Episode 175 – Killing the iPhone

Augmented reality and self-driving automobiles.  Two great topics that really get Michael and Michael’s engines revving!  Staring off with the Mashable articles, one of which inspired the episode name with it’s similar name, the pair talk about ways for holographic projection can be used for augmented reality without glasses.  The first example is the Hydrogen phone by the high end video camera manufacturer Red, which projects the holographic image up from the phone.  A second example from the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University is an augmented reality projector that fits into a lightbulb socket and projects down from the ceiling onto a desktop, and sensors connected to the projector allow the user to manipulate the user interface, dock user interfaces onto real objects like computers and books, resize them and much more.  The video above shows what they have accomplished — pretty amazing.  The namesake for this episode deals with more of the glasses-driven approach for how the next generation of augmented reality could replace the iPhone, and while this is plausible, the article does point out that the referenced patent indicates a reliance on a computer (read as a phone) that the glasses connect to.

The automotive section of this episode deals with self driving vehicles, such a the Dutch startup Amber — whose business model focuses on mobility as a service, where transportation is ready for you when you need it to be because of the predictive analytic models and the self driving vehicles optimizing traffic patterns to have a vehicle near you when you need it.  Continuing on the machine learning of fleets of self driving vehicles, the pair discuss an NPR article that focuses Alphabet’s Waymo used a fleet of Googlers driving around on their bicycles to create a model to predict how unpredictable bicyclists behave and better avoid accidents.

Things are about to get amazing.

Selected links 

Mashable article:  The world’s first glasses-free holographic phone is coming, and it’s not from Apple —   http://mashable.com/2017/07/06/red-hydrogen-holographic-phone

Red Hydrogen Phone — http://www.red.com/hydrogen

BGR article: This augmented reality projector just needs a lightbulb socket — http://bgr.com/2017/07/12/augmented-reality-projector/

BGR article: This is how Apple might ‘kill’ the iPhone — http://bgr.com/2017/07/27/iphone-ar-glasses-apple/

Venture Beat article: Amber: The Dutch self-driving startup that could beat Uber, Tesla, and Google to mass market — https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/09/amber-the-dutch-self-driving-startup-that-could-beat-uber-tesla-and-google-to-mass-market/

Amber — https://www.ambermobility.com

Mashable article: BMW and other carmakers team up to take on Waze and Google Maps —  http://mashable.com/2017/07/26/here-connected-car-real-time-traffic-service

NPR article: Bikes May Have To Talk To Self-Driving Cars For Safety’s Sake — http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/07/24/537746346/bikes-may-have-to-talk-to-self-driving-cars-for-safetys-sake

Way — https://waymo.com

What are the co-hosts playing these days?

Michael R — Futurama game — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/futurama-worlds-of-tomorrow/id1207472130?mt=8

Michael M — Neko Atsume — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neko_Atsume


Episode 174 – iPhone Launch 2007 Revisited

A quick throwback episode to our co-host Michael Martine interviewing people at the launch of the iPhone back in 2007. At the time we were doing a general tech podcast called Dogear Nation based on tags in the social tagging site Dogear. Great to hear what the big ideas were in the minds of the people in line. Did you pick up your “Jesus phone” back then? Enjoy.


Episode 172 – Shining a light on AR

Michael and Michael are back — and take a long careful look at the newest capabilities that Apple is bringing to light in augmented reality with the new iOS 11 operating system.  Michael R has already downloaded the development framework, and has started bringing into mixed reality the digital test objects, to great effect.  The pictures included in this post are from Michael R’s experiments with the framework thus far, and it is quite amazing to see the fidelity of the objects, as well as the recognition by the software of the planes, shadows & angles of placement.  There much to be very excited about here, and once the digital augmented reality experience is not through the screen of an iPhone, but in a more natural way (dare I even bring up the possibility of contact lenses again?) — then, then we are really onto something.  Until that point, this version of augmented reality is an interesting step in the right direction, but the consumption cannot be via holding a phone at arm’s length or wearing a ski goggle-esque contraption that distances the person from the reality they are looking to more deeply engage with.

Robots are not just for vacuuming your floor — they are also quite useful for teaching ballroom dancing, and in determining the skill level of the human student, the artificial intelligence can quickly adapt the lessons to be challenging for whatever level the student is at.  And speaking of  AI, the recent Microsoft acquisition Maluuba has crushed Ms. Pac-Man using a new method called Hybrid Reward Architecture to more effectively manage the very difficult problem of balancing the multiple rewards (and threats) in a game like Ms. Pac-Man to achieve the maximum score.

