The 21st Century Fox entertainment conglomerate said Tuesday that it has a deal to buy a minority stake in a leading maker of headwear for virtual reality and augmented reality, Osterhout Design Group.
The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local):
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says tiny micro-processors will change the future of sports and art.
Krzanich showed off new uses for the giant chip-maker’s smallest processors during a keynote speech that formally opened the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas. He said tiny, wearable computer chips will help athletes and fans track speed and movement, while helping musicians create songs by waving their hands.
The Intel chief invited a composer on stage to demonstrate a set of computerized wristbands that track hand gestures and translate them into musical notes. Other guests showed off drones and robots that use Intel’s three-dimensional optical scanning technology to navigate around obstacles and recognize familiar objects.
Krzanich also announced what he called a significant milestone toward the company’s goal of having a workforce that reflects the general population by 2010. He said 43 percent of workers hired at Intel last year were women or minorities.
Diversity is a hot issue in the tech industry, where Intel and other major companies have been criticized for not hiring and promoting women, blacks and Latinos. Krzanich announced an ambitious effort to address the problem during his keynote at CES last year. Intel had more than 100,000 workers as of mid-2015; Krzanich didn’t provide detailed statistics Tuesday.
A startup that harnesses the power of radio waves to charge your mobile devices has come up with an ultra-small transmitter to keep a fitness band topped up with power.
Energous Corp. unveiled a mini WattUp transmitter at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. The company says the transmitter, about the size of a USB thumb drive, will deliver less than half a watt of power to a special receiver chip that can be embedded in a wearable device.
While that’s not enough to charge up a smartphone quickly, Energous says it’s great to zap a fitness band full of energy in 10 to 40 minutes.
One key benefit: By using wireless charging, Energous says a band can be completely sealed and waterproof because it doesn’t need an external charging port. That means not worrying about taking it off in the shower or swimming pool.
Because the device sends energy in the near-Wi-Fi band around 5.8 GHz however, it’ll need clearance from the Federal Communications Commission, a process that could push the first usable product into late 2016 or early 2017.
Energous is headquartered in San Jose, California.
Dish’s Sling TV online-television service is revamping its apps to focus on content rather than individual channels.
Among other things, the apps will present movies and TV shows based on what you’ve watched before, like Netflix does, rather than the traditional way of channel by channel. That could make Sling TV’s on-demand library – currently hidden behind multiple taps – easier to discover and watch.
The $20-a-month Sling TV service offers more than 20 cable channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, AMC and TNT. Sling TV announced Tuesday that it’s adding ESPN3 to the base package, too. ESPN3 is an online channel available to traditional cable and satellite subscribers.
For $5 more, customers can get an add-on package such as Spanish-language networks and even more sports. The service has live streams of those channels, along with selected content on demand. You’ll need an antenna for over-the-air channels, as those aren’t included.
Dish is announcing the changes as the CES gadget show in Las Vegas opens Wednesday. ESPN3 and the new, content-centric features will be available by the end of March.
Kia is promising to bring a self-driving car to the public by 2030, a decade longer than some companies have promised but perhaps a more realistic time frame.
At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, Kia also says it will introduce a partially autonomous car by 2020. The car will still need a human behind the wheel. The Korean automaker, which is owned by Hyundai, also has received a license from Nevada to test an autonomous Kia Soul electric vehicle on public roads.
Tech giant Google has promised to have a self-driving car in the public’s hands by 2020, and other automakers have hinted at 2025. But outside experts say the 2020 time frame likely would be limited to small geographic areas because technical, regulatory and legal issues still have to be worked out.
Kia is creating a sub-brand for autonomous technologies called Drive Wise. At the CES consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas this week, the company will show off technologies including highway and urban autonomous driving, as well as the ability to follow the vehicle in front of you. Kia also will show off a system that analyzes drivers’ faces to make sure they’re paying attention to the road. If they aren’t, the car will automatically steer to the side of the road and stop.
Playing nice with the competition? It’s not unheard of at CES. Samsung has unveiled several new products that get along with those from other technology firms.
Samsung says its Gear S2 smartwatch will be compatible with Apple’s iPhones later this year. Watches using Google’s Android Wear already are, though with limited functionality.
Samsung also unveiled a 12-inch tablet that attaches to a keyboard. The Galaxy Tab Pro S is aimed at business users and runs Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, unlike the Android system used in consumer tablets. Samsung says it will be the thinnest and lightest tablet-PC combination on the market.
