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


Episode 180 – Augmented Beer Goggles

 Jan 2008 Activeworlds video of Van Gogh mashup of multiple paintings

Augmented reality is hitting the news every few moments, you can crack open a cold one and start seeing things.  Or you can try on a new hair color from the app by Modiface.  Of course, you can experiment with how you would look in a new pair of shades from Ray-Ban.

For even more fun, the Art Gallery of Ontario uses the ReBlink app to have the people in the paintings take selfies of the art gallery patrons taking selfies of them.  This reminded Michael and Michael of the Activeworlds creation of the Van Gogh world, and the YouTube video tour Michael M made in 2008 (above).

Not being content with the pure visual elements of augmented reality, the pair discusses the Zach Lieberman’s example of recording sound in space — a very interesting way to visualize that there’s something auditory “there” from a geo-spatial perspective to be discovered.


Following on the auditory thread to round out this episode, Michael and Michael talk about the recent South Park season premiere, and how sound, both audible to the human ear, and not audible to the human ear can be used to issue commands.

Plenty of links in the show notes today for all the topics the team covered, so you can jump right to them and learn more.

Selected links 

Windows Mixed Reality — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Mixed_RealityMicrosoft Mixed Reality Dev Kit — https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality
Digital Trends article:  Augmented Reality Bottle Labels Could Change the Way You View Beer — https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/brewery-uses-augmented-reality-bottle-labels/
Pokemon Go — http://www.pokemongo.com
Google Translate on Google Play — https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.translate&hl=en
Google Translate on iTunes — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-translate/id414706506?mt=8
Ingress — https://www.ingress.com/intel
Zombies Go on Google Play — https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hitgpx.zombiego&hl=en
Zombies Go on iTunes — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zombies-go-fight-dead-walking-everywhere-augmented/id831751766?mt=8
Ghostsnap — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z4GUVzc2EY
Yelp Monocle — http://www.wikihow.com/Use-the-Augmented-Reality-Monocle-on-the-Yelp-for-iPhone-App
FastCompany Design article:  These Classical Artworks Come to Life to Make Fun of your Museum Selfie — https://www.fastcodesign.com/90133286/these-classical-artworks-come-to-life-to-make-fun-of-your-museum-selfie
Alex Mahew’s ReBlink app — http://www.ago.net/reblink
Art Gallery of Ontario — https://ago.ca/?q=home
Thespis — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thespis_(opera)
Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org
Edward Munch’s The Scream — https://www.edvardmunch.org/the-scream.jsp
ActiveWorlds virtual recreation of Vincent Van Gogh’s home in Arles, France — http://www.activeworlds.com/vangogh/index.htm
9To5Mac article: New AR demo apps preview hair coloring, and a fun way to leave messages for kids — https://9to5mac.com/2017/09/07/cool-arkit-demos/
Modiface — http://www.modiface.com
Zach Lieberman’s tweet & video of recording sound in space — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zachary_Lieberman
Glasses.com virtual try on — http://www.glasses.com/virtual-try-on
SixColors article: Reports of ultrasonic attack on voice assistants more sound than fury — https://sixcolors.com/post/2017/09/reports-of-ultrasonic-attack-on-voice-assistants-more-sound-than-fury/
So Long and Thanks for all the Fish — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/So_Long,_and_Thanks_for_All_the_Fish
Mashable article: Extraordinary iPhone App Identifies 2.6 Million TV Shows by “Listening” — http://mashable.com/2011/01/31/intonow/#BSKklHnZ1GqQ
TechCrunch article:  Yahoo is Shutting Down IntoNow, Nearly Three Years After Acquisition — https://techcrunch.com/2014/01/28/to-every-social-tv-app-turn-turn-turn/
Soundhound — https://soundhound.com
Shazam — https://www.shazam.com
Uproxx article:  The ‘South Park’ Season Premier Caused Havoc With People’s Amazon Echos and Google Homes — http://uproxx.com/technology/south-park-premiere-amazon-echo-google-home/

What are the hosts playing?