Staying on the Microsoft theme a moment longer, the team discuss Minecraft as a platform, his where multiple operating systems and devices are now converging on a common Minecraft environment.

Binky has loomed large in the news this past week — what started as a joke has turned into something more.  In this app, you can experience all the joy of social media likes & shares but not have anyone ever see your posts.  Michael M is reminded of Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker social media game.

Selected links 

Apple ARkit — https://developer.apple.com/arkit/

Apple ARkit WWDC video — https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/602/ 

Ballroom dancing robot — https://twitter.com/qz/status/874061192196534272

Ms PacMan — http://time.com/4819067/microsoft-pac-man-maluuba/

Maluuba — http://www.maluuba.com

Hybrid Reward Architecture for Reinforcement Learning — https://arxiv.org/pdf/1706.04208.pdf

Minecraft — http://www.businessinsider.com/minecraft-unites-all-platforms-2017-6

Binky — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/10/binky/

Cow Clicker — https://cowclicker.com

BikeSphere — http://bgr.com/2017/06/14/bikesphere-michelin-safety/


Episode 171 – Jelly Jelly Bo Belly

Zoolander phone


This episode is chock full of tasty treats, of the cellphone and robotic kinds!  Michael & Michael start off with a conversation about the Kickstarter for the Jelly phone — a 4g cell phone that is running Android Nougat (Michael M still believes it should have been Nutella) and can handle two SIM cards for, wait for it, under $100 unlocked.

The pair talk about the new capabilities expected to be included with Apple’s Swift Playgrounds when announced at WWDC next week.  The ability to code in a simple-to-learn language and have that code execute in real 3d life — in a Sphereo BB-8 or a Lego Mindstorms robot would be just great.

Speaking of robotics, the Draper DragonflEye concept of marrying a live dragonfly with a mind-controlling solar powered backpack brings to mind other variations of insect robotics — from the selfie drone Nixie, to a full cast of drones that will follow you around.

Maximizing screen real estate by extending the MacOS desktop to a nearby iPad Pro captures the attention of the pair, and Michael M gives his thoughts about two solutions that he’s been working with over the past week.

Closing things out, Michael M surprises Michael R with a game he’s playing that is not 8-bit.

Selected links 

Jelly phone — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jellyphone/jelly-the-smallest-4g-smartphone

Nutella — https://www.nutella.com/en/us

Eater article:  America’s First Nutella Cafe Opens With Lines of Chicagoans — https://chicago.eater.com/2017/5/31/15719018/nutella-cafe-chicago-open-lines-michigan-avenue-millennium-park

Motorola’s StarTac phone — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_StarTAC

MacRumors article: Swift Playgrounds Will Soon Be Able to Program and Control Robots, Drones, and Toys — https://www.macrumors.com/2017/06/01/swift-playgrounds-robots-drones-instruments/

Pine64 — https://www.pine64.org

Raspberry Pi — https://www.raspberrypi.org

TechCrunch article: Draper’s DragonflEye cyber-bug takes flight — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/drapers-dragonfleye-cyber-bug-takes-flight/

Business Insider: This Incredible Selfie-Taking Wrist Drone Just Won $500,000 — http://www.businessinsider.com/nixie-wearable-drone-wins-intel-contest-2014-11

Nixie — http://flynixie.com

Airdog — https://www.airdog.com

droneguru.net article: 9 Best Drones That Follow You [Crystal Clear Video] Summer 2017 — http://www.droneguru.net/8-best-drones-that-follow-you-follow-drones/

Episode 150 — Cyber Dementors — http://gamesatwork.biz/2016/10/23/episode-150-cyber-dementors/

Robotic cockroaches — http://www.businessinsider.com/cram-robotic-cockroaches-disaster-recovery-2016-2

Daily Mail article:  Student creates cyborg cockroach that he can control with his thoughts…. — http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3112404/Student-controls-cyborg-cockroach-MIND-Video-shows-insect-guided-maze-powered-thoughts.html

Smithsonian article: A Visit to Seoul Brings Our Writer Face-to-Face with the Future of Robots — http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/visit-seoul-writer-future-robots-180963238/

Quarantine, a Greg Egan novel — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarantine_(Greg_Egan_novel)

Air Display 3 by Avatron Software — https://itunes.apple.com/app/id967502646?ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Duet Display — https://www.duetdisplay.com

Game Michael M is playing 

Mini Metro — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mini-metro/id837860959?mt=8


Episode 157 – Through the 2016 Looking Glass

In their final episode of 2016, Michael and Michael explore themes where sci-fi blends with reality. In the TechCrunch IoT Redux article, Michael and Michael kick off the discussion with the state of affairs on all the data emitted from the things on the internet, and quickly go into the realm of the British Channel 4 television show Black Mirror (available on Netflix). It is simultaneously possible to have so much of your life available to you at your fingertips, and what could go wrong with such technical capability — the Kingsman movie being another example from the entertainment world.

