Sony’s Aibo robo dog is back – and it’s cuter than ever

November 1, 2017 by  
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Remember Sony ‘s Aibo pet robot that debuted in 1999? Well, the company just launched a new-and-improved version in Japan today – and it uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop a personality over time. Sony designed the robo dog to form “an emotional bond with members of the household while providing them with love, affection and the joy of nurturing and raising a companion.” The robot can learn the layout of your house, respond to voice commands, and melt your heart with nuanced expressions. Aibo was redesigned to be as lifelike as possible. OLED eyes signal changes in expression, fisheye cameras see and recognize individual faces, and actuators allow its body to move smoothly along 22 axes. Over time, the robot learns what behaviors make its owner happy. Similar to a Roomba, the robot can avoid obstacles and accesses the most direct route between locations. Inside, there is built-in LTE and WiFi , a quad-core CPU, and sensors, motors, and gyroscopes. It takes three hours to charge the Aibo robot, and its battery lasts two hours. Pre-orders for the new bot will begin tonight through Sony’s online store in Japan . The Aibo robot costs 179,000 yen (approximately $1,739 USD) and shipments are expected to begin on January 11, 2018. Related: VIDEO: Sony’s new LED light bulb has another very unusual capability The Aibo robot is connected to the cloud, so customers are encouraged to purchase an Aibo Basic Plan that backs up the robot’s unique identity and allows them to access their robot via WiFi or a mobile connection. The plan costs approximately $27 per month; alternatively, a 3-year subscription can be purchased for 90,000 yen ($790 USD). This subscription pairs with the My Aibo app, which manages settings, provides access to photos and allows you to play with a virtual version of the dog. Expect other versions of the Aibo robot in the future. Previously, Sony said that it is “steadily advancing multiple other initiatives in the AI and Robotics field.” + Sony Via Engadget Images via Sony

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Sony’s Aibo robo dog is back – and it’s cuter than ever

IKEA’s new augmented reality app could totally change the way we shop

September 13, 2017 by  
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Ever purchased a piece of furniture, only to find out later it didn’t fit the style or size of the room? Swedish furniture maker IKEA is tackling this problem with a free augmented reality (AR) application that utilizes Apple’s new ARKit technology . The app will let users experience how sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and other furnishing items will fit into their homes in augmented reality. According to the IKEA press release, all products experienced through the app are 3D and true to scale. This ensures “every choice is just the right size, design and function.” Said Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems, “IKEA Place makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own place, to get inspired and try many different products, styles, and colors in real-life settings with a swipe of your finger. Augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster.” Users will also have the option of capturing the setting in the app and sharing it as an image or a video with friends. Related: IKEA’s SPACE10 lab is bringing a pop-up vertical farm to London IKEA is the first home furnishing company to build on Apple’s new technology to create an AR app that ensures customers are confident with their purchases. Reportedly, the app has a 98 percent accuracy as it scales products based on room dimensions. “The AR technology is so precise that you will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on your furnishings,” says the press release. “ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making,” added Valdsgaard. “ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making,” added Valdsgaard. Beginning late-September, users with an iOs 11 may download and enjoy the app. In total, 2,000 IKEA products will be available to experiment with. The first release will focus on larger furniture products, including all sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and top-selling “storage solutions” that can be placed on the floor.  Data collected from the application will also play a role in the launch of new product lines. “Now, technology has caught up with our ambition. AR lets us redefine the experience for furniture retail once more, in our restless quest to create a better everyday life for everyone, everywhere,” said Valdsgaard. To use the IKEA app, all one needs to do is: upgrade their device to iOS 11, download the IKEA Place app for free from the Apple store, scan the floor in your home, browse the list of available products in the app, select a chosen furniture item to experience, and move and place the product into the space. It is that simple! + IKEA  Images via IKEA

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IKEA’s new augmented reality app could totally change the way we shop

How virtual reality will change the world

September 30, 2016 by  
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Virtual Reality dates to the 1950s, but 2016 is its seminal moment. With the launch of consumer VR systems we are entering a new reality of how we experience and interface with our technology. It’s not just entertainment: VR offers the potential to fundamentally change how we learn, interact, and recover through a variety of potential applications in academia, healthcare, advocacy and industry. This briefing will explore some possible ways VR can accelerate the sustainable economy.

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5 of the coolest innovations found at VERGE 16

September 26, 2016 by  
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From virtual reality tours of the ocean to multifaceted microgrids, sustainable technologies took Silicon Valley by storm last week.

