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This past weekend, rumors made their way into the wild that Apple is looking to add a watch to its line of iDevice products. However impressive or sleek an iWatch would end up being, would it really be a good idea for Apple to get into the wristwatch game?
Now, before you instantly discredit an iWatch rumor as just being a rumor that the news cycle created in order to have news to cycle, the report originated from the Wall Street Journal, and despite what you may or may not think about the publication, it has a great track record with Apple-related rumors. Reportedly, Apple has discussed the production of a smartwatch with one of its manufacturing partners, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. — otherwise known as Foxconn — and would be adding some smartphone-like features into the device. The watch would be made out of curved glass that can form around the human body, and would run iOS.
Real-time emotion detection with Google Glass: An awesome, creepy taste of the future of wearable computers
The wily geniuses at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have created the world’s first real-time emotion detection app for Google Glass. The app (glassware, as Google prefers to call it) can also accurately detect someone’s age or gender. All of the analysis is carried out on-board — the cloud isn’t used; the raw data (which might be sensitive in nature) never leaves the Glass device. Real-time emotion detection could be of great use for people with disorders such as autism, who often struggle to interpret facial expressions, or simply for people who struggle to divine their partner’s true emotional state when they say that they’re “fine.”
Fraunhofer’s Google Glass app is based on its tried-and-tested SHORE (Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition Engine) system. SHORE started off as an object-detection computer vision system, but over the years it has developed into a face detection and fine facial analysis system. It can pick out a person’s face with a 91.5% success rate, and tell you that person’s gender 94.3% of the time. It can even take a stab at the person’s age. Previously, SHORE — which is essentially a highly optimized C++ library — has been deployed on various computer systems, from PCs to tablets. Now, Fraunhofer IIS has squeezed all of that facial analysis goodness onto Google Glass’s rather wimpy hardware (1GB of RAM, dual-core TI OMAP 4430 SoC). Watch the video below; it’s a little bit scary how accurate the system is at detecting gender, age, and emotional state.
Virgin Atlantic is taking wearable tech to the skies. USA Today reports that concierges for the airline have today begun wearing Google Glass to aid in the process of checking in passengers. With the information closer than their fingertips, concierges will be able to offer passengers the latest flight, weather and event information. Glass will also offer the valuable ability to translate languages.
The articles states that at some point, the device will also be able to link a person will their food and beverage preferences. Director of information technology for Virgin Atlantic Dave Bulman said, “The whole industry needs to listen to what these passengers are calling for, and keep innovating to bring a return to the golden age of air travel. Flying should be a pleasure, not a chore.’
This project, which was launched with the help of SITA, an information technology company, will last for a six-week trial period. Should everything go well, the program could be extended to other airports.
Do you view this as a luxury experience for travel? Would it disturb you to be called by name by someone you’ve never seen before and have them know your flying preferences? It does give back a sense of importance to passengers but is it more important to recognize that all passenger information is being uploaded and shared by Virgin Atlantic concierges?
As wearable technology expands into use by various members of different professions, its great to see industries that don’t usually adopt technology quickly jump on the bandwagon. But it will also be interesting to see how privacy concerns are met.
On Friday, October 13th 2006, I suffered a traumatic brain injury in a near fatal car accident as I was traveling home from boarding school. I was placed in a medically induced coma for six days to relieve brain swelling. I was released four days later to return to school. When I awoke, I could not recognize my parents, brother, friends, or even recall my name. In order to discover what happened to me, I had to read an article in the Boston Globe that my parents had saved. I would recover my memory before my release, but the accident taught me about the fragility of life, memory, and identity. As a survivor of head injury, I believe that wearable computers will offer me the most assistance to overcome my injury.
In 2011, I was fortunate to discover one of the coolest startups for a wonderful storytelling application. Evergram was founded in December 2011, imagined as a powerful new application to collect stories and thoughts to be shared. It can even be used as a personal journal for self-reflection. I recognize the power this application gives to create great moments for genuine communication. I imagine father’s leaving precious wisdom behind, similar to Howard Stark’s recorded remark to Tony in Iron Man 2. In February 2013, Google announced the upcoming beta launch of their newest device, a foray into wearable computers, Google Glass.
Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that can communicate with the Internet and record video and audio through voice commands. The effortless use of the camera becomes the device’s single greatest triumph as a new technology, and at the same time its biggest impediment to acceptance by the public, due to the possibility for misuse and the invasion of privacy. However, the candid mentality of memory preservation and communication behind Evergram can define and improve the purpose of the platform provided by Google Glass. With its 2014 launch to the public, Glass has tremendous potential to enhance the lives of many, mine included.
School has simply never been the same. Tasks such as note taking, keeping attentive, and participating in discussions became more difficult than before. I had missed eight days of classes — eight days worth of quizzes, tests, notes, and essays. In order to catch up, my school aided me in getting notes from my classmates and in granting me extensions on any missed homework assignments. As helpful as all these measures were, I noticed that nothing compares to being there in the moment — so much learning is achieved simply by being attentive and participating in class. My school established this idea by enforcing punishments, ranging from stricter weekday and weekend curfews to suspension, for missing more than four classes a semester. On top of catching up in class, I had to pursue outpatient therapy to recover from my injuries. Glass could have tremendously eased my recovery, allowing me not only to review the classes I missed, but also to record future classes for better preparation.
After missing out on ten days at school and six actual days of consciousness, I became a severe sufferer of FOMO. I gained a new appreciation for life, enjoying and cherishing every second as a momentous occasion, never again taking it for granted. I realized that there are so many things that I had done, joys and pains experienced, a near infinite amount of memories that would never happen again. I dreamed for a long-time of being able to experience those missed events as someone in the moment, that as easily as I could forget everything defining me, that one day I could just as easily recall, even relive the more intimate memories of my life, and I recognize the opportunity that Google Glass provides to realize this dream.
I introduced Evergram not to suggest some novel, genius way of using Google Glass, but merely point out the way that this revolutionary platform it provides could have and will improve my life. Glass goes far beyond any other device in its ability to capture precious memories whilst avoiding distraction, the loss of attention the user experiences while using technology. Its powerful ability to record from the first-person gives it a distinct advantage for the collection of important memories, reflections, and thoughts. Everyone has a story worth sharing with someone at some time, and everyone deserves the ability to share it. Perhaps, it is the dreamer in me, but I imagine a future where our great defining memories can be shared to achieve the truest sense of genuine communication, an ability to not only tell someone something, but also to show them. I see Google Glass as a critical platform in achieving this bright future of memory preservation. With the development of Glass, Evergram, and many more apps, neither discussed nor created yet, I see the possibility created for the easy collection and transmission of memories and thoughts. Google Glass remains the next major device of wearable technology to empower its users to enjoy, share, improve, and remember their lives.
As Virgin Atlantic and NYPD trial Google Glass, we look at the other potential business uses…
Google has yet to confirm a release date for Glass, but the technology is already being trialed by a variety of industries including airlines, hospitals and police forces.
Having tried the latest version of Glass, we can see the potential of the device. The ability to take photos and video as well as bring up information from the internet via the head-mounted display make Glass a powerful tool. Despite Glass still being in the beta phase, it’s real-world applications are there for all to see and we take a look at 10 scenarios where it will be a good fit.
Glass can make a huge difference in hospitals to increase the efficiency of staff and accuracy of treatment given to patients.
The camera will play a pivotal role – allowing nurses or doctors to scan barcodes and NFC tags to identify patients, bring up medical records and verify the correct medication and dosage is being applied. Below we can see how SAP envisages Glass could be used in combination with its HANA technology.
Surgeons have already used Glass during operations. Sharing videos via Hangouts allows them to impart knowledge to students and seek real-time assistance from specialists who may be halfway across the world.
During operations, the HUD can also provide important images to surgeons, meaning that they don’t have move away from the patient. On the compliance side, recording the surgery can be used to find out why something went wrong during the the procedure, and help settle any complaints.
This week, Virgin Atlantic commenced a six-week trial of Google Glass at Heathrow airport. The airline announced Glass will be used by concierge staff at the Upper Class wing, with the aim of providing a more personalised customer service.
Glass will be used to process check-ins and provide passengers with information about their flight, as well as details of the weather and suggested activities at their destination. It can also aid translation queries.
