UX (User Experience).

Ben Logan
22 October 2013

Smart watches and other wearable technologies certainly seem to have caught the imagination of the industry of late – the XOWi Personal Voice Companion is another entry that could be worth keeping an eye on. The device is a small accessory that can be worn as a necklace or a badge. It pairs with the wearer’s smartphone and interacts via its companion app. As well as voice controls, a large tactile button on the device will allow for easy access to associated apps. Hints have also been dropped that the system will be able to interact with other virtual voice…

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Ben Logan
15 October 2013

Yahoo Mail’s major design update seems to have gone horribly wrong – there has been a huge backlash from the email service’s 275 million users, with some claiming that the UI now looks like “a knock off of competitor Gmail”. Tens of thousands of people have complained about the glitches and reduced functionality of the new Yahoo Mail interface, while many simply don’t like the new look and feel. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (previously a top Google executive) has been personally blamed by many for the redesign failure, with the general consensus being bafflement by what seems to be a…

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Ben Logan
14 October 2013

Following from the success of their beta testing mode for the Android application earlier this year which saw users drafted in as usability guinea pigs to try out experimental features that could become a part of the final release, Facebook is now set to ask the public to take part in a much earlier testing phase. Facebook announced their new Android alpha testing programme in a recent blog. Christian Legnitto, Mobile Release Engineering lead at Facebook, commented: “We started out with beta as we knew it would be a good balance between testing and usability, but we’d love to get…

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Ben Logan
10 October 2013

3D viewing is yet to make the impact on home entertainment that many predicted, but the Disney Company have had another big idea in the evolution of television with the development of Texture TV. Technology developed by researchers at Disney is said to simulate textures on a flat screen and bring the images to life. The texture effect is accomplished by applying an electrical field across a flat screen, which creates friction through electrostatic forces on the skin when a finger is dragged across it. Disney Research Interaction Group Director, Ivan Poupyrev, explained further: “Our brain perceives the 3D bump…

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Ben Logan
8 October 2013

Having already pioneered gesture-based user interfaces with the Windows 8 in 2012, Elliptic is new set to release several Android models with this type of UI in the second half of 2014. The technology uses ultrasound, which is considered superior because a user doesn’t have to be as close to the ultrasonic sensor as an infrared one. It brings a number of advantages compared to existing touchless or hands-free interfaces – for one, ultrasonic sensors permit 3D interaction with smartphones as well as touchless interfaces. Secondly, ultrasonic sensors are better than webcams because they can control the interface without a…

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Ben Logan
2 October 2013

NASA is gearing up to launch a 3D printer into space next year – a move that could very much establish a significant change in how space flight is approached and undertaken. Rather than having to load up with a large supply of tools and spare parts, as well as in extreme cases having to abort missions due to missing equipment, a 3D printer would serve as a factory in space that can reproduce an infinite amount of crucial objects. Dave Korsmeyer, Director of Engineering at NASA’s Ames Research Centre, commented: “If you want to be adaptable, you have to…

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