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5 of the coolest innovations found at VERGE 16

How virtual reality can help paraplegic patients learn to walk again

August 19, 2016 by  
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For most people, virtual reality summons thoughts of fun and games, but for paraplegic patients, the game is very real. People who were once told they would never walk again are closer than ever to taking real steps thanks to training with VR technology. The Walk Again Project (WAP) has been at the forefront of the race to help paraplegics walk again, and a new trial using VR training with eight patients has resulted in some renewed motor control in every single case. https://vimeo.com/178225409 WAP is a nonprofit international research consortium, and its success in helping eight paraplegic patients regain partial sensation and muscle control in their legs is a major breakthrough in medical research. Lead researcher Dr. Miguel Nicolelis from Duke University explained in a call with media that the patients in the study began with zero sensation or motor control. Experimentation started with visualizations, but that had no impact. Related: Could this new spinal implant someday help people with paralysis walk? “When we look at the brains of these patients when they got to us, we couldn’t detect any signal when we asked them to imagine walking again. There was no modulation of brain activity,” he said. “It’s almost like the brain had erased the concept of moving by walking.” Enter virtual reality. The patients used a commercially available VR headset, Oculus Rift , to enter a virtual world controlled by their brain activity, along with a special shirt scientists configured that sends haptic feedback to the patients’ forearms. Essentially, that feedback mimics the sensation of touching the ground and, for the sake of this experiment, the arms were used as phantom limbs in place of the patients’ legs, which had no sensation at all. In the VR environment, the patients’ figures could walk around and each footstep sent a sensation to the arms, tricking the brain into thinking the patients’ legs were doing the walking. The next phase of the trial put each patient in a robotic exoskeleton for one hour a day, which further reinforced brain activity stimulated by the VR experience. Over time, each of the eight patients who participated in the study regained some sensation in their legs and pelvic area, and also relearned some muscle control. Some also learned to control bladder and bowel functions for the first time in years. Although none of the patients are up and walking on their own without assistance, one woman is now able to walk with a walker, braces, and a therapist’s aid after 13 years of paralysis. Her success, the most dramatic of the study participants, gives researchers hope that continued experimental therapies may help her and others like her regain mobility and independence. The study was published this month in the journal Scientific Reports. Via Quartz Images via A Health Blog and  Oculus

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Episode 25: Google’s green Big Data, virtual reality and supply chains

April 15, 2016 by  
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This week on the GreenBiz 350 podcast: A tech giant talks bridging clean energy and Big Data, virtual reality meets sustainability and coal’s latest bankruptcy.

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Episode 25: Google’s green Big Data, virtual reality and supply chains

IKEA’s new app lets you try out furniture in virtual reality

April 6, 2016 by  
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Have you ever wanted to see how a new piece of furniture might look in your home before buying it? If IKEA has a say, that may soon be a normal part of your home shopping experience. The Swedish furniture giant just released a virtual reality app that will allow users to explore and customize their kitchen in a whole new way. The program, called the IKEA VR Experience, is part of a pilot meant to test how consumers respond to virtual reality technology. Read the rest of IKEA’s new app lets you try out furniture in virtual reality

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Become a forest creature in this mind-altering virtual reality experience

October 13, 2015 by  
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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a dragonfly, flitting through the forest canopy, this virtual reality installation by Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) is your answer. Through the imaginations of MLF, the forest becomes a dancing stream of bright colors that twist by as you fly through the forest. The virtual reality experience allows users to see the forest as an alien world, first through the eyes of a midge, then a dragonfly, then to a frog and finally an owl. Read the rest of Become a forest creature in this mind-altering virtual reality experience

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Can technology make us better stewards of wildlife?

August 4, 2015 by  
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Here’s where data analytics, sensors, virtual reality games and drones can help to protect wild lands and creatures.

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Oscar Viñals’ Sky Whale is a Three-Story Gargantuan “Green” Aircraft

January 17, 2014 by  
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“Sky Whale” is a concept aircraft created by Spanish designer  Oscar Viñals that uses technological innovation to make air travel more efficient and ultimately, eco-friendly. A key aspect of the aircraft’s success would rely on the development of advanced new materials such as next-generation ceramic and fiber composites. It would also be equipped with “active wings” that are powered by a hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system that significantly increases efficiency. The effect of all the technology according to Viñals, would be reduced drag, fuel consumption and weight, making it one of the “greenest aircraft imaginable.” Read the rest of Oscar Viñals’ Sky Whale is a Three-Story Gargantuan “Green” Aircraft Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ceramic composite aircraft , fibre composites aircraft , greenest aircraft imaginable , harrier jet engines , hybrid turbo-electric propulsion system , micro solar cells on the wings , Oscar Vinals , Sky Whale , three-storey airplane , virtual reality aircraft windows        

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