This week we have an AI-powered park in Beijing, a robot that just might be able to help save the Great Barrier Reef, a group of Hollywood UX designers’ released a real smartwatch and wearables had some big successes!

An AI-powered Beijing park, a robot that hopes to save the Great Barrier Reef and Hollywood UX designers' real smartwatch

An AI-powered Beijing park, a robot that hopes to save the Great Barrier Reef and Hollywood UX designers’ real smartwatch!

Learn how to build a conversational voice assistant!

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’m turning it into an e-book — sign up, let me know what you think and you’ll get the e-book version as soon as it comes out!

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Mjenzi Cloud has an enterprise-grade IaaS cloud services platform that will power your cloud journey quickly, efficiently and affordably with data centres in Australia as well as the east and west coast of the US. If interested, get in touch with and let em know you heard about it from Dev Diner!
(Thank you to Mjenzi Cloud for sponsoring this week’s newsletter!)

Virtual Reality

These are the biggest gripes VR fans have right now

A post on the r/Vive subreddit has hundreds of comments around the topic of “What DISAPPOINTS you the most about VR?”. Worth a read to see where we need to improve.

After canceling “Rift 2” overhaul, Oculus plans a modest update to flagship VR headset

TechCrunch say Facebook has abandoned their plans for a next-gen Oculus Rift headset in favor of minor hardware updates to the original model — referred to as “Rift S”.

The VR diversity initiative find solutions for disabilities using virtual reality

Participants created solutions for scoliosis and wheelchair users using VR, 3D scanning and 3D printing.

Why Walmart and other F500 companies are using virtual reality to train american workers

Virtual reality is being embraced by Walmart, Boeing, UPS and other F500 companies as a training tool — so much so that CNBC covered it in this piece! They say “the rise in retention rates and productivity numbers so far have been impressive”.

EFF unveils VR tool to spot surveillance devices

The Electronic Frontier Foundation launched a VR app to teach us how we can be spied on.

Donald Greenberg: Virtual reality is still a baby, we’ll need 20 years for photorealism

Skarredghost had an interview with Donald Greenberg, one of the father’s of CGI, about the future of VR.

HTC is committed to the larger XR, AR, and VR ecosystem for Vive

HTC’s Rikard Steiber says the company continues to invest in the Vive VR ecosystem, from “providing developer awards to changing the hardware”.

Muse announce next world tour will feature VR

Muse is partnering with Microsoft for a special VR pre-show.

Virtuix & Funovation introduce omniverse VR esports arena

“Virtuix is launching a brand new location-based attraction, the Omniverse VR ARENA”.

Contraverse’s new cinematic app debuts with three VR movies

All the content is free to download and watch, which is pretty cool.

Jaunt in talks to sell VR business

Jaunt is in talks to sell its cinematic VR business to other companies, according to VentureBeat.

Master of Shapes combines VR racing with real go karts

It “blends virtual reality racetracks with real-world racing”. What a neat idea!

FundamentalVR partners with Mayo clinic to develop haptic VR surgery simulations

Apparently, “5 billion people don’t have access to safe surgery due to a lack of trained professionals” — so simulations like this could help train beginners at least.


Augmented Reality

Magic Leap releases series of video sessions from inside the L.E.A.P. conference

Magic Leap released a bunch of videos from their conference at the link above, as well as a second set around medical, audio and AR cloud here.

Principles of mixed reality permissions

Web VR/AR add some challenges to providing web security and privacy concerns. “Problems that are already difficult on the 2D web, like permissions and clickjacking, become even more complex when users are immersed in 3D”.

Samsung will focus on augmented reality at Developer Conference

Samsung are expected to debut its “Project Whare AR Cloud Service” at their developer conference, along with six AR-focused sessions.

Varjo foveated display and passthrough AR at AWE 2018

Karl Guttag looks at the Varjo foveated display AR headset and gives some good technical detail on how it works.

ABC news elects to add AR to midterm election coverage

“ABC News is breaking out the big guns with a new augmented reality experience to win over eyeballs of viewers”.

Niantic Labs announces Ingress Prime now available

Niantic Labs announced the release of an overhauled version of their location-based AR title, “Ingress” which is “Ingress Prime”.

Samsung reportedly plans project whare cloud service and AR headset

Samsung is getting into the persistent AR world arena, mimicking earlier efforts by Google and Apple to create real-world AR anchors shared via the cloud.

Niantic’s ingress roots get a reboot with the real world platform

Niantic Labs announced the release of a new version of “Ingress” called “Ingress Prime” that uses their new Niantic Real World Platform.

How one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups of the last 5 years blew a deal with Apple — twice

According to Business Insider, Leap Motion was apparently in talks to be acquired by Apple twice — but it hasn’t worked out both times. This could be a sign Apple is still missing a piece of the AR puzzle (hand tracking?) — or they could just want the talented team at Leap Motion to join their quest to build AR?

Walmart adds AR price check tool to iOS app

Need a price check? Just use the iOS app!

ESI design uses Unreal Engine to create an AR-inspired lobby experience

A two year renovation has resulted in an AR-like experience at The Crossroads lobby that uses Unreal Engine.

AR costumes – Disney introduces auto augmenting outfits

Disney Research Hub debuted a new way to overlay “watertight” digital costumes onto a standard RGB image.

League of Legends Championship opens with AR K-Pop concert

“Fiction becomes fact as League of Legends K-Pop group K/DA performs at World Championships opening ceremony”.



