It was a HUGE week, Google managed to make an incredibly convincing virtual assistant to book appointments over the phone, Google revealed a really handy real-world use of AR in Google Maps, robots are running, helping keep pets company, helping people put on hospital gowns and more!

Google's Duplex AI, Google Maps AR and a robot companion for pets

Google’s Duplex AI, a neat use of AR in Google Maps and a robot companion for pets!

Learn how to build a conversational voice assistant!

It’s here! I’ve released early access to my course full of step-by-step articles to help you build a virtual assistant/chatbot no matter your skill level! I’ll be following it up with a free update in time — as Dialogflow has already changed! If you pre-registered, check your email! If not, never fear, you can also get a 40% discount by using the limited edition code OKNEWSLETTER. Sign up and let me know what you think!

Virtual Reality

Applications enter final week for Oculus Launch Pad initiative

Interested in VR content creation and want to get to a bootcamp at Oculus HQ in California? Apply ASAP!

Unity will release its Carte Blanche VR creation tools in October

Unity’s Carte Blanche is different to their VR editor — this tool aims to get all sorts of people creating VR!

Google launches Tour Creator to make VR experiences from photos and Street View

Google even has a web tool to help all sorts of people make VR experiences right now.

Notch allows artists to build stunning VR experiences without a single line of code

There are a lot of ways to make VR experiences! VRFocus spoke to Mark Jennings from Notch about how their tool is “simplifying the workflow for VR creation”.

Virtual reality technology opens new doors of (spatial) perception

VR has given researchers a way to use new methods of investigating how we make sense of the world with sound.

PETA’s “eye to eye” delivers a haunting VR portrayal of animal cruelty

PETA, or the “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” have brought their message to VR.


Augmented Reality

Maps walking navigation is Google’s most compelling use for AR yet

“Google managed to elicit an audible gasp from the crowd at I/O today when it showed off a new augmented feature for Maps” — I think this is a huge moment for AR!

Google’s iPhone-to-Android multiplayer AR feels like the future

This is also sounding like it has huge potential!

Niantic is going to crowdsource AR maps

It’s not in the immediate future but the plan is to build a larger platform that can be utilised by third parties.

Chrome will let you have AR experiences, no app needed

Yay for an immersive AR web!

New CSIRO lab to pioneer augmented reality research in Australia

Looking forward to what this great team manages with AR!

Qualcomm’s upcoming wearable chip may help bring eye tracking to AR glasses

I sure hope so!

Samsung reportedly developing their own wireless AR/VR headset

This new solution will be “entirely standalone, wireless, and support both VR and AR experiences”.

Student developers bring real-time AR Pokémon battles to smartphones

Always neat to see the work of student developers!



An empowered assistant is how Wear OS could get back on track

Updates to Wear OS sound promising and there is a rumoured LG smartwatch with a “slick circular UI” that sounds pretty exciting.

Google may release a Pixel-branded smartwatch

This sounds even more exciting! They may release up to three of them, actually.

Here’s one way to keep wearables on wrists: subscriptions

Whoop’s sports-tracking wearables are available for a $30 monthly fee.

Fitbit Versa: the Pebble that is now a Fitbit

It really does look like a Pebble watch! Here’s Ausdroid’s review.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Google Duplex: an AI system for accomplishing real-world tasks over the phone

This blew people’s minds this week — you’ve just gotta listen to the audio if you haven’t already. Even if you click nothing else this week, this is the one to look at. Then watch this Funny or Die parody.

Google’s ML Kit makes it easy to add AI smarts to iOS and Android apps

Google introduced ML Kit, an SDK for app developers with a number of pre-built Google-provided machine learning models.

Google’s DeepMind is using neural nets to explore dopamine’s role in learning

Dopamine might be why we can learn faster than AI, so DeepMind wanted to AI to explore that.

Google’s AI is learning to navigate like humans

They’re also working to give their AI spacial awareness that mimics ours.

You can now try Smart Compose in the new Gmail

And helping finish our sentences!

Google clips gets better at capturing candids of hugs and kisses (which is not creepy, right?)

And improving their Clip smart camera’s ability to automatically capture specific moments — like hugs, kisses, jumps and dance moves.

Adobe CTO leads company’s broad AI bet

Adobe is in the AI game too.

Let’s stop vilifying AI’s imitation powers

Ben Dickson put together an opinion piece on why we should also look at the positive uses of the tech being used for deepfakes.

Robot teaches itself how to dress people: instead of vision, machine relies on force as it pulls a gown onto human arms

This robot is successfully sliding hospital gowns onto people’s arms!

Boston Dynamics to sell dog robot SpotMini in 2019

Want one of those Boston Dynamics dog robots? Next year is your year!

Mia – a friendly robot for cats and dogs by Kolony Robotic

Happy with your current dog (or a cat person?), get your pet its own robot friend instead to keep them active and reduce anxiety!

Tesla reportedly nixed Autopilot safeguards for cost and ineffectiveness

Tesla apparently considered eye-tracking technology and steering wheel sensors.

Deep learning with synthetic data will democratize the tech industry

Synthetic data is computer-generated data that mimics real data — data created by a computer, not a human.

Microsoft’s Snip Insights puts AI technology into a screenshot-taking tool

A team of Microsoft interns have put AI into a screenshot snipping tool.

Now the robots can run when they decide to hunt us down

Oh, ummm… also… Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot can run now.


Internet of Things and Makers

Particle for Good now live! Applications open for social impact organisations

Qualified social impact organisations working with Particle and the IoT can now apply to get benefits like discounts and priority support! Apply now!

7 inspirational women speaking out at Maker Faire Bay Area

Makezine has a piece on the talented women who’ll be speaking at Maker Faire!

Amazon’s Ring doorbell lets people snoop on videos even after password changes

They’ve fixed it but there’s still a short window of opportunity for people to get your videos after you take away their access which they want to reduce further.

Google launches Android Things to bolster the safety of the Internet of Things

Speaking of IoT security, Google has a solution they’d like to propose.

Arduino goes to college with the new Arduino Engineering Kit

A new kit of Arduino wonder!

TiVo set-top boxes are getting Alexa support by June 1

Even more smarts entering the home!

Alexa can unlock Yale’s smart deadbolt locks

You can use Alexa to unlock Yale’s smart deadbolts — though I worry about that functionality…

DIY variacs get ESP8266 upgrades

Want to up your ESP8266 game? Here’s your chance!

Alexa and Siri can hear this hidden command. You can’t.

I’d love for someone to make smart headphones that can pick it up!


Events and Conference Discount Codes!

AI Expo Europe (27-28 Jun)

3 co-located events. 18 conference tracks. 8,000+ attendees. 300+ speakers. 300+ exhibitors. It’s all happening in Amsterdam in June! The discount code DEVDINER20 gets you a good deal with this one as well!

AI Expo North America (28-29 Nov)

Around North America? Get ready super early for the AI Expo coming your way in November! The discount code DEVDINER20 works for this one too!


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