29 August 2019

Wearable Biocompatible Magnetic Skin

Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have recently developed a flexible and imperceptible magnetic skin that adds permanent magnetic properties to all surfaces to which it is applied. This artificial skin could have numerous interesting applications. For instance, it could enable the development of more effective tools to aid people with disabilities, help biomedical professionals to monitor their patients' vital signs, and pave the way for new consumer tech.

The artificial skin is magnetic, thin and highly flexible. When it is worn by a human user, it can be easily tracked by a nearby magnetic sensor (i.e. if a user wears it on his eyelid, it allows for his eye movements to be tracked or if worn on fingers, it can help to monitor a person's physiological responses or even to control switches without touching them). The magnetic skin is easy to assemble, as it is made by mixing an elastomer matrix with magnetic powder and then drying this mixture at room temperature.

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28 August 2019

3D World Map by 6D.ai

6D.ai aims to build a 3D map of the world using only smartphone cameras. Recently, the company announced it is working with Qualcomm Technologies to provide technology for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile processing platform. San Francisco-based 6D.ai will provide spatial understanding for Snapdragon-powered XR head-mounted displays (HMDs) and XR viewers that are designed to connect to smartphones based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform.

Additionally, 6D.ai announced the beta rollout of its Android solution. These cross-platform experiences allow users of apps built on 6D to share the same virtual experience, accurately and persistently, while viewing it from different devices. Thousands of developers are already testing and building apps that realistically interact with the world on 6D.ai’s platform, including Autodesk, Nexus Studios, and Accenture.

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26 August 2019

Google's Cloud Gaming

Urging fans to plunge into a virtual high-resolution surround sound universe of extraordinary games, Google hopes its cloud-based Stadia platform will take the world by storm on its November launch. Some games will be free and others will require payment. The US digital behemoth unveiled details of its nascent streaming video platform at Gamescom trade fair in Cologne in the hope it can gain massive traction among hardcore gamers to zap past other providers of existing gaming fare. Stadia, the world's premier event for computer and video games, offers as its USP the chance for users to play their favorite game on a range of platforms in high resolution quality on different media from smart TV to console or smart phone.

Google must address various technical obstacles that go with the territory of developing cloud gaming. Although Stadia is promising 4K high resolution at 60 frames per second for minimal time lag, it remains to be seen how the platform can persuade players who may not have suitably adapted screens along with fibre optic broadband or 4G connections to subscribe. The bet for cloud gaming is thus to push independent, if not always very visible titles—a means for Google and rival producers to position themselves as a 'Netflix for gaming' by providing original content. Overall, though, just as consoles did not kill off PC gaming, cloud gaming could essentially offer an extra strand of choice for fans of video games.

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20 August 2019

Spectacles 3 Camera Glasses

Snap’s new Spectacles 3 don’t look that different from their predecessors. They consist of a metal designer frame with a couple of HD cameras. In exchange for the embarrassment of wearing them, the Spectacles 3 offer the chance to shoot 3D video hands-free and then upload it to the Snapchat app, where it can be further affected. And that’s pretty much it. You can’t view the video, or anything else, in the lenses. There are no embedded displays. Still, the new Spectacles foreshadow a device that many of us may wear as our primary personal computing device in about 10 years. Based on what I’ve learned by talking AR with technologists in companies big and small, here is what such a device might look like and do.

Unlike Snap’s new goggles, future glasses will overlay digital content over the real-world imagery we see through the lenses. We might even wear mixed reality (MR) glasses that can realistically intersperse digital content within the layers of the real world in front of us. The addition of the second camera on the front of the new Spectacles is important because in order to locate digital imagery within reality, you need a 3D view of the world, a depth map. The Spectacles derive depth by combining the input of the two HD cameras on the front, similar to the way the human eye does it. The Spectacles use that depth mapping to shoot 3D video to be watched later, but that second camera is also a step toward supporting mixed reality experiences in real time.

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19 August 2019

VR Helps Parkinson’s Patients to Walk Steadily

USC engineers team with researchers and VR game designers to help Parkinson’s patients walk steadily with confidence. Symptoms such as stiffness, uncontrollable shaking, gait and balance problems are the first warning signs. According to the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest-ever clinical study of Parkinson’s done by the Parkinson’s Foundation, 71 percent of people living with Parkinson’s for at least 10 years, are susceptible to falls. The serious injuries caused by falls, particularly in older patients, can lead to disability, social isolation, and even nursing home placement.

Patients roam a virtual modern city, complete with roads, pavements, buildings, and cars, and with an option of day/night mode, as they walk on a treadmill. They gain points by avoiding obstacles such as chairs, paper, plastic cups, etc. that are randomly generated on the sidewalk. However, a problem arises: the VR environment lacks the dimension of touch, which makes it not only unnatural, but also disconcerting when they walk into an object. Viterbi students have made the VR experience more immersive by introducing a haptic feedback component in addition to audio feedback.

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