Episode 187 – Bionic Eye

On an unseasonably warm Friday, Michael & Michael get together to discuss a sports to business application of virtual reality, that of training retail store employees to prepare for the oncoming rush of bargain hunters on Black Friday instead of the rush of oncoming defensive backs.

A favorite topic of ours — augmented reality use methods — resurfaces in this episode, this time prompted by the recent Apple acquisition of a Canadian AR company called VRVANA, which leads to a conversation about miniaturization of this technology, ultimately embedding into bionic contact lenses, or even a potential direct optic nerve connection.  At the very least, we don’t bring up spiders in this episode.  Whew.

The team talks about home robotics, and Rosie from the Jetsons seems to be cropping up in many articles.  The concept of a friendly companion robot is one that many companies are chasing after, and the article for this show comes from an experience with a robot called Jibo.

Closing out the show with a discussion on wearables, Michael and Michael are amazed at the new capabilities enabled by the Kardiaband, and what this implies for future medical devices to improve and save lives.

Selected links 

MIT Technology Review article:  Finally a Useful Application for VR: Training Employees — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609473/finally-a-useful-application-for-vr-training-employees/

Business Insider article:  Apple bought a Canadian AR startup for $30 million — and it could give Apple an edge in the next big thing — http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-buys-vrvana-totem-mixed-reality-headset-2017-11

VRVANA — https://www.vrvana.com

Hackday io — Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses project — https://hackaday.io/project/580-peril-sensitive-sunglasses

Futurism article: Bionic Contacts: Goodbye Glasses. Hello Vision That’s 3x Better Than 20/20 — https://futurism.com/bionic-contacts-goodbye-glasses-hello-vision-thats-3x-better-than-2020/

Transitions photochromic transition eyeglasses — https://www.transitions.com/en-us/

Wall Street Journal article:  This Cute Little Robot Made My Family Mad — https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-cute-little-robot-made-my-family-mad-1511980911

Rosie from the Jetsons — http://thejetsons.wikia.com/wiki/Rosey

Jibo — https://www.jibo.com

Roomba — http://store.irobot.com/default/robot-vacuum-roomba/

Sphero BB-8 — https://store.sphero.com/products/bb-8-by-sphero

Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late — http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/thank-you-for-being-late/

TechCrunch article:  FDA clears AliveCor’s Kardiaband as the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch — https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/30/fda-clears-alivecors-kardiaband-as-the-first-medical-device-accessory-for-the-apple-watch/

Kardiaband for Apple Watch — https://store.alivecor.com

Chuck Norris facts — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Norris_facts

What games are the hosts playing?

Michael R: Injustice 2 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/injustice-2/id1109008423?mt=8

Michael M:  Nonstop Chuck Norris — https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/nonstop-chuck-norris/id1154002816?mt=8

Play

Episode 186 – Accio Mjolnir

 

Michael and Michael use their prognostic skills to divine what the next Niantic game might be in 2018 based on the non-specific reports in the media about the Wizards Unite game to be unveiled in a few months.

Could there be a spell collecting game that drives players to bookstores and libraries to discover & unlock spells?  Maybe use newspaper vending machines as something to check into in order to open powerups.  How about zoos to collect your own fantastic beasts into your virtual menagerie?

Speaking of pictures, the data in the pictures can provide an huge amount of value in monetizing the activities of.the players. Warby Parker is doing this — using the new capabilities of the iPhone X facial mapping to recognize the contours of the user’s face in order to match the best glasses to the face of the user.

Any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic, and Michale R has found a couple examples of two Avengers, Thor and Iron Man whose mighty feats are duplicated by a drone and micro-gas turbines, respectively.  Check out the videos to see these in action.

Selected links 

Tech Crunch article:  Niantic’s follow-up to Pokemon Go will be a Harry Potter AR game launching in 2018 — https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/08/niantics-follow-up-to-pokemon-go-will-be-a-harry-potter-ar-game-launching-in-2018/

Fortune article:  Commentary: Pokemon Go’s Creator is Making a Harry Potter Game.  Will It Bomb Too?  — http://fortune.com/2017/11/14/harry-potter-pokemon-go-game-augmented-reality/

Pokemon Go Starbucks drink link — 

9 to 5 Mac article:  Warby Parker is using face mapping on the iPhone X to provide glasses recommendations — https://9to5mac.com/2017/11/07/warby-parker-is-using-face-mapping-on-the-iphone-x-to-provide-glasses-recommendations/

Warby Parker iOS app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glasses-by-warby-parker/id1107693363?mt=8

Mashable article:  Real-Life ‘Iron Man’ sets Guinness World Record because of course he does — http://mashable.com/2017/11/09/iron-man-guinness-world-record-tony-stark-richard-browning

Tech Crunch article:  Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is a parkour master — https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/16/boston-dynamics-atlas-robot-is-a-parkour-master

Reddit: AI email program designed to reply to email scammers — https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/7brzw4/rescam_ai_email_program_designed_to_reply_to/

Tech Crunch article:  They turned ‘Rampage’ into a movie (and here’s the first trailer) — https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/16/rampage-trailer/

Play

Episode 185 – Transparency

Jimmy Kimmel’s Tonight Show, Tonight Showbotics, featuring Hanson Robotics’ Sophia

They’re playing basketball! 🏀 Both for the start of the college basketball season, and at the state fair.  Michael R found an interesting article about how one can win those games of skill and chance at the state fair, leveraging a combination of science and professional sports talent.

