For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time; a holiday filled with food, football and family. But, along with the joys of Turkey Day, there are some drawbacks, namely traveling, traffic and — you guessed it — family. Technology may not have all the answers to crowded airports, honking drivers and nosy in-laws, but it can make life a little easier during the holidays.
With Thanksgiving just a couple weeks away, here are four new technologies we should all feel very thankful for this holiday season:
Thanksgiving means relatives and, for some of us, that means stress. “Serenity now!” is what Frank Costanza exclaimed several times in an iconic episode of Seinfeld to help him stay calm under stress. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well for him, nor would it for us.
Serenita, a new relaxation app developed by Eco-Fusion, accurately measures users’ stress levels, helping them lower their stress throughout the day by following a simple five-minute exercise tailored specifically to them.
The app acquires data from the user’s finger by turning the mobile device’s camera into a biomedical sensor (PPG) and uses it to peer into the user’s bloodstream. It then extracts biomedical markers regarding heart rate, heart rate variability and blood flow and finally processes the data to assess the user’s stress and focus level.
“Although yoga and meditation are both great for stress reduction, most stressed people do not have the time or patience to practice them,” explained Dr. Oren Fuerst, chairman and founder of Eco-Fusion. “Serenita provides ‘bite-size treatment’ that is too easy and too effective to say no to. Because Serenita reads the user’s biometric data in real time, it can provide the most effective stress reduction exercise per minute spent. For users who suffer from stress or lack of focus, five minutes a day with our app could quite literally change their lives.”
Surely, many of us have pleasant childhood memories of piling into the family car on Thanksgiving afternoon to drive to grandpa and grandma’s house for dinner. Back then, “distracted driving” referred to us kids in the back seat making too much noise and dad threatening us with, “Don’t make me pull this car over and come back there!”
Today, distracted driving has taken on a whole new meaning. And it typically involves the use of a cell phone or other electronic device used to text or check social networks. Distracted driving can be visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) or cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).
WayRay a Swiss innovator in connected cars and holographic navigation, is a startup using cutting-edge technology not to distract drivers, but rather to keep them focused on the road ahead. The company has developed a new way to interface with all the information we need when we drive — without distracting the driver.
Navion, WayRay’s holographic navigation system — set to be released this coming year — is a small device that sits on a car’s dashboard and projects holographic GPS imagery onto the road ahead, as well as providing safety information. Navion responds to simple hand gestures, making it safe for drivers, and also integrates with smartphones to provide access to phones, email and social networks when the car is stopped.