Weekly Tech Recap - № 194 - Osmo Pocket, SSD 860 QVO, Youbionic One, HoloLens in the army, ferry without a captain
Osmo Pocket, a revolutionary mini-camera
Osmo Pocket. © DJI.
DJI introduced a new mini camera mounted on a gimbal called The Osmo Pocket. It’s 12.2 cm tall and weighs just 116 g, which means it’s so portable that you wouldn’t think twice about bringing it along. Its small size has no bearing on its functionality: a 1/2.3-inch sensor records 4K video up to 60fps at 100Mbps. The 80-degree field of view is like a focal length of around 28 mm in 35 mm format equivalent. This means that the videos don’t have the GoPro feel that you’d find in the wide-angle action cams. The handle houses a battery with a life of up to two hours and a small touch screen to change the settings, including several tracking modes. A smartphone can attach to a connector on the side of the Osmo Pocket, either directly (Lightning or USB-C) or via WiFi with an optional module, to set up a larger screen and a wider range of settings.
Osmo Pocket is a promising alternative to GoPro HERO 7, which was touted as the gimbal killer with its Hypersmooth digital stabilizer. If you had to choose between the two, Osmo Pocket shines for the quality and stabilization of the image while the GoPro 7 is a lot more robust in the worst shooting conditions (wet weather, falls, shakes). The camera is available for pre-order and retails for $350 USD with shipping starting December 15th.
⇨ News Shooter, “DJI Osmo Pocket. A super compact three-axis stabilized camera.”
Samsung’s SSD at an appealing price
SSD 860 QVO. © Samsung.
Samsung just revealed its new solid state drive (SSD) lineup that comes in three flavors and doesn’t break the bank: 1, 2 and 4 TB. The 2.5-inch form with SATA interface fits into most laptops and desktops. On the performance front, the sequential read and write speeds are up to 550 and 520 MB per second, respectively. The 860 QVO drives will be available worldwide in December, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of US$ 150 for the 1TB option. They’re not quite as fast as the 860 Pro series, but you’re spending half as much. (The 1TB 860 Pro costs $300.)
⇨ Samsung, “Samsung SSD 860 QVO.”
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “Samsung’s new line of 860 QVO SSDs offers big storage at an appealing price.”
SpotMini changes its spots
Youbionic One. © Youbionic.
If you’ve been following us, you know how much we’re liking SpotMini, Boston Dynamic’s four-legged critter. So we sat up when we heard of the idea to transform it into some creepy centaur. The Italian startup Youbionic came up with a torso and two arms with hands that mount to the back of a SpotMini to give it dexterity that it doesn’t ordinarily have. The product hasn’t been marketed, but YouBionic is selling the blueprints for 3D models that you can print and assemble yourself for $179. Then besides the 3D printing, you also have to plan to purchase the Actuonix actuators and the necessary electronics. For the all-around nightmare, we suggest you add an Affetto head to the torso.
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “YouBionic adds creepy hands to SpotMini, the creepy robot dog.”
HoloLens goes to war
HoloLens. © Spiria.
Microsoft has won a $480 million contract to develop a HoloLens-type augmented reality prototype for use in combat and military training for the US Army. According to Bloomberg, the agreement could eventually lead to the purchase of over 100,000 units that would “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.” The US and Israeli military have already used HoloLens for training, but its use in combat would be a big step forward for Microsoft’s technology. The US Army has requested the integration of both thermal and night vision to the current HoloLens functions. “Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in an email statement. Other companies like MagicLeap have also bid to hook this very large contract.
⇨ Ars Technica, “US Army awards Microsoft $480 million contract to augment reality in battle.”
Ferry without a captain
Folgefonn. © capt.ilc.
There’s a lot of talk about self-driving cars, but the revolution has also spread to other modes of transport. In Norway, the Folgefonn, an 85-meter ferry belonging to the Norled company, autonomously sailed to three different ports of call. All maneuvers, including the approach and docking, were accomplished without human intervention, which is a worldwide first for a vessel of this size. The operator simply selected the “Sail” command, which authorized computers to take the vessel on a preestablished route with waypoints. The test was conducted by the Finnish tech group Wärtsilä under the supervision of the Norwegian Maritime Authority. This system doesn’t take away the need to have humans on watch aboard ship for safety reasons, or that of having personnel in the machine room. Other companies such as the Norwegian consortium Kongsberg are working on container-shipping projects that would navigate autonomously with electrical propulsion. They could revolutionize the transport of goods if they can demonstrate their performance and safety.