Bendy Batteries Coming Soon from Samsung?
Samsung may just have unveiled a critical piece to the wearable tech puzzle. The Korean company showed off a bendable battery today at the InterBattery 2014 Convention in South Korea. The power source is said to be the “world’s first truly flexible battery” and it could be used in devices that need to be wrapped around a person’s wrist.
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Earlier this year, Samsung launched the first wearable with a curved screen, the Gear Fit, which also featured a curved power cell. This new battery, which according to Digital Trends has competed its development stage, would make future wearables from Samsung even more contoured and comfortable.

Bendy Batteries Coming Soon from Samsung?

Samsung may just have unveiled a critical piece to the wearable tech puzzle. The Korean company showed off a bendable battery today at the InterBattery 2014 Convention in South Korea. The power source is said to be the “world’s first truly flexible battery” and it could be used in devices that need to be wrapped around a person’s wrist.

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Will.i.am Launches PULS Standalone Smartwatch
Black Eyed Peas Musician now tech entrepreneur, will.i.am, officially launched his smartwatch today at the Salesforce Dreamforce event. The cuff-like device, called PULS, is a standalone smartwatch meaning it can work untethered from your smartphone to perform operations like texting, calling, checking your mail and your calendar.
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PULS was unveiled in true will.i.am style in a showcase which featured music, imagery, poetry and a fashion show. will.i.am highlighted PULS as being much as a fashion accessory as it is a wearable device. "i.amPULS represents digital freedom, individuality, intelligence and the intersection where fashion and technical innovation meet," said will.i.am.  "I’m honored to share my vision for the PULS with this global audience."
Like other smartwatches, PULS uses a voice assistant to perform many of its functions. Aneeda, powered by Nuance Communications, powers the voice for PULS which acts as a personal assistant that can take dictation for texts and emails, play music, post to social media, queue maps and a fitness app, schedule appointments, make calls, and more
To view a replay of will.i.am’s Keynote speech at Dreamforce 2014, go to http://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce/DF14/videos.jsp

Will.i.am Launches PULS Standalone Smartwatch

Black Eyed Peas Musician now tech entrepreneur, will.i.am, officially launched his smartwatch today at the Salesforce Dreamforce event. The cuff-like device, called PULS, is a standalone smartwatch meaning it can work untethered from your smartphone to perform operations like texting, calling, checking your mail and your calendar.

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Bionym Now Shipping Limited Edition Nymi Bands to Developers
Bionym, the company behind the heartbeat authentication, announced today that they are starting to ship limited edition Nymi bands. The persistent identity wristband aims to disrupt the authentication space allowing users to do away with passwords, pins and passcodes.  
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Back in August, Bionym released its Beta SDK and an emulator, aka the “Nymulator”, to encourage developers to create apps for the wearable device. To be eligible for one of the limited edition bracelets, Bionym is asking developers to record a video of the application they have built using the emulator and submit it to be put in the queue.
The company stated in its blog today that they have begun testing and manufacturing of production units and have already shipped some limited edition bands to key partners and developers who have already built applications using the emulator.
One of these partners is Brivo Labs who have created an app that unlocks doors when a user is authenticated using the Nymi. You can check the integration of the Nymi with this app below.

For those that have pre-ordered the Nymi and aren’t a developer, Bionym has indicated that they will be in touch soon!
Photo credit: Bionym

Bionym Now Shipping Limited Edition Nymi Bands to Developers

Bionym, the company behind the heartbeat authentication, announced today that they are starting to ship limited edition Nymi bands. The persistent identity wristband aims to disrupt the authentication space allowing users to do away with passwords, pins and passcodes.  

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Britain Loves Wearable Tech
A recent report from YouGov finds that currently 2.8 million people in the UK currently own wearable technology and that this number is expected to grow by nearly 2 million to 4.7 million by the end of the holiday season. And this is just the start. The report suggests that wearable tech penetration in the UK will more than double by next year from 6% to 13% of the population. 
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YouGov’s report presented that the largest category of wearables for those in the UK are fitness devices with 3% of the population. While smartwatches sit at a mere 1% at this time.
In looking more closely at the demographic for these devices, smartwatches skewed more male with 75% of those owning a smartwatch while fitness devices were nearly a 50/50 split between gender.
YouGov’s complete findings and its technology section report can be found here.

