Meet Google’s “talking shoe,” which aims to translate movement data in witty messages to users and their friends. The concept apparel, showcased at the search giant’s swanky SXSW Interactive headquarters, is part of a new arts project - ”Art, Copy, Code” – which aims to breathe a social, life-like experience into everyday objects. “If standing still was a sport, you’d be world champion,” the trash-talking shoe projects on a monitor hanging over a rainbow-colored obstacle course after it senses I’ve been standing still.
At a distance, users seem a tad pathetic trying to trigger positive feedback from the shoe. But when I strapped it on, I felt oddly compelled to impress my new automated coach. Combining coaching (even robotic coaching) made lifeless data unexpectedly motivational. Essentially, it’s Richards Simmons in a shoe.
In case critics think this is another one of Google’s flights of profitless creative fancy, Arts Copy Code is deliberately about improving advertising. “It’s explicitly aimed at how translating how Silicon Valley thinks about technology into how creative agencies think about advertising,” says project lead Aman Govil.
Brands such as Nike, who outfit professional athletes with health-tracking shoes and bracelets, could broadcast an athlete’s spring-training performance in realtime. Rival athletes’ apparel could trash talk one another automatically.
It’s still (very) early days for the arts project. The talking shoe (and shoe strap) concept was developed through a grant to electronics agency Yes Yes No. Google plans to open up the project to more everyday objects in the near future. One hypothetical use-case, imagines Govil, is an alarm block that sends snarky messages to co-workers if users have to hit the snooze on their alarm clock more than three times.
There’s been heightened attention to research that quantifies how much our friends affect our weight, success, and personal lives. University of San Diego political scientist and Connected author James Fowler found that having an obese friend can significantly increase people’s chances of also having their own set of marshmallowy love handles. And it’s no secret that a spirited friend can get us up at 5 a.m. for a morning run as much as they can tempt us into finishing their plate of fries.
Health startups have attempted to “gamify” good behavior by encouraging users to share personal goals with friends. Nike+ FuelBand, for instance, shares users’ exercise habits with their friends on the personal social network, Path.
This project attempts to remove the barrier presented by current products. The social aspect has always required one extra step of human effort. However fast a one-word message of encouragement could take to type about a friend’s morning run, the minor inconvenience is enough to seriously limit engagement. This new automated personality seems to have a place, especially when we’re all too busy to be personal.
Currently the project is just a concept. There’s no need to jump over to the Google Play store and find the buy link. But Google Glass was just a concept at one point, too.
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Almost four months after Microsoft unveiled its first Surface TV ad, the software giant is back again with a second Surface Pro commercial. Airing during tonight’s Grammy awards, the ad features beatboxers, breakdancing, and a focus on the pen input for Microsoft’s latest tablet. At a special event in Las Vegas this weekend, Microsoft’s Panos Panay premiered the new Jon Chu ad alongside a host of breakdancers and some beatboxing.
In his trademark style of giving away the product to audience members, Panay produced two Surface Pro tablets for onlookers before unveiling the new TV ad. Initial reports have suggested that Microsoft has sold out of the 128GB Surface Pro model, but it’s unclear how many devices were available online or at…
The iPad mini officially went on sale today, and the response at physical retail stores has been mixed. Some areas are seeing decent-sized lines, according to Reuters this morning, including Tokyo and Seoul Apple Stores with crowds of 100 or more, but overall, the news organization notes that crowds are smaller than they have been in the past for other launches. The Apple Store in Sydney, for instance, had 50 people in line when it opened compared to a line covering several blocks for the iPhone 5.
Some locations had more sizeable lines than others, like the Amsterdam Apple Store, as well as Apple’s Munich location. And while lines in New York City lines seemed to be suffering as New Yorkers dealt with more important issues, as of this morning it looks like lines at some locations at least were building considerably. At a store in La Cañada, Spain, a decent-sized group of customers also queued.
