What to Expect When Virtual Reality Officially Hits the Shelves

The concept of virtual reality isn’t new. Remember the 80s American cartoon Jonny Quest? Oh, not a 80s person, then what about the anime Sword Art Online based on VR MMORPG? Yeah! Then you do know what Virtual Reality is and how much potential this cutting-edge technology holds.

However, what we truly know about it apart from the abstract fantasies that conjure up in our imaginative minds? I guess not much, isn’t it? So, let’s discuss today what the future of VR holds, what can we really expect from it, and more importantly when it’s going to show up.

We Get to Embrace Fantastic Personality

Believe it or not, we all live a dual personality in our daily life. For example, some of us are introverts but when we get behind a screen, we immediately switch to a more extrovert mind. It is because internet, or social media channels to be exact, has given us a level of freedom to express our fantasies.

However, the VR will put that freedom on steroids when we get to embrace our alter-ego in a more immersive world. We will have a persona that is more in line with our expectations or desire than in real life. Plus, we won’t be bounded by any worldly rules or universal principles. We can be Superman, Batman, Spider, Thor, or Gokko shooting Kamehameha in our virtual realm.

There’ll be a Need of More Brains than Brown

As the name suggests, we will live in a virtual world that is not restricted to any worldly rules. Hence, there we won’t need more muscles or packs, but intelligence. After all, we would be able to change our appearance whenever we desire. However, we can’t change our intellect no matter how hard we try. As it is what that comes with us when we born.

To navigate through the virtual realm, we will need more intelligence. Since we won’t be jumping with our body in the real space but using the power of our mind to do the tricks and stunts.

Completely Immersive Experience

Stretching the above point, we are still way behind in embracing the fully immersive VR experience. If we talk about our current standings, we can still feel the heavy VR gears wrapped around our heads, hands or waists.

So, if you are thinking about a compact VR gear as that shown in Sword Art Online, you can sit back and relax for a decade or more because we still need more research in the field to make that happen.

Intel Join CSIRO to Protect the Collapsing Colonies of Honey Bees with Intel Edison Breakout Board Kit

Can you imagine a world without honey bees protecting our ecosystem? Can you imagine what would happen if there’s an intense shortage of pollination? The results would be highly unfavorable for mankind as the fertilization would be reduced and so would be the food production.

To fight off this immense threat, CSIRO, an Australian science and research organization, started a Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health (GIHH) which will be now advanced by CSIRO’s new partner (for this initiative), the Intel Corp.

What’s Intel Cooperation in This Initiative

For the first time Intel will use its cutting-edge technology in a peculiar fashion unlike anything it has done before. Intel will provide CSIRO Intel® Edison Breakout Board kit – for distribution – which is a “customizable compute platform, slightly larger than a postage stamp,” says Intel in its official blog.

The kit will be integrated into the honey bees’ Beehive to monitor their daily activity from their behaviors and movements down to the stressors that affect their health, via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Thousands of such tags have already been places onto the honey bees as part of the GIHH process.

The data gathered from the platform at the Data Access Portal of CSIRO will be provided to farmers, beekeepers and the government which will then be reviewed and acted upon accordingly. Professor Paulo de Souza, CSIRO Science Leader, says

“Bee colonies are collapsing around the world and we don’t know why. Due to the urgent and global nature of this issue, we saw the need to develop a methodology that any scientist could easily deploy. This way we can share and compare data from around the world to collaboratively investigate bee health. This united effort is a fantastic example of the Internet of Things.”

What Do We Know About Intel Edison Platform

About the platform Souza says, “The Intel Edison Breakout Board kit is the perfect platform for this type of research. It’s incredibly reliable, small in size, flexible with programming, and has low power consumption. It’s also easily customizable which means that if a scientist has a sensor they would like to add, they can virtually plug in and play.”

Once the data extracted from the Intel Edison platform and sent to the researchers, they will be able to produce visual (most probably 3D models) reports that will contain the entire activity of the Honey bees such as their movements and responses to internal or external stressors. Plus, the board with also provide some added information such as humidity around the beehive, solar radiation and more.

Image Courtesy of: Spectrum Communications

Google Project Ara Modular Mobiles – The Revolutionary Smartphones

Owning a desktop PC seems to be the most preferred choice of many users. Why, you may ask? Perhaps, it is because desktop machines let you customize them the way you see fit. If you need more memory, you can just open the side-lid of your PC’s casing and replace the current one with a new. Simple!

