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  • Jack Lau

Electronic Eyes for You!


Good morning. It is impossible these days not to notice a Tesla on the road. People always ask "When can we enable the auto pilot function?" Well, for the fans in Hong Kong, it seems that the new Tesla will have the auto parking function soon. Auto-pilot seems to be only available in the a few places. We saw one working in California. A gentleman there told us that he lives 2 hours from work. It used to be painful driving to work. But, now, with the Tesla, he can go on the car pool lane, turn on the auto pilot, and commute with a lot less stress.

Now, why are we talking about Tesla. Well, we also talked about the Netgear security camera last week.

Electronic eyes, guys!

The ways we enable a product to detect (see things) the surrounding is getting so prevalent. Your iPhone has a few cameras. Your drone probably has a few cameras for anti-collision. Tesla uses ultrasonic sensors and cameras to allow detection of obstacles which enable auto-pilots. Ultra-sonic sensors and camera modules can be deployed inexpensively. These are fundamentally changing the ways for many products. Coupled with a reasonable processor and a network, everything you build can become a bionic man. In the Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes was described as a 100-eyed giant. While human has only 2 eyes, we of course are in awe of a giant who has 100 eyes. But, today, no kidding, today even a low budget toy grade drone has an ultra-sonic chip so it can maintain at a certain altitude above ground and to ensure safe landing.

But, the latest cool thing seems to the Snap "Spectacle". Snap is more often known as Snapchat. People mostly remember it as the time-limited WhatsApp. (You send a message, and you can determine how long the message will remain on your friend's phone.) And, our dear readers, if you don't have a Snapchat account or don’t use Snapchat, don't worry about it that much. My dear nephew who despite being very close to me and talks to me on almost everything won't "allow" me to be his snap chat friend. Something to do with content not suitable for viewership for anyone above 25, I was told.

Snap's Spectacle is selling for US$130 (Photo source: http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2016/09/24/snapchat-reveals-its-130-spectacles-and-rebrands-as-snap-inc/)

Of course, to add insult to some of us more seasoned (i.e. old) people, Snap is apparently worth US$20 billion. In fact, it has just filed an IPO application to the SEC. The revenue of Snap was just US$59 million in 2015, and is expected to reach between US$250M to US$300M in 2016. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2016/05/27/why-is-snapchat-worth-20b-the-value-of-implementing-trends/#18cc44eb53fa)

So, to use Snap (chat), a user usually takes a video (about 10 seconds) and send over to their friends.

Now, Snap's Spectacle is a new pair of glasses (sort of like a pair of Sunglasses) which has two cameras mounted on the frame. When the users tap the frame of the glasses, it will record for 10 seconds. And, via Bluetooth or wifi, it directly sends out the video through your phone to your friends. (You can tap 3 times to have a 30 second video). Battery will last one day. And, it costs US$130 a pair.

Again, guys, electronic eyes! Now wear a pair of Spectacle, fly a drone, drive a Tesla, and together with your own pair of primitive eyes, you may well be going by your days with more "eyes" than Argus Panoptes.


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