HTC Hopes Its Long-Awaited 5K Vive Pro 2 Headset Won’t Make You Sick

Illustration for article titled HTC Hopes Its Long-Awaited 5K Vive Pro 2 Headset Won't Make You Sick

Image: HTC Vive

We haven’t seen a new HTC Vive virtual reality headset in a minute, but today, the company announced two new devices, including the Vive Pro 2.

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The second-gen Vive Pro looks a lot like its predecessor, but nearly every core spec has been upgraded in some way. HTC’s latest high-end consumer VR headset sports a 5K resolution (2.5K to each eye), a wider 120-degree field of view, and a faster 120Hz refresh rate, all of which combines to prevent the motion sickness that people sometimes encounter on less sophisticated head-mounted displays, HTC said. The company also said it moved over to a new display with fast-switching RGB sub-pixels, so in addition to more resolution, graphics on the Vive Pro 2 should look extra sharp and colorful.

In a first for a VR headset, HTC said it worked with both Nvidia and AMD to add support for Display Stream Compression via DisplayPort 1.2, which is a visual compression technique used to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to output video with practically no loss in image quality. And in a somewhat pleasant surprise, HTC said the Vive Pro 2’s minimum hardware requirements only include an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU or a Radeon 5000-series card, which is good news for anyone who has had trouble getting their hands on a current-gen graphics card (which is pretty much everyone).

Illustration for article titled HTC Hopes Its Long-Awaited 5K Vive Pro 2 Headset Won't Make You Sick

Image: HTC Vive

The Vive Pro 2 features a handy knob for adjusting IPD (interpupillary distance) and built-in speakers that support 3D spatial audio, along with a revamped headband that delivers a more comfortable fit and a 50-50 weight balance.

One thing I was hoping to see that didn’t make the cut on the Vive Pro 2 is native wireless tethering for receiving video from a nearby PC. This means you still need a physical video cable unless you opt for Vive’s Wireless Adapter, which is compatible with both the original Vive Pro and the new Vive Pro 2.

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The other small bummer is that with a starting price of $800 for just the headset, the Vive Pro 2 is still rather expensive compared to something like the Oculus Quest 2. That said, the Quest 2 does have a lower resolution display and a narrower FOV, so the old adage that you get for what you pay for still applies. Also, for people who might not already have base stations or controllers to pair with the Vive Pro 2, the headset will also be available as a kit with two Base Station 2.0 and two Vive controllers for $1,400.

The other new HTC Vive headset, the Vive Focus 3, is intended primarily for enterprise and large corporations, and in some respects, it’s actually the more interesting gadget of the two.

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Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chip, the Vive Focus 3 is many ways like the Quest 2 but with even better optics. Not only does it have a 5K display similar to what you get in the Vive Pro 2 (but with a 90Hz refresh rate instead of 120Hz), it supports both standalone operation (no need for a nearby PC) and a wired mode, so you can get that full wireless experience or higher fidelity graphics from a tethered PC depending on your needs.

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The Focus 3 also features new controllers and a chassis featuring a magnesium alloy frame that HTC said is 20% lighter and 500% stronger than typical plastic. You also get inside-out tracking thanks to the four cameras on the outside of the headset, front and rear gaskets that can be changed out for easy cleaning, built-in speakers, and even a special audio privacy mode to prevent people from eavesdropping on you while you’re in a meeting. In a nod toward enterprise use, the Focus 3 comes with a swappable battery system that lets you slap on a fresh power pack in just a few seconds.

The Vive Focus 3 will cost $1,300 and includes a two-year enterprise warranty, in addition to a whole suite of new business-focused software support and apps to help companies more easily transition from traditional office collaboration to working in VR.

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Now technically, anyone can pay $1,300 for a Focus 3 if what they want is essentially a Quest 2 with better specs, but unfortunately, the Focus doesn’t come with the same kind of software and support the average consumer wants, so unless you’re planning on tinkering around on your own, the Vive Pro 2 is likely the better option.

The Vive Focus 2 is available for pre-order today and officially starts shipping on June 4. The Vive Focus 3 arrives June 27.

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Neuralink President Announces That He’s Left Elon Musk’s Brain-Computer Interface Company

Illustration for article titled Neuralink President Announces That He’s Left Elon Musk’s Brain-Computer Interface Company

Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

Max Hodak, the president of Neuralink, a company that aims to connect human brains with computers which was cofounded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, has said he left the company a few weeks ago. Hodak did not provide any reason for his departure.

