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CES: Black Box VR named show’s best start-up

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Black Box VR has been declared Best Startup of CES 2018 for its resistance-based virtual reality fitness experience.

The award was presented in Las Vegas by Engadget, the Official Awards Partner of the International Consumer Electronics Show, hand-selected by their judges from an estimated total of over 4,500 exhibitors at the conference. The team had also opened the show as an official 2018 CES Innovation Award Honouree, and was present at the Sands Expo Hall debuting their system to the public for the first time.

With plans to open their first boutique gym in San Francisco later in 2018, the Black Box VR studio has developed the world’s first fully automated cable resistance machine that integrates virtual reality hardware and original virtual eSport software powered by HTC Vive. Black Box VR users get an intense, time-dilated, custom workout while immersed in challenging, gamified and competitive virtual reality fitness experiences that redefine eSports into physically active vSports.

“We couldn’t be more proud to receive such a prestigious honor from the International Consumer Electronics Show and their official partners at Engadget,” said Ryan DeLuca, CEO and Co-Founder. “The worlds of fitness and immersive VR are finally coming together to help people reach their goals. This award helps us bring awareness to this revolutionary technology.” Preston Lewis, Co-Founder and CCO added, “Over the past 18 months we’ve put in an enormous amount of work to strategically combine science-backed fitness programs with the addictive qualities of gaming, immersive technologies, and innovative hardware to transform lives for the better. This award is a testament to the hard work put forth by our talented, passionate, and multi-faceted team, and we couldn’t be more thankful for this amazing recognition.”

In their coverage of the show, Engadget stated, “Black Box has big plans to change the fitness industry AND gaming while they’re at it.” Black Box VR was also nominated for Best Digital Health and Fitness Product, Best Sports Tech, and People’s Choice. Upon their decision to award Black Box VR as the winner of Best Startup, Engadget’s Senior Reporter Jess Conditt said, “Black Box VR is building the gym of the future. Using the HTC Vive, motion-tracking controllers and specially designed workout equipment, Black Box turns exercise into a video game. The plan is to set up a boutique gym in San Francisco this year, where members can strap into a game, work out and attempt to land on the local leader-boards. This is just the beginning of the VR fitness market.”

Founded by fitness fanatics Ryan DeLuca and Preston Lewis, the Black Box VR team spent years building Bodybuilding.com into the largest online supplement retailer in the world with nearly $500m in annual sales. With the collaboration of many talented individuals, they created some of the world’s most recognized supplement brands, developed chart-topping fitness mobile applications, were honored for their award-winning health and fitness campaigns, and created the world’s largest online fitness social network with over 3m members while always holding true to the mission of changing people’s lives.

In 2016 Preston and Ryan decided to start their new venture, Black Box VR, with a mission to disrupt the fitness industry once again by creating innovative products and experiences that create lasting change in people’s lives. After trying virtual reality for the first time, Ryan and Preston knew they were experiencing a magically immersive technology that, if paired with resistance training, gaming principles and high intensity cardio, will be the winning combination for people trying to reach their health & fitness goals. Black Box VR is redefining fitness as we know it.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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