Sounds like a mystery novel, but now you can write in air. From Computerworld
“The gestural device goes on the index finger and can be used to write Japanese characters, Latin letters or numbers in midair. A linked smartphone or other Bluetooth mobile device with a Fujitsu app can instantly recognize numbers written with the ring with about 95 percent accuracy, according to developer Fujitsu Laboratories.”
When Amazon unveiled the Echo last year many didn't know quite what to make of it. A simple black cylinder that was an audio system and window into the web all wrapped up in one, and operated almost entirely by voice. Voice operation was hands-free as "Alexa" -- the name used to get the AI's attention -- was always listening for your command.
Major features added since launch of the Amazon Echo:
Addition of Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes for voice control
Voice control of smart home devices using WeMo including Philips Hue devces
Boeing’s (heavily) modified 767 will gradually replace the aging (some are 60 years old) KC-135 Stratotankers. Foxtrot Alpha has details on some of the newer refueling and other technologies in the tanker
“The KC-46A will feature innovative new technologies and capabilities. A three-point hose and drogue refueling system will be standard along with a fly-by-wire refueling boom. Omitted from the KC-46A design is the traditional 'boom pod' with its bay window and line-of-sight boom control station. Instead, the KC-46A will use a 3D video system fed to a refueling console for boom control.
The Pegasus will be equipped with a modern radar warning receiver and defensive countermeasure systems, along with a full glass cockpit and an advanced navigation system to comply with international standards. When it comes to lugging cargo around, the KC-46A far exceeds the KC-135 in every respect, with 18 palets being carried on a single mission. The Pegasus will also be more economical to operate considering the enhanced capability it provides over the Stratotanker. Other goodies include night-vision compatible lighting and future multi-mission capabilities via in the installation of plug-and-play consoles.”
Excellent article in FastCompany on Disney’s ambitious tech enabled tinkering of the UX at its flagship park in Orlando
“While most observers view Disney’s parks as kingdoms of escapism, Neal Gabler, in his definitive biography of Walt Disney, argues that their success actually derives from "crafting a better reality than the one outside," with a reassuring "control and order" where all is "harmonious." But in the ensuing weeks, working from a trailer behind Epcot, the founding five started digging into the problems that made the reality of Disney World something less than "harmonious." There were the endless lines for rides, food, and bathrooms; parents juggling maps, hotel keys, baby carriages, and bottles of SPF 75; and kids pulling families on long treks to try to visit every attraction. The park was filled with complications, such as a tiered ticketing system with wonky rules.
Given Disney World’s ticket prices, families felt obligated to "divide and conquer," says MacPhee. The team created diagrams illustrating how families, seeking to maximize their time, would crisscross Cinderella Castle, the center of the park, as often as 20 times a day. Worse yet: the swarms of people. On average, 8,000 to 10,000 guests flow through the park’s main entrance every hour. "On the surface, we had super happy guests, but in reality, we were making them go through so much hassle at the park that down the road, they would simply say, 'No más!' " says one former longtime Disney manager. As MacPhee, who has the look of a Division II offensive coordinator, admits, Disney World was on the verge of becoming "dangerously complex and transactional." The team soon presented its ideas to Rasulo. He gave them the go-ahead to rethink everything, including turnstile entrances and paper ticketing. That’s when the project got its code name, Next Generation Experience, or NGE. The founding five soon found themselves on a perpetual shuttle between Burbank and Orlando.”
A new SUV after 7 years, a new laptop after 3, and a new smartphone after 2, and especially when you see things from the eye of a technophobe wife, you realize how everything, even basic, humble things are rapidly evolving
The car clock has evolved to synch with the GPS and auto-adjust to daylight savings and time zones
The earbuds can screenprint to your photos
The speakerbox can speed-dial for you
The mouse has lost its tail and can walk even on rough surfaces
“When Google hosted a boot camp this month for its Android operating system, there were some new faces in the room: automakers.
They made the trip to learn about Android Auto, a dashboard system meant to let a smartphone power a car’s center screen. Tasks as varied as navigation, communicating, and playing music, apps all constantly talking to the cloud. And to the driver. A similar scene is playing out at Apple, where its rival CarPlay system was developed for iPhone users.”
“In coming months, dealerships across the country will begin selling vehicles capable of running Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or both.
The systems go far beyond current Bluetooth pairing for playing music or making hands-free calls and allow Google’s or Apple’s system to take over the center screen and certain buttons in the car.”
An electroencephalogram headset that measures the brain activity of dogs and interprets it with proprietary software to determine the relative strength of their likes and dislikes. It was designed to supplement the pet industry’s market research.
Smell – the final frontier of sense when it comes to UX design
“For years, scientists assumed that humans could detect some 10,000 different scents. A recent study from Rockefeller University, however, suggests that our noses are far more sensitive than we ever thought. By creating odor mixtures in which some smells overlapped, then asking volunteers to pick out which ones didn’t, researchers determined that we can actually detect more than 1trillion smells.
Monell scientists work tirelessly to crack the code of these scents. Trimmer and her colleagues are trying to figure out what odors light up which combinations of receptors and how genes influence that process. She says they know the receptor combos for at least 40 odors. Less than a trillion to go.
In the hallway outside Monell’s molecular biology lab, industrial-size refrigerators are packed with tiny tubes containing the DNA of different types of olfactory receptors. Inside the lab itself, wooden shelves and cabinets bear fragrant chemical concoctions meant to stimulate the cells.”
The (N-trig integrated pen and touch) stylus has been redesigned so that you can click the top of it to launch OneNote, even when the Surface Pro 3 is powered off. When you write notes using OneNote you can then click the top of the stylus again, just like an ordinary pen, and it will sync those notes up to the cloud instantly so they're available elsewhere. OneNote will also bring in content from the web when you tap on the stylus, allowing you to turn anything into a note. It appears to be one of the main new advantages of the updated stylus and the Surface Pro 3.