Wearable technology is still finding its niche in the accessory space, particularly when it comes to the stuff designed to be worn on the head. The latest out of Japan is from the latter.
The FUN'IKI Ambient Glasses are about subtle notifications with a bit of style. Equipped with multi-colored LEDs and Audio Speakers, the FUN'IKI glasses look like traditional eyewear. If you receive a Notification on your iPhone, color coded LEDs will provide an ambient alert along the lenses.
There are also speakers-embedded on the arms of the glasses. The dedicated iOS app for the FUN'IKI allows you to assign color and sounds to specific notifications. The glasses also have a text-to-speech feature as well, so if you get an extra important message, you can have it read to you. There is even a party mode for the LEDs.
The FUN'IKI Ambient Glasses are available through a Japanese crowd funding site. Expecting shipping will be in December. The lenses can be made to prescription. The team behind FUN'IKI have an SDK for developers at the ready too. The normal retail price for these glasses will be roughly $230. They can be secured through the crowd funding source for less than half that amount.
Battery life is usually number one on the list of concerns that users have when choosing a new mobile device. Battery technology has been slow to keep up with the devices that are with us all day long, and so manufacturers have had to take other routes larger devices for larger batteries, or faster charging. But, a new breakthrough with sound waves could let you leave your charger behind for good.
Researchers with Queen Mary University of London have teamed up with Nokia to build the first prototype smartphone that can be charged using only sound waves. QMUL's Dr. Joe Briscoe and Dr. Steve Dunn first came upon the idea last year when they noticed that playing music improved the performance of solar cells. From there, the team developed a nanogenerator capable of collecting energy from ambient sound. The key to the nanogenerator was zinc oxide, which can create voltage when it expands and contracts. Zinc oxide was formed into nanorods which could generate five volts of electricity, enough to charge a phone.
The team has already been able to cut costs of production for the nanogenerators, but the technology still needs time to mature and be built to scale. Ultimately though, it could mean that mobile devices of the future will be charged with the everyday sounds around you, like traffic, music, or even just talking. As the technology matures, it could extend battery life, or mean that you'll never have to plug in your phone again.
With the updated lockscreen notifications in Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has now also added a feature called Ambient display mode. This will allow the phone to light up the display when notifications arrive. Even better, it will wake the screen when you pick up the device, similar to the Moto X.
The feature was spotted in the Preview build of Lollipop and it was running fine on the Nexus 4. Hopefully, Google does NOT limit it to just the Nexus 6 or Nexus 9 (since it has an AMOLED display, which works better for these things) and brings it to all Nexus devices.