Turning to the skies, the pair talks about a recent patent from Amazon on a creative approach to the last mile logistics of delivery — drones delivering from a platform attached to a zeppelin. Interesting to consider the example of Duracell’s battery delivery in the midwest states — providing over one ton of batteries to prevent the dreaded “batteries not included” scenario from spoiling (or delaying gratification – you pick), and how useful something like a flying drone warehouse could be. One of the commenters on the Twitter stream for this compared this story to the recent movie Storks.

Periscope announced a new 360 degree broadcasting capability — provided of course, you have a 360 degree camera — yet the functionality on the viewing side was fantastic. Panning or swiping, you can see all the way around.

Both Michaels were happy that our Android friends will get their hands on Mario Run, and Michael R was especially pleased with the earlier than anticipated delivery of the AirPods.

We are thrilled to be back for another year, and look forward to engaging with you.

selected links
TechCrunch article: IoT Redux — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/28/iot-redux-this-time-its-personal/
Black Mirror episode Entire History of You — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Entire_History_of_You
Wikipedia: Steve Mann — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Mann
SingularityHub article: Lifelogging — https://singularityhub.com/2014/02/09/lifeblogging-gear-is-small-cheap-and-powerful-so-like-it-or-not-youre-going-to-be-recorded/
New York Times Bits Blog: One on One: Steve Mann, Wearable Computing Pioneer — http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/one-on-one-steve-mann-wearable-computing-pioneer/
Independent article: Gamifying Obedience to the State — http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-has-made-obedience-to-the-state-a-game-a6783841.html
Black Mirror episode Nosedive — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosedive
Kingsman — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsman:_The_Secret_Service
Zoe Leavitt “Death Star of #ecommerce” tweet — https://mobile.twitter.com/zoe_leavitt/status/814212767041331202
United States Patent: 9305280 — http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9305280.PN.&OS=PN/9305280&RS=PN/9305280
Ad Week article: Duracell Express — http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/duracell-saved-lot-tears-delivering-free-batteries-midwest-families-christmas-eve-175309
Storks — http://www.storksmovie.com
MacRumors article: Twitter’s Periscope Now Supports 360-Degree Live Videos — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/28/periscope-360-degree-live-videos/
@Feynwoman’s 360 degree tour of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum — https://www.periscope.tv/w/azUYdjFEWUtYYk5iYXZFZ0x8MWRSS1pYcVpEd1ZKQo71GNCpXWNOcwF2Pj8lTX25w3MNUmA56MLO1oXdSEhq
TechCrunch article: Super Mario on Android — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/29/you-can-now-register-to-find-out-when-super-mario-run-hits-android
MacRumors article: AirPods Supplier Increasing Production Capacity Due to Strong Demand — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/30/airpods-increasing-production/


Episode 156 – AI for All

For what may be the final Games At Work recording of 2016, Michael and Michael get ready to welcome our new robotic overlords in all the ways they may arrive.

First off, the co-hosts marvel at how Google Translate has made dramatic improvements through the rewrite completed in a mere nine months, turbocharging the understanding of language, and making the automatic translation of text and full sites even more powerful. Michael R has even set up our own website to use the service to translate Games At Work into a language of your choosing. Unfortunately, Klingon and Pirate are not currently available choices.

Switching gears from language AI to automotive AI, Michael and Michael discuss the new capabilities that Nvidia is unlocking, as well as the recently announced Waymo spinoff from Alphabet approaching the challenges of mobility from an AI perspective.

Going from AI to AL (as in Yankovich), Michael M shares the ALsongs.com website which is oh so handy, to help you find the lyric that’s been floating around in your brain, along with the song being parodied. Bookmarked!

And talking about bookmarking sites, the team concludes with an intriguing article which describes how researchers can capture a person’s interest by reading their EEG brainwaves and in their tests, bookmarking the relevant Wikipedia pages. Amazing.

