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Health and Fitness

Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: Pixel 7 Launched

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Jaynie Seal) we took a first look at Google’s new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Widely regarded as the smartest phones available, the Pixels go on sale from October 13.

If you’ve ever deleted a photo because it was blurry .. you may have made a mistake.  Google says Photo Unblur can improve blurry photos that suffer from mild to moderate motion blur, camera shake, and mild misfocus blur. The phone uses machine learning to work out what should be sharp in the the picture. These are examples supplied by Google but I’ll be testing this feature on many photos ahead of the review embargo. It works .. and it might save your old library.

Magic Eraser should work faster and so should the whole phone with the new processor, the G2 Tensor chip. The three new cameras on the Pro model are impressive. The Macro lens can focus on subjects at 3 cm. Super Res Zoom up to 8x on Pixel 7 and up to 30x on Pixel 7 Pro (this 5x optical + 48 MP long lens is big news as it challenges the S22 Ultra) but we’ll see how it goes in testing.

It also has enhanced video – a cinematic mode like iPhone, can also guide visually impaired to take selfies, do deal time translations and message transcriptions.  It can even separate who is speaking in meeting and record it as text. There’s plenty more from the Pixel 7 that I’ll dig into over the coming weeks.

PIXEL 7 STARTS FROM  $999

PIXEL 7 PRO STARTS FROM $1299

PIXEL WATCH IS A GOOD START

My first impressions of the Pixel Watch are very positive. It looks stylish with a round design. It has a large bezel but it’s hidden well.  This is a Google Pixel Watch with Wear OS but it’s using Fitbit health and fitness tracking. Google finalised its purchase of Fitbit in Jan of 2021.

The bands have a special locking design. They slide and click into place. Battery life is listed as 24 hours but I’ll put that to the test. It will work with other Android phones but not with iPhones. This is a big moment for Android smartwatches. If the Pixel Watch is a success – it makes the ecosystem more attractive to Google and that’s good for Android users.  

PIXEL WATCH STARTS FROM $549 

META GIVES USERS NEW TOOLS FOR FEED CONTROL

This week Meta announced new ways to customise what we see on our Facebook Feed. Now, you can select Show more or Show less on posts from the people and communities you’re connected to and posts that Facebook recommends to you. Selecting Show more will temporarily increase the ranking score for that post and posts like it. If you select Show less, you’ll temporarily decrease its ranking score.

It’s believed the filter will last for 60 days. 

I also reveal how I UNFOLLOWED everyone on Facebook. I’m still friends with everyone so they can tag me and see my posts but I don’t see anything like politics or links to stories I’m not interested in. This is my own experiment and so far it’s keeping my feed clean but you do miss out on the group conversation. So maybe I’ll start following everyone again soon.

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Health and Fitness

Samsung Galaxy Ring to Rule Them All

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Over the last few weeks more details have emerged about Samsung’s highly anticipated wearable device, the Galaxy Ring. The health tracker could be launched as soon as next month, more likely August.

The Galaxy Ring was teased by Samsung earlier this year at Unpacked – the launch of the S24 Series – but some of the battery sizes, 17 mAh, 18.5 mAh and 22 mAh were discovered by mysmartprice as the rings were going through FCC approvals.

UNPACKED 2024

Other battery capacities could end up in the final products because there’s a lot of speculation at the moment. Battery life could last up to nine days which makes this an easy tracker to wear.

We’re expecting up to nine sizes – available in black, sliver and gold.

THE GALAXY RING WILL COME IN 9 SIZES AND THREE COLOURS

As I discussed with Tim Gilbert in the video at the top of this story, a smart ring with sensors is ideal for monitoring sleep. Its long battery life and close contact with the body, ensures sustained and accurate data.

The Galaxy Ring will play a big role in Samsung’s health initiatives along with the Galaxy Watch. A summary called ‘My Vitality Score’ will take into account all of the readings to give you a number to aim for in your health and fitness goals.

MY VITALITY SCORE

There’s also a feature called ‘Booster Cards’, that offers more AI powered analysis of your bio data.

