Draw blood without a needle: Google files patent for blood test invention

FIRST your personal information, now your blood.

Google has patented a “Needle-Free Blood Draw”, which holds appeal for diabetes patients who have to test their blood glucose levels on a regular basis, for example.

The patent, which was published December 3, describes a device that uses “an abrupt surge of gas” to give a micro-particle enough momentum to pierce a person’s skin.

Then a “micro-emergence of blood” is drawn into a barrel.

There are two examples shown as illustrations in the patent: One looks like a traditional blood-drawing device that a person can place on the tip of their finger, while the alternative example is a wrist-based device.

Google notes that the latter device could be used manually or configured to draw blood automatically.

An illustration of the patent.

An illustration of the patent.

The company is obviously mum about its intentions for this patent, which is still pending.

A spokesman replied to an inquiry from The Verge by saying “we hold patents on a variety of ideas — some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”

The patent was filed on May 28, 2014, well before Alphabet Inc. was announced as Google’s parent company on August 10, 2015.

In the announcement, CEO Larry Page pointed for “companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products” as the ones housed in Alphabet apart from Google.

“What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity),” Page wrote in the Alphabet announcement.

The needle-free blood-drawing device, if it ever sees the light of day, would fall into Alphabet’s domain.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Here are the trends to watch for at CES 2016

CAR tech, wearables, and virtual reality are just a few of the cooler technologies that will be on parade at CES 2016.

Cars: The latest automotive tech will be a major theme at CES 2016, with more than 115 automotive tech companies and nine automakers debuting products, according to a statement from the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES 2016. “A show within a show, automotive exhibits will cover more than 200,000 net square feet of exhibit space, a 25 per cent increase over the 2015 CES,” CTA said. Car tech in focus includes the latest in driverless, electric, and energy-efficient vehicles.

Chevrolet will roll out its Bolt all-electric vehicle at CES. The Bolt — not to be confused with Chevy’s plug-in hybrid Volt — is General Motors first all-electric long-range vehicle, with an expected battery-only range of 200 miles. GM The CEO Mary Barra will be speaking at CES on January 6. Volkswagen is expected to introduce an all-electric microbes, according to reports.

Ford and Google are expected to announce a collaboration on self-driving, aka autonomous, vehicles. Toyota is also slated to show off autonomous car tech.

The autonomous electric vehicle is a red-hot area of R & D for vehicle makers globally. U.S. carmaker Tesla is leading the way by already offering limited self-driving on its Model S and Model X electric vehicles that are on the road today.

Finally, furtive start-up Faraday Future will debut its electric vehicle concept vehicle. Faraday has said it will produce “100% electric vehicles that offer seamless connectivity to the outside world. In addition to producing vehicles, the company plans to explore … unique ownership models, in-vehicle content and autonomous driving.”

Fitness trackers are expected to remain popular with the punters.

Fitness trackers are expected to remain popular with the punters.Source:Supplied

Wearables: The global wearables market is forecast to reach 111 million devices shipped in 2016. Wearable devices are gaining traction in the wake of the release of the Apple Watch earlier this year and a flood of new smartwatches and fitness trackers from Samsung, LG, FitBit, and Microsoft. While companies like Samsung and LG traditionally show off wearable hardware at CES, one of the hot topics this year will be software to make wearables smarter. That includes tech that does a better job of offering more insight on how to improve fitness routines and even offers wellness advice — rather than just spitting out raw fitness summaries, which most wearables do today. Mio Global plans to unveil tech that suggests a fitness routine best suited to each individual. That sounds like a no-brainer but wearables are still pretty dumb.

Move over smart watches, 2016 is all about smart clothing.

Move over smart watches, 2016 is all about smart clothing.Source:AFP

From fitness to fashion: Companies will take another stab this year at combining fashion and wearables. That means making wearables disappear — that is, embedding them in clothes. One area of focus will be Near Field Communications (NFC) chips embedded in attire. NFC — which allows, for example, the Apple Watch to communicate with contactless readers to make payments at stores — will be embedded in clothes to allow smart services on demand. One possible application is embedding the technology in golf clothes to monitor weather conditions or the level of ultra violet rays before you step onto the course.

