Posts tagged " Innovation "

Your next activity tracker could be a pair of glasses

February 23rd, 2018 Posted by Latest News, News No Comment yet

If wearing a Fitbit on your wrist is too difficult, maybe you should consider a fitness tracker on your face. Eye insurance provider VSP Global is launching a pair of smart glasses today called Level that keep track of a wearer’s movement. They pair over Bluetooth to a companion iOS / Android app. A frame costs $270, which doesn’t include lenses.

The inside of the glasses is relatively simple and what you’d expect. There’s an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer that work together to track steps, distance, calories burned, and total activity time. It charges over a magnetic connector and should last about five days on a single charge. There are three different frame styles available in four different colors: black, tortoise, slate, and grey tortoise.

VSP has also added gamified the experience: if wearers reach daily step goals, they earn points that translate to care for people who need help affording vision care. So 50 points provides an eye exam and eyewear to someone in need, which is nice! But strangely, users can qualify their donations so that they only go to one specific group, including veterans, children, the elderly, or people who are homeless. 

As far as the product goes, activity-tracking glasses seem useful. Most spectacle wearers wear their glasses every day. However the challenge may come when keeping them charged, charging will have to happen at night when wearers are sleeping. If that’s forgotten then the lenses won’t be ready to track fitness as wearers will need to wear them during the day not charge them!

Google Lens – change the way you use your phone

May 18th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Google just launched its new Google Lens camera app at Google IO.  There are two features in particular that have really captured my attention – and they’re going to change the way we use our phones and snap pictures.

Auto recognise router details

Auto recognise router details

First up is the ability to auto-recognise the Wi-Fi login details on your router (or more likely, a friend or family member’s router) and connect you to the network without you having to do anything more than point your phone’s camera at the sticker.

It may not sound like a life-changing feature, but it’s one that will likely save all of us a lot of time and hassle.

Of course, it may mean visitors to your home will start hunting round your house to find your router, and then man-handle it to snap the details off the back – but it’s better than having to recite a random string of letters and numbers every time someone shows up.

Edit features from photos

At Google IO, the audience shown a picture of a girl playing baseball from behind the safety of the chain-link fence. It’s a nice photo, but the fence does get in the way.

Google says Lens will be able to remove the fence, and seamlessly fill in the spaces it leaves. It sounds almost impossible, but apparently it works.

Identify photo subjects

google-lens-keynote-4

If this feature works, it will be truly incredible. Google claim that you’ll be able to use your phone to identify subjects and be given information. Lens is essentially image search in reverse: you take a picture, Google figures out what’s in it.

This AI-powered computer vision has been around for some time, but Lens takes it much further. If you take a photo of a restaurant, Lens can do more than just say “it’s a restaurant,” which you know, or “it’s called Golden Corral,” which you also know. It can automatically find you the hours, or call up the menu, or see if there’s a table open tonight. If you take a picture of a flower, rather than getting unneeded confirmation of its flower-ness, you’ll learn that it’s an Elatior Begonia, and that it really needs indirect, bright light to survive. It’s a full-fledged search engine, starting with your camera instead of a text box.

We can’t wait!

Mobile payments struggle to make impact on contactless card use

April 19th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

The widespread popularity of contactless cards is stunting the adoption of mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Android Pay in the UK, according to research.

Just 1pc of British consumers would choose to use mobile payments in everyday scenarios such as buying lunch or shopping for clothes, far below those who would opt for cards or cash.

The study, based on polling of more than 2,000 people from ICM on behalf of marketing group HH Global, counted security concerns among the reasons for slow adoption of the technology.

Apple Pay, which launched in the UK in 2015, and Android Pay, which followed last year, allow shoppers to make instant payments using their phones as with a contactless card.

While contactless spending in the UK more than trebled last year to £25bn, many consumers have failed to see the benefit of using the equivalent technology with a phone. Adoption of mobile payment services has been higher in some other countries where contactless cards are less common.

Android Pay
Android Pay came to the UK last year CREDIT: BLOOMBERG

Figures from Transport for London released in February, showed that mobile payments now make up 8% of all contactless journeys, a figure that had increased from 3.5p% a year earlier before the Android Pay service launched.

“Just because the technology is there, it doesn’t mean consumers will change their behaviour immediately,” HH Global’s Robert Macmillan said.

“Mobile payments are suffering from security concerns, but equally consumers may feel there is not enough availability, or just that it is not that important when contactless cards do the same thing.”

Mobile payments supporters argue that the technology is safer because it requires fingerprint identification to activate it and the credit card information is encrypted, protecting card details. But 61% of those surveyed claimed believed newer forms of payment were less secure than cash, compared to 26% who disagreed.

According to Loup Ventures, a US research firm, just 13% of the world’s 680m iPhone users have tried Apple Pay. The service exists in 16 countries, although it does not work on phones older than two and a half years.

Our thanks to James Titcomb for this article.