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In a post on Twitter on Saturday, Hodak, who is also a Neuralink cofounder, said he learned “a ton” at the company and that he remained a “huge cheerleader” for it. Although Hodak did not reveal where he was going next, he mentioned he was moving on to new things. In a response to a comment, he did seem to cross out “Jurassic Park” as one possible option, a reference to his recent statement that Neuralink could probably build a real-life version of Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur clone park.

“Wouldn’t be genetically authentic dinosaurs but,” Hodak stated on Twitter on April 4, adding a man shrugging emoji. “Maybe 15 years of breeding + engineering to get super exotic novel species.”

As someone who used to have nightmares about dinosaurs as a child because of Jurassic Park, I say no thank you.

Launched in 2017, Neuralink aims to use ultra-high bandwidth brain interfaces, or implantable chips, to connect human brains with computers. Musk has stated a variety of uses for the product, from enabling someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind to allowing paraplegics to walk again. Neuralink could also help humans achieve a “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence, according to Musk, allowing us to be on the same level as our advanced technologies.

Neuralink made headlines in April when it stated that it managed to get a monkey named Pager to play the video game Pong
with its mind and published a video that apparently demonstrated this. Researchers had implanted a Neuralink on either side of the nine-year-old macaque monkey’s brain about six weeks before they recorded the video.

Before learning to play Pong, researchers taught Pager how to use a joystick, rewarding him with a banana smoothie delivered through a straw when he moved a cursor to a lit-up block on the screen. This exercise allowed the Neuralink devices in his brain to record its activity via the more than 2,000 electrodes implanted in the motor cortex regions, which coordinate hand and arm movements.

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The data was then fed into a Neuralink decoder algorithm so that it could predict the monkey’s intended hand movements. After a few minutes of calibration, the decoder understood Pager’s neural patterns well enough that the monkey no longer needed the joystick to move the cursor to the block. Pager could move it with his mind, the video’s narrator stated. A demonstration of so-called MingPong ensued.

Monkeys aren’t the only ones with Neuralinks in their brains. The company is also testing its technology on pigs, although it hasn’t published any videos of pigs playing Pong. Musk has stated that the Food and Drug Administration had granted Neuralink the status of a “breakthrough device,” a classification that speeds up the development, assessment, and review of medical devices.

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Montblanc’s Summit Lite Finally Comes to the U.S.

Illustration for article titled Montblanc's Summit Lite Finally Comes to the U.S.

Photo: Montblanc

Montblanc’s Summit Lite has, since January, been the high-end smartwatch for the Euro set. Encased in steel, the $860 piece is a less expensive version of the luxury company’s Summit 2+, a $1,170 splurge that is one of the last luxury smartwatches on the market.

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Now, to much rejoicing, the Summit Lite has come to the U.S.

The Summit Lite runs Google’s Wear OS on a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and sports a 1.19-inch AMOLED screen. It has GPS built-in but no cellular connectivity and can survive in up to 50 meters of water. The case size is a huge 43mm, which makes it a bit problematic for those with smaller wrists.

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Photo: Montblanc

The piece is definitely aimed at the health-conscious and includes sleep and fitness tracking and coaching apps built by Montblanc to augment Wear OS’s complement of services.

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Photo: Montblanc

The watch also comes in an ATW 80 edition inspired by Around the World in 80 Days. The edition includes a custom band, unique watch faces, and a clever little face animation that shows a steamship taking to the briny sea.

The case comes in black or matte silver and includes a fabric or rubber strap. The ATW 80 Edition has a patterned leather strap, and it doesn’t come on a bracelet.

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Photo: Montblanc

Montblanc and Tag Heuer are the only two real competitors in the acceptably priced luxury smartwatch market. (Hublot offers the comically named and priced BIG BANG e for $8,000.) And even though the Summit Lite is running an older chipset, we have to assume the case quality and a modicum of upgradability will encourage the Montblanc lover to pony up nearly $900 for a fitness tracker.

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A Health Tech Company Says the Apple Watch Is Infringing on Its ECG Patents

Illustration for article titled A Health Tech Company Says the Apple Watch Is Infringing on Its ECG Patents

Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

When Apple unveiled FDA-cleared ECG capabilities with the Apple Watch Series 4, it spurred a slew of other wearables companies to do the same. Now, health tech company AliveCor has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming the Cupertino-based tech giant allegedly infringed on three of its ECG patents. And it wants the ITC to block imports of the Apple Watch into the U.S.—a move that, if granted, would also block sales of the watch once inventory runs out.

