Episode 169 – Virtual Surgery & Artificial Black Boxes

Michael and Michael take a spin from the physical to the virtual, starting with an article by Scotty Allen, describing how he constructed an iPhone 6s entirely from parts he bought in markets in China.  Moving into the virtual space, the pair discuss the merits and benefits of a syringe with haptic feedback to help surgeons learn the amount of pressure needed to inject a patient, in what appeared to be way too close to reality.  Squeamishness aside, this use case is particularly well suited to the virtual reality training space, as it combines visual and physical feedback, developing the appropriate muscle memory needed to perform the surgery successfully.

Rounding out this episode, Michael and Michael talk about the importance of transparency in artificial intelligence algorithms, particularly for audibility.  As machine learning allows for enhancements to decision making, blockchain recording of the decisions can provide the benefit of how the AI made the decisions it did at the time it made those decisions.  A fascinating potential blend of these technologies.

Hope you enjoy!

selected links 

Strange Parts: How I Made My Own iPhone – in China! — https://strangeparts.com/how-i-made-my-own-iphone-in-china/

New Scientist: Virtual syringe lets surgeons practice piercing skin and muscle — https://www.newscientist.com/article/2127828-virtual-syringe-lets-surgeons-practise-piercing-skin-and-muscle/

MIT Technology Review: The Financial World Wants to Open AI’s Black Boxes — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604122/the-financial-world-wants-to-open-ais-black-boxes/

Games we’re playing

Bacon Escape — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bacon-escape/id1199364353?mt=8

Shooty Skies — https://shootyskies.com


Episode 168 – Reboot vs Repeat

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.   Michael and Michael discuss the difference between reboots and repeats using movies such as the Matrix and Aliens, as well as in the gaming world such as Leisure Suit Larry and the Nimblebit games.  The review of Thimbeweed Park serves as a tremendous launch point for this conversation.

Rounding out the show, the team talks about the recent innovation from Adidas, shoes made from bioengineered spider silk.  3D printing remains a hot topic with both of them, as evidenced by Michael R’s recent creation, a sausage roll prop used for the Durham Savoyard’s recent Gilbert & Sullivan production of The Grand Duke.

selected links 

Ars Technica article : Thimbleweed Park review: Nostalgic to a fault — https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/04/thimbleweed-park-review-nostalgic-to-a-fault/

Daria creator imagines what the cast looks like 20 years later — https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/04/daria-creator-imagines-what-the-cast-looks-like-20-years-later/

Leisure Suit Larry — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry

Ultima — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_%28series%29

Nimblebit games — http://nimblebit.com

Nimblebit’s Bit City — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bit-city/id914343148?mt=8

Wired UK article : These lightweight adidas shoes are made from spider silk grown in a lab — https://www.wired.co.uk/article/adidas-futurecraft-biofabric-shoes

Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org

Grand Duke 2014 – 02, Opening Chorus, Sausage-roll song — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCDPIc8Yyvw


Episode 167 – Robotic Physics


Michael and Michael start this episode with big robots.  As in extra huge robots.  Like Mecha-sized robots.  The articulation of the robot Jeff Bezos piloted was reminiscent of the one that the character Eileen Ripley piloted in the Aliens movies (see video above).  Michael R was also reminded of the NASA Valkyrie robot, and it’s mission to go to Mars ahead of humans to set up the environment for human habitation.  Walking on two legs, and being roughly human-sized, the form factor is well suited to ensuring that the habitat structure such robots would build would be on the appropriate scale and work for the humans to follow.

The team also looks at a few learning games, starting with Big Bang Legends, which teaches the players about particle physics, and uses a SaaS subscription method the game company Lightneer calls “Learn to Play” that replaces video ads with a monthly fee.  This game reminded Michael M of DragonBox, a game that his kids really enjoyed that taught them algebraic skills while they weren’t really looking.

Michael R gave a shot at compiling the ported Pokemon Yellow Game Boy game to Apple Watch, but did not succeed during the recording session — will be interesting to see how it goes!

