15/11/2015 Click


15/11/2015

The smartwatch gets serious, virtual reality skateboarding and connecting to the internet through your lights.


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This week, the smart watch yet serious. Virtual reality

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skateboarding, and your ceiling lights are talking to us. What do

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you mean you can't hear them? -- the smart watch gets serious.

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Come on. Hands up if this is you. Your house. Your office. A million

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devices, all clamouring for the same Wi-Fi signal. Which means no one

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gets a good speed, and the poor old Wi-Fi router becomes Wi-Fry router.

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And it's only going to get worse once the Internet of Things properly

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gets going and your smartphone has to compete for signal with your

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smart shoes, you're smart trousers, your smart mop. That's a good idea.

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I'm going to build that. Come with me now to Edinburgh University where

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they're giving the Wi-Fi router a break and going online using

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something we all plenty of. This laptop is streaming video. It is

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connected to the internet but not via Wi-Fi. Via Li-Fi. The ordinary

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LED room light is transmitting the data. It is too fast for us to see,

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at these LED lights are dimming and writing extremely quickly. And they

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are being seen by the laptop as ones and zeros. They are not just

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flashing on and off either. There are 256 different levels of

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rightness which means eight bits of data can be sent at once. The device

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doesn't need to be directly under the light either. It is possible to

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detect those flickering bits and bytes from ambient and reflected

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light as well. We have seen Li-Fi setups on Click before. Just a few

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weeks ago Fujitsu showed off its version in Japan with phones

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receiving information from LED strips. But this is simply a 1-way

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communication. If you want a proper internet connection, your device

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needs to somehow send a signal back as well. And that is what is so new

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here in Edinburgh. These laptops not only receive data but send data back

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using an infrared uplink. And not just that. As the laptop moves

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around the room, it logs onto a different light. That means a room

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can serve many devices at once, very much like a mobile phone cellular

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network. Time to meet the man who coined the term Li-Fi in his TED

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talk four years ago. This is Professor Harold Haas. What are the

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advantages of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi? Uses an entirely different part of the

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electromagnetic spectrum so it won't interfere with radio or Wi-Fi.

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That's why we can add another layer of wireless connectivity. And the

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problem with Wi-Fi is that as you increase the number of users, they

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will have to split up and divide the bandwidth among the users. And with

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Li-Fi, you have another channel there, and you would avoid the

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splitting up of bandwidth. And that is going to be really useful when

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ever expanding internet of things floods the airwaves with signals.

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Your devices will receive data from the ceiling lights, and send data

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back possibly by blinking their own tiny power LEDs, like this prototype

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here. During the day, at home, I turned my lights off. Does that mean

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I don't get data? Certainly you would get data. You can kimberlite

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to the level that it would be off for us, for our eyes. But it will

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still emit light to provide sufficient data. Does this mean that

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we need to make an entirely new type of light, in an entirely new

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factory, in order to install this? We can use existing lights to enable

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them to be... A Li-Fi transmitter and the thing is we can use the

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existing infrastructure. Case in point, this is an off-the-shelf

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solar cell which he is being used as a Li-Fi receiver. This light is

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transmitting a high def video to the laptop. The great thing about solar

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cells as they still work in low light conditions so I can do that in

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the video still plays. And that means this kind of receiver will

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still work when the devices in your pocket, behind a layer of cotton.

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And Harold's team is also working on squeezing more data into the light.

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After all, why go white when you've got a whole spectrum to play with?