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You may remember AliveCor as the creator of the KardiaBand, an ECG watch strap that was the first FDA-cleared Apple Watch accessory. When Apple launched the Series 4 in 2018, many pondered what that meant for the KardiaBand. At the time, AliveCor’s then-CEO Vic Gundotra shrugged off concerns in an interview with CNBC, and even seemingly “thanked” Apple for shining a light on the concept of mobile ECG devices. AliveCor reiterated those sentiments a few months later, telling MobiHealthNews that “We’re not convinced that Apple’s excellent, engaging product is a competitor yet … So their technology is excellent, but we think the platform is both complicated and expensive and certainly not, from a marketing perspective, targeting the patient populations we target.”

Even so, by August 2019 the company had pulled KardiaBand from the market and pivoted to its other products, like the KardiaMobile 6L, a six-lead personal ECG device.

“AliveCor contends that Apple Inc. is infringing AliveCor’s asserted patents through the sale of Apple watches that employ infringing functionality,” AliveCor said in a press release about its ITC complaint. “Filing in the ITC is one step, among others, AliveCor is taking to obtain relief for Apple’s intentional copying of AliveCor’s patented technology—including the ability to take an ECG reading on the Apple Watch, and to perform heart rate analysis—as well as Apple’s efforts to eliminate AliveCor as competition in the heart rate analysis market for the Apple Watch.”

Back in December, AliveCor also filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6 infringed on the same three patents, which all deal with the ability to monitor and track arrhythmia, including tachycardia (faster than normal heart rate), bradycardia (slower than normal heart rate) and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rate). In the suit, AliveCor said its patents are “novel, unconventional and focus on specific means and methods of using specialized sensors in a wearable device to improve upon existing cardiac monitoring technology.” It also contends that Apple was well aware of these patents when it created the Series 4, 5, and 6.

While it’s very possible that AliveCor has a leg to stand on here, there are some questions that need answering. For starters, why now? It’s been nearly three years since the Series 4 launched, and two since AliveCor pulled the KardiaBand. It’s probably true that the Series 4 made something like the KardiaBand seem unnecessary for Apple users, but another big issue was that the Series 4 didn’t require users to visit a doctor who would review the readings before being able to access their results. The KardiaBand did. That said, the company itself pivoted a long time ago to the KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L. Both are portable devices that deliver spot check ECG readings, with the latter featuring six leads compared to the single lead in the Apple Watch (and other ECG-capable smartwatches). At $150, the 6L is significantly cheaper than ECG-capable Apple Watches and not confined to iOS users. In general, these devices, their use cases, and price points are fairly different. Even if you had an ECG-capable Apple Watch for continuous monitoring, you might still want the KardiaMobile 6L for more in-depth readings.

The underlying technology in these devices might be similar, but then again, the concept of a closed circuit to take an ECG is also not a secret. That’s just how ECGs work. Algorithmically speaking, there’s no way to know how Apple’s algorithm differed from AliveCor’s in detecting abnormalities based on publicly available information. That said, Apple launched its own Apple Heart Study in 2017 with Stanford to see how the watch might be useful for monitoring irregular heart rhythms using the PPG sensor. Other third-party studies were also conducted around that time indicating that Apple Watches, Fitbits, and other off-the-shelf trackers could identify arrhythmia and other heart conditions.

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Another question is whether AliveCor intends to sue Samsung, Fitbit, and Withings for patent infringement as well, given that they have all since released ECG-capable smartwatches that function similarly to the Apple Watch. Gizmodo reached out to both AliveCor and Apple for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply.

In any case, if AliveCor is successful in its lawsuit and ITC complaint, that would have huge implications for wearables as a whole. Right now, the Apple Watch is the top-selling smartwatch, and blocking imports into the U.S. would be kneecapping Apple in its biggest market, all while it’s in the midst of rolling out ECG functionality to other countries.

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For Those Who Hate Smartwatches, Fitbit Has a Fancy New Fitness Tracker

Illustration for article titled For Those Who Hate Smartwatches, Fitbit Has a Fancy New Fitness Tracker

Image: Fitbit

The Fitbit Luxe, the company’s newest and most expensive band, can best be described as: fitness tracker, but make it fashion.

