TechSummit Rewind #057

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Microsoft HoloLens dev kit available for preorder now, shipping March 30

win10_holoLens_livingRoom_Web

Microsoft is now taking pre-orders for the company’s HoloLens Development Edition. Hardware will be shipping to the U.S. and Canada on March 30.

The kit seems to be barebones, with the HoloLens, a charger, a Bluetooth clicker, a carrying case, a microfiber cloth, and replacement nose pieces. While the HoloLens can be used on its own, developing HoloLens software will require a PC running Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015.

Microsoft is also being more forthcoming with the HoloLens hardware specs. As we learned last year, the system is x86 powered with 2GB of RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, and a 60Hz refresh rate. Here’s what Redmond is telling us now: the headset has six cameras – four for “understanding” the environment, one to build depth maps of the world, and a 2MP one for photography and video – four microphones, an ambient light sensor, and an inertial measurement unit that combines accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect movement. This sensor data is processed by a custom “Holographic Processing Unit,” which is an unspecified Intel part.

HoloLens is described as having two 16:9 “light engines” that can produce a total of 2.3 million “light points,” and is optimized for a density of over 2,500 light points per radian.

In addition to 802.11ac, the headset has Bluetooth 4.1, and USB 2 connections. HoloLens has 64GB of onboard storage with a battery life of two-three hours of “active use” in a 1.37lb package.

The dev kit comes with a range of apps like HoloStudio, a 3D modeling app, and Skype. Meanwhile, HoloTour strives to provide 3D virtual trips to various landmarks around the world. Three games will be available at once: RoboRaid, where robot invaders blast holes in the walls of the room you’re in and you have to shoot them; Fragments, a “mixed-reality crime drama” that sees virtual characters join you in your own home as your investigate a crime; while Young Conker is a mixed-reality platform game that uses your environment to construct levels. Later in the year, these apps will be joined by Actiongram, an app for creating mixed-reality videos blending live action with holographic animation.

Google self-driving car strikes public California bus

Google self-driving car

A Google self-driving car struck a private California bus on a city street on Valentine’s Day.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company reported it to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles in an accident report posted by the agency Monday.

The car was rolling at 2 mph, while the bus was travelling at 15 mph. No one was hurt.

According to Google, its car was trying to get around some sandbags on a Mountain View street when its left front struck the bus’s right side. The car’s test vehicle thought the bus would yield and didn’t have control when the collision happened.

Snapchat brings Live Stories to the Web

Snapchat

Snapchat updated its website Sunday night to allow users to view the Oscars’ Live Story online.

The curated series of snaps play through on the site, one after the other, with you having the ability to click through and skip individual photos and videos. There’s a pause button unique to the web, but Snapchat blurs the image once you click it.

Amazon, Brita team up for WiFi water pitchers

Brita Infinity

Brita has announced its WiFi-connected Infinity pitcher that works with Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service.

The pitcher tracks how much water flows through it. When approximately 40 gallons of water have passed through the pitcher’s purification filter, a signal will then send a signal to the aforementioned Amazon service to reorder filters.

The Infinity will sell on Amazon for $44.95, with a three-pack of replacement filters cost between $15-20. According to Brita, the pitcher’s two lithium metal non-rechargeable batteries should last nearly five years, even if stored in a cold environment. The pitcher holds up to eight cups of water, and is BPA-free.

Facebook Moments now supports video

Facebook Moments

Facebook’s Moments app now supports video sharing, according to the company. The new feature is live in the updated version of the private photo sharing app’s iOS and Android apps. In a few weeks, Moments will also let users include videos in the app’s slideshows.

Amazon UK delivering fresh food with new Morrisons deal

Amazon Dash Replenishment

Amazon UK is partnering with UK supermarket Morrisons that adds “hundreds” of new products to its Pantry platform. They’ll also be available through Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour deliver service available in select cities. The new fresh and frozen food additions will appear on Amazon “in the coming months.”

HTC Vive launching April 5Valve-HTC-Vive-Oculus-Rift-VR-Headsett1

The HTC Vive will begin shipping on April 5 with a $799 price tag in the US. In addition to the headset, two controllers, and the Vive’s laser tracking system, preordering gets you three bonus games and apps: physics game Job Simulator, engineering puzzle game Fantastic Contraption, and 3D painting tool Tilt Brush.

 

 

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