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

 
 
 

36 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

7 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 the workforc ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 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 ...
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

Heart attack ups depression risk in women
London, Oct 20 (IANS) Women are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression after a heart attack than men, new research shows.
 
 
Vitamin B12 could detoxify pollutants
London, Oct 20 (IANS) Looking at how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants, researchers have discovered that vitamin B12 could be the key to combating pollution.
 
 
'More electricity access in India entailed small climate impact'
London, Oct 20 (IANS) Brushing aside apprehensions about India's growing energy consumption, researchers have found that improving household electricity over the last 30 years in India contributed only marginally to the growth of the nation's total carbon emissions.
 
 
Gene mutation linked to leukaemia occurs among elderly
Washington, Oct 20 (IANS) At least two percent of people over age 40 and five percent of people over 70 have mutations linked to leukaemia and lymphoma in their blood cells, according to research at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Bush shoe-tossing painting hits record at Doha auction
Doha, Oct 15 (IANS/EFE) A controversial painting by Iranian artist Mahmud Obaidi, depicting an Iraqi journalist throwing shoe in 2008 at then US president George W. Bush, was sold for $62,500 at a Sotheby's auction in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US offers $45 mn bounty for eight terror leaders
Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) The US said Tuesday it is offering rewards totalling up to 45 million dollars for information on eight key leaders of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organisation. The...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UNSC extends peacekeeping mission's term in Abyei
United Nations, Oct 15 (IANS) The UN Security Council (UNSC) has renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Abyei border region between Sudan and South Sudan. In an unanimously adopted resolution, the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ebola cases in West Africa could reach 10,000 per week: WHO
Geneva, Oct 15 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could reach 5,000 to 10,000 cases per week by the first week of December. "Quite frankly, ladies and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Turkey, Singapore sign strategic partnership agreement
Ankara, Oct 15 (IANS) Turkey and Singapore have signed a strategic partnership agreement to boost economic, political and cultural cooperation, as well as security collaboration, during the official visit of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Christina Aguilera is returning to 'The Voice' USA
Christina Aguilera will return to 'The Voice' USA next year. The 'Your Body' hitmaker, who previously shared a rotating spot on the judging panel with Shakira, has been replaced by Gwen Stefani this season as she is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kesha's music producer hits back
Kesha is being countersued by her record company boss, Dr. Luke. The 41-year-old music producer, who runs Kemosabe Records, claims the 27-year-old 'Tik Tok' singer is a liar and is trying to extort him after she accused...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jason Derulo won't get back together with Jordin Sparks
Jason Derulo insists his split from Jordin Sparks is permanent. The 'Talk Dirty' hitmaker, who recently ended his relationship with the 'No Air' singer after three years of dating, has ruled out getting back together...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Josh Groban feels 'very lucky' to be dating Kat Dennings
Josh Groban feels ''very lucky'' to be dating Kat Dennings. The 'Brave' hitmaker was very nervous before singing in front of the '2 Broke Girls' actress for the first time at the Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australian Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker prize
London, Oct 15 (IANS) The first Man Booker prize to allow American nominees was Tuesday night won by an Australian, with Richard Flanagan triumphing for a novel of love and war that tells the harrowing stories of...
Read more on Celebrity Balla