Sweaters, jackets and long johns are all “wearables” that keep us warm, but they aren’t all that smart — if you walk into a room that’s too hot or exercise too hard, you need to stop using them to cool down. It’s an inconvenience we’ve grown used to, but we don’t have to put up with it much longer: a pair of engineers are creating new self-heating shirt that automatically adjusts its temperature to meet your body’s needs. Set your desired body temperature and it will heat up to help you reach it, then shut off to keep things from getting too hot. It’s called the FuelWear Flame Base Layer, and it’s already reached its original $20,000 goal on IndieGoGo.
The heated garment was inspired by last year’s Canadian winter — FuelWear’s founders were students at the University of Toronto, and remember shivering on the way to class. Fed up with fighting the cold with traditional clothing, the pair founded the company and built their first prototype within months. After going through several iterations, the model up for production is a simple black number that promises to keep its wearer up to 10 degrees warmer (Celsius) in temperatures well below freezing.
The shirt can provide warmth for anywhere between 3 to 12 hours depending on how much heat it puts out, but all day “use” isn’t out of the question — an embedded sensor keeps track of how warm the body is, allowing the shirt to deactivate during active movement (running, snow skiing) or when the wearer walks into a hot room. That tech won’t come cheap though — the developers are targeting a $250 price when it launches, but it can be had for about $100 less by ordering now from IndieGogo.
Filed under: Wearables
“The sharing economy” is a buzzword that’s thrown around to talk about services like AirBnB and Lyft, and now it looks as if Toyota wants in on the trend. The automaker is putting 70 electric cars into commission in France, half of them being i-Road EVs, as spotted by Gizmodo. Instead of competing with the existing public transit system that’s in place, however, Toyota says this will work alongside the city of Grenoble’s infrastructure making the likes of one-way trips, among other things, easier. So long as there’s a drop-off station near your destination, there’s no need to worry about parking or a return trip, either, apparently. Reserving a ride can be handled with a smartphone app and rental fees start at €3 (about $4) — cheaper than minimum fare on Uber. In the land of baguette and interested? Service starts in October.
It’s Friday, folks. You made it. But before you checkout for the weekend (i.e. Destiny-filled all-nighters), take a look at all our news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Apple made a pretty big deal about WiFi calling at its event this week, but if you preordered an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus running on AT&T today, you won’t be able to use it right out of the box. That feature, according to LightReading, won’t be available until next year. The carrier’s Ralph de la Vega says the delay is because he wants to make sure that actually using the tech is a good experience for customers and doesn’t result in annoyances like, say, dropped calls when switching from WiFi to mobile data. T-Mobile believes it’s sidestepping that by giving every customer a router that prioritizes voice calls — something that AT&T apparently doesn’t need to do because it doesn’t share the magenta network’s coverage issues. De la Vega says he sees the tech not as a replacement for voice over LTE and 3G, but a complement. Shots fired?
Reading lips is a skill usually reserved for fictional spies or the hearing impaired, but researchers have spent years trying to gift the talent to computers, too. A device capable of automated lip-reading would certainly be a game changer, raising questions of personal privacy while simultaneously creating new opportunities in the accessibility and security industries. Don’t get too nervous (or excited) though — Ahmad Hassanat, a researcher at Mu’Tah University in Jordan, says we have a long way to go before machine eyes can tell what we’re saying.
Hassanat explains that we have major hurdles to leap before we can expect machines to decode lip movement: human speech uses more than 50 distinct sounds to form words and syllables, but the mouth itself only forms between 10 and 14 distinguishable shapes. Lip reading isn’t just simply recognizing and putting together the sounds those shapes represent — it’s partially guesswork. To suss out exactly what sounds a speaker is making, lip readers have to take in body language, facial expressions and the context of the conversation to help them decipher words.
The researcher’s own experiments have produced an average success of 76-percent, but Hassanat says we still have a long way to go — in addition to missing out on contextual clues, he says, automated systems often fumble when reading the words of bearded men. You can read his write up for yourself at the source link below.
[Image credit: Chev Wilkinson]
Filed under: Misc
Pre-order supplies of the iPhone 6 in the United States have dwindled significantly since pre-orders kicked off last night, with most models of the device now displaying shipping estimates of 7 to 10 days. The new shipping estimates mean customers who place an order now will likely be receiving their phones in October rather than September.
While there are still a some AT&T and Verizon iPhone 6 models available in space gray and gold, silver models for most carriers have now sold out. T-Mobile continues to have some availability in gold, with space gray models carrying shipping estimates of 7 to 10 days.
Though it has taken nearly a day for Apple to run out of most iPhone 6 models available to ship on 9/19, supplies of the larger iPhone 6 Plus were much more limited. Apple’s online store was down until just before 3 AM PT, at which point almost all iPhone 6 Plus models were showing shipping estimates of 7 to 10 days before slipping to 3 to 4 weeks just hours later.
