Checking your blood alcohol content with a breathalyzer while out with some friends might just be a party trick — but if you really wanted to know it to figure out whether or not you should have another drink, it might be awkward to pull one out.
So that’s why Evan Strenk started Milo Sensors, a company built around wearable sensors that detects various chemicals in your body based on perspiration from your skin. The company is starting off with Proof, a small band that can gauge your blood alcohol content and send the information to an app where you can subtly see where you are in the night and whether you should order that next beer. Milo Sensors showed the product off at CES in Eureka Park this year.
“There’s a breathalyzer out there but no one uses it because they’re awkward,” Strenk said. “The use case there is you put our sensor on, at 6 p.m., you set your alarms for yourself, and everything’s paired with an app. [When I check my phone] you don’t even know if I’m messaging someone or checking my BAC. And because it’s continuous tracing, you can set alarms for yourself, like hitting .08 percent. I want to be alerted, maybe if I’m driving home, and you can connect with safety buddies, friends and family at undesirable levels.”
The goal is to continuously track a user’s blood alcohol level, instead of waiting for a single moment to ping the phone with an alarm. By doing that, users can get a sense of how fast they are ramping up and know whether or not to slow down. The band transmits the information to the app, which quickly shows a chart of how high their BAC is.
While users can detect their BAC for now, the technology translates into detecting other things like caffeine as well, Strenk said. “The skin ends up being a superhighway of molecules,” with the technology being applicable to a different variety of use cases,” he said. For now, gauging BAC made sense — and, also, the co-founders of the company decided on it over a few pitchers of beer. It could have been an earring, or started off with detecting lactic acid, but after the round they settled on BAC and a band.
The owner slots a cartridge into the band around 6 p.m. before they are planning to go out. The cartridge is disposable, which will cost a few dollars, Strenk said. “The analogy is, you put a raw piece of meat on the counter, over a few hours it turns brown. Similarly you open a cartridge, it oxidizes. It goes beyond step counting, it goes beyond heart rate, it’s reading bio-analytic through your skin.”
There’s always a risk that another large wearable company like Fitbit could figure out how to integrate something like this into their products. Though the whole using a disposable cartridge part may put a hamper on things, Strenk said the main advantage Milo Sensors has is that it’s been doing research for more than two years.
Milo Sensors submitted the first prototype to the NIH last year, which compared the results against breathalyzers and blood samples and awarded the company a cash prize, Strenk said. The company was more or less in stealth until launching at CES this year. The band will come out sometime this year, though Strenk wouldn’t specify, and will cost somewhere between $100 and $150.
Source: Tech Crunch
Misfit seemed destined to get here, soon or later. Between getting swallowed up by Fossil and the recent introduction of the Phase hybrid watch, the company has been spending the last couple of years dipping its toes in the waters of more advanced wearables, finally going all in with the Vapor.
The Vapor is a reasonably fairly slick affair, built with a focus on minimalism more akin to its own past devices than the trend forward big and bulky we’ve seen on products like Samsung’s Gear line and Misfit’s own Fossil labelmates, Michael Kors. It’s also surprisingly full-featured, given the company’s traditionally passive approach to hardware design – not to mention its decidedly ethereal name.
The 44mm Vapor features a 1.39-inch AMOLED display that clocks in at 326 ppi. The display is fully touch, but much of the interaction with the product happens outside of the center of the display, interacting with menus by dragging finger around the edge — akin to Samsung’s twisting bezel. The model we had a look at was still early stages, but the menu system seemed fairly intuitive and Misfit’s gone a ways toward adding nice touches like transition animations.
The company won’t reveal specifics on the software being run here, but from the looks of it, Misfit/Fossil seem to have developed something in-house specifically for this device.
There’s a heart rate monitor on the back of the watch and inside you get an accelerometer, altimeter, GPS, microphone and 4GB of storage for music, which can be played through a connected pair of Bluetooth headphones. The company’s also promising two full days of life on a charge, accomplished via a magnetic charging case.