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The next generation of LED lighting will be red, green and blue LEDs and

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we mix it in with white as you see here. But the good thing is with the

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colours is you can send different data per colour. So red carries a

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different stream of information. And I'll show you, if you put in a red

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filter here, you see the triangle... The red colour is

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transmitting tribals. The red colour is transmitting triangles. And then

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you put a blue filter in front of it, you see a rectangle. And we put

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in the green filter and that sends in a sawtooth. So three colours,

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three different signals, and three times the data. With different

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colours we can even go to 100, that is many times faster than we have in

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current Wi-Fi. Until something like Li-Fi comes along, one of these is

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still taking the strain. And, as most of us know, our Wi-Fi

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connection throughout our homes isn't always perfect. So I've got a

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few tips, short of changing provider, that could help improve

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things. Most people are using a 2.4 gigahertz connection and there are

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13 channels. One, six and 11 are the most commonly used. But if you try

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an app like this Wi-Fi analyser you can see exactly how many connections

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there are. It means that you can then go into your Wi-Fi settings via

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your computer and change the channel that you're connecting to, which

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should mean less interference from neighbours' Wi-Fi, or even from baby

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monitors and microwaves. So first off, it's worth trying a bit of a

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cheap and easy DIY solution that I came across. And that's to create

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your own reflector. What you'll need is a bit of cardboard, some

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tinfoil, and some glue. Stick down the tinfoil, then all you need to do

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is folded in a couple of places, and then you place it high on the

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router, so that you reflect the signal in the direction that you

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want it to go. It may sound a bit unlikely, and look pretty daft, but

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in the right situation it can significantly improve your speed. If

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you're lucky enough to live somewhere where the size of the

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property is an issue, well, Wi-Fi range extender could help. All you

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need to do is plug this into a power socket, in an area where it still

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going to get connection from your router, and then it should spread

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the signal further. Another option is getting a pair of powerline

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adapters. One of them will be attached a lead to your router. The

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second one will be plugged into any other power socket in the house. You

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can then attach your computer with a lead. Many of the new models offer

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wireless connection as well, creating a hotspot that smartphones

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or tablets can easily connect to. One option is a tri- band router

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like this one which as well as having a 2.4 gigahertz connection,

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also has two 5 gigahertz connections. That means you may need

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to be nearer to the router, but it should provide a stronger, more

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consistent connection. Multiple users should get a decent signal at

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the same time. And because fewer gadgets use five gigahertz, they

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shouldn't be as much interference. Great. The problem is that some of

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the older devices you may want to get online with may not use it

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either. Not so great. And for some, as prices fall, a high data 4G

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contract could be the winner. It could work out cheaper, you won't

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even need a home phone connection, and it can have better upload

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speeds. What would then come in handy is one of these, a 4G router.

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The strength of your connection is of course dependent on the mobile

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network you are using. But it does give greater freedom as to where it

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can be placed. So play around for long enough and you may find the

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perfect spot. It was a difficult week for Facebook this week, as a

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Belgian court gave at 48 hours to stop tracking people who are not

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members of the social network. Facebook say it will appeal the

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decision but could face a fine of up to ?180,000 if it fails to comply

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with the court order. And it was the week that SnapChat revealed it got 6

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billion video views every day. Google makes its service available

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online and Sony bids fond farewell to Betamax, although it was a

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surprise it was making it at all. And a high-speed printer that makes

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circuit boards wins and engineering award. Four scientists scooped a

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?40,000 prize for their machine. It uses ink to turn circuit board

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designs into working prototypes. That is on top of the ?300,000 they

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got from kick starter. So clearly they are not doing too badly. And

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finally, if you just happen to be in New York this week then you might

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believe that a man could fly. This man took a trip around the Big Apple

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powered eye gallons of kerosene and two jet engines. Unfortunately it

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will only give you about ten minutes of actual flight time before you

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have to return to the earth. And before you ask, they have no plans

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to sell it to the public. That's cool, I didn't want an awesome jet

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pack anyway. Now, this week Apple announced that it has sold over 7

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million of its posh watches. That is more in six months than all other

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smart watches combined, in the last year. Goodness! At there is one

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thing we think all smart watches still share, in our humble opinion.

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They look really, really, really, really geeky. Now, though, it is the

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return of the classic watch brands to try and make something special.

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We sent Dave Lee to New York. Thanks to them, the Swiss watch industry is

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connected. Today is the marriage of watch Valley and Silicon Valley. We

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are giving birth to eternity in a box -- thanks to TAGHeuer. We have a

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computer inside the watch. Now, in case he didn't quite get that, what

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Jean-Claude was trying to say was that his company, TAGHeuer, is

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making its first ever smart watch. TAGHeuer has more than 150 years of

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watchmaking in the bag, and this watch is about saying to Apple, the

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Samsung, to Motorola, all those other companies, they just don't

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know what they're doing when it comes to making a stylish timepiece.

