Artificial Intelligence, Companies, Entertainment, News

Robot DJ Kuka Makes You Wanna Dance All Night Long

Nowadays robots can do a lot for you. They are your brokers, chefs, doctors, or even lovers. This one, however, will make you jump and dance your night away. In the Prague’s Karlovy Lazne Music Club there is a new employer. A DJ. A robot DJ. DJ Kuka, which is also the name of the company that manufactured the robotic arm, began life as an automotive industry robot, and ended up with the record-spinner gig after the club issued a challenge to a robotics firm. The versatile Kuka robotic arms can be programmed for a variety of tasks, which you can see in the Nigel Stanford-robot musical

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Artificial Intelligence, Business, China, Companies, Entertainment, News, Technology Security

WeChat Now Issuing ID Cards for Chinese Customers

WeChat, the popular mobile application from Tencent Holdings, is now becoming more indispensable in the daily lives of Chinese consumers under a project that turns it into an official electronic personal identification system. The government of Guangzhou, capital of the southern coastal province of Guangdong started a pilot programme that creates a virtual ID card, which serves the same purpose as the traditional state-issued ID cards, through the WeChat accounts of registered users in the city’s Nansha district.This project will try to prevent online identity thefts. The new WeChat ID card project is supported by the Ministry of Public Security’s Research Institute and other government

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Entertainment, Gaming, News, Sony, Virtual Reality (VR)

Sony announces new VR music campaign featuring Khalid

Sony last week announced that it will be showcasing its technologies as part of a brand campaign centered on singer-songwriter, Khalid. Named “Lost in Music,” the campaign will debut with a live event at the LA Hangar in January. Spatial audio technology will play a role in creating immersive experiences “which can create space where sounds are virtually moving around.” They have named these two experiences “Odyssey” and “Dreamscape.” A follow-on event will occur in New York in February, and at SXSW in March. A new VR music video will also be unveiled at SXSW. Although the company is short on details of what it

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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), News, Smartphones, Virtual Reality (VR)

VR and AR shipments to grow 517% by 2021

Market intelligence firm IDC sees substantial growth in store for the VR and AR markets, with shipments expected to reach 59.2 million headsets by 2021, up from 9.6 million this year. These projects come in IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker” research report, published last week. The firm notes that low-cost, screenless VR viewers (e.g. headsets that utilize smartphones) have dominated the market to date, but sees this category losing market share going forward, with a shift into tethered and standalone VR/AR solutions. According to their report, screenless viewers will represent less than 15% of the total VR/AR market in 2021, with

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Augmented Reality (AR), , HTC, News, Oculus, Virtual Reality (VR)

Facebook Spaces now available on Vive, other platforms pending

Facebook has brought its beta social VR app, Spaces, to users of the HTC Vive. First announced in April, Spaces had previously only been available to users of the Oculus Rift. Spaces is among a handful of apps that combine social media with an immersive VR experience. Using the app, users can meet in VR; go Live; play games; make video calls; and create and share 3D objects, videos, and photos. These features are identical to those available to Rift users. Interestingly, however, the Spaces app is not available via the Steam store, and is instead being offered for direct download via Facebook’s website. “VR

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Entertainment, HTC, News, Oculus, Virtual Reality (VR)

Paramount and Bigscreen to offer free VR screenings of Top Gun

Virtual reality cinema company Bigscreen has partnered with Paramount Home Media Distribution to virtually screen showings of Top Gun for 24 hours, commencing at 6pm EST on December 29th. The Bigscreen experience aims to bring the movie theatre experience to home audiences, allowing them to interact in a virtual lobby and watch videos on a virtual movie screen, complete with immersive sound and lighting. “Bigscreen’s virtual reality platform offers a new way for fans to experience films in their homes,” said Bob Buchi, President Worldwide Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures. “We’re excited to be a part of this experiment using cutting-edge technology to give fans

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Android, Augmented Reality (AR), Google, News

Google dances away from Tango

Google has announced that they are moving on from Tango, their augmented reality platform, in favour of their newer ARCore platform. The announcement came via Twitter last Friday. “We’re turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018,” the Tango team said in a Tweet. “Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore,” they concluded. Tango’s fate appears to be largely a result of software becoming more capable. While Tango required cameras and IR sensors to locate and orient itself to objects in

