Amazon Testing Wearable That Recognizes Your Emotions

Amazon is working on a new wearable, codenamed Dylan, that reportedly can discern human emotions. The voice-activated gadget, developed by Amazon in collaboration with Lab126 and the Alexa voice software team, is worn on the wrist and is meant to address health and wellness. Lab126 previously worked with Amazon to build its Fire phone and Echo speaker. According to sources, the wearable includes microphones that pair with software and work with a smartphone app to glean the user’s emotional state via the sound of his/her voice. Continue reading Amazon Testing Wearable That Recognizes Your Emotions

Amazon Is Reportedly Developing Live TV DVR to Rival TiVo

According to sources, Amazon is developing a TiVo-like device, dubbed “Frank,” that records live TV. The sources added that the DVR device, which includes physical storage, connects to the company’s Fire TV box using the same wireless technology as the Echo. The Frank DVR also has the ability to record live TV and stream the video to a smartphone for later viewing, but Amazon, said the sources, isn’t certain it will debut the DVR with that feature, which is offered by TiVo and Dish Network’s Slingbox. Continue reading Amazon Is Reportedly Developing Live TV DVR to Rival TiVo

Google’s Third-Gen Tensor Processor Unit Key to AI Ambitions

At Google’s I/O conference, chief executive Sundar Pichai reflected on the backlash against Silicon Valley companies while, at the same time, promoting the company’s advances and ambitions in artificial intelligence. Among those were specific positive solutions, such as an AI-powered software that helps diagnose eye disease, and a demonstration of what Google Assistant — in a variety of voices and accents — can do for ordinary consumers, and how Smart Compose in Gmail will suggest complete sentences to make the process speedier. Continue reading Google’s Third-Gen Tensor Processor Unit Key to AI Ambitions

Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

Disney recently submitted a patent application for “a robot that will move and physically interact like an animated character.” The prototype sketch with the application shows a round body similar to the soft-robot character in Disney’s 2014 “Big Hero 6.” Before soft-body robots can be employed at Disney theme parks, the company will have to deal with the issue of robotic interaction safety, since the patent application implies that theme park guests will be able to hug the soft-body characters. Continue reading Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

Emotech Demos Olly: Your Lifestyle Assistant with Personality

At CES last week, Emotech, a UK-based startup, introduced a desktop robotic assistant named Olly that develops a unique personality depending on individual users and their interactions with it. The doughnut-shaped, voice-controlled personal assistant is similar in function to the other smart lifestyle assistants. It will play you music or tell you the weather like Amazon’s Alexa, but the company hopes Olly’s personality will set it apart. The device has two cameras and a microphone array, allowing it to face the user, and will use a combination of AI techniques to decipher a user’s state of mind and respond accordingly. Continue reading Emotech Demos Olly: Your Lifestyle Assistant with Personality

Engadget Editors Release Their Official Best of CES Awards

Engadget published its Best of CES winners this evening, and for the fourth consecutive year Razer has taken the People’s Choice Award, this time for its Project Ariana 4K gaming projector. Best of the Best went to LG this year: “It’s rare that a product truly blows us away at CES, but LG’s W-Series OLED TV did just that. At just 2.6 millimeters thick across its entire body, it’s the slimmest TV we’ve ever seen … the TV also supports more HDR standards and comes with a Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar.” Among the additional winners: UVify’s Draco HD drone (Best Robot or Drone), Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop (Best PC), the Asus ZenFone AR smartphone (Best Mobile Device), Dish AirTV (Best Home Theater Product), the self-balancing Honda Riding Assist motorcycle (Best Automotive Technology and Best Disruptive Innovation). Continue reading Engadget Editors Release Their Official Best of CES Awards

Slack Strives to Be Artificial Intelligence-Powered Office Portal

Slack has plans to evolve its workplace app to become the center of the office’s digital environment, connecting a wide variety of third-party business apps, with the ultimate goal of becoming the artificial intelligence-powered portal to the entire workplace. Head of search, learning and intelligence Noah Weiss described those plans for Slack, currently used by three million people every day in the work environment, and added that the company is also evolving its voice capabilities to become more sophisticated. Continue reading Slack Strives to Be Artificial Intelligence-Powered Office Portal

Apple Debuts Minor Changes, But Has Big Plans for iPad Pro

Apple’s growth by the end of Q4 2015 was a pallid 2 percent, and the unveiling of its new products at this week’s event from Cupertino showed only incremental changes: an updated 4-inch screen iPhone, a new smaller iPad Pro and a free update to Apple TV. But Apple has big growth potential in its future plans. Although iPad sales have been declining, the company sees the new iPad Pro as a replacement for the huge number of aging PCs, and brought the newly converted Citigroup and Pixar to the event to make its point. Continue reading Apple Debuts Minor Changes, But Has Big Plans for iPad Pro

SoftBank to Launch App Store for its Pepper Robots This Month

SoftBank’s Pepper humanoid robots are already interacting with customers at shops and banks in Japan. Later this month, the robots will be introduced to more advanced functions after SoftBank opens a planned app store offering software that will help track customer’s behavior and improve communication with customers. The Pepper robots, which are designed to feature human-like body language and work in retail, have reportedly been selling out regularly since last year’s launch. Continue reading SoftBank to Launch App Store for its Pepper Robots This Month

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

Disney Accelerator Program Nurtures Data-Centric Solutions

Disney is carefully tracking and nurturing future technologies for children via an annual accelerator program it runs with partner Techstars. The program awards $120,000 to 10 startups, which also work with Disney executives for three months. The potential prize at the end is that Disney and Techstars may take a stake in one or more of the startups whose technologies are the most interesting and, one imagines, capable of commercialization. This year, approximately half of the companies chosen are involved in data. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Program Nurtures Data-Centric Solutions

Intel Looks to RealSense, Wearables, Creates Reality TV Show

As growth slows in the chip market, Intel is turning to a variety of other related industries to keep the revenue flowing. The company has turned to the burgeoning field of wearables, creating tiny chips and circuit board modules that can fit into the form factors and designs favored by wearable creators. It is also pushing RealSense, technologies that bring hearing and vision functionality to devices. To keep in the public eye, the company is also launching a reality TV show with Mark Burnett and Turner Broadcasting. Continue reading Intel Looks to RealSense, Wearables, Creates Reality TV Show

Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Oculus VR is expanding its focus from video games to virtual reality films. The Facebook-owned Oculus has created a new in-house movie studio called Story Studio to create films and find the best practices for VR storytelling. The new content created by Story Studio intends to help attract more users to the Oculus Rift headset, while also encouraging other filmmakers to make similar VR films. Story Studio’s first work is a short film called “Lost,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Continue reading Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Consumers Will Be Able to 3D Print an Intel Robot This Year

Intel’s customizable, 3D printable robot known as Jimmy will go on the market later this year. The singing, walking, talking, tweeting and dancing robot can be constructed by anyone with access to a 3D printer, which will assemble the basic parts. The $1,600 kit for the open source robot includes the non-printable motors, wires, battery and processor. By downloading apps, consumers can program the robot to suit their own needs and interests. Continue reading Consumers Will Be Able to 3D Print an Intel Robot This Year

Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Researchers at MIT have developed a method for teaching computers to understand what is happening in video content. The method uses a similar approach to textual analysis, such as natural language processing, by looking at each part of a video to figure out what the whole thing means. The researchers created an algorithm to identify what occurs in individual frames of the video, and then determines what those mean when combined in a certain order. Continue reading Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

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