This week we had machine learning grant us the ability to turn crude sketches into photorealism, fancy new AirPods with a new H1 chip, a robot that hangs out on social media, Palmer Luckey isn’t happy with the Oculus Rift S, and lots more.

Photorealism via sketch, AirPods Version 2 and a social media robot

Photorealism via sketch, AirPods Version 2 and your friendly neighbourhood social media robot

Virtual Reality

I can’t use Rift S, and neither can you.

Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus isn’t happy with the interpupillary distance set up (the distance between each eye) of the Rift S.

Oculus reveals the Rift S: all you need to know

Tony has a nice look at the new headset announced too.

VR is still growing: Sony PlayStation VR has sold 4.2 million units as of March 2019

That’s a nice sign that VR is still finding its way.

HTC’s new Vive Focus Plus VR headset will cost $799 and ship next month

The Focus’ focus is on businesses — it’ll be out April 15th.

No Man’s Sky’s next update will let you explore infinite space in virtual reality

It’ll be coming to PSVR and SteamVR bringing a first person view of the game.

‘Iron Man VR’ puts you in the suit

It’s an official game where you’ll fight Marvel villains — but you’ll need a PSVR for it so far.

This VR tool lets you see the world through the eyes of a tiny Tarsiers

You can see what it’s like to see the world as this tiny nocturnal animal.

Effective fear of heights treatment without a therapist using virtual reality, study suggests

ZeroPhobia, a Google Cardboard mobile VR app, aims to help those with a fear of heights and found some success in a recent study.

“I’m Fine” is a VR suicide awareness experience coming from VoidVR

This VR experience aims to raise awareness of suicide “while presenting it in a new light”. It’ll be on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Valve psychologist: brain-computer interfaces are coming & could be built into VR headsets

A look at the state of brain-computer interfaces the near future where VR/AR headsets have with EEG devices.

Tobii launches eye-tracking SDK for AR and VR

“Eye-tracking specialist Tobii announced the launch of its XR Software Development Kit (SDK) this week at the Game Developers Conference 2019”.

Nintendo Labo: VR kit includes over 64 games & experiences

Nintendo released a 7-minute trailer showing the range of games coming for their VR Kit — the kit will be out on 12th April!

GDC 2019: HTC announces lip-tracking dev kit for Vive Pro

A dev kit that adds lip-tracking capabilities to the HTC Vive Pro & Vive Pro Eye that is detachable from the headset is on its way.

HP ‘Reverb’ is the new high-res headset on the block, starting at $600

HP announced Reverb, the successor to their first Windows VR headset launching late April.

 

Augmented Reality

ODG filing points to Magic Leap acquisition of auctioned patent assets

It turns out, the ODG assets were bought sneakily by Magic Leap.

NBA’s Magic Leap app lets you watch basketball in augmented reality

I need a Magic Leap. Quick. Send me one to the far away land of Australia!

Epic Games launches $100 million fund to support 3D experiences created using Unreal Engine

Indie augmented reality developers and startups — definitely check this out.

Unity’s AR Foundation enables developers to publish AR apps on both iOS and Android

Unity has announced that its AR Foundation update for the Unity Editor tool will enable AR games to run easily on both Android and iOS devices.

Apple’s new credit card is an essential piece of its impending AR smartglasses rollout. here’s why

The new “Apple Card”, Adario Strange believes, is another step to extending Apple Pay to more people ready for when it works via smartglasses.

TeamViewer offers remote customer assistance through AR

TeamViewer, known for their remote access software, are moving into AR remote assistance.

Play beach volleyball and mini golf in AR with Krikey

Krikey is currently available on both the App Store and Google Play for free.

Snapchat gives movie fans augmented reality superpowers with voice-activated ‘Shazam!’ lens

The “Shazam!” Lens is the first to use the speech-activated feature that Snapchat introduced in August 2018. Say “Okay Shazam!” and you become Shazam!

Augmented reality when? We asked Magic Leap, Facebook, Google, and more

“Key players in AR, MR and even XR talk about the near future, and explain what could go wrong”.

 

Wearables

AirPods, the world’s most popular wireless headphones, are getting even better

Apple’s wireless earbuds were just updated with a new H1 chip and optional wireless charging case!

Your AirPods will die soon

Just in time too… it turns out the batteries in devices people bought a few years ago aren’t fairing so well.

Android owners are boosting the sales of smartwatch makers, forecast says

Android owners who can’t enjoy the Apple Watch are turning elsewhere boosting those device sales.

Samsung almost made a perfect smartwatch, but its health tracking is a disaster

Gizmodo liked a lot about Samsung’s smartwatch, but health tracking isn’t up to scratch.

Fitbit’s Inspire will replace the Alta, Zip, One and Flex 2 devices

The Inspire and Inspire HR will be replacing five Fitbit devices: the Alta, Alta HR, Zip, One and Flex 2.

 

Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Nvidia’s Jetson Nano is an AI computer for the masses

This new $99 single-board computer is for amateur programmers interested in building basic AI. I like its name!

Nvidia AI turns sketches into photorealistic landscapes in seconds

This machine learning powered software lets you sketch images that become nearly photorealistic!

MIT’s AI can train neural networks faster than ever before

“MIT’s algorithm can design machine learning models up to 200 times faster than traditional models”.

Mcdonald’s bites on big data with $300 million acquisition

In one drive-through trial in Miami, “algorithms crunch data as diverse as the weather, time of day, local traffic, nearby events, and of course historical sales data, both at that specific franchise and around the world”.

Google researchers improve reinforcement learning by having their AI play Pong

Google researchers get their AI to play Pong in a newly published paper.

Can AI be a fair judge in court? Estonia thinks so

“Estonia plans to use an AI program to decide some small-claims cases, part of a push to make government services smarter”.

“Particle robot” works as a cluster of simple units

Not like any robots I’ve ever seen — these loosely connected disc-shaped bots push and pull one another together to transport objects.

Humans can predict how machines (mis)classify adversarial images

“We question how AI could label an image of a dog as a pineapple. But research shows there’s a logic to these errors that humans can intuitively understand”.

Telephone Operator is a robot that does social media so you don’t have to

Sure, those other disc robots could move things around but this robot can navigate social media.

Watch this robot snake climb vertical walls

And this one climbs walls.

Probeat: Google’s Stadia is all about the cloud and AI

VentureBeat says Google’s new gaming platform called “Stadia” is all about the cloud and AI.

 

Internet of Things and Makers

WiFi your door lock with an ESP

Here’s how one maker used some off-the-shelf parts and a bit of code to open his door with Wi-Fi.

Hellcouch is a literal couch co-op game built on an Arduino

“In order to release the demon from the couch, players have to successfully perform ‘the sacred butt ritual’.”

What is a microcontroller? The defining characteristics and architecture of a common component

All About Circuits looks into this commonly used piece of tech!

How to put a Raspberry Pi inside the official Raspberry Pi keyboard

What a neat idea!

DIY swarmbots

How to build a mesh-networked pack of remote controlled cars with Particle microcontrollers!

 


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