Britain Loves Wearable Tech

A recent report from YouGov finds that currently 2.8 million people in the UK currently own wearable technology and that this number is expected to grow by nearly 2 million to 4.7 million by the end of the holiday season. And this is just the start. The report suggests that wearable tech penetration in the UK will more than double by next year from 6% to 13% of the population. 

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Turn Your Dumb AC Into A Smart One with Ambi Climate
Air conditioner owners usually have a love/hate relationship with their units. Sure they cool down the room but often you spend most of your time fiddling around with the remote to turn the temperature up or down to keep up with the changing climate. Cue Ambi Climate, a new IoT device that can detect the conditions around it and control your A/C for you so you can live comfortably and never have to pick up the remote again.
[[MORE]]Ambi Climate works with existing infrared air conditioner units. The device is equipped with sensors that detect sunlight, temperature, humidity and other elements in order to make some calculated choices to make the indoors comfortable while being energy efficient. Like Nest, the device also learns from your own preferences and daily routine, and will tailor your indoor climate around you and your family. 
If you want more manual control of your unit, Ambi also allows you to sync your A/C with your smartphone and gives you access to both monitor and control it wherever you are. 
Ambi Climate has already raised more than double its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter with 35 days to go. Backers can grab this little guy for $99 and its expected to ship in January of 2015

Turn Your Dumb AC Into A Smart One with Ambi Climate

Air conditioner owners usually have a love/hate relationship with their units. Sure they cool down the room but often you spend most of your time fiddling around with the remote to turn the temperature up or down to keep up with the changing climate. Cue Ambi Climate, a new IoT device that can detect the conditions around it and control your A/C for you so you can live comfortably and never have to pick up the remote again.

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Gartner Highlights Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015
Gartner unveiled the ten technology trends to watch out for in 2015 while at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando this week. The trends cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.
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Wearables made the list under the first trend “Computing Everywhere”. "Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space," said David Cearley, vice president & Gartner Fellow in a Gartner press release. 
Also in this trend category sit IoT and 3D printing. Gartner breaks down the opportunities in IoT into four categories: Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend. And predicts that 3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years due to lower cost units. 
But as to the adoption and investment in these trends, Gartner is quick to point out that some will see faster growth than others. "We have identified the top 10 technology trends that organizations cannot afford to ignore in their strategic planning processes," said David Cearley, vice president & Gartner Fellow. "This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the trends at the same rate, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years."
 

Gartner Highlights Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015

Gartner unveiled the ten technology trends to watch out for in 2015 while at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando this week. The trends cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.

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Live Stream Your Life from Weloop Smart Glasses
We love to capture our lives but often miss the moment in doing so. How many times have you gone to a concert or music festival to watch the band through the screen of your smartphone, or someone else’s for that matter. Smart glasses equipped with embedded cameras are here to change all that. And the latest to join this category is a new Kickstarter project called Weloop.
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Weloop smart glasses feature a 480p image-stablized camera on the frame of the glasses. The body of the glasses is where you will also find the battery, microphone, WiFi chip and haptic feedback. The WiFi connectivity allows you to stream your video to a paired iPhone or Android app where you can either record, share privately or share to the Weloop community via the Weloop app. You only need to have internet access for live streaming. You can still stream directly to your device (and record) without internet connectivity which is a great feature considering that the device itself doesn’t have any onboard memory. 

To make the streaming device more stylish, Weloop is offering black frames with dark lenses and tortoise shell with clear frames. Both frames can be taken to your optometrist to have your prescription lenses fitted. 
Weloop is offering its pair of glasses for as low as $99 to it first round of backers on Kickstarter with an expected shipping date of February 2015. 

Live Stream Your Life from Weloop Smart Glasses

We love to capture our lives but often miss the moment in doing so. How many times have you gone to a concert or music festival to watch the band through the screen of your smartphone, or someone else’s for that matter. Smart glasses equipped with embedded cameras are here to change all that. And the latest to join this category is a new Kickstarter project called Weloop.

