Microsoft Wins U.S. Army Contract to Produce AR Headsets

The U.S. Army has awarded a $480 million contract to Microsoft to supply augmented reality system prototypes that it can deploy for training and combat missions. If successful, the contract could lead to Microsoft providing 100,000 headsets, which the Army says will be intended to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.” The U.S. Army and Israel Defense Forces have already used Microsoft’s HoloLens in training, but using it in live combat would be a new step. Continue reading Microsoft Wins U.S. Army Contract to Produce AR Headsets

Sports Leagues Pioneer Virtual Reality-Powered Innovations

In February, Verizon hosted a virtual reality Super Bowl LII experience over a 5G network at a virtual luxury suite at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium. That NFL/Oculus Rift collaboration put viewers on the field in the midst of 3D holographic models, and is only one of numerous examples of the marriage of professional sports and virtual reality. The BBC app, for example, offered a virtual reality World Cup experience, and NBC let viewers pick their camera angles and access data for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading Sports Leagues Pioneer Virtual Reality-Powered Innovations

IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

At the IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology in Berlin, IBM and Harvard University researchers presented Seq2Seq-Vis, a tool to debug machine translation tools. Translation tools rely on neural networks, which, because they are opaque, make it difficult to determine how mistakes were made. For that reason, it’s known as the “black box problem.” Seq2Seq-Vis allows deep-learning app creators to visualize AI’s decision-making process as it translates a sequence of words from one language to another. Continue reading IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

Facebook’s VideoStory Relies on AI to Automate Storytelling

Facebook’s video clips get over 8 billion views a day on average, but people with bad Internet connections or disabilities often don’t have access to them. That led Facebook to create VideoStory, which the company described in a research paper as “A Dataset for Telling the Stories of Social Media Videos.” The paper, to be delivered at the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, noted that, “automatically telling the stories using multi-sentence descriptions of videos would allow bridging this gap.” Continue reading Facebook’s VideoStory Relies on AI to Automate Storytelling

Magic Leap, Microsoft Bid for U.S. Army’s AR Headset Project

According to sources, Magic Leap is angling to win a contract with the U.S. Army to provide up to 100,000 augmented reality headsets. The headsets would be part of a $500+ million Army program to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.” Such a mammoth contract would be a huge win for this high-profile startup, whose AR headsets for the consumer market have not yet significantly caught on. Microsoft, with its HoloLens, has also shown interest in the Army’s program. Continue reading Magic Leap, Microsoft Bid for U.S. Army’s AR Headset Project

Walmart to Expand VR-Based Employee Training to All Stores

Walmart is widening its VR-based employee-training program in the U.S., shipping four Oculus Go VR headsets to each Walmart Supercenter and two to smaller Neighborhood Market stores starting in October, for a total of 17,000 Oculus Go headsets by the end of 2018. The retailer first tried out VR for employee training a year ago, and is expanding it due to employee feedback that it boosted their confidence and familiarity with technology. VR software company STRIVR has created 45 activity-based modules for the employees. Continue reading Walmart to Expand VR-Based Employee Training to All Stores

Apple Working on Portal for Law Enforcement Data Requests

According to a recent letter from Apple general counsel Kate Adams to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Apple has plans to develop an online portal this year that would assist law enforcement in requesting user data in addition to educating police about the type of data that would be available for request. While the iPhone maker has provided user data to law enforcement in the past, including data stored in its iCloud, the company has sparred with law enforcement and government agencies regarding the encryption of its CE devices. Continue reading Apple Working on Portal for Law Enforcement Data Requests

Facebook’s Plans for Innovation Hub in China Hits Roadblock

Facebook has been planning an “innovation hub” in Hangzhou, China — home to Chinese Internet leader Alibaba Group — to support that nation’s startups and developers as well as increase its own presence in the country. However, the approval that was briefly listed on a Chinese government database has now disappeared and, according to one source, the approval has been withdrawn. Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, spurring the company to find other ways to position itself there. Earlier this year, it inked an agreement with Xiaomi to build a VR headset for the Chinese consumer market. The company planned to provide training and workshops through the proposed hub.

Continue reading Facebook’s Plans for Innovation Hub in China Hits Roadblock

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

IBM and MIT Media Lab Test AI Recommendation Algorithm

Tech companies rely on artificial intelligence algorithms to recommend content, thus keeping users on their apps and platforms. While the benefit of that is obvious for the companies using AI, how the consumer might reap rewards is less clear. Some of those same companies are now asking themselves if they can both use AI to keep the consumer’s attention while also adhering to an ethical framework. IBM Research and MIT Media Lab have developed a recommendation technique that its research scientists say does just that. Continue reading IBM and MIT Media Lab Test AI Recommendation Algorithm

Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

Kaaya Tech reached its $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal for the HoloSuit, a wearable haptic controller for virtual reality. The company will start shipping the suit, available in several versions, in November. The top-end version, HoloSuit Pro, offers 36 sensors, nine haptic feedback devices and six firing buttons, spread across two finger-tracking gloves, a pair of pants with feet extensions and a jacket with a head extension. The lower end model offers 26 sensors, and comes with a jacket or jersey with haptics and buttons. Continue reading Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

The business uses of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have so far been impressive. Now, a survey conducted by Microsoft with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, found that 68 percent of 394 executives said MR is important to achieving their companies’ goals in the next 18 months. Those surveyed worked in companies employing over 250 people, in a wide range of industries including engineering, construction, manufacturing, retail, defense and education. Continue reading Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

Samsung Fund to Boost Startups with New Approaches to AI

Some startups are trying to create another form of AI than deep learning, to minimize the amount of training, data and server power needed. Samsung Next, the South Korean company’s venture capital unit, just launched the Q Fund to jumpstart this idea by funding companies focusing on new ways of developing artificial intelligence. One of Q Fund’s first investments is Vicarious, a startup that wants to give machines “imagination” and is inspired by biology to make machines learn more quickly. Continue reading Samsung Fund to Boost Startups with New Approaches to AI

Intel AI Lab Reveals Plans to Open-Source More NLP Libraries

The Intel AI Lab, which open-sourced a library for natural language processing, plans to open-source more such libraries, to help developers and researchers speed up the process of giving virtual assistants and chatbots functions such as name entity recognition, intent extraction and semantic parsing. With new libraries, these developers can also publish research, train and deploy artificial intelligence and reproduce the latest innovations in the AI community. Intel’s first conference for AI developers was held May 23-24 in San Francisco. Continue reading Intel AI Lab Reveals Plans to Open-Source More NLP Libraries

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

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