Samsung C & T, for example, introduced the Smart Suit and Perfect Wallet earlier this year at IFA 2015 in Berlin. The Smart Suit 4.0 has NFC embedded in the sleeve button, allowing you to manage the NFC tag when wearing the suit

Samsung is also expected to show off a smart belt that helps you keep tabs on your waistline by monitoring steps, time spent sitting down, and eating habits.

Changing worlds with the Oculus Rift

Virtual Reality, aka, Augmented Reality: A slew of virtual reality platforms are on their way in 2016 including Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and Microsoft’s Hololens.

Related: Samsung Gear S2 vs. Apple Watch

Less sophisticated VR tech is already out there such as Google Cardboard that works today with most smartphones. Samsung’s Gear VR uses Oculus VR technology to tap into a Galaxy phone’s processor to power the VR headset.

The key thing to remember at CES is that there will be a lot of chatter about VR but the more sophisticated working platforms and products won’t be rolling out until later in 2016.

Mary Lou Jepsen, who was the head of Google X’s display division and is now heading up Oculus VR at Facebook, will give a presentation entitled “Screentime: From Laptops to Virtual Reality.”

Oculus will have a sizeable booth at CES to show off its latest and greatest VR technology.

Keep your eyes peeled for VR cameras. Early examples of VR cameras include the Jump Camera Rig which patches together 16 camera modules in a circular array. Or Nokia’s Ozo, which captures 360 degree video and surround sound.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Believing Fitbit stats is dangerous to your health: suit

The smartwatch brand Fitbit has been hit with a class-action suit filed by customers who say the gadgets’ measures are wildly — and dangerously — far off.

The San Francisco federal-court suit claims that the devices’ heart-rate monitors are inaccurate.

“The heart-rate monitoring function of the PurePulse Trackers is a material — indeed, in some cases, vital — feature of the product,” the lawsuit states.

One plaintiff said her Fitbat measured her heart rate at 82 beats per minute while a personal trainer measured it at 160 bpm.

Lawyer Jonathan Selbin said he hopes to get refunds for unhappy customers or at least partial refunds for customers who bought the more expensive watches with heart monitors.

Fitbit fired back and said the civil-action suit has no merit and the company “plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Fitbit heart tracker shows exact moment man was dumped by his boyfriend

DID you know there is a hidden function on Fitbit that tracks the moment someone breaks your heart in two?

This is what Israel-based co-founder of start-up Guesty, Koby Soto, discovered when his boyfriend recently broke up with him.

Mr Soto was wearing his Fitbit Charge HR — a device used to track workout routines, heart rate and sleeping patterns — when the fateful event occurred.

It wasn’t until he went to check the data recorded by his wearable that he discovered the anomaly.

When examining that data, Mr Soto realised his heart rate had jumped from its usual 72 beats per minute and rose to 88bmp as the events transpired over a telephone call.

His heart rate stayed up for the rest of the day, even reaching a peak of 118 bpm.

However, the tragic events were not enough to keep him from posting the findings on Twitter.

“I’m a geek myself, having [written code] for a decade and founding my own start-up so I like logging and tracking anything I can,” he toldBusiness Insider.

“I absolutely don’t think it is intrusive. I chose to wear it and I found it interesting enough to share.”

In hindsight Mr Soto said he believes the data is somewhat beneficial.

“I feel like it’s nice to have a log of your confirmation of what you felt,” he toldBuzzfeed.

“You can tell people you have heartbreak and you feel bad.

“People become less cynical once you show them the numbers or once you show the data or graphs. Everyone understands heartbreak, right? Everyone’s felt it. When you have this, it’s interesting — you have something to show.”

The device in question.
[SOURCE :-news]

Microsoft launches wearable technology in Australia targeting Fitbit, Apple and Samsung

THE world’s biggest software company will launch wearable technology in Australian stores tomorrow, and it has the big names in fitness tracking and smartwatches in its sights.

Microsoft’s sensor-packed Band 2 is designed to take on the likes of Fitbit, Apple and Samsung with a mixture of fitness-tracking features and smartphone notifications, and the company says its convergence makes it “stickier” than the “generic” competition.