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The $150 Luxe, which Fitbit announced today, is the first of Fitbit’s fitness bands to sport a color touchscreen. It offers 24/7 heart rate-monitoring, as you might expect, and comes with a six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, meaning you’ll get access to the Health Metrics dashboard for more advanced heart rate stats, sleep tracking, stress management scores, and the Deepak Chopra mindfulness sessions. It will track SpO2 and skin temperature variation via the Health Metrics dashboard, but surprisingly these features are “coming soon” and may not be available at launch.

But the Luxe is the first new Fitbit to launch with blood glucose logging, which the company rolled out a few months ago via a software update. As far as notifications go, the Luxe will have customizable call, text, and app notifications. It’ll also have some features that you more typically see on smartwatches, like clock faces, bedtime reminders, and do not disturb modes. Android users also get to benefit from Google Fast Pair for speedier setup.

The Luxe relies solely on swipes and taps—no buttons to see here. Unfortunately, its GPS is tethered to your phone and not built in, which is a little disappointing but makes sense considering the fashion focus. Fitbit said the Luxe will last up to five days on a charge, which is fairly standard for a Fitbit, but much less than the 10 days Fitbit’s other main fitness tracker, the Inspire 2, delivers. To be fair, the Luxe is adding a color touchscreen, which is more energy-hungry than the Inspire 2’s monochrome LED screen.

Fitness trackers tend to be affordable and utilitarian wristbands with the same tired design. So even though a fancy fitness tracker is a paradox, it’s neat Fitbit that is trying to do something different in this space. The Luxe isn’t too different—after all, it still looks like a fitness tracker—but its subtle rounded shape, metal finishes, and color screen go a long way. Fitbit said its inspiration is handcrafted jewelry, and it used metal injection molding to mimic that feel. The band definitely looks chic compared to your average fitness tracker, but that bar is lower than my hope for universal healthcare in the U.S. this century. The last “pretty” Fitbit tracker was the Alta HR. Its latest, the Inspire 2, was so bland I almost forgot it existed.

The Gorjana bracelet for the Fitbit Luxe Special Edition is distinctly jewelry-like.

The Gorjana bracelet for the Fitbit Luxe Special Edition is distinctly jewelry-like.
Image: Fitbit

You feel the fashion element a bit more in the accessories. For $30-$100 extra, you can cop leather double-wrap straps, woven straps, stainless steel mesh bands, and platinum or gold link bracelets. A pricier $200 Luxe Special Edition, comes with a gold stainless steel Parker link bracelet designed by Gorjana, a Laguna Beach-based jewelry brand, and a peony-colored silicone band.

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Fitbit is already pushing it with the regular Luxe at $150, so barreling ahead with a $200 Special Edition is certainly A Choice. Fitbit’s $230 Versa 3 is a full-fledged smartwatch, and its $150 Charge 4 has better battery life and built-in GPS. By comparison, the Luxe’s price tag is borderline madness. Though, to be fair, Fitbit did warn us by calling this thing Luxe.

You can preorder the Fitbit Luxe and the Luxe Special Edition starting today at Fitbit’s website or at major retailers. Accessories are sold separately and range from $30 to $100. The regular Luxe is expected to ship sometime this spring, and the Special Edition will ship in June.

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Facebook VP Says There Aren’t Any Plans to Release a Quest Pro or Quest 3 in 2021

Illustration for article titled Facebook VP Says There Aren't Any Plans to Release a Quest Pro or Quest 3 in 2021

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Despite dropping hints that Facebook could be working on a new more powerful VR headset, Facebook VP Andrew Bosworth made it clear recently that the company doesn’t have any plans to release a Quest Pro or Quest 3 headset anytime this year.

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The subject of a new headset from Facebook came up recently during a podcast (recorded by UploadVR here) hosted by Facebook Reality Labs vice president Andrew Bosworth and Oculus CTO John Carmack where Bosworth admitted that even though he had previously mentioned the possibility of a more sophisticated Quest Pro headset, he wanted to make it clear that no such device is coming anytime soon.

When asked about future headsets from Facebook, Bosworth said “People are also asking about the Quest 3, which doesn’t exist yet, and everyone who is listening to us who is a reporter there isn’t a Quest 3, there’s only a Quest 2, but I did hint at an AMA earlier this year about Quest Pro because we do have a lot of things in development where we want to introduce new functionality to the headset along the kinds that people theorize that we would want to introduce, and that’s a little ways off still. It’s still not gonna happen this year.”

Bosworth then capped off the podcast by saying “For those who are curious, Quest 2 is going to be in the market for a while – for a long while, and it’s gonna be, you know, I think the best bet for the most accessible way to get into VR and have a great experience.”