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Artificial Intelligence, Business, China, Companies, News

Huawei and Baidu Building an Open AI Ecosystem Together

Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, has forged an artificial intelligence (AI) alliance with Chinese internet search provider Baidu. “It should come as no surprise that Baidu and Huawei are working together, because we have many similarities – technology is embedded in our DNA and we have developed our own technologies in order to grow,” said Robin Li, Baidu Chairman and CEO. “The Internet era is evolving into the era of AI. Baidu has been dedicated to the field of AI for a long time. Huawei has a large user base. Together, Baidu and Huawei can do many things which we were not

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Artificial Intelligence, Auto, Companies, News, startups

Riders in Alphabet’s Waymo Cars Will Now Be Insured

Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo self-driving car group announced a deal with Trov Inc., a venture-backed insurance startup, to provide some reassurance against unexpected events for riders who will be testing its upcoming autonomous shuttle service. The insurance coverage will include several protections for passengers for the duration of each trip including lost property, trip interruption benefits, and medical expense reimbursement. Waymo’s Director of Operations Shaun Stewart said that one of the reasons they chose Trov is that innovative technology needs innovative partners. “Trov is pioneering a cutting-edge approach to insurance that’s ideal for ride-sharing because it’s customized for every trip. As we prepare to launch a commercial

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Artificial Intelligence, Auto, China, Companies, News

Uber’s Competitor Didi Chuxing Raises $4B more for AI

China’s Didi Chuxing, the country’s ride-hailing giant , said today that it has raised $4 billion in new capital to proceed with their international expansion. In that way, they are posing a direct challenge to its U.S. rival Uber in its efforts to branch out overseas. Just eight months ago, the company raised $5.5 billion, and in 2016 they raised raised $7.3 billion from big companies including Apple. This takes Didi’s total inbound investments to $19.7 billion, but the company only said that the money came from “Chinese and international institutions.” The company expects to continue that expansion and they promised that the part of the funding will be dedicated to the development

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News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

LG’s VR Headset Named: What You Need To Know

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) earlier this year, LG debuted a new VR headset. This headset was a SteamVR-powered prototype with an OLED display, a 110 degree field of view and a 90 hz refresh rate. Aside from the previously-mentioned tech specs, this headset also boasts a unique “visor” form factor, which allows much better display adjustments…up to and including flipping the display off without needing to remove the headset. Specs aside, Mobiel Kopien stumbled upon an LG trademark for something called the LG UltraGear. The UltraGear is a VR headset, according to the trademark. It stands to reason, then, that the UltraGear is the

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Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, Entertainment, News, startups, Wearables

Magic Leap Finally reveals their AR Goggles

After a really long time of waiting, Magic Leap surprised their fans for christmas by unveiling its augmented reality goggles – Magic Leap One. Dubbed Lightwear, the goggle-style headset promises “amazing experiences that feel natural,” all powered by a hip-mounted, puck-shaped computer called a Lightpack. “Engineered to be lightweight and comfortable for hours of exploration. We’ve combined our Digital Lightfield technology with environment mapping, precision tracking and soundfield audio to produce amazing experiences that feel natural,” it says on their website. In terms of the possibilities of the Magic Leap One, it looks like it has somewhat similar AR features as Microsoft HoloLens and ARKit: digital graphics seamlessly merged

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Artificial Intelligence, Companies, Entertainment, News

Your Own Purring Robo-Cat Will Take Care Of Old-You

When talking about senior citizens, especially the ones living alone – it’s important to be as empathic as possible. Cats are known as cuddly little creatures, and there are scientific proofs that by just cuddling the cat – you minimize your risk of heart attack. However, as every living creature, cats need to be taken care off. This little kitty doesn’t. An artificially intelligent ‘robo-cat’ that would keep elderly people company, is currently being developed by scientists. That’s the vision of toymaker Hasbro and scientists at Brown University, who have received a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to find ways to add artificial intelligence to

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Artificial Intelligence, Companies, , Internet, News, Software Programs, Technology Security

