The Gameband is the ultimate wrist gaming solution for playing Pong

Ready for some XTREME WRIST GAMING ACTION? Sure you are. But here’s the Gameband, a new smartwatch for gamers that lets you play simple games on a tiny, wrist-mounted screen. Founded by Feargal Mac Conuladh, the watch has a MicroSD slot for storage of up to 256GB of games and it can play games like Terraria and Pong on a 1.63-inch screen.

The watch runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with a few tweaks to make it a gaming powerhouse. The game selection is obviously pretty limited as it doesn’t have true control buttons or much space on the screen itself, but simple games translate well to the small screen. However, you can get a little Breakout in between bouts of Centipede and the makers promise more games are coming.

The watch costs $149 and comes with a few fun bands, including an Atari model that will tickle your nostalgia bone. They’ve raised $287,000 on Kickstarter so far and should ship in September. If you can’t wait that long you can always install an NES emulator on your old Android Wear watch, allowing you to truly “level-up” your Mario-on-the-wrist experience. Do a barrel roll!

Hayo’s Kinect-like sensor for your home now has an API

Sometimes I miss the Kinect. It was such a breakthrough device, yet it didn’t go anywhere. But it inspired a lot of entrepreneurs, including the team behind Hayo. This new device lets you set up virtual buttons on a table to control all your connected objects.

Hayo recently announced there will be an API so developers can play with the company’s image recognition technology. Some people already want to use Hayo for games, others for their shops. There are many possibilities, and I can’t wait to see how developers are going to use this new input device.

Brian already wrote about the device, and the company is now live on Indiegogo — in fact, the campaign will certainly reach its goal today. The device is shipping later this year and currently costs $219 on Indiegogo.

I played with a prototype at a TechCrunch meetup in Barcelona and I was quite impressed by the technology behind it. You can put the tube-shaped device on a table and tap on a specific area to turn on the lights, pause the music and more.

 Hayo isn’t a complicated device. In fact, the first prototype was just a Kinect and a few electronic components inside a Pringles can. But the magic happens on the company’s servers. The startup has been working on image and signal processing for years.

The device creates a depth map with a bunch of sensors and then sends data to a server. The server analyzes the data using the company’s image processing algorithms. If a user triggered something, Hayo can then send a message back to the device. Finally, the device talks with the connected devices around your home to control them.

In my testing, this could provide a nice alternative to voice-powered interfaces like Alexa, Google Home or Siri. We tried using it with Philips Hue lights and a Sonos speaker. You can use objects as “phantom switches” or maybe print some buttons to pin them up. But I’m even more interested in other use cases that will go beyond the smart home.

X-ray technique creates nanometer-scale 3D reconstructions of computer chips

The chips in our devices are powered by transistors and integrated circuits so small that they can barely be detected by our most advanced imaging techniques. How chip makers manage to do quality control when they can’t even see what they’re working on is a really good question. But a new method from Swiss researchers provides an incredibly detailed look at details on the level of nanometers — and in 3D, to boot.

Tiny chip looks deep inside your body with millimeter-wave radiationJudge a book through its cover with this terahertz camera setupWTF is lidar?

Normally in a post like this, I, the well-informed tech writer, would try to walk you, the poor benighted reader, though the technology step by step. But I’ve got to be honest with you: This time I’m as lost as the next guy. So let’s try to work through it together. Sayeth mine authors at the Paul Scherrer Institut:Modern X-ray optics paired with synchrotron light sources have changed the landscape, with Fresnel zone plates and Kirkpatrick-Baez mirror pairs producing small (7 nm in diameter at 20 keV; ref. 15), intense beams which could be used for scanning probe microscopy.

Kirkpatrick and Baez invented the X-ray microscope in the 1940s, but it and fresnel stuff have come a long way. Synchrotrons create super-precise light beams. So basically this is not an entirely new concept, but technological limitations have prevented it from being used this way before.

Self-explanatory, right? The synchrotron sends the X-rays through the lens array, through the sample and onto the detector. The dots are the locations of individual scans as the sample is spun around.

Okay, next:Highly coherent radiation produced by undulators at third-generation X-ray synchrotrons has allowed the development of a mixed real-space/reciprocal-space imaging technique, called ptychographic X-ray computed tomography (PXCT).

Real-space scanning would be like getting an X-ray of your arm, where you record the signal strength on the other side; different substances absorb different amounts and frequencies of the radiation. Reciprocal space has to do with the… well, it’s kind of like a quantum shadow that can tell you about the makeup of an atomic lattice.

