360° Coverage : How Mobile Is Accelerating Hardware Innovation

2 Updates
How Mobile Is Accelerating Hardware Innovation

How Mobile Is Accelerating Hardware Innovation

Feb 6 2014, 1:43pm CST | by

Much ink has been spilt on the recent renaissance of hardware. The Pebble Smartwatch raised over $10m dollars in 30 days, more than 10 times its fundraising goal, Ouya launched a $99 game console,...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

31 weeks ago

How Mobile Is Accelerating Hardware Innovation

Feb 6 2014, 1:43pm CST | by

Much ink has been spilt on the recent renaissance of hardware. The Pebble Smartwatch raised over $10m dollars in 30 days, more than 10 times its fundraising goal, Ouya launched a $99 game console, and Nest recently sold to Google for over $3.2bn. At Hipmob we work with a few companies on the forefront of mobile enabled hardware, and we see three big trends accelerating this renaissance; the display, the cloud, and the commoditization of sensor components.

Smartphones Become The Input And Display

One problem that long plagued hardware design is the need for a display of some kind. Displays provide feedback indicating you’re using a device correctly (or not). As a result, in addition to building highly functional devices, manufacturers also had to build a display of some kind, which meaningfully increased the expense. This led to tons of tradeoffs. In “The Design Of Everyday Things” (1988), Donald Norman writes:

“. .if you are not careful in your selection, ‘you could wind up with a VCR that brings out fear and loathing whenever you try to change the channel resets or set it up to record a program when you are away.’ It does not take much examination to discover the reason for the difficulties: there is no visual feedback. As a result, user (1) have trouble remembering their place in the lengthy sequence of required steps; (2) have trouble remembering what next needs to be done; and (3) cannot easily check the information just entered to see if it is what was intended, and then cannot easily change it, if they decide it is wrong. The gulfs both in execution (the first two problems) and in evaluation (the last problem) are significant for these VCRs. Both can be bridged by the use of a display. “

Smartphones solved both problems: of input and display. Now, instead of building a large, complex display, manufacturers in hardware/wearables settle for a small one (or none at all), and send data wirelessly via wifi or bluetooth, to a nearby, pre-authenticated smartphone or tablet. This is most obvious in wearable computing (Misfit Wearables, Basis) and home automation (SmartThings, Lockitron). But the trend is spreading to other, non-consumer use cases as well. For example, Senic is developing a laser distance meter that uses a mobile device as the input and the display. These devices rely on the display in every users’ pocket. By forgoing the cost of building a display into the devices, the hardware can be smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper (which can be passed on to buyers), and manufacturers can iterate faster as a result.

The Senic uses a smartphone as input + display

Heavy lifting is done on the Smartphone or in the Cloud

“. . proliferation of ever more affordable cloud computing allows us to offload some of the power hungry processing that you would have to do in the device, to the cloud. As a result, we can offer the user something far more insightful and interesting than what the actual sensor could have done by itself”
- Jeff Holove – CEO, Basis Science/>

Smartphones brought both computing power, and persistent bandwidth to cloud based servers with infinitely more computing power. This means that end devices an be pretty dumb – all they really have to do is measure and transmit those measurements to the smartphone. The smartphone not only handles the display but can take care of any computing. In machine learning cases such as Nest, which aims to optimize your home temperature based on your habits, that heavy lifting is often handed off to servers.

Sensors Become Commoditized; Smaller, Faster, Cheaper and more Reliable

” . . really recently, over the last 2 years, sensors have gotten really small, affordable, available, can now be put in small form factors with reasonable battery life”
- Jeff Holove – CEO, Basis Science/>

The widespread use of sensors as varied as GPS, accelerometers, gyroscope, proximity sensors, and others in mobile devices since the launch of the iPhone, have brought economies of scale to sensor manufacturers that wasn’t possible before (what other reason than iPhones and Android phones would you need to manufacture a billion proximity sensors?). As sensors have become cheaper and smaller, they’re more likely to show up in more devices. This means that even manufacturers of devices that don’t require displays (the Shine by Misfit Wearables, or the Myo by Thalmic Labs, benefit from lower prices, increased sensitivity and greater reliability of sensors.

