Connect with us

Tech Gadgets

Neurocam: shoot pics hands-free with your brain waves

Take pictures hands-free with your brain waves with Neurocam, one of the latest inventions using neuroscience technologies.

Published

on

neurowear

neurowear

Neurocam – the latest in neuroscience technologies

Tired of holding up your iPhone when you want to capture a picture of something interesting, or just obsessed with adopting the latest technologies? Neurocam is similar to a Google Glass camera, but it is controlled via your brain waves. Neuroscience technologies for consumers is truly cutting edge. Neurowear headphones recently debuted at SXSWi in Austin, Texas and utilize brain waves to select a relevant play list or song from your iPhone, based on your mood. Brain wave technology is becoming increasingly popular, especially in Asian nations, where the newest technology is always a topic of conversation; hopefully the United States is not too far behind in interest.

A prototype of the Neurocam camera was recently demonstrated at the Human Sensing conference in Japan. The device consists of a halter type headband that allows your iPhone to be strapped to the side of your head. Then, brainwave sensors can make contact with your skin and measure you interest in the things you look at, based on how your brain responds to things you see. This interest is measured on a scale of one to one hundred and when you brain waves send out a signal of interest measured above sixty, the shutter on your phone is activated.

How it all works

How? The analytics algorithm is based on the sensitivity vales of “interest” and “like” developed by Professor Mitsukura of Keio University and were co-developed with the Neurowear team especially for the Neurocam.

If you are wondering how your iPhone can take accurate pictures from your point-of-view strapped to the side of your head, you are not alone. The answer is simple: Neurocam is fitted with a special prism that allows your phone to see what you see. Once your brain triggers the shutter on the camera, the footage is recorded as five-second GIFs, which will then be stored to your camera’s roll. This could be fun for frequent bloggers, writers, and parents because it could serve as a daily journal of what held your interest with a charming visual aid to go along with the story of your day.

Personally, I like the idea of this, but I worry, not only about looking silly with the phone strapped to my temple, but also, about the radiation produced by cell phones, especially if I am going to wear it all day. As with anything else, you will just need to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks and see if it is a good fit for you. Either way, it is definitely a new kind of futuristic cool that could indicate the next generation of predictive technologies.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech Gadgets

Google acquires AR manufacturer, North, but what for?

(TECH GADGETS) Google has recently purchased North, an AR startup that boasts impressive 3-D holographic visual displays, but what they plan to do with this new merger is unclear.

Published

on

google glass

If you allowed pop culture to influence your beliefs about what the 21st century might look like, then you — like most of society — have probably not-so-secretly been hoping that today might vaguely resemble the marvels promised to us from the Back to the Future franchise. After all, we were all assured that we’d have hoverboards to shuttle around on, 3-D holographic advertisements to admire, and a Florida baseball team to root for.

Reality, however, has proven to be starkly different than this fantasy. Sadly, we only got one of these three incredible offerings, but the tech startup, North, is now trying to change all of that by providing us with a new, augmented reality alternative.

It’s fair to say that North, an AR smart lens manufacturer, has been met with both significant hype and equally significant challenges. While the enthusiasm about this company has been reasonably justified (a holographic real-time display in your field of vision is admittedly a pretty cool idea), they still somehow managed to repeatedly fall short on expectations. There have been numerous problems from the get-go that can be blamed for holding them back, too.

What issues, you might be asking? Well, for instance, the price of getting your hands on a sweet share of these sci-fi specs was an exorbitant $999. And if you wanted to get properly fitted in them, you had to not only shell out those beaucoup dollars, you also had to pop into one of two of their only brick-and-mortar retail shops. Even lowering the price of their AR glasses (dubbed “Focals”) down to a mere $600 per pop couldn’t save North from floundering.

Their struggles gradually became public in an assortment of actions performed by the company. First, they laid off something like 150 of their current staff. Then it was brought to light that North secured $40 million in bridge financing to help them stay afloat. Their next step was to cut out the middleman (the retail shops) and take their business entirely online. And if that wasn’t enough, they then finally pulled Focals from their inventory, with a vow to roll out an even better product (Focals 2.0) sometime in 2020.

If you were wondering where this new and improved product was, then wonder no longer: it was never made. Perhaps coronavirus squashed operations. Maybe North couldn’t drum up any more capital for their product. Either way, it was obvious that they needed another major bailout…and we now know that their much-needed helping hand has come from an unexpected place. In an announcement this week, Google has revealed that they have acquired this flailing AR tech company, and the two companies now plan to join heads to potentially (finally!) see this project through.

Google themselves are no stranger to AR, and many people may recall their attempts to get their own AR smart lenses (called “Google Glass”) up and running. Like Focals, though, the company simply couldn’t gain enough traction for Glass to become a popular product from the tech giant. While Google Glass is still available for purchase, it never became the mainstream tech revolution that Google had hoped it would be.

