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TweakTown News Posts - Page 33

MIT researchers developing underwater robots that can think

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 16, 2015 4:50 am

The use of robots and remote control underwater vehicles are nothing new for ocean exploration, but researchers at MIT want to take things a step further: allow robots to think for themselves, so they can have cognitive capabilities.




Operators are able to program the robots to complete a high-level task, and the underwater robots are able to figure out what they are doing once submerged. It can be a helpful feature so researchers can monitor what is happening below the surface, but the customized craft will be responsible to determine what they should be doing.


"We wanted to show that these vehicles could plan their own missions, and execute, adapt, and re-plan them alone, without human support," said Brian Williams, mission planning principal developer at MIT. "We can give the system choices, like, 'Go to either this or that science location and map it out,' or 'communicate via an acoustic modem, or a satellite link."

Candy Crush Saga developer now has 550 million monthly active players

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 16, 2015 3:31 am

King, the developer behind mega smash hit Candy Crush Saga, has reported its fiscal first quarter earnings today, where we have found out that the company has a huge 550 million monthly active players. This is up from the 481 million during the first quarter of its fiscal 2014. The company should expect an injection of players in the near future, as Candy Crush Saga will be pre-installed with Windows 10.




The company has 158 million daily active players, with 364 million monthly unique players, respectively. With mobile gaming being a massive $30 billion business, King is one of the kings of it - pun intended. But, it's not all soda pops and candy bars, as player spending has dropped considerably over the last 12 months.


The amount of unique players that are spending money inside of King's games has dropped, from 11.86 million from this time last year, to 8.52 million. Paying gamers who continue to spend money, are spending an average of $23.64, compared to $18.02 during the same time of 2014, but it's not enough to make up for the amount of players not spending money.

Continue reading 'Candy Crush Saga developer now has 550 million monthly active players' (full post)

Google is hiring people for its 'smart eyewear' and related products

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: May 16, 2015 2:11 am

It looks like Google is expanding its Google Glass team, which is now working on "smart eyewear and other related products". The Mountain View-based giant is hiring a slew of new people to expand its products and services.




With Google going on a hiring spree, we could expect Google Glass 2.0, or a totally new Glass to be unveiled at Google I/O at the end of the month. The company has been posting job listing ads for its Glass team, something that has included an Audio Hardware Manager, a Human Factors Designer, an RF Systems Engineer, and a Hardware Automation Engineer (Manufacturing).


Google has said that it is working on a new version of Glass for consumers, but we haven't heard much about it lately, until now. The new description for the Glass team teases: "The Google Glass division is a world-class team focused on the cutting edge of hardware, software and industrial design. It is charged with pioneering, developing, building and launching smart eyewear and other related products in line with Google's ambitious and visionary objectives".

Xbox One sales topped PlayStation 4 sales in the US last month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: May 16, 2015 12:52 am

The current generation consoles have been around for over 18 months now, with the PlayStation 4 being the more successful of the two. Until last month, that is.




Research firm NPD has released a new report, stating that the Xbox One topped the PS4 last month to become the best-selling console of April. With around 20 million PS4 consoles sold so far, Microsoft needs as much help as it can get to catch up, with around 12 million Xbox One consoles sold to date.


Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols talked with GamesBeat, where he said: "As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month. Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users [Xbox One and Xbox 360] grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3".

NVIDIA wants to play a role in growing autonomous vehicle effort

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: May 15, 2015 10:30 pm

NVIDIA has plenty of experience in the automotive market, but wants to play a larger part in the growing craze surrounding autonomous vehicles. The company's hardware can help power automotive displays, automated driving systems, and other in-car technology that requires advanced hardware chips.




NVIDIA's technology can already be found in the Tesla Model S, Audi A8, and other vehicles - and will continue to gain acceptance among other automakers. However, the Silicon Valley company still isn't anywhere near Qualcomm, Intel, Texas Instruments, and Renesas Electronics, which are the leaders in developing and manufacturing automotive chips.


