This week, both Hello Kitty and Catan have upcoming Pokemon Go style worlds coming soon, Nreal’s AR headset preorders opened up, Half-Life’s VR game announcement was made and more!

Hello Kitty AR, Nreal Light AR headset and Catan AR

Hello Kitty and Catan’s upcoming AR worlds, Nreal AR headset preorders open up and more!


Virtual Reality

HTC’s Thanksgiving Day sale offers steep discounts on Vive Pro, Cosmos & more

Their sale starts on Thanksgiving Day and ends Monday, December 2nd.

Facebook’s Sean Liu: we are at an inflection point of the VR industry

Sean “believes that VR is still in the beginning, but in an inflection point”.

Facebook starts selling replacement Oculus Rift S cables

If your Rift S cable has been through much wear and tear, you can buy a new one for $79 in the US.

Half-Life: Alyx — everything you need to know about Valve’s first VR star

Valve’s upcoming Half-Life VR game has got a lot of people super excited, here are the details!

Is VR the next big thing in art therapy?

“VR has the potential to help patients with sensory, cognitive and motor-related disabilities who are unable to use traditional art media in therapeutic ways”.

Neurons that map memories identified using VR

Using VR, they were able to see how people process spatial memories as they navigated the virtual world.


Augmented Reality

Niantic’s latest AR game turns the entire earth into one giant game of Catan

If you thought that Pokémon Go style AR games were going to calm down after Minecraft Earth — you were wrong! After bringing Pokémon and Harry Potter to AR, Niantic are bringing an AR version of Catan next!

Hello Kitty challenges Pokémon Go’s reign as top AR game with Kawaii World

Hello Kitty wants to try its hand in making an AR world too!

Nreal’s Android-friendly AR glasses are a blend of fashion and function

The somewhat compact US$1200 AR headset is finally open to pre-order with shipments starting in a month!

Epic Games enters settlement talks with Nreal over trademark naming dispute

Epic Games had filed legal action to stop Nreal from using the “Nreal” name because of how similar it is to “Unreal Engine” — it looks like they’ll be settling the case just in time for these pre-orders!

Marina Abramovic’s volumetric art piece heads for Christie’s auction block after debut in Magic Leap

One artist is “using volumetric capture technology, along with the Magic Leap One, to immortalize her latest piece”.

Snapchat debuts weird aging AR lens for app users

You can now age or de-age (is that a thing?) yourself with the latest Snapchat filter.

Apple AR patent clutter and hiding AR patents

Karl Guttag gives his thoughts on the current lack of Apple AR patents in general and their misrepresentation.

Google researchers develop method for capturing ‘relightable’ volumetric video

Researchers at Google have uncovered how to improve upon volumetric video.

AR cloud startup Ubiquity6 launches for 3d capture via smartphone cameras

“The platform enables anyone to capture 3D digital maps of real-world places with just the standard camera of a smartphone or tablet.”



Here’s a closer look at the ‘Diana’ smartwatch tech Google got from Fossil

Curious to see some of what Google’s acquisition included?


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Robotic skin sees when (and how) you’re touching it

This new research uses a stack involving a camera, LEDs, and three layers of silicone to “optically detect any disturbance of the skin”.

New Amazon tool helps machine learning models identify unique objects

Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels allow you to train machine learning models to understand a set of objects when there is a limited set of information.

Amazon researchers use NLP data set to improve Alexa’s answers

Alexa will soon be better placed to answer domain-specific questions.

Facebook details the AI technology behind Instagram Explore

Curious how Instagram Explore, Instagram’s content recommendation tab, works? Facebook has shared some info on the AI behind it all.

Tainted data can teach algorithms the wrong lessons

“Researchers show how AI programs can be sabotaged by even subtle tweaks to the data used to train them” — this could be a very big issue as AI becomes more and more relied upon.

AI determines how much help Shakespeare had writing a play

One neural network found that ‘Henry VIII’ did indeed have a co-author, and was even able to confirm who it likely was.

No, AI is not for social good

This VentureBeat article asks the important question — while AI can be used to make things better, “which good and for whom” will it be working for?

Text-savvy AI is here to write fiction

The GPT-2 AI system that was initially “too dangerous” to make public is now going to be writing for National Novel Writing Month.

Facebook trains AI to generate worlds in a fantasy text adventure

Researchers have “designed models that could compositionally arrange locations and characters and generate new content on the fly”.

AI is data Pac-Man. Winning requires a flashy new storage strategy.

Machine learning is needing more and more storage, here’s a good look at where all these data requirements are coming from.

AI now detects phone usage, smoking while driving

Tel Aviv-based Eyesight Technologies announced a new AI feature that can recognize when a driver is distracted.

Here’s how Knightscope’s security robots surveil the public

OneZero obtained a presentation that reveals how Knightscope security robots use facial recognition and license plate readers to track people.

Spotify’s free music service will now stream on Alexa devices, plus Bose and Sonos smart speakers

Spotify has been only for premium subscribers on Amazon Echo devices but now its free tier will stream on Alexa devices in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Study: Even bad robot trash talk can distract players

It appears that “disparaging words can fluster an opponent, no matter who — or what — utters them”.

Artificial intelligence algorithm can learn the laws of quantum mechanics

AI can be used to predict molecular wave functions and the electronic properties of molecules — this could speed-up the design of drug molecules or new materials.

Microsoft is killing off Cortana on Android and iOS from January

Cortana won’t be on your phone for too much longer.


Internet of Things and Makers

Amazon brings Alexa to AWS IoT core devices

There are a bunch of IoT-related products heading to AWS, including Alexa Voice Service Integration for more devices — most excitingly now by offloading tasks like buffering and mixing audio, the baseline requirement for hardware devices is down to only 1MB of RAM and Arm Cortex M-class microcontrollers.

A Mickey Mouse-themed Echo wall clock might be on the way

If you thought your Alexa experience needed a bit more Disney, this could be your lucky day — it’s unlikely Alexa will take on Mickey’s voice though.

SwitchBot Curtain

Got curtains you want to automate so you don’t have to open and close them yourself? This Kickstarter looks like a pretty neat solution.

Google Assistant books cinema tickets on the web

It’ll be able to book movies using “services like Fandango,, AMC, and MJR Theaters in the US, or Odeon in the UK.”

Maker Faire Shenzhen 2019: Flames, bots, and LEDs

Curious to see what happened at Maker Faire Shenzhen 2019? Here’s a look!

Mike Harrison knows everything about LEDs

Mike Harrison gave a talk on LEDs at the Hackaday Superconference which is available here!



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