In addition, Samsung’s top-end 2016 SUHD TVs will come with a free USB dongle to serve as a smart-home hub and let users to control up to 200 devices from manufacturers from Nest to Philips via their TV. One remote control will also operate boxes from the Xbox One to a Time Warner Cable set-top box to Apple TV.
Add to that its Family Hub refrigerator to allow ordering of groceries through its 21.5 inch touch screen. It’s clear Samsung is positioning itself to be the center of a fragmented technology landscape. Though the fridge is made in partnership with MasterCard, you can pay with other credit and debit cards like Visa.
Hollywood’s getting serious about moving beyond those old cardboard 3-D glasses.
The 21st Century Fox entertainment conglomerate said Tuesday that it has a deal to buy a minority stake in a leading maker of headwear for virtual reality and augmented reality, Osterhout Design Group.
The news comes as a Fox subsidiary plans a CES debut for the virtual-reality version of its hit film, ”The Martian,” in which Matt Damon plays an Earthling space traveler left behind by his shipmates on the surface of Mars. This version, which lasts 20 minutes or so, will let viewers share some of Damon’s adventures in what’s been described as an immersive and interactive visual experience. According to published reports, Fox plans to distribute the virtual-reality version for viewing through headsets made by several manufacturers.
Other studios are also dabbling in virtual reality. And Fox sees a big future in producing entertainment for the medium. In a statement, Fox executive Jim Gianopulos says the company’s preliminary agreement to invest in Osterhout will push films ”into the future” and ”bring audiences exciting new creative experiences.” Fox hasn’t disclosed the amount of the investment.
Osterhout is known for making stylish, computerized ”smart glasses” that can project realistic images in a wearer’s field of vision. That’s done either by overlaying images on the real world, in what’s known as ”augmented reality,” or in a more immersive ”virtual reality” experience that appears to surround the wearer with projected images. It’s showing off a new augmented-reality headset, designed for commercial and industrial uses, at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.
Dish’s new set-top box will let viewers record 16 shows at once and watch four videos simultaneously – perfect for Football Sunday.
The Hopper 3 will also come with the ability to search recorded content and Netflix at once, so that you’ll find the TV show or movie regardless of its source.
Cable and satellite TV companies are trying to move beyond bare-bones set-top boxes and digital video recorders, in part to keep customers from fleeing to a rival or dropping TV service completely. Previously, advanced recording and search features required you to buy a TiVo, Roku or other stand-alone device.
Although few households will ever need to record 16 shows at once, Dish executive Vivek Khemka says it wanted to create an environment in which the viewer never has to think about whether the box is free to record a show. That was also the thinking behind putting in two terabytes of storage – enough for 500 hours of high-definition video.
Dish TV subscribers will be able to get the Hopper 3 starting later this month for $15 a month, on top of regular fees for cable TV services.
People will be able to order groceries directly from a new Samsung refrigerator.
The Family Hub refrigerator will let users order groceries via an app on the refrigerator’s screen. The app’s made in partnership with MasterCard, though you can use any debit or credit card to pay.
The service initially works with two grocery stores in the New York area: Fresh Direct and ShopRite. Users can choose when they want the groceries delivered. The fee is the same as it would be ordering from a computer – typically a few dollars, plus tip. It will be available in the U.S. starting in May.
Besides ordering groceries, the 21.5-inch screen on the fridge will let families display photos, calendars and notes for each other. And from a smartphone, you can check what’s inside, as captured by three cameras. You can tell at the supermarket whether you really need more eggs. LG earlier announced a similar peek-inside feature in its fridges.
Samsung’s smart refrigerator is among the many Internet-connected items being unveiled this week at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.
Huawei is unveiling a new smartphone that promises more than two days of charge with normal use and a fast recharge for one day of power in 30 minutes.
The new Mate 8 is aimed at business users. It boasts enough power when fully charged to watch 17 hours of high-definition video and 20 hours of Web browsing over a 4G cellular network.
The Android device also sports an improved fingerprint scanner that lets you answer calls simply by touching the sensor on the back of the phone. Taking selfies is also enabled by fingerprint touch.
Among other features, Huawei says the phone can detect knuckle taps and swipes to do things like crop photos and trim videos. It can also copy long Web pages that scroll over many pages.
The phone will start at about 600 euros ($645). It’s launching in various countries, but there aren’t any current U.S. plans.
Kodak wants to put its iconic Super 8 film cameras for video into the hands of young filmmakers.
The company is showing off a new version of the 8 millimeter film camera, which was introduced in 1965. It eventually plans to release a range of Super 8 cameras, film development services and related equipment designed for both professionals and amateurs.
