tech innovation

Samsung Crosses the Finish First Again with Curved Galaxy Round

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2013 05:14 PM

Ever since George Jetson strapped on a watch that allowed him to talk to and see others, tech-savvy fans have been awaiting a real-life iteration. As it looks now, Samsung may be the first to cross that line following its release of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and now the Galaxy Round, the first smartphone with a curved screen. 

While the rounded device looks what would result after being "put into a back pocket and sat on," as ZDNet notes, the innovation puts Samsung, which is the largest mobile phone maker in the world, "a step closer to achieving wearable devices with flexible—even unbreakable—screens."

The brand, like every other player in the market, is looking for any innovation that will differentiate itself in the saturated mobile market. The manufacturer faces the most pressure from Apple, which was just named the world's most valuable brand by Interbrand, and who essentially stole its 'smartwatch' thunder with the launch of its latest versions of iPhones, the 5s and 5c. But as neat looking as the new curved device may be, the "innovation" may actually be more of a gimmick.Continue reading...

tech innovation

New York's Major Media Players Seek Startups Through SwitchPitch Event

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 2, 2013 04:45 PM

Goliaths aren’t generally looking for help from Davids, but the New York Daily News, HBO, Time Inc., TiVo, Meredith, and nine other major media companies turned things upside down Tuesday when they asked more than 200 startups for help. 

The SwitchPitch event, which specializes in pairing startups with in-need companies, allows such companies to pitch funded innovation projects to startups looking for partners. After a bidding process, the selected startups will begin working with their supporting companies.

In this case, the Daily News will provide its startup of choice with a six-month stay in the paper's offices and a large testing ground for their concepts on NYDailyNews.com and the rest of the paper’s digital properties, which reach 17 million people monthly.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Google Searches for Immortality Through New Health Startup, Calico

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2013 12:36 PM

It’s fitting that the world’s leading search company is looking for answers to aging and immortality.

Google is throwing its support behind Calico, a startup it is creating to focus on problems in the health care system that pertain to extending human life. Arthur Levinson, former CEO and current chairman of biotech pioneer Genentech and chairman of Apple’s board, is the newly-appointed CEO.

"Illness and aging affect all our families," Google CEO Larry Page said in blog post. "With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives."

If the idea sounds far off, that's because that's exactly what Calico plans on investing in. “In some industries, it takes ten or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Healthcare is certainly one of those areas,” Page said. "Maybe we should shoot for the things that are really, really important so ten or 20 years from now we have those things done.”Continue reading...

tech innovation

Grocery Chains Get Much-Needed Update Thanks to Tech Innovations in the Aisle

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2013 06:45 PM

Checking out with the scan of a finger? Having farm fresh produce delivered to your doorstep? These are no longer futuristic ideas but real tech being applied to life's most mundane task: grocery shopping. 

The latest in-aisle innovations include digital price signs, real-time promotions based on the time of day, smart shopping carts and bar code scanners on mobile devices, many of which are already being utilized by some of the world's biggest retailers like Walmart, Target and Tesco. 

"You have an industry that's been kind of stuck in time," Scott Mushkin, an analyst at Wolfe Research, told the Los Angeles Times. "Grocers have to invest. Their business models have been under so much pressure, they're fighting for their lives."

And investing they are. The $518 billion grocery industry has essentially been the last retail sector to take advantage of technological innovations that have come along with the surge of mobile usage. With smarter and more informed customers, grocers are constantly being pushed to be a step ahead, offering more intuitive service and better values.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Musk Continues Innovation Streak with Detailed Plan for Hyperloop

Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2013 07:33 PM

Elon Musk has obliquely compared himself to Henry Ford. But if he keeps going, a better comparison could be Thomas Edison. The inventor and serial entrepreneur already has his hands in state-of-the-art electric cars, space travel—and now perhaps a travel innovation for those of us looking to keep our feet planted on Earth. 

His latest fascination is what he calls a "Hyperloop" transportation system that could, he says, whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a mere half-hour or less. Musk conjectures that it would cost less than $6 billion in total and could transport 7.4 million people each way each year. But it would take up to a decade to complete. Musk laid out all of the details in a 57-page technical paper and invited feedback.

Why is Musk even bothering? The PayPal co-founder has plenty going on with two actually functioning enterprises that he founded, SpaceX and Tesla. In fact, he was just awarded $4.3 million in stock-based pay for his ongoing work on Tesla's next nameplate, the Model X all-electric SUV. He completed vehicle and engineering prototypes and even the first production unit of the new model.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Toyota Tests 'Personal-Mobility' Winglet as Potential Competitor to Segway

Posted by Dale Buss on July 26, 2013 03:22 PM

Perhaps believing that the world does not have enough people trailing one another tentatively on individual-mobility devices while wearing awkward-looking helmets on guided tours in major metropolitan areas around the world, Toyota has introduced a potentially serious competitor to the Segway.

The car maker's Winglet "mobility assistance robot" has entered its first public trials in Tsukuba, Japan. The two-wheeled machine is ridden in a standing position like the Segway, the Dean Kamen invention that Delphi Automotive helped commercialize more than a decade ago. Winglet has an extendable T-bar handle enabling it to be ridden by people of different shapes and sizes, like Segway, however it is smaller than Segway.

Toyota has cast Winglet as the result of its "aim of contributing to the development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun." Trials are scheduled to run for a year and a half "to verify the safety, functionality and convenience" of the machine so that it can be used on public sidewalks.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Gesture Controllers Challenge Microsoft's Kinect Technology

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2013 02:42 PM

You may soon need to be extra careful when you wave your hands around—and it’s not because you might hit somebody. You may be sending your computer and every other digital object you own a message of some sort or another thanks to the growing market for gesture controllers.

Nintendo’s Wii got the world swinging its body around to control images on their screens. Microsoft’s Kinect allowed users to control their Xboxes and PCs with hand gestures and now a new wave of controllers and interfaces are planned to hit the market this year.

In May, the Leap Motion 3D gesture controller, which allows users to control their PCs with hand gestures, will be found in Best Buys for $80. The company sees itself as different from Kinect because its controller can follow "all ten fingers up to 1/100th millimeter at up to 290 frames per second" and is "200 times more sensitive than existing motion-control technology," according to pcpro.com.

Thalmic Labs is releasing MYO, which goes around a person’s forearm and can sense their movements, allowing for control of actual devices rather than just computers. QZ.com has it that “this raises the stakes in the gestural interface game.” It’ll be on the market in late 2013 for $149. Continue reading...

tech innovation

Sony's Xperia Z Tablet Could Be a Slam Dunk or Belly Flop

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 25, 2013 05:03 PM

Sony’s tablets have had some pretty funky designs, such as the dual-screen, clamshell-like P Tablet and the S Tablet’s asymmetry, but its newest—the Xperia Z—introduced Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, looks a lot more conventional: a black rectangle.

Sony contends it’s not just another 10.1-inch tablet. This one is said to be lighter (1.09 pounds) and thinner (6.9mm) than all the rest and will retail for $499 for 16GB and $599 for 32GB (about the same as an iPad) when it hits store shelves this spring, according to CNET. Sony is pushing one point that does seem to make it significantly different from the rest, though. This baby can go underwater! Continue reading...

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