This Vision Of The Future Includes Eyeball-Embedded AR, Hackable Humans, And Gamified Everything

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It’s impossible to predict the future, but the idea that our technology will soon collide with our biological sense of vision continues to pop up in the world. Minority Report is the best fictional example, while Google Glass is obviously the closest real-world iteration of this type of collision to date.

But a new video (below) posted by Sight Systems takes a stab at how this marriage of sight with technology could manifest itself in the coming years (or perhaps decades).

The video depicts some kind of system in which the technology itself is embedded in your eyeball, meaning that tons of apps lead you through your day without any extra hardware at all. You see the main character, Patrick, work out on his floor, watch TV (on an entirely blank wall), get dressed using some type of virtual closet app, and use the Wingman app to help him through a date.

As with any large shift in technology, this type of lifestyle will have its pros and its cons.

People are constantly complaining about a lack of real-life interaction now that smartphones have pervaded the our world. You can’t talk to someone for five seconds without either their phone or your phone interrupting. And even without an interruption, there’s this constant need to Instagram it, post it to Facebook, tweet about it, text someone else about it, or even whip out the phone to look up the next stop on tonight’s journey. Sight Systems, if it was real, would change that disconnect a bit, but it would also externalize even more knowledge.

Devin explains it best in his post on the matter, but in short, the more we use knowledge found on the Internet (and not in our own minds) the less capacity we have to actually hold that knowledge internally. The best example in the video would be Patrick making his breakfast. Rather than knowing the recipe and cooking it, his Sight System gamifies the process and walks him through each individual step, virtualized on his counter-top.

While we’re already sliding down this slippery slope, Googling knowledge instead of retaining it, there are still limitations to it. Even in our hyper-connected world, there are certain times when you simply don’t have access to the Internet, and even if you do, there are things (very few things, but they exist) that cannot be looked up.

But by embedding the technology within our bodies, the externalizing of knowledge becomes internal. That sounds really meta — let’s see if I can clarify. Here’s an example:

The other day I realized that I can’t quite remember which temperature certain types of clothes should be washed at. I looked it up, and washed the clothes. That is knowledge that my mother gave me, but that I pushed out of my memory because I knew it was easily accessible (this is all subconscious, of course). If the Internet were broken, globally, and there was some sort of world disaster, the consequence wouldn’t just be me not knowing how to wash my clothes. The consequence would be billions of people who have no idea how to deal with an Internet-less world.

By embedding this type of technology in our bodies, there is absolutely zero freedom from this externalized knowledge. There is no way to resist the temptation to “look it up.” And thus, everything we know comes from the technology inside us rather than our own brains.

It’s a scary thought, but so is the ending of the video.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

A Unique View Inside An HP Laptop Assembly Line

A Reddit user found this video recorded on his brand new HP laptop. It was stored in the My Documents folder and clearly depicts the mundanity of life inside a hardware manufacturing plant. This was taken in the Quanta Chongqing Manufacturing City in Chongqing and the worker seems to be testing the camera on this particular model.

Usually evidence of this testing is wiped out. It wasn’t in this case.

Essentially, you’re looking at the face of modern manufacturing. He’s not mistreated, he’s not chained to his desk, but he’s building the same thing, over and over again, a prospect not many of us would relish. It’s a mundane view inside a fairly secret world that we as consumers rarely get to see.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Viber Updates iPhone, Android Apps To Version 2.2: Group Messaging, Improved UI, Enhanced HD Calling


Viber has just released version 2.2 of the app for both Android and iPhone, bringing some much-requested features to the platform for the very first time including group messaging and improved call quality. The UI has also been significantly improved, which should please Viber’s growing user base.

In May, we learned that Viber had surpassed 70 million registered users. Today they’ve topped 90 million users and have taken the number of text messages sent from 1 billion to 2 billion per month.

But let’s not get distracted — back to the update.

Group messages show every member of the group’s thumbnail below the message preview, with the latest sender having the large profile pic on the left. Inside messages, you’ll actually be able to choose a fun background rather than the usual white. You can also use messaging in landscape.

More importantly, a new smart notifications feature has been added to make sure you aren’t bombarded with alerts, and a system has been implemented to speed up the process of kicking off a group message. Users will also be able share their name and photo.

Viber recently released their beta apps for BlackBerry and Windows Phone, and the group messaging features will carry over in an update to Viber for BlackBerry. The Android version will be getting nine additional languages including Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

To get hooked up with Viber, head on over to the website and install the app.

Click to view slideshow.

TechCrunch » android

MacBook Pro With Retina Display Shipping Estimate Improves To 1-2 Weeks


The line for a MacBook Pro with Retina Display just got a bit shorter. The US Apple Store now pegs the new MBP’s shipping estimate at 1-2 weeks.

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display launched with much fanfare in early June. Apple called it the “most beautiful computer we have ever made.” The model quickly sold out, pushing shipping times to 3-4 weeks, which later fell to 2-3 weeks. Best Buy lists the model with a shipping estimate of 7-30 days.

MacRumors points out that the ship time improved to 1-2 weeks in the European and Asia-Pacific regions.

While the supply levels are improving, the models might still be hard to get a hold of for the forseeable future as the back to school season approaches. Apple’s PC market share is increasing as more people seemingly jump the Windows ship onto Apple’s party boat. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display does not currently have a direct competitor thanks to its amazing screen, thin chassis and class-leading battery life.

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook Air) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod, the…

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HTC One X+ Rumored To Launch On T-Mobile Come September


Early last week, a screenshot of an internal T-Mobile document revealed the existence of a device perplexingly called the “HTC Era 42,” which promptly caused some T-Mobile fans to drool uncontrollably.

Some speculated that it would be the latest in T-Mobile’s G-series of Android devices and would sport a physical keyboard because of HTC’s track record with the carrier, but now TmoNews is calling it slightly differently. Instead of a brand new, keyboard-toting handset, editor David Beren has managed to confirm “with a small level of certainty” that the device is actually a tweaked version of the HTC One X called the One X+.

Exactly what that plus refers to is still a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from doing its usual thing. In this case, the cause for that additional + may be the inclusion of NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3, a detail anonymous sources passed on to AndroidAndMe earlier this year. What’s more, the rumor also alleged that the device in question would run a stock version of Ice Cream Sandwich instead of HTC’s Sense-ified take on the OS — something that should please all those avid Android tweakers surfing T-Mobile’s spectrum.

That T-Mobile’s version of the device would get the Tegra treatment doesn’t seem like much of stretch either, considering the issues that manufacturers have had getting quad-core chipsets to play nicely with LTE radios. That issue seems to be clearing up (take a look at Samsung’s quad-core LTE Galaxy S III), but T-Mobile won’t have to worry about that network technicality until next year anyway.

There are still more questions than answers at this point, but we may not have much longer to wait. The leaked screenshot pegs the Era 42 with a September 26 release date, and if there’s actually something to it, HTC will probably come knocking with invitations soon.

TechCrunch » android