Self-driving cars like Google's controversial 25mph autonomous pod could get significantly more affordable to make, researchers have promised, with a new LIDAR radar system far cheaper than the expensive turret on top of current models. The laser tracking system - the distinctive "turret" on top of the Google self-driving car - is one of the single most expensive components in the vehicle, estimated to add around $80,000 to the bill of materials. However, a Berkley team believes it could do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.
Microsoft has given its IllumiRoom concept a makeover, with the immersive projected gaming experience evolving to deliver interactive web content that fills the living room and engages with Xbox One, Windows Phone, and Windows. Dubbed Microsoft SurroundWeb, the concept relies on the same approach of using projectors to cast digital graphics onto the surfaces of real-world objects, like the wall surrounding a TV or the coffee table in front of it, which then react to the user within that space.
When you have a product like Kinect, so closely associated with gaming, how do you convince everybody else that they should be installing a motion-tracking camera in the home? Microsoft is looking to smart home technology and health, among other things, to do just that with Kinect for Windows v2, though a stealthy spread through Cortana and smartphones may be just as vital. We caught up with Microsoft’s Michael Mott, general manager of Xbox applications and developer relations, to find out how virtual assistants and home automation could make Kinect-tech the next must-have.
Motion-tracking startup Thalmic Labs has been showing off what its early developers can do with a muscle-reading Myo armband and a little imagination, with the new peripheral already integrated with Oculus Rift, capable of remotely controlling mean-looking robots, and more. The company isn't planning to ship broadly until midway through this year, but its Myo Alpha Developers program is underway, and already the ideas are proving diverse.
Faceware and Vicon, two makers of motion capture technologies, has announced a new partnership that will bring their respective offerings together. For now, the partnership is bringing a simple merging of Faceware's software with Vicon's hardware to expand so-called mocap options in the industry, but additional options may be made available in the future.
With the folks at Tobii Technology you've got some of the most advanced work in the world being down with eye-tracking with the PC. This month they're introducing a partnership with gaming peripheral leaders SteelSeries in an effort to jump-start their entry into the personal PC eye-tracking market. The first introduction we've had with Tobii has been their very own Tobii EyeX Developer Kit, a unit that's already rolling for a variety of PCs and getting prepared for launch this Spring.
Samsung may be developing a new wearable fitness tracker. The so-called "Galaxy Band" would likely be an update to the seemingly discontinued S-Band, the screen-less, wrist-mounted tracker for pairing with a Galaxy S 4. The Galaxy Band would add a screen along with an array of other fitness- and health-oriented tracking features.
Researchers at MIT have created a new way to track movement through walls, and it is even more accurate and revealing than the motion tracking technology they created in June of this year. It's called WiTrack, and it can sense a person's movements in three dimensions -- physical occlusions or no. It's an update to the same researchers' "WiVi", which could "see" through walls but wasn't nearly as comprehensive as this.
Apple's purchase of PrimeSense last week had all the tech industries howling. The Israel-based company's motion tracking technology had largely informed early versions of Kinect, Microsoft's motion-tracking and voice command interface for the Xbox 360 gaming console. Was Apple planning to use PrimeSense's expertise in motion tracking to propel its gadgets into a new era of universal motion tracking capability? Maybe not, says former Washington Post tech journalist Jessica Lessin. It's all about PrimeSense's other, lesser-known, claim to fame: 3D indoor mapping.