This week was an action packed one with amazing footage of a giant robot spider fighting a robot dragon in Canada, self-folding robots inspired by origami, Magic Leap revealing part of their secret sauce is in deep learning and the very sad news that AltspaceVR is shutting down.

A giant robot spider, origami-inspired self-folding robot and a sad farewell to AltspaceVR

A giant robot spider, origami-inspired self-folding robot and a sad farewell to AltspaceVR


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Virtual Reality

VR’s first major casualty was one of its smartest startups

This isn’t the end of social VR or anything too drastic yet, however it is really sad news for a platform that was quite popular. They sadly ran out of funds and couldn’t find more investors in time.

HTC Vive standalone will see international launch in 2017

No phone or PC needed and it’s now going beyond just China!

Facebook thinks people will have a weird reaction if they look too realistic in virtual reality

The uncanny valley effect was a factor in their designing of avatars.

Nvidia uses AI to create 3D graphics better than human artists can

One interesting announcement from the Siggraph conference.

Multiplayer VR is about to look much more realistic

OptiTrack is launching body sensors that promise whole-body skeletal tracking in VR arcades and other multiplayer venues!

Create your own social VR experience as Sansar beta goes live

Sansar is the VR successor to Second Life and is by its founder.

VR headset The Bridge brings VR to iPhone

Occipital hopes to bring a better class of mobile VR to iPhone users.

This NASA-approved VR game drops you on Mars and tasks you with surviving

The martian surface uses real data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE satellite!

New virtual reality tool to help doctors treat tumors more effectively

VRvisu visualises a patient’s cancerous tumor in VR.


Augmented and Mixed Reality

Magic Leap researchers reveal “deep slam” tracking algorithm

It turns out Magic Leap are using two deep convolutional neural networks for their SLAM tracking. This sounds really neat.

Bridging the gap: Cross-platform AR engine now supports HoloLens and ARKit

UrhoSharp might make building cross-platform AR apps a lot easier!

Possible Apple AR headset surfaces once more in patents

Apple do indeed appear to have a AR headset at least in consideration.

Paint space – AR painting for your phone

Looks like a neat idea if the tracking works well. It’s coming soon.

Nvidia takes on challenge of improving AR

They’re working on new VR/AR displays and new haptic feedback.

Brilliant augmented reality app lets you star in your own ’80s music video

This ARKit powered app is really well done!



Fitbit’s smartwatch will launch with an app platform — whenever it launches

It apparently will use a new, Javascript-based SDK Pebble was developing.

Rebble is ready to fill the gaps for pebble owners – no matter what Fitbit does next

If you’re worried about how to keep using your Pebble, Rebble is still around!


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Stanford built a ‘4D’ camera for cars, robots and VR

Stanford scientists have developed a camera for autonomous robots that can refocus images after they’re captured.

Incredible self-folding robots work without batteries or wires

Inspired by origami! Super cool!

IBM and University of Alberta publish new data on machine learning algorithms to help predict schizophrenia

So much great potential here to do brilliant things with AI in health care.

Facebook acquires AI assistant startup Ozlo

Facebook is looking to further build “compelling experiences within Messenger that are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning”.

Facebook builds natural language processing into Messenger

Messenger Platform 2.1 has built-in natural language processing from the team who joined Facebook a while back. The bot engine will be shutting down (the rest of is still available!).

Colorizing images with deep neural networks

An interesting look at using deep learning to colour images.

Agents that imagine and plan

DeepMind wants their AI to be able to imagine the consequences of their actions before they make them.

China’s Xiaomi just launched a $44 rival to the Amazon Echo

The Mi AI Speaker brings yet another smart speaker to the world.

Oh great, there’s robots that self-evolve using the Internet

The “robots were even able to overcome faults in their motors, and adapt to changes in the tasks they were set”.

Cute robot Kuri will also work as your family videographer

This is actually a really neat idea. They aim to record eight videos every day, each of them five seconds in length. The goal? To capture those more candid moments with the family.

Watch a giant robot spider and dragon fight in the streets of Canada

I have no words.


Internet of Things

Acquisition ushers in new era for Arduino; Banzi named chairman and are officially merging as announced last year.

Intel is binning its Arduino 101 maker board and Curie module

Intel had already scrapped its Joule, Galileo, and Edison lines.

Facebook is working on a video chat device

… and their own smart speaker!

Plume Labs launches, an API for air pollution

It’s a paid API called that can add air quality data to your app.

Amazon could make whole foods a place to play with Alexa gadgets

Showcasing IoT gadgets is best done in physical stores and Amazon is getting a whole lot of them.

Here’s what happened when the #AWSAlexa meetup came to Sydney

Myself and fellow speakers share our insights on Alexa in this roundup!

9-year-old faces larceny charges

Guess what caught him? An “Alexa Echo”!

An Amazon Echo can’t call the police—but maybe it should

While the story above is true, a few weeks back the story about an Echo calling the police on its own is apparently not true (the Echo and Google Home can’t do that). It’s one mystery we may never have the answer to.

Dynamometer for post stroke rehabilitation

Using an Arduino, a bunch of sensors and more for stroke rehab.

Maker Faire Rome now accepting proposals from makers, schools, and research centers

Keen to do the Maker Faire in Rome? Get your proposal in!

RPi 9000

Had enough of these smart speakers and just want the real deal? Make yourself a HAL9000 replica powered by Raspberry PI and Jasper.


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