

Related Posts:

I’ve Seen The Future Of Health Tech And It’s Going To Improve Your Life In 2014

11517696044_ab9390c9ec_c (2)

I just returned from the most exciting Consumer Electronics Show I’ve ever covered. Thanks to extraordinary demand for gadgets that make us healthier, stronger, and smarter, the technology industry is putting some serious brain power behind the next generation of wearable health devices. Over the next year, a torrent of new devices is hitting the market to provide automated elite coaching, a pocket-sized clinical lab, and your own personal assistant.

Labs In Your Pocket

It seems that nearly every time I rush head-first into a new diet or exercise program, I find months later there’s some crucial oversight that’s holding back my progress or actively destroying my body. Exasperated in frustration, I drag myself to a clinic for expert diagnostics, only to discover simple advice I should have been following from the beginning.

Now, nearly every expensive lab test I’ve gotten over the past year is coming to the delightful convenience of my smartphone. The Sensoria smart sock correctly diagnosed that I make the runner’s rookie mistake of heel striking, leading to a workout-stopping knee pain (available this spring).

Valencell’s PerformTech in-ear heart-rate monitor calibrated my V02Max (a common measure of endurance) in a nearly painless five minutes of light stair-stepper work on the CES show floor (available now). The results were within 5 percent of lab-test results I received months earlier and helped me know that two months of running San Francisco’s hills are probably paying off.

Quality rest is just as important as hitting the gym. The Basis B1 wristwatch, Sleeprate app, and Withing’s Aura bed pad will diagnose the quality of the major stages of sleep, including crucial REM cycles.* I got a preview of Sleeprate’s heart-rate-monitor-powered app, and apparently I’ve got a nasty restless sleep cycle (Basis update coming January 21, Sleeprate January 23rd, and Aura in the spring).

Unlike a lab test, these devices can follow you wherever you go, ensuring you actually follow through with the advice. Many of us work so hard at self-improvement; it’s nice to know that our time isn’t going to waste.

Automated Elite Coaching

The defining feature of the world’s sharpest coaching minds is a broad novel strategy that is meticulously applied to each student. The delicious replicability of elite coaching makes it ripe for automation.

While last year was all about fitness gadgets that monitor activity, “what’s going to happen next is teaching technique,” said Ruth Thomason of Cambridge Consultants. Cambridge was showing off the ArcAid basketball free-throw technique video analyzer. Normally available to college sports teams with budgets larger than the entire Humanities Department, this kind of video technology could bring elite coaching to the masses.

The marathon-enthusiast fitness company, Polar, is releasing what claims to be the most advanced training watch on the market. The Polar V800 meticulously tracks heart rate to advise athletes when they’re overtraining, analyzed through a free online web app, Polar Flow (available in April).

There’s also hope for my fellow ADHD brethren: Interaxon’s Muse headband is like a mind-reading meditation coach. Using classic techniques from the field of neurofeedback, the behind-the-ear mounted EEG device measures brainwaves to coach users into a state of meditative peace. Unlike its competitor, Neurosky, which is mostly used for brain-controlled computing (and women who love to wear rotating cat ears in San Francisco), the muse will track improved mindfulness over time.

In the same way online education is bringing the teachings of world-class professors to anyone with an Internet connection, the future of health tech will be to essentially roboticize elite coaches in the devices we wear on our bodies.

The Digital Mother

“Sit up straight and brush your teeth!” Sometimes, we know exactly what we’re supposed to do, but just aren’t very good at following through. The latest health tech is here to gently nag you into better health.

The Lumo Lift is a vibrating shirt pin that buzzes whenever it detects slouched shoulders. It’s pretty much impossible to answer 5,000 emails a minute and remember to sit up straight for eight hours. This little guy helps you remember (available in the spring).

For objects around the house, the aptly named “Mother” device imbues everyday objects with the nagging power of our lovely moms. Sen.se’s Mother interacts with satellite “cookies” that know when and how an object is being used; for instance, whether a bottle of pills is being picked up and poured upside down. The same goes for a jar to water the plants (available in the spring).

