Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents A45
June 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Latest tech has potential to shake up industries
music, it helps to have a rock n
roll legend on your side.
When that legend is Neil Young,
with support from other rock roy-
alty like Bruce Springsteen, Tom
Petty and Sting, you get Pono.
Pono is the triangle-shaped
music player, set to be released late
this year, that backers hope will
bring the quality of hi-fi stereo
sound back to the mainstream in
the age of the iPod.
And even if its US$399 price tag
proves troublesome for some con-
sumers, there appears to be, at the
very least, a healthy niche market
developing. A Kickstarter project
to fund the device raised US$6.2
million---the third-biggest cam-
paign in the crowdfunding site s
Digital music sales and online
music streaming have crippled the
physical sale of CDs in much the
same way CDs moved folks past
vinyl albums. But with each step,
we sacrificed a little sound quality.
For digital music, sound files get
compressed to make them take up
less storage space, squeezing out
some of the music s more delicate
In Pono s Kickstarter video, rock-
er Elvis Costello compares the end
effect to looking at a Xerox copy
of the Mona Lisa.
Pono will stream music in 24-
bit, 192-kHz sound, which is far
cleaner than mp3s and even better
Young had been a critic of digital
music, particularly Apple s iTunes
store, for years when he decided
to do something about it in 2012.
That s when he teamed up with
Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur
John Hamm, who now serves as
Pono s CEO.
A handful of high-definition
music players already exist. But
they re super-expensive, sometimes
going for more than US$1,000, and
there s very little music available
for them. And that, in the end,
might be Pono s most practical
The company says it has agree-
ments with all major record labels
to make music available in its online
store and that it s working with
independent labels to help them
do the same.
4. The Ring
Modern technology hasn t yet
been able to bring us magic wands,
but we re getting close. Ring, a new
project from Logbar Inc, is the latest
step toward that goal.
Using a Bluetooth sensor and
Ring lets you do things like send
text messages and control connect-
ed home devices with just a few
waves of your finger. As you walk
into your house, for example, you
might wave your finger to engage
with your lamp and then, with
another gesture, adjust its bright-
ness or turn it off. Another couple
of swipes will turn your TV off or
on and allow you to switch chan-
Logbar has also developed pay-
ment software that you can use to pay
participating retailers or other people
just by waving your finger in the shape
of a checkmark and then tracing out
the amount you d like to pay. Cus-
tomised gestures for other tasks can be
created using your smartphone or tablet.
Going forward, Ring s makers hope
independent developers will come up
with even more potential functions for
the device, which works with both
Apple s iOS and Google s Android soft-
ware. It s also compatible with Google
Glass and smart watches.
5. SCiO molecular sensor
A new handheld gadget called SCiO
takes the guesswork out of analysing
your food. The device, about the size
of a cigarette lighter, can be used to scan
almost any food or beverage, analyse
its chemical makeup and send the data
wirelessly to your phone.
"The first application (of SCiO) is for
consumers interested to know the nutri-
tional value of what they re eating," said
Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics,
the Israeli company behind the device.
"I often meet people who don t know
what s in cheese, fruit and vegetables
and have a hard time discerning what
they should eat."
SCiO contains a tiny optical sensor,
called a spectrometer, which reads the
molecular fingerprint of an object by
shining an infrared light on it. The gadget
then sends the data to the cloud for
analysis and forwards the results to your
phone, all in seconds. An accompanying
SCiO app displays fat, protein and car-
bohydrate levels down to the mil-
The underlying technology has been
used for decades by corporations in
quality control of oil and chemicals,
although SCiO is being pitched as the
first portable spectrometer for con-
The sensor can only detect materials
and objects that were previously
uploaded to its database. But it s a smart
device---the more items you scan with
it, the more it learns to recognise items
and their ingredients.
SCiO was a sensation this spring on
Kickstarter, where its creators asked for
US$200,000 and reached their goal
within 24 hours. They eventually raised
more than US$2.7 million, and have
promised to deliver the first SCiOs, for
US$149 apiece, to early backers by the
end of the year.
Sharon acknowledges the device still
has some flaws. It s not yet effective at
identifying allergens, gluten or lactose.
And its sensor is less accurate when it
has to scan through glass, plastic or
But the pocket sensor has more appli-
cations than just demystifying food. It
can identify an unknown medication
or check on the health of houseplants.
And although its makers are quick to
say SCiO is not a medical device, it
could even be used to perform a basic,
non-invasive blood scan. (CNN)
Continues from Page A44
Pono is the triangle-shaped music player, set to be released late this
year, that backers hope will bring the quality of hi-fi stereo sound back
to the mainstream in the age of the iPod.
SCiO, about the size of a cigarette
lighter, can be used to scan almost
any food or beverage, analyse its
chemical makeup and send the data
wirelessly to your phone.
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