Sensor Tech isn’t yet ready to Power the ‘Wearable Internet’

Powered by your body heat, solar panels or an electromagnetic charger, sensors would capture information both about you and everything around you. From knowing your heart rate, location, direction you’re proceeding, outside temperature and activities also your weight, sensors would know all about you.

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With the pricing of sensors has dropped 200 times over the last two decades,some sensors are one-tenth the price they were just four years ago, despite having vastly improved their function. This is why it’s easy for people to think sensors will get cheaper. But a lot of sensors are still expensive, and many of them don’t perform as well as they should.  There are hundreds of different sensors whose prices needs to drop to 10 cents for the wearable Internet to reach its full potential. Accelerometers used to be the size of a human thumb and costed about $25. Now a millimeter square cost 10 cents and also perform better than the thumb-sized version. The 10-cent compass in your smartphone is navigation-grade, meaning it is about as good as the compass in an airplane cockpit.Medical sensors are also in their infancy.  Sensors are unlike other smartphone components where you cannot outsource manufacturing to other nations just to have them cheaper but they solely rely on technological innovation. Since more sensors are analog, they need to convert their readings to digital so that it can be shared. Since these are innovated by highly paid engineering, master engineers with a PhD, they cannot come cheap.  The sensor section is also highly diversified since each entity relies on different technology. Ranging from chemical to physical and medical, each of these have their own sensors, it takes a lot of research and innovation to have them work upon. These are some problems that need to be solved before reaching the required potential for wearable internet and while there are problems like these it might take a while. But the change is real, it has already started with smartwatches and wearable technology is only about less than a decade away.

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Verizon IoT Report: Revenue Growth No. 1 Driver

Verizon’s M2M director weighs in on the company’s new IoT report, ThingSpace’s success, why hardware standards need to be approached with caution and more.

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“Connectivity is our foot in the door,” said Mary Beth Hall, director, connected solutions, M2M product marketing for Verizon, in a briefing. “We’re going to grow from there.”  Hall cited a range of real-world use cases, including property management software maker BuildingLink.com working with a luxury high-rise to notify tenants when there’s open equipment in the onsite gym or laundry area. The app was built on the ThingSpace platform using APIs and sensors placed on washers and dryers and treadmills.  “We are really simplifying the ability to create IoT applications for our partners and customers,” said Hall, adding that there are now 5,000 developers and 2,000 partners in the ecosystem. On the horizon are a ThingSpace Market, where coders and Verizon can sell IoT solutions, and a ThingSpace Portal for over-the-air software releases to IoT devices where manual upgrades aren’t practical.

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Hi-tech bike helmet has two cameras and gives 320 degree vision 

According to the Cairns-based firm behind the helmet, the CycleVision weighs just 280 grams, has two 1080p cameras capturing a 160-degree field of view each.

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Designed by Australian firm Cyclevision, the lightweight helmet has two HD cameras embedded into the frame and can even stream the footage from the rear camera to a phone on the handlebars.  Footage captured by the cameras is recorded on 4.5-hour ‘continuous overwriting loop’ which is stored on a 32GB SD card. The helmet has two 1080p micro HD cameras – one in the front and one in the back.  Cameras capture a 160-degree field of view each, recording everything going on in front and behind of the rider.  Footage is recorded on a 4.5 hour ‘continuous overwriting loop’ which is stored on a 32GB SD card. But a 256GB upgrade is available. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery provides 5 hours of recording time.  By connecting the camera to a phone mounted on the handlebars, the rider can keep track of hazards behind them.  But the firm offers an upgrade to 256GB for better vision data storage.  According to the Cairns-based firm, the CycleVision helmet weighs just 280 grams and all the components are waterproof.  To get the footage from the cameras, wearers plug into a USB port and vision and audio files can be easily transferred to a laptop.  It is powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that can provide five hours of recording time. 

But the most notable feature is the Wi-Fi connection of the rear camera. By connecting the camera to a phone mounted on the rider’s handlebars, the rider can keep track of how close that truck is to their mud guard.

