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 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 154 – Heroic Wearable Brain Robots

Michael and Michael share their insight on games for good, specifically on games that have an additional benefit to the fun of playing them.  Sea Hero Quest is a game sponsored by Deutsche Telekom together with University College London, University of East Anglia and Alzheimer’s Research to help with early diagnosis of dementia.  Michael and Michael discuss the possibilities of a software layer which could be placed on top of (or alongside) other games that could capture similar data points for researchers.

The pair then turn to wearables, and the interesting way that mobile and Internet of Things devices can be used for purposes such as the detection of earthquakes as exemplified by the MyQuake Android app, and how quantified self wearables can be harnessed for similar data capture and analysis.

Recalling the Douglas Adams quote of how to fly, and that walking really is controlled falling, Michael and Michael watch the video (above) of the Boston Dynamics Atlas robot walk across a treacherous field — pretty amazing.

Speaking of amazing, Michael R has found a puzzle game like no other either Michael have played before called TraptionBakery — where you attempt to bake a loaf of bread, Rube Goldberg machine-style.  Check it out!

selected links 

Sea Hero Quest — http://www.seaheroquest.com/en/
Techcrunch article:  Neurotrack Brain Scans — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/01/neurotrack-takes-brain-scans-home/
Neurotrack — https://www.neurotrack.com/
Techcrunch article:  Motorola wont release a new smartwatch anytime soon — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/01/motorola/
MacRumors article:  Fitbit reportedly close to acquiring Pebble — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/11/30/fitbit-buying-pebble/
Techcrunch article:  Earthquake sensing mobile app, MyShake — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/01/earthquake-sensing-mobile-app-myshake-captures-hundreds-of-temblors-large-and-small/
Washington Post article:  What personal fitness trackers tell us about earthquakes —   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/08/25/what-personal-fitness-trackers-like-jawbone-tell-us-about-earthquakes-public-health-and-just-about-anything-else
TechCrunch article: Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot walks over rubble — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/01/atlas/

Games the hosts are playing 

Michael R — TraptionBakery by ProperBostin — http://www.properbostin.com/traption_bakery/
Post & video on the building of the game — http://www.properbostin.com/anoraks/tb/index.html

Michael M — Dungeon Boss by Big Fish Games — https://itunes.apple.com/app/dungeon-boss/id776132132?mt=8
join the guild “Knights of the Shrubbery”


Gotta engage ’em all – Pokemon Go for HR

Pokemon Go splash page

A tweet from earlier this week resonated with me — and a few others. Holger Müller ( @holgermu ) shared the following post: “Best line on #DisruptTV so far – @mikeettling – Waiting for PokemonGo app for HR – catch talent or a leader. ;-)”

Such an HR app would not just be focused solely on catching, it would include engaging and retaining as well. Novel ways of catching the attention of prospective employees, whether through puzzles, code breaking or alternate reality games have worked well, and augmented reality lends itself well as a technology to do the same. What would employee engagement and retention look like through the use of augmented reality? How could augmented reality be used for aligning strategy to employee action? What if there was a new product line that required a different sales approach… Could this HR app be used to identify ideas for how to attract the right kinds of people who are most aligned to the offering and sales approach?

Much to think about… What are your ideas?

Stay alert at all times and be aware of your surroundings!  Happy hunting.

Episode 137 – Augmented Reality in the Boardroom & Beyond

Episode 137 – Augmented Reality in the Boardroom & Beyond was recorded on Friday, the 20th of May 2016.

Microsoft’s Hololens NFL of the future —

Phaedra and Michael M take time out to talk about mental wellness gaming applications, a “first person shooter” from the perspective of a civillian struggling to survive, and corporate collaboration applications making great use of data visualizations for problem solving now, and for the opportunities for machine learning and augmented reality for the future.

