Driverless car completes 3,400-mile road trip across the United States

The car traveled from San Francisco to New York City, and only needed human intervention on a 50-mile stretch

Back in late March a driverless automobile made its cross-country trek of 3,400 miles, traveling through 15 different states, without an accident or roadway incident. And no, it wasn’t Tesla, Google, or General Motors, but British auto supplier, Delphi Automotive, who was behind the success of this vehicle’s journey.

Delphi’s self-driving car went from San Francisco to New York City, in automated mode for 99% of the nine-day quest, and didn’t hit another car, person, or get a ticket. Apparently the company has been quietly advancing driverless technology, because the blue 2014 Audi SQ5 only gave its wheel to its human driver on a 50-mile stretch of city streets, where there were unmarked lanes and heavy roadwork.

Delphi_Automated_Audi

Image via fromthegrapevine.com.

“Along the way, the vehicle encountered complex driving situations such as traffic circles, construction zones, bridges, tunnels, aggressive drivers, and a variety of weather conditions,” Delphi said in a statement.

Packed with technology including four short-range radars, three vision-based cameras, six “lidars” (similar to radars), a localization system, intelligence software algorithms, and a full range of advanced drive assistance systems, the car was more than ready to hit the road. Read More

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Play music and make calls with a wireless smart button

Flic creates a shortcut to your favorite actions on your smartphone

Though it appears to be nothing more than a pleasant-looking button, Flic can actually be set to make your life simpler. Known as a smart button, it can do pretty much anything you want it to do (within reason) on a daily basis, such as snapping photos, playing music, and snoozing your alarm.

Flic_Buttons

Flic comes in a variety of colors.

Because it can stick to various surfaces, including those outside, Flic can be a part of so many things. Once set up via the accompanying app, which works with both iOS and Android, each button can be set to execute three actions — one by clicking, another by double-clicking, and another by pressing and holding. The buttons connect to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth Low-energy and have a range of up to 150 feet.

Smaller than a quarter, Flic is housed in a silicon mold and can withstand outdoor environments and dust. It also comes with a reusable double-sided adhesive, which can easily be cleaned if it gets dirty. Read More

Portable wireless breathalyzer pairs with smartphone app

Breathometer’s Breeze pairs via Bluetooth with any iOS or Android smartphone

Earlier this year the breath analysis technology company, Breathometer unveiled Breeze, the first wearable breathalyzer on the market. With its ultra-fast accurate results and easy portability, Breeze breaks new ground when it comes to personal smartphone breathalyzers.

Designed to be paired with the Breathometer app, which features integration with Uber, local restaurants, and hotels, Breeze connects via Bluetooth LE to read a user’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

Fortunately, using the breathalyzer is easy. First, the user must open the mobile app on his or her smartphone, and then when prompted, blow for five seconds directly at the LED illuminated hole on the device from about two inches away. Once measured, the app will provide an estimate of how long it will take the user to get back down to zero.

Breeze_Device

Breeze is portable and easy to use. Image via TechCrunch.

What happens when the app finds a user isn’t ready to get behind the wheel? It’s all set to display its useful features such as menu items to help get users home safely without having to drive. Read More

My experience with the Samsung Gear S smartwatch

A personal review

It’s been three weeks since I’ve gotten my hands on a Samsung Gear S smartwatch, and overall I’m pleased with it. I was honestly expecting it to be a high-tech smartphone accessory, since that seems to be what most smartwatches are, but there’s much more to it, which was impressive. First off, the Gear S has its own SIM-card slot, gets its own cell service and data, and comes with an additional battery pack. Pretty much, it’s a watch that’s also a phone.

Gear_S_Smartwatch

What caught my attention right off the bat was the modern, attractive look to the Gear S. It has a big, bright, curved 2-inch 480 x 360-pixel AMOLED display, which leaves plenty of room for swiping and pinching on the screen. To top it off, the watch comes with customizable screen clock faces to express your own style, and a snap-on adjustable wristband for a comfortable fit.