Samsung Health Partner Day MAY 2024

“In this new mobile era of AI, Samsung is focused on remaining at the forefront of maximizing information,” said Dr. Hon Pak, Vice President and Head of Digital Health Team, MX Business at Samsung Electronics.

“With the intelligence of AI, the most transformative technology of the century, users will receive more personalized insights and tailored health experiences through Samsung Health’s extensive global dataset from 64M monthly active users. And while every user’s wellness journey is unique, we believe they all start in the same way – by gaining a deeper understanding of their health through more comprehensive insights, spanning the longest time possible.”

He went on to say in an editorial, “This is why we’ve continued to build a portfolio of tools that help track their health conveniently, continuously and accurately.”

“This approach comes to life in our wearables portfolio with upcoming features like My Vitality Score and Booster Card, combining more data with new intelligent analysis to deliver even more personalised and actionable guidance day and night.”

COMPETITION

Samsung has some serious competition in this space from well established Finnish tech company Oura.

The Oura Ring Generation 3 features Automatic Activity Detection, Daytime Heart Rate Monitoring, Period Prediction, Early Illness Detection, Rest Mode, and Personalised Bedtime Guidance.

OURA RING CAPTURES SLEEP DATA

Oura Rings start from US$299 with a US$5.99 per month subscription for in-depth reporting on your readings.

These include:

  • In-depth sleep analysis every morning
  • Personalized health insights & recommendations
  • Live & accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Temperature trend monitoring as a tool to predict periods and to identify early signs of sickness

Samsung has taken preemptive legal action to head off any patent claims before the Galaxy Ring hits shelves.

As Tim suggested in the Sky News segment above, “The Galaxy Ring” – “Sounds like a movie doesn’t it?”

It sure does .. and the drama is just beginning.

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Apple

Why Apple Watch is Apple’s Most Important Product

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I think the Apple Watch is the best (or should I say?) most important device the tech giant makes. It’s amazing for notifications, productivity and fitness but most of all – it’s vital for health and safety.

As I explained on Sky News Weekend Edition in the video above, Apple’s latest Watch campaign includes a couple of Australian survival stories that give compelling reasons as to why having a smartwatch is a good idea.

The two Aussies are Bruce Mildenhall and Lexie Northcott. We spoke with them last week and they had two very different lifesaving experiences with Apple Watch.

BRUCE’S STORY – FALL DETECTION

Back in 2021 Bruce Mildenhall was enjoying his regular bike ride in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges when a Kangaroo hopped out of nowhere.

After hitting a kangaroo and coming off his bike, he was knocked out. Fortunately for Bruce, his Apple Watch detected the fall and notified his emergency contacts and emergency services. 

Mildenhall remembers waking up in an ambulance and hearing his wife pounding on the door asking if he was alive. He was taken to hospital where he spent a week recovering from a dislocated shoulder and fractured ribs. 

There’s no doubt fall detection helped Mildenhall receive medical attention quickly. Without it, he could have been stuck for hours or days. It’s also important to consider a cellular Apple Watch. It works independently of the iPhone (once setup) but it’s also important to note that a cellular Apple Watch will call 000 even it doesn’t have a plan.

Bruce says he’s fully recovered from his injuries and he’s back on the bike, cycling the same route like a champ.

LEXIE NORTHCOTT – LOW HEART RATE NOTIFICATIONS

This a powerful story about taking the data seriously from your Apple Watch.

In 2019 Lexie Northcott was just 16 when she received an Apple Watch as a birthday present. Soon after wearing the watch she started receiving low heart rate notifications – daily. 

As a young and fit person, Lexie dismissed the notifications. But the notifications kept coming, several times a day.

A year after receiving the watch, Lexie was visiting a doctor on another matter when her mother, Karla, mentioned the Apple Watch notifications. The doctor assumed Lexie would be fine considering her age but suggested she get an ECG (electrocardiogram) just to be sure. 

A week later things escalated for dramatically.

During the ECG, doctors informed Lexie that she was at extreme risk of heart failure. They rushed to Melbourne where she received heart surgery.  

