Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 Smarter Cam

Yesterday, Samsung announced the Family Hub, its fridge with a 21.5-inch tablet on the door. The screen can display your family calendar, the weather, recipes, or photos. There’s a camera inside the fridge that takes a picture when the door closes, but you probably don’t want to display those pics on the fridge. Instead, you’re supposed to check to see if you have milk when you’re at the store.

Of course, the Samsung fridge costs approximately $5,000, and maybe you already have a refrigerator that you’re not quite ready to part with. Smarter, the maker of connected coffee makers and kettles, has introduced its $100 Fridge Cam at CES 2016. Attach it to the interior of your fridge (either the front or back side) and it will take a photo every time you open the door. You can then check on your supply of string cheese via this photo the next time you’re in the dairy aisle, without having to buy a whole new appliance.

2016 iPhone 7 (Plus) Prototype

The iPhone 7 Plus may come in a shade of blue, at least according to a mockup of the device displayed in an online video.

The mockup isn't a real iPhone but rather a body, designed by a developer of wireless headphones named Besound, that's supposedly based on the specs for the real thing. YouTube account Unbox Therapy received the mockup and took us on a video tour to highlight what are anticipated to be key changes from last year's iPhone 6S.

Reports have suggested that this year's iPhone lineup would sport only modest enhancements and that next year's model would be the one to introduce some killer new features. But in the face of shrinking iPhone sales the past two quarters, Apple still needs to jazz up the iPhone 7 with enough enticements to convince consumers to give it a shot.

The most striking feature is the blue tone for the iPhone 7 Plus mockup, a color choice that would be a first for Apple. We then get a peek at other potential changes that have been mentioned in previous reports.
The video shows dual-camera lenses, which reportedly would pop up in the iPhone 7 Plus but not the iPhone 7. From there we shift to the antenna lines, which have been moved from the back of the body to the sides where they would be much less obtrusive. Next on the tour are the three dots on the back that make up the Smart Connector, which can transfer data and power between the phone and such accessories as a Smart Keyboard.

The video then segues into a change that has been seen as both good and bad.

The mockup reveals a dual speaker, which would be a first for the iPhone. But the extra speaker would come at the expense of the standard 3.5mm audio port, which here is missing in action. If true, that means Apple would pump sound through the Lightning jack, requiring adapters for all the earphones, external speakers and other audio accessories that use the standard audio jack. Bluetooth earphones and speakers would still work.

As always, iPhone 7 mockups and other rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. The real thing should make an appearance next month when Apple is expected to hold its annual iPhone launch event.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Light L16 Can Shoot DSLR-Quality Photos Using 16 Smartphone-Quality Lenses

Your DSLR may take exceptional pictures, but it’s large and bulky and isn’t particularly convenient to carry on a daily basis.   If someone offered a camera that provided the control and quality of a DSLR, while coming in a size not that much bigger than a smartphone, would you opt for one, instead? That’s what the folks behind the Light L16 are counting on.Described as “the world's first multi-aperture computational camera,” it’s able to trim down the size by ditching the lar
ge sensors used in traditional pro-quality cameras. Instead, it uses multiple smaller sensor and lens modules, whose individual captures are automatically combined to create a single 52-megapixel image.
The Light L16 uses a total of 16 of those modules, with lenses ranging from 35 to 110 mm, each one taking snaps at different focal lengths. All of these modules are installed in one side of the camera’s smartphone-like form factor, with a touchscreen display sitting on the other side that functions much like the screen on any other digital camera. Because the camera computationally stitches the different images, you can choose the depth of field, focus, and exposure for the picture right after you press the shutter, giving you even greater control of the final results.
Even better, it comes with built-in WiFi and runs Android, so you can use the camera in conjunction with a wide selection of apps and even post images online directly after each shot. It can also record 4K video (it uses just one module, so no stitching), at either 35mm, 70mm, or 150mm effective focal length for watching on your 4K smartphone.Slated for release in the summer of 2016, the Light L16 is priced at $1,700.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 OLO Turns Your Smartphone Into A 3D Printer

Our phones already do plenty of things well beyond making calls and sending messages. Seriously, it’s evolved into a much more versatile tool than anyone probably imagined. And it’s not finished yet. This time around, a product called OLO vows to turn any phone into a functional 3D printer.

While many 3D printers can interface with phones via apps, this one actually uses your phone to cure the resin. That’s right, your phone actually becomes an essential cog in the fabrication process, with the printer using the light from the phone's display to shape any object you’re producing.

Created by Solido3D, OLO is a portable 3D printer measuring 6.8 x 4.5 x 5.8 inches (w x d x h), making for, arguably, the first digital fabrication tool you can throw in a bag and carry everywhere (it's way smaller than the already compact M3D Micro). To use, you simply launch the app on your phone, choose the model you’re fabricating, and lay your phone down on a flat surface. From there, you place OLO’s lower component on top of the phone, pour the recommended amount of liquid resin, and place the top component (which holds the build plate and control electronics) to cover everything.

Printing will commence on its own, with the app making your phone’s screen light up with a specific pattern that corresponds with the model. A polarized glass on the bottom of the lower component takes this light and shines it outwardly, redirecting it to cause a layer of resin to harden. The build plate slowly rises as each layer of resin hardens until the whole model is finished. There are no details on how long printing takes, but we’re assuming it’s going to be time-consuming similar to traditional 3D printers.

A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for OLO. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $99.