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But will this be enough to turn the opinions of people who just love

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classic watches? Yes. Certain people, yes. Not everybody, of

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course. Certain people, it is good. You are wearing two watches at the

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moment. Yes. One of them is a smart watch, the other one is on. Yes, and

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you hardly see the difference. I'm going to wager you will take the

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smart watch fairly certain. Not necessary. Why? Because it is very

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light, it is very comfortable, and then it's quite nice to play with

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it! The watch is powered by Google's Android wear. Meaning it

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has all the existing apps made for other watches until now. And it has

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that authentic TAGHeuer look. On the inside, the electronics are made by

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Intel, a company which is desperate to make sure it doesn't miss out on

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the smart watch industry in the same way it was left behind with

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smartphones. This is a part of us not being absent from the next big

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thing. And I think, you know, you're seeing our efforts in wearable

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devices. You saw us make some acquisitions this year in wearable

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devices. Both for the wrist and for the head worn eyeglasses, and there

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are many other segments of devices that we are making sure that we

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don't miss the next big thing. But unfortunately the watch still

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suffers from the same problems as many of its competitors, the battery

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just about lasts a day, and it's a it big. So the watch is quite big,

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quite chunky, safe to say it is definitely a man's watch. Are you

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hoping to make a Lady's smart watch as well? We need a lady's watch. A

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woman, you know, the phone rings, will she find it in her bag? The

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phone has stopped ringing. So for women, it is quite practical to have

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information on the wrist. But it will never compete with an elegant,

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wonderful watch, for sure. This will set you back a tasty

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$1500. It is not a perfect device but they seem pretty confident.

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Although we get the feeling he might always be like this. LAUGHTER. Well,

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there is a man who loves his job. I wonder what he would make of this,

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possibly the most unusual smartwatch I have seen in a while. This does

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not just tell the time calls and messages, it knows what you want.

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All these objects you interact with, your phone, your tablet, even

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your refrigerator, they admit -- emit electronic noise. And that

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flows into the body because the body is conductive. Once that signal goes

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into the body, the smartwatch since on your wrist can sense that signal.

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And these signals are very characteristic. Each object has its

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own little magnetic profile. OK. Applications like what? Researchers

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say it can unlock your computer or give you real time directions simply

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by touching an appropriate object. So this could really be a properly

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smartwatch, one that will know when you are rushing your teeth and start

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timing you, or one that knows you are about to lose and drilling and

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brings up an instruction manual on how to do it. But a really, really

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smart advice -- device might advise you to read that first before...

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Well, maybe that is just me. One of the problems of virtual reality we

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have talked a lot about recently is the fact you can see and hear your

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surroundings but you cannot feel what is going on and that rather

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breaks the illusion. For example, wouldn't it be great if you were

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virtual reality skate boarding to be able to feel the ground beneath your

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feet. That has been the question on my lips for months now, I promise.

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Fortunately, we have found a solution in Japan. Who doesn't want

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a vibrating virtual reality skate boarding simulator? Yes, the Tokyo

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Institute of Technology has built this amazingly involved boardgame.

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This is brilliant. These skateboarders vibrating... Can you

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hear the difference? The cobbles! It lets riders feel the ground texture

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change beneath their feet as if they were skateboarding on real ground.

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And this is the best bit. Because I'm in virtual reality, I can get

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all of the thrills of high speed riding in real life with none of the

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consequences when I fall off or inevitably bash into the scenery.

