After the come of the Oculus Rift which is still waiting to be publicly distributed, it looked like the big gaming companies didn’t have anything to join the new race in virtual reality technologies. Now Sony finally “came out of the closet” with this new project called Morpheus. It’s not hard to understand the quotation from the famous sci-fi movie Matrix.
The device, as said by Sony, “will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real”.
The technical specifications of the prototype are a head mounted display with 1080p resolution and a 90 degree field of view, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors built into the head, a new 3D audio technology that “re-creates stereoscopic sounds in all directions and changes in real-time depending on your head orientation”.
Watch the video to know more about this futuristic (but not too much) device.
2014 was predicted to be the year of the “wearable revolution” in technology, but in March the tangible effects of this revolution still can’t be seen in common people’s lives. Google just shook the situation by announcing a few days ago the come of a new version of its operating system especially adapted for wearable devices which will be called “Android Wear”.
The Mountain View based company also affirmed to be working with several hardware companies on a variety of new “wearables” that are expected to be released this year.
The most impressing news come from Motorola which announced its new smartwatch Moto 360. In the realization of the device the company tried to offer an innovative design, not squared, but circular, just like the real models of watches.
Rumors suggest that the price won’t be low at all, especially due to the chosen high-quality materials. Here’s the official video of the product by Motorola:
The founders of Livr noticed how people’s social life is usually endangered by the crazy things they post on Facebook after a night with friends and alcohol. So they made a special social network for drinkers which you can only access by blowing into a breathalyzer dongle that attaches to either your iOS or Android device.
Apple unveiled PlayCar, its new iOS dashboard for cars. In the video above it is showed how the system will work in a Volvo car, but the iPhone producer announced that this innovative product will be supported this year in cars by Volvo, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Jaguar too. CarPlay was specially designed for driving scenarios and it features Siri voice control, together with maps and call management.
Goophone is a Chinese company that became popular for producing copies of the iPhone that are externally just like the original one except for the operating system, which in this copied device is Android.
But by looking at the phone only a few experts could see the difference with iOS since Google’s operating system was customized by the Chinese producer to make it look just like Apple’s device. Here’s a picture of how the copy of the iPhone 5S appears.
If you look well though, you can see the icon of the Google settings app that, unlike others, doesn’t have curved corners. This wouldn’t be a big deal, but we must also add that, even if the device looks just like Apple’s one, the technical features are different and the hardware has a lower quality, but you can’t always get what you want, right?
How many times did you wish your phone had a better camera? That’s what the creators of the Phoneblocks project wondered when they first made the concept. A long time is passed since then, and now, thanks to Google and Motorola, everyone’s dream comes true. Yes, because the phone is said to be available from next year for the breathtaking price of $50!
If those rumors were true, it would mean a huge revolution of the smartphone market: we wouldn’t go to the store to buy a phone anymore, but to buy a new camera or a new processor. The project also started with an ecological aim, in fact not having to throw away your smartphone whenever a component gets broken would lead to an incremental decrease of electronic waste.
Modularity would also make smartphones indispensable devices for everyone, more than they already are, and the possibility to modify your phone’s features and characteristics would totally change people’s life and probably make it much easier. For this reasons, and for many others, Phoneblocks started getting more and more likes on Facebook and right now there are 395 thousands people waiting for this amazing concept to become reality.
The rumors also suggest that the components could be 3D printed, which would contribute to involve people to finally create their own phone, guided by their own interests and necessities. Finally, Project Ara itself is a serious attempt to kill Apple’s iPhone’s popularity and transform smartphones from “user-friendly” to “user-made”.
Its name is PR2, it was developed by Willow Garage and yes, it can pour you a beer. The idea comes from the fact that people at Willow Garage after a hard work session start thinking that they would really like a beer, but they don’t want to leave their place in order to get it.
Laziness? We don’t know, but there’s surely a lot of work behind the realization of a task like this, which can appear really simple to humans, but that is actually extremely hard for a robot.
Pouring the beer is not the only thing the robot does, in fact it is also able to open the refrigerator, look inside and detect what beers are available, then grasp the beer you chose from your laptop and finally bring it to you. An example of how robots could really make human life a bed of roses.
Here’s a video of the robot in action.
Nexi is a MDS (Mobile Dexterous Social) robot developed by MIT. Beside talking in a very human-like way, it is also capable of mimicking human behaviours and expressions very realistically. The aim of the researchers was to create a robot with emotional and social skills that could be used in public places, such as hospitals, to interact with people and to gain their trust. It is not impossible though that it will also be experimented in domestic environments.
The robot can move around with its two wheels and lift up to ten pounds with its arms. It is powered by lithium-ion batteries and controlled by an onboard personal computer working on a Linux operating system.
Click on the following link to take a look at Nexi’s astounding communication skills:
Robots are a relatively recent technology and, even if many of them have been built in the last 20 years, we still don’t see them walking around us. Maybe something is changing though: some fast growing startups developed small robots that are definitely affordable for common people. This is the beginning of the so called Personal Robotics, which aims to make robots affordable and usable for everyone.
Romo is an iPhone based robot developed by Romotive. It is a mobile base for your iPhone or iPod 4 or 5.
What makes it so special beside its lovely face is the fact that it can recognize and track faces, react to different environments and be controlled remotely by any iOS device while using the iPhone camera to see. The Romotive Team is now working on making it easy for everyone to program Romo to react in personalized ways which is going to make it even cooler to own this tiny robot.
MiP is a self balancing robot developed by WowWee, the company behind other robot toys such as Robosapien X and RoboMe. But MiP is more than just a toy. It is equipped with GestureSense Technology which means it can respond to motions, be it a hand or an object. It is able to hold small objects and also has several gaming modes which make it a great entertainment tool.
This last one is probably the most popular one. It is a moving ball that you can control from any android or iOS device. The latest version (Sphero 2.0) can speed up to 7 feet per second and the motion control is said to be extremely sensitive and precise. But the real strength of this product is the software around it which includes single and multiplayer games and even augmented reality.
With the end of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a couple days ago , we can now officially say that the smartphone market is going down. Those, that were expected to be the greatest hits, revealed to be the biggest delusions. I’m talking about the so-much-talked-about Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Sony Xperia Z2.
But Why didn’t we see what everyone expected at MWC 2014? It really looks like those amazing concepts that everyone can find on the internet will never be reality. That is true for three reasons:
Smartphones already do everything we need them to do. A 20 megapixels camera, HD, FULL HD or even 4K screen resolution, vocal commands, finger scanner and ANY kind of application or game available for free. Seriously, what else do we need a phone to do? This problem was first started by Apple when it put the innovative fingerprint sensor in the new iPhone 5S and, while everyone was so excited at first, they later noticed how useless this new feature was.
We can’t get better smartphone designs. Sure, concepts are amazing, but there’s a reason why they’re called that way: they are not real. The reason why both Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 look just like their previous versions is that both Samsung and Sony can’t make one of those astounding concepts real. So, although Samsung is trying to demonstrate that it can “dominate” new technologies with flexible screens and new wearables, we still didn’t see any foldable smartphone or smartwatch, and, I would add, even the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 looks just like its first version.
Companies are not truly interested in innovating. We must live with it: tech companies are not driven by the wish of changing the world but by the one of making money. That’s why Apple is not worried about the fact that iPhone 5 looks just like iPhone 4 (except for two more inches) as long as people buy it. And that’s also the reason why the companies that are not doing great, such as HTC, are also the most willing to innovate and to introduce something new in order to shake up the market.