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Samsung Gear S Gets Its First Browser, Opera Mini
Samsung’s first standalone smartwatch, the Gear S, is getting even more independent from the smartphone with a full internet browser. Opera announced today that its Opera Mini app will be made available to Gear S users for download.
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Opera Mini for Gear S will bring the full internet experience to users on the smartwatch. The popular browser, known for its compression technology that shrinks the size of webpages to as little as 10%, has been modified slightly for the Gear S to include “finger-friendly features”. The Speed Dial function shows favorite web shortcuts as large buttons to help users get to a web page in one tap. 
"As a lightweight but powerful browser maker, Opera has been a pioneer of making the web accessible across a huge variety of connected devices, such as the internet keyboard, the dual-screen handheld game console, VOIP phones and, now, wearable device,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “We are thrilled that Opera Mini will be the first browser for  Samsung Gear S users to download. This is an exciting, new experience for smart-gear users.”
This isn’t the first browser we have seen on a smartwatch. Android Wear watches have had access to WIB: Wear Internet Browser for a while now. WIB has been downloaded over 10,000 times by users according to stats available in Google Play. But Opera Mini is the first of the major browser options to make its way to the wrist. 
As the smartwatch screen is extremely small compared to even the smallest of smartphones, its still unclear if a web browser is a necessary app for smarwatch users especially as web pages are not optimized for this type of experience. 

Samsung Gear S Gets Its First Browser, Opera Mini

Samsung’s first standalone smartwatch, the Gear S, is getting even more independent from the smartphone with a full internet browser. Opera announced today that its Opera Mini app will be made available to Gear S users for download.

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Dubai Police Fighting Crime with Google Glass
Dubai is about to go full out Robocop with the use of Google Glass for fighting crime. The city has already outfitted its police with Glass to report minor traffic violations. Now, according to a report from Reuteurs, they intend to issue its detectives with Glass to find criminals using facial recognition.
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Detectives wearing Glass will use a custom built app that scans the faces of people and then attempt to find a match of the “face print” in the police database to alert them of any suspects.
The Dubai Police already have its own Glassware for traffic violations. It allows them to document a scene by taking pictures of the accident or violation. And it also uses the camera to scan vehicle plates to check on any infractions.
This isn’t the first cool “toy” Dubai police have been equipped with. Last year, the Dubai police force issued the use of $400,000 Lamborghini Sports Cars in major tourist destinations. 

Dubai Police Fighting Crime with Google Glass

Dubai is about to go full out Robocop with the use of Google Glass for fighting crime. The city has already outfitted its police with Glass to report minor traffic violations. Now, according to a report from Reuteurs, they intend to issue its detectives with Glass to find criminals using facial recognition.

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3D Print Your Very Own White House
3D printing is a collectors dream and MakerBot knows this. Featured in the MakerBot Digital store is a collection of US structures of government which lets you “get to know these great halls of the US capital on a whole new level”. If you’ve ever wanted to recreate Capitol Hill, this is your chance. 
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The collection includes the Supreme Court, the White House and the Capitol. The Capitol is a pretty impressive print, needing over six hours to complete. Both the White House and Capitol print files are on sale in the MakerBot digital store for $2.99 each.  
MakerBot is giving the designs for the Supreme Court away for free. This print is also the shortest of the three with the final product taking less than three hours to create. 
All files and their associated specs can be found on the MakerBot Digital Store.

3D Print Your Very Own White House

3D printing is a collectors dream and MakerBot knows this. Featured in the MakerBot Digital store is a collection of US structures of government which lets you “get to know these great halls of the US capital on a whole new level”. If you’ve ever wanted to recreate Capitol Hill, this is your chance. 

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Intel’s Basis Announces New Smartwatch, Peak
Basis has long been a leader in running watches even before the term “wearable technology” was coined. Founded in 2010, Basis Science was acquired by Intel in March of this year. Now under Intel’s wing, Basis has revealed its first new wearable yesterday called Peak
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Peak is aimed at those that want a device to monitor their health and fitness, something Basis knows quite well. The smartwatch doesn’t yet have the typical communication features others on the market currently include, like getting text messages or checking email, but the website indicates that these will be added in a free future release.
Peak does come equipped with sensors that allow for advanced fitness and sleep tracking. The watch has four sensors including an optical light sensor, 3-axis accelerometer and sensors that monitor skin temperature and gavlanic skin response.
These sensors let Peak continuously monitor your heart rate, track steps, and see how your body is reacting to changing climates and activity. For sleep trackers, Peak features automatic sleep detection, and monitors your sleep cycles using its sensors including deep sleep and REM. 
Peak pairs with an app (iOS and Android) to let you see your data, trends and goes a step further by providing insights and suggestions based on your data to help you lead a healthier life. The device is waterproof up to 5 ATM which means you can swim with it and has a battery life of up to 4 days. 
“Since our first product, Basis has continued to set a high standard of rich data and insights for both fitness and sleep,” said Jef Holove, general manager of Basis. “Now with Peak, we’ve achieved an even higher level of performance and extended functionality, delivering an all-in-one device to help people live healthier day and night, at work or working out.”
Basis expects to retail the watch for $199.99 and its expected to be available before the holiday season in November.

