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Samsung SleepSense : Samsung wants to get in bed with you

Samsung SleepSense

It’s not enough for Samsung to make the TV you watch in the evening, the washing machine you clean your clothes in, or the smartphone you carry each day. Now the company wants to be with you when you go to bed each night. No, it hasn’t made a bed, but rather the Samsung SleepSense — a sleep monitoring device that’s part of a growing smarthome product range.

Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly beneficial to overall health, and a monitor is the ideal way to ensure we have the right amount of the best quality possible. About the size of a small plate, the SleepSense slips under your mattress — which can be up to around 20 inches thick — and keeps watch on you overnight. It uses Samsung’s own EarlySense technology to monitor heart and breathing rate to gather data on how you’re sleeping. It collates the information gathered into an app, which works with Android or iOS, and displays the amount of time you’ve spent asleep, how often you woke up, BPM (two kinds! Both breaths per minute and heart rate beats per minute), respiratory rate, and other data.

Samsung SleepSense

The SleepSense then returns an overall sleep score, which is averaged out and compared with other people around your age. Samsung’s working with Dr. Christos Mantzoros from the Harvard Medical School to make sure the SleepSense actually does something useful with all this information; currently the related app provides personalized advice on how to improve your sleep and related tips on diet and exercise. There’s also an integrated smart alarm to wake you up at the optimum time, ready to use all the other Samsung devices in your home.

So far, this sounds similar to other sleep monitors you can buy. Where Samsung differs is in the SleepSense’s integration with its other smart home equipment. Because the SleepSense knows when you’re falling asleep, it will turn off the TV, dim the lights, or adjust the room temperature using the air-conditioning or a thermostat. It’ll need to be connected by Bluetooth to these devices. This connectivity is a strong selling point, and removes the chance of a good night’s rest being disturbed by a stray light or an annoying TV – who hasn’t woken up on the couch, disoriented and groggy, with all the lights on and the TV blaring? That’ll never happen again, in theory anyway.

Disclaimer: The SleepSense will keep watch over only one person, even in a double bed. If you buy more than one, however, they can all be synced with a single app, helping you keep watch over your kids’ sleep patterns, for example.

Samsung’s making a considerable investment in the Internet of Things this year. Its aim is to have all its hardware compatible with the IoT by 2020, so devices like the SleepSense are only the beginning. Smart home equipment can be a hard sell, and rarely do we get a good reason to go out and buy any connected devices at the moment. The SleepSense comes close to being a compelling connected product, thanks to providing a useful, beneficial function — making us healthier — while automating the devices we own based around this basic, daily activity.

There’s no confirmed release date or price for the SleepSense yet, but we were told by Samsung that it’s a finished device, and the company is waiting for the right window to put it on sale. This should be by the end of the year, if everything goes according to plan.

Highs

  • Smart home connectivity adds convenience
  • Uses data to offer advice

Lows

  • No release date

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By brandenvoy
WhatsApp nears one billion users

whatsapp

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum revealed another milestone for the Facebook-owned messaging app; 900 million active monthly users in September.

At this pace, WhatsApp should reach one billion by the start of 2016. It took four months to move from 800 to 900 million, with 50 percent growth in the past year.

WhatsApp remains the largest messaging service in the world. Facebook Messenger has 700 million users, WeChat just passed 600 million, and LINE reached 400 million earlier this year.

That said, WhatsApp is the least valuable of the four messaging services for advertisers and developers. Unlike the other three, WhatsApp offers no plug-in for developers to create over-the-top apps, and no advertising space.

Even simple monetization routes like emoji and themes packs have not been added to WhatsApp, meaning Facebook is making no return on investment for the $16 billion it paid for WhatsApp in 2014.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has said there are ways to monetize WhatsApp, but wants to get past the first billion before that happens. That is fast approaching, but there is still no public blueprint for making the messaging app profitable.

Integrating payments, mobile taxi, food delivery and other services is the way apps like WeChat and LINE have been able to keep afloat. That could work for WhatsApp as well, taking a small slice of every payment that occurs inside the messaging service.

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By brandenvoy
Apple could sneak in a few surprises for the Apple Watch and iPad during Sept. 9

Apple Watch Edition gold

Although all the talk surrounding Apple’s upcoming event next Wednesday involves the announcements of new iPhones and iPads, the company could sneak in a pair of low-key announcements as well, based on reports by The New York Times and Apple Insider.

According to the outlets, Apple will announce new metal finishes for its wearable, the Apple Watch, with one of the options being a cheaper version of the already-expensive 18-karat gold Apple Watch, which currently starts at $10,000. As for the other materials, the rumored options include white gold, titanium, and ceramic. Carbon fiber and rubber are also rumored to be other materials possibly offered to customers.

Another announcement includes, interestingly enough, Apple revealing a keyboard for the iPad. Apple is reportedly “putting the finishing touches” on this revamped iPad keyboard, which “may” launch this year. It’s unknown whether this keyboard will be of the wireless kind that comes with a Magic Mouse. Regardless, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple created a keyboard meant for the iPad, with the company having released one for the first-generation iPad back in 2010.