The Basis SmartWatch has 5 sensors, and does heavy computations in the cloud

In light of this, the news that Apple is meeting the FDA about potential mobile medical apps, and staffing up in medical sensor experts bodes well for the cost of health sensors such as pulse oximeters.

The range of sensors included in mobile devices today have thus far mostly enabled consumer use cases – better navigation via GPS, gaming via accelerometer and gyro and so on. If the rumors are to be believed, then the next wave is likely to include more (and more invasive) biosensors, from pulse oximeters to blood chemistry monitoring devices. If the trend continues, you can expect to see more sensors embedded in smaller and smaller devices, ranging from consumer hardware to specialized tools (for medical professionals, building trades and so on. The potential impact can’t be understated.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (N ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

2 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and M ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

NASA spacecraft to reach Mars this weekend
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) US space agency NASA said Wednesday its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will enter orbit around the Red Planet this weekend.
 
 
Russia's Gazprom to sign gas supply contract with China
Moscow, Sep 18 (IANS) Russian energy giant Gazprom have planned to sign a 30-year gas supply contract with China via the western route, the company's CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday.
 
 
East African countries vow to preven Ebola
Nairobi, Sep 18 (IANS) Ministers of health, transport and immigration from five eastern African countries Wednesday vowed to strengthen measures that would prevent spread of Ebola virus in the region.
 
 
World Bank warns Ebola's economic impact in West Africa
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) The Ebola virus that has become rampant in West Africa will enormously hurt fragile economic growth of the three hard-hit nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone if it goes unchecked, the World Bank warned Wednesday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

House okay's Obama's plan to train, equip Syrian rebels
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) The US House of Representatives Wednesday approved President Barack Obama's plan to train and equip Syrian rebels as part of efforts to fight the Islamic State militant group. The chamber...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pro-Britain, independence supporters put final efforts
Edinburgh, Sep 18 (IANS) Both sides in the Scottish referendum campaign have held rallies Wednesday as they make their final efforts to win over undecided voters, BBC reported. Independence supporters attended a mass...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne have trust issues
Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger reportedly have major trust issues. The couple, whose 14-month marriage is allegedly on the rocks, are said to have been ''fighting a lot'' in recent months because they are both very...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Whitney Port is relaxed about wedding
Whitney Port says she never dreamed of having a ''fairytale wedding.'' The former 'The Hills' star, who is engaged to Tim Rosenman, insists she isn't stressed out about their upcoming nuptials and only recently started...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kristen Wigg is dating Scott Speedman
Kristen Wiig is rumored to be dating Scott Speedman. The 'Bridesmaids' star, who split from The Strokes rocker Fabrizio Moretti last year after 18-months together, and the former 'Felicity' actor have reportedly been ''...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ashley Tisdale French's wedding was 'romantic'
Ashley Tisdale French's wedding was ''rustic and romantic.'' The 29-year-old actress married rocker Christopher French near Santa Barbara, California last week, in front of 100 guests, including former '90210' star...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Post motherhood, Hilary Duff feels 'strong as hell'
Los Angeles, Sep 18 (IANS) Singer-actress Hilary Duff says she has found new confidence after becoming a mother. The 26-year-old has a two-and-a-half-year-old son Luca Cruz. "One of the coolest things about being a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
NASA spacecraft to reach Mars this weekend
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) US space agency NASA said Wednesday its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will enter orbit around the Red Planet this weekend. The spacecraft has completed a 10-month...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Russia's Gazprom to sign gas supply contract with China
Moscow, Sep 18 (IANS) Russian energy giant Gazprom have planned to sign a 30-year gas supply contract with China via the western route, the company's CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday. "Gazprom plans to sign a contract...
Read more on Business Balla
 
African Union, Russia vow to strengthen cooperation
Addis Ababa, Sep 18 (IANS) The African Union (AU) and Russia Wednesday vowed to strengthen their partnership and cooperation in different areas. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during his visit to the AU...
Read more on Politics Balla