What if the same notion could be applied to smartphones as well? How wonderful would it be to have a mobile that has customizable features? Luckily, Google Project Ara will bring such technology in your hands soon- a modular smartphone that you’ve been waiting for years.

Project Ara Inception

Project Ara is an open hardware system. It was the inception of Motorola before it was acquired by Google. While in Motorola, the project was worked on and supervised by the Motorola Advanced Technology and Project group, which later bossed by Google after acquisition. Although in 2014 Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google but the “Big G” didn’t give away its Google Advanced Technology and Project group, along with some other patents.

What’s a Modular Smartphone

Modular smartphone will be much like a desktop PC in that it will come with a basic exoskeleton that can be customized as you see fit using different modules. There will be a modular for camera, memory, front display, and more. Since it is an open hardware platform, there will be modules not only by Google but also third party developers, which will be available on a Google Play like store.

What made modular smartphones so amazing apart from their customizable features is that the modules can be changed without the need of turning off the phone first. The modules will be connected with the device using electropermanent magnets.

Operating System for Project Ara Modular Mobiles

Since the modular smartphone may come under the umbrella of Google projects, it will use Google’s flagship OS, android, although it’d be slightly tweaked for compatibility with the device. However, it is still open to debate whether it will be an official android or not as Ara isn’t an official product of Google but a “development effort”.

The Launch and Cost of Project Ara

Although the phone is still in its development phase, the project was expected to be launched in 2015. However, later in 2015 the project’s launched date was moved to 2016. Regarding the smartphone’s price, it was stated that the “production cost” of the modular mobile is around $50 to $100. According to the officials, the final cost will be decided once the carrier contract is made.

Image Courtesy of: gizmag.com/project-ara-puerto-rico-trial/35632/

Prolonged Sitting at Workplace with Little to No Breaks Leads to Increased Chances of Coronary Heart Disease & Stroke

Heart diseases seem to be a growing concern in today’s era. Prevalent among both men and women alike, studies show that 1 in every 4 deaths in US alone are caused by heart diseases.

So, why heart related problems are so prevalent in today’s society and to such an alarming extent? There could be a number of factors that lead to heart disease risks including factors like heredity, old age, high BP, poor diet, diabetes, and obesity to name a few.

However, recent a recent study, conducted by Professor Mika Kivimaki and many other professors, shows that there’s another factor at play that increases heart disease: excessive work with lack of breaks.

The study was conducted among 6, 03,838 men and women who initially didn’t had coronary heart disease, and 528 908 men and women who didn’t had any stroke problem.

The study shows that people working longer than 50+ hours per week are more at risk of developing both coronary heart disease and stroke than those working, the standard 30 – 40 hours/week.

The study is pretty alarming for those who rarely steps out of their 47” tall 4’ x 2’ cubicle. The reason for longer work hours could be anything from more pay, workaholism, etc. Regardless of the reasons, it is essential to take breaks from work in between to rejuvenate both mind and body for a healthy life.

It is not just the employee who should cut back from late sitting or overtimes, but it is the duty of the employers to take better care of their employees. After all, healthy employees means, productive employees.

Verdict

Although research like this tends to surface every now and then with industry giants promising and even promoting a fun and healthy workplace, some tend to seem unaware of the mistreatment of their employees in their child-branches located in different countries such as Apple and Amazon.

Regardless, employees healthy should be given preference over mere marginal gains. After all, it is what we call a humane thing to do.

How to Disappear Online – A How-To-Get-Off-The-Grid Infographics for Dummies

There’s a whole commotion of cyber crimes online. However, there are many who seem to be all ignorant from it, and they remain ignorant until they find themselves in this virtual quagmire.

So, what is the point of origin of all those cyber crimes? If you believe that it is illegal access to credit card or financial info online, you may be partly right but not completely. With the rise in social media that lets users share their day in and day out activities, knowing important details about someone down to what they eat and when they sleep has become a lot easier.

Although online networks do offer some level of privacy to its users, getting past that level isn’t difficult at all. When searching for job, the employer can easily judge your personality and character by not only going through your LinkedIn but also other networks like Tweeter, Facebook, etc. Same is true in other instances such as dating, etc. Such wide online presence often becomes food for the wild hyenas that are out there to get you.