Rounding out the show, and just as Michael R predicted in the last episode, Michael M has been playing the new Nimblebit Bit City game, and, again, just as Michael R predicted, has been crushing it.

selected links 

PC Mag article: Jeff Bezos Pilots a Giant Robot — http://www.pcmag.com/news/352476/jeff-bezos-pilots-a-giant-robot

TechCrunch article: In a Massachusetts warehouse, NASA’s Valkyrie robot helps lay the groundwork for Mars settlements — https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/18/nasa-valkyrie-robot/

NASA’s Valkyrie robot — https://www.nasa.gov/feature/valkyrie/

Mecha — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha

Robotech — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macross

Mashable article: This game is teaching particle physics to five-year-olds — http://mashable.com/2017/03/23/big-bang-legends/

Big Bang Legends — http://www.bigbanglegends.com

DragonBox — http://dragonboxapp.com

Making Giovanni, a Game Boy Emulator for the Apple Watch — http://gabrieloc.com/2017/03/21/GIOVANNI.html

Nimblebit’s Bit City — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bit-city/id914343148?mt=8


Episode 166 – Interactive Interaction

Episode 166 – Interactive Interaction

Teachers Breaks the Code

Interesting news this week about two new interactions for people in AR – Voice and Tilts. So our co-hosts Michael R. and Phaedra looking a bit further to see what it may all mean. But first we start off with a look at the teacher who solved Adobe’s Semaphore challenge. We continue looking at AR, VR and voice input and how this may play out as the future for human-computer interaction.

Speaking of computer interaction, we talk some TV with quick discussions on both Black Mirror and Humans. If you haven’t seen either of these shows, stop what you are doing and go – right now – watch some TV! This gets us thinking about Kurzweil’s talk at South by Southwest. Will AI’s have rights? If you upload your brain, is it you? Or is it a new consciousness with separate rights? Think about it for a while…

And while you’re at it, go and drop us a review over at iTunes, we’d love to hear from you!

Show Links:
Math Teacher Cracks Adobe’s Semaphore code: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/13/adobe-semaphore-code-cracked-by-tennessee-high-school-teacher/

Tilt gesture control: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/17/tilt-gesture-keyboard-could-hold-promise-for-typing-in-vr/
Surgeon Simulator: http://www.surgeonsim.com/

Amazon Alexa on your iPhone: http://fortune.com/2017/03/16/amazon-alexa-iphone/

Black Mirror: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/black-mirror/episode-guide/
Humans: http://www.amc.com/shows/humans

Kurzweil at SXSW: https://www.facebook.com/SXSWFestival/videos/10154414699178994/

What we are playing:
Michael R. – Bit City: http://www.gamezebo.com/2017/03/16/bit-city-review-best-of-both-worlds/
Phaedra – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/lara-croft-and-the-guardian-of-light-ps3/


Episode 165 – Virtual Math

Phaedra, Michael and Michael get together to discuss some very interesting articles, kicking things off with how 3D pictures are used to explain mathematical concepts in a new pictorial language called Quon.  The paper explaining the concept dives into quantum concepts, including teleportation, topological algebra and Bloch spheres, quickly reaching the mathematical limits of the trio.

A Fast Company article on how the Knight Foundation and Google are providing jump start grants to journalists to engage with virtual reality connects with the team, and one of the CNN 3D videos prompts Michael R to share a story about how he flew in one of the large tanker planes as a student.

Closing out the show today, Michael, Michael & Phaedra take a look at the Sococo virtual office space, which provides a sense of place to people who use it to make virtual teams feel more in tune with one another — going to specific spots in the virtual office building to meet and collaborate.

selected links 

Harvard Gazette article:  Making math more Lego-like — http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/03/making-math-more-lego-like/

Quon 3D language for quantum information — http://www.pnas.org/content/114/10/2497.full

Arrival (movie) — http://www.arrivalmovie.com

Floo network — https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/the-floo-network

Weapons of Math Destruction — https://weaponsofmathdestructionbook.com

Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos — https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Variation-Key-Managing-Chaos/dp/0945320531