In this case the subject is too small to read like a real-space X-ray, so they have to rely on reciprocal-space imagery — but you still need real-space measurements to contextualize it. Because it records density, it can determine areas of greater or lesser density, it can discern between the likes of conductors, substrates and empty space.So by tracking the reciprocal lattice pattern generated and mathematically tying it to the real-world positioning of the chip, they can reconstruct it into a 3D model. And because details are generated at the level of the shadows cast by the atoms in the path of the beam, not by the much larger beam itself, it’s much higher resolution than previous X-ray techniques.

The 3D rendering at top is formed by analyzing various close-ups and angles. You can see individual gates at the bottom. The scale bars are 500 nanometers, so you’re seeing details much smaller than that.

A setup like this means that chips can be scanned both by their creators and competitors at a level that reveals pretty much every transistor. So long, trade secrets!

Actually it would take a very long time to image an entire chip this way, but it will be very useful for testing whether new chip designs (which are getting thicker and more interconnected) are being laid down properly, or whether a secretive chip company is really using some rumored technology or fabrication process.

Seriously, this skull-drilling robot is good news for humanity

When someone invents a robot specifically made to drill into the skulls of unconscious, immobile humans, you’d be forgiven for feeling a natural reaction along the lines of “for the love of God, why?” But trust me, this particular robotic trepanation station is a good idea.

The issue surrounds what is called microsurgery, in particular, installing cochlear implants, tiny devices that relay sound directly to the inner ear of someone with a hearing impairment.

The procedure to implant these things is performed tens of thousands of times per year, but it’s a risky and extremely fiddly one where the slightest error or involuntary movement can cause permanent damage.

As in other situations where precision is critical, machines can be of help. In this case, researchers from the University of Bern have been working on a robot that performs the most delicate and potentially damaging step: drilling into the skull at the precise location and depth to give access to the right part of the cochlea.

 Yes, they have special drill bits just for getting through skull and tissue. The iii and iv parts of the figure are proposed but untested further opportunities for robotic implantation procedures.

The team’s paper, published today in Science Robotics, reports the success of using the robot for drilling purposes, and proposes further applications, such as the actual implantation processes.

In the meantime, they use the drilling process as a platform to prove that the robot can hook into surgery planning systems, stereo vision, live detection of tissue types and so on. Other microsurgeries could also benefit from the technology.

If the robocalypse comes, they won’t need a treatment plan to drill into your brain. Until that happens, robots like this could provide some much-needed consistency in surgical procedures that, like this one, exist at the boundary of what humans are capable of.

Samsung Gear VR Headset Refresh Tipped to Bring a Dedicated Controller

Samsung forayed into the virtual reality business with its Gear VR back in September, 2015 and kept improving it in the meantime. Although the Samsung Gear VR was recently refreshed with new features like a dedicated home button and up to 101-degree field of view, the virtual reality headset still lacked one of the crucial features essential for better VR experience, a controller. But now, Samsung is tipped to launch its upcoming Gear VR headset with a dedicated controller along with the Galaxy S8 launch towards March-end.

Samsung Gear VR Headset Refresh Tipped to Bring a Dedicated ControllerThe Samsung Gear VR has seen its share of improvements that make it one of the advanced mobile VR headsets available in the market right now. The South Korean company also increased the number of smartphones that could support Gear VR but what it missed was a dedicated controller that can be used to control your VR experience. According to a well-known tipster Roland Quandt (via 9to5Google), Samsung is poised to launch the Gear VR version SM-R234 with an updated cover to accommodate the Galaxy S8, along with a ‘single-handed’ controller.

To recall, Samsung was earlier reported to launch a new version of Gear VR alongside the launch of its upcoming flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8. There was also a report saying that Samsung could be working on its own augmented reality headset that might be unveiled at MWC 2017 or the Samsung’s Galaxy S8 keynote. With the launch of the controller with Gear VR, Samsung is said to take on Google’s own wireless controller for Daydream VR. It’s worth mentioning that currently Google Cardboard mobile VR platform offers much more control through Daydream VR wireless controller as compared to Samsung Gear VR.

As we mentioned, Samsung earlier decided to skip the MWC event and host a keynote event at a later date that the company would announce at MWC. The company will launch its Galaxy S8 phones at its keynote event.

Qualcomm X20 Gigabit LTE Modem Unveiled, Snapdragon 210 Gets Support for Android Things

Qualcomm announced its first Gigabit LTE modem – the Snapdragon X16 LTE – last year, and even before it arrives on a smartphone, its successor has been unveiled. The company took the wraps off the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and it brings faster average and download speeds.

