Amazon Echo, The Future or Fad?

AmazonEcho

Last November Amazon announced a new kind of device. Part speaker, part personal assistant and it called it Amazon Echo. If you saw the announcement you might have also see their quirky infomercial.

The parodies came hours after their announcement, and they were funny. But dismissing this just as a Siri/Cortana/Google Now copycat might miss the potential of this “always listening” device. To be fair this is not the first device that can do this. (more...)

Musings on Samsung Developer Conference 2014

This year some of us at the AppsLab attended the Samsung Developer Conference aka #SDC2014. Last year it was Samsung’s first attempt and we were also there. The quality and caliber of presentations increased tenfold from last year. Frankly, Samsung is doing it really hard to resist to join their ecosystem.

sdc2014

Here are some of the trends I observed:

Wearables and Health:

There was a huge emphasis in Samsung’s commitment with wearable technology. They released (more...)

Asteroid Hackathon – The Winning Team

Editorial Note: This is a guest post by friend of the ‘Lab and colleague DJ Ursal. Also be sure to check out our Hackathon entry here:

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EchoUser (@EchoUser), in partnership with SpaceGAMBIT, Maui Makers, the Minor Planet Center, NASA, the SETI Institute, and Further by Design, hosted an Asteroid Hackathon. The event was in response to the NASA Grand Challenge, “focused on finding all asteroid (more...)

Asteroid Hackathon

A couple weeks ago Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Bill Kraus, Raymond Xie and I participated in the Asteroid Hackathon hosted by @EchoUser. The main focus was “to engage astronomers, other space nerds, and the general public, with information, not just data.”

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As you might already know, we here at the AppsLab, are big fans of Hackathons as well as ShipIt days or FedEx days. The ability to get together, get our collective minds (more...)

ESP8266 – Cheap WiFi for your IoT

About a month ago, hackaday.com broke the news of a new Wifi chip called ESP8266 that costs about $5. This wireless system on a chip (SoC) took all the IoT heads (including me) by surprise. Until now if you wanted to integrate wifi to any DIY project you had to use more expensive solutions. To put this into perspective, my first wifi Arduino shield was about $99!

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So I ordered a few of them (I (more...)

iBeacons or The Physical Web?

For the past year at the AppsLab we have been exploring the possibilities of advanced user interactions using BLE beacons. A couple days ago, Google (unofficially) announced that one of their Chrome teams is working on what I’m calling the gBeacon. They are calling it the Physical Web (http://google.github.io/physical-web/).
This is how they describe it:

“The Physical Web is an approach to unleash the core superpower of the web: interaction on demand. People (more...)