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Financial Institutions Turn to the Internet of Things to Stay Competitive

Connected devices, drones and sensors helping financial service companies

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Whether it’s tracking driving habits for the purpose of offering insurance discounts, using biometric data to confirm an ATM user’s identity, using sensors to determine the condition of loan collateral, or remotely disabling a car that is slated for repossession, the financial services IoT is ushering in an era in which “smart” things can seamlessly collect, share and analyze real-time data, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “The Internet of Financial Things: What Banking and Insurance Industry Marketers Need to Know Now.”  An April 2015 survey of global executives across a variety of different industries conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) found that respondents in banking and financial services predicted that average IoT per-company spending for their sector would grow to $153.5 million by 2018, up nearly 31% from $117.4 million in 2015. Respondents in the insurance industry expected their average per-company budgets to rise about 32% between 2015 and 2018, from $77.7 million to $102.9 million.

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Not The Internet Of Things Generation: Only 9% Of Teens Likely To Own A Wearable

Not The Internet Of Things Generation: Only 9% Of Teens Likely To Own A Wearable – 03/29/2016

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Discussions about IoT adoption often take into consideration the expectations of what the next generation will do.  This is a challenging concept, since the next generation won’t be looking at buying the current generation of IoT products.  But there are starting to be some early indicators of some of the thinking of the next generation, at least about the current state of smart or connected objects.  For example, only 9% of teens are likely to own a wearable, according to a study of how teens and millennials use email, conducted by Adestra, a marketing a technology company.  More (19%) millennials, in this case those 19-34 years old, are more likely to own wearables.  As yet another indicator of not yet jumping aboard the IoT train, the majority (54%) of elementary school age children and 59% of those in middle school have no great interest in autonomous cars, as I wrote about here recently 

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Ford intends to integrate wearable technology into vehicles

Wearable technology is becoming extremely popular, particularly when it comes to various types of health and fitness trackers, though smartwatches

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According to the vehicle design and infotronics global manager at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, Gary Strumolo, “Wearable technology integrated with the vehicle allows for more accurate biometric data to stream continuously and alert active driver-assist systems to become more sensitive if the driver shows signs of compromised health or awareness.” It will be interesting to see how such technology fares in safety testing when it comes time to release it.

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Detect a child’s temperature “without disturbing them”

Pacif-i is hitting the market at a time when smart baby products are becoming more and more popular.

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Pacif-i, like so many other products these days, comes with its own application, which can be accessed on an Android or iOS device. The pacifier, created by Blue Maestro, can detect a child’s temperature, “without disturbing them,” surely a big selling point for parents who are loathe to wake their child to check for fever. The smartphone simply needs to be within 30 feet of the pacifier, meaning parents can check their child’s temperature from the next room. “If a baby is too hot, they have trouble regulating their temperature and they can’t get to sleep,” said Blue Maestro CEO Richard Hancock. “This application provides parents with a very easy way to monitor their child’s temperature and take action.”

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When Will We Be Able to Trust the Internet of Things?

Regardless of all the buzz around the Internet of Things, the promised connectivity won’t mean much until it works all the time.

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Indeed, while IoT is presently a very immature set of technologies, much more is coming, no doubt about it. But before we get too enamored with this latest shiny object, let’s ask a few fundamental questions.   –  IoT assumes, in almost every case, either that (a) everything works correctly all the time, or (b) we can tell that it’s not working correctly and ignore it until it’s fixed. Underlying these seemingly reasonable assumptions is the belief that we can trust all the smart connected devices in the IoT world to tell us the truth about what they’re doing all the time. If that’s not the case, a device’s “reputation” — the reliability of the data it provides — can disappear quickly and be very hard to regain.  That’s a tougher problem than you might think. Talk to IoT skeptics and you hear a lot of concerns about devices that don’t do something they are supposed to do at the moment they are supposed to do it, or about devices that do something they are not supposed to do at any point in time. Both of those concerns about “bad behavior” suggest that there is a new frontier in IoT, a frontier that goes well beyond what we generally think about with regard to security — and probably beyond what we have thought about privacy as well.

