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

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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/

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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

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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

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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