The launch marks Kodak’s first new Super 8 camera in more than 30 years and is a nod to those in the film industry that continue to balk at the push to switch to digital cameras.
Kodak is showing off the new camera at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week.
Want a craft brewery on your countertop and don’t mind waiting a week for the hoppy elixir?
PicoBrew hopes to become the Keurig of brewing.
At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week, the company showed off its $699 appliance that uses pre-mixed recipes costing $20 to $60, including some from brewers Rogue and Dogfish Head.
It’s not for the home brewers interested in making their own creations, though the company says customers can turn the dial to make the brew more or less bitter or hoppy. And it doesn’t involve a basement’s worth of space dedicated to the process.
The company is shipping its first devices in April to its Kickstarter supporters who have contributed a combined $1.4 million to the project.
It’s never been easier to find your lost keys. Several companies are showing off tags with wireless technology. You can put one on your keys and call to it with your smartphone. Think of it as dialing your partner’s mobile number just so it buzzes from under the couch.
Some companies are taking it a step further. TrackR, a company in Santa Barbara, California, unveiled an add-on called Atlas. It plugs into a wall socket and scans a room for any TrackR tags using Bluetooth. It then tells you what room your missing item is in. The company’s Jeremy Fish says ”most people can find it if you get into the right room, unless you have a warehouse for a room.”
Chipolo, a company from Ljubljana, Slovenia, added a shaking feature that calls your phone or even takes a selfie (provided you can balance your phone somewhere). And even if your missing item is beyond the 200-foot Bluetooth range, if some other Chipolo user walks by it out in the wild, you’ll get notified where it is – without compromising the other user’s privacy – so you can go get it.
With more home thermostats, lights, locks and appliances linking to the Internet, automakers are working on plans to let you control them from your car.
BMW says it’s working on apps that allow drivers to ”precondition” their homes by setting the thermostat for the right temperature by the time they arrive home. The company also showed an i3 electric car linked to a home device that monitors routines, sets routes and starts car functions.
Ford announced that it’s working with Amazon to link cars to its Alexa personal assistant. Later this year, the company will offer a service with voice commands that can start a car from a home or turn off an alarm system and open the garage door as a driver gets close to home.
Hands full of groceries? LG has a refrigerator that opens automatically when a person steps on the projection of an image on the floor.
Its LG Signature fridge also lets you peek inside without opening the door, saving electricity and maybe keeping you from making a poor decision regarding a late-night snack. One side of its double doors has an opaque glass window. Knocking on the window lights up the inside slightly, enough to glance at your leftovers.
And of course, it comes equipped with Wi-Fi enabled sensors so you can track the temperature inside and monitor energy use.
Old Mother Hubbard might have known to go to the store to get her dog a bone if she had a sensor from the company Smarter.
At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week, Smarter is debuting a mat and a camera that can remotely tell a person what’s left in one’s fridge.
Barnaby Sellers with Smarter says the devices will speed up a person’s daily routines and make a kitchen smarter without needing to buy a new fridge.
The company is also introducing a sound and atmosphere sensor that Sellers says will learn the sounds and environment in a kitchen to alert someone via their smartphone when the dishes might be done or when it might be warm to enough to warrant opening up a window.
Each is expected to be sold for $130 to $150 by this summer.
At last year’s show, Smarter showed off a remote-controlled coffee machine and kettle.
HTC is launching the latest version of its virtual-reality headset, Vive. It adds a front-facing camera and revamped controllers to the original prototype system.
The headset, called the Vive Pre, also comes with an updated strap and brighter displays. HTC says the front-facing camera lets people do real-world actions like take a seat or find a drink without taking off the headset. HTC says 7,000 units of the prototype will be available to developers.
The consumer version of the Vive is expected in April. No information was given on pricing.
The announcement comes a day after Oculus said it will start taking orders for its much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The company, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, has also not said how much it will cost or given a shipping date.
If you find buzzing or beeping is an alarming way to wake up, you might enjoy Sensorwake’s olfactory alarm clock.
The device by the French company emits scents that should get you up gently in about two minutes. The clock, selling for a promotional $89 during CES, diffuses particles contained in packets with dry air to give you a whiff of things like espresso, hot croissants, a lush jungle, chocolate or pepper mint. Two packs last for a total of 60 days and cost about $11.
And this feature is important in cold and flu season: There’s a backup alarm if you have a stuffy nose.
The limited sight line of your car’s rear view mirror may be a thing of the past.
BMW showed off the i8 electric car’s mirrorless system. Images from three cameras are combined on a display that replaces the interior mirror, giving the driver larger viewing angles and eliminating blind spots.