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Normally when you were virtual reality goggles, you can't

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experience things in the same way. I'm going to stop for a second

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because I'm meant to be telling you about this. That is really

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incredible! Adding that sensory element really does bring a game

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like this to life. The sound, the feeling of the vibration and

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certainly the actual physical peril. I really was quite reliant on

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this hole and I did not think I would need that at all. To get a

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sound, they mounted microphones underneath a real skateboard and

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record the sound of different road textures. Then the sound for it

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texture is played back during the game depending on the texture being

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played -- displayed on the screen. Underneath, we have a pair of 50

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watts bass speakers. Basically, it is using low-frequency sound to give

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that sense of vibration. And then under here, we have a collection of

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microcontrollers, of are sending data back to the Peter. You have --

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back to the computer. You have your skateboard, your treadmill, your

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amplifier and the oculus rift. It is a very ambitious project but it does

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work. The system also recognises when you tilt the skateboard. The

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computer-generated world responds accordingly. Plus there is a sense

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or in the treadmill. And when you kick the treadmill, it detects the

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force. And the beauty matches speed to the force. -- the computer. And

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no, it is not as easy as it looks. Visit our producer trying it for the

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first time. -- this is our producer. LAUGHTER. Frivolity aside,

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I was impressed by how easily I accept it and learn from feedback in

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the virtual world. This is massive intentional. A world that feels real

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enough to landscape or in, no matter what level of reality you are

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actually in. -- real enough to learn to skateboard in. And from one

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exhilarating ride to another. The London Underground is a busy bit of

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old bump and grind stone. Sun plans to visit. Even without an incident,

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some parts get clogged just by people waiting to get home. And when

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things do start bundling up, this is where the decisions are made about

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what to do. I love the fact that we have all of these big bits that are

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not on the Tube map. You can do such clever things with trains. The

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oldest Tube network in the world spans over 1000 kilometres and if

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something goes wrong in one section, it can affect other

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sections hours later. The team in this control room try to keep things

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moving to minimise delays. All trains report their whereabouts and

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over the last decade or so, some have been upgraded to the fully

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automated, the driver here becoming more of a supervisor. The strains

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automatically change speed to maintain the gaps between them and

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regulate the service. -- these trains. Some have been fitted with

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scales, weighing the load and estimating the number of passengers

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on board. Even with all this information, the plans in place to

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avoid overcrowding and delays are surprisingly low-tech. At the moment

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for the Central line, we would look at the pinch points that we have. A

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team appear would be bringing around different locations on the network

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where we know we have high volumes of cars is and where experience

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tells us we have pinch points. -- high volumes of customers. And based

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on the way the network operates at the moment, we have additional areas

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of the network where other lines will take the normal loading for

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those sections. We also have a lot of contingency plans, well versed

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plans and our teams then go into to address these kinds of issues. If we

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have crowding issues or potential capacity issues around Oxford

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Circus, we have a team there is well-trained and that practices a

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lot and they will those plans to help us. Will helm has developed an

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algorithm that can predict the knock-on problems across a network

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over the next couple of hours. Compressed two years of work into

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three sentences, please. We take the information out of the train system,

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where the train is at a certain time, and we look at how that looks

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in a pattern of historical data. And then we say that this is a pattern

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we have seen before. And then we can predict. The system sucks up all of

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the real-time data from the Stockholm rail network, not just

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will helm 's very lovely train set here, and repeatedly makes

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predictions every single minute. That means as an incident develops

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or resolves, the numbers change. What will the officials be able to

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do with this information? If they see there is a problem and this is

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how it will look into hours, what can they do? What they want to do is

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screw my model up. You say there will be delayed, they say they are

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going to solve that. The problem today is that we are looking at

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trains, not humans. If you combine that with information as to how has

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the train is, you can say that you have a very heavy train, lots of

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people on board, and then say let us run by train all the way through.

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That will minimise the total amount of delays for humans. But today, all

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of those systems look at the train. The ultimate goal is to get these

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numbers is close to the real arrival time as possible and, of course, no

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more last-minute cancellations. In fact, travellers and dock when will

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still have access to -- soon have access to the information themselves

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via the app. Incidentally, do you know which underground station the

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guys at transport for London told me they had to close most often because

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of overcrowding? Victoria. Correct. Six o'clock every evening, this

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place is crazy. I wonder if anyone would mind if I knocked off early

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tonight and beat the rush. See

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