Regardless, when people find themselves stalked by creeps online they try to ward them off by deleting their accounts. Although there are many websites that can easily extract all your online information that add to your online presence and let you delete, still that isn’t enough.

But don’t you worry. Thanks to the access to a plethora of resources online, you can get off the grid with little to no efforts. Recently, whoishostingthis.com has shared an infographics which is a treasure trove for people looking to wipe out their online presence for good. Sounds like you? Check out the infographics.

how-to-disappear-online

firefox

Mozilla’s all set To Unveil Its Long-Awaited “Electrolysis Project” & Dump Add-ons for Chrome Extensions

Mozilla Firefox is finally setting its Electrolysis project in motion that was adjourned in 2011 after starting in 2009, however, later resumed two years back. Not only that but it has also decided to ditch its popular add-ons for more universal, chrome web extensions.

Mozilla Firefox always enjoyed immense popularity and preference of users around the world, until Google introduced its Chrome browser. Due to the speed and efficiency offered by Chrome, users’ preference diverted from Firefox quite significantly.

The leading problems of such divergence were lack of stability and lack of add-on computability across browsers. However, with the changes Mozilla bringing to Firefox will make up to those lacking and make browsing even more secure and faster than ever.

Electrolysis Project to put in simple terms is the newfound ability of Firefox that lets it use multiple processes.

The governing factor that makes Chrome faster than Firefox is its multi-process functioning that lets it shift the processing load among multiple tabs. However, “Firefox has always used a single process”, says Bill Mccloskey in a blog. However, the Electrolysis Project utilizes separate OS processes to run the Web Content.

With Electrolysis, both the UI and browser tabs will be separated to ensure security, stability and more efficiency.

The second big decision of Mozilla will be to integrate blink-compatible API, WebExtentions, to its browser to Support Chrome (and other browser’s) extensions.

Mozilla stated in its blog post, “We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors.”

The new WebExtentions will be compatible across browsers and available on Mozilla’s add-on store. Currently, WebExtentions are available for a test drive on Mozilla’s Developers Edition and will soon be available on-default Firefox 43. Moreover, all the future add-ons will be signed by Mozilla before they are launched for use.

The WebExtentions will be quite beneficial for the developers as they would no longer need to make separate extensions for multiple browsers but tweak the same extension to make it run easily on not only Firefox but other browsers as well.

Other than the Electrolysis and WebExtensions, Mozilla also announced a few more updates and fixes as its future projects. More information on those updates can be found on its official blog.

How Imagining & Graphics Reshaping the Internet

When the internet was first introduced, it was built to transfer data from one remote point to another. When some bright-minded scientists saw the potential of this miraculous technology, they made it public so to let the masses have a platform where they can connect.

Still at first, it was all about browsing and exploring information which was once not accessible easily. As the time passed and advancements were made, it made a huge leap from simple web surfing to new-age marketing and then gradually to digital socialization. Now, Internet has become a household item all over the globe.

Regardless, the one thing that helped internet to gain immense expansion and ultimately wide recognition is the unlimited access to Visual Content.

Research suggests that visual content makes up 93% of all human communication. These visual contents include videos, visualized data, graphic designs and more importantly images. Ever since the advent of Internet, there’s been 4.7 trillion images uploaded to internet. These images exhibit the emotions, sentiments, muses and even imagination of people around the globe.

Just like graphic designing, imagining is also restructuring our user of internet. A few years back, we would put all our focus on developing appealing websites. We would embellish it with all the glittering and shimmering to attract eyes, forgetting there’s something call user experience beyond that appeal. UX is how the visitor interacts with the website or apps and how they navigate their way through it finding what they came looking for.

Images can be used in the same manner as User experience to understand the behavior of a person, and see their intuitive reaction to images they see. In fact, some websites and apps have even started implementing this idea to judge the user behavior and show the results the user wants. Take for instance the match making app Tinder, where the user can’t view the same profile again if it is left-swiped, unless it is a premium version.

However, Google on the other hand isn’t nearly as good in offering the “visual internet” experience, as some may call. It is because it still offering objective search experience showing simply what objects the image encompasses, not the biases it offers.