Fitbit sees double-digit gains as device growth paces beat

Their smartwatches are now 49% of their revenue (they used to be under 10% just a year ago)! Smartwatches are paying off big time right now for them.

Apple’s Wearable category sets new September quarter revenue record with growth over 50%

Apple are finding success with their wearables too – they don’t say which in particular but it’s likely to be a mix of the new Apple Watch and the AirPods. Go Team Wearables!

Hollywood’s favorite UX designers just designed a real smartwatch

The Huami Amazfit Verge is what these Hollywood UX designers think a smartwatch should look like.

Fitbit Versa drops to $149 in Target’s Black Friday 2018 sale

If you’re keen to get your hands on a Fitbit — it’ll be $50 on 23 November!

Original Huawei Watch and Watch 2 pick up Wear OS UI refresh, performance improvements

The latest update has a refreshed interface and improves performance on both the first and second generations of the product.

Samsung patent reveals its next smartwatch may feature physical hands

An upcoming Samsung smartwatch might indeed have physical hands to tell the time!


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

This underwater robot will ‘squirt’ coral larvae onto the Great Barrier Reef to save it

The LarvalBot is an experimental robot that aims to revive damaged and dying parts of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the sort of tech that could change the world and I really hope it works!

New schemes teach the masses to build AI

“Creating software that learns can be taught as a craft, not as a high intellectual pursuit to be undertaken only in an ivory tower.’s course can be completed in just seven weeks.”

Computer vision identifies signs of early Alzheimer’s up to 6 years before clinical diagnosis

That’s some pretty crazy early diagnosis right there.

What algorithmic art can teach us about artificial intelligence

The Verge has put together a video on what the world looks like to an algorithm.

Forrester: 10% of U.S. jobs will be lost to automation in 2019

New reports from Forrester Research examined “the far-ranging impact of AI and automation on enterprises in the coming months”.

China opens artificial intelligence-powered park in Beijing

It features technologies such as driverless buses, augmented reality Tai Chi, and smart walkways.

Welding robot takes on a hot, dirty, dangerous job

Joel Sullivan created this pretty impressive welding robot which Hackaday features in this piece.

Amazon improves Alexa responses with 4 new variable types: foods, sports, video games, and creative works

Four new slot types, foods, sports, video games, and creative works, are available for Amazon’s Alexa in public beta.

Fox is using machine learning to find out what makes a good Hollywood film

A curious use of AI — determining what makes a good movie.

What the Boston School Bus schedule can teach us about AI

“An MIT team built an algorithm to optimize bell times and bus routes. The furor around the plan offers lessons in how we talk to people when we talk to them about AI”.

Samsung wants developers to make Bixby less of a dunce

“Samsung plans on opening up Bixby to the development community, allowing developers to create features for it”

AI lie detector to screen travelers at some EU borders

“Travelers to Hungary, Latvia, and Greece will be given a lie detector test—conducted by computer-animated border agent”.

New method peeks inside the ‘black box’ of artificial intelligence: researchers help explain why machine learning algorithms sometimes generate nonsensical answers

“Unlike previous efforts, which typically sought to ‘break’ the algorithms by removing key words from inputs to yield the wrong answer, the researchers instead reduced the inputs to the bare minimum required to yield the correct answer”.

Shape-shifting robots perceive surroundings, make decisions for first time

Researchers have developed modular robots that can perceive their surroundings, make decisions and autonomously assume different shapes in order to perform various tasks — an accomplishment that brings the vision of adaptive, multipurpose robots a step closer to reality.

Watch this little robot transform to get the job done

A modular, self-reconfiguring robot that adjusts to suit the task at hand!

Microsoft wants to train all your brains in AI smarts

Microsoft “aims to reach as many as half a million Brits through a mixture of face-to-face classes and online tutorials”.


Internet of Things and Makers

Google debunks claims its Home Hub is a security nightmare

An unauthenticated CURL command can reboot the device (and apparently you can access data too in other ways) but Google says that can only be done by a device on your home network itself.

Amazon launches Alexa Presentation Language in public beta

“Starting this week, developers can design skills with APL in all locales supported by Alexa and test them in the Alexa Developer Console”.

Pocket sized Arduino calculator makes a great first project

Here’s something to try if you want to get started with Arduino stuff!

The IoT needs a new set of eyes

IEEE Spectrum had a piece on cameras for the IoT moving to the edge to communicate with local gateways and such.

ON Semiconductor Bluetooth Low Energy IoT Development Kits giveaway

All About Circuits have a competition to win one of five BLE IoT Development Kits!

Making plastic PCBs with a laser cutter and chemicals

“The ever-clever Ben Krasnow experiments with printing plastic ‘electroless’ PCBs on a 3D printer and laser cutter”.


Events and Conference Discount Codes!

AI & Big Data Expo North America (28-29 Nov)

4 co-located events. So much great stuff happening. Get ready for the AI & Big Data Expo coming to North America in November! The discount code DEVDINER20 will get you 20% off!

AIMed North America (12-15 Dec)

The biggest conference of its type in North America – content developed by clinicians, specifically for clinicians – focusing on how AI and ML are effectively deployed to transform healthcare systems and patient outcomes. Use the coupon code MP20 for a discount!

JOLT Roadshows (early 2019)

At JOLT Roadshows, inspirational speakers from the world’s leading enterprises will share how they have embraced AI to improve revenue, customer retention, and experience! They’re at six locations throughout early 2019 in both USA and Canada. Click the link for info — it’s free!


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