Ingress Glyph Game Trains Your Memory

Ingress GlyphThe most exciting Ingress feature introduced recently is the Glyph game. I am sure, most of you have already tried playing it. For those, who just joined Ingress Enlightened or Resistance forces, here is a short explanation.

If you press and hold “HACK” button, then special screen pops up with dots. Then Glyphs start to flash and you have a limited time to repeat all these figures afterwards. The more Glyphs you do, the more extra items you get by hacking. Also, there is a special bonus if you are really fast.

Number of Glyphs depends on the level of the portal and I also noticed that complexity has a correlation with the portal ownership – your faction portals tend to have easier figures to guess.

After playing a while you gain experience and many Glyphs become familiar (moreover, they have different Ingress related meaning). So, in other words, you get your brain fit and memory trained. Nice idea, Niantic!


Ingress Regional Score Widget

Ingress Regional Score Widget
Following the recent news about Ingress Regional Score, Niantic issued an app update with the first ever widget. Awesome!

Currently it is quite limited and not very appealing from the design point of view, but it does its work ok — shows current MU score for your region, plus time till next update.

It is 2×4 blocks large and space is used ineffectively. I would use 1×4 block or even 1×2 to save screen space, but there are no other sizes available. Simply resizing it eliminates stats from the view. Also, it will be good to see % for each faction as it better shows dominance. Even in-app Intel tab lacks % ratio now.

Clicking on it opens Ingress (though not Intel tab). Hopefully, it does not eat too much battery 🙂

Emotiv – Mind Power Controls Reality

A bit a while ago I told you about controlling objects with gestures (Nymi and Myo). This time I have something even more amazing. How about changing reality by the force of… mind!

This sounds like a science fiction, but you can already pre-order a stylish “iPhone-like” helmet, which allows you to play video-games, control toys (like helicopters or racing cars) and even drive a wheelchair!

Let’s take a closer look. Device is named Emotiv Insight and connects to computer (or smartphone, wheelchair etc) wirelessly via Bluetooth. Yes, no annoying wires, nothing like that. Helmet uses five sensors (dry ones, no gel), which measure electrical activity of certain brain zones and guesses what you meant right now.

Every brain is a bit different, so first you need to calibrate Emotiv by letting it know, how your brain behaves when you think about “up”, “down”, even “disappear”. After it learns, your thoughts will trigger this or that action. Simple and brilliant!

Team behind Emotiv is led by ambitious Tan Le, I found an video from 2010 (imagine, how it improved since then!!), where she demonstrates early prototype. This blows my mind!

Currently there are four main usage scenarios:

  • Computer games. Control objects without using keyboard or joystick. Of course, it applies more to non-action scenarios with slower gameplays at the moment. I think, it is a bit early to shoot enemies in Counter Strike or Call of Duty.
  • Real world toys. This is much more interesting — helicopters, cars, boats etc. Some additional programming might be needed.
  • Freedom for disabled. It is already possible to control wheelchairs and simply computers by disabled people. This makes their lives much easier and bright.
  • Analyse own brain. Emotiv provides an app, which checks your brain activity on different occasions and provides intelligent advice. Maybe you can learn more, while listening to Mozart? Or Justin Bieber? 🙂

Emotiv Insight Control

In addition, Emotiv has 6-axis inertial sensor (roll, pitch, yaw, vertical, lateral, longitudinal acceleration), which gives you even more flexibility and control. Basically, it tracks head movements, nods, etc.

How much does this candy cost? There is no official price at the moment as you can only register for a queue, but you can have a fairly good approximation by looking at Kickstarter prices.

$229 for consumer edition, $329 for Developer edition (access to SDK to create your own apps), $429 for Research edition (all above + access to raw brainwave data for extensive analysis). Delivery was promised around March/April 2014.

I am a bit surprised that SDK kit costs something because it should be Emotiv team’s own intention to build the interest to this innovative yet quite unknown device. But anyway this promises to be an amazing experience, will be watching for a mass production.

Ingress Regional MU Scores

Ingress Regional ScoresIngress players already know that recent update brought long-awaited Regional MU scores to the mobile app!

Basically, this adds a bit of a challenge, which this game lacked. Who has ever paid attention to Global MU scores? I believe, no one seriously as it is hard to believe that every single player’s contribution is decent enough to change the numbers.

Now, things went much more appealing. Planet is divided into regions and you can view MU stats for your region and neighbourhood. Timeframe, called Cycle, is 175 hours (according to Shapers calendar) and it is slightly more than a week. These extra 7 hours bring shift to the Cycle when using normal “Earth calendar”, so it starts/ends on a different time. Ingress Cycles are synchronized globally.

There are 5 hours Periods in each Cycle, ending with a Checkpoint. This is what you need to keep in mind — MU count is frozen at the Checkpoint, regardless of what was going on during these 5 hours: furious battle or everyone was sleeping :). Timer shows exact time, when current Period ends and it makes game more intense! You need to be sure that when timer counts to 0, your faction owns more MU in your region, than your rivals.

Graph shows these Periods and a running average, which is based on previous MU stats at the Checkpoints, so make an effort towards the end of the Ingress Cycle!

You are able to see history of previous cycles, though currently history shows 0 as Regional Scores have just been introduced. There are also Top 3 and Top 50 lists for those who like bragging 🙂 Only those created final link for MU are counted in the scoreboard and it is updated every 175 hour Cycle.

It also seems a bit slow, when navigating between regions and tabs in the app, but most likely will be fixed later. Good job, Niantic!

P.S. Update. Small note: if your field spreads over multiple cells (regions), then MU is spread among them. Also, you can check a handy web tool — Ingress Cell Map, where cell borders are clearly visible. Unfortunately, it does not show actual stats.

