This week, we have a VR Ninja Dojo, Nintendo’s official re-emergence into VR, a preview of the Harry Potter themed “Pokemon Go” Niantic game, hints at when Apple’s AR headset will start production, a new Fitbit range and more!

A VR Ninja Dojo, Nintendo's VR headset and the Harry Potter Niantic game preview!

A VR Ninja Dojo, Nintendo’s VR headset and the Harry Potter Niantic game preview!

Virtual Reality

Nintendo announces Labo VR kit with shareable gaming experiences

Nintendo announced their entry into the VR space — a slightly more advanced Google Cardboard-style accessory for the Nintendo Switch.

Developers give their reactions to Nintendo’s Labo VR attempt

Here are a few more reactions to the news.

VR Ninja Dojo opens next week in Tokyo

Next time you’re in Japan, go get your necessary training as a deadly shinobi warrior!

Nominations are now open for the VR awards 2019

It’s the third year for the VR Awards with 12 categories open for nominations — get nominating!

Doctor Who headlines VR movies debuting at Tribeca

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 has a bunch of VR premieres, with more than 30 experiences, including “Doctor Who: The Runaway”.

The Woods: VR Escape the Room is the latest brain teaser from Blue Entropy Studios

This escape room experience is set up to accommodate the minimum roomscale requirements for VR.

High Fidelity’s multi-con VR event will feature $10k avatar contest

Multi-Con VR is “a comic con-style online VR event featuring contests, cosplay, fan art, celebrity panelists, and a slew of other exciting happenings”.

Racket Fury: Table tennis VR adds cross-platform multiplayer

“While the PC version has always supported online multiplayer that feature has always been between the same headsets. Now Oculus Rift and HTC Vive users can go head to head.”

Zero Latency reveals second gen of their free-roam VR platform

They’re switching from their custom OSVR headsets to HP new Windows Mixed Reality headset with inside-out tracking — they get higher quality visuals and less cables and cameras for tracking.

Facebook plotting ‘Enterprise Editions’ of Oculus Go and Quest headsets

Spotted in a now removed job listing!


Augmented Reality

Real-Time AR self-expression with machine learning

Google has added new AR YouTube selfie filters along with this post about how their system works — AR and AI working together to produce some cool results!

Niantic conjures preview of Harry Potter augmented reality game, opens pre-registration on Google Play

We’ve got some gameplay footage and info on the upcoming “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” — and you can pre-register for it on Google Play.

Kuo: Apple to start manufacturing AR headset in Q4 2019 – Q2 2020, relies on iPhone for rendering and connectivity

Hopefully means we’ll get to see the Apple AR headset in a year or so! It’ll rely on the iPhone, so it won’t be totally standalone, but it could mark a point where AR glasses go mainstream super quick.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 team interview — inside the specs, design, & future of enterprise augmented reality

Next Reality have a deeper look at the HoloLens 2, asking the HoloLens team a bunch of questions.

First photos of second generation Google Glass Enterprise w/ USB-C leak out [Gallery]

We’ve got some photos of what the next generation of Google Glass Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft to debut HoloLens 2 livestream video series with demos, updates, & developer info

From March 12, Microsoft will livestream a six-part series called “The Realities Show”, all about the HoloLens 2.

Hands-on with Google Maps walking AR navigation experiment, a peek into our smartglasses future

Google’s new AR navigation feature is out for select local guides — it’s a pretty darn cool feature that hopefully comes to everyone soon!



​The Apple Watch Series 3 is $80 off at Amazon – pick up a smartwatch for just $199

If you’ve been waiting out for an Apple Watch, here’s a pretty neat opportunity!

Swatch smartwatch investigation: everything we know so far about Swiss OS

Swatch will have their own smartwatch soon, here’s a nice article looking at what is known about it so far.

Fitbit CEO is skeptical of Apple Watch AFib detection, says Fitbit’s will be different

Their atrial fibrillation detection will “make sure that there’s a good next step” after notification.

Fitbit goes after new wrists with less expensive $159 Versa Lite smartwatch

There are even more Fitbits to choose from now!

‘Why wouldn’t everyone in the world have a wearable?’: Fitbit’s CEO on its new products, fixing the way we sleep, and taking on Apple

James Park, the Fitbit CEO, on the new range of Fitbit products and the Apple Watch.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

OpenAI shifts from nonprofit to ‘capped-profit’ to attract capital

“The former nonprofit announced today that it is restructuring as a “capped-profit” company that cuts returns from investments past a certain point”. This is, of course, a bit worrying for those who fear the investments will affect the direction of the company.

