Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

Oculus’ prototype wireless VR headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, is now a product. The new Quest headset is slated to debut this coming spring for $399. At its annual developer conference, the Facebook-owned company showed off the Quest headset, which joins the $199 Oculus Go and $400 Oculus Rift (that requires a dedicated PC). The standalone Quest offers 6DOF (six degrees of freedom). In his keynote address at the event, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his goal to have one billion people using VR. Continue reading Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

Google Shares New Vision for Search: Keeping Users Closer

At an event on the “Future of Search,” Google unveiled what’s next for its search engine. The Google homepage will start highlighting a user’s frequently searched topics before she begins searching, in response to a finding that one in eight queries per month are repeats. Google Feed is being rebranded as “Discover,” and will be placed underneath the Google.com search bar on all mobile browsers, highlighting news, video and information Google believes the user is interested in. Visuals will be more prominent on the site. Continue reading Google Shares New Vision for Search: Keeping Users Closer

The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

During last week’s The Reel Thing at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Video Gorillas managing director/chief executive Jason Brahms, formerly a Sony Cloud Media Services executive, and chief technology officer Alex Zhukov described the Bigfoot “Frame Compare” solution that leverages machine learning to speed up preservation, asset management, and mastering workflows. The engine, whose development dates back to 2007, relies on a proprietary, patented technology, frequency domain descriptor (FDD). Continue reading The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

IBM Creates Machine-Learning Aided Watermarking Process

IBM now has a patent-pending, machine learning enabled watermarking process that promises to stop intellectual property theft. IBM manager of cognitive cybersecurity intelligence Marc Ph. Stoecklin described how the process embeds unique identifiers into neural networks to create “nearly imperceptible” watermarks. The process, recently highlighted at the ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS) 2018 in Korea, might be productized soon, either within IBM or as a product for its clients. Continue reading IBM Creates Machine-Learning Aided Watermarking Process

Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

Niantic, the company that released “Pokémon Go,” just acquired Matrix Mill, a U.K.-based computer vision/machine learning startup, with the goal of expanding its augmented reality capabilities. Niantic chief executive John Hanke also stated that the company this year will release a “major update” to its “Ingress” game as well as a new AR game, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” and reveal additional games in the next few weeks. At an event, developers and journalists were able to try out the platform powering these games. Continue reading Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Several demos stood out at the 9th annual Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California last week. The most compelling involved a holographic display from Brooklyn-based Looking Glass Factory. Co-founder and CEO Shawn Frayne and his team have been working for a few years on a technique that “blends the best of volumetric rendering and light field projection.” Also compelling was a markerless multi-person tracking system that runs off a single video feed, developed by a Canadian computer vision/deep learning company named wrnch. And marking its first exhibit in the United States since launching its latest satellite office in San Francisco this April, Japanese company Miraisens demonstrated how a suite of effects could be used to enhance extended reality experiences. Continue reading The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Facebook has used Intel CPUs for many of its artificial intelligence services, but the company is changing course to adapt to the pressing need to better filter live video content. At the Viva Technology industry conference in Paris, Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun stated that the company plans to make its own chips for filtering video content, because more conventional methods suck up too much energy and compute power. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the company is building its own semiconductors. Continue reading Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

During this week’s Google I/O conference, the importance of Google Lens to chief executive Sundar Pichai’s AI-first strategy became apparent. Google Lens combines computer vision and natural language processing with Google Search, for a solution aimed at consumers. Lens, described as “Google’s engine for seeing, understanding, and augmenting the real world,” resides in the camera viewfinder of Assistant and, soon, its top-end Android smartphones. Lens recognizes people, animals, objects, environments and text. Continue reading Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

Nvidia’s New AI Method Can Reconstruct an Image in Seconds

Nvidia debuted a deep learning method that can edit or reconstruct an image that is missing pixels or has holes via a process called “image inpainting.” The model can handle holes of “any shape, size, location or distance from image borders,” and could be integrated in photo editing software to remove undesirable imagery and replace it with a realistic digital image – instantly and with great accuracy. Previous AI-based approaches focused on rectangular regions in the image’s center and required post processing. Continue reading Nvidia’s New AI Method Can Reconstruct an Image in Seconds

NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

In a keynote address at NAB in Las Vegas, ETC data & analytics project director Yves Bergquist described how the changing economics of media audiences require new measurement methods and metrics. For the first time, he said, the media and entertainment industry can leverage behavioral psychology, computational neuroscience and machine learning to understand the deep cognitive relationship between audiences and content. He pointed to director Alfred Hitchcock’s prescient statement that, “Creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

Google News Lab works with journalists and entrepreneurs around the world to drive innovation in the news industry, explained training/development manager Nicholas Whitaker. Established three years ago, the worldwide team focuses on trust and misinformation, local news, inclusive journalism, and emerging technologies. “Building a more informed world will require news organizations and technology companies to work together,” said Whitaker, in an NAB session that revealed some of the work being done. Continue reading NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

Zipline, the California-based startup that uses drones to deliver blood and drugs to remote Rwandan medical centers, is now using a fixed-wing aerial robot to make commercial deliveries at nearly 80 miles per hour. The company claims its fixed-wing UAV is the world’s fastest commercial delivery drone. In Rwanda, Zipline has already flown 300,000 kilometers in over 4,000 flights since its October 2016 debut, and introduced a similar service in Tanzania. This expertise will enable it to compete with the big players in drone delivery including Amazon’s Prime Air and Alphabet’s Project Wing. Continue reading Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Palo Alto-based startup Arraiy is developing methods for automating part of the often-tedious process of producing visual effects for movies, TV shows and video games. “Filmmakers can do this stuff, but they have to do it by hand,” said CTO Gary Bradski, who has worked with tech companies such as Intel and Magic Leap. The Arraiy team, led by Bradski and CEO Ethan Rublee, “are building computer algorithms that can learn design tasks by analyzing years of work by movie effects houses,” reports The New York Times. “That includes systems that learn to ‘rotoscope’ raw camera footage, carefully separating people and objects from their backgrounds so that they can be dropped onto new backgrounds.” Continue reading Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

Google and the Department of Defense are exploring the use of artificial intelligence to identify objects in drone footage. The tech giant has been working with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, an initiative focused on big data and machine learning. According to sources, when the pilot project became an object of discussion at Google, some employees were angry that the company was working with the military on surveillance tech for drone operations. Google’s Eric Schmidt admitted that the tech community is concerned that the military-industrial complex will use Google’s research to kill innocent people. Continue reading Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

Google Clips Camera Relies on AI to Capture Familiar Faces

The marriage of cameras and artificial intelligence opens the doors to all kinds of interesting capabilities. For now, however, Google is introducing its Clips wireless smart camera with the pitch that AI will enable it to take better pictures than a dumb camera. While the $249 Clips uses machine learning to automatically capture short clips (motion photos without audio) of people and pets, Apple’s latest iPhone relies on face recognition to unlock, and now startup Lighthouse AI plans to add intelligence to a security camera to analyze the results. Continue reading Google Clips Camera Relies on AI to Capture Familiar Faces

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