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Preserve memories in 360 degrees

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Samsung has released the Gear 360. The camera uses front and rear 195-degree lenses that capture images horizontally and vertically and uses software to provide the user with a single 360-degree image or video.

Samsung Electronics South Africa has released its first 360-degree camera, the Gear 360, in South Africa, promising that it “will allow users to preserve their memories in a whole new way”. The Gear 360 offers a more vivid and expanded viewing experience, as everything is recorded in 3840×1920 high resolution video and 25.9 megapixel photos.

In order to create a seamless and complete 360-degree field of view, the unit uses front and rear lenses that each capture 195 degrees horizontally and vertically. Sophisticated software then stitches the two images together to provide a single, 360-degree image. Naturally, users can choose to utilise just one of the two lenses to capture a striking wide-angled view either in video or stills.

“While Samsung has a notable reputation for creating devices like smartphones and TVs, which are essentially tools that enable viewers to consume content, the Gear 360 is a new type of product that will enable users to produce superior visuals as well,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

“The Gear 360 is an easy-to-use, all-in-one gadget that lets everyone take photos and videos in this exciting format. It is also easy to pair it up with your Galaxy smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to shoot and edit UHD-grade videos with a single device. This can be done using the Gear 360 Manager application for smartphones, or the Gear 360 ActionDirector for a PC.”

Samsung provided the following information:

The device further includes a range of entertaining camera features such as Time-lapse and Looping Video. Time-lapse makes it possible to take a sequence of frames at set intervals to record changes that take place slowly over time. Looping Video enables continuous video recording – overwriting the beginning of your video to allow for new footage to be captured. This can help to conserve space on your microSD card in order to enable users to create all kinds of content.

Explaining the look of the Gear 360, Fleischer says that inspiration for the apparatus was drawn from the helmets astronauts wear in space. These helmets look sleek, seamless and minimal, but also feature very sturdy inner structures. Like these, the Gear 360 is sleek and minimal on the outside but it is ultimately a 360-degree imaging tool designed for daily and outdoor use, featuring sturdy hardware on the inside and a splash and dust resistant outer shell.

In addition, the Gear 360 comes with a tripod designed to fit with the body as a complete package. Furthermore, a range of accessories can be attached to the universal tripod hole for greater compatibility and convenience.

“This exceptional creation is going to offer people a whole new way to create and share their memories, in a format that’s more immersive than ever. These moments can then be relived through your Gear VR or Galaxy smartphone. With the Gear 360, you can capture life as it happens all around you,” concludes Fleischer.

The Gear 360 is compatible with the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge with the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app.

Recommend Retail Price (RRP): R 6,999

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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