Wellsaid aims to make natural-sounding synthetic speech a credible alternative to real humans

WellSaid’s voices are actually pretty darn impressive — they’re more realistic than Google’s WaveNet. The examples shown are incredible.

How Alexa learns

Scientific American had a nice piece on how Alexa’s machine learning works.

BionicSoftHand can rapidly learn how to handle objects with dexterity

Everything is designed for humans to interact with — so robots will need human-level dexterity to be able to interact with the world too.

Faster robots demoralise co-workers

“New research finds that when robots are beating humans in contests for cash prizes, people consider themselves less competent and expend slightly less effort — and they tend to dislike the robots”.

U.S. army pledges $72 million for Carnegie Mellon AI defense research

The U.S. Army will “invest $72 million in a five-year effort led by Carnegie Mellon to develop AI defense technologies”.

A robotic leg, born without prior knowledge, learns to walk: new AI algorithms could allow robots to learn to move by themselves, imitating animals

“Researchers believe they have become the first to create an AI-controlled robotic limb driven by animal-like tendons that can even be tripped up and then recover within the time of the next footfall, a task for which the robot was never explicitly programmed to do”.

Alexa researchers improve AI error rate up to 30% by reducing data imbalance

Amazon say they’ve worked out a technique to minimise imbalance in AI training datasets.

How to train your robot (to feed you dinner)

“Researchers have developed a robotic system that can feed people who need someone to help them eat”.

Microsoft launches AI Business School

This aims to help business executives “implement an AI strategy and address the ways AI changes an organisation”.

Machine learning can use tweets to spot critical security flaws

Researchers built AI that uses tweets (yes, from Twitter) to predict the severity of software vulnerabilities with 86 percent accuracy.

The AI-art gold rush is here

An interesting look at the effect of AI on art as the HG Contemporary gallery in Chelsea has an exhibition from an AI “artist”.

Google’s TensorFlow privacy wants to stop AI sucking up personal data

They use “mathematical techniques to prevent machine learning models from gleaning or remembering personal information from the data sets they’re being trained upon”.

Shimi will now sing to you in an adorable robot voice

“Deep learning helps one of Georgia Tech’s musical robots to understand humans and sing to them”.

Google brings its duplex AI restaurant booking assistant to 43 states

The AI restaurant and appointment booking assistant is going to be released to a whole lot of the US.

Google previews TensorFlow 2.0 alpha with focus on simplicity and ML beginners

The TensorFlow 2.0 alpha revealed this week provided a preview of upcoming changes aimed at making ML easier for beginners. It will use Keras as the high-level API for building deep learning models.

Google is making it easier for AI developers to keep users’ data private

A few extra lines of code can bring extra protection for people’s data.

How AI will rewire us

The Atlantic’s April 2019 issue looks at how robots will alter humans’ capacity for altruism, love and friendship.

40 per cent of ‘AI start-ups’ in europe aren’t involved in, er, AI

Yep. It’s a shame really. The label of “AI” attracts between 15-50% more funding.

Neurodegenerative diseases identified using artificial intelligence

“Researchers have developed an AI platform to detect a range of neurodegenerative disease in human brain tissue samples, including Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy”.


Internet of Things and Makers

Geek pick: Amazon Echo Wall clock tells time with tech featured the Echo Wall Clock and talked about how it works.

Strawberry4Pi makes it easy to build Raspberry Pi IoT devices

The Strawberry4Pi board is made to connect on top of a Raspberry Pi Zero W and has four built-in mechanical relays for turning devices on and off.

Securing smart homes and buildings: threats and risks to complex IoT environments

This is a nicely put together web page from Trend Micro on the aspects of the smart home which we’ll want to keep secure.

How to address IoT’s two biggest challenges: data and security

The two major challenges with IoT in the cloud listed are the rapid growth of data and the lack of IoT data security.

The ZeroPhone, a Linux smartphone powered by the Raspberry Pi Zero

Hackster has a look at the ZeroPhone — a working, open source smartphone that is nearing production.

Redboard Edge

“The RedBoard Edge takes the classic Arduino Uno, but moves everything around to more convenient locations for a streamlined final version of your gadget”.

Modifying a cheap Hexapod robot toy to run on a Raspberry Pi

This cute little hexapod robot toy called Tobbie has been upgraded via Raspberry Pi!


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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