Nonetheless, go-getter startups are putting the seed of visual internet into the digital soil by harnessing the power of big data and creatively linking it to the visual data. The end result: a subjective visual internet that go beyond the current barriers and inform the behavior of a user when he sees a photo and instinctively understand the meaning behind it.

ShapeKit – An App That Let Kids Unchained Their Creative Beast

What kids love most? Playing with sand and eating it whenever they find themselves freed from the strict surveillance of their parents…? No! Besides that!

I’m talking about the scribbling they love to do on a blank paper or anything that looks like a canvas, like house walls or kitchen counter…you get the picture.

To keep such kids and many others – of course – busy letting their creative urges satisfied through the right means, ShapeKit is introduced.

Designed by KidKit, owned by a group of trio with Young Sang Cho with the brain behind it, Shapekit offers a virtual playground for kids with age between six and twelve. Its core purpose is to educate them about the use and characteristics of shapes and colors.

The tool uses Tangram as its design model. It allows the learner to develop basic creative or visual skills from the ground up such as angel perception, shape consistency, and more. Another key advantage of using such model is to equip kids with the skills to visually perceive how any raw material can be utilized to form something new.

The user-friendly interface and intuitive interactivity allows ease of use for kids. For instance, when a shape is selected that app pops up a description of its characteristics and its many uses. This feature allows first time users to easily get familiar with the objects.

Children can easily create cute objects, buildings, pyramids, robots or even flat animals, using limited shapes like circle, square, triangle, quadrant, etc.

Inspired by vintage building blocks and using flat color palette, ShapeKit doesn’t simply offer a drag and drop play like other drawing apps. The key feature that makes it stand apart from others is its emphasis “on the physicality of creation”, as Young put it in an interview by TechCrunch. For instance, the kid has to punch holes on the object to create joints and connect the points using virtual metal brads.

Perhaps what sets this amazing kids’ app apart is the powerful animation that it comes loaded with. This way kids can take their creative artwork to a whole new level, and see how their imagination works when it comes to life.

ShapeKit is available on iTunes for download and can be purchased for as little as $2.99 dollars, which if you ask me, is worth all the fun and enjoyment.

Image Courtesy of:http://kidkit.co/shapekit/

HydrateMe – The 21st Century Bottle That Glows When Your Body Needs H2O

HydrateMe is a cutting-edge technology that comes in the shape of a reusable water bottle, equipped with a sensor that periodically reminds you to hydrate yourself.

Hailed as the “smartest water bottle ever”, HydrateMe has successfully raised over $600K funds on KickStarter in just 1.5 months, backed by 8,000 interested funders. It is a pretty interesting sum for an interactive technology that is, although, not new on this popular crowdfunding platform.

Product campaigns like these are presented every now and then on KickStarter. However, none came any closer to racking in hundreds of thousands of dollars than HydrateMe.

So, what’s make this bottle more interesting than other potential candidates out there?

HydrateMe is a plastic (BPA free) water bottle like any other you’d use in your home…but with a slight touch of technology. It comes integrated with a high-tech sensor or a tracker that keeps a thorough track of your daily water intake.

Image Courtesy of: Hydrate.me
Image Courtesy of: Hydrate.me

Accompanied by a friendly app, the bottles stays connected with the app all day long. Upon registration with the app, you’ll be asked to feed the app your personal details like Age, Height, Weight, Gender and daily activity level. While keeping those details into account, the app syncs with the sensor inside the bottle to monitor your water intake.

Whenever your body would need a sip, the bottle will alert you by glowing itself. Another best feature of this amazing bottle is that it also keeps track of the daily temperature and the humidity level to create goals for your water intake needs accordingly. Plus, whenever you fall off the track, say you forgot the bottle at home when you hit the park for jogging, the app will send reminders to your smartphone informing you that it’s time for a Sip.

HyrdrateMe has a pretty comfy ergonomics that ensure that you’d feel comfortable taking the bottle with you wherever you go, be it on your bicycle, car or on foot. The bottle comes in several beautiful colors like Crystal Pink, Bamboo Green, Amethyst Purple, etc. It has a fairly flexible built which makes it dishwasher safe.

Best of all, the 710 ml. water bottle comes with a 1 year batter life, which means you never need to charge the battery like any other charging-dependent gadget.

The product will be out in the market around the fall of 2015, and also ready for shipment around the globe.

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