Renewed speculation about Facebook’s plans for future VR hardware has recently been spurred on by the release of the Resident Evil 4 VR remake, which doesn’t run on the original Quest and is the first new title made exclusively for the Oculus Quest 2. This caused a small panic among Quest 2 owners regarding Facebook’s long-term support of its current flagship VR headset, which originally came out back in the fall of 2020.

So far, both Facebook and Oculus developers have been rather slow to begin pulling support for the original Quest, with Bosworth claiming that there are over a million people still using Facebook’s last-gen headset. However, with Facebook having designated both the original Quest and the Rift S as products that have reached end-of-life, it’s pretty clear that the Quest 2 is Facebook’s flagship headset for both mobile and desktop VR experiences for the foreseeable future.

Thankfully—with Oculus having recently announced new features for the Quest 2 including support for native wireless VR streaming (called Oculus Air Link), improved productivity features, and faster 120Hz refresh rates—it seems there’s plenty of room to continue improving Facebook’s current VR goggles without the need for all-new hardware.

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And when it comes to what is still a relatively new branch of tech, updated components and more powerful hardware are always nice, but there’s something to be said about focusing on the stability of your platform too, which is what Facebook seems to be doing with the Quest 2.

A Fitbit for Mussels, Not Muscles

Illustration for article titled A Fitbit for Mussels, Not Muscles

Image: NC State

Even mollusks can’t escape wearables. Researchers from North Carolina State University have designed what they call a “custom Fitbit” to track freshwater mussel activity as a way to detect water pollutants.

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The researchers detailed their device in a paper in IEEE Sensors Letters. The way it works is two inertial measurement units (IMUs) are attached to a mussel’s top and bottom shells. Those IMUs contain both a magnetometer and an accelerometer, which is the same sensor in your smartphone or smartwatch that detects movement. Also, it turns out the sensors are pretty accurate. They’re able to detect the angle of a mussel’s shell opening with a margin of error of less than one degree.

“We’ve basically designed a custom Fitbit to track the activities of mussels,” said Alper Bozkurt, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of the paper, in a press release.

The idea is that bivalves—mussels, clams, oysters—are extremely sensitive to their environment, and are therefore good bioindicators for marine pollution. Sort of like a canary in the coal mine, except aquatic. They open their shells to feed, and when it comes to dinner time, mussels open their shells asynchronously. However, the researchers posit that if a mussel immediately shuts both parts of its shell, it could be a sign of toxic substances in the water around them.

Because there’s one IMU for the top shell and one for the bottom shell, researchers can determine if whether a mussel is purposefully closing or if a current just happens to be particularly feisty. The IMUs are then wired to a mounted, solar-powered data system that’s capable of wirelessly transmitting collected data over a cellular network. So, like an invertebrate’s version of a fitness app and smartphone.

“Folks have been trying to find ways to measure how widely mussels or oysters open their shells off and on since the 1950s, but there have been a wide variety of challenges,” Jay Levine, another co-author and professor of epidemiology at NC State. “We needed something that allows the animals to move, can be placed in streams and collects data—and now we have it.”

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Generally, when mussels are used as bioindicators, we know there are pollutants in their environment because they, uh, die. With this system, it’s possible that researchers could detect pollutants without the mollusks having to bite the dust. And like any good activity tracker, the device can also be used to monitor mussel health and behavior. For humans, that generally means metrics like resting heart rate, how well you slept, and how often you exercise. For mussels, that means things like what environmental factors trigger feeding, whether that’s impacted by temperature, and if there are harmless reasons why a mussel might shut its shell.

“While we know a lot about these animals, there is also a lot we don’t know,” said Levine. “The sensors provide us with the opportunity to develop baseline values for individual animals, and to monitor their shell movement in response to environmental changes.”

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So far, the researchers have tested the mussel Fitbit for more than 250 hours, but they’ll have to conduct real-life field testing to see if this is a viable solution. A prototype version was able to track four mussels simultaneously. That said, the researchers say that it could easily be scaled up to track dozens of mussels at a time.

“Our aim is to establish an ‘internet-of-mussels’ and monitor their individual and collective behavior,” said Bozkurt.

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So in a nutshell, mollusks have wearables now, and if the researchers have their way, we could end up having a multi-mussel mesh network. You love to see it.