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By brandenvoy
iPhone 5S saves Fresno State student from getting shot by a robber

iPhone 5S bullet

Despite the supposed fragility of modern-day smartphones relative to the phones of yore, a surprisingly large number of them have successfully stopped bullets and prevented their owners from sustaining further injury or, in some cases, death. You can now count this iPhone 5S as yet another in the list, reports The Fresno Bee.

A Fresno State student was on his way home and nearly reached his front door when someone came up to him from behind and reached for the student’s laptop bag, according to Fresno police lieutenant Joe Gomez. With a black semi-automatic handgun in hand, the robber then fired one shot at the student.

 

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By brandenvoy
New Bluetooth alternative sends its signal using your body’s magnetic field

ucsd magnetic body communication

Ultra-low power wearable technology is about to get very interesting thanks to a new wireless transmission system that uses your body’s natural magnetic waves to carry a data signal across devices. The technology is being developed by a team of researchers from the University of California at San Diego, who have built a proof-of-concept prototype to demonstrate this form of wireless transmission.

UC San Diego’s magnetic field human body communication system has several advantages over Bluetooth, the most common wireless transmission protocol used to share data over short distances. Bluetooth suffers from path loss, which is a term to describe the attenuation of a wireless signal as it passes through the air and encounters objects that absorb or obstruct its transmission. As a result, Bluetooth devices must have a significant power output capable of sending a signal that can compensate for this degradation.

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By brandenvoy
Polaroid cam ; Snap instant camera

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Polaroid is coming out with a new instant camera that blends the past and present. The Snap is a digital point-and-shoot camera with a built-in photo printer, and will cost $99 when it’s released later this year. The camera is being shown at IFA in Berlin.

Designed by the creative firm that created the Polaroid Zip and Cube, Ammunition, the Snap is an easy-to-use camera not unlike old Polaroid instant cams. As its name suggests, just snap a pic and print the photo. And like the analog instant cameras, there’s an optical viewfinder for framing (there’s no LCD). This isn’t the first time Polaroid has made a digital instant camera, but it has a better design and, frankly, looks like a lot of fun.

But the Snap is digital at heart. It’s a 10-megapixel camera with three shooting modes: black and white, color, and vintage for that Polaroid look; you can continue the theme by printing photos with the iconic Polaroid border. There’s also a button that activates Photo Booth mode, which takes six photos within 10 seconds – allowing you to goof off after each subsequent photo is taken.

 

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By brandenvoy
Seagate crams 2TB of storage into a drive as slim as an iPhone 6

seagate-7mm-2tb

Although there may be much larger hard drives out there than two terabytes at this point, nobody had managed to get anything close to that into a 2.5 inch, 7mm tall drive, until now. Seagate has announced that it’s done just that, creating the world’s smallest high-capacity drive to date.

While Seagate has managed to make 2.5 inch drives that are 9mm tall before, this is the first time it’s gotten such a large capacity plater into just 7mm of space, making this an incredibly slim piece of kit for such a huge storage space.

“Combining new mechanical firmware architectures, with state of the art heads, media and electronic design, this technology is a real game changer — providing [over] four times more capacity than a 0.25TB SSD at a substantially lower cost,” Seagate said in its release.

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By brandenvoy
The smaller New Nintendo 3DS is finally coming to the U.S. as part of a new bundle

new-nintendo-3ds-original-design-black

When the Nintendo 3DS XL launched, the original 3DS had already been out for some time, but when the updated New Nintendo 3DS launched in February, the tables turned: only the New Nintendo 3DS XL came to the U.S., and it didn’t seem like the smaller model would ever return.

Yesterday at the GameStop Managers Conference in Las Vegas, Nintendo announced that the New Nintendo 3DS is finally returning to U.S. store shelves in its smaller original design, complete with Famicom-style colors on the face buttons. The only catch: the smaller version of the handheld will only be available as part of two upcoming bundles.

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By brandenvoy
Lamborghini honors its founder’s birth with a new halo hypercar: the Centenario LP 770-4

lamborghini Veneno Roadster

It’s time for a new hypercar from Lamborghini, and French media have uncovered the model’s name and specs.mutedunmuted

The Centenario LP 770-4 will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Feruccio Lamborghini on April 28, 1916. Under the hood will be a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 with approximately 770 horsepower sent to all four wheels.

The same sources claim the Centenario will hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, a sprint that’s slightly quicker than the Aventador LP 700-4. Top speed should be somewhere around the 225 mph mark. By comparison, the Lamborghini Veneno develops 740 horsepower and tops out at 221 mph.

 

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By brandenvoy
Android Wear smartwatches now work on iOS

AndroidWearforiOS

Google’s willingness to cross platforms and port all its apps to iOS devices seems to know no bounds — and is a pleasant contrast to the format wars that traditionally dominate smartphones. After much speculation, Google announced that Android Wear smartwatches will now work with iOS devices. Previously, iPhone users who wanted a real smartwatch could only look to the Apple Watch or the Pebble. Now Android Wear smartwatches are free game, too.mutedunmuted

Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today, August 31, to any iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 or higher. Android Wear for iOS works only with the LG Watch Urbane at the moment, but future Android Wear watches like those from Huawei, Asus, and Motorola will all support iOS. It’s unknown how many older Android Wear smartwatches will gain iOS support. Regardless, Google says all of the upcoming and highly anticipated Android Wear watches will work with iPhones from now on.

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By brandenvoy