Diagon Alley — https://www.pottermore.com/explore-the-story/diagon-alley

Alternet article: How Using Big Data to Understand Social Problems Can Create More Inequality — http://www.alternet.org/culture/data-science-inequality

Fast Company article: VR journalists could get $35,000 from Knight Foundation and Google for innovative projects — https://news.fastcompany.com/vr-journalists-could-get-35000-from-knight-foundation-and-google-for-innovative-projects-4032048

CNN VR — http://www.cnn.com/VR

Sococo — http://sococo.com


Episode 164 – Addictive AR




Michael and Michael start this episode off with an excellent roundup of how technology gets that dopamine drip going with an article from The Guardian that focuses on the newly published book by Adam Alter, Irresistible.  Starting with the psychological and cultural affinity with liking content, and proceeding quickly to the linkages between gambling and games, the article walks the path to augmented reality and virtual reality — what makes an experience repeatable and desirable to come back to again and again.

Turning their attention to augmented reality, Michael and Michael imagine the the future of not only designing 3D spaces with the Microsoft Hololens, but also how the perspective of the user of such technology is afforded the chance to see directly what could not be physically possible.  Not everyone can have a front row seat in the operating (or other) theater, but with AR & VR you can — and this begins to open up whole new worlds of possibility.

Michael M shares his experience from an Uber ride in New York this past week, where the car was outfitted with a Mobileye device that watches for speed limits, distance between the driver’s car and those ahead, as well as lane departure warnings.  This aftermarket option provides visual and audio alerts to the driver, and sparked a conversation on the nature of event data recording in automotive black boxes.

The team rounded out the episode with the Sony Xperia Touch Projector, which turns any surface into an interactive environment, prompting Michael R to break out his Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard.  Only a matter of time before the sharks with lasers appear…

selected links 

The Guardian article:  How Technology Gets Us Hooked — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/28/how-technology-gets-us-hooked

Irresistible by Adam Alter — http://adamalterauthor.com/irresistible/

Mashable article:  Why I Flooded Instagram With Likes — http://mashable.com/2014/02/14/lovematically-instagram/

Microsoft Devices Blog:  Stryker chooses Microsoft Hololens to bring operating room design into the future with 3D — https://blogs.windows.com/devices/?p=259304?ocid=newsletter_ema_omc_hol_Stryker

Techcrunch article:  Mobileye outfits 4,500 for-hire cars in NYC with collision avoidance tech — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/
Mobileye features YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXpiyLUEOOY

Event data recorder — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_data_recorder

A Car’s Black Box — http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/09/how-your-car-is-tracking-you/index.htm

Wired article:  Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium screen is so high-quality it’s better than most people’s TVs  — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/

Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard — http://www.virtual-laser-devices.com/Magic%20Cube_Final.pdf


Episode 163 – Chat Me Maybe?

Hey! I just met you. And this is cra-zy. Here’s my bot. Chat me maybe.

Michael and Michael get together to enjoy some of the material covered in the Feb 22nd edition of the Daily Tech News Show, particularly around text based chat services, and where the medium is going. Michael M dives headfirst down the rabbit hole — imagining how people used to use arcane terminal commands to get things done, when this wasn’t the intent of the story — it is much more around augmenting communication with insight to enhance understanding and using context (location, time, preferences, etc) to get to better/faster outcomes.

This isn’t the 2017 version of Clippy saying “it looks like you are trying to schedule lunch. would you like some help with that?” — there’s much more to it — have a listen and see what you think. And in the meantime, I’ll have my bots 🤖 talk with your bots 🤖.

From the same Daily Tech News Show, there’s a link to an app that got Michael & Michael’s attention — a remake of the classic Tomagotchi reimagined with elected officials in the Netherlands called Kamergotchi where you feed, energize and give ideas to members of the Netherlands house of representatives. Let’s see if this expands to other countries.