Intel’s Basis Announces New Smartwatch, Peak

Basis has long been a leader in running watches even before the term “wearable technology” was coined. Founded in 2010, Basis Science was acquired by Intel in March of this year. Now under Intel’s wing, Basis has revealed its first new wearable yesterday called Peak

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5 Things We Learned from Designers of Things
Our minds are still spinning from all that we learned at the Designers of Things conference in San Francisco last week. The event featured some of the leading experts from Iot, wearable tech and 3D printing. To help you wade through all the golden nuggets of information, we’ve put together five of the things we learned from this year’s event.
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1. If your product doesn’t become “smart”, it will be considered dumb
Adam Justice of Grid Connect was one of our Micro Talk speakers on the second day of Designers of Things. The VP of an IoT company, Justice told us a story about a ceiling fan that he recently bought for his house. The ordinary fan was functional but what caught his eye soon after was a model that allowed him to control it with his smartphone. Justice used this example to stress the importance of connectivity in future products, stating that we are soon reaching a point where products that are not connected, or “smart”, will soon be considered dumb.  
2. Products will need to move beyond smart, to become “wise”
Beyond being connected, our keynote speaker, Gadi Amit, stressed that products need to start to become “wise”. Amit taught us that being “smart” doesn’t necessarily mean that a thing has intelligence. He pictured a world in which wearables and other connected items are equipped with context and machine learning that will add even more value to our lives.
3. Prototyping Solutions for Real Problems 

Our closing keynote is one we won’t forget. It’s not everyday you see a keynote that involves pipe cleaners and plasticine but these were the tools that TV host Dr. Mike North used to teach us that playing and prototyping can be one in the same. North asked the audience to team up and identify a real problem our teammate was having and then asked us to solve for it. In just fifteen minutes, team presented hardware solutions for snoring, trekking around in the snow and encouraging people to connect in real life rather than be on your phone. 
4. Good things happen when you open up your IP
Duann Scott from Shapeways taught us that when brands work with the creative community by opening up their IP and collaborating on designs, everyone wins. The Shapeways SuperFanArt parntership with Hasbro has allowed 3D printing designers to play with brands like My Little Pony and Transformers and has resulted in new designs, new revenue and accolades from the press and the community itself.  
5. Wearables can make old things new again
Gesture-tech, Myo, from Thalmic Labs showed us that wearable technology can give new life to something that has been around for a while. Chris Goodine, Developer Evangelist from Thalmic, walked our audience through a hands-on intensive class to get them to code the classic game Tetris to be played with your hands using the Myo. Watching the teams play Tetris with their hands in their air rather than tapping, clicking proved new interfaces are going to allow us to see things in a whole new light.
Were you at Designers of Things this year? What were some of the lessons you learned? Leave them in the comments. 

5 Things We Learned from Designers of Things

Our minds are still spinning from all that we learned at the Designers of Things conference in San Francisco last week. The event featured some of the leading experts from Iot, wearable tech and 3D printing. To help you wade through all the golden nuggets of information, we’ve put together five of the things we learned from this year’s event.

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Creating Successful Voice Interactions With Connected Products
Voice is increasingly becoming a necessary and very powerful input especially for the wearable and IoT categories which often have devices with small screens or no screens at all. When building a product that uses voice, it’s essential that the first interactions with a user are positive and successful, or you risk losing them completely. To help guide designers and developers in creating this first great experience, Tanya Kraljic, a principal interaction and dialog designer at Nuance Communications, imparted some tips at this week’s Designers of Things conference.
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Before you add voice to your product, its important to answer a couple of essential questions about what you are creating. These questions are the same whether you are building a talking toaster, a smart thermostat or interactions within a connected car: what will it do, what will it understand, what will it know about and how will it sound. 
With this in mind, Kraljic recommends starting off any voice interacxtion with an introduction. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out tutorial but it does need to be effective and simple enough so that it establishes a successful interaction. To continue this positive experience, Kraljic suggests that voice systems use language that comes naturally to the user by anticipating basic commands that mimic natural behaviors. Most users will often start with simple phrases, so figuring out what these phrases are in context to overall user experience will go a long way in creating successful voice interactions.
But just as important as recognizing, interpreting and responding to what the user is saying is assuring the user that the system is listening and is still there. Kraljic stressed the importance of conversational feedback in a voice system which can be achieved by using visual or audible cues. Pulsing circles, waving lines or even just the use of the word “Listening” are all great ways to incorporate cues into the experience that reassures them that the system is still there when they are talking.
Using on-screen visuals to encourage users to speak about a specific topic is another way to create a successful voice experience. Kraljic pointed out that users will often speak about what they see on screen and suggested that displaying relevant and/or coaching information on the screen during the voice interaction is a proactive way to provide guidance for the user. 
This interplay between voice and other forms of input and feedback such as touch and haptics is also an important one. “Users expect modalities to work together,” she said. She gave the example of a smartwatch which uses voice to initiate a call and then allow the user to select the correct caller from a list on the screen in which they would tap from. 
Despite doing your best to set up a successful voice experience for users, there will be times when things don’t work as planned. But that’s to be expected says Kraljic. “Human communication doesn’t always succeed either,” she said. “It’s ok to have an error in a voice system as long as users know how to fix it”. Letting users know that the command they gave was incorrect and guiding them to use the right one is an opportunity to turn it all around.  