From the science fiction meets reality, know that you can now buy yourself an authentic original series Star Trek communicator, which will pair with your cellphone and allow you to talk with your friends & colleagues, and prepare for your away team adventure. How cool!

selected links

New York Times article — The great AI awakening — http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/magazine/the-great-ai-awakening.html

TechCrunch article — Nvidia is now clear to test self-driving vehicles on California roads — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/08/nvidia-is-now-clear-to-test-self-driving-vehicles-on-california-roads/

Waymo — https://waymo.com

Spectrum iEEE article — Google’s car graduates to standalone business —

ALsongs — http://alsongs.com

TechCrunch article — Researchers use machine learning to pull interest signals from readers’ brain waves — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/14/researchers-use-machine-learning-to-pull-interest-signals-from-readers-brain-waves/

Emotiv headset — https://www.emotiv.com

MacRumors article — Apple AirPods now estimated to ship in 6 weeks — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/14/airpods-now-ship-in-6-weeks/

Bluetooth 5.0 — http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/what-is-bluetooth-5
Star Trek Communicator with awesome videos via ThinkGeek — https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/iphv/

Games the hosts are doing

Playing Michael M: just starting Walkr — https://walkrgame.com/en/

Reading Michael R. – The Last Firewall (Singularity Series Book 3) by William Hertling — http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18305964-the-last-firewall


Episode 149 – AR Through the Looking Glass

Augmented Reality features prominently in this episode where Michael and Michael explore a number of new and existing technologies, and how they may work together in an interconnected world to create new experiences for the people who use them. This show starts with a true 3D display called Volume, announced by LookingGlassFactory.com which has an aquarium-like display with true color and millions of pixels to render a three dimensional holographic display that can be experienced without any kind of headgear. A Buzzfeed article adds more clarity on the potential that Apple sees with AR, and both Michael and Michael explore how AR is not just visual — that audio, haptics, internet of things & sensors all play a role in the digital convergence that augments reality. They conclude with an amazing couple of medical use cases — where augmented reality assists in the surgical theater, allowing for a smaller incision and the physician to see what is happening inside the head of the patient, as well as for augmented touch reality where researchers help a man with a spinal injury feel pressure on robotic fingers.

Augmented visual reality, augmented audio reality, augmented touch reality are all part of the experiences possible. Expect that Michael and Michael will explore Smell-o-vision and augmented taste reality in an upcoming episode! Drop us a line with your ideas and thoughts about digital convergence on Twitter or Facebook!

Show Links
NC School of Science and Math
Looking Glass Factory
Tim Cook, Apple, and AR
Duke Researchers use AR for Brain Surgery
Brain interface allows robotic fingers to ‘Feel’

Games we are playing
Michael(s) – Inks


Episode 146 – Archive Edition

The Michael’s record a brand new episode after the last attempt had major sound and recording issues (and no, Michael R. didn’t forget to hit record). We have fun going back over a few stories that are a week or so old, but are still more relevant than not. We talk about autonomous cars and traffic jams, hash jackers, Apple’s cleaning of the app store, BB-8 Bands, and cool trips Drone courses.

Show Links:
Autonomous cars completely eliminate traffic jams
Hashtags are worthless
Apple Cleans House!
Sphero’s BB-8 Band
Real-Life Tron course for you Drone
Obligatory iOS10 reference

Games we are playing:
Groove Coaster
Dungeon Boss
Infinity Gene


Episode 145 – Can you hear me now?

This week we look at how voice technology is improving and enabling new kinds of interactions at work and within games. We look at how microphone technology is impacting the adoption of smaller voice assistants. We explore the accuracy of text transcription verses typing. We think through our own use of voice technology and digital assistants. And we add new features to our website, text-based, thanks to Twitter’s new DM button.

We also change our whatcha playing segment to look at what are we exploring. And we end the show with a challenge to our listeners. We’d love to hear your experiences based on this challenge.

Show Links:
The Advancement of Voice Technology and Microphones
Chirp Episode
Stanford speech recognition study
IBM ViaVoice Transcription demo 2001
Twitter’s new message button
Duke Nukem – again?

Things we are into:
Michael M. – Newton hunting
IBM’s Pen based ThinkPad
Michael R: Mr. Robot – Apple and Mr. Robot – Android


Episode 141 – Rose Colored Ear Buds

Michael and Michael are back this week (after another travel based hiatus) to talk about augmented reality, virtual reality, movies, games, games based on movies, code camp for kids, managing happiness, twitter, and agile development! This jammed packed episode is brought to you by the letters “A”, “R” and “V”. So sit back, listen, drop us a review or a rating, and enjoy!

Show Links:
Magic Leap Brings Star Wars To Life
Warcraft Movie! A box office smash?
Apple launches Coding Camps for Kids
Managing for Happiness
Twitter hires AR/VR Team
Training Doctors via VR
Soothing Kids with VR
Michael R – The Sandbox Game

P.S. Michael M was right… It is “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars!”