Qualcomm X20 Gigabit LTE Modem Unveiled, Snapdragon 210 Gets Support for Android Things

The company claims that the modem will boost theoretical LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, a 20 percent increase from the 1Gbps download speed of the current X16 modem. Built on the 10nm FinFET process, the second generation Gigabit LTE solution offers 150Mbps of LTE Category 13 upload speeds as well.

It manages to achieve these speeds with carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO antennas that allow up to 12 streams of data to be received using between three and five 20MHz portions of spectrum. Comparatively, the X16 modem allows 10 streams across three or four 20MHz portions of spectrum.

The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem also brings support for 256-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) to allow up to 100Mbps data to be sent across streams. For uplink, there’s 2x20MHz carrier aggregation and 64-QAM that allows for speeds up to 150Mbps. However, these are just theoretical numbers, and the smartphone won’t really be able to optimise full output, but incredibly boost performance nonetheless. The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem won’t arrive in the market until early 2018; however OEMs will receive the modem for sampling and testing.

Last year, the company partnered with Ericsson, Netgear, and Telstra to build the first Gigabit LTE-enabled device and networks that will showcase the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem’s Gigabit LTE speeds. Telstra launched the Gigabit LTE network in February this year, alongside Netgear’s Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router.

The first Gigabit phone is also expected to be unveiled by ZTE at MWC 2017. There’s not much information about the smartphone, however, MWC is just around the corner.

Qualcomm has also announced support for its entry-level Snapdragon 210 for the Android Things platform. This makes Snapdragon 210 with X5 LTE modem the first to bring support for Android Things. For those unaware, Android Things is Google’s dedicated OS for all Internet of Things devices. It was launched last year in December, and now Qualcomm has announced its processor support for Android Things with integrated 4G LTE capabilities. The support is not available immediately, and will arrive sometime later in 2017.

HP Omen Gaming Laptops, Desktop Launched in India; Prices Start at Rs. 79,990

On Wednesday, HP expanded its PC gaming ‘Omen’ series in India. The company is looking to make available five notebooks, one monitor, one desktop model, and other accessories starting March 15. The price of the Windows 10 Home-based laptop and desktop units will start at Rs. 79,990 and go up to Rs. 1,69,990. The new ‘Omen’ portfolio will be sold on www.hpshopping.in, select HP World stores, and leading e-commerce portals in the country.

HP’s Omen series focuses on gaming products, and the notebooks come in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch screen sizes. It sports the the latest seventh generation Intel Core i7 processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics. The HP Omen 17 is touted to be VR ready, and the base model sports a 17.3-inch full-HD display, a 7th gen quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz, Turbo up to 3.8GHz) processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics (6GB GDDR5 video memory), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB 7200RPM HDD with 128GB SSD storage, and Bang & Olufsen audio with dual speakers. The Omen 17 will be available at a starting price of Rs. 1,39,990

HP Omen Gaming Laptops, Desktop Launched in India; Prices Start at Rs. 79,990

The HP Omen 15’s base model sports a 15.6-inch full-HD display, a 7th gen Intel Core i5-7300HQ (2.5GHz, Turbo up to 3.5GHz) processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics (2GB of GDDR5 video memory). The Omen 15 will be available at a starting price of Rs. 79,990, and sports a 1TB 7200RPM HDD.

The HP Omen 870 desktop will be made available at a starting price of Rs 1,39,990. The desktop sports up to 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4.2GHz, 8MB cache) overclocking processor, 128GB SSD, and 2TB 7200RPM HDD. It comes with a three year manufacturing warranty.

Omen accessories were also launched in partnership with SteelSeries, and it includes a headset, keyboard, mouse, and a mousepad, priced at Rs. 7,499, Rs. 9,999, Rs. 5,499, and Rs. 2,199, respectively.

Just to recap, HP first introduced the Omen series in 2014 when it launched the 15.6-inch Omen laptop targeted for the gamers. The laptop arrived in India in May 2015 with a price tag of Rs. 1,59,990.

Apple Watch Series 3 Tipped to Sport New Glass-Film Display

While there have been umpteen rumours on the upcoming iPhone 8, leaks on the upcoming Apple Watch remain scarce. However, a new report sheds light on the Apple Watch Series 3 display panel indicating that a different display technology will be used this time around.

