This week, we sadly farewell to Google Daydream and Google Clips, we’ve got PC Screensavers in VR, a robot solved a Rubik’s cube on its own, we’ve got a new Google Nest Mini, cool VR/AR demos and lots more!

Google Clips, PC Screensavers in VR and a robot solving a Rubik's cube

Google Clips, PC Screensavers in VR and a robot solving a Rubik’s cube on its own!

 

Virtual Reality

RIP: Google has abandoned its Daydream VR platform

Sad news this week… Google has discontinued the production of its Daydream View VR headset and will not be providing VR support for its upcoming Pixel 4. That’s a whole VR platform coming to an end.

Microsoft’s Dreamwalker lets you see VR cities during real-world walks

This prototype lets you walk around in the real world but enjoy a virtual experience (with safety precautions!).

Virtual mandalas

This fantastic guide will show you how to use Gravity Sketch and NeosVR to create mandala art in VR!

Beat Saber plus smart lights equals an at-home club experience

This developer syncs up their Philips Hue lights with Beat Saber to make it much more exciting for everyone else around you!

BBC’s VR hub is shutting down

The hub will no longer commission and produce new VR experiences.

Varjo unveils human eye-resolution VR headsets with hand and eye tracking, available now

The VR-2 and VR-2 Pro are both enterprise focused, 4K VR headsets that work with SteamVR content and the OpenVR development platform.

Build your own crazy machines with Gadgeteer on Oculus Quest next week

Build your own Rube Goldberg machine in VR!

Screensavers VR drops you headfirst into history’s most famous PC screensavers

Enter into the glorious PC screensavers from the 90s… in VR!

 

Augmented Reality

Watch: capture real world locations with your smartphone & turn them into Lego-like virtual worlds with new SDK

6D.ai have a very cool demo of their AR SDK turning the real world into Lego!

Magic Leap lawsuit vs. Nreal takes major step forward after legal team scours the planet in search of elusive founder

For months, Magic Leap’s legal team has reportedly attempted to contact Nreal and its founder, Chi Xu, with little success. A few weeks ago — that finally changed.

Tilt Five adds new partners for AR tabletop game project: Tabletopia and Monocle Society

They’re doing super well with their Kickstarter and now have more partners to release games on their AR platform.

Researchers demo AR hand tracking controls for smartphones

A group of Brown University researchers have a concept app with hand tracking using smartphone AR and off the shelf hardware.

Powering the largest activation of the ‘AR-cloud’ to-date

This group turned a stadium into a 5G-enabled giant augmented reality experience for those looking through their smartphone.

Exploring interactive space in AR

This is one of the nicest guides to designing for AR that I’ve come across!

Busting, Sony’s Ghostbusters AR display (and a little sprite history)

Karl Guttag looks at the new Ghostbusters AR experience hardware tech to see what they’re using.

 

Wearables

Rebble with a cause: how Pebble watches were granted an amazing afterlife

Ifixit say that around 200,000 Pebbles are still running thanks to the Rebble Alliance. My Pebble watch is one of them!

Fitbit goes big on helping to detect the early signs of atrial fibrillation

Being able to detect atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a big deal and could save lives.

Apple smart ring could bring smartwatch features to your finger

Apple won a patent for a smart ring, so we could see an iRing at some point too.

 

Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Microsoft’s AI rewrites sentences based on context

“Researchers propose a novel AI system that’s capable of autonomously rewriting coherent utterances informed by sentence context”.

How AI powers the Pixel 4

Google’s Pixel 4 has a new AI-powered camera, Google Assistant and facial recognition for unlocking the phone. They’ve got to fix the facial recognition though as it unlocks even if your eyes are closed.

How arm wants to bring machine learning to ordinary computing devices

“Arm says it has everybody beat in terms of volumes of AI and machine-learning chips deployed in the widest array of devices”.

Computers are learning to read — but they’re still not so smart

A tool called BERT can now outperform humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests but there’s much more for AI to do.

This virtual being music group released an AI-generated album, and it’s not bad

I’m gonna be honest, the song I listened to sounded kinda creepy, but it’s impressive. “If you cry with every smile, I’ll make you stare” was one of the lines. “Make us one so we’re never alone again” was another.

Here’s what it feels like to sprout an extra pair of robot arms

They had a second person controlling the robotic arms through an Oculus Rift S VR headset.

AI is helping scholars restore ancient greek texts on stone tablets

“DeepMind has created an AI system that helps scholars understand and recreate fragmentary ancient Greek texts on broken stone tablets”.

AI weekly: why Google still needs the cloud even with on-device ML

There’s still a level of necessity for the cloud, but we are moving towards much more edge computing.

Google’s Pixel 4 ups the AI ante to offline language models

“Live Caption and Recorder on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL show that Google wants to rule offline natural language processing”.

A robot hand taught itself to solve a rubik’s cube after creating its own training regime

The video is somewhat mesmerising.

Powerful computer vision algorithms are now small enough to run on your phone

“Researchers have shrunk state-of-the-art computer vision models to run on low-power devices”.

RIP Google Clips, you weird little automatic camera

Just like Daydream VR, Google has discontinued its AI-based camera, Google Clips.

Robots have skin now. this is fine

“A new project created synthetic skin that works much like our own nervous system, opening the door to new, safer, more empathetic robots”.

Apple’s iPhone recycling robot can take apart 200 iPhones an hour — can it dismantle the company’s footprint?

I’m glad the robot exists but we need to be building hardware with the long term and recycling in mind from the start.

 

Internet of Things and Makers

Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords

Researchers have found a way of creating malicious apps that can listen in by sneakily prompting for responses using silent characters (so the user doesn’t hear the voice prompt).

Google feathers its nest with launch of Nest Mini and Nest WiFi

The Nest Mini’s fabric-covered top is now made from 100 per cent recycled bottles (yay!), has a built-in wall-mount, more powerful speaker, extra microphone and more. Nest WiFi is the next version of their Google WiFi mesh routers.

The Arduino IDE finally grows up

The Arduino Pro IDE Alpha release is out and provides more features than the long running Arduino IDE.

Will the rise of IoT and slowing of Moore’s law contribute to climate change?

Drew Henry, senior vice president at Arm, on “the growing IoT ecosystem’s compute demands and the impact that could have on climate change”.

U-blox expands its Bluetooth portfolio with three new BLE modules

The new modules provide both indoor and long-range Bluetooth solutions.

 


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