The Technology News Daily Digest from Guardian Liberty Voice for July 24, 2014 includes stories about the growth of virtual reality technology, a new healthcare study by Google, and the impending lawsuit between two giants of the audio device industry. Google’s growth continues to impact new areas of technological development, and patent infringement laws are called upon to discourage competition.
Video gamers and intense movie buffs have daydreamed about virtual reality since the concept’s inception. Oculus Rift began the conversation about realistic home virtual reality systems in the near future when it was announced. Since then, several other companies including Samsung have released details about their own flagship virtual reality systems. Google’s Cardboard may be the most surprising and the most interesting. Cardboard appears unassuming upon first glance because it resembles a thick cardboard padding, much like one would use when shipping a package. Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that Cardboard may in fact be made of cardboard, but its material has little to do with its functionality. After pulling a tab, Cardboard can be unfolded and assembled to become a wearable hub for an Android smartphone. The smartphone, while running the Cardboard App, is held in place by a band and behind a set of magnifying lenses. The device may not come with a strap to hold it onto the consumer’s face, but for a foldable slab of material that usually winds up in recycling bins, Google’s Cardboard is an impressive facsimile of an expensive virtual reality device.
Google has announced that the company will be conducting a study that it has dubbed, Baseline, which is intended to gather and analyze information about the inner workings of the human body. Andrew Conrad is the molecular biologist running the project, which will collect medical data from 175 willing participants. The purpose behind the project is to acquire the means to identify deadly illnesses as early as possible, with a hopeful end result of fighting cancer and heart disease. Google has specified that the information collected from the first round of volunteers will remain anonymous and will only be used for science and health purposes. The study is eventually expected to expand from the original 175 volunteers to greater numbers of possible thousands.
Just after Apple acquired Beats by Dre in May with the deal expected to finalize in September, the conglomerate’s unfortunate timing meant it would be facing a lawsuit. Bose is now claiming that Beats by Dre is using its noise cancelling technology unlawfully, and has elected to open a lawsuit. Beats Pro, Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless headphones all contain the technology. Bose claims that the utilization of the noise-cancelling technology, for which the company’s research began in 1978, infringes upon patents that were meant to protect an integral part of the company’s business. Beats, owned by famous hip-hop star and rapper, Dr. Dre has yet to publicly release a response to the allegations made by its well-established competitor. Apple’s experience in patent disputes with Samsung may indicate that the impending battle between Beats and Bose may not be a deterrent to continue with the acquisition.
The Technology News Daily Commentary By Faye Barton