The Covent Garden Apple Store in the U.K. saw maybe one of the smallest crowds according to reports on Twitter, and at the Regent Street location you can apparently walk in and buy an iPad mini right now. And reports from various U.S. locations including Maryland, Ohio, Florida and Buffalo show only small lines in those locations only an hour or so ahead of stores opening on the east coast. Regional locations always have smaller lines than the bigger flagship stores, but for the iPhone 5 launch lines were considerably larger in small town locations even at partner resellers like AT&T.
Compared to previous device launches this year, the crowds are fairly underwhelming. About 450 people lined up in Tokyo ahead of the iPad 3 going on sale, for instance, and lines stretched into the hundreds at locations around the world. The iPad mini is a new category of device for Apple, and users might not have had time to make up their minds about this novel product yet. Yet with other new device launches, like that of the original iPad, lines were huge in a variety of places.
The iPad mini goes on sale in 34 markets today, and was available for pre-orders beginning Friday, October 26. Pre-orders sold out over the course of the first weekend, but it remains unclear how many were available in that initial crop. Analyst estimates for initial iPad mini sales vary, but Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster says to expect around 1.5 million, compared to the iPad 3′s 3 million over the launch weekend. These lines suggest conservative estimates are likely on the right track, but it’s also worth noting that only the Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini goes on sale today, so customers could be waiting for its LTE-enabled sibling, which doesn’t ship until later in November.Related Posts:
As far as regional carriers go, C-Spire is a pretty big deal. Which makes it all the more surprising that the company hasn’t offered standalone pre-paid data plans until now. The southern cellphone network now has three tiers of pre-paid access for your tablet or Mi-Fi, beginning with a $ 15 100MB package that expires after a week. $ 30 nets you 300MB over two weeks, while the top tier grants you a whole month’s access and 1GB of data — but will set you back a rather steep $ 50. Of course, there’s always post-paid solutions for the more demanding, that start at $ 20 for 1GB per-month and go up to $ 50 for 5GB. For more, check out the PR after the break.
Despite the fact that Nintendo’s 3DS is an excellent hand-held console, 3DS sales haven’t been on par with what the company was expecting.
But perhaps Nintendo’s brand new Nintendo 3DS XL will turn the tides. It’s very similar to a regular 3DS, but with 90 percent larger screens. According to Nintendo’s official release, it comes with a 4GB SD card, better battery life, and both Blue and Red color flavors. Access to the Nintendo eShop is obviously available, but users will also be able to pick up Super Mario Bros. 2 on launch day, August 19.
We’ve seen a huge trend lately with OEMs increasing screen size on smartphones, where gaming has grown to be more and more prevalent, slowing chipping away at Nintendo sales. It only makes sense that Nintendo would take a hint and offer more screen real estate on their portable gaming devices.
The Nintendo 3DS XL will be available August 19 for an MSRP of $ 199.99.
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Drobo’s been delivering quality desktop storage for businesses and prosumers for awhile now, but previously, the company hadn’t dipped its toe into Thunderbolt waters. But that’s about to change with its two new units. The 5D is a BYOD desktop offering with two Thunderbolt ports and one USB 3.0 socket for connecting up to five hot-swappable, 3.5-inch drives to your Mac or PC. It also has an mSATA SSD for data-caching quickness and a variable-speed fan to keep things cool and quiet. We don’t know exactly when the 5D will go on sale — Drobo’s not telling until July — but it’ll cost under $ 850 when it does, and that price includes a Thunderbolt cable.