"They offer us computing systems with the strength" necessary to process large amounts of information, noted Ulrich Hackenberg, head of technical development at Audi, in a statement published by Reuters.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA wants to play a role in growing autonomous vehicle effort' (full post)

Microsoft wants its HoloLens headset to respond to stress levels

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: May 15, 2015 9:20 pm

Microsoft wants to push augmented reality to the next level, and hopes it can use its HoloLens headset to win over customers. A recent US patent application indicates Microsoft could try to use HoloLens to help read and respond to wearers' stress levels, based on heart rate, pulse oximetry, sweat production, and other biometric signals.




"A person may experience stress that is related to a situation or current context," according to the Microsoft patent application. "For example, a person may have difficulty performing a task and grow frustrated as the number of unsuccessful attempts at completing the task grows."


There is concern that the biometrics feature could be more trouble than it's worth, depending how Microsoft includes it in HoloLens. However, the idea that the AR headset can identify when a person is struggling to repair their kitchen sink, and then super impose step-by-step instructions, could prove to be helpful.

Bill Nye: Aliens 'gotta exist' somewhere out there

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 15, 2015 8:47 pm

Bill Nye "the Science Guy" believes that aliens are out there somewhere, even though no one is really sure where they will be found. With so many undiscovered galaxies in space, it seems only logical that some form of alien life exists, even if we haven't found one another yet.




"It's gotta exist outside the solar system," Nye recently said while speaking with HuffPost Live. "I mean there's 200 billion stars in this galaxy alone. Then you start talking about the hundreds of billions of galaxies. Hundreds of billions of galaxies, which in turn have hundreds of billions of stars, which in turn have tens of hundreds of billions - trillions - of planets. Come on!"


When it comes to the Earth's solar system, Mars and Jupiter's moon of Europa seem like the most likely places to search for alien life. Last year, NASA scientist Kevin Hand said humans would find some form of alien life within the next 20 years, while Nye said that could take up to 30 years.

IBM CEO believes 'our lives will be better' because of AI

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 15, 2015 8:20 pm

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty believes artificial intelligence can be used by humans for our own benefit, despite some outcry that AI poses a threat to mankind. During the World of Watson event, aimed at promoting IBM Watson, Rometty promised a "bold prediction."




"In the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson... and our lives will be better for it," Rometty said.


IBM Watson is a custom cognitive system that the company promotes as a "new partnership between people and computers that enhances and scales human expertise." The supercomputer has already been used for cancer research - among other breakthrough scientific purposes - but IBM wants to push things even further. Watson was able to beat Jeopardy! king Ken Jennings in 2011, and has been used more recently to help chefs find new recipes.

Continue reading 'IBM CEO believes 'our lives will be better' because of AI' (full post)

The 'Yobot' is able to handle luggage at YOTEL New York hotel

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 15, 2015 7:29 pm

Yotel New York is making use of a customized ABB IRB 6640 robot from MFG Automation, using the custom "Yobot" that handles around 300 pieces of luggage per day. Hotel guests can actually check-in using kiosks, give their luggage to the robot, and go straight to their rooms with minimal worker contact.



The robot traditionally was designed for an industrial workplace, so it can spot weld or transport manufacturing materials, but the hotel uses it so employees can conduct other tasks.


"It also allows our staff to focus on the guest and focus on their needs instead of just the simple task of storing a piece of luggage," said Claes Landberg, general manager of YOTEL New York, in a statement to CNBC.

Continue reading 'The 'Yobot' is able to handle luggage at YOTEL New York hotel' (full post)

Stephen Hawking thinks AI will take over within 100 years

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 15, 2015 6:19 pm

When it comes to artificial intelligence and the way it is advancing, physicist Stephen Hawking is concerned humans could one day lose control. He has spoken out against AI on numerous occasions in the past, and recently shared his thoughts about why humans must be vigilant regarding AI:




"Computers will overtake humans with I at some [time] within the next 100 years," Hawking recently said while speaking at the Zeitgeist 2015 conference. "When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours."


Even if AI doesn't evolve to become a major threat to mankind, Hawking - and a growing number of major tech and science leaders - want a fair and open discussion regarding AI research. There is major concern over who controls AI, though with self-awareness and learning protocols in place, full artificial intelligence could allow the robots to disregard human operators.

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