Posted in Uncategorized

The Inside Story of How Oculus Cracked the Impossible Design of VR

“After nearly four years of work, Oculus is about to share its long-gestating dream with the world.”

There are so many fantastic implications to Oculus and making VR that is user friendly and not too unwieldy.  Medicine, education, elder-care – you name it.  There aren’t too many verticals that won’t be touched.

Still this is a big bulky though….will people buy them for use at home or is this something we will go out to try?   This is a game changer.

Source: The Inside Story of How Oculus Cracked the Impossible Design of VR | WIRED

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Posted in Uncategorized

Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking | Co.Design | business + design

By studying underserved communities, the tech giant hopes to improve the user experience for everyone.

There is nothing more important than the user experience if we want adoption of any new technology or process.  It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can take a lead with this initiative.

Source: Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking | Co.Design | business + design

Posted in Uncategorized

Google’s Self-driving Car

Google_Self-Driving_Prototype__1_

Six years in the making, Google’s self-driving vehicle is an impressive feat but still needs some improvement before it is ready for the public. Recently, the company held a test drive event for press to witness exactly what this vehicle can do.

The prototype’s appearance may be lackluster, but this helps put the focus on the product’s talents. Compared to the sleek and aerodynamic structure of luxury vehicles today, this little, two-seater resembles more of a Roomba (it sounds like one too). It makes it difficult to see how this a visionary example of the future, but let’s go over the details to see what exactly this guy can do.  

With the use of camera, radars and laser sensors, the vehicle can effortlessly avoid colliding with other vehicles and people. During the trial event, passengers entered into the car and found no steering wheel or pedals. Instead, they pressed the “Go” button, and from there the car did the rest of the work. Though the car maxed out at 15 mph, it went through a series of tests avoiding obstacles.

First, a Google worker stepped in front of the vehicle, and it slowed down and allowed him to pass before continuing on. Next, another vehicle rode up alongside the Google car, and it proceeded to slow down to make sure they did not collide. A bicycler did something similar and again, the car slowed. Though all the reactions were the same, the car can analyze exactly what is around it.

The project’s chief engineer commented, “We look at the world around us, and we detect objects in the scene, we categorize them as different types.”

Perhaps, many were looking for something more eye-catching or something to make them gasp, but this technology is still impressive and ahead of all the competition. Other automakers’ focus has not been on the car as a whole but only on safety features such as automatic braking.

Four years from now, Google hopes to have perfected the self-driving vehicle and to be selling it to the masses.

Though there have been no definite plans, most believe Google will sell their software instead of manufacturing their own cars. Unfortunately, we have some time to wait but when it’s ready, it will be just another ground-breaking innovation from Google.

Info courtesy of Wired.

Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

6 New Tech Breakthroughs You Need To See!

There have been some very interesting technological breakthroughs over the past two weeks in everything from neuroscience to transportation. These new discoveries will change the way we interact with each other and the world around us. Here are 6 new technology breakthroughs that you need to know about.

1) Transportation

The first self-driving bus hit the roads in China. The bus prototype, developed by Yutong, went on a 20 mile ride on an intercity road in Zhengzhou. The self-driving bus is equipped with two cameras, four laser radars, one set of millimeter wave radar and an integrated navigation system.

2) Communication

Skype is releasing their real-time translation feature that will allow you to hold a conversation in any of the following languages without actually needing to know a word: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The application will support another 50 languages through normal chat.

3) Neuroscience

Researchers at the University of Washington, experimenting with brain-to-brain connection, have found a way to transmit brain signals from one person to another. Via brain waves and the internet, participants were able to guess the correct answers to a given set of questions with impressive accuracy.

4) Material

An Italian engineering group has built a 12-meter tall 3D printer that can print houses cheaply using additive techniques. Automating building houses using this type of process could dramatically affect the way we provide shelter to those all around the world.  

5) Robotics

MIT researchers have developed a robotic hand that is capable of picking up an egg without breaking it. The robot uses soft 3D-printed fingers that are skilled at picking up even the most difficult objects, such as a coin or fragile egg.

6) Algorithms

The Japanese company, Hitachi, has begun testing a crime prediction algorithm to attempt to identify potential threats or crimes before they occur. The system gathers data from media, such as weather reports or social media, to find patterns using machine learning.

Are there any new technologies that you are particularly interested in? I would love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message or connect with me on Twitter!

Posted in Future, Tech Software

7 Days In Tech

This past week has proved to be another exciting week in terms of technological breakthroughs. As technology continues to advance, numerous industries benefit, paving the way for a more safe, healthy and productive planet. Here are 8 more new discoveries in the world of technology from the past week.

1) Computing

A new quantum computer that “computes without running” sets a record for counterfactual computation efficiency.

