Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Review: Sony FDR-AX43 Compact 4K Ultra HD Handycam Camcorder

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Initially launched in February this year, the 4K camcorder has just debuted in Singapore. The FDR-AX43 is now available on Sony’s online store at S$1,699.

Sony FDR-AX43 Compact 4K Ultra HD Handycam Camcorder for bloggers

Sony FDR-AX43 Compact 4K Ultra HD Handycam Camcorder for bloggers

The FDR-AX43 was developed for content creators and vloggers looking to produce footage that’s of better quality than that from a smartphone.

My Take:

Overall the Sony FDR-AX43 is an excellent camcorder for vlogger looking to improve video quality beyond that of a smartphone and desires an in-built gimbal for more professional footage, with good sound recording thrown in.

The camcorder is the newest member of a line-up that includes the AX33 and AX53, with its main addition being an in-built gimbal mechanism and its Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology for capturing smooth, natural and high-quality video footage.

So instead of purchasing and lugging around an external gimbal setup, it was a pleasure just using the compact FDR-AX43 during shooting.

When sitting down or just standing still, the footage came out totally free of shake.

The flip-screen of the Sony FDR-AX43 can be rotated 180 degrees for taking selfies.

The flip-screen of the Sony FDR-AX43 can be rotated 180 degrees for taking selfies.

But it’s when you’re walking (or even slightly jogging) that the embedded gimbal does its magic, producing smooth footage that doesn’t look like an amateur Blair Witch Project.

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Tech Focus: NUS Showcases InfinityGlove Smart Gaming Glove Prototype

Friday, August 21st, 2020

The InfinityGlove contains ultra-sensitive microfibre sensors that can translate hand gestures into in-game commands, allowing users to play first-person shooters such as Battlefield V without the need for a traditional controller or a keyboard.

The InfinityGlove was developed by a team of NUS researchers led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck (left). With him are two members of the research team, Dr Yeo Joo Chuan (centre) and Dr Yu Longteng (right). Photo: National University of Singapore.

The InfinityGlove was developed by a team of NUS researchers led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck (left). With him are two members of the research team, Dr Yeo Joo Chuan (centre) and Dr Yu Longteng (right). Photo: National University of Singapore.

Simply flex your index finger to fire your weapon and rotate your wrist clockwise to move forward. Immersive controls have always been a pipedream in the world of gaming but is steadily becoming reality.

Editor’s Comments

This is an interesting and innovative project.

Currently each finger of the glove contains one microfibre sensor that can differentiate two states – straightened or curled – due to the difference in conductivity of the liquid metal within the fibre in the two states.

So the overall status of the glove should be readable as a five-digit binary.

Would be good to add one more to the wrist to include bending of the wrist.

And in the longer term, I can think of two ways of improving the resolution of the sensing.

One would be to implement multiple sensors per strand of microfibre.

Another would be to weave multiple microfibre strands to provide a matrix detection pattern for a snapshot of the state of each sensor.

That could probably come in useful as a grid sensor to monitor the distribution of stresses/deformation on a surface etc.

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck, has developed a smart glove – called ‘InfinityGlove’ – that allows users to mimic a variety of in-game controls using simple hand gestures.

While the concept of controlling a game using your hands is not new, the main problems have always been weight and flexibility.

The current generation of smart glove type controllers available on the market are usually bulky and rigid as they rely on conventional sensors which put the hard in hardware.

The InfinityGlove overcomes existing problems with weight and flexibility by weaving ultra-thin, highly sensitive microfibre sensors into the material of the glove.

These sensors are not only lightweight and accurate, but also fulfil the role of wires thus reducing the need for additional wiring.

Currently the prototype weighs about 40 grams, and is flexible and comfortable.

More details below from the press release.

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Trends: COVID-19 Gives Impetus to Hybrid Working

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

One of the impacts from the global COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of hybrid working, the new normal for businesses and organisations around the world.

* The slides in this article are extracted from Poly’s new report on how hybrid working will be the new collaborative imperative.

What to expect in the new normal of hybrid working.

What to expect in the new normal of hybrid working. Click on image to enlarge.

Working from home had always languished as the catch phrase for businesses aspiring to provide employees with a better work-life balance whilst maintaining a high level of performance.

Even though the requisite technology has been around and available for years now, the main stumbling block to greater adoption of working from home has been predominantly a cultural issue.

Four technology trends enabling hybrid working. Click on image to enlarge.