Creating Successful Voice Interactions With Connected Products

Voice is increasingly becoming a necessary and very powerful input especially for the wearable and IoT categories which often have devices with small screens or no screens at all. When building a product that uses voice, it’s essential that the first interactions with a user are positive and successful, or you risk losing them completely. To help guide designers and developers in creating this first great experience, Tanya Kraljic, a principal interaction and dialog designer at Nuance Communications, imparted some tips at this week’s Designers of Things conference.

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Wearables As An Extension Of Your Body, Developing with Myo
Controlling the digital environment with the wave of a hand has long been a dream of many who have grown up watching Sci-Fi and Action flicks like “Minority Report” and “Iron Man”. Earlier this week at the Designers of Things conference, sixty people got the chance to make this dream come true. Thalmic Labs’ led a hands-on intensive session of its gesture-control armband, Myo, which gave the audience a chance to use the device and develop their first app which would use their hand gestures as inputs.
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Thalmic Labs’ Developer Evangelist, Chris Goodine, started off the session by breaking down the wearable landscape in a presentation he controlled with the flick of his wrist. Goodine divided the growing wearable space into two categories: input and output devices. Output devices were defined as devices that send data to users usually showing it to users on screens. Some great examples include smartwatches like the Moto 360 or Samsung Gear and heads-up displays like Google Glass. In contrast, input devices are those that collect data from the user and use it in some meaningful manner. In this category we have activity trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone’s UP, brain-sensing devices like Muse and of course the Myo.
The Myo is an armband that uses the kinetic energy and movement of your hand to control any connected thing. The device understands a variety of hand gestures including swiping left and right, making a fist and spreading your fingers wide. Each gesture correlates to an action in an application which would be set by the developer of the software. With the Myo you are able to move through slides in a PowerPoint presentation, change channels on your Smart TV and even turn on your Phillips Hue lights all with a single gesture with your hand. Goodine also walked through some examples of how Myo could be paired with other wearables such as virtual reality headsets and smartglasses to enhance the experience. 
Thalmic provided one Myo for each team of two at the event and we watched as, one-by-one, team members put the Myo on their arm and started to wave their hands through the guided set-up sequence. The Myo currently has a set of six gestures which you need to get familiar with to use the device. The set-up sequence teaches you these gestures by requiring you to use them to both move through the instructional and in exercises Thalmic Labs has included to make sure your first experiences with the device are a positive one.   
Once the teams had a chance to get familiar with the Myo, Goodine walked them through an exercise to build their first app for the device. Using the Myo SDK, teams were tasked with updating the classic arcade game, Tetris, so that it could interpret gestures for gameplay. Teams were asked to code the app so that moving your hand to the right or left would move your Tetris block back and forth and a spread of your fingers would turn the block around so that you can fit it into place.  
The developer community for Thalmic is extremely critical as they will be responsible for creating applications for the device. We have already seen how developers are using the Myo to drive unmanned vehicles, control x-wings in games, and exploring how to use the device to interpret sign language.

Wearables As An Extension Of Your Body, Developing with Myo

Controlling the digital environment with the wave of a hand has long been a dream of many who have grown up watching Sci-Fi and Action flicks like “Minority Report” and “Iron Man”. Earlier this week at the Designers of Things conference, sixty people got the chance to make this dream come true. Thalmic Labs’ led a hands-on intensive session of its gesture-control armband, Myo, which gave the audience a chance to use the device and develop their first app which would use their hand gestures as inputs.

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