Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

TV technology is getting closer to monitoring and analyzing our facial expressions in order to distinguish between boredom and enthusiasm to better understand our viewing tastes. Software from media startup Affectiva could usher in a new frontier in television viewing, one in which our devices watch our reactions and offer content suggestions or enable brands to provide more targeted ads. If consumers are willing to allow their emotional data to be gathered, movie and TV show recommendations from Netflix, for example, could become more relevant. Continue reading Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Croatian company MashMe has developed new software that allows users to create animated scenes and avatars of themselves using only a webcam. MashMe tracks even the most minute details of a person’s facial expressions and gestures to create animated avatars that can be used with services like Google Hangouts, Twitch and Skype. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $50,000, promising its contributors access to one of the two final software packages it plans to offer.  Continue reading MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Search Engine Exposes Vulnerability of Connected Devices

Rather than crawl websites like a traditional search engine, Shodan navigates back channels tracking servers, webcams, printers, routers and other devices connected to the Internet. Each month, it gathers information on roughly 500 million connected devices and services. CNNMoney calls Shodan “the scariest search engine on the Internet.” As we move closer to the Internet of Things, it raises questions about how easy it may be to hack anything that is connected to the Internet. Continue reading Search Engine Exposes Vulnerability of Connected Devices

New LG Stereoscopic 3D Laptop has Dual Camera Webcam

  • LG announced its A530 3D notebook with 15.6-inch stereoscopic display and built-in 3D webcam this week.
  • The A530 features native YouTube support and 3D Space Software, a built-in editing suite for 3D content.
  • The notebook’s options include Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors with up to 8GB of RAM and a choice of two graphics cards: an Nvidia GeForce GT 555m with either 1 or 2GB of built-in memory.
  • “The screen also has what the company calls Film Patterned Retarder technology, which it claims produces brighter and flicker-free images compared to screens that use shutter-style glasses,” reports Digital Trends.
  • No price announcement yet, but the device is expected to ship to Europe later this month.

IARPA Proposes Monitoring of Publicly Available Data

  • IARPA, a research arm of the intelligence community, is looking to fund the development of an Open Source Indicator (OSI).
  • The proposed OSI is intended to gather publicly available information in order to analyze, anticipate and/or detect societal disruptions, such as political crises, disease outbreaks, economic instability, resource shortages, and natural disasters.
  • From their proposal: “Many significant societal events are preceded and/or followed by population-level changes in communication, consumption, and movement. Some of these changes may be indirectly observable from publicly available data, such as Web search trends, blogs, microblogs, Internet traffic, webcams, financial markets, and many others. Published research has found that many of these data sources are individually useful in the early detection of events such as disease outbreaks and macroeconomic trends. However, little research has examined the value of combinations of data from diverse sources. The OSI Program seeks to develop methods for continuous, automated analysis of publicly available data. The Program will aim to develop methods that ‘beat the news’ by fusing early indicators of events from multiple data sources and types.”