Michael R:  Colorcube — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/colorcube/id1076402133?mt=8
Michael M:  Flic button to turn pages on your favorite music app — https://flic.io/blog/Musicians-turn-page-Flic


Episode 178 – L33T Learning Siri


Just say no to enabling autonomous bots & drones with the ability to apply lethal force.  Following on last week’s episode 177, Michael & Michael start off with a continuation of the discussion on the Pandora’s Box of armed robots.

Moving on to a happier topic, while still staying on the machine learning concept, the pair talks about how Siri and other voice interactive systems have been improved with deep learning.  Not just recorded scripts, but actual intelligence, and more natural interaction is apparent when you listen to how far things have come since the earliest days of Siri — listen to the examples from the Apple Machine Learning Journal article, and we think you’ll agree.

Understanding that you’re talking with a bot vs a human is important to help avoid the uncanny valley where the interaction becomes weird vs expected — perhaps this is why Michael R preferred the Australian accent reminiscent of J.A.R.V.I.S, and how in Star Trek and other science fiction, interaction with the computer was prefaced with “computer!” before issuing a request.

Feedback loops getting faster & faster, which is really evident in machine learning examples applied to games.  When the machine — the program — is experimenting with the game to learn, and figure out what is rewarded, what is not rewarded, and determine a heuristic model for playing the game, which for a human is for fun and for the machine learning example is to maximize the outcome.  The example from the O’Reilly article was particularly intriguing to Michael M who wondered why the AI playing the game did not scoop up each and every present while playing the game.  Michael R made the interesting point that if the machine learning algorithms assume that there’s an infinite number of presents ahead, it makes more sense to quickly move forward and grab the presents because there are more ahead of you than behind.  The screenshot above is from a machine learning model playing Super Mario Kart, where it is easy to see how machine learning quickly gets better and better with successive plays of the game.

Closing out this episode, Michael and Michael include David Ma’s videos of food imagined in the style of  famous directors, a funny song about waffles and a discussion on Zork.  Hope you enjoy these tasty treats!

Selected links 

last week’s show, E177 — What could possibly go wrong? — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/08/31/episode-177-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/

An open letter to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons — https://futureoflife.org/autonomous-weapons-open-letter-2017

We don’t have long to act — https://qz.com/1058280/we-do-not-have-long-to-act-teslas-tsla-elon-musk-and-others-warn-the-un-about-autonomous-weapons

Six Colors article:  Deep Learning Improves Siri’s voice — https://sixcolors.com/link/2017/08/deep-learning-improves-siris-voice/

Apple’s Machine Learning Journal:  Deep Learning for Siri’s Voice: On-device Deep Mixture Density Networks for Hybrid Unit Selection Synthesis — https://machinelearning.apple.com/2017/08/06/siri-voices.html

Uncanny Valley — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

J.A.R.V.I.S. — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Jarvis#J.A.R.V.I.S.

O’Reilly article:  Bringing gaming to life with AI and deep learning — https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/bringing-gaming-to-life-with-ai-and-deep-learning

YouTube:  Super MarI/O Kart Commentary — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9Y_I9vY8Qw

Food by Favorite Directors (Sort Of) — https://www.subtraction.com/2017/08/14/food-by-famous-directors-sort-of/

YouTube:  What if Alfonso Cuaron made pancakes?  — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_hpJHNt4IE

Do You Like Waffles?  By Parry Gripp — https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/do-you-like-waffles/id468568946?i=468568983

MIT Technology Review — The Enduring Legacy of Zork — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608670/the-enduring-legacy-of-zork/

MIT Technology Review article:  Siri for Business — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600990/siri-for-business/


Episode 0007 – “Companification”

Michael and Michael do a quick show on Siri and how digital companions are changing the way we work and play. We think thru leveling up your digital assistant so that it can be more helpful. Michael M also goes off on tangent talking about Hog Days. While Michael R. racks his brain trying to remember a recent game that included a dog companion – Fable II

Wow has it been 4 years since it’s release? We also talk about the mobile App – Highlight.