development

Japanese Researchers Testing “Wearable” PC

A new development in wearable technology is being tested by researchers in Japan. The device works as an earclip–similar to the Bluetooth earpieces that are so popular with cellphones right now–except that it will have functions beyond the usual earphone and microphone. It will also house a GPS, a compass, a gyro-sensor, and a barometer. The device will have its own microchip and data storage capability, and it will be able to wirelessly connect to any of the user’s other electronic devices such as their tablet or smartphone.

What’s particularly remarkable about this earpiece is that it will be controlled by the user’s facial movements and tongue clicking. It will be revolutionary for people who need access to technology without the use of their hands. For example, rock climbers, motorcycle riders, and even drivers will be able to use this technology without having to remove their hands from something else more important. People with disabilities will also be able to make great use out of this device.

The developers are also testing an application that would make the earpiece work as a hearing aid and a health monitoring advice that would be able to track all kinds of things. It would measure heart rate, body temperature, time spent eating, and steps taken. It would even include an accelerometer that would alert loved ones if the user has fallen and prompt them to call emergency services.

The researchers who are testing the device are hoping that this will be the next generation of wearable technology. The believe it will be less intrusive than Google Glass or any of the smart watches, but it can still be stylish and double as a fashion accessory. It’s a great new development that is still in the prototype phase, but they are expecting to bring to market by 2016. We’ll be on the lookout for it!

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Apple is Awarded Patent for Solar Powered MacBook

Apple made history last week by announcing that they had received a patent for their design of a solar panel that would power a laptop by harnessing the sun’s energy. The design would involve a lid backed with “electrochromic glass,” also called “smart glass.” The glass itself would be able to transition from opaque to transparent, depending on the user’s needs. Solar panels placed underneath the smart glass would collect energy from sunlight whenever the glass is on its clear or transparent setting, while a traditional circuit board would also allow the laptop to run on a regular power source if needed. 

The ultimate goal would be to make the solar panels efficient enough to produce one watt of power or possibly more. This would allow the solar panels to be able to charge the laptop’s battery even while the laptop is not in use. Users would still need a power cord, but the solar power option would certainly help those who find themselves traveling often and using their laptops near windows or outdoors. For those who have ever had trouble locating an outlet in an airport, this could be a very exciting development!

Apple made it very clear that the acquisition of the patent does not guarantee that they will produce the product. This is simply an idea they are developing, and while it has great potential, it may never see the light of day as an actual piece that consumers can buy. Apple has held many patents over the years that have never gone into production. A lot of consumers would be happy to see this; stay tuned to see what Apple decides to do with it.