Facebook Will Find You Even if You Are Not Tagged on Photos

Did you maybe, but just maybe noticed that you are tagged in some of the photos on Facebook your friend took? Even though you told them not to tag you because you’re drunk as hell and you don’t want your little sister to see it? Well, don’t take on your friend so soon. There is a quite big possibility that Facebook did it – on its own. In Tuesday, Facebook introduced new facial recognition features that will automatically notify users when their photo is posted on the social network. “Now, if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience for that post, we’ll

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aerospace, Business, Companies, News, Space and Science

Virgin Hyperloop One Raises $50m and Names Branson Chair

In October, we wrote about Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, the frontrunner of a number of companies competing to bring Elon Musk’s futuristic vision of a magnetically-propelled high-speed transport system to life. Now, however, it is confirmed that the company got a lifeline in the form of $50m from Russian and Dubai investors. “This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018,” chief executive Rob Lloyd said in a statement. “Our focus in 2018 will be on accelerating commercial agreements for both passenger and cargo projects.” The Los Angeles-based start-up also named investor Richard Branson

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Augmented Reality (AR), Auto, Companies, News, press releases

Honda sent Beautiful AR Holiday Card for Sick Kids

That holiday season isn’t always just about presents, overindulging or shopping – Honda tried to explain with their project “Happy Honda Days”. Using augmented reality to deliver the “Ultimate Get Well Card“, a magical card filled with messages from well-wishers around the country and personalized for pediatric patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) has been made. Honda transformed an actual CHOC hospital room into an augmented reality winter wonderland in order to bring to life crowdsourced messages from well-wishers to be viewed by young patients through an iPad, held in a custom designed holder, triggering a wintery augmented reality experience. “Sending warm wishes to

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Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, Entertainment, News, startups, Virtual Reality (VR)

Google-backed Magic Leap Reveals Mixed Reality Music App

Way in October, Magic Leap, the still-in-stealth-mode company developing an augmented-reality headset, announced that it has raised $502 million in Series D equity funding, led by Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings. The problem was, that at that time, they just promised to create a headset using a type of light-field technology that would result in superior augmented reality experiences, an area most major consumer technology companies are chasing. But it has never given a launch date for its device, nor offered much detail on how it would work. But it seems, something is actually happening. They invited a reporter from Pitchfork, an online music magazine, to

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China, Companies, Entertainment, News, Virtual Reality (VR), Wearables

VR Sexy Secretary Vivi Has Been Taken Offline

A Chinese tech company pulled offline a virtual-reality avatar depicted as a flirtatious secretary in revealing clothes, designed to flirt with users,  following criticism the avatar depicts women as sex objects. The virtual-assistant avatar, named “Vivi,” was in beta testing for a virtual-reality headset device sold by iQiyi, the online streaming unit of Baidu Inc., which owns China’s biggest internet search engine. Dressed in revealing clothing, the erotic assistant was in beta testing for a virtual reality headset when she was pulled.  Shortly after, the company iQiyi, the streaming unit of Baidu, issued a swift apology for “concerns it might have raised”. Vivi used to

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Artificial Intelligence, Business, Companies, Education, News, startups

AI Startup Fano Labs Is Getting Funds From Horizons Ventures

Horizons Ventures, the private Hong Kong based investment arm of Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Hong Kong, has made an “early-stage investment after it backed AI startup” Fano Labs. Horizons is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Improbable, Zoom, Blockstream, Soul Machines and ChromaDex. Now, they decided to put undisclosed money into Fano Labs, which recently graduated AI accelerator program Zeroth. This deal also marks the firm’s first investment in a Hong Kong-based company. “We are a team of scientists and engineers. Our world-class technical expertise in speech and NLP technologies would empower

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Apple, CPU, Hardware, News, OSx, Virtual Reality (VR)

Most powerful Mac ever could cost you over $13,000

Those in the market for a very expensive, last-minute Christmas gift may be in luck — on December 14, Apple made its new iMac Pro available for purchase. Lauded as the most powerful Mac in the company’s history, the workstation-class iMac Pro features Xeon multi-core processors, a 27” 5K Retina display, and heaps of additional features. That this new machine is being released at the same time as a significant upgrade to Final Cut Pro X is not coincidental. This is decidedly not a computer intended for consumer audiences — it is, rather, a powerful workstation intended to provide the raw computing power needed for

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