Other ideas that are worth spreading include a report on Tesla’s lifetime maintenance and insurance bundled with their cars. This drives the discussion forward with concepts such as:

what is a car’s lifetime?
where does the maintenance cost increases cross the line of the insurance cost decreases?
how modular are cars, and could they become more modular in future, especially given the rate/pace of software enhancements?
how long could one keep a ’57 Chevy or Trabant running with such modularity?

Michael and Michael throw the brakes on the automotive discussion to close the show with a safety design concept designed to appeal to children (and maybe a few adults) who ride bikes — a helmet that looks like Lego / Playmobil hair. Talk about #helmethair !

selected links

Daily Tech News Show (DTNS) 2971 – Scrapping Apps — http://www.tommerritt.com/2017/02/21/dtns-2971-scrapping-apps/

Gartner Survey showing the strength & growth of messaging apps — http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3614818

Games At Work e159 Virtually Secure Twitch See Bots Chat — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/01/22/episode-159-virtually-secure/

Little Computer People — http://www.mobygames.com/game/c64/little-computer-people

Zondag met Lubach (featuring Kamergotchi with English subtitles) — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qNjpTn6RUM&feature=youtu.be

Kamergotchi — http://www.kamergotchi.nl

Tomagotchi — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamagotchi

Mashable: Tesla so sure its cars are safe that it now offers insurance for life — http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/elon-musk-tesla-lifetime-insurance.amp

Boredpanda: Someone Made a Real-Life LEGO Hair Bike Helmet — http://www.boredpanda.com/lego-hair-bike-helmet-simon-higby-clara-prior-moef/


Episode 162 – Seeing is Believing

Michael and Michael are excited that it is that special time of year again, the one where you can buy Thin Mints, and Caramel deLites, and all manner of Girl Scout cookies.  And they are even more excited about the kickstarter game being developed by the Girl Scouts where the cookies take center stage, and the scouts learn all about the various development platforms: MIT’s Scratch, iOS & Android to create the game.  Nice touch, by the way, that the Kickstarter video uses virtual audio reality with positional sound.

Turning from the savory to the visual, Michael and Michael discuss the OxSight augmented reality solution to help low vision people see better — determine the foreground from the background, improve the contrast, zoom in and more.  A tremendous use for such promising technology.  Be sure to check out the link below to see the videos for yourself.  See if you believe Michael R, that this is Geordi LaForge’s visor.

While traveling to the University of South Carolina School of Engineering, Michael M saw some of the older computing technology on display (picture above) and remembered well using his Dataman a few years ago.

Rounding out the show, Michael R would like to issue a rare personal invitation to see him perform with the Durham Savoyards as they present Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Grand Duke March 30 – April 2.

selected links 

Girl Scout Kickstarter:  Marshmallow Run game — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/designcodebuild/marshmallow-run-game

Girl Scout cookies — http://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/Meet-the-Cookies.html

TechCrunch article:  OxSight — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/16/oxsight-uses-augmented-reality-to-aide-the-visually-impaired/

OxSight — http://smartspecs.co

Geordi LaForge — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geordi_La_Forge

Low Vision Rehabilitation | Durham Eye Care with Dr. Henry Greene — http://academyeye.com/low-vision-rehabilitation/

Facebook React Native — https://facebook.github.io/react-native/

Achron — http://www.achrongame.com/site/

CodeCadets — https://www.codecadets.com

Girls Make Games — http://girlsmakegames.com

University of South Carolina College of Engineering & Computing — http://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/engineering_and_computing/

Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org


Episode 161 – Virtual Audio Reality

We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. — intro from the 1960s US television show, The Outer Limits

We will control the audio. After many episodes discussing virtual reality and augmented reality, Michael and Michael place their focus for this show on the auditory. Not just 3D sound, but positional sound — location based sound. Sound that makes you look.

The binaural sound demo from the BBC starts off the conversation (be sure to have your headphones or earbuds at the ready for this), demonstrating how audio engineers crafted a head that looks like a villager from Minecraft to contain two microphones embedded in replica ears so as to capture sound in audio stereoscopicy, to combine with visual input from virtual or augmented reality to draw the person really into the experience.

