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

 
 
 

33 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

4 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 (NewCo) and slashing t ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 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 MH17" hits ho ...
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

US, India to collaborate on Mars, Earth missions
Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) US and India have agreed to enhance cooperation in Mars exploration and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore the red planet besides launching a NASA-ISRO satellite mission to observe Earth.
 
 
Russell Crowe drives his real-life gladiators to brink of glory
Canberra, Oct 1 (IANS) Russell Crowe is one of Hollywood's biggest stars but his role this weekend as owner of Australian rugby league team South Sydney might be the most nerve-wracking of his career.
 
 
42 confirmed, suspected Ebola deaths in Congo
Kinshasa, Oct 1 (IANS) A total 42 people have died in confirmed or suspected Ebola infection cases in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Minister of Public Health Felix Kabange said Wednesday.
 
 
Australia to readjust budget to counter terrorism
Sydney, Oct 1 (IANS/EFE) The Australian government confirmed Wednesday that there will be budget cuts to finance new anti-terrorism measures.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Taylor Swift not thinking about dating
Taylor Swift insists dating is the ''last thing'' on her mind. The 24-year-old singer - who has previously been in relationships with Harry Styles, Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Jake Gyllenhaal - admits she isn't looking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Victoria Beckham saves dress for daughter
Victoria Beckham has saved the dress she wore on her first date with husband David to hand down to their daughter. The former Spice Girls singer - who has Brooklyn, 15, Romeo, 12, Cruz, nine, and Harper, three, with the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lindsay Lohan wants kids
Lindsay Lohan is ready to have children. The 28-year-old actress - who is currently starring in 'Speed-the-Plow' on London's West End - has a few professional goals she wants to achieve but is also keen to settle down...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Snooki: Labour was agony
Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi claims she was ''literally dying'' in labour. The former 'Jersey Shore' star and fiance Jionni LaValle welcomed second child Giovanna into the world last week and was relieved to arrive at...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Isla Fisher is pregnant
Isla Fisher is reportedly pregnant. The 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' star and husband Sacha Baron Cohen are said to be expecting their third child together and the actress is already through her first trimester. A...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australian PM labels burqa 'confronting form of attire'
Canberra, Oct 1 (IANS) Australia's parliament approved tough new counter-terrorism laws Wednesday but cross-party support for the measures was accompanied a spat over the wearing of burqas. The opposition Labour...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ashwini fails to defend women's 440m hurdles title
Incheon, Oct 1 (IANS) India's Ashwini Akkunji failed to defend her women's 400 metres hurdles title as she finished fourth and out of medal contention in the final of the Asian Games here Wednesday. Ashwini, who had...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Over 1,100 killed in Iraq violence in September
Baghdad, Oct 1 (IANS) A total of 1,119 Iraqis were killed and 1,946 injured in terror attacks and violence in September in Iraq, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said Wednesday. It said 854 civilians and 265...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Annu Rani wins women's javelin bronze
Incheon, Oct 1 (IANS) India's Annu Rani clinched the women's javelin throw bronze at the Asian Games here Wednesday. The gold and silver went to China's Zhang Li and Li Lingwei, respectively, at the Incheon Asiad Main...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Pick the perfect coat for autumn-winter 2014
London, Oct 1 (IANS) Cold weather is descending upon us and it's time to pick the best piece from various options available in the market. From military inspired styles to aviator ones, one can try many trends, but the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla