In this week's HotSpot:
-- According to a 2012 study conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 38 deaths of small children occur in the United States each year from heatstroke after being left unattended in a hot parked car. Three engineering undergrads from Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University have converted a Microsoft Kinect into a child-in-the-hot-car detector. The team adapted the Kinect for its ability to detect even the smallest of movements, such as those made by a sleeping baby, and because the infrared light that it uses is blocked by window glass, so it wouldn't be falsely triggered by movements occurring outside of the vehicle.
--On Friday May 17, the US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator conducted its first touch-and-go landings. The X-47B used was one of two built by Northrop Grumman to demonstrate autonomous carrier operations, including launch, recovery and operations within 50 nautical miles of a carrier. The intention is that the technology developed for the X-47B will one day lead to autonomous unmanned carrier-based aircraft for surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat duty.
--Leap Motion has a brand new teaser video that showcases the device's interaction with Windows. The clip shows hand gestures replacing mouse pointer or multitouch in a variety of Windows apps, making Leap and Windows 8 a perfect match. Leap Motion will work out-of-the-box with most Windows and Mac OS X apps, but the fun starts when developers optimize their work for Leap. The company knows this, and is helping to encourage development with its own app store, Airspace.
--So the wearable tech revolution seems to keep getting delayed, first with Google Glass and now with the Apple smartwatch, which might end up being another 2014 release. Late 2014, at that. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities warns us not to get our hopes up for a 2013 iWatch, saying software and hardware challenges could force Apple to push its ship date back until late 2014. Kuo goes on to predict that biometrics will play a big part in the wrist-based computer. He thinks the technology will add both security and advanced health tracking features to the device. So stay tuned: no matter when this wearable tech revolution arrives (if ever), we're sure to keep hearing all about it.
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