2014 is going to be an exciting year for digital health. For years, technology has conspired to transform our upright bodies into hunched-back zombies. Now, it can make us all ubermen. Bring on the gadgets!

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MobileBench group aims to improve mobile benchmarking, recruits Samsung but lacks Qualcomm, NVIDIA

Industry group established to simplify and improve mobile device benchmarking, both Qualcomm and NVIDIA absent
It’s called MobileBench: an industry consortium planning to offer “more effective” performance assessments on mobile devices — most likely centered on, but not limited to, Android. Unsurprisingly after recent developments, Samsung joins as a founding member, alongside Broadcom, Huawei, Oppo, and Spreadtrum. While that’s who’s in, who isn’t? Well, both NVIDIA (responsible for the Tegra series of mobile chips) and the increasingly ubiquitous Qualcomm, which makes the Snapdragon mobile processor range. Between them, they power the likes of Microsoft’s Surface series, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire range, not to mention numerous flagship devices from LG, Samsung, Sony and Motorola.

The group gathered for the first time yesterday in Shenzhen, China and outlined how it aims to offer more useful tools for mobile platform designers and “more reliable indices” for assessing user experience. MobileBench plans to establish impartial guidelines and a more sophisticated evaluation methodology for both its first benchmark tool, MobileBench and MobileBench-UX, for testing system-level applications. The benchmarking tool will assess hardware performance, including high-level processes like video and image viewing, camera use and other real-life use cases, with one of the primary aims being result consistency and less deviation between repeated tests. Another app is planned for consumer use in the future, likely similar to the benchmarking apps Engadget uses in its reviews. The bigger question is how much the consortium can achieve without wider adoption inside the industry — it’s apparently “actively seeking” more members.

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Source: MobileBench consortium (PDF)

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Indiegogo Project Seeks To Drastically Improve First-Person View For Home Drone Pilots

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Drones are very fun, is something that I recently realized playing with a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 for the first time. But the image on the screen you see from most drone cameras is laggy, pixelated and generally sub-par, even if the camera on your drone itself is capable of recording much higher quality video. Sky Drone FPV aims to improve that, with a new crowdfunded project that will provide full streaming HD video to your tablet or smartphone of choice live from your flying robot.

Drone hobbyists are a fanatic group, and quality is important to any fanatic. The Sky Drone FPV wants to make the lived reality of flying drones more similar to the videos and photos uploaded to YouTube, which often reflect the HD capture, not the actual first person view you’ll see on a device while piloting. It promises to offer 1920×1080 full HD streams at 30 frames per second, unlimited range so long as there is cell tower coverage via 3G or LTE networks, a heads-up display (so long as you have the required circuit board) and 5 megapixel still shots. It also works with just a smartphone or tablet, and requires no additional antennas or gear.

Finally, the feed is encrypted via AES-256 encryption to prevent any spying eyes from taking a peek at your feed, and there’s an HDMI out option to connect to virtual immersion goggles, with Oculus Rift support listed as one of the company’s stretch goals for the Sky Drone FPV.

The project is designed to help wean drone hobbyists and FPV enthusiasts off of their clunky analog solutions by addressing the three big problems of current digital offerings, which include achieving low latency; performing consistently and reliably, and doing so at a cost that isn’t absurd.

Backers can reserve a Sky Drone FPV set for $ 349, which gets them a kit including a cellular modem, USB hub, cables, a controller, a camera and an AP cable and uBEC. The package also includes the Sky Drone FPV groundstation app, which allows you to control exactly what you see on your screen, configure your HUD and actually view the stream live from your remote-controlled flying device.

The Sky Drone FPV is currently functional on BlackBerry 10 and Playbook devices (yes, the devs used BB as a starting platform, likely because BlackBerry VP of dev relations Alec Saunders is a founding investor) but will be build for Android and iOS too, which is what the funding will help with, as well as refining the still image capture mechanic. The Hong Kong-based team aims to deliver by December, 2013, so you could be flying in glorious HD in time for the holidays.

