This week, we have a robot that swims like a jellyfish, robots helping nurses (it sounds like they’re doing quite well!), smart glasses that might one day be better than prescription ones, Facetime can now use AR to make it look like you’re looking at the camera and more!

A jellyfish inspired robot, robots helping nurses and smart glasses looking at a koala

A jellyfish-inspired robot, robots helping nurses and smart glasses that might one day be better than prescription ones!


Virtual Reality

The Pentagon is looking at VR to train soldiers for nuclear war

They are “seeking additional information pertaining to VR technology that could be used to train US forces for potential nuclear combat”.

June Steam hardware survey: the Rift-Vive cap shrinks … sort of

The Oculus Rift has 44.12% of VR headset use on Steam while HTC Vive has 42.42%.

Reality Rebels wants to turn your home into a location-based VR playspace

This group are using the Quest for a local multiplayer house-scale VR experience.

Nintendo isn’t “behind” when it comes to VR states Shigeru Miyamoto

They “have actually been conducting practical research on these technologies from the very beginning”.

Valve releases then removes Valve Index CAD models meant for developers

Then added them back again. So they’re there if you want to make accessories and mods for the headset!


Augmented Reality

Facetime for iOS 13 uses ARKit to help callers pretend they are maintaining eye contact

When your caller is looking at their screen rather than their camera, they’ll have their eyes adjusted so it’ll look like they’re looking at the camera through AR!

Augmenting our world: three AR trends on the rise

The three trends VR Scout see are “getting kids and families moving”, “crafting new worlds” and “augmented board games”.

Hands-on: hands-on with the Looking Glass Pro, an easy alternative to AR for interacting with virtual content

The Looking Glass Factory are making some pretty fascinating steps in the land of AR.

Stanford’s “smart glasses” track your eyes to stay focused

These “autofocals” can restore proper vision in people who would otherwise need traditional glasses.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

An AI app that “undressed” women shows how deepfakes harm the most vulnerable

“DeepNude” was an awful app idea that I guess someone was bound to do eventually. It’s offline now, with even Vice’s original reporting of it being questionable. The big question — how do we prevent malicious AI like this? Irresponsible developers will always fall through the cracks.

This huge mural was painted by a fleet of spray-painting drones

The drones drew a collection of 100 crowd-sourced line drawings onto this big mural.

AI classifies songs from genres it has never heard before

In a paper, a team of researchers propose an approach that enables an AI model to classify music in genres it’s never encountered before.

AI uses Google trends data to predict how many people will get the flu

Great to see emerging tech used to try to help with our society’s health.

Boffins use machine learning to work out which Beatle wrote which songs

“When tested against Beatles songs where the author is known, the system achieved an accuracy of 76 per cent.”

A hospital introduced a robot to help nurses. They didn’t expect it to be so popular

Moxi is programmed to run errands around the hospital and has done well with taking some things off nurses’ plates, but patients have really loved it too.

This AI can tell a store you’re going to return those shoes before you even buy them

“Researchers have developed a tool that predicts with 83% accuracy the likelihood you’ll return something in your shopping cart.”

Russia says it will give soldiers bomb-carrying drones

“Russia wants to use small drones as offensive tools, not just for reconnaissance”.

Scientists design tiny robotic jellyfish inspired by nature

It mimics the movement of jellyfish through water and looks pretty cool.

Latent history’s ‘machine hallucination’ AI art will melt your mind

Using 300,000 images of historic and modern Stockholm, it combines them into a really neatly transitioned video — definitely worth watching!

Benchmarking TensorFlow lite on the new Raspberry Pi 4, Model B

In summary — it’s faster!

TensorFlow lite ported to Arduino

Adafruit ported TensorFlow for Micro-controllers to the Arduino IDE!

IBM’s hypertaste is an artificial tongue that can classify liquids

“IBM’s Hypertaste project seeks to build an artificial tongue that’s capable of analysing liquids using a combination of electrodes and machine learning”.

Udacity’s AI generates lecture videos from audio narration

Researchers at Udacity propose “a machine learning system that generates lecture videos from audio narration alone”.

Where we see shapes, AI sees textures

“To researchers’ surprise, deep learning vision algorithms often fail at classifying images because they mostly take cues from textures, not shapes.”

Robots made out of branches use deep learning to walk

This is definitely on the stranger end of robots we’ve seen in this newsletter.

Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too

Amazon’s answers to a US senator were pretty upfront and honest, but they’re not ideal.

Social robots can benefit hospitalized children

Social robots in pediatric units at hospitals “can lead to more positive emotions in sick children” — that’s a good use of tech!


Internet of Things and Makers

Amazon wants smart home device setup to be a ‘zero-touch’ experience

VentureBeat spoke with Amazon’s head of customer experience, Nathan Smith, about how they’ve been working to improve the Alexa experience.

A 3D printed micro:bit nunchuk

The Micro:Bit breakout board is a pretty neat concept, made even neater when placed into a Wii-inspired nunchuk!

Five years of the Raspberry Pi Model B+ form factor, what has it taught us?

This July will have the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Raspberry Pi Model B+ form factor which we’re all super used to by this point!

Introducing Alexa Presentation Language 1.1 (beta): animation, improved tools, and the Alexa Design System

Here’s the latest for building the visuals to go with your Alexa skill.

Do you need to use a fan for cooling with the new Raspberry Pi 4?

According to Hackster, you might indeed want to add a fan to the new Pi to keep the temperature down.

Seeed releases new 3D gesture and tracking shield for the Raspberry Pi

You can “just wave your hand above the central area, and this shield can sense your movements”.


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