Virgin will consider a wide-scale deployment and will work on improving functionality if it deems the trial successful. Other potential applications include the ability to provide staff with details of passenger’s dietary requirements.
3. Augmented Reality
Glass can superimpose information over real-world happenings, which will allow the tourism and leisure industry to enhance and support the customer experience.
City and museum tours can be brought to life by overlaying historicals buildings and artwork with key facts or audio descriptions. Users will also be able to take pictures and video and email the files to themselves so they can capture memories hands-free.
If Glass ends up being mainstream, as Google hopes, then a few years from now we will be living in an augmented reality world. Simple tasks like food and clothes shopping will be revamped. Apps could be developed allowing Glass to highlight the health benefits of foods and any promotions. Retail assistants will be able help customers with their queries on the shop-floor by providing information on products and checking stock levels.
Even the construction, retail and real estate agencies will benefit from augmented reality. When designing buildings, bridges and vehicles, the architects, builders and engineers will be able to pop on Glass and see what the finished article should look like, instead of relying on 2D blueprints or pictures.
Similarly, those selling or letting houses will be able to provide real-world tours without having to get clients to visits all properties. This could save the buyers/renters time as they would only need to visit houses in the real world they like the look of in the virtual world.
Global Travel Industry News: Virgin Atlantic first in world to use wearable technology to serve passengers
Virgin Atlantic passengers will be the first air travelers to experience the benefits of pioneering Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology as they arrive at London Heathrow airport, in an innovative pilot scheme which starts today. Concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing will be using wearable technology to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service yet.
The cutting-edge technology is being introduced asVirgin Atlantic publishes the results of a major study of 10,000 airline passengers from across the world on the future of air travel. The results show that as the number of people travelling by plane has sky-rocketed in recent decades, the experience has lessened. Virgin Atlantic is joining with passengers and calling on the industry to introduce more innovations and radical fresh thinking to meet sky-high consumer expectations.
Virgin Atlantic, in collaboration with air transport IT specialist SITA, is the first in the industry to test how the latest wearable technology, including Google Glass, can best be used to enhance customers’ travel experiences and improve efficiency. From the minute Upper Class passengers step out of their chauffeured limousine at Heathrow’s T3 and are greeted by name, Virgin Atlantic staff wearing the technology will start the check-in process. At the same time, staff will be able to update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate any foreign language information. In future, the technology could also tell Virgin Atlantic staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences – anything that provides a better and more personalized service. During the six-week pilot, the benefits to consumers and the business will be evaluated ahead of a potential wider roll-out in the future.
Virgin Atlantic’s new solution replaces an existing process for serving passengers traveling in the Upper Class Wing, the airline’s premium entrance at Heathrow dedicated to Upper Class passengers. Airline staff are equipped with either Google Glass or a Sony SmartWatch 2, which is integrated to both a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system. The dispatch app manages all task allocation and concierge availability. It pushes individual passenger information directly to the assigned concierge’s smart glasses or watch just as the passenger arrives at the Upper Class Wing.
Dave Bulman, Director of IT, Virgin Atlantic, said: “While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers. Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience. We are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”
Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer, SITA said: “2014 is shaping up to be the breakout year for wearable technology, and Virgin Atlantic is the first to bring its vision to reality. At SITA Lab, we’ve taken the lead in testing and trialing this new technology for the air transport industry, and it’s been fantastic to work with Virgin Atlantic to launch the industry’s first wearable technology application.”
Virgin Atlantic continues to push the boundaries with other technological advancements with SITA, including testing iBeacon with its Upper Class passengers at Heathrow, a new low-powered Bluetooth transmitter that can notify nearby iOS Apple devices of nearby services, discounts and updates on their flight boarding schedules. In addition, Virgin Atlantic’s newly enhanced mobile site means passengers will be able to book flights, check in online and check their flight status on the move, while also having access to the vast range of information on the main website, including destination and airport guides as well as details of baggage allowances and much more.
These are the essentials for your phone or tablet. You’ll find apps to read, write, watch and stay connected. Apps to save time and to waste time. We’ve collected the unmissable, the obscure and the exciting, so you can get the most from your device — without spending a penny.
Do you know an Android app that belongs on this list? Tell us about it in the comments.