The eighth issue of the weekly Dev Diner newsletter arrives after a week of massive amounts of AI news. The UN had a big discussion on managing the future of AI just as Tesla’s cars started to become autonomous and MIT revealed the beginnings of AI that can surpass human intuition.

Plenty of prints and merch of tech parodies over at our RedBubble – your mad inventor desk needs at least one 😉

Virtual Reality

The democratic debate aired live over VR and received a rather large amount of criticism and negativity. WIRED has an in depth look at the experience.

They’ve managed to release a PlayStation Portable emulator that virtually immerses people inside old PSP games.

Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook some more excitement over VR. “The craziest Oculus experience I’ve had recently is playing ping pong in virtual reality. You feel like you’re right there with your friend even though they may be halfway around the world. And not only can you hit the ball back and forth, but you can turn gravity up and down to simulate completely different worlds — outer space, under water and so on.”. That sounds freaking amazing.

EyeNetra wants to help build customised, prescription “vision-corrected” VR screens for those with eyesight difficulties.

HTC backed a VR startup looking to create a virtual reality enabled surgical theatre.

Augmented Reality

Amazon are jumping into the augmented reality space with their very own AR glasses that work with tablets.

Business Insider have the lowdown on everything we know so far about the HoloLens. It’s a nice recap.

Robin McNicholas, director of Marshmallow Laser Feast, believes AR will one day surpass VR.

I want one of these! Honda released a concept mini car with AR. You apparently drive it on the footpath.

Want to give your existing car augmented reality? This dashboard heads up display looks fantastic!

My new favourite use of holograms – holograms of a wheelchair bound person that appear when Russian drivers try to park in a disabled spot without a permit. Absolutely FANTASTIC use of tech.


Pebble have a few new variations of their straps available.

Pebble also released version 3.6 of their SDK that provides in app dictation capabilities! I’ve been very keen to experiment with this!

In a move that will help wearables and portable devices, AT&T announced plans to allow customers to have one phone number across multiple devices.

The CEO at Jawbone says they’re looking into “ingestibles”. I hope we give them a nicer name than that.

We’ve also got a new wearable that measures toxic chemicals around you.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

A fantastic article at TechCrunch on “Programming Hate Into AI Will Be Controversial, But Possibly Necessary”.

Tesla released an over the air update to their Model X and Model S range built after September 2014 which gives the car self driving capabilities like keeping you in your lane on the highway, changing lanes automatically and parallel parking like magic.

Mind blowing stuff right here… robotics that find their way using artificial “GPS” brain cells.

Google are using neural networks to generate better YouTube thumbnails.

Artificial intelligence – coming to a child’s toy near you.

Soon, that toy and all other AI will also know how to avoid faceplants.

Ray Kurzwell, in this video from a recent talk he gave, answers the question of “Would it make sense to stretch our mental model, and further expand our creativity, and break mental patterns ourselves, before we become fully integrated with artificial intelligence?”.

Keen to use AI in your own app? CNN has a nice quick overview of how IBM is providing access to Watson via an API.

In Melbourne by any chance? IBM just opened a Watson centre for AI over there. I found out the day after I arrived back from Melbourne and am kicking myself that I didn’t find out sooner!

An ever so slightly eerie headline… “Six human skills Facebook’s artificial intelligence tech is slowly mastering”.

There are calls once more for a custom phrase to activate Siri and Google Now after a rather vague “silent control” hack was demonstrated that can activate our AI assistants if microphone-enabled headphones are plugged in.

A new algorithm out of MIT aims to surpass human intuition. The tech is looking quite promising here but definitely will freak out anyone worried about robots being able to predict our next moves.

AI may work out why some embryos develop abnormally.

Already in the field and have some pretty good expertise? Leap Motion are looking to hire a Machine Learning Engineer.

Experts got together with the UN to warn them about the dangers of super intelligence. You can watch the whole event at that link.

A professor from the University of NSW in Australia is focused on calling for the UN to ban killer robots.

Finally, NPR had a great interview with the IBM team lead for Watson. I love some of his answers!

Internet of Things

I received an email this week from a developer asking whether there were any opportunities left in the IoT space, so I answered it in an opinion piece!

Intel and Arduino are partnering up to release the Arduino 101 next year (called the Genuino 101 if you’re outside the US). It’s a learning and development board that uses the Intel Curie and could be perfect for people looking to start tinkering in the wearables space.

The Particle team released an update this week making firmware updates over the air up to ten times faster. Very good news for those who’ve stared at the magenta blinking light for as long as I have!

Speaking about Particle creations, I stumbled upon one which I’m naming my featured project of the week! It’s a Particle powered excitometer!

Looking to teach kids about the IoT? This project using Snap Circuits and a Photon looks like a potentially good start!

We’ve got a good level of further calls for security to strengthen the IoT. Here’s a piece on why consumers should take the IoT and lack of security more seriously and an eye opening piece by the IB Times on why failing to protect IoT data is the biggest threat to tech. The IB Times article had the scary statistic that “79% percent of Americans said they felt “confidently safe” that Internet-connected devices in their home are properly secured”. That’s a big level of trust right there.

Intel Australia’s managing director, Kate Burleigh, wrote a much needed piece advocating that Australia needs to be in vanguard of IoT.

Chris Briggs, Windows development enthusiast, helped put together a new Dev Diner guide on the Universal Windows Platform. About to try your hand at some Windows IoT dev? Check that page out!


Got an event on emerging tech happening somewhere around the world that you’d like to share? Let me know.

Thursday 22nd October in Sydney – IoT Sydney meetup is on again! My favourite meetup of every month. If you’re a Sydneysider and into emerging tech, I’ll see you there! RSVP here.

2nd – 4th November in Cambridge, MA EmTech 2015 is on and has discussion on AI, robotics, the future of our cities and more. Looks really good. I’m wishing I was in the US right now.

Monday 16th November in Sydney – The Sydney VR Meetup has a bunch of cool speakers and demos lined up. If you’re in the area, RSVP here.

Thursday 19th November, Sydney – Convergence, a part networking event and part trade show  on emerging tech, is having its first event in Barangaroo. This one is all about VR & AR and it is looking unbelievably exciting – Details here.

17th – 19th March 2016 in Sydney – The 2016 Australia Regional First Robotics Competition is on! It’s a free event and is looking for volunteers to help out too – Head here to find out more!


I mentioned Leap Motion above for machine learning but they’ve actually got a huge number of other positions in emerging tech. Check out the listings and apply if you’re keen!


Thank you all once again for being a part of the Dev Diner community by subscribing to this newsletter and sending me your thoughts! Please continue sending whatever your heart desires at Dev Diner via email, Twitter or Facebook! Have a strong urge to write an opinion piece for the site? Got a tonne of useful links you’d like to share with the development community in a Dev Diner guide? Get in touch.


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