2) Communication

China will complete a 2000 km – long quantum communications network by 2016 that could be impossible to hack.

3) Medical

A device that can keep a heart beating outside the human body will lead to more successful heart transplants.

4) Space

A company that developed a magnetic hover-board is working with NASA to develop “tractor beams” for small satellites.

5) Robotics

Thanks to a robotic exoskeleton a 39-year-old man who had been paralyzed for 4 years can now control his leg muscles.

6) Space

The world’s largest digital camera (3.2 gigapixels) for photographing the night sky will soon start construction.

7) Material

A polymer made with proteins derived from squid teeth can repair itself as strong as before using only water.

8) Robotics

A robot that has been trained to spot and assassinate coral-killing starfish will soon start trials in the Great Barrier Reef.

Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

7 Days in Tech

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Technology is progressing at an amazing rate. Each week there are amazing breakthroughs that many times people do not even hear about. This past week has proved to be just the case. Here are 8 awesome technology discoveries from this mid-August that should get you excited about what the future holds.

1. Google Smartwatch

Google’s smartwatches have made it very easy to translate a conversation in two languages in real time. This will make it very convenient for people to talk with locals while traveling in different countries and much more.

2. Hyperloop Transportation

Hyperloop Transportation, led by Elon Musk, is partnering with a Fortune 500 engineering design firm to make the idea a reality. This technology will make it possible for people to travel vast distances in unparalleled time.

3. Battery Advancement

MIT and Samsung have teamed up to tackle the ever present problem of battery life. They have replaced electrolytes with a solid state structure that may improve battery capacity by 20%. It sure would be nice to not constantly be tied down to the wall outlet to keep your phone charged!

4. Spaceplane

DARPA is developing a spaceplane that travels at Mach 10 and can launch satellites into space daily. This plane is reusable and unmanned making it an incredible efficient and effective tool for space travel.

5. D-Wave Computing

D-Wave released the second version of its quantum computer, with this version having over 1000 qubits. This is a major breakthrough that will allow complex computational problems to be solved– more than was previously ever possible.

6. The Artificial Leaf

The artificial leaf, a device that creates hydrogen fuel from solar energy, has now become 22% more efficient at energy conversion. This technology could some day change the way that humans power the world.

7. IBM Computing

IBM has built the digital equivalent of a rodent brain that spans 48 million artificial nerve cells. These chips will have the ability to run “deep learning” algorithms, and will likely drive the future of the internet’s AI services.

8. Google Maps – Energy

Using Maps data and aerial photographs, Google can now estimate how much sunlight your roof gets. This could be a driving force behind solar technology and allow us to know exactly where we should place solar panels to make our homes as energy efficient as possible.

 

Posted in Future

Educational Materials: Should They Be Free For All Everyone?

Last week, a letter signed by over 100 educators, scientists, lawyers, and students was sent to the White House. They were asking for educational materials and professional development to be free for the public to use and funded by the government. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Nichole Dobo reveals the letter’s contents.

“We, the undersigned organizations from the education, library, technology, public interest and legal communities are writing in response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s call for ideas to strengthen the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. To ensure that the value of educational materials created with federal funds is maximized, we call upon the President to issue a strong Administration policy to ensure that they are made available to the public as Open Educational Resources to freely use, share, and build upon.”

Making educational tools readily available to the public will not only help improve the infrastructure of our school systems, but will give companies the opportunity to implement recent technology so their businesses can grow.

OER are Open Educational Resources free for everyone to use. Dobo tells us to think of these as the Wikipedia of educational resources, stating, “It is a free, online encyclopedia that can be repurposed and rewritten by anyone, anywhere, without fear of violating copyright laws.”

Today, more and more companies are adopting tools that will help educate employees and improve their business strategies. For example, a nonprofit organization called CK-12 has recently devoted multiple resources to help develop free digital materials for science, technology, engineering, and math – collectively known as STEM. CK-12 hopes to bring these resources to not only younger students, but for those willing to learn and educate themselves throughout the workplace.

Dobo’s report says that the CEO of the Learning Accelerator, Scot Ellis, believes that competition for resources that can be made available for the public to use will have an overall positive impact and value.

Posted in Donna Murdoch, Future

4 Emerging Technologies That Will Change The World

Technology continues to expand at an exponential rate. The growth of technology has helped to improve our productivity and efficiency, which in turn helps to fuel even more advancements. New technologies are redefining almost every industry, including computing, medicine, manufacturing, transportation. There are seemingly new, amazing breakthroughs everyday, many of which have the opportunity to completely change the way we live our lives. You have probably have heard about some of these technologies before, however, these products have yet to even scratch the surface of what they will be capable of in the years to come.

Here are 4 emerging technologies that I believe will change the world over the course of the next decade.

