Thursday, January 14, 2016

Connected thermometer

Here's an interesting Internet of Things thing that debuted at CES last week.

It's called Thermo. It's an infrared thermometer that you hold up to your temple. It has an LCD readout, but it can also connect to your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth and can be used as a tracking thermometer.

It's not cheap (€100), but it is hygienic and comes with a "diary" app that allows you to track temperature against medication, time of day, etc. It should be available in March.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Screen recording in Chrome

​If you need to record a Chrome browser session, check out Screencastify. There are lots of ways to do screen capture videos, but if you're just recording a chrome session, this might be the ticket.

Screencastify is a Chrome extension that allows you to record a chrome session with audio, or record directly from your camera so you can talk to your audience as you do the demo. There are some highlighting tools as well. You can save the recording to your local drive or Google Drive. Pretty slick.

The free version only allows 10 minute recording and puts the company's watermark on the recording – there's an upgrade that removes the watermark and gives you some editing tools (for a one time fee of 20€ for access all your devices that use your Google account.) It records in .webm format, so if you need something else you'll need a video converter.

Check it out in the Chrome store.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another cheap little computer - this one is pretty fast.

Arduino, Beagle Board, Raspberry Pi, C.H.I.P, and now Pine.

The race to the bottom of the price curve continues with Pine, a high-performance computer-on-a-board. It's about the size of a Raspberry Pi, has a 4 core, 64-bit, 1.2Ghz ARM processor, 1 GB RAM, HDMI (with a dual-core GPU), Ethernet, 2 USB ports and plenty of I/O. (You'll need to add a keyboard, mouse, USB WiFi, an HDMI monitor and micro-SD card for storage.)

And it will cost $19 ($15 for a less capable model.)

These boards will run Android and Linux and should be fast little controllers – great for Internet of Everything devices.

They're on Kickstarter now (about $1M pledged on a $31K goal with 10 days left.) They're planning to ship in the spring. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

LG Flexible display at CES

Several companies have announced flexible displays, but LG has actually been using them in their G Flex phones for some time. 

They demoed a large one in the Auto section at CES last week that can be, literally, rolled up like a newspaper. It could be used on cylindrical or curved surfaces (like a dash board, architectural column or a wrist/arm band.)

It's less than a millimeter thick and It uses OLED technology– with individually lit pixels (as opposed to backlighting) resulting in blacker blacks and higher dynamic range displays along with more portability.

They displayed a PoC at CES last year, but it looks like they're about ready for production.

Here's a short video of the technology from The Verge at CES:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Nikon wearable demoed at CES

At CES yesterday, Nikon announced an interesting device: the KeyMission 360. It's a consumer device that provides 360-degree capture at 4K resolution. It stitches various views together to produce the hi-res video. 

They call it a "wearable", but it looks like it might mount to the top of a helmet for 360 degree capture.

It works under water (to 100ft) and is resistant to shock, low temperatures and dust.

No word on price, but it should be available this spring.

Here's the press release (in Dutch…)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nvidia announces processor for self-driving cars at CES

If you're a gamer or graphics designer, you know Nvidia makes high performance graphics cards. At CES this year they announced their new processor that has little to do with gaming, but everything to do with image processing – and self-driving cars.

They announced their new Nvidia Drive PX2 – it's a fluid-cooled 12 core cluster with four GPU's that runs at 8 teraflops (8 trillion floating point operations per session – equivalent to a bunch of MacBook Pros.)

Why so much horsepower? They use it to run a high-performance deep-learning network – it's a technology that's used for machines to learn; in this case, it's learning about how to recognize objects and situations from information passed to it from cameras, lidar, radar and other sensors. With all this performance, deep-learning tasks that might have taken weeks to learn can now be done in a day.

They're working on a 3D display of what the machine "sees" – basically to provide riders confidence that it can see and react to the real world much faster than they could.

Volvo will be implementing the Nvidia platform first. Mercedez-Benz, Daimler and Audi are testing this hardware in their own test vehicles as well.

For more info see the Nvidia Blog.

Here's a video from CES.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CES - this week

The Consumer Electronics Show is on this week in Las Vegas - and I'm not going. My job responsibilities have changed and my company is sending someone else.

However, I pay attention to coverage of the event and I'll be publishing info on interesting tech I see - so you don't have to wade through a big pile of stuff coming out of the event to get to the interesting parts!

Some of the tech scheduled to be shown:

  • HDR TV's and monitors (High Dynamic Range - brighter brights, darker blacks.)
  • Drones, and more drones (some with fuel-cells for longer flights.)
  • Virtual reality - actual products.
  • More consumer robotics
  • Lots of cars (lot of buzz about Faraday Future)
  • Wearables (Fitbit promises a "big announcement" at CES)

Stay tuned!