PULSE RACING: Fitbit users launch lawsuit over allegedly inaccurate heart-rate data

FITNESS FEAST: A fresh wave of fitness trackers unveiled at CES 2016

The software giant revealed its plans in Sydney today, and will roll out its wearable technology in electronics and sports stores tomorrow, including JB Hi-Fi and Rebel Sport, for $380.

On the run ... Microsoft will release its Microsoft Band 2 widely in Australian stores tomorrow.

On the run … Microsoft will release its Microsoft Band 2 widely in Australian stores tomorrow.Source:Supplied

Microsoft Band product manager Adam Pollington said the device would unashamedly target the big names in wearable technology with a combination of fitness and smartwatch features.

“If you look at the market today, there are two pretty clear segments — you’ve got the activity tracker market and you have the smartwatch side with productivity and connectivity,” he said.

“The Microsoft Band sits in a new sub-segment of smart bands.”

Microsoft’s first Australian wearable technology release is the sequel to a model released in the States in late 2014, and features 11 sensors including GPS to track cycling, a heart-rate sensor to track exertion, a galvanic skin response sensor to measure stress, barometer for elevation, and a UV sensor to tell you whether you need sunscreen — something Mr Pollington said would prove particularly useful in Australia.

The Microsoft Band 2 also connects to Apple iPhone, Google Android and Windows Phones to deliver notifications to its rectangular touchscreen, from incoming phone calls to tweets and SMS messages.

Smartwatch-alike ... Microsoft’s Band 2 will deliver heart-rate measurements, GPS tracking, step counting, and smartphone notifications.

Smartwatch-alike … Microsoft’s Band 2 will deliver heart-rate measurements, GPS tracking, step counting, and smartphone notifications.Source:Supplied

Mr Pollington said it was this crossover into the smartwatch space that could convince

Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin users to switch camps.

“If you are an avid user of Fitbit, I think you’ll notice quite a lot more functionality just through the sensors we have built into this product,” he said.

“Where we’re finding customers are getting an ongoing benefit, though, is through those smartwatch features that we’re pulling down into the band category.

“Having the ability to chat these additional features is really making the Microsoft Band quite sticky in comparison to some generic activity trackers.”

The new device’s positioning as a fitness band first follows research that exercise-tracking technology is significantly more popular than its smartwatch rival to date.

In a new report, Juniper Research forecasts wearable fitness technology to lead smartwatches for the next three years.

It is only in 2019, according to Future Health and Fitness Wearables report author James Moar, that smartwatches will pull ahead with 130 million users to fitness technology’s 110 million.

“The use of wearables to track health shows promise but such devices will not reach their full potential until they can become less dependent on mobile devices to relay their information,” Mr Moar said.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

The wearable chair is now a thing thanks to a Japanese inventor

FOR all those times you’ve wished you could just take a seat, I somehow doubt that this involved wearing your seat on your body.

But hey, what do I know — I’m not a surgeon, restaurant industry professional, or anyone else who is forced to stay on their feet for hours at a time.

Maybe if I were, the wearable chair would seem like a better idea to me.

Regardless of my personal feelings on the matter, it is my duty to inform you that the Archelis (literally, “walkable chair” in Japanese), has been introduced, and will likely be made available in the summer this year.

While current workplace trends seem focused on finding ways to get people to stand up, this is looking to solve the opposite problem — giving people a chair anytime, anywhere.

Interestingly enough, the wearable chair looks a lot more like a leg brace than anything else.

It’s not as though you’d be wearing a backpack that turns into a seat (because that would just be silly).

Rather, the chair wraps around your legs and buttocks, providing support that would effectively allow you to sit down whenever you needed to.

The chair was designed by Yokohama-based mould factory Nitto in collaboration with Chiba University’s Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Hiroaki Nishimura Design, and Japan Polymer Technology.

Archelis was initially meant to help those in the medical field who often have to endure gruelling operations with no respite for weary legs and lower backs.

It’s not just doctors and surgeons who could benefit from the wearable chair, however.

The company seems confident that anyone who must stay standing for long periods of time could find a use for the Archelis, as long as they don’t mind the rather strange aesthetics.

Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll all be walking around with wearable seats.

And next up will undoubtedly be the wearable bed.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Top wearable technology for kids and cats, from pet trackers to smartwatches for the playground

WEARABLE technology is not just about sending SMS messages from your wrist.