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Sony’s Crazy Plan To Improve Mobile Photos Involves Making Attachable Cameras For Phones

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While Samsung and Nokia (and everyone else really) are locked in a sort of mobile photography war by baking elaborate cameras into new smartphones, Sony is apparently testing a slightly different approach. Rather than cramming a high-end camera into a phone, the folks at SonyAlphaRumors have happened upon a set of photos that depict a pair of Sony “lens cameras” that latch onto your smartphone instead.

This isn’t the first time Sony’s curious camera phone attachments have popped up — they were the subject of another leak earlier this year — but now we’ve got a clearer picture of what these things are actually capable of. At first glance, the hefty things don’t seem too different from some other smartphone accoutrements out there right now, but their looks are deceiving.

See, the attachments don’t actually augment your phone’s built-in camera so much as they replace them entirely. That’s the weird thing about what Sony has cooked up: They’re more than just a lens, but they’re not quite a standalone camera, either. Instead, the devices float in the limbo between both of those things and relies wholly on a smartphone to actually make it usable. According to the SonyAlphaRumors’ report, everything — from the 18- or 20-megapixel sensor to the image processor to the SD card slot — is packed into those barrels while the phone it’s connected to acts as the viewfinder.

For what it’s worth, Sony’s rationale seems at least partially defensible. So long as companies like Samsung, Apple, HTC, and even Sony want to duke it out over how thin they can make their smartphones, they also need to figure out how to continuously improve those mobile cameras while keeping heft to a minimum (unless they temporarily lose their minds). By moving the lion’s share of the hardware outside of the chassis completely, Sony gets to continue trying to push the envelope on camera performance without having to worry about the impact all that extra hardware has on the aesthetics of a new phone. And since these lens cameras aren’t tied into one specific device, Sony could see continued sales of the things even after consumers ditch their old phones for new ones. It’s definitely a strange approach, but it’s also pretty smart.

As we all know, though, being smart doesn’t necessarily translate into being successful, and there are plenty of reasons why something like this wouldn’t catch on. You’ve got to carry around another gizmo for one, and the potential price tag could cause would-be mobile photogs to balk (especially when decent point-and-shoots are getting stupidly cheap). It shouldn’t be long before these lens cameras start trickling into the wild, so we’ll soon see if Sony is actually onto something here.

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This Device Ejaculates Air To Improve Your Gaming Experience

Meet Disney’s AIREAL technology.

Imagine playing a first-person shooter in which you feel the rush of air from bullets screaming over your shoulder, or a massive open-world role-playing game in which you feel the brush of a leaf on your forearm.

That’s the promise behind AIREAL, the new haptic feedback technology announced by Disney on Friday. The technology, developed by Disney's research division, shoots off ring-shaped spurts of air at a player to augment his or her experience.

Here's the science-y bit, from Disney:

AIREAL is designed to use a vortex, a ring of air that can travel large distances while keeping its shape and speed. When the vortex hits a user's skin, the low pressure system inside a vortex collapses and imparts a force the user can feel…Five actuators are mounted around the enclosure which displaces air from the enclosed volume, through the flexible nozzle and into the physical environment. The actuated flexible nozzle allows a vortex to be precisely delivered to any location in 3D space.

Basically, this lil nubbin receives displaced air from five small speakers.


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Microsoft working with Intel to finally improve laptop trackpads with Windows 8.1

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Microsoft added some gestures to improve trackpads in Windows 8, but the underlying issues with laptop trackpads weren’t really addressed fully. With Windows 8.1, it appears that Microsoft is taking the issue seriously and working closely with partners to improve what has been a notoriously mixed experience for Windows users over the years. In a session at Build recently, Windows principal program manager James Clarke outlined some of the improvements being planned for the 8.1 release later this year.

Microsoft has been working with Intel, Elan, and Synaptics to allow Windows 8.1 to directly control the pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in trackpads. For Windows users this should mean that future laptop trackpads will work more…

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