This week, Snapchat provided an augmented reality replica of Big Ben to replace it during construction, Leap Motion provided a huge amount of new access to their camera and NES in VR became a thing. Hope you all get a chance to tinker with emerging tech over the holidays — have a great holiday season everyone!

Big Ben reappears in Snapchat AR, Leap Motion's new image API and NES in VR

Big Ben reappears in Snapchat AR, Leap Motion gives a wonderful gift for the holidays and NES in VR!


Virtual Reality

IMAX VR’s death is a warning

VentureBeat asks — how can other location-based VR businesses even hope to succeed if a giant like IMAX can fail?

Play Slightly Heroes anywhere with its new mobile companion app

This game looks quite fun — it’s a multiplayer shooter for VR, but now you can also challenge people on mobile devices!

Clay AIR offers hardware-agnostic hand tracking for VR & AR

“Clay AIR has announced a collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to provide OEMs with interaction technology to accelerate adoption of augmented reality (AR) and VR devices.”

VR discounts galore as the Steam Winter Sale 2018 begins

The 2018 Steam Winter Sale ends on 3rd January 2019 at 10am PT! Go get some cheap VR experiences!

“Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs” arrives on major platforms early 2019

Angry Birds is going to have its own VR game in 2019.

Facebook open sources ‘DeepFocus’ VR research

Facebook is formally open sourcing its “DeepFocus” research into more realistic eye-tracking VR headsets and releasing the related code publicly.

This 3D NES emulator looks fantastic in VR

Bringing old NES games into 3D was already cool but it’s especially cooler in VR!

Ayden Ye shows his vision for popular VR content platform VeeR

VeeR CEO Ayden Ye spoke about his VR-only content platform VeeR, along with VR in China.


Augmented Reality

Big Ben brought back to life through AR Snapchat lens

A new Snapchat Lens allows people to point towards Big Ben and its construction covers come off, revealing Big Ben in its glory and even showing the right time!

Marriott invites guests to redecorate — with a bottle of water and AR

Marriott Hotels teamed up with LIFEWTR to let guests redecorate their rooms in AR and share photos with friends.

The 5 most innovative augmented reality products of 2018

Next Reality has a list of their picks for the five most innovative AR products of 2018.

Augmented reality top 8 of 2018

VR Scout had a top 8 of 2018, focused more on AR experiences, rather than devices.

Leap Motion’s new experimental tools give developers access to camera data & unlock multiple device support

LeapUVC is an expansion of its Image API that gives developers access to the Leap Motion Controller’s camera data. It gives devs more control over properties such as LED brightness, gamma, exposure, gain, resolution, and more.

Magic Leap updates Lumin OS with enhancements for Helio browser, avatar chat, & more

You can now scroll by swiping with the cursor pointed to the edge of the window, select text with the controller trigger and touchpad, or press and swipe with fingers on a mobile touchscreen.

Meta’s new enterprise user video shows signs of life at cash-strapped augmented reality headset maker

Despite funding difficulties, Meta released a video with four testimonals from enterprise — a lovely sign that we’ll see more from Meta again in 2019.

FramesDirect finally delivers prescription lens inserts for Magic Leap One users

For those whose vision is preventing them from enjoying the Magic Leap — prescription lens inserts are now available.

What is mediated reality and how I experimented with it on the Vive Focus

A curious article from Skarredghost on “mediated reality”, worth a read!

UK augmented reality start-up Blippar collapses into administration

Always a sad thing to happen in emerging tech… especially right before Christmas.



Fitbit Versa drops to $125 on Amazon

If you’re looking to get a Fitbit Versa and you’re in the US, there’s a nice deal waiting for you!

Apple Watch battery life: 15 easy ways to keep your smartwatch powered for longer

A useful series of tips for Apple Watch owners!

Smartwatches will remain the most popular wearables into 2022

Wareable has high hopes for smartwatches, not only in 2019 but for many years to come!


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

UK police release two people arrested over Gatwick Airport drones

Gatwick Airport had a big shutdown this week after drones caused planes to need to remain grounded. Sadly, it seems police haven’t found those behind it yet. Or the drone may never have existed.

Annual smart speaker IQ test

Loup Ventures recently tested four smart speakers by asking Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana 800 questions each. Google Assistant got 88% right, Siri 75%, Alexa 73% and Cortana 63%.

‘Kill your foster parents’: Amazon’s Alexa talks murder, sex in AI…

There have been some odd responses from Alexa after Amazon turned to the web to make Alexa smarter.

Super-fast airport scanners are coming—eventually

These scanners will “use AI and millimeter wave technology to speed you through the lines and even monitor crowds from afar”.

2018 was the year that tech put limits on AI

Google and Microsoft are pledging not to use AI technology in certain ways as we move into a more AI centric future.

Ethan David’s taser-equipped robot shocks him into practicing the guitar correctly

Now there’s a curious approach to learning an instrument.

IBM designs AI-enabled fingernail sensor to track diseases

“IBM just designed a tiny fingernail sensor that uses AI to track disease progression”.

AI is still really bad at writing lyrics

Packt Publishing demonstrated “how a neural network can learn to craft novel — if a tad nonsensical — song lyrics”.

This robot understands that it’s your screwdriver, and to give it back

“Researchers from the Yale Social Robotics Lab have created OwnageBot, which understands the concept of ownership”.

Researchers expose biases in datasets used to train AI models

“Researchers at Microsoft Research, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Maryland have developed a method that exposes biases in word embeddings”.

AI weekly: despite fears of job-stealing robots, AI did a lot of good this year

VentureBeat say that “there were a lot of ups and downs in AI research this year. But despite all the dire predictions, it did more good than you might remember”.

New AI computer vision system mimics how humans visualize and identify objects

“Researchers have demonstrated a computer system that can discover and identify the real-world objects it sees based on the same method of visual learning that humans use”.

Fully driverless grocery deliveries have started in Arizona

Enter a code on a keypad, get your groceries from the R1, then it returns to the store to recharge and reload.

Robots with sticky feet can climb up, down, and all around: new ‘HAMR-E’ robots could enable inspection of complex machines without dismantling them

They’re inspired by the pads on a gecko’s feet and can climb on vertical and upside-down conductive surfaces.

Baby receives world’s first drone-delivered vaccine

One-month-old Joy Nowai on Tuesday became the world’s first child to be given a vaccine delivered by drone to the remote South Pacific island of Vanuatu!


Internet of Things and Makers

Experimental release #2: multiple device support

With this build from Leap Motion, you can now run more than one Leap Motion Controller on the same PC!

The Amazon Alexa eavesdropping nightmare came true

An Amazon user in Germany recently requested data about his personal activities and inadvertently gained access to 1,700 audio recordings of someone he didn’t know. It was an error by someone in the team at Amazon but does raise concerns about how much care Amazon are taking.

How to eliminate reflection noise in your next PCB design

All About Circuits looks at what reflection noise is and how it can affect your custom PCB.

A first look at Sony’s Spresense

The Spresense development board is Sony’s debut into the Maker market for microcontrollers and Make are impressed!

A hardware company in a software world: STMicroelectronics’ move to embedded and IoT

STMicroelectronics are trying to get the software side of things to accompany their hardware.



Events and Conference Discount Codes!

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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