Can the Microsoft Hololens avoid the fate of Google Glass?
Aug17

Can the Microsoft Hololens avoid the fate of Google Glass?

It’s becoming difficult to remember what year it is. There’s a presidential race featuring Bush and Clinton, a new Star Wars movie due out this year, and even a supposedly functional hover-board. Soon we can expect to see some serious tech that will question our sense of reality. Microsoft Hololens, an “untethered, see-through holographic computer,” will debut sometime in 2016 — and many draw comparisons to Google Glass when discussing the forthcoming headset. But it begs the question, will the two devices share the same fate? A breakthrough… almost Google Glass was supposed to be the hallmark for the wearables industry. Back in early 2013, the ground-breaking technology was roughly in the phase that the current Hololens is in today. Journalists wrote with bewilderment as consumers began to grow hungry with anticipation for a final Glass product. However, when you stop to think about it, the hype around Google Glass made sense. It was a mysterious product of the future that only a select group of people could use. The wearable came loaded with incredible features, like a five megapixel camera that also recorded video at 720p. But by May of 2014, the headset went on sale for consumers and we quickly realized the obvious: We didn’t need it. Consumer reaction What we got was a glorified smartphone strapped to your head at a hefty price tag. More importantly, it didn’t solve any problems. Ian Altman published an article on Forbes discussing the major flaws that plagued Glass. The biggest issue was that the product didn’t resolve any sort of problem or inconvenience for consumers that a smartphone couldn’t already do. Consumers were not about to shell out $1,500 bucks for a product that they didn’t understand or necessarily require, and public concern over privacy worked against the device. Plus the whole “glasshole” thing really put a damper on Google’s release. Read More: Oculus, Sony, and Microsoft race to create the best virtual reality experiences at E3 Instead of riding out the initial public reaction to the Glass, Google did something unexpected. Earlier this year, Google pulled the plug on their product and hasn’t been particularly vocal about the future of the device. Rumors suggest that the next iteration of Google Glass will be focused on professionals even though Google has made no announcement. The fate of the Hololens So will the Hololens similarly crumble after it’s released? Probably not. Holistically, the products are completely different, serve different functions, and have been marketed to different target audiences. The Microsoft device implements unparalleled augmented reality technology, unlike Google Glass that simply displayed information from your smartphone. The Hololens creates a completely different experience through deep immersion so that the user can heavily interact...

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New research on Microsoft’s WearDrive could save your battery’s life
Jul15

New research on Microsoft’s WearDrive could save your battery’s life

Ritualizing the charging habits for your wearables may be a thing of the past, thanks to new research at Microsoft. The battery life on many wearables could be getting a major facelift in the near-future due to WearDrive. Microsoft researchers have developed WearDrive a new way to extend the battery life of wearable technology. WearDrive works by moving the most energy performing operations off the actual device. It would use bluetooth to move those operations to your smart phone and save battery life in the process. The wearable itself would only be responsible for performing smaller tasks that would use minimal battery consumption. According to an interview on TechNet, a tech blog owned by Microsoft, Ranveer Chandra, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, said many of the current wearable battery designs are based on the battery-saving tricks that were developed for smart phones. “Everyone has been thinking of reusing what exists for mobile devices,” Chandra said. “What we’re saying is, ‘It’s a different paradigm. It’s a different usage scenario.'”Wearables pose a unique problem in their design. Since they are rather small to being with, the size of the battery is going to have to be equally as small. Anirudh Badam, another Microsoft researcher who worked on the project, said that creates more serious battery challenges. “The size of the battery is even more problematic,” Badam said. “You can’t have heavy batteries because they add weight. And you can’t have a large battery because of real estate concerns: You don’t have much room on people’s wrists.” Read more: Apple Watch 2 rumors point to a bigger battery and more independence Some wearables, like the Vector Luna smartwatch, boast a 30 day battery life, but that isn’t the norm. In fact, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Smart watches like the Moto 360 and Apple Watch have been known to only last 12-15 hours, depending on use. We are excited to see how the implementation of WearDrive and the consumer demand for longer battery will mix with new wearable tech in 2016. Hopefully we can stop writing negative reviews for poor battery...

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