This week, new patents revealed what the next PSVR controllers might look like, Eero is being purchased by Amazon, Samsung accidentally leaked their own new wearables, IBM are soon going to allow their Watson AI to run on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, and we learnt that Facebook considered buying Unity (and we had a big peek at Mark’s VR/AR strategy)!

New PSVR controller patent, Eero is being acquired by Amazon and Samsung's own leak of their wearables

New PSVR controller patent, Eero is being acquired by Amazon and Samsung’s own leak of their wearables

 

Virtual Reality

Facebook mulled multi-billion-dollar acquisition of gaming giant Unity, book claims

Mark reveals a lot about his strategy for Facebook and VR/AR, including saying “From a timing perspective, we are better off the sooner the next platform becomes ubiquitous and the shorter the time we exist in a primarily mobile world dominated by Google and Apple. The shorter this time, the less our community is vulnerable to the actions of others. Therefore, our goal is not only to win in VR / AR, but also to accelerate its arrival”.

Sony seeing progress toward VR’s second generation of games

Sony’s Shawn Layden says VR still feels experimental but that PSVR will see a dramatic change in 10 years.

New controller patent could show the PSVR’s future

Two new patents show what could be the start of some of that dramatic change.

DIY low-cost VR headset uses a pair of micro:bits for tracking

Here’s a clever way to make your own DIY VR headset.

Doctor Who getting virtual reality special

It will be an animated interactive story you can be a part of!

Audica is Harmonix’s new VR music shooter

Harmonix announced a brand new VR rhythm game on Twitter this week called “Audica”.

Jingle Smash: geometry and textures

This is a really curious WebVR creation — Josh created all graphics for Jingle Smash in code.

How the lack of physical space is affecting the adoption of VR in major cities

Didn’t seem to be an issue in the film Ready Player One though.

Immersive virtual reality therapy shows lasting effect in treatment of phobias in children with autism

“New research shows that an immersive virtual reality environment treats 45% of children with autism, freeing them from their fears and phobias — and that the treatment lasts”.

The Bigscreen beta “2019 update” is now live!

It contains real-time raytracing, an audio driver, new avatars, new environments, new VR UI and more.

Massless raises $2m to build an Apple pencil for virtual reality

This pencil for VR aims to have surface sensing, capacitive touch, haptic feedback and more.

Fix your Oculus Rift’s audio issue using Palmer Luckey’s free repair kit

If your headset is out of warranty and is having an audio issue, there’s a free repair kit fix.

 

Augmented Reality

AR will spark the next big tech platform—call it Mirrorworld

Wired had a great piece on how we are building a 1-to-1 map of almost unimaginable scope of our world. This article sees the future very much like I do – it’s a good read.

Vuzix’s smart glasses still aren’t ready for prime time

Nicole Lee from Engadget gives her thoughts after trying out the Vuzix AR headset.

Immersive augmented reality on a budget

We’ve got a DIY VR headset above and a cool, low budget DIY AR headset approach here!

Google’s AR tools make it easier for apps to apply face filters

“The latest release of ARCore, version 1.7, can create a 468-point 3D mesh of a user’s face from just the front camera alone” — it isn’t as much as Apple’s TrueDepth camera but it’s a start!

Greg Broadmore interview — why Weta Workshop spent seven years on its Magic Leap game

VentureBeat has a look at the history behind “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders”.

Kabaq helps you settles on a meal with ultra-realistic AR menus

This app uses AR to show you what your potential meal might look like. I’ve seen a few of these style apps, it’s an interesting idea.

Warner Bros. & Niantic release third Harry Potter Wizards Unite trailer

The Harry Potter themed Pokemon Go-style game comes out later this year and we can assume it’ll be a big deal for a while just like Pokemon Go.

Microsoft’s new Light Capture tool adds more realistic lighting to HoloLens & mobile AR apps

The Light Capture tool builds a replica of the natural environment’s lighting — imagine seeing reflections of the real world in your virtual objects.

Startup Asteroid aims to reinvent the human-computer interface with augmented reality software & hardware kit

This group has released a crowdfunding campaign on software and hardware for creating apps controlled by eyes, hand gestures, and even thoughts and emotions.

Magic Leap meets Matterport in Real Estate

A short video of a very nicely done real estate prototype that shows a building and surrounds in AR.

 

Wearables

Graphene supercapacitors use the sun to power advanced wearables

Wearables could one day be powered by “flexible supercapacitors that recharge using solar energy and run for 15,000 cycles”.

Samsung leaks entire new wearables lineup through its own app

They have accidentally revealed their upcoming Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Fit, and Galaxy Watch Active.

Google set to launch Pixel 3 lite, Pixel Watch and new Google Home this year

I’m pretty excited to see what their Pixel Watch will look like.

