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Multi-Focals That Can Adjust Their Refraction

A new use for the phases of liquid crystal, changing the nature of eyewear, and even pushing the boundaries of the mechanic assisting the organic. DeepOptics is looking to accomplish all of the above and more with a new omnifocal which adjusts in response to the activity of our eyes.

DeepOptics
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Amazon’s Virtual Assistant

Responsive robots may have begun as a dream and subsequently a Jetsons character but as we get closer to the broadly defined sci-fi “future”, more and more of those futuristic ideas are becoming a reality. Alongside Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana, the Amazon Echo features a similar computational companion, Alexa.

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The Echo includes a Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 256MB of LPDDR1 RAM, and 4GB of storage space while also utilizing cloud based processing and storage through Amazon Web Services. In its default mode, the device is constantly waiting for its name or customizable “wake word” but can also be configured for manual activation. Once it receives the go-ahead, music, audiobooks, news, calendars, and even the functionality of a home such as lights and thermostats are at the user’s command. With a 7 piece microphone array and omnidirectional audio, its clear the product was designed to hear, and be heard, from anywhere in the room and its voice recognition has had much success in command interpretation despite interference such as running water, or a loud TV.

Limitations with some of these features however, do exist. As expected with many interpreters of the English language, word confusion does still occur and Echo is sometimes mixed up when presented with certain homophones. Additionally, certain background noise may not be viewed as such as seen in an ironic set of incidents for NPR listeners when a segment discussing how the voice activated assistant was helping customers. Upon hearing its wake up word, the story ended up triggering Amazon Echos in the homes of a few listeners and modified or reset their thermostats.

Additional concerns revolve around privacy and security to which Amazon responded to swifty. Caution around the device’s feature to perpetually monitor for its wake up word was dissuaded by the online retailer when they enumerated the absence of any streamed recordings prior to the wake up word. When, and only when, Echo receives this cue, does it begin to stream audio to the cloud for processing. As for Echo’s future, updates and apps are not in short supply. Because much of Echo’s intelligence lies in the cloud, significant functional enhancements can be made to Echo without updating the software version it is running. New features and fixes will be implemented without the user needing to update the product so as time goes on, the bridge between reality and the sci-fi fantasies of the past looks to be growing shorter and shorter.

Source: Amazon

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Google’s DeepMind AI VS. the Go World Champion

It’s over 2500 years old and the rules are deceptively simple, but Go is an incredibly complex game. The rules are simpler than those of chess, but a player typically has a much more vast choice of moves. The game is played with white and black stones and the aim is to capture territory as well as your opponent’s pieces. Stones can be captured by surrounding them but the control of the board is a much more complicated matter which is why a true competitive AI has been rather difficult to create. In a landmark victory against the European champion in October it was proven that the efforts of the DeepMind team and subsequently Google’s efforts on the AlphaGo project had found success in what had been thought impossible since the early years of computing.

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By first studying the patterns repeated in various games, AlphaGo will play different versions of itself millions of times during a single match and learn incrementally. Learning from its mistakes is what makes the AI truly remarkable and what led its developers to take their months of improvements since beating the European champion, to the next level. As of today, AlphaGo has secured its second win against world champion Go master Lee Sedol in a 5-game match worth 1 million US dollars. The games are being played with a 2 hour set time limit for each player followed by three 60 second overtime periods as well as the standard Chinese ruleset.

The magnitude of this achievement opens many doors to advanced functionality of artificial intelligence. The emerging truth is machines can learn real world tasks in much the same way they learn to make moves in a game. This opens new paths of scientific research while augmenting existing industries where machines can learn to identify promising areas of research and help humans in the right direction. Whether it’s fields with a sheer overload of data needing to be sifted through such as biology or security, or more subjective fields such as arts and language. As stated many times in AlphaGo’s 7 matches thus far, regardless of which player wins, it is a victory for humanity.

Game 3 between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo is set to take place tonight, March 11th, at 8:00 PST Watch Here

Source: Deep Mind

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Sony files patent for a glove-like controller

With the advent of Virtual Reality consoles upon us, now is as good a time as any for accessories which can be used in tandem with the technological leap. Electronics giant Sony has recently filed for a trio of patents and they look to be taking VR to an interesting new place.

The trio of patents are for a new glove-based controller system which centers around a finger-tracking flex sensor, a separate contact sensor that registers when the user touches a physical object, and a communications module that sends this data to a VR headset where it is incorporated into the simulated experience.

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The patent filing describes the system as “a trackable object that is configured to be illuminated during interactivity with at least one inertial sensor for generating inertial sensor data”. Reminiscent of the Move Motion “wand” revealed in 2009 and released for the PS3, the glove appears to be more dexterous and its collaborative capabilities have the potential to make gesture actions or motions applicable far beyond the world of gaming.

An important note to make in the nature of patents is there is no guarantee a product of this nature will ever see the light of day. Between cost, time, and how well it would actually work, Sony may choose to simply hold the patent and work on other projects but it does suggest they are at least considering wearable computing in the future.

Source: Sony

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Quick Tips for Faster Wi-Fi

Slow internet connections can turn the most innocent web browsing session into an absolute struggle to maintain sanity but luckily there are a variety of steps available to increase speeds once again.

First up, ethernet cables. Ironically the best Wi-Fi tip is to not use your Wi-Fi connection, but rather a wired connection to ensure stability by reducing interference. Plugging an ethernet cable from your machine to a router will ensure connection integrity and having a connection that doesn’t drop out can be particularly helpful for videos and game console activity.

Second, all to often, routers are stuffed in a closet in some far corner of the house. Getting it out in the open and as high as possible will create a larger and more consistent coverage area. Additionally, keep as few walls as possible between the router and the usual location of frequently used devices.

Third, if you’re running 802.11n, you might want to try connecting via 802.11g instead. Throughput speeds can potentially double but it does usually depend on other ISP variables and especially upon what other wireless sources are overlapping signals with the router.

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It’s not always necessary to buy a new router to speed up your Wi-Fi, but if a router is more than a couple years old, an upgrade may provide some benefits. And if you own new gear that has 802.11ac built in, it’s definitely time to upgrade your router. Best of all, some of the least expensive 802.11ac routers out there deliver excellent performance.

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Create your own Custom USBs

Branding products isn’t a new concept in today’s marketing world, but Nexcopy has made it a lot more accessible to brand one of the most versatile pieces of technology in the industry. With the new USB7P full color inkjet printer, anyone can bring their designs or images to life on their flash drives. Below is a video illustrating the product with its features and benefits.

For more information about customizing this video for our reseller channel, please contact Nexcopy directly.

Source: Nexcopy Inc.

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