Tag Archives: content creation

Wearables to create personal data streams

Did you know that mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day by 2017? 

Indeed, according to Gartner research director Brian Blau, wearable devices are expected to utilize mobile apps as their primary conduit for data exchange and user interface. As such, wearable devices will depend on apps for all types of user input or output, configuration, as well as content creation and consumption.

“While wearable devices will not fully rely on, or be a slave to, mobile devices, it is a way for manufacturers to keep these devices small and efficient, therefore significantly reducing device costs in favor of using apps, which are more easily maintained and updated,” said Blau.

“Considering their underlying service, most wearable devices need some type of user interface. Taking the example of a fitness-tracking device, ultimately its onboard data will need to be uploaded into the cloud, processed, and then analyzed in reporting back to the user. Apps are an obvious and convenient platform to enable great products and services to be developed [and] by 2017, Gartner predicts that wearable devices will drive 50 percent of total app interactions.”

Meanwhile, Gartner research director Sandy Shen noted that mobile apps often function as a vehicle for cognizant computing – with data gathered via apps and corresponding analytics becoming more important in both volume and value.

“Cognizant computing takes intelligent actions on behalf of users based on their historical data, preferences and rules. It can predict user needs and complete tasks without users initiating the action or interfering with the service,” said Shen.

“It can take the very simplistic format of completing a recurring event such as to turn on the water heater at a preset time, or the more sophisticated format of calling the rescue services and connecting with the doctor when an emergency occurs.”

Clearly, cognizant computing can play a meaningful role at home because residential settings are stable with relatively fixed equipment and the user behavior there is routine or at least predictable. Tasks tend to be linear, in that each stays in its own boundaries with little interactions among different disciplines.

“Smart home solutions will likely span across various brands and platforms in order to become ‘intelligent’ and deliver good user experience. Those that are restricted to a single brand are likely to lose the competitive edge,” Shen added.

Zcapture: Atmel + Arduino = Open Source 360 photography

The Arduino-based Zcapture – which recently surfaced on KickStarter – is designed to provide a low-cost, high-quality product that can be modified, hacked or customized to fit individual needs.

According to Zcapture creator Jared Bouck, the device is positively “disruptive” to an emerging industry of 360 driven content creation – illustrating a better way of doing things while providing information in a user-centric medium.

“The humble beginnings of Zcapture came from my own personal interest in experimentation about 8 years ago with Basic Stamp programming. Roughly 4 years ago I discovered the Arduino NG and fell in love with the [Atmel-powered] Arduino platform from the point of view that anyone could learn it and use it. Immediately I set to work to build and refine the Zcapture system based on this robust platform,” Bouck explained in a Kickstarter post.

“[Remember], I have been deeply involved in web development for 15 years and a great majority of that time has been focused on eCommerce development and design. In that time I have always found that the lack of meaningful product information is a killer when presenting a product in a meaningful way to have them purchase.”

So how does Zcapture work? Well, the system comprises three tightly integrated components – hardware, software and HTML.

“This allows you to easily go from item to website in as little as 15 minutes,” said Bouck. “[Plus], the design and functionality of each system has been designed to be as easy to implement as possible with intuitive controls so that just about anyone can set-up, connect and shoot amazing 360 shots.”

Indeed, Zcapture is designed to operate 100% autonomously – without the need to be connected or controlled from a computer. It also boasts features like optical isolation from camera equipment and active cooling to ensure cool and stable operation.

“Makers will love how easy Zcapture is to use. Gone are the days of a project build with static photos,” he added. “Now instructions can be step-by-step in 360, allowing the reader to see all the intricacies of your project. Even better is the ability to show off your project complete and polished.”

The Zcapture is compatible with most SLR cameras that support an external shutter control, working natively with all Cannon and Nikon Camera models out of the box. It should be noted that for the base KickStarter model, Zcapture will only be supporting Canon and Nikon cameras, although stretch goals will be set for the inclusion of additional cameras, as well IR header support for most point and shoot cameras.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out Zcapture on Kickstarter here.