It can also tell you what on Earth your cat does all day, alert you when your toddler is in trouble, or help you find your hiding puppy.

We review five fresh wearable gadgets to make your life better.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Time to get fit: five of the best watches for running, cycling, swimming and hiking

IT is time to take your fitness to a new level with five watches that will track every stride and stroke.

Whether you’re a hiker wanting to see your route in the great outdoors, or a runner wanting to hear music as you pound the pavement, these watches have something for you.

For some people, a good exercise watch means you get to be lazy while the device on your wrist counts your laps in the pool. For others, it’s about making sure you’re in the best heart rate zone.

Find the watch to suits your needs and then take the time to get more active.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Fitbit says its ‘smart fitness watch’ is not another Apple Watch clone

FOR Fitbit, Christmas arrived one day late.

The text messages lit up chief business officer Woody Scal’s phone on Boxing Day, and just kept coming.

“I got texted by a lot of people — ‘Go to the App Store!’” he says.

WORK FIT: Coles teams with Fitbit for employee health drive

NEW RACE: Microsoft issues smart band to compete with Fitbit, Apple

Fitbit was the number one free app in Apple’s Store, presumably as millions unwrapped one of the company’s fitness trackers on Christmas Day.

Tracking steps ... Fitbit's "smart fitness watch," the Blaze, will arrive in Australia in March 2016. The modular watch can fit into different bands, and will track steps, calories, distance, and sleep.

Tracking steps … Fitbit’s “smart fitness watch,” the Blaze, will arrive in Australia in March 2016. The modular watch can fit into different bands, and will track steps, calories, distance, and sleep.Source:Supplied

It’s part of a seven-year climb for the San Francisco company that counts 10 million monthly active users among its fans, and more than 30 million step-counting, weight-monitoring, and sleep-tracking devices sold by the end of September.

FITBIT: Grandfather’s life saved by device

Scal bullishly boasts the company now has more heart-rate data than any other in the world, and has tracked more nights of sleep “than have ever been tracked in the history of man”.

Yet in spite of its makings as a technology giant, Fitbit is not keen to expand its scope.

In March, the company will deliver a smart fitness band to replace its Charge device, and it will ship an advanced fitness tracker it claims stops short of being a smartwatch.

In fact, Scal is adamant the Fitbit Blaze watch is nothing like an Apple or Samsung smartwatch.

“Some people see this as us trying to create a smartwatch and we’ve been very intentional in calling this a smart fitness watch. It is not a smartwatch,” he says.

“We think a silly strategy is to try and outdo Apple and what they’re doing. We want to do something different. We’ll let other consumer electronics companies crack the general purpose smartwatch.”

Blazing a trail ... Fitbit's "smart fitness watch," the Blaze, looks like a smartwatch but acts more like a fitness tracker.

Blazing a trail … Fitbit’s “smart fitness watch,” the Blaze, looks like a smartwatch but acts more like a fitness tracker.Source:Supplied

While it looks like a smartwatch, the $330 Fitbit Blaze will feature only “curated notifications” — incoming phone calls, text messages, and calendar alerts — while it focuses on delivering heart-rate data and step-counting, automatic exercise tracking, sleep monitoring, and music controls.

It has more in common with smartwatches than the Fitbit Surge did, however, as the Blaze offers a modular hub that can be inserted into different bands, and workout instructions delivered on its screen.

A Fitstar app preloaded on the Blaze can take users through their choice of fitness circuits, from jumping jacks to push-ups.

“We expect to have more features like that in the future,” Scal says. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’d have an app store. We’ve been really careful about what the experience is.”

And Fitbit’s fitness focus may serve more than just its big-stepping customers.

The company’s stock fell nearly 12 per cent following the Blaze’s announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show, with analysts including Baird’s William Power blaming its “potentially greater competition with Apple Watch”.

Customisable ... The Fitbit Blaze will be available with different bands.

Customisable … The Fitbit Blaze will be available with different bands.Source:Supplied

Fitbit’s other upcoming release, the Alta, is more likely to please investors with its more obvious fitness focus.

The “smart fitness band” features a slimline body, a substantial OLED screen, and a modular body that will fit into a slew of fashionable or fitness-focused bands.

