Take a Step Into Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has started becoming more and more well-known in the gaming industry. It adds much more immersive and engaging qualities to a game, and now that it has been around for awhile, inventors are coming up with new ways it can be integrated into games.

The Japanese firm, known as Cerevo, has come out with Taclim. Taclim is a set of virtual reality shoes. As you have probably already guessed, the purpose behind this is to allow users to feel the virtual world through their feet. Each shoe has 3 sensors, two on the bottom of the shoe (one at the front and one at the rear), and the other is located a top of the foot. While wearing the shoes, a person can feel water splashing, a wooden floor creaking, snow crunching, and even soft sand beneath their feet.

Imagine fighting someone or something in a game and kicking them. With Taclim, you would easily be able to feel the difference between kicking your opponent, or kicking his/her shield. This is exactly what Cerevo is going for.

This newest addition to the virtual reality world is certainly a positive one. However, there are some downfalls. The lucky people who were able to try this out said it felt awkward, and the shoes were quite big and clunky. They felt uncomfortable doing a kicking motion, because the shoes felt like they were going to fall off. They also felt odd to walk in. They were instructed to stand in place and shuffle their feet in order to experience the different “textures”. While doing this not only did they feel awkward, but the shoes were heavy on their feet. Obviously, with every new invention, there will be positive and negative feedback.

Taclim is worth somewhere between $1000 – $1500, and will be available in late 2017. So far it is only compatible with Google VR, which explains why it’s so pricey. Hopefully it will become compatible with more than just Google, because otherwise it might not sell too well.

So the question is would you buy this? Or is this just another silly gimmick that the gaming industry has come up with. With the release date being sometime this year, we will have to patiently wait.

Give Your Creativity a Boost

Legos are one of those toys that became a staple in almost everyone’s childhood. You would come home from the store, rip open your new lego set and, sure enough, in about an hour’s time, you’d have legos from one end of your room to the other. Lego taught children a very hands-on approach to creativity, and now, with Lego Boost, kids can make their imaginations come to life!

Lego Boost, is Lego’s newest addition to their lineup of toys. Targeted at kids ages seven and up, and priced at $160, Lego Boost is a set of legos that comes with a set of motors and programmable bricks that can work with new and existing sets to bring a creation to life.

The Lego Boost set comes with 5 different instructions for different models you can create. Two of them are Vinnie the Robot and Frankie the Cat. Vinnie the Robot can be programmed to behave in a “western” style. You can code him to shoot a gun at a target every time it hears a clap, and, of course, dress him in western gear. You can even code him to *cough, cough* fart, when you pull his finger.

Frankie the Cat comes with a number of unique and engaging programmable behaviours. He starts out as a kitten, and, as slowly or quickly as you want, you can program him to behave more like a full-grown cat. You can program him to hiss at you when you grab his tail, or purr when you feed him through a milk bottle. You can even leave him running in the background, so when he starts meowing, you will have to figure out what it is that he needs.

Now, you’re all probably thinking, how would a seven-year-old know how to code this? While we’re all used to being utterly baffled while attempting to code something, this, however, is much simpler. The app that is integral to the success of this toy uses color-coded icons. Basically, if you want Vinnie to say, “Howdy, partner!” every time you snap your fingers, you would place an icon used for audio next to one used for action. Therefore, it will know what to do when it hears you snapping your fingers.

Lego Boost will allow kids to express their creativity and it will spark a curiosity for how inventions are developed. I think that this will do wonders for children’s growth and development.

The Hexoskin

We all know that a common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or become more healthy. Do people usually commit to their resolutions? Some do, some don’t. However, with this new piece of workout technology, I predict that more people will commit to having six-pack abs by swimsuit season.

The latest trend for fitness fanatics, first time gym goers, or anyone in between, is wearable technology. We have all heard of the Fitbit, but one step up is the Hexoskin. This new product on the market, worth a whopping $399, is a wearable fitness t-shirt. It is equipped with a Bluetooth sensor which is connected to numerous sensors in the fabric. If you choose to wear this during the day, it can track things such as heart rate, step count, calories burned, respiration rate, breathing volume, activity level, and much more. If you decide to wear this to bed at night, it can track your sleeping patterns, sleeping position, and cardiac and respiratory activity. All of this information is then sent directly to a smartphone app, with iOS and Android capabilities.

The hexoskin is made from waterproof material and comes in a variety of different sizes, with small to 3x available to men, and x-small to XL available to women. It is somewhat bulky, so it takes some time to get used to, especially if you plan on sleeping in it. The bluetooth device is located on the side of the torso and is hardly noticeable.

This is definitely not the first time something like this has been on the market. However, what it brings to the table is its ability to be used for more than just fitness. The Hexoskin can be worn while you sleep. This is especially important for professional athletes, because not only would this be effective to them during the day, but also at night. It is while we sleep that our bodies build and repair muscle, with some people saying that a good night’s sleep is almost as important as a solid workout regimen.

If you have the money, and are committed to reaching your fitness goals, then I’d say the Hexoskin is for you.

The “Digital Sign” You’ve Been Waiting For

As consumers we tend to take advertisements for granted. We see them on billboards, on TV, in shopping malls, on social media, and the list goes on and on. Do we really even notice them to their full extent? Do we stop and think about the work that went into creating them? Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but, with digital signage quickly emerging, it is certain that it will be a game-changer.