Michael was very impressed with the Microsoft Surface he saw at the SAP SapphireNow coference in Orlando last week, and made the connection for how the Microsoft Hololens product could make the collaboration even greater with augmented reality — not just for business applications, but also for medical scenaros, where a specialist could ‘beam into’ the operating theater, and highlight what needed to be done for the surgeons in the room.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Selected Links

War of Mine by 11 bit studios — http://www.11bitstudios.com/games/16/this-war-of-mine

SapphireNow — http://events.sap.com/sapphirenow/en/home

Knowledge Workspace (play at 1:26:00 mark) — http://tinyurl.com/zx5blzq

IMG_5400  IMG_5399
Digital Boardroom — (play at 38:51 mark) — http://tinyurl.com/h6zgbj6

IMG_5347 IMG_5348

Virtual Reality & the Digital Boardroom — http://blog-sap.com/analytics/2016/05/16/check-out-the-sap-digital-boardroom-and-virtual-reality-experience-at-sapphirenow/

Washington Post “Why virtual reality won’t transform sports viewing” — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/05/16/why-virtual-reality-wont-transform-sports-viewing/


Episode 133 – Game Brains


Episode 133 – Game Brains was recorded on Friday, the 18th of February 2016.

Does playing video games make you smarter?  Michael and Michael answer this question with a resounding “maybe”, as they go through a tour of several interesting links, from Google’s DeepMind computer playing Go, to Volvos starting up without keys, to toys that think and 3D printing going back to 1964 with plastigoop.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Selected links
Can Video Games make you Smarter? — https://youtu.be/OOsqkQytHOs
Luminosity — http://www.lumosity.com
Gmailification — http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/17/google-launches-gmailify-a-way-to-use-gmails-best-features-with-non-gmail-accounts/
Mailbox — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mailbox/id576502633?mt=8
Airmail — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/airmail-your-mail-with-you/id993160329?mt=8
Google Now — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Now
Connected Toys and the Serious Business of Play — http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/15/the-serious-business-of-play/
Mattel 3d printer — http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/15/mattel-thingmaker-3d-printer/
Mattel’s Creepy Crawler Thingmaker with Plastigoop — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy_Crawlers
Sphero — http://www.sphero.com/starwars
Teddy Ruxpin — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Ruxpin
Monopoly — http://www.avclub.com/article/monopoly-now-cashless-economy-232281
DeepMind plays Go —  http://mashable.com/2016/01/27/google-ai-beats-go-champ
Pacman 256 — http://pac-man256.net
Rogue on iOS —  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rogue/id298113808?mt=8
Volvo keyless cars — http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35611130
Keyless remote app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/car-remote-keyless-entry/id718121721?mt=8
Smartphone app ride pickup zone — https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/700734551132282880
Global Gamification Market estimated to be $11.1B by 2020 — http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160218006350/en/Global-Gamification-Market-Worth-USD-11.10-Billion

Games Michael & Michael are playing
Michael R — A Tiny Game of Pong — http://mashable.com/2016/02/17/apple-watch-a-tiny-game-pong
Michael M — Tomb of the Mask — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tomb-of-the-mask/id1057889290?mt=8


Crossy Road for the new AppleTV

Crossy Roads for AppleTV

with the new AppleTV released on Friday, one of the most exciting games I was looking forward to playing was multiplayer Crossy Road, partially because of my memory of playing competitive Mario Brothers on the Apple ][ and partially because my kids just love playing the game and unlocking new characters.  It was with great anticipation for my kids to get the AppleTV set up — which was very easy to do with the iPhone, as was the installation of the app from the AppleTV store.  What proved to be more challenging was getting the iOS device to be recognized by the AppleTV for the second player to control their Crossy Road character.  Looking on the web for help, there were some good articles, such as the one from iMore, however there was one important tip that the Crossy Road app itself pointed out, but in our zeal to play, we had ignored.

in order for the AppleTV to recognize the iOS device, they both need to be on the same WiFi network.  in our home setup, I have the AppleTV hardwired with an ethernet connection to the router so as to help with bringing down movies in the absolute fastest possible way, and because the AppleTV was smart enough to recognize the ethernet wire, it did not enable a wireless connection.  Then, once we had rebooted the AppleTV on WiFi, restarted Crossy Road and selected two player, the iOS device was recognized, and as they say, hilarity ensued.  the kids proceeded to play, pushing one another’s characters into oncoming trucks and the water, giggling and laughing.