And finally: Samsung’s bizarre smartwatch camera idea and more

The bits you missed from the past seven days
Samsung's bizarre camera watch idea

Another week gone, another seven days of news to digest through our eyes and ears and absorb into our contentstream. Or at least that's my understanding of the neurological process.

In this week's Week in Wearable Tech column Sophie has been bemoaning a lack of exciting news since Google I/O, and I agree it's been a bit thin, but we still saw a new VR headset from HTC, even if it's only available from Japan, and a new fitness tracker from Polar. Meanwhile Garmin revealed its VIRB 360 action cam and Oculus officially added room-scale tracking.

So, still some good stuff, but what else has been going on? Let's dig in.

Samsung, Camera, Action

And finally: Samsung's weird smartwatch camera idea and more

Samsung tried the wearable camera thing with the first Galaxy Gear (Remember that? I barely can), but dropped it on later devices. However it appears to be rethinking the concept, according to a newly-surfaced patent which contemplates slapping a camera bang in the middle of the display - as spotted by SamMobile.

Yup, Samsung's new idea is to pop a snapper right in the center of a circular screen, and it wouldn't be hidden behind because the patent clearly shows the lens protruding when zooming. Information would be displayed around it, but naturally you're losing quite a bit of screen real estate, so Samsung's watch idea also includes a flexible display on the strap that would let you access apps and presumably show all sorts of other information around the wrist. Intriguing.

Belkin HomeKit support incoming

And finally: Samsung's weird smartwatch camera idea and more

After cancelling plans to support Apple's HomeKit, Belkin has announced it will in fact be making its WeMo smart home devices work with Apple's platform. However, to do so you'll need to buy the new WeMo Bridge, which plugs into your router.

It means that, once the Bridge is installed, all current and future WeMo devices will be compatible with HomeKit. You'll be able to tell Siri to turn off the lights and all manner of commands for the WeMo platform. The Bridge is set to arrive by the fall although Belkin hasn't yet confirmed pricing.

Bionic hand may help stroke victims

And finally: Samsung's weird smartwatch camera idea and more

A nice, positive story to finish up the week. A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that a mind-controlled arm brace can help paralyzed stroke patients regain limb movement.

13 participants, who had suffered a stroke six months or more in the past, were asked to use the Ipsihand brace at least five days a week, twice a day for 10 minutes at a time. Of them, 10 completed the study, and the results showed an average increase of 6.2 points on a 57-point scale. That could make a significant difference for people who have suffered a stroke for completing everyday tasks. You can read more over on the Washington University site.

Origami batteries incoming

And finally: Samsung's weird smartwatch camera idea and more

We're always grateful for any story which gives us hope that our batteries might one day not suck. Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have come up with the first printed battery that's both flexible and rechargeable, and it could be used to power wearables of the future.

Using a hyper-elastic polymer material the batteries could be flexible and stretchable to twice their size. "We expect this technology to pave the way to enhance other forms of energy storage and printable, stretchable electronics," said Joseph Wang, one of the paper's authors. However, the researchers still need to work on the batter performance, as right now it's delivering around one fifth of a rechargeable hearing aid battery. Nonetheless, it could mean big things for the future of wearables.


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