Peloton’s Latest Moves Hint at a Possible Smartwatch

Illustration for article titled Peloton's Latest Moves Hint at a Possible Smartwatch

Photo: Scott Heins/Stringer (Getty Images)

Peloton’s had a lot of ups and downs over the past year, but it recently snapped up an interesting mix of smaller tech companies. This latest round of acquisitions seems to hint that the company could be mulling its own wearable device—or at the very least, adding some interesting AI-powered features to its existing products.

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Recent reports from Bloomberg and Wareable say that Peloton bought Aiqudo, Atlas Wearables, and Otari late in 2020. Aiqudo is an AI startup that specializes in helping developers add digital assistants to apps and devices. Otari has made an interactive workout mat complete with its own screen. Otari’s mat also includes a form of AI coaching to help correct form and count reps. Lastly, Atlas Wearables makes wearable sensors that focus on accurately recording workouts involving weights and bodyweight moves—something that no smartwatch has really figured out how to do well.

The Atlas Wearables acquisition is especially noteworthy. The company has built up a huge database of exercises, based on the actual movements of personal trainers from a wide variety of activity types like HIIT, Crossfit, Bootcamp, strength training, etc. Right now, while many trackers and smartwatches do offer strength training or weight recording, they’re terrible at recording how many reps of which exercise you’ve done. For some, like the Apple Watch, these activities just record your heart rate and duration, with calorie burn calculated based on a combination of other metrics. This is one of the biggest gaps in fitness tracking right now, as most available wearables are more suited to tracking cardio or recovery-based activities and metrics.

If you put it all together, it looks very much like Peloton could be laying the groundwork to expand its hardware to include better automatic workout detection, digital assistants, and, possibly, AI form coaching. It’s a compelling thought when you consider Peloton’s current ecosystem. Its bikes and treadmills all include big screens—and its newer bike and treadmill both have screens that rotate so you can switch from cycling/running to other exercise types more easily. Plus, Peloton also sells its own heartrate monitors and offers integration with the Apple Watch. Lastly, the company recently rolled out a feature called Stacked Classes, which allows you to more easily create a “workout playlist.” As in, you can schedule a 30-minute bike ride, followed by a 20-minute strength session, and a 10-minute cooldown. Adding a smartwatch-like gadget (or AI detection to its screens) that can auto-record you switching from one activity to the next or provide live feedback about form would be a massive achievement.

More food for thought: Peloton also dropped $420 million to buy Precor, one of the world’s largest commercial fitness equipment makers, in December. At the time, it looked like the move was more to shore up Peloton’s supply chain and address those pesky, months-long delays that have frustrated many new buyers. In addition to gaining all of Precor’s U.S. production facilities, the deal also included the company’s 100-member research and development team. This would, theoretically, give Peloton the ability to produce any new hardware on its own.

We won’t know what comes out of all these acquisitions for a while. And while Peloton itself is rather bullish about its growth post-pandemic, there is the looming possibility that its notorious delays and cabin fever result in people flocking back to gyms once lockdowns end. Still, all these acquisitions seem to point to a future where Peloton only becomes more powerful and influential in the connected fitness world—not less.

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The 10 Best Deals of March 26, 2021

Gif: Juliana Clark

Friday’s Best Deals | Kinja Deals

It’s March 26, and we at Kinja Deals are here to bring you the top 10 deals of the day. Say goodbye to your seasonal allergies with the TaoTronics Air Purifier. Protect your desk with the Aukey XXL Mouse Pad. And protect yourself with a 40-Pack: KN95 Masks.

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If you’re still craving more deals, take a peek at Friday’s best deals overall.

Clean air is such an important thing now more than ever. This is especially true in smaller spaces. Air purifiers are another in a long list of things we didn’t know we needed until the occasion arose. With bars and restaurants snatching them up more people turned to bring them into their own homes too. I have one can tell it makes a huge difference. Right now save $20 on this one from TaoTronics.

Air purifiers can help with a myriad of issues like pollen, dust, and especially pet dander. I live with two very furry dogs and the change in the living room has been substantial. The air seems much crisper. This TaoTronics purifier has three speeds and is whisper quiet. You’ll hardly know it’s there. The 3-stage H13 true HEPA filter is easy to clean and is washable. It has five layers and traps up to 99.97% of particles that are floating about in the air. You’ll get real-time updates on the quality of the air in whatever room you have it in. This helps you better understand what setting you’ll need. It’ll also tell you when the filter needs to be changed so no guessing there also. But you should be replacing filters between three and six months. This is a simple solution to a very common problem. Your family and lungs will thank you for your purchase.

