Inspired by bicycles, scooters, and skateboards that make their users feel happy, and designed by former Sony, Toyota, and Olympus engineers, startup Whill has taken its first wheelchair, the Type-A, from an idea to production. The company says the chair is now available for preorder and will start shipping within the US in early 2014.
What if people who are paralyzed could use their brainwaves to get up out of wheelchairs and walk away? That's exactly what researchers from the University of Houston are hoping to accomplish with the latest evolution of robotic exoskeletons. They're turning to mind control to move these high-tech mobility machines to the next level -- and take patients with them.
The idea for for a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton came to engineering professor Jose Contreras-Vidal, the project's lead, after Duke University's Miguel Nicolelis demonstrated that electrode arrays implanted in monkey brains could pick up on the neuron-firing patterns that occur when the monkey thinks about walking.
"Contreras-Vidal's group found out they could get the same effects using EEG (electroencephalography) to control an exoskeleton. EEG doesn't have the spatial resolution of an implanted electrode array, but it is noninvasive and has the added benefit of being able to measure electrical activity across the entire brain," Popular Mechanics reported. … Read more
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman criticized carriers for rejecting their proposal to install a "kill switch" in smartphones to deter theft, a move they called "highly disturbing."
The officials said yesterday the carriers rebuffed the plan, which would have rendered lost or stolen phones inoperable -- a kind of LoJack for smartphones. It was part of the "Save Our Smartphone" coalition the officials launched in June, which started by opening a dialogue with the handset vendors.
But it wasn't the handset manufacturers, including companies such … Read more
The makers of Coin -- a device that can be programmed to act as a credit, debit, gift, and rewards card rolled into one -- were not expecting their .84mm-thin device to become a Silicon Valley sensation. Sure, their promotional video and Web site were well-produced, but the team of seven set its crowdfunding goal at a modest $50,000. The startup hit that goal in only 40 minutes. Meanwhile, its YouTube video has attracted more than 5.5 million views.
CEO Kanishk Parashar is keeping under wraps just how many devices Coin has sold since launching this past Thursday. … Read more
Major mobile operators around the world say they expect to rely on Wi-Fi more than ever in the next few years to keep their data networks free from congestion. And new standards that make it easier for operators' subscribers to use each other's Wi-Fi networks are helping accelerate Wi-Fi offload adoption, according to a report released Wednesday by the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
As wireless subscribers continue to use more data services to stream audio and video, check social networking sites and use GPS navigation services as well as other Net-connected apps, major wireless operators say they are turning to … Read more
Sprint is offering several Black Friday deals on some of its more popular handsets.
The company announced Wednesday that it will give up to a $100 discount on the purchase of a new handset when the customer switches from another carrier. Although the deal accompanies its Black Friday announcements, Sprint will offer the $100 discount starting this Friday.
Sprint's Black Friday discounts will be led by the Galaxy S4 Mini, which the carrier will offer for free with a $50 mail-in rebate card. The LG G2 will be available for $50 -- a $150 discount from its regular price. … Read more
MediaTek, a processor maker, has partnered with ARM, a processor designer, to announce the first true eight-core mobile chip.
Dubbed the Octa-Core 6592, the chip enables all eight cores to work simultaneously. The processor, which is based on ARM architecture, supports up to 16-megapixel cameras and the full-HD video spec H.265. Ultra-HD support on the H.264 spec is also supported.
In addition to its higher power and stronger performance, the Octa-Core 6592 should deliver longer battery life, MediaTek said Wednesday. The chip uses the eight cores to reduce power consumption. MediaTek said that the power consumption can be … Read more
The first, the Snapdragon 805, is geared at mobile devices and 4K, Ultra HD TVs. The chip is part of the company's high-end mobile chip line and was designed to "deliver the highest-quality mobile video, imaging, and graphics experiences." Qualcomm noted it's the company's highest-performing chip so far.
Another, the Gobi 9x35 is Qualcomm's fourth-generation 4G LTE modem. Along with LTE, the chip also runs 3G and other wireless technologies. Qualcomm also announced a new RF transceiver chip, … Read more
In the world of clamshell phones, it's rare to see anything remotely refreshing come through the pipeline. All too often, devices sport the same familiar design and slow performance.
But in a space that offers such little variation, Verizon's LG Exalt stands out in two ways. First, its design is notable: it's equipped with a relatively large 3-inch screen, and it has foregone the monochrome external display for chic LED lights (similar to the LG dLite) that serve the same purpose. Second, for a basic handset, it performs quite swiftly.
True, it doesn't have all the … Read more
Apple's iPad Mini with Retina Display can't match Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX or the Google Nexus 7 in overall display quality, according to screen tester DisplayMate.
DisplayMate on Tuesday published its findings on the picture quality of the iPad Mini with Retina Display, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, and Google's Nexus 7. While both Amazon and Google scored high marks in the study, Apple's tablet "comes in with a distant third-place finish."
"Apple was once the leader in mobile displays, unfortunately it has fallen way behind in both Tablets and Smartphones," … Read more