This week, we flame-throwing drones, a new patent for foldable Samsung AR glasses, a look at Neuralink’s plans, people freaking out about Apple “abandoning” AR (I don’t think they are), a new conversational AI platform, a new Azure Kinect AI camera and more!

Flame-throwing drones, foldable Samsung AR glasses and Neuralink's behind-the-ear tech

Flame-throwing drones, foldable Samsung AR glasses and a look at Neuralink’s plans!


Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift CV1 and Gear VR ‘sold well over 10 million units’ combined states Palmer Luckey

A recent negative article from CNBC conveniently missed the sales stats from Oculus’ two longest running and best selling headsets, so Palmer had something to say about that.

Pilot a virtual TARDIS at San Diego Comic-Con in Doctor Who: The Edge of Time

It is set to launch September 29th on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift/Rift S, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos! Sounds really fun to me.

Dustnet is a PC, VR, AR deathmatch experience set inside an abandoned Counter-Strike server

I haven’t tried this yet but it’s a curious attempt at a multiplayer game that gives each platform different capabilities. Neat idea!

Build AR & VR apps with the open-source Virtuoso SDK

“VSDK is a Unity-based solution for developers looking to create naturalistic user interactions whilst supporting a wide variety of headsets”.

Social VR platform Bigscreen TV adds 50 free live channels

Bigscreen lets users share their desktop screens with friends in VR — adding TV brings a new aspect to the whole thing!


Augmented Reality

Why Did Apple abandon its AR and VR headset dreams?

Hold up. This is all a rumour — don’t go spreading this as a confirmed bit of news… it’s actually likely to be false. Stay calm if you see this news!

Intel makes augmented reality production more accessible with affordable new RealSense standalone depth camera

It’s only US$79 but is a simple entry level device for devs who want to try out the RealSense SDK without forking out too much cash.

Nvidia uncovers breakthroughs with dynamic focus & prescription lenses for augmented reality displays

Their Foveated AR prototype uses both a concave half-mirrored display where your vision is clearest and a wide field of view display for your peripheral vision.

Samsung patent documents reveal augmented reality smartglasses that might challenge Apple’s rumored wearable

This foldable AR glasses patent looks pretty darn exciting, even if it doesn’t get released some day.

Microsoft launches closed beta sign-ups for Minecraft Earth mobile augmented reality game

Register your interest and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get early access at some point!

Startup Form launches underwater smart goggles for swimmers

These US$200 swimming goggles have a see-through display to show activity info to swimmers in real-time! Underwater Iron Man!

The best Marvel movie scenes featuring augmented reality concepts that we might use in the near future

Speaking of Iron Man, he’s not the only one using augmented reality in the Marvel cinematic universe!


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Elon Musk unveils Neuralink’s plans for brain-reading ‘threads’ and a robot to insert them

They’ve got a robot prepped to install them into your brain, have managed to make a monkey control a computer with its mind and have some grand plans.

Introducing the Plato Research Dialogue System: A flexible conversational AI platform

Uber AI has open-sourced Plato, a platform for developing and testing conversational AI agents.

What you look like as a renaissance painting, according to AI

A new project lets anyone play with an AI to create stunning portraits.

Windows 10 preview could bring Alexa to your PC’s lock screen

You wouldn’t have to unlock your PC to talk to Alexa — she’ll be ready and waiting!

Microsoft’s $399 Azure Kinect AI camera is now shipping in the US and China

Kinect is back in an AI developer kit for US$399 and has a 1MP depth camera, 360-degree microphone, 12MP RGB camera and an orientation sensor.

The flamethrower drone will soon be a thing you can buy

I can’t imagine the potential issues flying one of these around will cause.

Tiny vibration-powered robots could repair your body from the inside

“Georgia Tech’s ‘bristle-bot’ can run on vibration from nearby sounds to move quickly”.

Prisma cofounders launch Capture, which uses AI to suggest chatroom topics

Capture is an AI-powered “contextually aware” social network designed around chatrooms and channels. Really curious idea.

Aina is an AI-enabled smart ring

It has a touchscreen, motion sensor, microphone and a whole lot more that connects to your phone via Bluetooth.

IBM built a robotic tongue to taste test hazardous chemicals

IBM’s ‘Hypertaste’ chemical sensor will let robots taste all those things we kinda don’t want to taste ourselves.

Study: Seniors talk with AI chatbots more when the conversation is deeper

“Subjects who interacted with the agent regularly over the course of weeks had stronger sentiments about topics concerned with goals rather than routine activities, as well as stronger self-disclosure for more intimate topics.”

How video game engines help create smarter AI

At VentureBeat’s Transform 2019 conference, Unity talked about “how video games can help advance AI research”.

Deep learning algorithm solves rubik’s cube faster than any human: work is step toward advanced AI systems that can think, reason, plan and make decisions

I feel like the above heading is pretty thorough.

Google’s new ‘data echoing’ technique speeds up AI training

“Researchers at Google detail a novel ‘data echoing’ technique that they say might dramatically speed up AI model training”.

These robo-ants can work together in swarms to navigate tricky terrain

It’s like Ant-Man but real life! In robot form.

AI smokes 5 poker champs at a time in no-limit hold’em with ‘relentless consistency’

Is there any game AI won’t be able to beat us in soon?

Spoiler warning! This neural network spots dangerous reviews before you read them

Now there’s a neural network I need!

Get ready for a new era of personalized entertainment

“New machine learning tech, user interfaces and automated content creation techniques are going to expand the personalization of storytelling” — while I don’t know if I agree with everything this article foresees, it’s a really fascinating discussion!


Internet of Things and Makers

Alexa Replaces Justin Bieber in a Remake of Ed Sheeran’s Top Single “I Don’t Care”

This is clearly Alexa’s true calling.

Your new Raspberry Pi 4 won’t power on? USB-C cable problem now officially confirmed

It turns out that not every USB-C cable will power the new Pi.

Hacking this smart bulb is almost too easy

The ESP8266 is in a whole lot of commercial devices these days, including this smart bulb.

Seeed’s Seeeduino Nano is a new $7 Arduino-compatible board

Seeed Studio has released a new tiny development board!

The trials and tribulations of building an IoT garage door opener

RIP the set of roller door motors that were harmed during the making of this project.


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