Entries with tag wearable computers.

Google and Eyewear Manufacturer Announce Google Glass Partnership

Italian eyewear maker Luxottica—manufacturer of glasses for brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, Chanel, and Armani—will design, develop, and distribute the Google Glass wearable computer. Although Google and Luxottica have been collaborating since 2013, the deal was made public only this week. Neither company disclosed the deal’s terms. Astro Teller, who runs the Google X laboratory, said the company wanted to partner with an eyewear designer because getting consumers to wear a computer on their face is “a fashion problem as much as it is a technology problem.” Analysts say the deal could bring Google Glass—which has not been well-received by the public, even though it hasn’t been released yet—more mainstream product support and recognition that it is a serious product. “Partnering with Luxottica is a huge coup for Google,” said Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder. “In one fell swoop, Google could get Glass in front of tens or hundreds of millions of consumers in an eyewear-appropriate setting.” Google has yet to say when Glass will be commercially available and how much it will cost. (The Wall Street Journal)(Tech Crunch)

Tiny Computer Prototype Fits in User’s Ear

Hiroshima City University researchers have developed a prototype tiny computer that a user can wear in the ear and control with facial movements. This could help people who can’t use their hands because they are driving, disabled, or frail. Infrared sensors on the Earclip-type Wearable PC monitor facial movements, based on eye and mouth motions, from inside the ear. The 17-gram wireless device also has Bluetooth, GPS, a compass, a gyro-sensor, a battery, a barometer, a speaker, and a microphone. The researchers say the device should be commercially available by 2016. (The Sydney Morning Herald)(Mashable)(Nikkei)

Wearable Computing Goes to the Dogs

The market for wearable computing is currently valued at US$800 million, according to Juniper Research, which expects nearly 15 million wearable smart devices to be sold in 2013, but now the market is going to the dogs. The Georgia Institute of Technology is creating “facilitating interactions for dogs with occupations” or FIDO, a wearable computing device for dogs designed to make it easier for a working dog, such as an assistance dog or police canine, to communicate with its handler. The system uses a sensor on the canine’s vest or collar to transmit a verbal command the handler would be able to hear through an earpiece or see on a head-mounted display. Initially, they used a dog vest equipped with an Arduino microprocessor and tested four different sensors that dogs could activate by biting, tugging, or placing their mouth next to them. The participating service dogs learned how to activate the sensors to set off a tone. The technology could eventually be used to allow bomb-detection dogs to tell their handler the type of bomb they found, for example, or permit rescue dogs to notify humans that they have found an injured person. Google is funding the research. The researchers are scheduled to present their work at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers 8 through 12 September 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland. (redOrbit)(Fast Company)(MIT Technology Review)

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