Apple Watch Series 3 Tipped to Sport New Glass-Film DisplayDigitimes reports that Apple Watch Series 3 will use a glass-film display solution this time around, instead of the glass on glass solution that has been used so far. TPK Holding has been responsible for producing glass on glass display panels for the Apple Watch since two years; however, the company has had many yield issues and hasn’t been able to meet Apple’s demand. This year, the company is looking to stop display production for Apple Watch altogether, and instead focus on manufacturing 3D Touch embedded OLED displays.

Apple will look to adopt glass-film displays as they procure better yield rates and are cost-friendly. It will reportedly hire Taiwan-based General Interface Solution or Hong Kong-based Biel Crystal Manufactory to produce these new displays. “Considering cost and yield rates, Apple will adopt G/F (glass-film) touch solution in place of TOL for new Apple Watch and have Taiwan-based General Interface Solution or Hong Kong-based Biel Crystal Manufactory produce the G/F touch panels, with shipments to begin in the second half of 2017, the sources indicated,” the report notes.

Apple Watch Series 3 is also expected to come with cellular connectivity, better battery life, sleep tracking, and an always-on display. It will arrive sometime in fall with the new watchOS 4 software running out of the box.

Google Camera v4.3 Update Brings Along Ability to Mute Sounds

The latest update to Google Camera app, version v4.3, has added a new feature that might bring relief to those who hate to hear the shutter sound when they click pictures. With the version v4.3 update, supported Nexus and Google Pixel users can turn off all the sounds within the search giant’s camera app with a simple toggle button.

Users can now mute all sounds within the camera app, including the shutter sound on clicking pictures as well as the countdown beeps for timer, with a new ‘Camera sounds’ toggle that remains enabled by default, 9To5Google reports. Users can find the newly-added toggle under ‘General’ tab in settings.

Google Camera v4.3 Update Brings Along Ability to Mute Sounds

Notably, the new functionality will only be available to recent Nexus devices and Pixel smartphones as Google stopped updating the app for other smartphones back in 2015 itself. The company has reportedly started rolling out the update, and it should be available via Google Play soon. Users can also download the APK file for sideloading in case they do not want to wait for the update to roll out to their region.

Android Police notes that the ability to mute camera sounds may not be available in all regions, as some countries have laws that mandate cameras to make sounds to prevent unauthorised shooting. Google Camera v4.3 also brings a new zoom control bar, and the exposure controls have also been modified.

In December last year, the search giant added a toggle switch for grid lines, and a button for photo modes to its camera app. The update also enabled the app to load faster and switch between photo and video modes more quickly. Nexus 6, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P users also received a new Auto-HDR+ mode for better quality shots in low-light areas with last year’s update.

Canon EOS 800D, 77D DSLRs and M6 Mirrorless Camera Launched in India

Just days after their international debut, Canon has announced the EOS 800D, EOS 77D DSLRs and EOS M6 interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras for the Indian market. The EOS 800D is priced at Rs. 56,995 for the body only and Rs. 62,995 with the EF-S18-55 IS STM kit lens. The EOS 77D starts at Rs. 59,995 for the body but you can also get it with the EF-S18-55 IS STM kit lens for Rs. 65,995 or the EF-S18-135 IS USM kit lens for Rs. 89,995. Last but not least, the EOS M6 is priced at Rs. 56,995 and is sold with the EF-M15-45 IS STM kit lens. All prices are inclusive of taxes however, Canon hasn’t specified when these cameras will be available in the market. Our guess is around April itself, just like the International release.

Canon EOS 800D, 77D DSLRs and M6 Mirrorless Camera Launched in India

The EOS 800D and EOS 77D have many features in common which include an optical viewfinder with 45-point, cross-type autofocus system and Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system for live view mode. The cameras also have Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth for connection with a smart device. You also get a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, DIGIC 7 image processor, sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600, tiltable 3-inch touchscreen display, HDR movie and time lapse movie, and continuous shooting of up to 6fps. The EOS 77D, which is aimed more towards advanced users, gets features like 7650-pixel RBG plus IR metering sensor which is similar to the one found in the EOS 80D and anti-flicker shooting. The camera also features a top LCD panel and quick control dial for easier viewing of the camera settings.

Eddie Udagawa, Vice President of Consumer Imaging and Information Centre, Canon India said, “With the new EOS 800D and EOS 77D with their 45-all cross type point autofocus systems and Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, we are bringing features reserved for much higher end cameras into the upper entry-level segment. Along with the EOS M6 that rounds off our mirrorless line-up, we now have a very strong set of offerings catered at users looking at a combination of strong value and strong performance. As we complete 20 years in India, we continue to bring the best of technology and innovation to our consumers at the best possible price point. These 3 new cameras are high on innovation and are sure to impress.”