The watch is water resistant up to 50 meters and works with a range of interchangeable straps. The case itself is available in both black and gold. All in all, it’s a pretty solid range of features given its $199 asking price. The Vapor is set to go on sale by year’s end.
Source: Tech Crunch
Big, tablet-sized smartphones — or “phablets” — are continuing to eat into the medium-sized smartphone market, proving there’s huge demand for larger-screen phones. According to the mobile analytics firm Flurry, phablets (with screens measuring between 5 and 6.9 inches) like the iPhone Plus saw the biggest increase in activations during the week between December 19 and December 25.
That jump likely came at the expense of medium-sized phones (3.5- to 4.9-inch phones), like the regular iPhone, which continued to see its market share decrease over the past three years. All other devices mostly remained flat year-over-year.
Medium-sized smartphones still saw the most activations during the week leading up to the holidays. But as Flurry points out, phablets may end up becoming the “dominant form factor” very soon.
Source: Business Insider
The AI helper can “find a great steakhouse” and send directions to your car.
Interest rate volatility and challenges in the television sector are expected to put pressure on Canada’s telecom stocks in 2017, according to an annual outlook report from Desjardins Capital Markets analysts.
Since telecom stocks have a strong inverse relationship with interest rates, president-elect Donald Trump’s nod to inflationary policies could hurt telecoms that have enjoyed a low interest rate environment for years, Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi and associate Jerome Dubreuil forecast for next year.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is forecasting three rate hikes next year, but global central banks are generally expected to keep rates low, indicating that telecoms will still attract dividend-seeking investors, they wrote. The analysts expect revenue and EBITDA growth of 2.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.
“We believe the industry’s steady and predictable growth continues to be highly prized by investors looking to hedge the more volatile parts of their portfolio,” the report stated.
Given the slightly higher risk in its calculations, Desjardins lowered the price targets for Bell ($64.50 from $67.50), Rogers ($57.50 from $61) and Telus ($49 from $50). It did, however, upgrade Bell’s rating to buy from hold given the new valuation. Ratings for Rogers and Telus remained stable at hold and buy, respectively.
But growth in the wireless and Internet segments may be subdued by increasing challenges in the TV sector, Desjardins predicted, pointing to online video streaming, the waning appeal of sports channels and changes in viewer behaviour.
Over-the-top streaming services such as Netflix have enhanced their offerings by letting consumers download shows to watch offline later and Amazon Prime Video launched in Canada this month, giving consumers another option.
“The possible launch of a live TV service delivered over the Internet by YouTube would be another headwind for TV service providers, as an increased number of channels offering access to live content at a low price could hamper both (average revenue per user) and subscriber metrics,” they wrote.
On top of that, sports channels – the desire to watch live games is generally viewed as one of the main reasons people keep their TV subscriptions – may not be as sticky as they once were.
Desjardins noted that a recent Forbes report estimated ESPN lost 4 per cent of its subscribers this year, an acceleration of the 3 per cent subscriber loss Disney reported between 2014 and 2015.
The latest CRTC reports show that major sports network subscribers declined by 1.5 per cent over the same period, though the analysts noted that telecom trends in Canada typically lag behind the U.S. by one to two years.
Regardless, the analysts are adopting a more bearish stance on TV given CRTC data that shows the number of hours of television watched has declined 3 per cent since 2009-2010. The most notable declines came from the 12-17 and 18-34 age categories, which analysts said could indicate the industry’s long-term prospects.
On the plus side, analysts expect major players will continue to grow their average revenue per user when it comes to the wireless market.
Shaw’s Freedom Mobile still doesn’t have the handsets or network quality to compete with the incumbents in B.C., Alberta or Ontario, Desjardins wrote, which should reduce the competitive pressure from a fourth player until 2018.
Source: Financial Post