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Story by Steve Wilson
No, that's not a fancy coffee canteen--it's the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect. Logitech unveils today its new HD 1080p camera, billing it as an all-in-one video collaboration solution for groups of one to six people.
Essentially, it's for huddle groups that don't want to literally huddle in front of a laptop to video conference. They don't have to with this camera, given its 90-degree field of view, wireless screen-mirror projection to any nearby monitor and ability to work with most any device thrown at it (through Bluetooth or USB). The ConferenceCam also doesn't hog up the bandwidth of whatever laptop is hosting it--its on-board encoding processes the video inside the camera for a smoother video stream. And Logitech touts the camera's echo and noise-cancelling technology to help the acoustics sound fairly lifelike within a 12-foot diameter.
LAS VEGAS -- Nestled between two false walls in a lavish suite at the Venetian hotel and casino is what I think is an enormous television. Here, during the chaos of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in early January, too-large TVs are par for the course.
When Marty McFly traveled forward in time to 2015 in the 1989 film Back to the Future II, one of the technological marvels he found in the future was 3D glasses. In the movie, they were manufactured by JVC, but Microsoft hopes to make them a reality here in the real world.
Kim Dotcom's encrypted file sharing service has added free end-to-end encrypted voice and video chat through the browser.
MegaChat, which promises to keep video chats secure and private, has been developed by the Mega "Conspiracy Team" and is being described as a "Skype killer" by Dotcom.
Centaur-shaped telepresence robot controlled by full-body telepresence suit funded for Fukushima-type disaster scenarios
Disaster scenarios, like the Fukushima nuclear accident, clearly show that the capabilities of today's disaster response robots are not sufficient for providing the needed support to rescue workers. The CENTAURO project aims at development of a human-robot symbiotic system where a human operator is telepresent with its whole body in a Centaur-like robot, which is capable of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in the rough terrain and austere conditions characteristic of disasters. The CENTAURO robot will consist of a four-legged basis and an anthropomorphic upper body and will be driven by lightweight, compliant actuators. It will be able to navigate in affected man-made environments, including the inside of buildings and stairs, which are cluttered with debris and partially collapsed. The Centauro system will be capable of using unmodified human tools for solving complex bimanual manipulation tasks, such as connecting a hose or opening a valve, in order to relieve the situation. A human operator will control the robot intuitively using a full-body telepresence suit that provides visual, auditory, and upperbody haptic feedback. Rich sensors will provide the necessary situation awareness. Robot percepts and suggested actions will be displayed to the operator with augmented reality techniques. For routine manipulation and navigation tasks, autonomous robot skills will be developed. This will allow for taking the operator partially out of the control loop, which will be necessary to cope with communication latencies and bandwidth limitations and to reduce the operator workload.
In another step closer to achieving our collective Minority Report dream of slapping around holograms in the air, the TouchPico has arrived (technically, next month, that is). This $599 little box projects a touch screen onto any flat surface, letting you control any native Android app with a stylus.
The Dell Chromebox for Meetings ($999 as tested) is a turnkey videoconferencing system that works with Google's Apps for Business. It's meant to replace the proprietary video conferencing system in your meeting room that you've been wrestling with for the past decade. It works well as a conferencing system for SMBs up to enterprise level, but you'll still need your desktops or laptops handy if you want to do more than simply talk to each other.
Lifesize Empowers Every Person and Every Conference Room With Simple and Stunning Video Collaboration
AUSTIN, Texas, Jan 14, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Lifesize, a division of Logitech LOGI, -0.67% (six:LOGN), today announced new enhancements to its award-winning Lifesize® Cloud video conferencing service and the introduction of Lifesize® Icon 400 and Lifesize® Icon Flex. These innovations bring simple, reliable and effortlessly scalable video communications to every person and every conference room across devices, applications, browsers or Lifesize endpoints.
The problem with creatives is all the different ways they have of being creative. Some work on big screens, some on small screens and others on no screens at all. That's all well and good, until you pack them together in a conference room for a brainstorm session. Getting all their ideas from all their mediums up in one place for all to see, discuss and play around with can be a pain. That's where we-inspire comes in.
An artificial intelligence robot capable of acting as a personal assistant, stylist, security guard, photographer and telepresence has been shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The Personal Robot, developed by New York-based startup Robotbase, is described by its creators as a "revolutionary product that changes everything".