Lexie is doing fine now and admits to feeling safer because of her Apple Watch. Karla (mum) believes the Apple Watch saved her daughters life. Without it, they would not have known to mention a low heart rate concern to doctors.

This is why the Apple Watch is the most important device made by Apple, in my opinion. If your parents are getting older and they have an iPhone, seriously consider getting them an Apple Watch.

There is no downside, just up.

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Health

New Withings ScanWatch Nova is Stylish and Smart

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The problem with many smartwatches is … they look like smartwatches. The ScanWatch Nova is different. It’s not the first smart/health watch that Withings has made with classic looks but it’s certainly the latest and greatest.

Underneath that metal housing, ScanWatch Nova tracks advanced health metrics and activity including on-demand electrocardiogram, SpO2, 24/7 body temperature and in-depth sleep analysis. 

“ScanWatch Nova makes continuous measurements autonomous and effortless with an extraordinary 30-day battery life,” said tienne Trégaro, Product Manager at Withings.

“The splendid timepiece imperceptibly embeds a powerful health scan, with all the cutting-edge innovations to enhance your health, wrapped in a stylish aesthetic inspired by the timeless tradition of diver-style watchmaking”. 

ScanWatch Nova is inspired by the diver-style watchmaking

SCANWATCH FEATURES

  • On-demand medical-grade electrocardiogram: Detect potential heart anomalies at any time such as atrial fibrillation, one of the most prevalent forms of arrhythmias characterised by irregular heart rhythms. Nearly 2 million signs of AFib have been identified on  ScanWatch since 2020. By simply touching the bezel, users can launch an ECG reading with live results on the Withings app in just 30 seconds. 
  • Indication of onset of an illness: Track baseline fluctuations of day and night body temperature which may indicate the onset of an illness or other health conditions. Its revolutionary TempTech24/7 module technology combines miniaturised heat flux sensors (measuring energy transit) with a high-accuracy temperature sensor (measuring ambient & skin temperature), alongside heart rate and accelerometer input calibrations to deliver best-in-class body temperature variation assessment.  
  • Respiratory system assessment: Track on-demand blood oxygen (SpO2) and overnight breathing disturbances. Good blood oxygenation is necessary for optimal muscle function. 
  • Advanced sleep metrics: Wake up to a Sleep Quality Score and explore advanced sleep metrics (phases, depth, duration, interruptions) which can help improve your sleep. 
  • Seamless tracking during physical activity: Track parameters such as steps, calories, elevation, workout routes (via in-app connected GPS) and the automatic recognition of 40+ activities.
  • Leading-edge technology: Utilising MultiWave PPG sensors and HealthSenseTM – Withings’ proprietary operating system, ScanWatch Nova can track advanced cardiovascular vitals including heart rate, heart rate variability, and ECG. It also measures SpO2, and breathing disturbances and tracks sleep patterns.  
  • Intuitive connection to the Withings app: The Withings app allows users to customise the screen and the information they can see on the watch display such as the heart rate variability3, the number of steps taken, the variation of the baseline body temperature, activities and much more. To take things to the next level, a long press on the dial can launch your preferred feature and its ‘quick look option’ activates the watch display with a lift of the wrist. Through the app, users can also receive personalised insights, trends, and recommendations to improve their health journey.
ScanWatch Nova comes in blue, black or green

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light will be available in Australia at JB Hi-Fi and Amazon.com.au from Monday 8 January 2024. ScanWatch Nova will be available from late January.

ScanWatch Nova will be priced at $799.99 AUD and comes in blue, black and green, with an Oyster metal wristband and FKM wristband which users can easily swap to suit the occasion. 

ScanWatch 2 (38 & 42 mm) will be priced at $699 AUD with a Silver Black (42mm), silver white (38mm), silver black (38mm) and Rose Gold sand face (38mm) and later on with a Silver white face (42mm) and Rose Gold blue face (38mm). 

ScanWatch Light, sized 37mm, will be priced at $479 AUD with a silver black, silver white and rose gold sand face and later on with a light blue and light green face. Each model features an OLED grayscale display and are available with optional coloured wristbands. 

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