Even on it’s own, the virtual barbershop example, which is completely devoid of video gives a compelling and immersive experience of being in a barbershop for a hair cut, down to the snip-snip of the scissors above your ears.

A little pre-show research turned up several auditory games, the first discovered via a link to the AppleVis podcast team’s review of Ear Monsters. Vanished and Blindside are a couple other examples of auditory games.

This fascinating conversation led, naturally, to music, and groups such as Yes, The Who, Art of Noise and more came into auditory focus. Give us a listen — check out the links — make your ears happy. Ours sure are!

Show Links
Binaural Sound demo from BBC — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51za5u3LtEc&feature=youtu.be
Virtual Barber Shop — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

AppleVis review of Ear Monsters — http://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/games/ear-monsters-3d-audio-game
Ear Games (makers of Ear Monsters) — http://www.eargames.com/
Vanished audio only game — https://www.engadget.com/2013/09/29/audio-only-horror-game-vanished-out-now-on-ios/

Blindside audio game — http://blindsidegame.com/

Leave It by Yes — https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/90125-deluxe-edition/id1082025269 Apple, or https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=Bdrje6xvsqlxg53zycriukmkcwm&tid=song-Twhiy3dtg2ka23jfcujfteke24e&hl=en Google
Leave it by Yes music video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-hJFoSgXfM
Yes’ 90125 album — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90125
Tevor Horn — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Horn

SCTV’s 3-D House of Beef — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEnCKEfSgUM

Baba O’Reilly by The Who — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c1hYO_BYHY


Episode 160 – 3D OBD

src = obdii.com

Car? Whar? Over thar!

Michael & Michael get together to talk about one of the original examples of augmented reality, the Head Up Display (HUD) for cars, and explore the example of the Hudway Glass, an ingeniously simple Kickstarter product that allows a user to place their phone on the dash and have the phone’s display reflected back to the driver. Michael R remembers an app with this kind of capability from way back when called V-Cockpit.

Keeping with the pretty clever car theme, the pair then move to the innovation that Ford is bringing to the market for Ford and Lincoln cars: an OBD II module that plugs into your Ford car, and because of the software in your car and this additional module, you can remote start your car, download your car’s performance data, even use the 4G LTE modem as a wireless hotspot to connect your WiFi devices in the car. Michael R noted that while the OBD II port has been a standard part of every car since 1996, each manufacturer has their own proprietary software so a universal version to provide all the connected car capabilities is not highly likely. Even so, Michael R has the OBDLink MX tool for translating error codes and warning lights, along with engine diagnostics. Enabling connected car data sharing opens up more possibilities, and the insurance marketplace is one of them, as evidenced by Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot offering.

Wrapping up this short show, Michael and Michael agree that 3D TV is not the wave of the future anymore, and the article points toward the idea of VR and TV merging at some time. While certainly possible, we’ve seen other examples of holographic TV, and from Neal Stephenson’s novels, concepts of immersive storytelling where people become the actors themselves.

selected links
Hudway Glass — https://hudwayglass.com

V-Cockpit GPS app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/v-cockpit-gps/id303482803?mt=8

Haptic Socks – https://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/97672

TechCrunch article: Ford’s new SmartLink OBD accessory adds connected features to other cars — https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/26/fords-new-smartlink-odb-accessory-adds-connected-features-to-older-cars/

OBDLink MX — https://www.amazon.com/ScanTool-OBDLink-MX-Wi-Fi-Diagnostic/dp/B00OCYXTYY/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1485538594&sr=8-22&keywords=obd+ii+wifi

Progressive Insurance Snapshot — https://www.progressive.com/auto/snapshot/

Postscapes roundup of connected car enablement devices — http://www.postscapes.com/connected-car-devices/

TechCrunch article: 3D TVs are Dead — https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/3d-tvs-are-dead/

Neal Stephenson’s Cyberpunk novel “the Diamond Age” on the concept of “ractors” – people who play roles in a virtual reality experience — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age