World Tech Update - Sony invests in gaming, FAA sets drone rules, Mattel toy uses Google Cardboard

PCWorld | Feb 19, 2015

Coming up on WTU this week Sony will invest more in PlayStation, Samsung wants to bring wireless charging to the masses and the FAA proposes new rules for drones.

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update, I'm Nick Barber.
As it fights to return to profitability, Sony will invest more in the PlayStation and could exit the smartphone and TV businesses. Sony will pump extra cash into its games and network services division in a bid to attract more users to the PlayStation and its PlayStation Network of online games. Sony will also provide more funding for the division that makes image sensors for devices including the iPhone 6. That cash will go towards researching new technologies and increasing production. It's part of a wider set of changes underway at Sony, which has already sold off its Vaio PC business and is showing less interest in hardware. Sony is aiming to produce 500 billion Yen or 4.2 billion dollars in profit by 2017.

Is this the year of wireless charging? Samsung seems to think so and plans to bring the technology to cheaper devices. So far, wireless charging has mainly been an option on high-end smartphones, but Samsung plans to accelerate its efforts to "democratize wireless charging technology with compelling smartphones," according to a blog post. In January two of the three wireless power groups merged with the hope of speeding up adoption and lowering costs. Last week, the third standards group announced an extension to its Qi specification that will require less-expensive technology.

The US Federal Aviation Administration offered a proposed set of rules this week for drones, which have gone largely unregulated in the US. The proposals would allow companies to fly drones up to an altitude of 500 feet at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour during daylight hours. A drone would have to be within sight of the operator at all times and couldn't fly over people not involved in its flight. It would also have to be operated by a licensed drone operator, which will be a newly created certification. The FAA believes the regulations, assuming they pass as written, will allow drones to be used in fields such as aerial photography, agriculture and inspection of bridges and towers.

Mitsubishi Electric showed of its vision for the smart home at an open house in Tokyo. You enter the concept home through a door that automatically unlocks when its camera recognizes a family member. Health information can be collected by sensors in the door handle or smart bands worn by users. The data is then displayed in the entrance, showing how each family member is feeling along with his or her daily schedule. In the mockup of a smart kitchen, overhead projectors display information about ingredients and recipes on the fridge door and cooking surfaces. The cooking area features induction heating elements that slide as well as a wireless power system that can provide electricity to appliances such as mixers, a rice cooker and a lettuce planter.

Mattel is bringing its View-Master stereoscopes into the 21st century with help from Google and virtual reality. The gadgets will go on sale later this year for 30 dollars.
Doug Wadleigh
SVP, Mattel Toy Box
Google introduced Cardboard last year as a cheap way to experience virtual reality with a smartphone. Old Viewmasters used to use slide reels, while the digital one will use an Android phone. Once up and running you'll be able to use apps to explore virtual worlds. The reels will still play a part, but as augmented reality portals. The View Master will cost 30 dollars and include one sample reel, additional three packs will be 15 dollars each.

Well that's our show for this week, thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. To find out what's coming up on every week's show be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. As we head out this week we'll leave you with a 500 pound meteor that lit up the skies over Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York this week. It traveled at 45,000 miles per hour and flared brighter than the full moon. I'm Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we