This week’s Dev Diner newsletter looks at a range of updates to various SDKs for developers in time for the holiday tinkering season, Pebble Time’s new Health watchapp, Mozilla’s new WebVR framework and the new and ingenious Netflix socks. Emerging tech news has definitely not slowed in the lead up to Christmas!

A fancy MozVR A-Frame framework demo, the new Pebble Health watchapp and Netflix socks

A fancy MozVR A-Frame framework demo, the new Pebble Health watchapp and Netflix socks

Virtual Reality

Rather important note for any Oculus developers – from January 1, 2016, the Oculus Store will only accept applications that use the Mobile SDK 1.0 or higher.

Unity 4.7.0, the final Unity 4 release, has been released. They are strongly recommending you upgrade your apps to Unity 5.3 soon!

Looking to get into the virtual web? Check out A-Frame from MozVR. It provides a way of creating VR experiences for the web via custom HTML elements.

The Oculus Rift SDK 1.0 is shipping this week to devs with early builds of final Rift hardware. If you are building any Oculus based apps, you’ll want to be ready for this.

Here’s what your brain looks like when in VR, thanks to our friends at Leap Motion.

Want to go to Mars? Fusion, MIT, and NASA are working on getting you there via virtual reality. It will be available for Google Cardboard, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, with PlayStation VR and HTC Vive coming afterwards.

Wish you could get fit whilst in VR? VirZoom, an exercise bike VR controller, have opened pre-orders.

The White House is seeing potential in VR, releasing a YouTube VR video tour of the White House for Christmas.

Meanwhile, Motherboard has a great look at what Dungeons and Dragons in VR is like.

Technology Review looked at six important things that happened with VR this year. It has been a great year!

Make also published my first article in a short series on getting started with virtual reality.

Augmented Reality

Version 1.3.3 of the META SDK has been released and adds compatibility for versions of Unity above 5.2.1.

On January 28th, PTC are holding an online event to discuss their plans for Vuforia.

LG are planning to show an augmented reality controlled vacuum cleaner at CES 2016. You point and click in an AR smartphone interface to tell the cleaner where to vacuum.

Forbes has a look into Marxent, a VR/AR company that has been persevering since 2011. Great read for those also trying to make their way into this area.

John Hanke, chief executive at Niantic, spoke with VentureBeat about their work on Pokemon Go – the augmented reality Pokemon game coming out next year.


Cate Lawrence looked at six ways wearables are moving inside the body over at SitePoint.

Pebble released an update for the Time that provides fitness tracking via a new watchapp called Pebble Health. They also have an upcoming Health API to allow developers access to this information too.

Forbes has a look at the biggest surprises in wearables throughout 2015.

Eric Migicovsky, the founder of Pebble, has a great approach to his smartwatch platform. I find Eric’s focus and determination incredibly inspiring and a true example of what wearable developers should aim for.

Reuters examines the quest for medical grade wearables.

A surprisingly brilliant innovation from Netflix – socks that automatically pause Netflix when you fall asleep. They’ve released a guide to make your own.

CNET has a mostly pessimistic look at the successes and failures of smartwatches in 2015.

An absolutely fascinating security demonstration of how smartwatches could theoretically reveal what you are typing. It is the work of Tony Beltramelli, a masters student at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Mathew Reiss just released Snowy, the first true personal assistant for the Pebble Time. I spoke with him about the process of building Snowy and got some Pebble development tips!

Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Drones

Living in the USA? The FAA now require any of your drones that weigh more than 250g to be registered.

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen looked at technology in 2016 for TIME magazine with a huge focus on AI.

Elon Musk says that Tesla cars are going to drive themselves in two years. Musk is definitely the sort who is going to work tirelessly to get this happening, we’ll see whether government regulations hamper things!

I stumbled upon this $999 deep learning robot which comes with Google TensorFlow, Robot Operating System (ROS), Caffe, Torch, Theano, CUDA, and cuDNN.

Tesla’s Model S will be replacing Rdio in their cars with Spotify.

Cortana for Android’s “Hey Cortana” feature is being removed in US markets.

Google’s robotics teams are now moving into Google X to “direct them toward addressing tangible problems”.

IBM’s Watson is set to make some pretty big waves in the IoT.

TechRepublic spoke with experts to find the seven trends for AI in 2016. They say it’ll be like 2015 but on steroids. Looks like I’ll be keeping very busy covering all of this next year!

The question is being asked – should AI be open?

Here’s how the BB-8 changed everything for Sphero.

Algorithms can now determine whether an image is memorable. So of course… everyone is testing it out on their face.

Ars Technica have an indepth look at artificial intelligence and why singularity is not around the corner. It has a great look into the history of AI.

On the topic of looking into history, here’s a look at the father of modern robotics, George Devol from Lifehacker.

Internet of Things

Christine Sunu wrote a fantastic piece on why we need we need technology and software with emotional sensitivities, not just services. If you are developing for absolutely anything at all next year – it is definitely worth reading this and considering re-thinking your approach to see if you can make it more emotionally-connected. Let’s move technology into a new age!

Intelligent lighting just might be the key to ushering in the Internet of Things.

Samsung SmartThings have added eight new compatible devices, including a few new connected light bulbs, ZigBee smart locks and a soil moisture sensor.

For those loving the new Star Wars euphoria, here are 5 Internet of Things Connections in Star Wars. I’m going to assume there are spoilers in there, so be careful young Jedi.

Absolut are looking to make connected Vodka bottles?

Need some old school recreation for the holidays? Here is how to put together a retro console using a Raspberry Pi.

Why not build yourself an Internet controlled adjustable standing desk?

Or you could spend some time putting together a Telemarketer Call Blocker with Arduino and a few other parts.


Thank you all for being a part of the Dev Diner community by subscribing to this newsletter and sending me your thoughts! I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. May you all receive bountiful amounts of emerging tech gadgets!


Dev Diner will continue on throughout the holiday season – so please continue sending everything and anything at Dev Diner via email, Twitter or Facebook! If you are interested in writing an opinion piece in the new year, send me an email and say hello 🙂



P.S. Struggling to put together that Christmas list? Last minute madness? I put together a Dev Diner piece last week with my favourite holiday gifts to get your developer friend. That might help!

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