Four technology trends enabling hybrid working. Click on image to enlarge.

Companies are concerned that employees may not work as hard when left to their own devices at home, while employees worry that it is more difficult to get things done if they’re not physically working at the office.

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Review: Soul ST-XS2 True Wireless Earbuds for Sports

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Ideal wireless earbuds for the fitness-conscious. Pretty design, snug fit, great sound quality. These were the earbuds of choice that saw my wife through the COVID-19 months and accompanied her on her morning jogs.

 

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The Soul ST-SX2 is the earbuds-of-choice when it comes to true wireless earphones for the sporty – delivering good sound quality, a snug fit and easy usability.

With COVID-19 lockdown all around the world, the only workout we’re getting nowadays are the weights and rowing machine at home, and the jogs around the neighbourhood.

No more swims or visits to the gym.

 

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I gave my wife the Soul ST-SX2 true wireless earbuds as a Mother’s Day gift – and she loves it!

I gave the Soul ST-XS2 to my wife as a Mother’s Day gift and she’s been stuck on them ever since – during her morning jogs.

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Thematic Workplan (2H2020) for tech4tea.com: COVID-19

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Today is the beginning of the second half of 2020. Here’s the thematic workplan for tech4tea.com for the second half of the year.

Thematic Workplan 2H2020 - centred around the “aftermath” of COVID-19.

Thematic Workplan 2H2020 – centred around the “aftermath” of COVID-19.

The first half of 2020 has been ALL about something that began last year – COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the second half of 2020 looks set to be all about the pandemic as well.

The past six months saw countries all over the world reeling from the impact of a new disease – frantically learning about it and desperately trying to stem its spread.

The next six months will see countries continue their fight against the global epidemic- managing second wave outbreaks, racing to develop vaccines and cures, and emerging out of lockdowns to return to some form of normalcy.

Going forward, the “new normal” will be very different from the normal of pre-COVID days.

So the next half year will be all about living WITH COVID-19 – in all aspects of life.

For tech4tea.com, I’ve laid down a focal theme for each month in the second half of 2020.

Get in touch (johntan@tech4tea.com) if you have topics or products aligned with the above themes.

Here goes…

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella During Build 2020 (19-21 May)

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Microsoft Build 2020 was the first time the annual developers’ event was held completely online, because of COVID-19. Here are some interesting snippets from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his keynote address for the conference.

“Already, we've seen something like two years' worth of digital transformation in just two months. And we've seen how critical digital technology is in the three phases of this crisis, from emergency response to the recovery phase to the reimagining the world going forward,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO at Build 2020.

“Already, we’ve seen something like two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months. And we’ve seen how critical digital technology is in the three phases of this crisis, from emergency response to the recovery phase to the reimagining the world going forward,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO at Build 2020.

How has developers come together with those on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19?

Here were some examples that Nadella highlighted.

  • At Johns Hopkins University, epidemiologists and software developers created a canonical dashboard to track the spread of COVID-19.
  • Adaptive Biotechnologies is using cloud compute and AI to decode the immune system’s response to the virus.
  • In the United Kingdom, a cross-section of manufacturers adjusted their production lines to build ventilators for the NHS, using mixed reality to guide workers through the process.
  • The NBA is using the power of the cloud and Xbox to engage fans and maintain the joy of the game.

What would developers need to be capable of going forward?

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Tech Focus: Ingestible Electronic Pills For Stomach Diagnosis

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Just as IoT is taking the tech world by storm, ingestible pills enable doctors and researchers to emplace micro sensors in our bodies to monitor sustained measurements for diagnosis or research.

In this guest blog, Nick Van Helleputte and Chris Van Hoof discuss how ingestible or electronic pills can revolutionise the way stomach ailments are diagnosed.

Mock-up of an ingestible pill with prototype transceiver. Image: Imec.

Mock-up of an ingestible pill with prototype transceiver. Image: Imec.

Speak about an electronic pill or a small ingestible machine that can be swallowed by patients to monitor their bodies – and what comes to mind is often swarms of nanobots.

The reality is a little different.

Today, breakthroughs in electronics are making it possible to imagine such ingestibles, which are small enough to be swallowed so they can stay inside a body to monitor, say, a person’s stomach condition over a period of time.

Editor’s Comments

These nifty gadgets open up a whole new frontier in medical diagnosis and research.

Think the Internet of Things (IoT) but applied to the interior of our bodies.

By emplacing sensors within our bodies, doctors and researchers don’t just get a one-off snapshot of the organ of interest.

