Artificial Retinas (AKA New Tech Assistance For Those With Macular Degeneration) & Streaming Video Update

Artificial Retinas (AKA New Tech Assistance For Those With Macular Degeneration): There is a cool  article in the tech section of the New York Times today about a new tech product, the just FDA approved Argus II Artificial Retina made by Second Sight Medical Products. And the Argus II will assist people who have certain types of blindness – namely blindness caused by damaged to the retina – in particular the blindness caused by macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa – to see shapes and outlines. The Argus Artificial Retina consists of a sheet of electrodes implanted in the eye (the retina part) and a camera and portable video processor (the input communication part of the retina system). When all three of those facets of the artificial retina work together they transmit images to the brain through the electrodes implanted in the eye and allow the blind to see outlines and shapes like the lines on a crosswalk or the outline of people. The Argus II Artificial Retinas currently cost about $150,000 and will shortly be available in seven hospitals in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland and Texas. This is very exciting technology as it is only the tip of the high tech ice berg as far as the creation and evolution of tech products that will assist the disabled goes!

Here’s a link to the New York Times article titled Device Offers Partial Vision for the Blind:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/health/fda-approves-technology-to-give-limited-vision-to-blind-people.html?hpw

Streaming Video Update: There have been two big stories in the news this week regarding new streaming video services. The first batch of stories have focused on the confirmed upcoming release of an Intel video streaming player and the second on a rumored Apple event that will supposedly be happening in March to unveil a new Apple TV platform.

The Intel Streaming Video Player: The stories about the Intel streaming video player came about as a result of an interview Intel Vice President Erik Huggers gave to Wall Street Journal staff on Tuesday. According to Huggers Intel’s new streaming box, which is as yet unnamed and for which Intel has yet to announce a release date or a price, is supposed to stream video content in specialized bundles rather like the cable companies already do – although Mr. Huggers indicated the Intel bundled channel service would be different that the current service of cable companies because Intel will be offering smart bundles (assumedly the channel bundles will be tailored to taste by genre but Huggers didn’t offers specific details). Mr. Huggers also said the Intel box will allow viewers the option to watch any program shown on the service in the last week at any time they’d like on any Internet connecting device they own.

For two cents worth from this cable cutter for whatever it is worth (about two cents I’d say!) the Intel box sound very similar to the packages the cable companies already provide – bundles of expensive channels that viewers are forced to take when the bulk of programs they want to watch are only found on ten channels or less – and of course there is no way to get the channels al la carte either from cable companies, with their outdated business model, nor it sounds like from the new Intel streaming video player. But of course as the Intel player has yet to be released we’ll have to wait and see. However, suffice it to say this cord cutter is not impressed! I’m ready for al la carte channels offered via streaming services…

The Rumors About A New Apple TV Platform: There have also been numerous news stories this week, all citing unnamed but knowledgeable sources, that indicate that Apple is planning on holding an event in March to announce what is speculated to be a new platform for the Apple TV – not a new Apple TV set– but instead a new type of Apple TV video streaming system; whether it is a new Apple TV streaming player or a software update that offers new features is currently unknown. However, as perhaps you’ll recall the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quoted in his authorized biography as saying: “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'” (Issacson, 2012). And what the current Apple CEO Tim Cook said in December 2012 in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams – that television is an area of “intense interest” to Apple but then of course he wouldn’t comment further on the subject but it did make it sound like Apple is working on something in the TV arena…

And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Apple does announce some sort of new high tech (and possibly evolutionary) television streaming platform in March. And again as with the Intel streaming video player we’ll have to wait and see! One thing is for certain though – we are likely to see a number of new streaming video services and options in 2013!

Here’s a link to a Gigaom article on the new Intel video streaming player titled Intel Media Service Confirmed:

http://gigaom.com/2013/02/12/intel-media-service-confirmed/

Another link to a Wall Street Journal article, titled Erik Huggers On Why Intel TV Makes Sense, on the new Intel player. The article includes excerpts from the interview Intel VP Eric Huggers gave to WSJ staff on Tuesday:

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/02/12/erik-huggers-on-why-intel-tv-makes-sense/

And a link to the Cult of Mac site where you can watch the video interview Tim Cook gave to Brian Williams last December:

http://www.cultofmac.com/204964/watch-tim-cooks-full-interview-on-last-nights-nbc-rock-center-here-video/

And a final link to a Slashgear article, titled Apple TV Event Rumored For March, New SDK Tipped, regarding the rumored upcoming Apple press event to unveil their reported new media streaming player and/or service:

http://www.slashgear.com/apple-tv-event-rumored-for-march-new-sdk-tipped-13269237/

Have a great weekend everyone!

Linda R.

References

Bellock, Pam. (2013, February 14). Device Offers Partial Vision for the Blind. New York Times. Online.

Brownlee, John. (2012, December 7). Watch Tim Cook’s Full Interview On Last Night’s NBC Rock Center Here [Video]. Cult of Mac. Online.

Clark, Don. (2013, February 12). Erik Huggers On Why Intel TV Makes Sense. Wall Street Journal. Online.

Craig, Lloyd. (2013, February 13). Apple TV event rumored for March, new SDK tipped. SlashGear. Online.

Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. Simon & Shuster. 2011.

 

 

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