1) Neural Interfaces

Brain-machine interface is a technology that allows communication between a human and an external technology. This technology can refer to an interface that takes a signal from the brain to an external piece of hardware such as a robotic arm, leg, or even eye! Neural Interfaces have the capacity to improve the lives of millions of people.

2) Augmented Reality / Google Glass

Augmented Reality is a live, direct, or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data. Technology such as Google Glass, will completely change the way in which we interact with the world around us.

3) 3D Printing

3D Printing is the process of converting a digital file into a three dimensional solid object. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes (laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created).

4) Driverless Cars

Driverless, or autonomous, cars refer to vehicles capable of fulfilling the main transportation capabilities of a traditional car. Simply put, they drive themselves! In places such as Nevada, autonomous trucks have already been licensed to operate and will likely be on the road within the next few years. Driverless cars and trucks will make the roads a safer place and will help to improve energy efficiency of the vehicles as well.

Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

New Technology Advancements

Technology is progressing at an amazing rate. Each week there are amazing breakthroughs that many times people do not even hear about. This past week has proved to be just the case. Here are 8 awesome technology discoveries from the past week that should get you excited about what the future holds.

  1. Google Smartwatch

Google’s smartwatches have made it very easy to translate a conversation in two languages in real time. This will make it very convenient for people to talk with locals while traveling in different countries and much more.

  1. Hyperloop Transportation

Hyperloop Transportation, led by Elon Musk, is partnering with a Fortune 500 engineering design firm to make the idea a reality. This technology will make it possible for people to travel vast distances in unparalleled time.

  1. Battery Advancement

MIT and Samsung have teamed up to tackle the ever present problem of battery life. They have replaced electrolytes with a solid state structure that may improve battery capacity by 20%. It sure would be nice to not constantly be tied down to the wall outlet to keep your phone charged.

  1. Spaceplane

DARPA is developing a spaceplane that travels at Mach 10 and can launch satellites into space daily. This plane is reusable and unmanned making it an incredible efficient and effective tool for space travel.

  1. D-Wave Computing

D-Wave released the second version of its quantum computer, with this version having over 1000 qubits. This is a major breakthrough will allows for even more complex computational problems to be solved than was previously ever possible.

  1. The Artificial Leaf

The artificial leaf, a device that creates hydrogen from solar, has now become 22% more efficient at energy conversion. This technology could some day change the way that humans power the world.

  1. IBM Computing

IBM has built the digital equivalent of a rodent brain that spans 48 million artificial nerve cells. These chips will have the ability to run “deep learning” algorithms, that will likely drive the future of the internet’s AI services.

  1. Google Maps – Energy

Using Maps data and aerial photographs, Google can now estimate how much sunlight your roof gets. This could help be a huge driving force behind solar technology and allow us to know exactly where we should place solar panels to make us as energy efficient as possible.

Posted in Tech Hardware

Nintendo’s Newest Project? Not Games, but Sleep Devices

Back in the 80s and 90s, Nintendo was the undisputed master in the world of video games, thanks to such iconic franchises as Mario, Zelda and Pokémon.  In recent years, however, Nintendo’s relevance in the video game industry has gone down as companies such as Microsoft and Sony have dominated the market with their respective game consoles.  Many might think that Nintendo’s glory days are behind them, and trying to outdo Sony and Microsoft is nothing more than a pipe dream.  But Nintendo is a survivor, having existed in one form or another since 1889.  Last year, they first announced their intention to develop a sleep monitor as part of its “quality of life” initiative.  And now, thanks to a recently-published patent unearthed by NeoGAF forum members, we now know what it could look like.

Nintendo is apparently planning to build a sensor-laden gadget, reminiscent of an alarm clock, that’s equipped with a projector.  According to the patent application, the device will assess individuals’ emotions through an array of microphones and cameras that keep track of the noises and movements they make while sleeping.  It will work in a standby mode, where its display will shut down, to minimize the power draw as it watches over users for hours on end. Earlier this year, Nintendo confirmed the existence of an upcoming console, codenamed “NX”, that will apparently represent a major departure from the company’s current and previous strategies.  The NX and its software platform will unify the company’s hardware experiences, and even invite PCs and mobile devices.  It’s possible that the sleep machine will serve as an “appendage” to this new platform.  
Nintendo’s interest in the health sector could prove unsuccessful, since it’s such a major step into a field where the company doesn’t have much experience.  Rivals Sony could be in a better position to pull of such a move, although it seems that Nintendo doesn’t have the reserves or breadth of brand to branch beyond gaming.  In addition to the question of whether or not Nintendo can expand beyond gaming, nobody knows how consumers will respond to a private device that could have cameras and microphones that monitor people.  This idea could make a lot of people uncomfortable, although both Amazon and Xbox have similar devices that have started to ingratiate themselves to the public after some initial suspicion.