Plea For A Wireless World

If anything screams wireless…


There has got to be a better way.


One day people are going to laugh their heads off at they way we did technology.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Simplify Me

Technology Complexity.jpeg

So here’s the monitor in the “modern” and beautiful Fort Lauderdale International airport. 


Can you see the number of electrical plugs, wires, connections, input/output ports, etc. on this device?


Obviously, it is comical and a farce as we near the end of 2015. 


Think about the complexity in building this monitor…in connecting it…in keeping it operational.


Yes, we are moving more and more to cellular and wireless communications, to miniaturization, to simple and intuitive user interfaces, to paperless processing, to voice recognition, to natural language processing, and to artificial intelligence.


But we are not there yet.


And we need to continue to make major strides to simplify the complexity of today’s technology. 


– Every technology device should be fully useful and usable by every user on first contact. 


– Every device should learn upon interacting with us and get better and better with time. 


– Every device should have basic diagnostic and self-healing capability. 


Any instructions that are necessary should be provided by the device itself–such as the device telling you step by step what to do to accomplish the task at hand–no manual, no Google instructions, no Siri questions…just you and the device interacting as one. 


User friendly isn’t enough anymore…it should be completely user-centric, period. 


Someday…in 2016 or beyond, we will get there, please G-d. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Better A Rock Than A Pebble

Pebble is coming out with a Smartwatch that connects via wireless Bluetooth to either iPhone or Android devices.

It can be used for getting messages, including from Twitter and Facebook, as well as for caller id, music controls, GPS, and more.

And you can download more apps from the watch app store.

Pebble uses a high resolution ePaper display technology, has a vibrating motor, microprocessor, accelerometer, and the battery can run for up to 7 days.

It has been crowdfunded through Kickstarter website and has since April sold, pre-order, approximately 85,000 watches at a $115 pop.

While I like the idea of being able to get information in more convenient form factors whether as a watch, glasses (like Google is working on) or other device configuration, I think the Pebble has a way to go in terms of it’s particular design.

Honestly. the Pebble looks cheap and chincy to me. The device looks too plasticy. The colors seem more geared towards kids.

Additionally, the screen looks way too small to be very useful except for the most basic alerts, but maybe this is all to make lighter and more mobile.

I plan to wait for something a little more substantial and with a larger screen.

A ruggedized version would be especially appealing including water, shock, and dust resistant and so on.

Perhaps the crowdfunding model has worked for this smartwatch for people looking to get the latest technology or even make a fast buck, but I think a little more crowdsourcing, in terms of customer requirements and feedback, would make an even better product for all.

>Saved On The Battlefield By A BEAR

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Bear

The Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) developed by Vecna Technologies in collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Centre (TATRC) is no teddy bear.

The Economist (10 March 2011) says this it is “a highly agile and powerful mobile robot capable of lifting and carrying a combat casualty from a hazardous area across uneven terrain.” And when BEAR is not saving wounded soldiers on the battlefield, it can perform “difficult and repetitive tasks, such as loading and unloading ammunition.”

The BEAR is a tracked vehicle that can travel up to 12 mph and has 2 hydraulic arms for lifting and carrying. It is controlled with a set of wireless video cameras and joystick control either embedded on the grip of a rifle or with a special glove that can sense the wearer’s movements.

This is great concept and I imagine this will be enhanced over time especially with the advances in telemedicine, so that at some point we will see the BEAR or its progeny actually performing battlefield medicine.

One thing, however, in my opinion, the bear face on this robot undermines the seriousness of mission that it performs and it should be changed to look like a medic, it’s primary function.

>iPhone Plug Ins: The Possibilites Are Endless

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Square

I just love all the new plug ins for the iPhone–maximizing it’s use as a powerful handheld computer.

Whether it’s attachments for talking fingerprints and iris scans (from MORIS–that I wrote about in a prior blog) to running credit card payments (from Square), the iPhone has amazing versatility and almost endless practical use–as we are all coming to learn and enjoy.

With Square, the simple credit card reader plugs right in to the headphone jack.

Then by simply launching the app, users are ables to run payments through just as any professional business would.

Simply type in the dollar amount, sign with a finger, send a receipt via email, and even display the GPS of where the charge was made–all done by mobile device and wirelessly.

According to BusinessWeek (10 Feb 2011), smart-phone card readers will process $11 billion in payments this year and this is projected to rise to $55 billion by 2015.

“Square charges merchants 2.75 percent of sales plus 15 cents per card swipe,” but in turn creates new opportunities to sell remotely and transact business seamlessly.

It is only a matter of time before hard currency becomes obsolete as electronic payments becomes easier and matter of course.

My pockets are already empty and I do not miss the greenbacks–bits and bytes registering securely in the bank are more than fine by me.

Next up as for attachments to the iPhone–medical scanners (the possibilities are endless, but some examples could be for diabetes metering, X-rays, and much more.)

>The Little Techno Bus That Could

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>You Can Run From MORIS, But You Can’t Hide

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There is a promising new mobile biometric recognition device for law enforcement called the MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Identification System) by Biometric Identification and Intelligence Technologies.
MORIS units are a 2.5 ounce hardware attachment and software app for the iPhone that cost about $3000 each and turns the device into a crime-fighting tool.

The devices are able to take fingerprint, facial, and Iris identification and access criminal justice data wirelessly from anywhere using a common iPhone to match against existing criminal records.

Police are able to identify suspects on the fly in seconds.

Popular Science has named MORIS one of the BEST INNOVATIONS of 2010.

As of November 22, 2010, 25 Massachusetts Police Departments have been the lucky recipients of these futuristic crime fighting technology devices.

Say cheese! 🙂