Tag Archives: Ford

Photos: The best of Mobile World Congress 2015

A look at some of the biggest product news to come out of Barcelona… 

Wearables and tablets and phones, oh my! Mobile devices of every kind were sprawled out across the exhibition halls at Mobile World Congress this week, where nearly 2,000 companies gathered in Barcleona to show off a slew of products to a 90,000-plus crowd. While every major brand was well-represented, HTC, Huawei, Samsung, LG and Microsoft were among the names that stole the spotlight as they debuted next generations of their flagship gadgets. Beyond that, a number of emerging IoT startups also drew a great deal of attention with their new wave of projects, from smart buttons to slick watches.

So without further ado, here’s some of the best things we saw over the last couple of days — other than the paella, tapas and Catalan wine, of course!

Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL


Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge


HTC Grip


HTC Re Vive


Huawei Smartwatch and Talkbands


Huawei Mediapad x2


HP Spectre x360


Sony Xperia M4 Aqua


Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet


Runcible Anti-Smartphone


Pebble Time Steel


LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE


LG Spirit and Magna


Microsoft Folding Keyboard


BlackBerry Leap


Silent Circle Blackphone 2


Guess Connect


Ford MoDe:Me Bike


Xiaomi Yi Action Camera


IKEA Qi Wireless Charging Furniture


La Comanda Click’N’Pizza


Ford’s new SYNC will be more like your smartphone

Ford has shared that its in-car infotainment system will be getting an overhaul with the newly-revealed SYNC 3, which will add a capacitive touchscreen, an improved smartphone-like interface, enhanced mobile app integration, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the near future.


First debuting back in 2007, SYNC is Ford’s voice-based car entertainment system that enables drivers to play certain media, connect their mobile devices and audio players, and change the temperature, radio station or make calls via verbal commands. Over the next two years, the carmaker introduced a pair of updated versions, which ushered in new applications including 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report, as well as traffic, directions and information.

By far, the largest hardware change will be the system’s migration from resistive to capacitive touchscreens. According to Ford, SYNC 3 will feature optimized capacitive screens that offer an experience most consumers are familiar with from their tablets and smartphones. With a quicker response to touch, voice and phone-like gestures, future vehicles will boast multi-touch, pinch-to-zoom and swipe capabilities with modernized graphics.


“We considered all the modern smartphones and mobile operating systems and created something familiar but unique,” explained Parrish Hanna, Ford Global Director of HMI.

In doing so, SYNC 3 aims to reduce on-screen complexity and prioritize the control options drivers utilize most. As the carmaker notes, a bright background and large buttons with high-contrast fonts for daytime use will help reduce screen washout in the sun. Meanwhile, at night, the display will automatically switch to a dark background to aid in eye fatigue reduction and minimal reflections on the windows.

Phone contacts will be searchable via a simple swipe of the finger to scroll through the alphabet. With “One Box Search,” SYNC 3 users can look up points of interest or enter addresses in much the same way they use an Internet search engine.


“Simplicity has value,” added Hanna. “Reducing the number of things on-screen also makes control easier and is designed to limit the number of times a driver has to glance at the screen.”

In addition, an updated AppLink functionality will provide drivers with better control of their smartphone applications from the car’s main display. It automatically recognizes compatible apps on a user’s smartphone, and enables them to be controlled by voice and steering wheel buttons. Take Google Now, Apple Siri and Pandora, for example, which will be available to those who access the system in the car through Bluetooth.

“Overall, AppLink is faster, more responsive and easier to find your apps,” revealed Julius Marchwicki, Ford Global Product Manager, AppLink. “The overall design of SYNC 3 allows for better integration with smartphones – resulting in a more user-friendly experience.”


The Sync software will also have the ability to be updated via a home Wi-Fi network, assuming that the home’s network is in range.

According to Ford, the SYNC 3 is expected to be launched in new vehicles next year. Interested in learning more? You can find the entire press release here.

Speaking of in-vehicle systems, Atmel’s maXTouch family — known for its superior performance and rich feature set — is now qualified for automotive applications, ranging from touchscreens and touchpads (supporting 2 inches up to 14 inches in diameter) used in center stack displays to navigation systems and radio human-machine interfaces (HMIs). Looking ahead, here’s a sneak peek at what the future holds for center consoles.

Understanding the 3D printing revolution

Christopher Barnatt, author of 3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution, recently noted that a number of Ford engineers have Atmel-powered MakerBots in their workstations. As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including manufacturing, the medical sphere, architectural arena and science lab.

“The question for manufacturers will therefore increasingly be not whether they are using 3D printers in their product design, but where and how frequently. Just as computers escaped from corporate data centers in the 1980s and 1990s and started to be used by non-technical staff, so today it is time for 3D printers to invade a great many offices,” Barnatt opined in an article published in 3D Printer earlier this month.

“Personal 3D printers can now be built or purchased for a few hundred dollars. As such hardware enters the mainstream, more and more people will have at least the potential to start 3D printing things at home, and smart businesses are already starting to recognize this fact.”

In addition to helping customers modify, repair and personalize products, many organizations could very easily start to offer promotional 3D object downloads.

“Today free apps or screensavers are common in the entertainment industry, and within a year or so any marketing campaign that does not include 3D printable content will be missing an easy trick,” he continued. “In retail, there are also opportunities to start selling both consumer 3D printers and consumables, as well as 3D printing and scanning services. In 2013 some of the first 3D printer stores opened around the world.”

However, says Barnatt, while 3D printing will drive a revolution, it probably won’t replace most traditional manufacturing methods.

“Rather, I estimate that, within ten years, 3D printing will be used directly or indirectly in the manufacture of about 20 per cent of products or parts thereof. I would also stress the ‘indirect’ bit here, with the use of 3D printing to produce molds, cores and patterns being very significant over the coming decade,” he explained.

“The desire to achieve material savings will [also] drive the adoption of 3D printing in many industries. This is due to the fact that 3D printing is an additive rather than subtractive process that can achieve minimal wastage. Within a decade, scanning and digital inventory will have a big impact on spare part availability and product repair. [As] natural resources continue to deplete at an alarming rate, increasingly we will need to repair rather than replace broken items, and it is 3D printing that may well actually allow this to happen.”

Barnatt emphasized that software development will determine competitive advantage for many pioneers of fully or partially 3D printed products, with everybody having access to the same industrial 3D printers.

“Successful companies will therefore be those that create the best interfaces between their customers and 3D printing hardware. The future is not about everybody learning CAD, but about smart companies creating a wide range of customized customer apps.”

Last, but certainly not least, Barnatt said he believed bioprinting would become a standard medical practice sometime in the 2020s and 2030s.

3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution can be purchased on Amazon for $13.50.