Emerging tech had so many fascinating stories this week! We’ve got jaw-droppingly realistic video of Barack Obama generated by a neural network, a Star Wars AR headset, a robot throwing themselves into a fountain and Elon Musk warning that cutting-edge robots may soon kill people if not regulated.

Barack Obama photos, a Star Wars AR headset and a robot in a fountain

Generating lifelike video using neural networks, a Star Wars AR headset and one security bot felt that the water was its true calling

Register your interest for my virtual assistant course!

My upcoming online course will cover building a virtual assistant using Api.ai in a fun, light-hearted way. People registering early interest will get a discount code when it’s out to say thank you. Got something you want to learn? Suggest it when registering!


Virtual Reality

Oculus is working on a £150 standalone VR headset, apparently

Their “Pacific” headset might launch in October for about $200 but won’t have positional tracking in its first generation.

Facebook really can’t decide how much VR should cost

The US$200 price cut is still going! After the sale, it’ll have a permanent $100 price cut and the Touch controllers will be bundled in.

Using Apple’s ARKit, this company built inside-out tracking for a VR headset

A Google Cardboard headset to be exact! Such a good idea.

Study: VR twice as effective as morphine at treating pain

If true, this could be life changing for many people.

How to render your Blocks with Unity

Been making some 3D models using Google’s new Blocks VR app? Here’s a YouTube video on how you can get those into Unity.

Hackers use ultrasonic waves to disrupt VR headsets

Researchers from Alibaba made a sonic gun that can drastically distort the experience in a targeted VR headset to potentially “nausea-inducing levels”.

In a fragmented VR market, one company wants to unite them all

This VR headset is the first to support both SteamVR and Daydream.

Disney is using VR to help film The Lion King remake

The actors can walk into a CGI scene to see other actors & virtual objects.

Tech hunters: looking back at Nintendo’s failed Virtual Boy

Engadget looks at Nintendo’s VR headset in their Tech Hunters video series.


Augmented and Mixed Reality

Learning ARKit and Unity3d

Friend of Dev Diner, Peter Koch, on how to get started with ARKit and Unity.

Why Meta’s AR vision of the future should excite you – and scare HoloLens

Meta, my favourite AR headset company, had some very nice praise here!

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges puts an AR lightsaber in your hands

It will use a Lenovo AR headset powered by a smartphone app.

Apple is working hard on an iPhone rear-facing 3d laser for AR and autofocus

Apple’s engineers are reportedly racing to get this into the next iPhone.

How Steve Jobs set Apple on course to rule consumer augmented reality

Fast Company say it’s all about control over the software and hardware. Bloomberg also say Apple’s billion devices give them an augmented reality edge over Google.

Waveoptics, maker of waveguide-based optics for AR, nabs $16m

Waveguide-based optics for AR sounds kinda cool, it is “based on hologram physics and photonic crystals”.

Microsoft patches a remote code execution flaw affecting HoloLens

If you’ve got a HoloLens, you’re gonna want to update!



Stop getting fitness tracker studies wrong

It turns out a lot of those studies on fitness trackers aren’t too reliable.

Android Wear on iPhone: our guide to getting your iOS smartwatch fix

Wareable look at what you can and can’t do with Android Wear on iOS.

These stretchy, durable sensors could be woven right into clothing

Harvard’s Wyss Institute uses a simple layering method to make a durable, customizable flex sensor.

What we want to see from Fitbit’s smartwatch apps

A bunch of people weigh in on where Fitbit should go with its app ecosystem.

This super-stretchy wearable feels like a second skin and can record data

It won’t last long term but sounds great as a short term health monitor.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Free ways to learn about artificial intelligence and machine learning

I’ve put together a list of free resources to help you really delve into AI.

New AI research makes it easier to create fake footage of someone speaking

The end result of this neural network of Obama videos is incredible.

What happens when two artificial intelligences try to prank each other?

Over a thousand dollars in Twilio texting rates, that’s what.

Matelabs mixes machine learning with IFTTT

You can train a machine learning model and integrate it with IFTTT!

This deep learning AI generated thousands of creepy cat pictures

Yep. Kinda creepy. (Thanks Antony for the link!)

Microsoft creates an AI research lab to challenge Google and DeepMind

This is super exciting!

Why deep learning isn’t always the best AI solution

A nice VentureBeat article reminding everyone that there are other valid solutions in AI that don’t involve deep learning.

The inventor of Roomba has a new robot that sucks up invasive fish

It collects lionfish to save local fish in the area.

DC security robot quits job by drowning itself in a fountain

One fancy K5 high-tech robot appears to have ran itself into a fountain. I liked Engadget’s headline too — “DC security robot says everything is fine, throws itself into pool”.

Yandex open sources CatBoost, a gradient boosting machine learning library

This article explains “gradient boosting” machine learning too.

Elon Musk: regulate AI before robots start ‘killing people’

Musk says “I have exposure to the very cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it”

AI is inventing languages humans can’t understand. should we stop it?

Okay, this is both impressive and scary. Researchers at Facebook realised their bots were chatting in a new language — then they stopped it.

These are the job skills of the future that robots can’t master

Not worried about AI killing people? More worried about your career? Here are some skills that Fast Company say are safe from robot domination.

Google is letting the machines choose good apps from bad

AI is taking on more of the task of checking Google Play store apps.

DoNotPay launches 1,000 new bots to help you with your legal problems

AI is also ready to help you fight your legal problems!


Internet of Things

You can root your Google WiFi router, but you’ll need a screwdriver

It becomes “a Linux box with endless possibilities, but it still has the mesh networking and app-based interface that Google provides”.

Ticketmaster will soon admit you to events using audio data transmitted from your phone

Data-over-audio using ultrasonic sound tech called “smart tones”.

Maker Share

Make have put together a community site for makers to share projects.

Hey Alexa, I hear you’re about to share our talks with Amazon developers

Amazon are considering selling access to the audio of utterances to Alexa for devs building Alexa skills as the data is available to devs on other platforms.

Amazon’s next Echo will be more like Apple’s HomePod

Amazon is taking on Apple with a slimmer and better sounding Echo.

An Alexa-enabled alarm clock feels like the perfect nightstand gadget

It can charge your phone, dim its display at set intervals and bring you Alexa!

How to think like Amazon in IoT

This post says you need “imagination and the ambition to act on it”.

Google’s smart home system Nest arrives in Australia, allowing you to snoop on your own home for $14 a month

That incredibly long headline sorta explains it all huh?


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