Facebook Counters AI Bias with a Data Set Featuring Actors

Facebook released an open-source AI data set of 45,186 videos featuring 3,011 U.S. actors who were paid to participate. The data set is dubbed Casual Conversations because the diverse group was recorded giving unscripted answers to questions about age and gender. Skin tone and lighting conditions were also annotated by humans. Biases have been a problem in AI-enabled technologies such as facial recognition. Facebook is encouraging teams to use the new data set. Most AI data sets comprise people unaware they are being recorded. Continue reading Facebook Counters AI Bias with a Data Set Featuring Actors

CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

The Internet of Things is about to offer middle America a new creative outlet. Italian startup LEDWORKS produces strings of individually addressable LED Christmas tree lights. Twinkly’s phone app maps the location of each individual light: one camera scan to map lights arrayed on a flat surface and two or three camera scans to map the lights arrayed around a 3D object like a Christmas tree or a wall outside. The app can then wirelessly load a program into the lights’ plug to display preset patterns and images or, if you are clever, patterns of your design. The current app can control up to 10,000 lights. By the end of 2020, Twinkly should be able to control 20,000 lights. Continue reading CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

Samsung Tackles Home Networking With SmartThings Router

Samsung has launched its SmartThings Wifi router to provide consumers with fast, secure home networking and a reliable smart home hub. Currently available in the U.S. for $120 per single unit or $280 for a 3-pack, the new router leverages artificial intelligence for Wi-Fi management and faster speeds — in addition to mesh networking for optimized Wi-Fi coverage. According to Samsung, a single unit covers up to 1,500 square feet; deploying multiple units helps ensure strong signals throughout the home while minimizing dead zones. Continue reading Samsung Tackles Home Networking With SmartThings Router

DeepMind Intros Intriguing Deep Neural Network Algorithm

A research team at Google’s AI unit DeepMind, led by Ali Eslami and Danilo Rezende, has created software via a generative query network (GQN) to create a new perspective of a scene that the neural network has never seen. The U.K.-based unit developed the deep neural network-based software that applies the network to a handful of shots of a virtual scene to create a “compact mathematical representation” of the scene — and then uses that representation to render an image with a new perspective unfamiliar to the network. Continue reading DeepMind Intros Intriguing Deep Neural Network Algorithm

Verizon Intros LTE SmartHub to Manage Connected Devices

Verizon announced the release of its $200 integrated smart home control interface and Wi-Fi hot spot called SmartHub. Designed for managing your connected devices, SmartHub features its own dedicated LTE line, which enables connectivity to a variety of devices, including phones and laptops. SmartHub also supports an HD Voice feature for making calls over the Verizon network, and “has its own battery, which means it maintains your home phone and Internet connection in the event of a power outage,” explains Android Police. “It’s not clear if there will be special data plans for the SmartHub,” and a full list of the devices that work with SmartHub has yet to be unveiled, although Verizon did reference Nest and Kwikset. Continue reading Verizon Intros LTE SmartHub to Manage Connected Devices

Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

While CES saw an array of gaming laptops, mice, monitors and streaming services this past week, Razer debuted a compelling alternative for gamers looking to seriously ramp up their home setups. An extension of Razer’s Chroma full-spectrum lighting system — which brightens keyboards, headphones, mice and more — the new concept 4K projector, dubbed Project Ariana for now, lets gamers compete beyond their monitor by essentially taking over an entire room. Razer also announced that other manufacturers, including Antec, Lenovo, Lian Li, NZXT, Philips, Nanoleaf and Wicked Lasers would be using the 16.8-million-color platform. Continue reading Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

IBM Uses AI to Create Trailer for 20th Century Fox’s ‘Morgan’

“Morgan,” a horror film released by 20th Century Fox, has the distinction of being the first movie whose trailer was created with artificial intelligence. The studio partnered with IBM Research to develop what they’re calling a “cognitive movie trailer” largely created by AI. The IBM team faced several challenges, not the least of which is that the nature of horror is subjective. The team had to teach the system to be able to identify scary moments, and then make a trailer that audiences would find compelling. Continue reading IBM Uses AI to Create Trailer for 20th Century Fox’s ‘Morgan’

Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed an efficient technique for rendering the sparkling, shiny and uneven surfaces of water, various metals and materials such as injection-molded plastic finishes. The team has created an algorithm that improves how CG software reproduces the interaction between light and different surfaces (known as “glints”), a technique the team claims is 100 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods, requires minimal computational resources, and is effective beyond still images to include animation. Continue reading Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

The remote for Samsung’s new flagship television set, currently on display at CES, does much more than change the channels. This TV doubles as a central smart home hub to control the house’s smart devices. With the KS9500 model of the SUHD TV set, users can adjust the lighting, watch the baby monitor, and even create “mood schemes” with a group of smart devices. Samsung also partnered with PlayStation Now and GameFly to get video games on the TV without the need for a separate console. Continue reading Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

AT&T plans to reveal details regarding its “smart cities” initiative during CES 2016. The company is making a major push to turn traffic lights and other city objects into new tools for reducing expenses while efficiently managing congestion and energy. Telecoms are starting to work with municipalities to leverage data collected from sensors positioned throughout cities to help drivers find parking spaces or clear driving routes, for example. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, partners in AT&T’s initiative will be introduced in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

The Internet of Things will grow larger once again at CES 2016 with both incremental and innovative advances in objects, systems and simplicity, but for the entertainment industry the past year should also serve as a cautionary tale. Smart home sensors that track and analyze movements to enable new levels of seamless interaction will impact both the home and the world at large. Security will likely become an increasing concern as the infrastructure is created to effectively connect devices and systems. Continue reading CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

Interfaces From Voice to Gesture Likely to Eclipse the Screen

The screen has been the interface between users and information for decades but, as the Internet of Things grows in capability and becomes embedded in more products, the screen could end up diminishing in importance as an interface. Although some Internet of Things devices do use screens, people seem to gravitate to a variety of other interfaces. More specifically, wearables, gesture-based devices, ambient notifications, and automated responses appear to be on track to overtake the traditional screen. Continue reading Interfaces From Voice to Gesture Likely to Eclipse the Screen

SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

At SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk executives David Morin and Ben Guthrie described virtual production, its relationship with virtual reality and some newly released tools from their company to aid in the process. Virtual production began with Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings,” got a bump of recognition with “Avatar,” and has been used on many films since. According to Morin and Guthrie, the process, which lets filmmakers create virtual worlds in-camera and composite CG and live action on set, is achieving momentum. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

Nvidia Launches DesignWorks Software Suite for Designers

DesignWorks, Nvidia’s newly announced suite of software tools, technologies, and libraries for designers enables “photoreal rendering for unparalleled accuracy, easy transfer of materials and digital models between applications, and the ability to incorporate virtual reality into design software,” the company said in a press announcement. Alongside the launch of DesignWorks, Nvidia also announced two new professional GPUs: the Quadro M5000 and Quadro M4000, based on Nvidia’s Maxwell GPU architecture. Continue reading Nvidia Launches DesignWorks Software Suite for Designers

VR Experts Look at Crowdsourced Ratings to Improve Content

Virtual reality stakeholders debating ways to move content into the mainstream are looking at crowdsourced ratings to help improve quality control. Although content is improving in this nascent genre, one bad VR experience can turn off a first-time user to subsequent tries. This, and the need to get a quantifiable number of headsets into the marketplace were identified as chief impediments to VR achieving more widespread acceptance, concluded participants at the first SoCal Virtual Reality Conference and Expo at UC Irvine. Continue reading VR Experts Look at Crowdsourced Ratings to Improve Content