Technology Unplugged — Top News From the Tech World That Got Us Stunned in February
Ever since Stone Age mankind has been eager to transform natural resources into useful tools, be it in discovering abilities to control fire or the invention of the wheel for better transportation. It’s this hunger for ecstatic inventions that has made the human world what it is today – surrounded with unimaginable technologies and innovation which is so rapidly advancing that sometimes it becomes really difficult to track all that’s happening on the way. There was a time, not so long ago, when the entire 3D world concept was fiction to us but today, the scenario is such that now the thinking lies in building a giant 3D printer that can build our new homes in under a day. I am not surprised when I read such great formulations in technology which is all into making our lives more automated and easy-going. Instead, I feel proud to be a part of this evolution which is constantly rising with all the hi-tech creations that are going around.
It’s this passionate interest in the tech world which has eventually led to this monthly column on The Gadget Flow where we’ll be showcasing some of the coolest tech inventions and news that’s been our favorites this month. While the Amazon Prime Air and Google Glass had rightfully been our preferred choices for the last few months, let’s unveil the newest entries on the list henceforth!
Project Tango by Google
Coming from the futuristic R&D team of Google, the ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) Group, Project Tango envisions a 3D mapping technology that can give mobile devices a humanistic approach to understanding space and motion. As Johnny Lee from ATAP says, “We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.” It’s this fundamental aspect of interacting with the environment like humans do that forms the base of this future smartphone which promises to update its position in real-time and give you a corresponding 3D model of the space around you. So, for example, Tango could easily let you capture the dimensions of your home before you go for furniture shopping or even let the visually impaired navigate unassisted in unfamiliar places. It’s also got the possibilities of creating this whole new world of gaming which is far more interactive than we could possibly imagine before. Transforming your hallways into a tree-lined path wouldn’t seem a difficulty with Tango at all. As the Verge rightly says, “It’s like having the Mars Rovers eyes in the palm of your hand.”
Currently, the team is looking for developers to make this phenomenal concept be a huge star success in the coming days and are launching their 200 prototype dev kits by March, 2014. That’s one coolest gadget we definitely look forward to.
Flappy Bird Flies Away
“I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” One tweet from Flappy Bird Developer Dong Nguyen got the headlines rolling on why a game which got it’s creator nearly $50,000 a day was suddenly “gone forever” within just a few hours. Though initially the game hadn’t been much of a favorite amongst iOS app users, the beginning of this year suddenly saw an upsurge in the popularity of Flappy Bird that got quite a lot of eyebrows raised. After all, it hadn’t seemed to be a game that could raise that much of addiction amongst its users.
When confronted by Forbes, Nguyen had said that his intentions were far from making the game addictive. He just wanted Flappy Bird to be a relaxing pastime for the players out there. “I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever,” he said. The sad news is he isn’t planning to bring the game back or sell it to a third party. So, the little birdy can now be at ease from all the piping traumas it had to face all this time.
$1,509,506 – that’s what the spectacular personal theater of the future Glyph has raised on Kickstarter few days back creating history by itself. Avegant was sure of bringing this new kind of personal display technology which would not make you bear with the limitations of image quality. They call it a virtual retinal display which makes users experience the pleasures of sharp imagery in a way like we see natural light. As Avegant CEO Edward Tang commented on The Verge, “We’re trying to recreate your vision as closely as possible. Look at how you naturally see. When you look around the room, your eyes don’t get tired. You can see 3D. And you don’t get nauseous or get headaches around the normal world.”
Head-mounted displays do make us go choosy at times because of the style quotient that worries us always and that’s where Glyph’s flip down form factor comes into play. Wear it as a headphone and flip it down whenever you wish to have an 80-inch TV experience, Glyph’s a future tech device that’s going to make your media content dazzle!
Atlas Fitness Tracker
Fast Company was indeed correct when they said that Atlas is a fitness tracker that puts everything else in shame. Yes indeed. This is the first fitness tracking device that promises to actually track your workout rather than act as a simple step counter. It’s a fitness tracker that not only identifies your different activities but also learns all new exercises you do with the help of it’s power packed analytic engine. The on-wrist display provides live feedback thus making you free from carrying your phones to the gym. The 3D body tracking feature is what’s taken the crown with its accurate detection of workout movements in a way that keeps your body safe and healthy.
When all that comes in one charming wristband, it’s obvious people would be crazy to try that out. That’s what made Atlas tremendously popular on Indiegogo with $508,531 already raised from early adopters having 11 more days to go. To add to that, Atlas has also been one of the few startups that got the wonderful opportunity of showcasing their products on Techcrunch Hardware Battlefield this year at Las Vegas.
Royal Philips’ Supermarket Lighting System
The big stars in LED lighting has yet again come forth with this intelligent lighting system that’s going to make personal shopping more fun and cost-friendly. In a recent press release, the company said, “The system uses intelligent LED in-store lighting to communicate location-based information to shoppers via a smartphone app which they can opt to download.” The lighting will then magically communicate with the shoppers sending them special offers and information depending on their location in the store.
This will not only help retailers in building customer loyalty and sales by providing targeted information and discount coupons but will also make shoppers have more control on their shopping experience. “The beauty of the system is that retailers do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to house, power and support location beacons for indoor positioning,’’ said Gerben van der Lugt from Philips Lighting ‘’The light fixtures themselves can communicate this information by virtue of their presence everywhere in the store.’’ That’s a “light” way for shopping in the future for sure!
MIT Startup Tesseract’s 3D Photography Effects
With 3.5 trillion photographs out there, it’s not wrong to perceive that photography is indeed the heart of visual communication. That’s what MIT startup Tesseract believes and wants to make the spirit of true photography become more commercialized with their new camera technology on your smartphones. Their aim is simple yet commendable – they want to make you perform SLR-like depth of field effects, digital refocusing, 3D color filters and much more from your very own mobile phones.
This might seem insurmountable but that’s what they’ve done. It’s like an Instagram for 3D photography where you could Bokeh (digital refocus), Chroma (3D color filters) and teleport your images with just a flick. You need not worry on your Photoshop skills anymore, all you need is your smartphones with Tesseract.
Tesla is on a Record With 22,477 Cars Sold in 2013
They are not one of the conventional automobile manufacturers and the record sales for Tesla Motors last year might seem sparse as compared to others on this field, but you got to agree that 22,477 car sales for premium electric vehicles is not a small number. It shows that people have adapted to this change in the way we think about automobiles and how they operate. Tesla Motors is indeed turning out to be a true Elon Musk venture you can expect anyday, challenging but possible. Though the hassles of selling its cars directly to consumers raise the question of inconvenience for the company, it has not been a setback for Tesla’s growth last year. 2014 is expected to raise the numbers with their impending international expansion.
As reported on Venturebeat, “Tesla has already made a big push in China and Germany, but it plans to gradually expand with new dealerships in the U.K., Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia starting this spring. The company said it expects sales in the European and Asian regions to more than double its domestic car sales by end of 2014.” Cross-country trips will no longer be a concern globally as Tesla’s revving engines do not seem to die.
Those were some of the tech cocktails we had for you from February. Let’s hope to unveil more delicious flavors next month. Till then, Happy Gadgeting!