Free one-day shipping for Prime members.

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This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari. 

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Let’s not get all fancy here. A simple deal deserves a simple write-up. You can grab Aukey’s XXL gaming mouse pad for $20, which is 50% off. It’s a big mouse pad. Big enough to hold both your keyboard and mouse. We’re talking 35.4×15.75. It’s non-slip. It’s spill-resistant. It’s got stitched edges. My favorites product detail: “No big logo or graphic across the pad to distract you during intensive gaming sessions.” It is true that I frequently am distracted by the big logo on my mouse pad when playing video games. I would say it is the #1 thing that has stopped me from being a pro gamer. If you need a mouse pad, it’s a big mouse pad. Let’s not overcomplicate things.

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This deal was originally posted by Giovanni Colantonio.

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Amazon makes the cheapest brand-name tablets around, and while we wouldn’t put them on par with proper iPads, they’re solid budget-friendly options for use-anywhere streaming media, ebooks, web browsing, and more. Usually, the dirt-cheap Fire 7 and the Fire HD 8 catch our attention, but it’s the sizable Fire HD 10 tablet that is Amazon’s best bargain at the moment.

Right now, the higher-capacity 64GB version of the large 1080p slate is just $108, a 43% savings off the $190 list price. This sizable Android tablet gives you a solidly crisp screen ideal for media, apps, browsing, and even games, plus the 12-hour battery life will keep you entertained whether kicking around at home right now or hopefully on future, safe travels.

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Amazon’s tablets aren’t the most powerful devices around, so keep your expectations in check as far as glossy 3D gaming and speedy multitasking. However, they hit a sweet spot in terms of function and price and are ideal for consuming media. Amazon customers give the Fire HD 10 a 4.6-star rating and the $108 price is for the 64GB version with ads on the lock screen. The ad-less version is $123, or you can always pay a fee to remove the ads later.

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This deal was originally published by Andrew Hayward.

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I’m so proud of you for still wearing a mask; it’s super cool of you. But do you need an upgrade or maybe something a little more heavy-duty? Or have you decided to start layering a KN95 under a cloth mask? Or maybe you just want to put your mind at ease with something a smidge more protective? Whatever your reason, you can grab a 40-pack of KN95 masks over at SideDeal for just $18 right now.

These are industry-standard, which means they are supposed to filter 95 percent of particles. That is just about as good as you can get. So the mask obviously doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of catching or spreading something, but if you wear it correctly, it still drastically reduces the likelihood of doing so. These are also great if you’ve got severe allergies or asthma and protect against pollen, dander, and whatnot. The KN95 mask isn’t made for clinical environments (not that you’re planning to perform surgery with these), but they will protect you and others in everyday environments against what is currently out there. Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear masks. So, thank you for doing your part!

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These masks have the metal bridge for keeping your mask snug, and the masks are wrapped up in eight packets containing five masks each, so you can keep a pack in your car, at your door, in your garage, in your purse— wherever you might need to keep some on hand.

If you’ve read a few of our pieces on SideDeal before and you like what you’ve seen, they offer a $5 monthly fee to get free shipping on all of your orders, no matter how many. That membership also gets you free shipping at Meh, Mediocritee, and MorningSave. Otherwise, shipping is $8 per order.

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This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.

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Bellesa is such a wonderful company, always making sure we are doing our best. For a limited time, they want you to have the best too. Get 20% off your order no matter what you choose and celebrate a new season of self-care. The discount will be applied at checkout, so no code needed.

Bellesa has a ton of new merch, and it’s all included in the sale. Each of their sweatshirts is a classic unisex fit but still pre-shrunk. So if you prefer yours to be big and comfy, size up; they’re a poly/cotton blend and with that traditional look, cinched at the cuffs and hem with the collar a bit loose. “Braless & Flawless” is the biggest hit so far. I’m partial to “Hydrate & Masturbate,” a true life lesson to follow every day, in my opinion. There are a few styles to pick from, plus they are sending out really adorable sticker sheets that match with each order.

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No, go undercover or under covers. If you need help picking something new, the Diskreet Vibe is the companion piece to the Diskreet Air (one of my favorite toys). This vibe sizes down the tech of the Aurora and Dea but not the potency. They somehow managed to get all that in just a 3.5” diameter toy. Choose how you want to groove with the multiple sides; there are options. This clitoral vibrator is just as cute as the above Air in its beautiful baby blue clamshell case. Both of these cases look like compacts and fit snuggling in your purse. They’re USB charged and waterproof too.