Gallery: Drobo Mini and 5D press shots
Meanwhile, the Mini is the first Drobo meant to be taken on the road. It packs up to four 2.5-inch drives in its front bays, plus, like the 5D, there’s an mSATA SSD nestled in its underside that serves as a caching tier to speed up your main storage — all in a 7.3 x 1.8 x 7.1-inch package weighing three pounds when fully loaded. All the drives are hot-swappable, a process made simple and easy with a trick, spring-loaded mechanism (patent pending) that lets users swap drives as they would SD cards. As for connecting the thing to your computer, dual Thunderbolt ports (for daisy chaining) and one USB 3.0 port reside round back along with the power plug and two vents for the Mini’s variable-speed fans. Ringing the front face of the Mini are five LED strips that serve as drive indicators and capacity meter to let you know when a drive has failed or you’re running out of space. Intrigued? Well, we got a sneak peek at the Mini and a little history lesson about its origins at Drobo HQ, so join us past the break for more.
Well, it looks like LG’s Retina-beating 5-inch display with a 1080p resolution isn’t the only screen setting some new pixel density records at the SID conference this week. Japan Display Inc. has now also announced a new 1,280 x 800 display with an amazing pixel density of 651ppi. If you’re able to do the math, though, you’ll realize that means the display itself measures just 2.3 inches. While it’s not clear exactly what sort of devices JDI has in mind for the screen, the company says it’s able to produce photographic-level images and text that is perceptibly sharper than even today’s highest-resolution displays — hopefully we’ll be able to judge that for ourselves sooner rather than later.
Continue reading JDI debuts 2.3-inch display with a 1,280 x 800 resolution, 651ppi
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Say goodbye to swapping out the litany of chargers at your desk or nightstand. It’s time to streamline, and the crew at Scosche have a rather nice solution. The company is taking the wraps off of its Revolt H4 USB charger, which offers four 10W (2.1A) USB ports that’ll properly (and quickly) reinvigorate up to four smartphones or tablets simultaneously. Sure, it’s nothing like the 16 port behemoth of the PowerPad, but this is for home use, and we can’t deny — it’s quite the temptress. Consumers may choose between the base model or the Revolt H4 Pro, which offers a micro-USB cable along with an adapter for Apple’s dock connector. As another product of interest, Scosche is similarly introducing its 2.1 amp Recoil II car charger, which allows users to cut down on the clutter with its retractable cable while also quickly juicing up a single iOS device — just hop the break for a peek. Pricing isn’t yet available for either, but keep your eye on Scosche’s website for the official word. For other charging solutions, you’ll find the full PR after the break.
Continue reading Scosche debuts Revolt H4, a four-port, 10W USB charger at CTIA Wireless
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Predictive analytics company Medio Systems is debuting a brand new product suite for businesses, called inGenius Suite. Basically, the inGenius processes massive amounts of big data to identify possible revenue opportunities in customer usage patterns on connected devices.
inGenius uses a set of predictive analytics algorithms to gather and analyze real-time information, such as location, device type, and application usage, with customer propensities and interest. Using an SDK, developers can begin collecting user events and usage data.
Medio then uses this data to identify unique user segments that can be analyzed and tracked by application, geography and other relevant application metrics, depending on industry, across multiple connected devices. Basically, Medio wants to show developers and publishers how customers are interacting with every aspect of an application or service.
The company is targeting developers and publishers in gaming, retail, finance, mobile and entertainment. Medio, which has raised $ 30 million from Accel Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures and others, has more than 105 million unique users, and currently tracks 550 million daily events.
We love us some speedy NAND Flash here at Engadget, and Mushkin’s just unveiled a trio of SSDs full of the stuff packing Sandforce SF-2281 controllers. The Chronos Go offers 560MB/s sequential writes and 525MB/s reads in drives up to 480GB in size. The Atlas mSATA SSD does sequential writes at 535MB/s, maxes out at 240GB, and will be available to be dropped into the Ultrabook of your choosing. Both the Chronos Go and Atlas are scheduled for a Q1 release. Lastly, the Scorpion PCIe modular SSD lets you chain up to four SSDs in a RAID array to get sequential writes up to 1275MB/s and reads up to 1500MB/s when it drops sometime in the first half of this year.
[Image Credit: DailyTech]
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