Supplies are similarly limited in other countries where pre-orders were accepted, with the U.K. and Germany seeing iPhone 6 shipping estimates ranging from 7 to 10 days or 3 to 4 weeks based on model. New orders of the iPhone 6 Plus in those countries have shipping estimates of 3 to 4 weeks for all models.
According to Apple, response to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was “incredible,” with the company setting a new record for overnight pre-orders despite pre-order hiccups.
Though customers will no longer be able to pre-order most models of the iPhone 6 or a 6 Plus from Apple’s site for delivery on 9/19, Apple will have launch day supplies at its retail stores on that date. Oftentimes, people wait in line for hours in an attempt to get a device from a retail store.
Supply of the iPhone 6 Plus seems to be similar to supply of the gold iPhone 5s last year, which became almost instantly unavailable. Unlike last year, however, there were few reports available on supply quantities.
The vocabulary we use to describe music can be tough enough for a human to grok (really, what does it mean when a guitar riff is “crunchy”?) but a team of tinkerers from Birmingham City University aren’t interested in helping people understand that language. Nope — instead, they’ve cooked up a way to teach your computer what you mean when you throw around words like “bright” or “fuzzy” or, yes, “crunchy” with a program they call the SAFE Project.
Spearheaded by Dr. Ryan Stables, the SAFE Project in its current form is a plugin for existing audio workstation software that lets would-be music producers apply effects by typing in words instead of fiddling with settings. The real magic happens on the backend, though: once you punch in a word (say, “airy”), the plug-in passes that descriptor along to the team’s server, which draws upon the power of the crowd to give your music a twist. That’s right, the crowd: the secret sauce of the project is that it draws on settings presets that users tag and upload to continually redefine what aural effects those words actually describe. In a way, it’s almost like a living musical brain living in the cloud you can call upon when your music needs some pizzazz, and it’s only getting better. Stables says the team is working on a way to let users suss out the sonic spaces between words by applying effects that are partway between two descriptors.
Source: Semantic Audio
If you brought a big, conventional laptop with you to college, you’re probably regretting it right about now. It’s not fun to lug a heavy machine and your textbooks around campus. You may have an easy way to try out something a little kinder to your back, though. Google has unveiled the Chromebook Lending Library, a demo program that lets students borrow a featherweight Chrome OS machine for a few days. So long as Google is on the school grounds, the system is yours; you can take notes in class or just catch up on Netflix in your dorm room. The Library arrives at both Syracuse at Walnut Park and Texas State University next week, and it’ll swing by other institutions in the weeks ahead. The big catch? You can’t actually buy a Chromebook from the Library if you’re enamored with the experience — you’ll likely have to venture into town to pick one up.
Google+ is dead! Google+ is dying! Google+ is a ghost town! Oh the memories we all have of the internet and social media networks. No matter which way you slice it, some people love Google+ and others can’t stand it. Is it being scaled back at all? I have no idea. What I do know though is that Google just bought another startup company and they are joining the Google+ team.
Polar is a polling company. Essentially they give you the tools to create a poll and publish it. Statics wise they served more than 500 million polls in the last 8 months. For a little more WOW factor, in September, I assume last year, they had 1.1 million unique voters.
Does this mean we are going to start seeing countless polls showing up in our G+ stream? Probably not. Dave Besbris, head of G+ said,”At Google+, Wroblewski and the Polar team will work on making the social network easier to use on mobile devices.” Luke Wreblewski is the founder of Polar by the way. he is also apparently a mobile design expert. Wreblewski and a handful of the Polar team will all be joining forces will the Google+ very soon. I have a feeling there will be some visual changes and UI tweaks hitting our beloved G+ app on our devices shortly thereafter.
The post Google swoops up another startup, Polar to join the Google+ team appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Earlier this year, Apple and Square were rumored to be in talks over a possible acquisition, but no deal materialized. According to a new report from TechCrunch, talks between the two companies failed over purchase price.
Apple is said to have wanted to purchase Square for approximately $3 billion, an offer that Square felt was too low given its valuation at the time.
Separately, TechCrunch has heard that Square and Apple were in acquisition talks, but that Square walked away. Apple wanted the company to come aboard, but the discussed price was a sticking point: Apple wanted to buy Square for around $3 billion, one source said. Square, valued at the time at a firm 66 percent delta to that price point, declined to accept. Apple also showed Square a raft of hardware that would compete with Square’s point-of-sale tools, said the same source.
Earlier rumors suggested that the disconnect between Square’s robust offline payment solution and Apple’s simpler plan to enable payments via iPhone were another reason why talks eventually came to an end. Square has recently raised $100 million in capital, putting its valuation at $6 billion.
Apple on Tuesday revealed its long-rumored mobile payment solution, Apple Pay. Apple Pay is designed to allow iPhone users to make NFC payments using credit cards stored in Passbook, which are then authorized with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple has reached deals with credit card companies, credit issuers, and retailers, and has plans to launch Apple Pay in October.
According to Apple, the program will work with over 220,000 U.S. retail stores, including Walgreens, Duane Reade, Macy’s, Nike, Bloomingdales, Staples, Subway, McDonalds, and more.