Amazon announced a ton of new connected devices today for their Alexa ecosystem, including the first serious revision of the basic Echo (now $99) and the Echo Plus, an Echo with smart home hub built in. Also announced is the Echo Spot, a new form factor for a screen-bearing Echo with camera. The somewhat odd ones are the Echo Connect, a VOIP box that connects a landline to an existing Echo device in the home. The Connect then allows the Echo to act as a smart speakerphone, enabling voice-controlled dialing and the like. Potentially huge for accessibility, it’s an unusual product for the Echo ecosystem.
But not quite as odd as the Echo Buttons, which are 2-for-$20 accessories for playing games with an existing Echo. The idea is to use them like buzz-in buttons on game shows, with the Echo acting as a gamemaster for trivia games and the like.
I suppose the Buttons + Echo might make for a fun library trivia night activity? Let me know if you plan to try it out at your library.
Source: Amazon debuts redesigned $99 Echo, plus a slew of new Echo devices, too | Ars Technica
Yep. IoT for Cows. I can’t wait for this to be hacked somehow, and used a a distributed cownet.
Tie the cowlar on the cow’s neck. The Cowlar simply consists of a strap designed to comfortably fit around your cow and a small magic box that measure temperature, activity and cow behaviour, i.e. whether it’s eating, sleeping, ruminating or showing lameness.
Source: Cowlar – How It Works
The connected denim smart jacket made in partnership between Levi’s and Google’s ATAP division now has a price tag, but its release date has been pushed from this spring to the fall. The jacket, which will cost around $350 when it goes on sale, is the first commercial product containing ATAP’s Project Jacquard technology, which uses conductive fabric to turn a standard article of clothing into a connected device of sorts that can send instructions to your smartphone, like pausing or skipping a song that’s playing by double tapping your wrist.
Source: Google and Levi’s connected smart jacket will come out this fall and cost around $350 – The Verge
Created in partnership with creative agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the Tostitos Party Bag is outfitted with sensors to detect alcohol on a person’s breath. If you’re in the clear, the bag turns green and you’re free to go about your night. If alcohol is detected, the bag turns red with the message, “Don’t drink and drive,” and offers a $10 Uber credit for a discounted ride home. It’s even got near-field communication technology that lets you tap your phone to the bag to hail the ride, if you’re that blasted.
Source: Tostitos made a bag that can tell you’ve been drinking and call you an Uber – The Verge
Google (GOOGL, Tech30) unveiled a new 55-inch digital whiteboard on wheels that is intended to “redefine meetings,” or at least help Google gain footing in the workplace.The product, called Jamboard, lets teams pull up documents and presentations on screen from Google’s suite of productivity tools like Docs and Drive. Likewise, whatever you write or draw on the giant touchscreen can then be backed up online.
Source: Google is making a high-tech whiteboard – Oct. 25, 2016
The source code that powers the “Internet of Things” (IoT) botnet responsible for launching the historically large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against KrebsOnSecurity last month has been publicly released, virtually guaranteeing that the Internet will soon be flooded with attacks from many new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders and other easily hackable devices.
Source: Source Code for IoT Botnet ‘Mirai’ Released — Krebs on Security
Get used to this, because here’s the future of computer security….
A giant botnet made up of hijacked internet-connected things like cameras, lightbulbs, and thermostats has launched the largest DDoS attack ever against a top security blogger, an attack so big Akamai had to cancel his account because defending it ate up too many resources.
Source: Largest DDoS attack ever delivered by botnet of hijacked IoT devices | Network World
This is a wonderfully detailed article about an interesting new blend of weapon and tech…the Precision Guided Firearm. For those unfamiliar with guns, it’s effectively a computer-assisted firearm, relying on a human to pick a target and tell the gun where you’d like the bullet to go. The gun then tells you when it’s in the right position and angle to actually hit the target you chose, and fires appropriately. According to the article linked below, the reporters were able to hit targets the size of a dinner plate at 1000 yards…insane, unheard of accuracy even for the very best human marksmen.
With a marketing plan that involves iPads, Google Glass, and gamification of target practice, this company is very, very savvy. I am interested to see what they come up with, and how quickly this system drops in price.
The Precision Guided Firearm is a “whole widget” type of thing—it’s not just a fancy scope on top of a fancy gun, but rather a tightly integrated system coupling a rifle, an ARM-powered scope running a modified version of Angström Linux (with some custom BitBake recipes and kernel modules to support the rifle’s proprietary hardware), and a linked trigger mechanism whose weighting is controlled by the scope.
via Bullseye from 1,000 yards: Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle | Ars Technica.
This looks….promising. I don’t expect any single type of input mechanism to “win” in the alternative-input-wars, as some combination device/system is more likely to be more effective. But this looks very interesting…
The MYO armband lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favorite digital technologies.
MYO – The Gesture Control Armband.
I’ve been looking for a good answer for lifelogging for awhile, and have been anticipating the point at which the technology drops in price enough to make this possible for the average consumer. Google Glasses is the high-end answer, and this may just be the sort of thing that emerges at the low end.
The Memoto camera is a tiny camera and GPS that you clip on and wear. It’s an entirely new kind of digital camera with no controls. Instead, it automatically takes photos as you go. The Memoto app then seamlessly and effortlessly organizes them for you.
via Memoto Lifelogging Camera by Memoto — Kickstarter.