Gesture tech will bring hands-free control to your phone

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Elliptic Labs CEO Laila Danielsen shows how simple hand gestures can activate her smartphone's camera. Photo: Elliptic Labs
Elliptic Labs CEO Laila Danielsen shows how simple hand gestures can activate her smartphone's camera. Photo: Elliptic Labs

You taking a selfie and a dolphin hunting for prey don’t seem to have much in common. But what if you could operate your smartphone with signals similar to the ones dolphins use to find food?

Elliptic Labs, which has bases in San Francisco, Norway and China, used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, to show off advances in ultrasonic touchless gesturing Tuesday that will be available on some smartphone models later this year.

“We are excited about this,” chief technology officer Haakon Bryhni told Cult of Mac in a phone interview from Barcelona. “We’ve been working with touchless gesturing for years and now we have a real breakthrough. The technology enables you to wake up the phone, take a selfie or engage any other functions on the phone without touching it.”

Hands Free: Hang Your iPad From Your Belt

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Dorks of the world, rejoice. Runnur has designed the perfect way for you to carry your iPad on your belt and not look cool. Countless hours doubtless went into making sure that the Hands Free would be not only secure and reliable, but also make you look like an utter drongo when you use it.

Hands-Free Leap Motion Controller Hits 1 Million App Downloads

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It's like magic!
It's like magic!

Remember the hands-free Leap Motion Controller for Mac that everyone went on and on about how cool it was going to be? The one that got delayed until July?

Well, it’s been three weeks since it actually started shipping, and the team behind the 3-D motion controller is reporting some significant numbers, including 25,000 downloads of its software developer kit (which allows developers to include code for the device in their own apps), and 1 million downloads of apps that work with the hardware.

That’s pretty fantastic, right?

BMWs, Minis Get Glympse One-Touch Location-Broadcast Feature

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Glympse is a clever — and potentially lifesaving — feature that we’d love to see in more smartphone-connected cars.

It started out as a free app that can broadcast the user’s location to selected contacts, Facebook friends or Twitter followers. But it’s become a valuable tool for drivers of smartphone-connected Fords and Merecedes-Benzes, allowing them to broadcast their location without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

Now BMW and Mini have partnered with Glympse, raising the marque total to four.

Parrot Asteroid Classic Car Sound System: The Deck I Wish I’d Had in High School [Review]

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This is the original Parrot Asteroid Classic car stereo head-unit ($349), and it made quite a splash when it launched last year. The single-DIN, 4×55 watt receiver boasts a formidable array of features: Bluetooth connectivity, powerfully accurate voice recognition for both calls and music, a GPS receiver, a bright, 3.2-inch LED screen and a quiver of apps that run off its customized, upgradeable, early-vintage Android 1.5 OS (all of which require a data connection via a dongle).

Though this model was originally called the the Asteroid (no Classic), the Classic nomen was added to lessen confusion as three new models were announced a few months ago. However, the Asteroid Classic still very much in play; in fact, as this review goes live, the Classic is the only member of the Asteroid family currently available, as its new siblings haven’t shipped yet.

With its Android-based OS, you’d be forgiven if you thought the Asteroid Classic was more friendly to Android phones than the iPhone. In fact, the opposite is true, as I’ll explain later. And while it suffers from something that can probably be described as teething trouble, it’s still a lust-worthy system.

Logitech UE 900 Earphones: The Next Generation From A Legendary Name Deserves High Praise, But Also Some Ridicule [Review]

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When one company swallows another, it’s common for a slow shift in rebranding and design to occur as the two entities thrash out their roles and relationship. The latest shift in the Logitech-Ultimate Ears story — Logitech purchased UE in 2008 — occured a month or so ago, when Ultimate Ears was rebranded as Logitech UE and launched a suite of high-end, blue-tinged soundware, with a product selection that reached far beyond the in-ear monitors the company has thus far been known for. In fact, out of seven new gadgets, just one new IEM was introduced: the Logitech UE 900 ($400), a quad-armature earphone that now sits at the pinnacle of UE’s non-custom earphone line.

The UE 900 has lineage, of course; we loved the snug fit, solid build and amazing sound of its antecedent, the TripleFi 10. But the TripleFi 10 is gone, and the UE 900 has stepped into its place with new ergonomics, a new sound — and a lot of blue.

Jabra Freeway Bluetooth Speakerphone: Excellent for Chatting, Not So Much for Music [Review]

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The Jabra Freeway ($100) is Jabra’s flagship bluetooth car speakerphone. The Freeway has loads of top-rung features like hands-free voice commands, caller announcements and FM music-streaming, wrapped around three loud, powerful speakers accompanied by noise-cancelling dual microphones — making it a very attractive option for drivers who want to add a hands-free speakerphone to their cars.