Nymi Wristband Checks Your Identity

Wearables will be the next big trend in 2014 with massive launch of the Google Glass, smartwatches (yes, they are already here, but not so popular yet), gesture controllers (take MYO or advanced version of the Leap Motion controller if they design one).

Let’s take a look at one of the most existing devices (according to the video trailer, of course). It is called Nymi (what a phonetical candy!) and it is a sexy Bluetooth wristband. Main idea is a personal authentication, but it also has many other neat features.

Company has a good promotional video, which shows how our life will change in the next 2-3 years.

Basically, functions can be split into the following categories:

  • Personal device authentication. No need to enter password and pins into numerous computer devices. System checks your EKG (Electrocardiography) and creates a unique profile.
  • Car access. I brought it into a separate bonus option. Movie shows how you can unlock and drive Tesla S car without keys and remote controllers. I believe, same principle can be applied to create bicycle locks, for example.
  • “NFC” access. Why quotes? Because it is still Bluetooth, but principle remains same — accessing locked doors (hotels, offices, maybe even your own home).
  • Gesture control. It can act as a MYO controller — you turn your hand and some activity is performed.
  • Payments. This will surely not work out of the box but there are already some NFC payment technologies, most likely credit cards will disappear sooner or later and Nymi option can conquer the world.
  • Cloud freedom. That’s just a nice add-on, not related directly with Nymi. Ability to view your files not only on different devices but also on a TV of your hotel room. Or a picture of your family, appearing on the digital frame when system confirms you are, say, Mr X.

Additional features include ability to automatically lock your devices, car etc, when you walk away by simply losing the signal. Also, creators claim that wristband is just an initial idea, but in future same technology can be put into rings or pendants.

Nymi Wristband ColorsOf course, it cannot be without serious concerns, mainly about authentication part of Nymi. Some people doubt that reliable secure EKG pattern can be measured by such a tiny device and by just placing a finger on the sensor. Bionym team (company behind Nymi) ensures that this is enough for secure and reliable authentication. I am not specialist in this area, but I really do not have doubts in their confidence, as preorders are already accepted and device is due to be shipped in the beginning of 2014.

There is one paradox related with the ease of EKG authentication though. If reading secure EKG profile is so easy, then what prevents it from being stolen? Bad guy can touch you with the sensor in the crowd, read your “identity” (EKG profile), flash it into hacked device and get access to everything you have. Sounds scary. But as I understood, technology requires not only unique owner’s EKG, but exact Nymi device as well and if its “key” (parameters) cannot be easily hacked, then thief will have to steal device.

Bluetooth signal should also be highly secured (like car alarm controls), so that it is not simply intercepted and decoded, of course.

Another concern raised is related to physical activity and people with heart disorders. Activity can affect authentication, so it is better not to run during this process. But afterwards, device works itself by checking if it is on the owner or not. This is done by sensors and repetitive EKG reading not needed.

Heart disorders is another topic. Developers are pretty sure that most of such health issues will not affect their method, but it has not yet been tested too much, so remains a semi-open question.

Nymi needs active power and Bionym assures that it can last for about one week without charge. Good if it is really true as battery is a weak unit in most of the modern devices (except pure NFC ones and e-ink readers).

No plans to integrate technology in other devices as developers want initial wristband version to be launched as soon as possible. I would like to see a small screen there on top, kinda of symbiosis between Nymi and smartwatch. Though maybe it is too bulky then.

Finally, software programmers can get access to API and help to spread the usage of Nymi by altering their apps. Bionym promises that at least device unlock feature should work on Android quite soon.

Price is quite reasonable at $79 (+ 10$ shipping), expect it to be sent out in the first half of 2014 (no exact dates yet). It is available in three colors — black, white and orange, check Nymi website for details.

UPDATE: Just saw news from that Apple got patent on heart-rate monitoring and this can mean not only tracking for sport purposes, but also biometric authentication similar to Nymi.

335 Ingress Fields From One Portal

Not a fresh news anymore, but found in my notes. Remarkable Ingress Resistance team achievement – 335 fields by 225 links! Can you imagine such a dedication to the game? 🙂

It was done in Russia, Tyumen city, in the middle of the summer. Of course, it did not live long, as Enlightened could not tolarate this and destroyed this beautiful piece of art. But at least we have screenshots.

Ingress Link Record

Ingress Scanner Update Brings Badges And Stats

Ingress StatsNew Ingress scanner update is coming and this time it is really interesting.

Niantic decided to include to long-awaited features — Badges and User Stats.

Badges are given to you, when you perform some activity. Apparently, this is same as in many other games. Sadly, Ingress ones are quite simple at the moment. Only basic achievements can be reflected in the badges:

Submitted New Portal, Deployed Resonators, Linked Portals, Created Fields, Hacked Portals, Destroyed Enemy Portals, Visited and Hacked Remote Portals. As you can see, all pretty boring, but can encourage new players to play more. Interesting, what Remote Portals are? Remote from the city? This one seems pretty cool.

Stats will show your activity for All Time, Month and Week separately and contain all related actions, like hacking, resonator placing, destroying enemy portals etc. Something to be proud off and compare with each other. I am surprised, why no sharing to Facebook and Twitter yet 🙂 Anyway, can motivate some players to play more as well.

Interesting field there — “Max time portal held”. Very nice idea, but it is a team work, so many other agents help to defence “your” portal. Also, will be good to know, whether All Stats will show all your previous activity retrospectively. What do you think?

Let’s wait for an Ingress Scanner update and test it.

1 2 3 4 9  Scroll to top