The transportation industry has been relatively dormant for the last few decades. Road transportation has been graced by the advent of electric vehicles. Air and rail transport, however, have had no significant breakthroughs. Hyperloop hopes to usher in the new age of road transportation. The brainchild of Elon Musk, Hyperloop is a super fast rail transportation system that aims to cut rail travel times significantly – by a factor of 7 in the United States. With the potential to travel at speeds of close to 700 miles per hour, the Hyperloop can cut the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles (a 350 mile journey) from a few hours to around 30 minutes.
Augmented Reality, in contrast to virtual reality, is more focused on making life simpler and more convenient. It aims to “augment” or supplement reality with elements from the virtual space. Uses of AR are varied and imaginative, including but not limited to interactive vehicle dashboards, computers embedded in headsets and holographic communication. Simply put, Augmented Reality allows/would allow users to interact with digital objects as if they were physical objects. In comparison to Virtual Reality, not many Augmented Reality headsets are available for purchase; however, companies have experimented with Augmented Reality as early as the 2000s. Simple games that used the rear-mounted camera of smartphones to add game elements to the real world were extremely popular amongst both children and adults because not only were they enjoyable, but also discretely magical. Continue reading
Smartwatches have been the ‘new thing’ since last year. It was a trend that started with the Pebble Smart Watch and has been carried forward by different companies with their own iterations of the smartwatch design. Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear series and Sony launched the SmartWatch series. All of these were relatively successful, but today Google has stepped into the fray. It has announced the Android Wear ecosystem which is essentially Android designed and optimised for Watches.
Android Wear is simply Google Now optimised for Watches (of any shape) with the added functionality of receiving notifications and answering them using voice to text. Google Now works similar to what it is on full scale phones. It gives relevant information when we need it the most. It will show us the commute times when we are travelling, the weather in the morning, reminders that we had set as well as ongoing notifications from our phones. You can fire up Google search using the ‘Ok Google’ keyword and control your music or simple ask any question to get the information you need. Best of all most of the apps will need little to no modification to display their notifications on your wrist since Android Wear is designed to work with the rich notification system of Android. Google says it’s already working with many consumer electronics companies such as Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to make watches powered by Android Wear. These should be available by the end of the year. Here’s the promo video to help make things clearer.
Motorola couldn’t wait for long and unveiled their take on the Android Wear ecosystem. They revealed the Moto360. The Moto360 aims to be different from other SmartWatches like the Galaxy Gear series or the Pebble ecosystem. They have decided to go circular rather than the industrial square design that most other watches have been taking lately. Because of this new shape, Motorola had to design most of the key components of the watch such as the processor since they are all accustomed to a square body. Motorola was aiming for the 360 to be like a normal watch but pack the smartest of Android, and I only say this to whatever they have shown in their video, “Shut up and take my money.”
However I do have some doubts regarding Wear. I hope there is an option to silence or mute the notifications and there is an option to switch off the ‘Always Listening’ mode. Other than that, the concept and the direction in which the idea is headed is innovative, classy and simple, just the way so many of us like our watches to be.