Digital signage is a form of advertising in which video or other media content is displayed using high quality monitors in public spaces for informational or interactive purposes. It is currently being used in places such as restaurants, sports arenas, as well as busy metropolitan areas, such as Times Square in New York City, or Piccadilly Square in London, England.

Digital advertisements in restaurants are becoming the key to growing a successful business. Not only does it make your pizza place or chicken joint look pretty cool, but it keeps the customers engaged, and when the customer is engaged they’re bound to hand over more cash. A good example of this is the addition of the new “Create Your Taste” burger machines at some U.S. locations of McDonalds. With this new feature, customers can become a “McChef” themselves, by handpicking everything on their burger from thirty different ingredients on a user-friendly touchscreen kiosk.

Another industry that is taking digital signage by storm is the sports industry. Sports centres around the world have noticed a decline in ticket sales because of the increase of top-notch home entertainment systems. The fans simply don’t need to physically go the stadium to enjoy the game, as they can do that without having to get off of their couches. Sports facilities can now display LED screens to enhance the viewer’s experience with the use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and they can even display the game in various camera angles to ensure the fans can keep up. An example of how a sports venue utilized digital signage is the Miami Heat’s Xfinity Plaza. The plaza has a custom built cylindrical display, complete with a stage. It was built to create an interactive and immersive area for the fans to enjoy before and after the game.

So, the questions is, do we really need to have enhanced digital advertisements when normal advertisements will still get the job done? We will have to see if this new development is a “sign” of things to come.

High-Tech Fishing Drone Creates Waves

If you’ve ever been fishing, then you know that most of your time is spent waiting for a bite. Usually this would be paired with hanging out with friends, working on your tan, and enjoying a few bevvies. However, if you’re fishing purely for sport, and you want to prove your “fish-catching” worth, then this new piece of tech is for you. UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and PowerVision have come out with the PowerRay, a sure-fire way to catch all the fish you could imagine.

The PowerRay is an underwater drone that allows someone to heighten their fishing experience. The drone uses sonar to detect fish, the underwater landscape, and temperature info, which is then sent to the user’s WiFi. It has the capability of taking 4K videos and photos and streaming them directly to your smartphone. It submerges up to 30 meters, can spot fish up to 40 meters away and lures them in with a blue LED light.  With the drone’s impressive camera, you can also take photos in 12 megapixel resolution using the 100-degree wide-angle lens.

Another impressive capability is the use of Virtual Reality. It provides a first-person interactive view with the use of Virtual Reality. You can strap on a V.R. headset and, simply by turning and tilting your head, you can drive the drone below the surface of the water. This adds more of a gaming aspect to the device.

Recreational fishing has basically been the same ever since it’s beginning, which was a whopping 7000 years ago. So, this update to the ancient past-time is huge for the fishing industry. Some of the “old school” fisherman might not be too keen on using this to catch their fish, however, I think a younger demographic would. Wally Zheng, the CEO of PowerVision, says, “PowerRay is going to provide more efficiency, thrill, and fun to fishermen around the world”.

Fishing isn’t something I do, however, this underwater drone would definitely get me out on a boat attempting to make a catch. The price is still unknown. However, the company’s recently released aerial drone, the PowerEgg, runs for approximately $1200, so expect to pay roughly the same.

PowerVision will be taking pre-orders in February 2017.

Say Adiós to Language Barriers

Ever find yourself attempting to have a conversation with someone who speaks a language different from your own? It can be uncomfortable, and unless you have strong communication skills, it can be nearly impossible. This is about to be a thing of the past, with Waverly Labs introducing The Pilot.

The Pilot is a wearable earpiece that can be used to have conversations with others, without having to worry about any kind of language barrier. It comes with two earpieces, one for yourself and one for the person you’re talking with, a portable charger, and a smartphone app. Simply put, each user inserts the devices into their ears, turns on the app (with Bluetooth turned on), and from there you can seamlessly converse, with translation happening in real time, with minimal lag. So far the developers have made translation possible for English, Spanish, French and Italian, with further plans to expand to other languages in the future.

The inspiration came while the creator, Andrew Ochoa, was attempting to talk to an attractive French girl. He realized that it would be much easier if there were some way to instantly translate between the two languages. A few months later, his idea was in the beginning stages of development. The pilot can be pre-ordered online (http://www.waverlylabs.com/) for $199, becoming available in September 2017.

If you find yourself thinking, “I’ve seen this somewhere!”, then you’re probably thinking of the sci-fi movie, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In the movie, the issue of dealing with language barriers is solved by people sticking a “babel fish” into their ear, and it eats other people’s brainwaves and inputs a translation into your brain. Well, the Pilot is slightly less invasive but it essentially does the same thing. It effectively takes what someone else is saying in a different language, chews it up, and spits it back out into a more understandable dialect for the user.

In my opinion, the Pilot could easily become a highly sought-after tool for a wide demographic across the globe. Teachers would find it handy with their international students, world leaders could use it during official meetings, and the list goes on and on. With the release date quickly approaching, we will have to see how the world reacts to this groundbreaking piece of technology.