IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 20th July 2017

Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. This week, IBM gets a coveted spot on the IoT Podcast, an MIT researcher may have solved the mystery of integrated touch with virtual reality experiences, and Google’s Expeditions app allows the public to travel virtually to over 600 destinations via a smartphone and VR headset.

Bret Greenstein takes the guest spot on this week’s IoT Podcast

Bret Greenstein, VP of Watson IoT for Consumer Business at IBM, takes center stage on the IoT Podcast this week. In conversation with hosts Stacey Higgonbotham and Kevin Tofel, Bret tackles analytics, machine learning and AI, and shares some of IBM Watson’s latest activities.

Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure services will help Baidu’s Apollo go global

Microsoft Azure Cloud was already involved with Maidu’s Apollo self-driving platform alliance, and this week unveiled further details about its role in the partnership. In a nutshell, Microsoft will now offer cloud infrastructure services for customers keen to adopt Apollo. Other alliance members include TomTom, Bosh, Continental and Nvidia. Apollo provides open software, cloud services, and sensor and computing hardware for vehicles.

‘Shape-display robot’ may have cracked touch in VR

An MIT researcher has created a portable wheeled robot that simulates surfaces and textures. It adds another level of immersion to the VR experience, as users seem to feel what their VR selves are touching. ReVeal, as the system is known, follows your hand as you move it around a room – offering hitherto unprecedented mobility insofar as VR and touch is concerned. Sadly you can’t buy one just yet – it’s staying firmly in the lab for now.

LiveStories secures $ 10 million for its big data platform

Seattle-based start-up LiveStories has nabbed $ 10million to continue building its big data platform, which helps to structure and visualise fragmented civic data from governments, educational establishments and other public entities. The latest round brings LiveStories’ total funding to $ 13.9 million since its initial successful application in 2013.

Microsoft unveils a Cortana-powered thermostat

Microsoft has unveiled GLAS: a smart thermostat, developed in partnership with Johnson Controls. GLAS includes Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana, and a touchscreen displaying temperature, air quality and even schedule. It’s voice-command enabled and can apparently tell when a room is empty to avoid wasting energy.

Google’s VR app Expeditions is open to the public

Google’s Expeditions App will make educational VR tours available to the public – as long as they own a cardboard headset and an Android phone. So far, there are around 600 tours available for the solo viewer, though you can also connect with other people’s devices to operate a ‘group’ tour, complete with guide to direct you.

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IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 20th April 2017

Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. Unsurprisingly, this week is full of Facebook news from the two-day F8 event on 18-19 April, the most interesting of which is the possibility that one day we will be able to publish emails, tweets and messages directly from our thoughts. Read on for the latest.

A flood of announcements at Facebook’s F8 event

In the main, the F8 developer conference showcased Facebook’s ability to process information and feedback in the virtual and haptic worlds. Announcements included updates to Facebook Analytics, Facebook Login and Account Kit. Workplace continues to grow and Messenger now supports QR codes alongside group bots and a bot discovery tab. Oh, and there’s also the new Creative Effects studio, which layers real life with virtual art and messages.

Facebook investigates typing directly from your brain to minimize smartphone distraction

Apparently, the answer to dealing with distracting smartphones isn’t simply to put them away and do something else, it’s to develop technology that means you can ‘think’ your messages into being without having to type them. It might be fun to point out that South Park got there first, predicting a similar system called ‘Sh*tter’ in the episode ‘Let Go, Let Gov’. Anyway, it seems that this brain-computer interface technology isn’t that far away, and already exists in a rudimentary form. Facebook, who have a team of 60 machine learning and neural prosthetics experts looking into the feasibility of such a system, highlighted the example of a test subject whose pea-sized brain implant allowed her to comprehend a vocabulary of up to nine words that she could hear through her skin. If the brain implant isn’t for you, you might prefer the alternative: developing a brain-computer interface with sensors that can measure brain activity and decode the signals associated with language in real time. Then again, you might prefer to type your messages instead.

Self-driving Olli is a Best Auto Mobility Product finalist

Olli, the self-driving shuttle bus developed by Local Motors with IBM is a finalist in the 2017 TU-Automotive Awards, within the Best Auto Mobility Product category. Over 400 nominations were received from various segments of the connected car industry. Great news, Olli!

NBA team has AR basketball game for its scoreboard

NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers have launched an Augmented Reality game that you can play while you’re at a real basketball game. The app opens to your camera and overlays an AR basketball net, complete with ball, which the player can attempt to flick into the net. The Cavaliers aim to put the graphic up on the main scoreboard during home playoff games, so that fans can virtually shoot hoops from their seats in the stands.

AeroMobil accepts pre-orders for its first flying car

If you have lots and lots of money, you can now pre-order AeroMobil’s ‘first edition’ flying car, which was unveiled earlier this week. It won’t ship until 2020, but until then there are some truly mouth-watering pictures and descriptions to ogle. The AeroMobil transforms from car mode to air mode in less than three minutes and can do around 224mph during flight.

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