News Column

LISTS 2014-Go Geek!

January 28, 2014

Microsoft Xbox One

While some markets have already got their hands on the Xbox One for some time now, Oman along with some other markets are still awaiting our share of next gen gaming action from Microsoft (excluding the silly overpriced imports of course). However from what we have seen, it definitely lives up to the hype. True, the PS4 does outshine it in many aspects and has completely decimated it when it comes to sales figures; however the new Xbox is just as capable of putting up a stunning display especially with the likes of some truly great system exclusives and the massively upgraded Kinect sensor.

Our top picks of gadgets and technology for the coming year...

Oculus Rift

Oculus VR was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking virtual reality headset for immersive gaming. With the support of top video game companies, including Valve, Epic Games and Unity, the Kickstarter was an enormous success, raising over US$2.4mn in funding from project backers and supporters around the world. The team is currently developing the Oculus Rift in an effort to revolutionise the way people experience interactive content. And with John Carmack, the lead programmer and co-founder of id Software, onboard as the Oculus team Chief Technology Officer we can't help but see incredible potential in the product.

Steam Machines

Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. Promising gamers the ability to choose the hardware that makes sense for them, they are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS; the steam machine truly has potential to be a game changer (no pun intended). For those of you not familiar with Steam - Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer, and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses. And with over 3,000 games available through Steam and with over 65 million Steam accounts; the system already has a fan base ready and waiting.

Meta Spaceglasses

While the Occulus rift is aimed at VR and gaming the Meta Spaceglasses are aimed square at next-gen augmented reality. In fact Meta is building the most advanced interface in the world by integrating a real- time 3D scanner and 3D see-through display into a pair of glasses. Basically think of it as Tony Stark's advanced holographic computer interface, only this time in an augmented reality format and in the real world! If it all works as promised, it would not be a far cry to call it the holy grail of Augmented Reality.

Ubuntu Touch Phones

Using all four edges of the screen for a more immersive experience, Ubuntu uniquely gives handset OEMs and mobile operators the ability to converge phone, PC and thin client into a single enterprise superphone. Focusing on both high-end and entry-level phones, Ubuntu is expected to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and Manageability. It also has great potential in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu easily outperforms competing platforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.

Scanadu Scout

Scanadu Scout is a vital sign monitor that analyses, tracks, and trends your vitals - temperature, respiratory rate, oximetry, ECG, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and stress - in 10 seconds. Sounds too good to be true? Well it is and it works. Founded by Walter de Brouwer after a family medical emergency, Scanadu is using imaging and sound analysis, molecular diagnostics, data analytics and a suite of algorithms to create devices that offer a comprehensive, real-time picture of your health data. All you have to do is hold the Scanadu SCOUT to the temple, and in less than ten seconds it will accurately read the necessary vital signs and upload the collected data to the Scanadu smartphone app via Bluetooth.

OnBeat Solar Headphones

This could very well be the hidden gem of 2014. It is also one of those "hmm... wonder why no one came up with that idea before?" kind of items. Interestingly, these breakthrough headsets feature a custom-molded polycrystalline silicon photovoltaics on the headband and side hinges that harvest the sun's energy to charge up two powerful batteries within the housing. A charging cable connected to the USB port on the right cup can be plugged into your smartphone or digital music player, topping up your device while you listen to some music. The headphones have enough of an active PV area to juice up the two 1,000 mAh Li-ion batteries in a good 12 hours of bright sunlight. As such, the headphones will doubtless spend much of their charging time connected to a wall port, with solar energy playing a supporting role while you're out and about. It is nevertheless a great idea with tremendous potential.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Signature (Oman)

Story Tools