IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 14th December

Welcome to this week’s IoT round-up. Today, the FCC will vote whether to scrap net neutrality, a move that would have far-reaching consequences. On the lighter side, there’s a new robot-written Harry Potter chapter, courtesy of Botnik Studios, and researchers from the University of California are trying to give machines an imagination. Read on for the latest.

39 senators urge FCC to abandon plan to scrap net neutrality

The FCC’s proposal to eliminate net neutrality rules is due to be voted on today. While the world holds its breath, 39 senators have written to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to withdraw the ‘radical and reckless plan.’ This is the biggest complaint against the proposal so far. The full letter is available here.

This robot-produced chapter of Harry Potter will make you chuckle

Robots have written a new Harry Potter chapter using a predictive keyboard, and the results are gleefully, delightingly bonkers. Botnik Studios, a community of artists, writers and developers committed to bringing the world “strange new things”, trained a predictive keyboard on all seven Harry Potter books. Then they strung the algorithmically constructed sentences together to create a new chapter in the Harry Potter series: “Harry Potter and the portrait of looked like a large pile of ash.” To fans of the franchise, the new chapter is just the right mix of familiar and absurd, and extraordinarily funny into the bargain, as this dramatic reading will show:

Researchers train robots to develop imaginative skills

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, are working on a technology called ‘visual foresight’, that will give robots the ability to ‘imagine the future of their actions.’ This capability is quite straightforward for now. It can’t quite mange ‘what will I wish I’d done when I’m eighty’, but it can make basic predictions a few seconds into the future. According to the researchers, the robots can ‘predict what their cameras will see if they perform a particular sequence of movements.’

Google opens AI center in China

It’s official: Google is definitely opening an AI center in Beijing, China. While the search engine is blocked in China, the company itself is very much present. Google still has lots of China-based staff working on its international services. The new team will work with AI experts in other Google offices, like New York, Toronto, London and Zurich. Dr Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud, will lead the new team alongside Jia Li, formerly head of research at Snap.

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IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 14th September 2017

It’s all about Apple this week, as the unveiling of the iPhone X and Apple Watch 3 are greeted with mixed reactions. In other news, we’ve been putting in a showing at Frankfurt’s international motor show (IAA), where autonomous tech and cars that combine transport, PA capabilities, entertainment systems and retail hubs in one are all the rage. Read on for the latest from the world of connected things.

Apple Watch 3 unveiled

Tuesday saw the advent of the Apple Watch 3, which will be available from 15th September. The new smart watch has cellular and GPS capabilities, so you can leave your phone at home and still receive calls and messages. It also boasts around 18 hours of battery life, heart monitoring, and a 70% faster dual core processor than its predecessor. Cellular watches retail at £399 and the non-cellular versions start at £329.

iPhone X ditches home button and Touch ID in favour of Face ID, wireless charging

On 12th September, iPhone unveiled the release dates, pricing and specs for its new iPhone X. This is Apple’s 10th anniversary phone, so naturally it includes some major upgrades and a substantial price hike from previous models. The 64GB version costs £999, and you’ll pay £1,149 for the 256GB version. Eye-watering, no? But Apple say the extra cost is worth it for the new features. There’s a new glass design with a bigger display than Plus phones, though the actual device is smaller. It can be charged wirelessly, there’s no ‘home’ button (instead you flick upwards from an open app to return to the home screen), and Touch ID has been replaced by Face ID. In other words, you can unlock your phone just by looking at it. And no, it won’t be fooled by photos or even the most lifelike masks (they did actually check this.) Vitally, you can combine animations with emoji, which accurately mirror your facial expressions (a bit like a souped-up Snapchat mask) onto an animoji. That’s an animal emoji, if you didn’t know. Pre-orders start on 27th October.

Try out IKEA furniture in your home with ARKip augmented reality app

A few weeks ago, I went to IKEA for some picture frames and a candle, and came back with an entire bedroom suite. This is mainly because it’s impossible to take shortcuts in store – to get anywhere, you have to work your way through the open-plan, yet somehow labyrinthine paths between which idealized, homey set-ups tempt you with their promise of comfort and style at affordable prices. If, like me, you’re a sucker for this kind of vision, and if, like me, you can’t be bothered to make the drive to your nearest store, you’ll be thrilled to learn that there’s a new augmented reality app that will let you virtually ‘try out’ new pieces of furniture in your own home, without venturing outside at all. To use it, download the IKEA Place app to your phone, then take a picture of the place you envisage putting your new furniture, and select the piece you want from a catalogue of 2,000 items. Pretty nifty.

Congress passes bill for regulation of autonomous cars

Wednesday brought good news for those interested in the future of autonomous vehicles, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the SELF Drive Act. This means the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) will have an easier time regulating what self-driving cars will look like, as well as granting permits for testing. Now, the bill will go to the Senate, but with support from Congress, hopes that it will pass are high.

Self-enabling cars and connected automotive technology at Frankfurt’s IAA

This week, IBM has been having a ball at the IAA – Frankfurt’s international automotive show. From our booth (C30, in New Mobility Hall), we’ve been highlighting some of our leading initiatives in connected vehicles, AI, analytics and machine learning. You can follow our coverage of this year’s IAA event on the IoT blog by bookmarking the tag IAA 2017.

Keep up-to-date with the connected world

Bookmark the IoT weekly round-up series page to keep up with what’s going on in the wider world of IoT.

The post IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 14th September 2017 appeared first on Internet of Things blog.

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