Renewable Energy art installation Art Tech

For the first time in tennis history, ball boys will be wearing high-tech, biometric shirts at the US Open that starts today in New York.

Wearable Electronics Take Over (Photos)

The high-performance Polo Tech shirt from Ralph Lauren merges biometrics with compression apparel. Sensors developed by Canada-based OMsignal are knitted into the fabric of the shirt to biological and physiological information. The sensors include an accelerometer and gyroscope to capture movement and direction as well as technology to monitor heartbeat and respiration.

Information gathered is send via a wireless connection to an app on the user’s smartphone. There, a program uses the data to gauge performance, stress level and energy output.

According to Ralph Lauren, the tech shirt is just the start of the brand’s planned expansion into the space.

Wearable Robot Arms Are Here To Help

In a press release, David Lauren, son of Ralph and the EVP of advertising, marketing and corporate communications said, “Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life.”

via ZDNet

Image: Marcos Giron, the No. 1 singles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, wears the shirt seen a closed demo session prior to the start of the 2014 U.S. Open in New York City.

Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA


Smart Cat Feeder Uses Facial Recognition

At the risk of upsetting my cat Murphy — who I’m convinced can not only read, but speed-read — here’s the latest bulletin from the world of cat feeder facial recognition technology.

The Bistro smart cat feeder, designed by a team called 42ARK out of Taiwan, is the sort of crazy idea that Just Might Work. Currently in crowdfunding stage, the device combines several different technologies to ensure your cat is eating properly.

That’s “properly” as defined by humans, not by cats, which is why I just let Murphy outside and am typing this in the closet. Like other automated cat feeders, the Bistro lets owners dispense measured amounts of food when kitty is home alone.

The Cat Who Couldn’t Spy: A CIA Fail

But that’s just the beginning. Weight sensors beneath both the food bowl and the platform in front calculate precisely how much food gets eaten. Information is sent wirelessly to the Bistro smartphone app, which logs all dietary data so you monitor or restrict your cat’s intake.

(What was that creaking? Did the front door just open?)

Here’s the ingenious part: For families with multiple cats, the Bistro incorporates a camera and a facial recognition system to identify which cat is eating what, and when. So if your alpha cat is bullying the others and stealing food, you can bust the furry little devil — with photographic evidence.

New Chip To Beam Smartphone Holograms

Conventional wisdom has long held that true hologram projectors — like the one R2-D2 uses to beam out a miniature Princess Leia — are squarely on the fiction side of science fiction, for now. The technology just isn’t there.

Or is it? According to a Wall Street Journal report, a startup called Ostendo Technologies has not only created a hologram projector chip, it’s made one small enough for smartphones. The Tic-Tac-sized chip should be ready for manufacturing next year.

How Holograms Are Getting Better Than Ever

The Ostendo Quantum Photonic Imager combines an image processor with a wafer containing radically miniaturized light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The system can control the color, brightness and angle of more than a million individual beams of light.

During a demonstration, six Ostendo units laid together beamed a 3-D image of green dice “spinning in the air,” according to the Journal report: “The image and motion appeared consistent, irrespective of the position of the viewer.” You can see a (very) short video of the demo here.

Based in Carlsbad, Calif., Ostendo has kept a low profile, but evidently it’s quite the operation. The company has raised $90 million from venture-capital firms and $38 million on government research and development contracts. The money has allowed the lab — now at 115 employees — to work undisturbed on the project for nearly 10 years, WSJ reports.

Etched Chocolate Sparkles With Colorful Holograms

The newspaper ran the technology by MIT professor Ramesh Raskar, who said the key to the chip’s 3-D capability is its resolution. Ostendo’s system puts out 5,000 dots per square inch. Apple’s Retina display, by contrast, has about 300 dots per inch.

Early reports aren’t clear on how the chip manages the free-floating hologram effect in thin air. Previous hologram systems, like the famous virtual Tupac, still require some sort of 2-D projection surface, plus additional optical trickery. In any case, this definitely seems like something to keep an eye on.