OpenAI and EleutherAI Foster Open-Source Text Generators

OpenAI’s GPT-3, the much-noted AI text generator, is now being used in 300+ apps by “tens of thousands” of developers and generating 4.5 billion words per day. Meanwhile, a collective of researchers, EleutherAI is building transformer-based language models with plans to offer an open source, GPT-3-sized model to the public for free. The non-profit OpenAI has an exclusivity deal with Microsoft that gives the tech giant unique access to GPT-3’s underlying code. But OpenAI has made access to its general API available to all comers, who then build services on top of it. Continue reading OpenAI and EleutherAI Foster Open-Source Text Generators

ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) set “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when CES 2021 opened its four-day run in January. The annual confab shaped up less as a showcase for breakthrough future technology and more as a bellwether for a world massively altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, instead of key product trends to define our media and entertainment industry focus, the ETC@USC team emphasized four dynamics to drive much of the discussion: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. For an examination of these themes, ETC’s CES report is now available online. Continue reading ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

Microsoft Mesh Aims to Bring VR/AR Devices, Users Together

Microsoft Mesh is a new mixed-reality platform powered by Azure that enables people in different locations to meet and collaborate as digital representations of themselves in holographic experiences across a variety of devices. To demonstrate the shared experience, Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman appeared at the company’s Ignite digital conference this week via holoportation, and was joined by Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté, filmmaker James Cameron and Niantic CEO John Hanke to discuss related initiatives. Microsoft announced two apps built on the platform — a preview version for HoloLens 2 and a new Mesh-enabled version of AltspaceVR. Continue reading Microsoft Mesh Aims to Bring VR/AR Devices, Users Together

Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

According to sources, Facebook is developing an audio chat product to compete with Clubhouse, a social networking app that has gained popularity with young people who gather and chat about various topics. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly interested in audio products, has appeared on Clubhouse to chat about augmented reality and virtual reality. Facebook is also known for cloning popular products. Facebook’s audio product is, added the sources, in an early stage of development. Continue reading Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Massachusetts-based startup Metalenz, just out of stealth mode, is readying the debut of an entirely new lens system for smartphones. Its single flat lens system, based on optical metasurfaces, reportedly produces an image of the same or better quality as traditional lenses, while enabling brighter photos by collecting more light, and offering new forms of sensing. The company just announced a $10 million investment that will enable it to scale production and speed up development of miniature optics and a new lens system targeting smartphones, consumer electronics and applications in the automotive and healthcare industries. Continue reading New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Facebook Parries Apple’s Privacy Policy with Its Own Prompt

In response to Apple’s changes that require users’ consent to track their behavior, Facebook — which claims the privacy change will make targeted advertising too difficult — has responded with its own solution. The social media company plans to introduce an in-app prompt that asks users to give permission to use data collected from apps and third-party websites and provides information on how the data is used for personalized ads. That screen will appear with the Apple prompt detailing its new privacy policy. Continue reading Facebook Parries Apple’s Privacy Policy with Its Own Prompt

Pandemic Is Accelerating the Adoption of Augmented Reality

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased demand for augmented reality at some companies, including Mercedes-Benz and L’Oréal (whose brands include Lancôme, Kiehl’s and Maybelline New York), in the last year. L’Oréal chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet stated that, “we saw the appetite, it grew and it’s our responsibility now to continue to innovate.” That company has debuted a number of AR projects for employees and customers in the last few months. One uses ModiFace AR to connect consumers with beauty advisers. Continue reading Pandemic Is Accelerating the Adoption of Augmented Reality

Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

The Sundance Film Festival, a pioneer in showcasing virtual reality content with its New Frontier exhibition, partnered with Active Theory to build a VR platform that attendees can access with or without a headset. Sundance New Frontier curator Shari Frilot noted that building a virtual solution for New Frontier “solved so many problems we were having and struggling with on the ground.” Anyone will be able to access the platform by logging onto the website via a Sundance festival pass, including the $25 Explorer Pass. Continue reading Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

CES: Sony Promotes Glasses-Free 3D Spatial Reality Display

Sony first teased its Spatial Reality Display at last October’s CES Unveiled Conference. Experts have alternately described the experience as taking 3D to the next level, virtual reality without the headset and, simply, mind-blowing. In essence it relies on Sony’s Eye-Sensing Light Field Display (ELFD) technology to create an experience somewhere between virtual reality and next-gen 3D. The Spatial Reality Display was named a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree. A shipping product, the display’s suggested retail price is $4,999.99. Continue reading CES: Sony Promotes Glasses-Free 3D Spatial Reality Display

CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

In a live question-and-answer period during CES 2021, Consumer Technology Association vice president of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh answered questions about technology trends not described in their earlier presentation on predictions for 2021. In answer to a question about what to expect this year from smart glasses, Koenig emphasized that, “this is definitely the year of augmented reality.” But, he added, rather than describing experiences as VR, AR or MR, he said those terms will be replaced by describing “degrees of immersion.” Continue reading CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

Rendever Group VR for the Aged Offers Multiple Possibilities

Moderated group VR experiences have an excellent test environment in assisted living and memory care facilities, where the user interface and user experience design are tested by a willing and readily available audience of differently-abled individuals. Rendever is one of the leading startups focused on developing synchronized VR resources for the aging, group-living and group-support market. Their work is especially important now, when COVID-19 has isolated so many seniors in their rooms and in their homes. Continue reading Rendever Group VR for the Aged Offers Multiple Possibilities

All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

The sprawl of CES, typically measured in millions of square feet of exhibit space, multiple venues, and hundreds of thousands of attendees, now spans the globe as the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) sets “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when it opens its four-day run on January 11. However dispersed, CES Week will still be the focal point for the consumer technology sector and trends will emerge, even if news and product announcements will originate from both CES events and individual company presentations. Continue reading All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

The Wi-Fi Alliance began its Wi-Fi 6E certification program for devices built to transmit signals on the newly launched 6GHz band. Introduced just before CES 2021, the program comes in time to certify next-generation devices that can take advantage of the fastest speeds ever available with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6, which began its rollout in 2019, adds access to the 6GHz band after the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to open it for unlicensed use. Until now, Wi-Fi use has relied on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

Fable Studio Bets on a Future with AI-Powered Virtual Beings

San Francisco-based Fable Studio, a VR studio that won an Emmy Award for its “Wolves in the Walls” project, has debuted its first efforts in creating conversational AI virtual beings. Charlie and Beck, two characters that can converse as if they were real people, are Fable Studio’s bet in the future of such virtual beings for entertainment and even companionship. Its first AI being was Lucy, an 8-year-old girl, who starred in “Wolves in the Walls” and is now a standalone online character after the company debuted her in alpha tests last month. Continue reading Fable Studio Bets on a Future with AI-Powered Virtual Beings

Spatial Intros Augmented Reality Platform for Mobile Devices

With the COVID-19 pandemic, use of Zoom and other platforms enabling remote collaboration has skyrocketed. Now, Spatial Systems, a holographic platform for augmented reality and virtual reality, debuted an AR app for iOS and Android that can run on nearly any current generation mobile device. Pricey AR and VR headsets have remained out of reach for many, but there are billions of smartphones enabled for augmented reality on the market. Spatial relied on ARKit and ARCore for iOS and Android to achieve its AR and VR capabilities. Continue reading Spatial Intros Augmented Reality Platform for Mobile Devices

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