The system analyzes the images and alerts drivers to potential hazards with yellow warning icons. The replacement mirror also has lines showing the car’s trajectory when parking.
The i3 electric car has a roof-mounted camera replacing its mirror, giving a much wider angle of view.
BMW also introduced more gesture controls in the 7 Series luxury car to control infotainment and communication features without touching a screen.
Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta have been chosen as the first cities where AT&T’s will showcase the potential use of sensors and other Internet-connected technologies to improve municipal services.
Under this ”smart cities” concept, maintenance crews would be able to remotely detect roads needing repairs, while motorists would be able to view and reserve parking spaces ahead of time. Though some of these capabilities are already available in some cities, officials can better keep tabs on emergencies, such as power outages and heavy traffic, by integrating all aspects of government functions.
AT&T says it has formed alliances with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, General Electric, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm to support smart cities. Two of the cities chosen have direct ties to AT&T. Dallas is the company’s headquarters, while Atlanta is the hub for its wireless businesses. There’s no time frame yet on when AT&T will roll out these services.
Call her mom. A small white plastic figure that resembles a Russian nesting doll offers a digital smile while it monitors if people it’s watching are taking their pills, drinking enough water or doing any of their daily routines.
Silver Mother is being marketed to caretakers and family members wanting to keep an eye on elderly loved ones.
Along with alerting caretakers and family, founder Rafi Haladjian says the white ”mother hub” will play the sound of running water if a person doesn’t drink enough water for the day. It will also call people on the phone to remind them to take their pills.
The system is being displayed at the CES show of gadgets in Las Vegas.
The hub and four sensors, which can be attached to anything including pill bottles, is sold for $290.
Office workers probably assume their boss can peek in on their corporate emails. But knowing – exactly – how long you’ve been sitting down on the job? That’s the purpose of the ”connected caster,” an innocent-looking, weight-sensitive wheel that can be affixed to the bottom of an office chair. It sends data back to a system that tracks just that.
Detroit-based Tome Inc. worked on the product with sleek office furniture designer Humanscale – which, conveniently, makes a line of desks for standing up and working at.
Fitbit, a leading maker of fitness trackers, is unveiling a mid-range model with heart-rate monitoring and smartwatch-like functions, such as audio playback control and message notifications.
The new Blaze won’t have a GPS built-in, but it will be able to use the GPS from a companion smartphone to display pace and distance more accurately. It’s a similar approach to the Apple Watch. The Blaze will sit alongside Fitbit’s existing Charge HR, which monitors heart rate but has no ability to latch on to the phone’s GPS.
The Blaze is the first Fitbit model to have a color display.
The Blaze will sell for $200 when it comes out in March. Fitbit will also sell alternative frames and bands made of leather or stainless steel.
This item has been corrected to remove incorrect reference to Blaze replacing Charge HR.
Ford says it will triple the number of autonomous cars in its test fleet as it moves to accelerate development of self-driving cars.
At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas Tuesday, the company said it will add 20 Ford Fusion gas-electric hybrid cars to the fleet, giving it 30 to test on roads in California, Michigan and Arizona.
The company also announced that it would use the latest laser sensors made by Velodyne in its test vehicles. The 360-degree sensors are smaller and have a longer sensing range than the previous generation. They can fit into a side-view mirror rather than the old laser sensors that were housed in a globe on the roof.
Ford CEO Mark Fields says he expects autonomous cars to be in public use in about four years, but they won’t be able to drive in all weather conditions. That, he said, is a long way away.
Sports clothing maker Under Armour is getting into the gadgets business with a set of wearable devices, headphones and a wireless scale.
Though Under Armour isn’t first with any of these, it’s trying to make it easy on consumers by designing products that connect wirelessly to each other or to its smartphone apps. A new version of its UA Record app seeks to integrate all aspects of your health and fitness – including nutrition, sleep and exercise – though a few features will require a companion app, MapMyRun. The apps are free and will also work with competing devices, such as Fitbit and Garmin watches.
Under Armour is offering a starter package, the UA HealthBox, for $400. It includes the scale, a chest strap to monitor heart rate and a fitness band to track steps and sleep. Each item is also sold separately. Beyond that, Under Armour is offering a shoe embedded with a chip to track exercise – even without a smartphone or any other GPS-enabled device for recording distance. The company is also making two headphones, including one that can measure heart rate at the ear.
Under Armour partnered with smartphone maker HTC for the HealthBox items and with Harman’s JBL business for the headphones.
Most of the items will ship Jan. 22; the shoes and heart-rate headphones will come later.