In addition to making transparent the ways that a Mets pitcher can win the games at your local carnival, the team takes a look at the transparent skull of Sophia, the artificial intelligence android by Hanson Robotics, how NPR is crowdsourcing journalism with the recently made public JFK Files, that Facebook & Twitter are making strides in ad transparency and how a recently created Soduku Solver uses augmented reality and optical character recognition to do it’s thing.

Michael M remarks that these examples show a gateway to where augmented reality and artificial intelligence is about to explode in a very short amount of time.  How do you think that the combo of AR & AI will change the world?

Selected links 

Kurtis Blow Basketball video —

Mets — http://mets.com

NC State fair — http://www.ncstatefair.org

TechCrunch article:  Watch a real rocket scientist figure out (and beat) carnival scams — https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/26/watch-a-real-rocket-scientist-figure-out-and-beat-carnival-scams/

TechCrunch article:  Saudi Arabia bestows citizenship on a robot named Sophia — https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/26/saudi-arabia-robot-citizen-sophia/

Hanson Robotics — http://www.hansonrobotics.com/robot/sophia/

Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel Tonight Showbotics with Sophia — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg_tJvCA8zw

Future Investment Initiative where Sophia was announced as being the first robot to receive Saudi Arabian citizenship — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg_tJvCA8zw

NPR article: The JFK Files: Calling On Citizen Reporters — https://www.npr.org/2017/10/26/560220148/the-jfk-files-calling-on-citizen-reporters

TechCrunch article: Facebook says its ad transparency features will go live next month — https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/27/facebook-says-its-ad-transparency-features-will-go-live-next-month/

TechCrunch article: Twitter announces new ‘transparency center’ for ads — https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/24/twitter-advertising-transparency/

Prototypr blog post:  Behind the Magic: How we built the ARKit Sudoku Solver — https://blog.prototypr.io/behind-the-magic-how-we-built-the-arkit-sudoku-solver-e586e5b685b0

Magic Sudoku — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magic-sudoku/id1286979959?ls=1&mt=8

Watson on Jeopardy —

What games are the hosts playing?

none!  Busy busy busy!

Play

Episode 179 – May The Merch Be With You

BB-9E augmented reality

In honor of Force Friday part deux, Michael and Michael geek out on all the awesomeness that is Star Wars merchandise now available for sale.

You could use have a Lenovo-enabled lightsaber battle.

You could build your own R2-D2 with a littleBits kit.

You could own your very own Corellian freighter of your very own, putting together over 7,500 pieces in the new, and most awesome Millennium Falcon model from Lego.

Switching gears, the team discusses the interaction among & between conversational artificial intelligences, and how they could do a platform of platform strategy play to talk with other AIs to gain the benefit of those services, all via natural language as the interface.

You’ll find drones, droids and how to do much more in this episode!

Selected links 

Star Wars iOS app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-wars/id960108075?mt=8

Business Insider article:  The hype around ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is kicking into high gear — here’s what Disney just announced — http://www.businessinsider.com/new-star-wars-the-last-jedi-toys-2017-8

Battle Chess (Commodore 64) — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Chess

Archon — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archon:_The_Light_and_the_Dark

TechCrunch article:  The littleBits Droid Inventor Kit lets you build an R2-D2 of your very own — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/31/the-littlebits-droid-inventor-kit-lets-you-build-an-r2-d2-of-your-very-own/

Nerdist article:  New Lego Millennium Falcon Is The Largest Set Ever — http://nerdist.com/star-wars-lego-millennium-falcon-largest-set-ever/http://nerdist.com/star-wars-lego-millennium-falcon-largest-set-ever/

TechCrunch article:  Bragi’s Dash and Dash Pro wireless earbuds to get Amazon Alexa — https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/01/bragis-dash-and-dash-pro-wireless-earbuds-to-get-amazon-alexa/

TechCrunch article: Nobody is going to ask Cortana to talk to Alexa — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/31/nobody-is-going-to-ask-cortana-to-talk-to-alexa/

Dark Sky — https://darksky.net/app

TechCrunch article: Google reveals the top things people want to find out ‘How to” do — https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/01/google-reveals-the-top-things-people-want-to-find-out-how-to-do/

How to Fix a Toilet — http://how-to-fix-a-toilet.com

Icon Factory — https://iconfactory.com

The Noun Project — https://thenounproject.com

An Event Apart Josh Clark: The Tools I Use — https://aneventapart.com/news/post/josh-clark-the-tools-i-use

The Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org

Play

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/

Play

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

Play

Episode 150 – Cyber Dementors

The Michaels go deep this episode on the idea of swarms, science, and security.

We review work presented at this week’s ACM conference regarding swarming robots, envisioning many different uses for this technology. We discuss the challenges of landing on Mars, and how swarms of cubesats and other technology may help us be more successful in space exploration. And after today’s major internet attack we wrap up with the UK government’s new plan to help debunk much of the FUD that comes up around security issues.

Finally, if you are out and about next week, come meet our co-host – Michael Martine, at the Southern Fried Agile conference!

Show links:
Swarming from ACM
Kill Decision
Robot Cockroaches
Sense-Fly Mapping Drones
ESA Failed Robot and Working Orbiter, what we know
Cubesats
Elon Musk’s Mars Colonization
Why the internet shutdown today
UKs new Cyber Security Centre
IoT Security PoV
Security Now transcript Episode #581 – Security Fatigue
Stranded Traveler email Scam
DMARC
The Diamond Age

Come See Michael in Charlotte, NC
Michael M. At Southern Fried Agile

Play

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

Play