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Free shipping on all orders over $29.

This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari. 

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This Macy’s sale is so good you need to start overhauling old ratty towels and spruce up your bathroom for spring. Sunham’s soft spun cotton bath towels are just $6 when you use promo code VIP at checkout.

They come in eight colors, so you’re sure to find the right hues to blend with your bathroom decor. Each towel is made of cozy machine washable cotton and is guaranteed to be ultra soft. The bath towels are a standard 27″ x 52″. Act fast because these will not last. This deal runs until Sunday.

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Free shipping on orders over $25.

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This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.

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Air frying is one of the latest hit kitchen trends, as these handy devices can crisp up your meats and veggies without the excessive grease and fat of traditional frying. We’ve featured a fair number of air fryers here at Kinja Deals over the past several months, but this might be the cheapest one yet.

Right now, Best Buy has a Bella Pro Series touchscreen air fryer for just $25, marked down from $50. Granted, it’s a small one: the 2qt capacity means it won’t handle a huge meal, but it could take the main course of a dinner for two, or maybe a crispy side. In any case, if you want to try out air frying without committing to a larger and pricier model, this $25 device is a good starter pick.

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This deal was originally published by Andrew Hayward.

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Like a great many other products, Amazon has gotten into the business of making and selling its own dog food called Wag. It’s well-reviewed by customers and nutritional analysis suggests that it’s well balanced for health, with a lean protein as the first ingredient and no major red flags throughout the rest of the list.

If your dog already digs Wag or you’re looking to trial a new dog food, you can save 40% right now on an array of varieties and sizes, as well as Wag’s probiotic chews. Compare it to what you’re feeding your pup right now: it might be cheaper and/or healthier, and you can do a Subscribe & Save order to have it delivered regularly with an added discount.

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This deal was originally published by Andrew Hayward.

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Hello, gamers. For a short time, you can grab an AUKEY KM-G12 RGB Mechanical Keyboard for a low $39 with the code LML7QYBY. It’s 30% off the original list price of $55, so you’ll be saving a couple of bucks. One of our former writers, Elizabeth Henges, describes the keyboard below:

The KM-G12 keyboard itself feels like an absolute tank, too. I feel like it’d last for years and quite a few bad accidents before finally giving out. But it’s important to note that also like a tank, Aukey’s KM-G12 is LOUD. People joke about how loud mechanical keyboards are, but the secret is in the switches. My normal, non-Aukey keyboard uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which are known for being the quietest of the tactile bunch. This one here uses Aukey’s proprietary Blue switches, best compared to Cherry’s MX Blues which are both revered and reviled for their “audible click,” depending on who you ask.

And yes, it’s quite audible indeed. I used the Aukey keyboard for three days throughout my normal workflow (which, of course, involved a lot of typing), and I got used to the loud clicking faster than I thought I would. Discord’s new Noise Suppression mode also managed to cut the clicking out when I was speaking to people on voice chat, which is also good. So, provided you aren’t annoying a roommate or loved one by typing loudly five feet away from them, it’s not too bad.

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Nothing else to say, really! Grab it before it’s gone!

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This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher.

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Happy Monster Hunter Rise release day, monster hunters. The latest game in the franchise about destroying gigantic beasts is now out for Nintendo Switch and the reviews are glowing. Critics just love chopping these big boys into bits and turning them into hats. Who doesn’t? If you’ve yet to pick up a copy, here’s a little tip. You get a free Steelbook case when you buy the game at Best Buy. This is certainly a Switch game worth nabbing, so you might as well get a little bonus for your troubles. Who doesn’t like a shiny case? Happy hunting.

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This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.


Get This Extra Large, Spill-Resistant Gaming Mouse Pad for $20

Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

Aukey XXL Mouse Pad | $20 | Amazon

Let’s not get all fancy here. A simple deal deserves a simple write-up. You can grab Aukey’s XXL gaming mouse pad for $20, which is 50% off. It’s a big mouse pad. Big enough to hold both your keyboard and mouse. We’re talking 35.4×15.75. It’s non-slip. It’s spill-resistant. It’s got stitched edges. My favorites product detail: “No big logo or graphic across the pad to distract you during intensive gaming sessions.” It is true that I frequently am distracted by the big logo on my mouse pad when playing video games. I would say it is the #1 thing that has stopped me from being a pro gamer. If you need a mouse pad, it’s a big mouse pad. Let’s not overcomplicate things.

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