Hearables Will Monitor Your Brain and Body to Augment Your Life

Devices tucked inside your ears will make technology more personal than ever before Illustration: Anders Wenngren The eyes, it’s been said, are windows to the soul. I’d argue that the real portals are the ears. Consider that, at this very moment, a cacophony of biological conversations is blasting through dime-size patches of skin just inside and outside the openings to your ear canals. There, blood is coursing through your veins, its pressure rising and falling as you react to stress and excitement, its levels of oxygen changing in response to the air around you and the way your body is using the air you breathe. Here we can also detect the electrical signals that zip through the cortex as it responds to the sensory information around us. And in that patch of skin itself, changing electrical conductivity signals moments of anticipation and emotional intensity. The ear is like a biological Continue reading Hearables Will Monitor Your Brain and Body to Augment Your Life

CES 2019: Advances in AI, Connectivity, and Memory Will Power New Products

What to expect from Las Vegas next week Next week, Las Vegas is hosting the massive annual CES trade show. It will be a showcase for innovative technology that will soon impact our lives in many ways, including transportation, health services, and entertainment.  In addition, the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE) at the end of the show will give a view of the future of consumer electronics looking out over the next 5 to 10 years. Let’s look at some things that we expect to see at CES as well as at the ICCE conference. Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are ubiquitous in new cars. ADAS uses sensors, memory, processing, and networking to detect road conditions and provide feedback to drivers—and in some cases to drive the vehicle off the road if there are unsafe conditions. As in the last few years, the 2019 CES will have a heavy automotive company presence, showing Continue reading CES 2019: Advances in AI, Connectivity, and Memory Will Power New Products

Changing the Landscape of the Insurance Market

How UAVs benefit consumers through faster estimates, quicker response times and faster delivery of benefits Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, are growing at a rapid rate for both consumer and professional markets. Market research firm IHS Markit forecasts the professional drone market will manage a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 77.1% through 2020 driven by industries such as agriculture, energy and construction using the technology for surveying, mapping, planning and more. Meanwhile, the consumer drone market will maintain a CAGR of 22.1% through 2020 with companies such as DJI, Parrot and 3D Robotics driving the market with a wide range of devices for photography, recreational use and racing. While these markets will be the main drivers for the next few years, one industry that isn’t discussed often as a main driver is the insurance market. However, according to professional services company PwC, the addressable market Continue reading Changing the Landscape of the Insurance Market

CES 2018: The Rise of Drones

Learn about new drones, smart home gadgets, and mesh networks in this live broadcast from the CES show floor Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images On the final day of CES in Las Vegas, IEEE Spectrum senior editor Stephen Cass interviewed Joe Lillie [PDF], a telecom consultant with BIZPHYX, about the dangers of automation and Lillie’s dream of “using fewer devices to do more things.” Lillie also shared his observations from attending CES over the years, such as watching drones graduate from a novelty to a tool. “Five years ago, drones were sort of a standalone device. Almost a toy,” he said. “But there was anticipation there would be applications. Fast forward a couple of years and all of a sudden, we see drones synchronized—six, seven together, dancing to the music.” Lillie figures, in a few more years, drones will be widely used to deliver everyday items to people’s homes within a Continue reading CES 2018: The Rise of Drones

CES 2018: The Best—and the Craziest—Gadgets of the Show

Autonomous luggage, personal airbags, and a machine that folds clothes caught this reporter’s attention Photo: Stephen Cass Some people like to sneer at gadgets as the trivial amusements of a decadent society. But many technologies that later came to be considered essential parts of modern life began their life as unnecessary technical baubles. For example, in 1970, the first consumer VCR prototype was unveiled at CES, a technology previously only needed by television studios. The home VCR then started the home-viewing and -recording revolution, leading to a critical U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding copyright, and laying the groundwork for YouTube and Netflix. Even when a technology goes nowhere—3D TV glasses anyone?—looking at widgets, gizmos, and novelties can still provide a unique window into larger technological and cultural trends. So I defend the gadget as a worthy object of inquiry, and consequently have spent the last week at CES scouring the Continue reading CES 2018: The Best—and the Craziest—Gadgets of the Show

CES 2018: Look to the Processor, not the Display, for TV Picture Improvements

Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and TCL look to better processors and AI to move TV tech forward in 2018 Photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters CES press day, the day before the opening of the gargantuan consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, is traditionally anchored by the “big” consumer electronics manufacturers. The names change, but these days, that list includes Korea’s LG and Samsung, and Japan’s Panasonic, with China’s TCL waving its flag as well. (The big names used to be U.S.-based RCA and Zenith… but I’m showing my age here.) These flashy presentations typically focus on the television display. Inevitably, manufacturers would unveil a new display or two, claiming they were the biggest, thinnest, prettiest, or most colorful—or all of the above. Not this year. If you were dropping into your first CES from another planet, you might not actually realize from the announcements at CES press day that TVs have screens. Instead, the manufacturers Continue reading CES 2018: Look to the Processor, not the Display, for TV Picture Improvements