It’s exciting to see these two augmented reality greats come together with a unified goal in mind. After all, they already have a lot in common, with both companies serving as notable innovation masterminds, highly capable of designing and creating impressive AR technology. With that said, it’s still unclear what Google plans to do with its new purchase. Details of the acquisition are understandably hush-hush, and it’s been reported that all evidence of the first-gen of Focals will be scrubbed from the app store by the end of July 2020.

Perhaps this merger will finally allow us to see the much-anticipated Focals 2.0 come to life. Who knows? We eventually got to see the Miami Marlins not only become an actual baseball team, but also win the World Series (not once, but twice!). So is it that much more of a leap to also expect to see affordable holographic displays in our visual field? It’s an intriguing premise, and one that’s exciting to consider. Heck, we’re right there on the cusp of having real-deal hoverboards, too, so maybe this new version of augmented reality can finally become a true reality, as well.

Continue Reading

Tech Gadgets

Google Glass didn’t succeed, but Apple’s AR glasses might

(TECH GADGETS) Apple Glass: Are AR glasses gimmicky, or can Apple improve where Google failed? The potential is enormous, but can Apple meet the expectations?

Published

on

Apple AR glasses

Apple may announce a new addition to the iFamily this year: Apple Glass, a set of AR glasses to complement existing Apple products. Even though we’ve seen this story before, here’s why Apple’s rumored eyewear might deserve your attention–if not your money.

This certainly isn’t the first time a technology company has taken their brand name and slotted the word “Glass” after it to create hype. In 2015, Google Glass was discontinued–quite publicly, in fact–due to a variety of issues, chief among which were privacy concerns, and an untenable price tag of around $1500. Lacking a clear market and suitable demand, the shades were put to rest, though it should be noted that a rebranded version is available now (for $999).

Apple is a company that has, in the past, showed a propensity for iteration rather than innovation; the Apple Watch, while a stylish and functional improvement on existing wearable technology, wasn’t even close to the first of its kin, and early versions of the iPad were scrutinized against similarly sized, lower-priced counterparts. This isn’t to say that Apple doesn’t do tech better–just that they are, often enough, pretty late to the party.

In the case of AR glasses, this is a habit that may suit Apple well.

Put bluntly, there isn’t a clearly established need for smart glasses, and while critics of the Apple Watch were quick to say the same thing about that implement, anyone who has worn one for a few hours can recognize (if not fully appreciate) the handiness–no pun intended. It seems fair to afford Apple some grace with this in mind, but the fact remains that the demand for a set of AR glasses simply isn’t there for now.

On the other hand (again, no pun intended), Apple is the master of creating demand and hype where previously there was naught but slumber. For this reason, it behooves us to keep an eye on Apple’s unveiled tech this year–if for no other reason than to know for sure how the company plans to address the sticky issue of AR wearables.

After all, there are numerous medical, exploratory, and generally functional applications for which one could feasibly use AR in a beneficial (not gimmicky) manner, and if Apple is able to expedite that process, far be it from us to criticize. Yet.

Continue Reading

Tech Gadgets

The Apple Watch isn’t just a way to ignore calls, it could save your life

(TECH GADGETS) A lot of people balked at the idea of an Apple Watch, and even though many of its features seem superfluous, it has actually saved lives.

Published

on

Apple Watch

Apple products are known for invasive yet convenient features–Face ID, Keychain, and AirDrop being some of the more notable ones–but the Apple Watch emergency dial feature might be the most useful one of them all.

If you’ve had the pleasure of setting up an Apple Watch from scratch, you know that the Healthcare app asks some invasive questions. This app, among other things, is responsible for curating a list of emergency contacts (something you can also populate via the Contacts app on your iPhone)–and this list might save your life if you take an unexpected tumble, at least if you have a Series 4 or 5 watch.

The way the feature works is relatively simple: If the watch senses that a user has rapidly or heavily fallen, it will initiate a haptic pulse along with a message asking the user to confirm that they are okay. Should the user fail to address this notification, the watch will call emergency services–and the user’s emergency contact list–with details including the user’s GPS coordinates.

The fall detection feature has reportedly worked for a few Apple Watch owners, one of whom passed out and didn’t wake up until emergency services arrived.

It is worth noting that the Apple Watch has another potentially life-saving feature: an ECG attached to the Heart Rate app. In theory, the Heart Rate app can detect abnormalities in one’s heartbeat and warn the user of an impending issue such as a stroke or a heart attack. Anyone who owns an Apple Watch knows that the Heart Rate app can be finicky, but Apple seems likely to continue tweaking this app as the watch ages.

While several owners have publicly attested to the effectiveness of these features, this shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of the Apple Watch’s ability to save a life. An Apple Watch is still, first and foremost, a novelty–one that won’t always perform the way it’s meant to.

Future iterations of the watch–starting with the Series 6–are expected to expand on these medical features by adding monitoring for blood oxygen levels as well as improvements on existing features.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!