This week, Tim Cook went onto HBO and talked about AR, we had a new VR short film from the creators of “Invasion!” and “Asteroids!”, and we had cucumbers… and more. It was a fun week.

A new VR short film from Baobab, cucumbers and Tim Cook talking AR on HBO

A new VR short film from Baobab, cucumbers and Tim Cook talking AR on HBO

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 can power your cloud journey quickly, efficiently and affordably with data centres in Australia and the US (both east and west coast!). 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

Virtual Reality Day ’18 – 24 hours in virtual reality

AltspaceVR and High Fidelity are planning Virtual Reality Day ’18 — broadcasting 24 hours straight in VR with lots happening from introducing new people to VR to a band releasing a music single.

Spatial audio design is key to creating ‘presence’ in VR and AR

“Immersive design will invariably elevate our understanding of how sound behaves in the world”.

VR can help you learn how to drum

Rhythm games may already have your rhythm fine tuned, so why not go a step further and learn to drum in VR with Paradiddle?

Get $200 off the full HTC Vive Pro kit for Black Friday

You can also get just $100 off the HTC Vive Pro headset itself.

Something for the weekend: PlayStation VR Black Friday EU savings

The EU PlayStation Store has got some VR deals if you’re based around Europe!

Loros invites you to transform lives with VR ($15,000 in prizes to be won)

“UK-based hospice care company Loros and VR producer Alex Ruhl are inviting you to use VR for good in a VR filmmaking competition”.

VR is leading us into the next generation of sports media

VentureBeat has an opinion piece on sport’s progress in using VR in rather promising ways.

VR diversity initiative uses VR to create accessible backpacks for people with scoliosis

Young tech enthusiasts came together and designed accessible backpacks within VR!

Baobab’s star-studded VR short ‘Crow: The Legend’ now available free on Oculus & YouTube

This animated retelling of a Native American origin legend was made by the team who did “Invasion!” and “Asteroids!”.

A group of students are rebuilding the original Metroid Prime in VR

The 2002 Gamecube game “gets the VR treatment as part of an ongoing study into VR game mechanics”.

Virtual reality simulation of a supermassive black hole

The black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, has been visualized in virtual reality for the first time.


Augmented Reality

Developers can apply for grants up to $500,000 through Magic Leap’s independent creator program

You’ve got less than a month — get applying everyone!!!

Tim Cook takes to HBO to promote the future of augmented reality, addresses Apple AR glasses question

“In a few years, we’re not going to be able to imagine our lives without [AR]. It’s that profound a platform” — Tim Cook, Apple

Sennheiser AR headphones for Magic Leap One now available to purchase

Sennheiser is partnered with Magic Leap and released their Ambeo AR One — the first spatial audio headphones certified for use with the Magic Leap One.

Gadget Lab podcast: Magic Leap’s Brenda Freeman on AR challenges

Wired’s Gadget Lab podcast sat down with Magic Leap’s marketing head to discuss the future of immersive media.

Snap launches a certification program for AR shops to craft branded lenses

Snap is going to partner with agencies who make AR lenses so that brands can find people to make them fancy Snapchat AR lenses.

Toyota looks to improve their kaizen philosophy with Microsoft HoloLens

A “kaizen” philosophy is the practice where all employees work together proactively for the continued improvement of how an organization is run. Toyota think AR could be a part of that.

Tendar is a surreal AR app from the makers of Virtual Virtual Reality

Tendar is an AR app that brings an emotional fish and emotion reading into an interesting tamagotchi experience.

Mojo Vision raises $50m to replace smartphones & devices with ‘invisible computing’ AR

This startup is made up of former engineers from Apple, Amazon, Google, and others — it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

Wonderscope iPhone app turns bedrooms into stages for children’s stories in augmented reality

Naww. Doesn’t this sound all sweet and lovely?

Magic Leap launches video interview series & unpacks more technical sessions from L.E.A.P. Con

“On Wednesday, in addition to uploading another batch of videos from its L.E.A.P. conference to its YouTube channel, Magic Leap also launched a new video series for developers called Spacebar”.

Here’s your first magical glimpse of the new ‘Harry Potter’ AR game

“Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”, we’re told, is now set for release in 2019.

Huawei will launch a pair of AR smartglasses in next two years

Yep, there’s going to be a bunch of them in two years time. Prepare your AR excitement!

There’s a new Google Glass on the way – but it probably isn’t for you

Another enterprise edition Google Glass!



The Gameband smartwatch will not be bringing classic Atari games to your wrist

Sad news… “Gameband, a Kickstarter-funded smartwatch that wanted to bring back the golden days of retro gaming has been cancelled.”

Fitbit Black Friday sale goes live – up to $70 off Ionic, Versa, Charge 3 and more

Solid Black Friday deals if you’ve been waiting for a Fitbit!

​Samsung Galaxy watch gets a nice Black Friday price cut

You can save anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on where and which model of watch you get.