These wireless earbuds use AI to help improve your workouts

Soul Electronics’ wireless earbuds use AI to help elevate your workouts.

 

Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

IBM Watson Anywhere brings AI to AWS, Azure and Google Cloud

This is big! “Watson AI will soon be available not just on AWS, Azure and the Google Cloud, but on pretty much any public, private or hybrid cloud platform”

Facebook’s chief AI scientist: deep learning may need a new programming language

Facebook AI Research director Yann LeCun says deep learning may need a new language that’s more flexible and easier to work with than Python.

OpenAI built a text generator so good, it’s considered too dangerous to release

OpenAI are worried about potential abuse of their text generator. It sounded like a lot of the time it generated not great results, but the times that it worked, it worked surprisingly well.

We should treat algorithms like prescription drugs

Quartz ask whether we should put algorithms through as thorough testing as we do prescription drugs.

Wiggly line out, straight line home: new robot navigates like an ant

French researchers have built a six-legged robot with a navigation system modelled on that of a clever desert ant that is “more accurate and less prone to collisions than GPS”.

Researchers develop a soft robotic finger with self-perception

It is trained using machine learning to give it a sense of how it is positioned, despite being soft and flexible (rather than solid and always positioned the same).

Website uses AI to create infinite fake faces

ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com uses the research from NVIDIA we saw a few weeks back to produce a stream of believable fake faces (refresh and every time you get a new one!).

Apple acquires talking Barbie voicetech startup PullString

PullString helped companies build conversational voice apps with Alexa and Google Assistant and were known for their Hello Barbie connected toy.

AI examines artery calcium deposits to assess heart disease risk

“Researchers have developed a machine learning system that examines artery calcium deposits in the heart to assess heart disease risk”.

Google open-sources PlaNet, an AI agent that learns about the world from images

This AI is “exceptionally good at predicting future actions in unfamiliar environments” and is now open source!

An extra pair of wings ensures this robot insect can carry its own weight

You know what robots need? More wings.

Facebook’s early Portal prototypes swiveled to see video subjects

Facebook’s Portal, their Amazon Echo-like device with video calling, initially would swivel around to face you when it sensed your presence. They took that feature out. There are a few peeks at their prototypes here.

Facebook’s Portal learned its video skills from some of Hollywood’s best cameramen

Fast Company also had a piece looking at how Facebook designed its video abilities with the help of cameramen.

Researchers improve robots’ speech recognition by modeling human auditory processing

“Researchers devised a novel method of replicating how humans process sound, which they believe might be used to improve speech recognition in robots”.

This video-streaming, ESP32-based robot can be controlled remotely via web browser

It is a nice, small and clean DIY robot!

Ubisoft’s clever-commit AI will sniff out bugs in Firefox

“Dubbed Clever-Commit, the AI will act as a form of coding assistant that learns from a developer’s base bug and regression data to predict and flag potential new bugs that might be added as new code is slapped onto the codebase.”

ARM Cortex-M processors get a boost towards machine learning, DSP in the age of IoT edge computing

The “Helium vector extension for Cortex-M processors aims to facilitate more complex development on the edge”.

Amazon opens up Alexa store for anyone to create and publish custom skills

You can now easily publish skills you make in the Alexa Skill Blueprints app.

Amazon Alexa and the search for the one perfect answer

Wired has a piece on Alexa and why voice is going to “upend our relationship with information”.

IBM AI loses debate to human champion

Take that AI. We can still beat you in a debate.

 

Internet of Things and Makers

How to program a really cheap microcontroller

The CH552 microcontroller does “USB natively, has an Open Source toolchain, and costs a quarter”.

A new low-power RF transmitter for automation, wireless sensors, and IoT devices

Maxim has released the MAX41461 — intended for a variety of low-cost wireless applications.

Amazon just acquired Eero because Wi-Fi is key to the smart home

Amazon announced they’ll be acquiring mesh Wi-Fi maker Eero. Stacey Higgenbotham has a good take on what this means for the smart home.

The Hubitat Elevation hub isn’t for everyone but it’s great for home automation

Kevin Tofel looks at a IoT hub that works locally on your network rather than going over the cloud.

Chevy Volt enhanced with Raspberry Pi and automatic cameras

This developer didn’t like how the controls were laid out, so he made his own.

Plant health monitor using the Particle Electron

Health monitoring system for plants is a great use of the Particle Electron.

Never run out of tea again! How to build the Gentleman Maker’s Intelli-T Raspberry Pi sensor alarm

“The Intelli-T uses a weight sensor and a Raspberry Pi to alert you when your tea supply is running low”.

Smart homes to smart cities: building automation roundup

All About Circuits looks at some trends in building automation.

 

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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