With a single focus, Intel’s Vaunt has more potential than Google Glass

Back in October of 2013, I got my own pair of Google Glass in order to cover the technology. The site where I worked at the time paid the $ 1,500 cost, and I later spent my own $ 225 to add custom frames that could handle my eyeglass prescription. Given the fate of Glass, we clearly didn’t get a good return on those investments.

Still, there were some things to like about the experience. Glass brought contextual information “closer” to me a relatively non-intrusive way. And that’s exactly what Intel’s smart glasses prototype, known as Vaunt, can do.

When I first read about Vaunt over at The Verge earlier this week, I thought less about the hardware and more about that vision of context and personally important data. That’s because all of our technological advances in mobile computing have impacted this theme.

I look at it this way:

  • In the desktop age, the web brought us closer to data on other computers.
  • Connected laptops brought us closer to data when away from the desktop.
  • Phones put that data in our hand and pocket almost wherever we were.
  • Smartwatches let us wear that data, bringing it even closer
  • Smart glasses can beam that data — at least in the case of Vaunt — directly on our retinas.

Every step of that progression gets us physically closer to contextual information. I suppose the next, or maybe final, step is a Matrix-like jack that simply ports that data directly into our brains, but who knows? Regardless, this is an important theme as more devices around us create gobs of data. The fewer barriers there are between us and the information we want, the faster we can use or act upon it.

And that’s why I’m excited about Vaunt’s potential, perhaps more so than I was about that of Google Glass.

To contrast the two at a high level, Vaunt isn’t trying to take smartphone functions — such as taking photos and videos, a key reason Glass never had a chance of mainstream success — and move them to your eyes. Instead, the product is singularly focused on very specific information that you will want at a specific time and/or place.

That approach has benefits from a hardware perspective too. t’s why you essentially can’t tell the difference between Vaunt and a traditional pair of glasses. They appear to be standard eyeglass frames to both you and the people around you.

Without the need to include a camera sensor, microphone or speaker, the small chips and display components fit inside the frames. Eliminating the camera also allows for a smaller battery since powering an image sensor typically uses a lot of energy. Using a low-powered, single color laser for the retina projection helps with battery life too when compared to the color display used in Google Glass.

By distilling potential product features into essentially one — simple but very useful information — Vaunt actually solves a problem; something Glass sort of did but other extra features came along for the distracting ride. In fact, I don’t see much of a distraction factor with Vaunt because they don’t look like some technological device nor will people even realize that your retina is receiving information.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean Vaunt will be successful. In fact, Intel isn’t even sure of how Vaunt will be used. That’s why the company will be launching an early access program for developers at some point this year. Intel is just providing the technology while developers will provide the functions that they think people will want.

Think of Vaunt then as a new hardware platform with a very limited feature set. That feature is very powerful though: It takes us one step even closer to the information that personally matters most to us..

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

A chronograph rig for high-speed glass photography

To capture images of bullets “interacting” with various objects, photographic hacker Tyler Gerritsen created an impressive chronograph rig, able to measure the speed of a bullet launched from a rifle at 1000 meters per second. While the concept of measuring time from one sensor to another isn’t new, implementation at this speed required some interesting tricks.

To accomplish this feat, Gerritsen designed his own sensor array using photodiodes in a reverse-biased setup, and even calibrated the clock speed of the Arduino Uno for control in order to account for any variation. Finally, the time between triggering a flash and light actually appearing had to be compensated for in the code, a different value for each type of equipment.

The project write-up is a great read for anyone interested in this type of photographic or measurement technique, and the resulting photos can be seen here.

Arduino Blog

Google finds its Glass after two years in the dark

google-glass-enterprise-edition

After two years in the dark, Google Glass has returned, launching a new enterprise edition (EE) that several major corporations have already deployed into their workforce.

Google Glass EE improves on the first model — sold to enthusiasts for $ 1,500 — with better networking, security, a faster processor, more battery life, and a higher megapixel camera.

See Also: Google slashes needs for YouTube creators working on VR content

The search giant has listened to complaints over the last two years, as corporations trialled the technology in secret. When recording video, Google Glass now flashes a green light, and the electronics can be unclipped from the frame and added to normal prescription lenses.

The software has also been improved to work in multiple workplace environments. DHL, General Electric, Samsung, and Volkswagen, amongst others, have built software on-top of Glass, which employees use as step-by-step guides on how to perform a task.

Building employee performance

Results over the two years show a significant increase in performance by employees that wear Google Glass. According to Backchannel, AGCO, an agriculture equipment manufacturer, is so impressed by Glass that is plans to order between 500 to 1000 devices in the next 18 months, enough for its entire workforce.

Glass was touted as the possible successor to the iPhone when it was first revealed, but that seems very unlikely now, and Google has seemingly settled on its usefulness in the enterprise.

That said, Apple is exploring ways to make augmented reality palatable to consumers, launching ARkit at WWDC this year. IKEA will launch an AR app as one of Apple’s launch partners this fall.

The post Google finds its Glass after two years in the dark appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Smart window glass company View raises $200M Series G

View, a company manufacturing dynamic glass that tints automatically in response to weather conditions announced this week it has raised a $ 200M Series G Round at an unknown valuation. TIAA and Blackrock led the latest round and the proceeds include $ 70M investment from BlackRock, which has $ 5.4 trillion in assets under management globally.

Blackrock’s other high-profile investments include $ 350M Series C in Dropbox, $ 175M in Uber, $ 300M in Jawbone, $ 500M in SnapDeal, and €100M as a lead investor in an Italian Telecom company Linkem. Blackrock’s latest funding in View comes as no surprise. View started raising funds in 2008 and has raised more than $ 650M which also includes $ 69M of debt financing in different rounds.

View’s internet-connected intelligent window is an insulating glass unit (IGU) containing an electrochromic coating to switch between clear and tinted on demand. A light sensor on the building provides information about the weather, such as cloud cover. The internal heat sensors communicate the heat load to the system which combines it with multiple web-based weather feeds and predicts how much the tint should be adjusted. The tint can also be controlled via View’s Android and iOS mobile app.

iPhone and iPad app

View’s dynamic glass costs 50% more than regular window glass in a commercial building. However, it eliminates the need for shades, blinds, and cut downs a building’s HVAC system’s peak load.

Some of the major clients of the company are SFO Airport, Overstock.com, CenturyLink Technology Center, America Center II, and The University of Massachusetts Amherst. View claims to provide its customers with benefits such as energy savings, glare reduction, unobstructed views and natural daylighting and contribution to green building ratings (e.g. LEED).


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things