Google rolls out Wear OS version H to give your smartwatch a battery boost

“This battery saver mode extends battery life by turning on Battery Saver to only display the time once your battery falls below 10%.” It’ll also put it into a deep sleep mode after 30 mins of inactivity.

Charged up: L’Oréal is making wearables the right way – simple and problem solving

Their “My Skin Track UV” sensor is a $60 sensor that you clip onto your clothes to track UV exposure, pollen and pollution.

Fossil’s new Wear OS watch isn’t trash, and that’s huge

Gizmodo say “the Sport finally has most of the features you expect a 2018 smartwatch to have. Namely, heart rate monitoring, standalone GPS, a better fitness interface, and (slightly) longer battery life”.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Purdue researchers use AI to predict students’ locations and friends from Wi-Fi data

“Researchers at Perdue trained an AI model on Wi-Fi access data from college freshmen to predict their locations and relations” — just imagine what Starbucks could work out 😉

Amazon Comprehend adds customized language lists to machine learning tool

Comprehend is “a natural language processing tool to help companies extract common words and phrases from a corpus of information”. It has custom entities and classification now.

Amazon’s neural TTS can model speaking styles with only a few hours of recordings

Amazon have come up with a novel way to model different speaking styles using AI.

Smart speakers have no idea how to give us news

“A new report from the Reuters Institute suggests news content has a long way to go on smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home”.

Alexa reignites Drew Cosgrove’s love of coding, changing both his career and his life

A nice piece about one developer who took on the creation of Alexa skills and is doing quite well with it!

Why Microsoft, Tencent, and Intel are growing cucumbers in autonomous greenhouses

I think the title is enough to suffice here.

Retro ‘Alexaphones’ blend modern convenience with vintage chic

For many, the idea that Alexa-enabled devices could be spying on them is a very real fear. It’s certainly not far-fetched by any means – with all the holes in privacy in social …

Huawei plans to rival Alexa and Google with its own AI voice assistant

In case you wanted another voice assistant option.

Your drone can give cops a surprising amount of your data

It can tell where its owner lives, credit card numbers, email addresses and more, apparently.

Terrific, AI can now fake your fingerprints to access your phone

It’s the start of the robot uprising. I knew it.

Google shuts down bipedal robot team Schaft

Two legged robots by this group shall be no more, Google appears to be moving away from a lot of their robotics efforts.

Robots getting a grip on general manipulation

How a new generation of grippers with improved 3D perception and tactile sensing is learning to manipulate a wide variety of objects

Robot drawing machine brings da Vinci into 21st century

“Leonardo’s mechanical knight—a humanoid automaton designed and possibly constructed by the Renaissance Man around 1495—could stand, sit, raise its visor, and independently maneuver its arms.”

Intel’s Neural Compute Stick 2 puts AI testing on a USB

It “might look like a basic USB thumb drive, but it hides Intel’s Movidius Myriad X VPU, a vision processing unit designed to effectively carry out computer vision and image recognition on so-called edge network devices”.


Internet of Things and Makers

New product: Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ on sale now at $25

The new $25 Raspberry Pi 3A+ is here! It has the power and wireless connectivity of Raspberry Pi 3B+ in a smaller form factor.

What an unprecedented study found about 3D printing’s dangers

Yikes… “Four years of research shows that 3D printers emit hazardous microparticles–which can embed themselves in your lungs forever”.

Here’s what people are really doing with their Alexa and Google Home assistants

“A survey of Alexa and Google Home users shows just how addictive these devices are – and what’s drawing users in”.

Microsoft is now selling Amazon Echo smart speakers

Paul Thurrott sees this as “yet another not-so-subtle indication that Microsoft is pushing Cortana aside for Amazon’s digital personal assistant”.

Alexa can wake up more of your smart home devices

You can turn on your TV using Amazon’s voice assistant without requiring special hardware support now.

Alexa Blueprints

The general public can now teach Alexa new skills in minutes — but it is focused on verbal responses, stories and games — not connectivity to the smart home yet.

Fully Automated Blinds with Particle

A DIY project for those who’d love to automate opening and closing their blinds!

Alexa can now make Skype calls

You can make and receive Skype calls with Alexa starting this week — that’s pretty cool!

Using Neopixels with the Raspberry Pi

Neopixels are some of my favourite multi-coloured lights — often connected up with Arduinos and other microcontrollers. Here’s how you can use them with a Raspberry Pi.

Can the IoT save the world by 2040? Dr. Jeremy Rifkin delivers Electronica 2018 keynote

It sounds like Electronica 2018’s keynote was quite a good and future-facing one!

Black Friday 2018 smart home deals: Bargains on Echo Dot, Google Home Hub, Facebook Portal, Apple HomePod and more

Black Friday is very soon to be upon us — Here’s that CNet list of all the deals on their way once more to remind you to go buy things!


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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