The sensors can provide sustained monitoring of measurements over a period of time, enabling the identification of trends in the data, or triggering of alerts to flag out anomalies breaching threshold levels.

This means a doctor would be able to more accurately see the changes in a person’s digestive tract, for example, instead of having only a quick look by using a scope or collecting stool samples.

So, instead of a number of nanobots swimming inside a person, ingestibles are miniaturised versions of electronic devices that require low power and have reliable wireless communication to relay the signals that they are reading.

In February 2020, Belgium-based research outfit imec presented the world’s first fully integrated millimetre-scale wireless transceiver for ingestibles or electronic analytical devices that can be swallowed.

This breakthrough, presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2020 conference at San Francisco in February, means that in the future, ingestible devices could be easier to be manufactured and be more effective in staying in a stomach to monitor important signs of diseases, such as diabetes, Crohn’s Disease or coeliac.

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Review: Adidas FWD-01 Wireless In-Ear Sports Headphones

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Co-created by athletes, the in-ear headphones has been designed specifically for runners and is now available in Singapore (S$249).

“Wired wireless” in-ear sports earphones from adidas: FWD-01.

“Wired wireless” in-ear sports earphones from adidas: FWD-01.

Launched jointly by adidas and Stockholm-based Zound Industries – the earphones combines the latter’s audio technology with the former’s knowhow in sports ergonomics.

My Take

A little bit pricey, the adidas FWD-01 is a pair of solid wireless in-ear headphones for runners, boasting decent audio quality, a long 16-hour battery life and the ability to quick-charge. What I liked a lot was its IPX4 rated sweat resistance.

On first looks, I like the ergonomic and minimalist design of the sweat-proof FWD-01, which weighs 26g and has a tangle-free cable that’s 47.5cm long.

The knitted fabric gives the earphones a nice shoelace appearance consistent with the fabric on some of adidas’ sports shoes.

The control buttons on the cord is easy-to-find and enables full control of all the basic functionalities of the earphones viz. play/pause, volume up/down, answer/end phone calls, power on/off or pair.

 

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Three control buttons on the right and an Action button on the left of the adidas FWD-01 wireless in-ear headphones.

An Action button is programmable (using the companion app) as a shortcut for up to three different actions, triggered by either 1, 2, or 3 clicks.

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Digital Well-Being Tips For International Day Of Happiness

Friday, March 20th, 2020

Here are some tips from Google on digital wellbeing and how our devices can contribute to our daily happiness.

The first step toward digital wellbeing is often understanding more about how you interact with technology in the first place. Tools like the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard in Android 9 Pie and YouTube’s Time Watched offer ways to keep you more informed about your habits.

The first step toward digital wellbeing is often understanding more about how you interact with technology in the first place. Tools like the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard in Android 9 Pie and YouTube’s Time Watched offer ways to keep you more informed about your habits.

Despite being one of the wealthiest nations globally, research has shown that Singaporeans are amongst the unhappiest people in the world.

Disconnect when you need to. Take advantage of tools that help make it easier to take a break from your devices, and switch off at the end of each day.

Disconnect when you need to. Take advantage of tools that help make it easier to take a break from your devices, and switch off at the end of each day.

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Test Drive: Audi TT Coupé 2.0 TFSI S tronic in Singapore

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Tried out the Audi TT Coupé 2.0 TFSI S tronic last week to check out the latest facelift for the luxury sports car. This is the first half of the review, which concludes tomorrow.

It's been more than 25 years since the Audi TT concept car was first showcased in 1995 at the IAA in Frankfurt. The first Coupé premiered in 1998, with the 2nd generation in 2006 and the 3rd gen in 2014.

It’s been more than 25 years since the Audi TT concept car was first showcased in 1995 at the IAA in Frankfurt. The first Coupé premiered in 1998, with the 2nd generation in 2006 and the 3rd gen in 2014.

This latest update to the Audi TT Coupé sees the new direct injection 2.0 TFSI engine with 230hp replacing the previous 180hp 1.8 TFSI.

It’s been more than 25 years since the Audi TT concept car was first showcased in 1995 at the IAA in Frankfurt.

 

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The design vocab of the Audi TT Coupé comprises geometric shapes, circles and strong lines. Managed to find matching environs to shoot the car.

The first Coupé premiered in 1998, with the second generation in 2006 and the third generation in 2014.

The latest Audi TT Coupé is now more masculine, progressive and sportier.

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