Sony SmartBand 2 comes with Heart Rate Sensor

Sony’s SmartBand 2 is now official, it’s a multi-sensor fitness band that has a heart rate sensor, for deeper insights into your fitness, well-being and even stress levels.

As with other fitness bands like from Jawbone or Fitbit, and even Xiaomi, the SmartBand 2 is able to automatically track your walk, run activities, and now with the heart rate sensor, log the corresponding heart rate too. There’s also automatic sleep detection, to monitor and analyse your sleep cycles. It will be interesting to see how Sony puts all these information together, and if Sony can indeed deliver ‘meaningful’ insights on the user’s heath and stress levels.
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Review: Xiaomi Mi Band Leather Strap (MiJobs)

The Xiaomi Mi Band is a basic, yet very comparable wearable to other offering from Fitbit or Jawbone, with cool features such as notification alerts, but the design isn’t exactly fashion forward. The Mi Band comes with a standard silicon rubber strap, typically in black, although there are other cheerful and colourful options. However, they are still more suited as a sports accessory. Pair it with formal clothes, and the Mi Band stands out like an odd ball.

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To ensure that you are still counting your steps and monitoring your exercise, Xiaomi have released a leather strap for the MiBand complete with alloy case. You can’t buy it yet from the Mi Shop in Singapore though. The brains of the MiBand simply slot in to the leather wrist strap of a more upmarket look.

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The new ZenWatch 2 has more than 90 Permutations!

ASUS continues their strong presence at the Computex Show with the unveiling of the Zenwatch 2. Instead of a single design, the Zenwatch 2 offers two size choices, three colours, and eighteen strap options in a variety of materials and colors. Simple math would indicate 2 x 3 x 16 (lumped the stainless steel choice together) = 96! ASUS definitely wants this watch to be able to adapt to a variety of lifestyle choices and fashion styles.

The watch face is similar to the Zenwatch, which is angular screen covered by a 2.5D curved glass. From the press photos, the screen appears to be more squarish. I do appreciate that there’s more options now for further personalization. The smaller watch size should also make the Asus Zenwatch a more suitable choice for ladies. There’s a rubber strap in bold bright colours, Blue Orange, Red and Taupe. For those who prefer leather, you can pick from Khaiki, Brown, Gray, Blue and Orange. Lastly, there’s also a stainless steel bracelet which will match the watch face in silver, gunmetal or rose gold options. Oh, there’s still one more option, which is for the extravagant. Asus has partnered with Swarovski for a leather strap embossed with Swarovski crystals. No mention on the prices yet.

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Myo Gesture Control Armband will be on Amazon (Mar'15)

Flip between slides with a flick of your wrist, or clench your fist to close a window, all’s that possible with the Myo Armband. It senses your forearm muscle movements to provide computer input. Thalmic Labs, the company behind the gesture control armband, has come a long way in the development and the Myo will soon be available for order via Amazon.

Myo is a gesture controller designed to track hand motion, among other things, that supports a wide range of applications from gaming and typical UI navigation, to remote control of devices like the Ollie and flying drones. Or just use it as a mouse to control your computer.

Myo

  • Eight proprietary EMG muscle activity sensors
  • Nine-axis IMU containing three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, and three-axis magnetometer
  • ARM Cortex M4 processor
  • Micro-USB charging
  • Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Haptic feedback

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It reminds me of the Leap Motion – which tracks hand gestures and motion via imaging sensors.

While checking out some of the capabilities of the Myo (there are many), the following demo was impressive – using the Myo for robotics control, in this case, the Ollie. I was impressed by the sensitivity of the controller, and how it translates to minor changes in motion for the Ollie (3:45 mark).

Another impressive demo was the combination of the Myo with a Parrot drone.

Furthermore, the Myo communicates via Bluetooth, so no tangled wires to deal with. It does look rather bulky on the wrist though, and apparently it comes in one size, so Asians with small forearms might have to use the provided extra clips.

It is priced at $199, which is on the expensive end, especially for a gadget that’s really more gimmicks than function for now. It is positive to note that there are already many setups for popular apps like Powerpoint, Netflix, so you can live out your geeky dreams of controlling your apps with gestures. I think it is still too early before the technology becomes more common. This is a definite conversation starter, and will be bound to impress, but novelty may run out after 15 minutes and there’s not much left to do. There’s also a strong push for VR in 2015 and that could work to Thalmic’s advantage. Perhaps, if Myo could tie up with a cool VR game and integrate the use of it as an immersive gadget, that could really help generate adoption.

Interested folks can pre-order the Myo with Amazon. It does not have international shipping though, so you would need to use a forwarder like Borderlinx or VPost.