Outside the Verge CES trailer this afternoon, I wore a sleek headset with a heads-up display right out of Iron Man. It's called the Seer, and it's a prototype augmented reality visor designed by a young hardware startup called Caputer Labs. Unlike other headsets on display this year, however, this interface runs entirely off a smartphone.
A smart home hub is a dumb purchase if most of your appliances aren't smart, too. So Ukrainian startup Branto developed a hub that has a built-in 360-degree camera and speaker for security and telepresence, in addition to being able to operate gadgets over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and infrared. That's a lot of functionality for $399, and it works even if your power or Wi-Fi goes down.
RoboDynamics' Fred Nikgohar launches open-source personal telepresence robot campaign on Kickstarter
Serial roboticist Fred Nikgohar, CEO of RoboDynamics has launched a KickStarter campaign to raise $500,000 to launch Luna, a personal robot built on the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) platform. Luna will be a human scale robot with movable arms and will be open source customizable and capable of accepting peripherals and add-ons developed by 3rd party developers.
The Year was so Bright You Gotta Wear Shades - Wainhouse Research Revisits their 2014 Collaboration and Conferencing Predictions
The crew at Wainhouse Research, Andrew Davis, Andy Nilssen, Alan Greenburg, Bill Haskins, Steve Vonder Haar and Ira Weinstein take a look back at their predictions for 2014 and see how they did. I don't want to steal their thunder but surprisingly prescient and interesting.
Story and images by Julian Horsey / Geeky Gadgets
If you are in the market for an affordable personal robot you might be interested in Luna, a first human size personal robot designed for everyday practical use.
Luna includes a wealth of features that can be enhanced using applications and even has a personality, check out the video below created by Fred Nikgohar to learn more about Luna.
A movie that flopped at the box office inspired a potentially blockbuster idea for Blue Jeans Network, the cloud-based video collaboration service. When Monuments Men came out in February, Harvard University held a round table discussion with academics and one of the movie's stars, Matt Damon, who participated remotely with Blue Jean's help. The live-streamed event went off without a hitch, the sort of routine operation Blue Jeans of Mountain View, California had pulled off on countless occasions. But this time around, the company's executives started to wonder how they could make the experience better for people watching the live stream.
"People physically in the auditorium were able to raise hands and engage in banter with the panel, but people watching the stream could only send in one question through Twitter," recalls Stu Aaron, CCO of Blue Jeans. "People on the remote end of the one-way stream were second-class citizens."
At first glance - and even second or third or fourth - Omnipresenz sounds like it belongs in a sci-fi movie, not on a crowdfunding site.
The Spanish start-up, quickly dubbed "The Sims for real life" by many a skeptical media outlet, claims to be working toward a world in which experiencing life in Barcelona or Seoul or Timbuktu is as easy as going online and hooking up with a human "avatar".
UNC Chapel Hill Professor Henry Fuchs runs one of the few university programs focused on telepresence and virtual reality. In this talk to the Samsung Developer Conference Professor Fuchs gives a background on where VR was, where it is now, and the "Big Rocks" that the industry needs to move to create compelling virtualizations. Here is the complete synopsis of his remarks:
VR may be at a historic inflection point not unlike the personal computer just before the IBM PC's introduction, about to transition from a niche product to widespread adoption. What's worrisome is that this transition was also predicted at least once before, in the early 1990s, when VR systems first became commercially available. What is different this time? This talk will review the history of VR, the development of the component technologies and several representative applications. We'll review the key technical problems to be solved, assess their current state of effectiveness, and note how the situation is different now than during the last promising era two decades ago. We'll conclude with a tour of remaining technical challenges (such as merging real and virtual worlds), a look at some new application areas, and speculate on why a VR startup company might be worth $ 2 Billion.
All aboard for another trip down the Uncanny Valley!
At the CEATEC Japan electronics trade show in October, Toshiba trotted out what it calls a "lifelike communication android," though perhaps the term lifelike is a bit generous. The android, named Aiko Chihiro, is similar to others we've seen at labs and trade events. While certain parts of the robot look quite good, such as the hair, I found that, as I watched Aiko move, it didn't take long for my Uncanny Valley instincts to kick in.