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Wearable tech takes aim at health care costs | ET HealthWorld

Stroll around the office or neighborhood six times a day, and earn $1.50 toward your health insurance.Step up activity a bit more and bring the total ..

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‘Gamification’  As a further incentive, Target said it would allow teams of employees which log the most average daily steps to collect more than $1 million for local non-profit organizations.

This strategy of providing financial incentives for healthy activity is known in the industry as “gamification.”  “We have a lot of clients who want to subsidize the program and make it free, but it’s less effective,” Fleming said. “There has to be both a carrot and a stick.”  One program being offered through health services firm Vitality Group provides an Apple Watch for $25, a fraction of the retail cost. But employees must “pay” for the device by completing workouts and gym visits each month.

Growth in such programs over the past few years coincides with incentives to meet Obamacare goals on preventive care, and with new research suggesting that more activity can ward off many medical ailments.

Data mining  But the new programs raise questions about private data collected and stored by insurers.  While employers and insurers must comply with US privacy regulations so that health data cannot be seen or used by employers, critics still worry.  “Technology is outpacing the legal protections in place,”

See on Scoop.itWearable Tech and the Internet of Things (Iot)

The Inside Story of How Oculus Cracked the Impossible Design of VR

After nearly four years of work, Oculus is about to share its long-gestating dream with the world.

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A great story on the significant challenges of designing a viable and workable product for the marketplace – lots of challenges to overcome and it is an iterative process.  The DK2, (Developer Kit 2) not only added new capabilities—most significantly, the ability to have its position tracked in space and a display technology that kept images clear even when users moved their heads quickly—but, with its rounded corners and smaller, less forbidding eyebox, it was immediately friendlier than its predecessor. “We don’t want the robot mask on your face,” says Nirav Patel, an Oculus engineer who helped design the motion-sensing brain of the Rift. “As we went from DK1 to DK2, we had in mind that we needed to overcorrect for that.”  But the DK2 was by no means perfect. Its ski-goggle-style head strap was soft, but to keep the front-heavy headset stable it had to be adjusted so tightly that long-term comfort was a concern. And cramming in all the capabilities Oculus wanted the consumer Rift to have meant bundling three more cables together, resulting in what Patel calls a “preposterous umbilical cord.” While DK2 did what it needed to do—provide developers a platform on which they could start building games and experiences—it wasn’t a product. Not by a long shot.  Not only did the lack of side anchors make the headset shift from side to side, but you felt like Bane during a visit to the optometrist. So Bristol and Patel and their teams made design prototypes. A lot of them. (At one point, while showing me a group of 10 or so prototypes, Bristol allowed that the assortment represents “probably a fiftieth” of their exploration.) And while all those prototypes solved problems, they invariably created others. Take the one that replaced straps with hard plastic wings that gripped the sides of your head. Upside: You could slide it on from the front. Downside: Not only did the lack of side anchors make the headset shift from side to side, but you felt like Bane during a visit to the optometrist.  “You’re always adding into the equation what people are actually going to be comfortable wearing and what looks appropriate,”   As the prototypes came and went, the team realized that ergonomics for a VR headset are about more than just stability. You could custom-fit a 3-D-printed headset, but that was for naught if it didn’t lead to a good time in VR. “We’d build stuff,” Patel says, “and we couldn’t actually prove out if it was ergonomically good until we actually went into VR. You have to see it in-experience to know if it solves the problems that you need it to.”  Slowly, the many tributaries they’d pursued dried up, returning them to a single course of design elements. The side straps became spring-loaded cantilevers, which would let you adjust the fit as you liked but still take the headset off (and put it back on) like a baseball cap, with no further readjustments. The integrated on-ear headphones swivel forward and back to fit onto anyone’s ears—then swing up and out of the way with a soft, satisfying click. “The right answer has to be exposed to the consumer,” Bristol says. “You’re not hiding it in plastic or decoration—there’s a raw honesty of technology and solutions.” – 

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