As for receiving notifications, there weren’t any issues (and it was quite exciting the first few times I received a text or an email and saw it come up on my watch), as long as I had my Samsung phone nearby. Even though the Gear S is seen as an independent smartwatch, it needs to be paired with your Samsung smartphone for most of its features to work, and it requires a connected data plan to use it as a cellular device. Read More

Wearable tech makes your skin function like a tablet

Ready or not, the future has arrived

Recently there have been many new additions to the wearable technology market, but the Cicret Bracelet really jumps out from the crowd. What’s so different about it, you ask? Well, it projects a touchscreen onto your arm.

Cicret_Bracelet

Image via Cicret.

Though it’s probably likely that most people aren’t pushing and shoving to try this one out, the reasoning behind it is this: By having a touchscreen displayed on your arm, you can very easily access and work your apps without having to take out your phone. So far it seems to work similar to the way you’d view information on a tablet. Read More

Top smartphones of 2014

Looking to buy a new phone this holiday season? Check out our list of some of the best smartphones you can purchase today.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung_S5

With high dynamic range resulting in amazing picture quality, the Galaxy S5’s 16MP camera is its main feature. But of course, that’s not all this brilliant phone has to offer. Samsung has also improved the phone’s durability and usability from its S4 predecessor, with improved resistance to dust and water. Its awesome apps include fitness-tracking abilities, which have been enhanced since the Galaxy S4, along with a dedicated heart rate monitor. Its fingerprint scanner makes this phone one of the most secure Galaxy phones ever created. Although its silver edge and Elastoplast-style back won’t be of everyone’s taste, the market for its use with companion products such as the Gear smartwatch and Gear Fit fitness band are growing, though relatively small.

Dimensions: 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm Screen: 5.5” Weight: 172g Storage: 1GB, Internal Memory: 16/64/128GBProcessor: Apple A8 Camera: Front-facing: 8MP Rear-facing: 1.2MP

iPhone 6

iPhone_6

No doubt about it, the iPhone 6 has a very pleasing design, and along with its user-friendly simplicity, it’s one of the best phones to ever hit the market. It picks up where the 5s left off, with a larger 4.7-inch display, improved battery life, and a slimmer body than ever before (just don’t bend it!). Although no one feature stands out, as they’re all nothing short of astounding, Apple proved again that it can reinvent existing ideas into a whole new product.

Dimensions: 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm Screen: 5.1” Weight: 145g Storage: 2GB, Internal Memory: 16/32GB, microSD slot up to 128GB Processor: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 Camera: Front-facing: 2MP Rear-facing: 16MP
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Control your home via verbal command with these voice-controlled products

Voice control is coming to the forefront of the smart home

Vocca by ActiVocal

Vocca

Vocca is much more than meets the eye. This simple-looking gadget is actually a lighting adapter that turns traditional bulbs into voice-activated ones. Stored inside is a microphone, an AC-to-DC converter, Bluetooth and memory, a natural language processor, and load relay. It doesn’t require Wi-Fi, set-up, or installation. Just by saying “Go Vocca light,” the device will be alerted that you’re ready to give a command, and from there, you can turn your lights on or off just by using your voice. With the compatible app, you can also schedule on/off times.

Echo by Amazon

Amazon_Echo

Amazon recently announced that it’s building a speaker that can be controlled with your voice. Called Echo, it acts like a personal assistant that’s similar to Siri or Google Now — just crammed into a speaker. By using seven microphones equipped with sensors that use beamforming technology, it listens for user requests, and can even understand you while it’s pounding out 360-degree audio to fill the entire room. Designed to make your life a little bit easier, Echo, which responds to “Alexa,” can also tell you the weather and answer general questions with facts from Wikipedia.

HomeKit by Apple

HomeKit

Apple came flying into the smart-home sector with the idea of HomeKit, a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories. Once available, and by using Siri, HomeKit will allow users to control locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, and switches at home.

Homey by Anthom

Homey

Operating on a variety of protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Z-Wave Homey is a voice-activated automation hub that can communicate with a bunch of differently configured gadgets at once. This voice-controlled sphere is also multi-lingual — it understands English, Dutch, Spanish, and French, and is compatible with a variety of app-enabled smart home products.
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