“We wanted to innovate, not just the top end of our line but also in the everyday segment, which is still our biggest segment,” Scal says.

The Alta will replace the Fitbit Charge when it arrives in early April, and will not track wearers’ heart rates but will count steps, distance, sleep, and calories, as well as showing off phone calls, messages and calendar alerts on its long display.

Research firms say fitness trackers like this can coexist with smartwatches, without one cannibalising the other.

Fitbit topped the wearable technology market in the third quarter of last year, according to IDC, with 22 per cent of sales to Apple’s 18 per cent.

The firm predicts wearable technology sales will jump 44 per cent this year to reach 111 million worldwide.

 

[SOURCE :-news]

Sony unveils three intelligent devices that will add intelligence to mobile technology

INTELLIGENT gadgets that predict what you’d like to do next, complete tasks for you, play with your pets, and project useful information onto walls and tables is on the cards as companies look beyond the smartphone to next-generation accessories.

The concepts were on show at the opening of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, with Sony showing off three concept devices it says will bring an added level of intelligence to mobile technology, and LG introducing a series of unusual mobile phone accessories.

Sony Mobile president Hiroki Totoki said the company planned to add more intelligence, rather than just more features, to future devices, including the Xperia Ear that aspires “to become your personal assistant”.

Sony’s Xperia Ear aspires “to become your personal assistant”.

Sony’s Xperia Ear aspires “to become your personal assistant”.Source:News Corp Australia

“This is not just a Bluetooth headset — it combines sensors and intelligence into an earpiece comfortable enough to wear all day,” he said.

The Xperia Ear is a small, wireless earpiece that connects to smartphones and proactively provides information to wearers, including details of upcoming appointments, weather forecasts and news stories.

It can read SMS, Twitter or Facebook messages, responds to voice commands, can be customised, and can whisper navigational instructions into your ear so you no longer need to look at a phone screen while walking or driving.

While Mr Totoki said the Xperia Ear would be launched in other countries this winter, an Australian launch is yet to be confirmed.

Sony's Xperia Projector can beam information onto flat surfaces, such as tables and walls, and let users interact with it.

Sony’s Xperia Projector can beam information onto flat surfaces, such as tables and walls, and let users interact with it.Source:News Corp Australia

But the Xperia Ear will be joined by three even more futuristic but conceptual devices from Sony: the Xperia Eye, Xperia Projector, and Xperia Agent.

The Xperia Eye is a wide-angle wearable camera designed to be worn around the neck and capture important moments using facial recognition and voice detection.

Arguably more useful, the Xperia Projector will be able to beam important information onto flat surfaces, such as tables and walls, and let users interact with it. The Xperia Agent is Sony’s take on a personal digital assistant. The robot-shaped device can show users news stories, calendars, traffic alerts and messages by projecting them, and also features a microphone and speaker for making calls and following voice commands.

SK Telekom displayed the 'Oculus VR' virtual device at its stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Picture: AFP Lluis Gene

SK Telekom displayed the ‘Oculus VR’ virtual device at its stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Picture: AFP Lluis GeneSource:AFP

Sony Mobile Communications Oceania market head John Featherstone said the company would continue to make smartphones but was also focused on creating “personalised and intelligent products and services that empower you to do more and live more creatively”.

LG also shifted its focus to delivering a larger ecosystem of intelligent accessories at Mobile World Congress this year, showing off its “Friends” system, including a ball-shaped robot that can monitor your house and play with your pets.

The LG Rolling Bot features an 8-megapixel camera in its spine and two spheres that spin to move it around a home, beaming footage back to a smartphone.

One of the new intelligent personal gadgets revealed by Sony at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

One of the new intelligent personal gadgets revealed by Sony at the Mobile World Congress in BarcelonaSource:News Limited Network

It also features a laser light and speaker and can be used to play with pets remotely.

LG president and chief executive Juno Cho said the Rolling Bot, along with accessories like the 360 VR headset and 360 Cam, were designed to extend the life of smartphones.

“When smartphones were first introduced we were so excited, fascinated, and downloaded five to six applications every day,” he said.

“However these days we don’t see much excitement any more even when a new smartphone is released. Has our appetite for fun disappeared? Of course not.”

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Samsung.

 

[SOURCE :-news]