Smartphones are packing more sensors these days, and application developers continue to find new ways to gain additional value from the sensors. Popular exercise app RunKeeper is the latest. Its software for iPhone and Android handsets includes an auto-pause function and new heart rate zone targeting.
Long-time GPS hardware maker, Garmin, released its first fitness app for $0.99 in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. Gone are the days when companies can focus on single-purpose hardware; thanks to smartphones, sensors and connectivity, software is where the real action is at.
As revolutionary as the mobile ecosystem is, it’s the interactions of more intelligent connected devices with people outside the context of phones or computers that will drive more innovation says Mark Rolston, the chief creative officer at Frog Design at an event on Monday.
New York Road Runners and MapMyRUN are collaborating to share real-time athlete data from this year’s New York Marathon, thanks to GPS sensors, RFID tags and software. This combination of sports, sensor and social brings a shared experience between athletes and spectators. Here’s why it matters.
Microsoft today adds Kinect support for its Robotics Developer Studio. Software and an SDK are helpful, but the real news may be in Microsoft’s 2010 purchase of Canesta, which has a chip-level pattern recognition solution. With it, Microsoft could shrink Kinect functionality to fit in smartphones.
Do we only want dumb screens: the ability to get whatever content and services you want over the web instead of locked to a device? Today, the answer is we want it both ways, but in the future, dumb terminals with one exception: the smartphone.
Devices like Fitbit and smartphone apps like Runkeeper have the ability to act as powerful health sensors. But one of the most promising ventures in this field is an upcoming product from Pulse Tracer called Basis, a watch monitor that packs in a bunch of sensors.
The biggest frustration I have with my iPhone is when the phone switches between Wi-Fi and 3G networks and just hangs. In solving this problem, MIT researchers used motion sensors, showing how mobile devices need to become an extension of us.
Many investors are seeing fund raising slow down, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund is no exception. The fund, which in October said it had raised $9.3 million toward its goal of $20 million, is still working to raise the rest of the money. Representatives said it has raised “about half” of the cash so far.
The angel fund is a for-profit venture that the Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit founded with $30 million from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company bankruptcy, launched last April. Susan Preston, the angel fund’s general manager, said the fund raising is taking longer than expected because of the recession. “We’re working very hard at it, but it’s a struggle right now, no question about it,” she said. “We’re talking to lots of people all over the place, and everyone is saying, ‘We’re sorry, we agree with what you’re doing, but we just don’t have money right now.'”
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