If you are a maker or a budding coder and want to create something unique and exciting, here’s how you can get hands-on with your computer science and electronics skills. A new Rapsbbery-Pi based laptop includes everything to get you started with amazing projects. Gigabit Ethernet in the car is getting into gear with KDPOF’s new transceiver for car makers. Finally, Laird is helping OEM customers leverage enhanced throughputs and security benefits of the Bluetooth v4.2 in their end devices with new Class 1 HCI modules.
A new Raspberry-Pi Laptop For Budding Makers
To allow Raspberry Pi tinkerers and budding coders experiment with a variety of interesting projects, a new version of the modular Rapsberry-Pi laptop (Pi-top), has been revealed. To invent new things, this Rapberry-Pi 3 based laptop has everything including an impressive sliding keyboard panel, a 14-inch 1080p display, a power source, a battery slated to offer up to eight hours of use between charges and an 8GB SD card. Furthermore, the Pi-top also includes an Inventor’s Kit to allow inventers and young learners to be inspired by STEAM-based learning. Unlike other laptops, students can access the internals and play with them, enabling them to explore computer science and basic electronics. The price is $ 319.99 including a a Raspberry Pi 3, or $ 284.99 without. Read more.
HCI modules Updated With Bluetooth v4.2 Dual-mode Connectivity
Laird has announced Bluetooth-qualified Class 1 HCI modules for rapid enablement of Bluetooth technology into OEM devices. The BT850, BT851, and BT860 series adds support for the Bluetooth v4.2 BR/EDR/LE core specification in Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The BT850 and BT860 series provide more options for OEM customers through enhanced throughputs and security benefits in the Bluetooth v4.2 specification. Read more.
Gigabit Ethernet Connectivity In Cars Gets Into Gear
Making automotive gigabit Ethernet over POF (plastic optical fiber) a reality, KDPOF is shipping samples of the first automotive-grade Gigabit Ethernet over Plastic Optical Fibres (GEPOF) transceiver to car makers. Automotive applications of the KD1053 include 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet links such as battery management systems (BMS), inter-domain communications backbones, antenna hubs, autonomous driving, and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) with surround view. To allow users start designing fast and easy, the firm also offers comprehensive support such as application notes, reference design, evaluation boards and kits. Read more.
Chances are you’re likely familiar with POV displays. These devices move through the air at a high enough speed to trick your eyes into thinking that a sequence of flashing lights is actually a solid image. Though interesting enough in two dimensions, LED aficionado “Gelstronic” decided to add more depth to his display, stacking 12 LED-enabled circuit boards in a helical pattern. This meant his project, dubbed “PropHelix,” can create a light display in not two, but three dimensions.
PropHelix’s LED pattern is controlled by an also-spinning Propeller board, powered by a wireless charging setup normally seen used with mobile phones. An Arduino Pro Mini in the base of the assembly takes care of making things spin at the correct speed via a multicopter-style ESC and brushless motor, while an encoder handles feedback.
The Times article explains that automation generally happens task by task. So, even if AI can scan documents and predict which ones will be relevant to a legal case, other tasks such as actually advising a client or appearing in court cannot currently be performed by computers.
But for readers who are not well-versed in the law, these articles fail to answer some more foundational questions: What is legal research, anyway? And, if a computer can do the research, why would I still need a human lawyer?
To answer those questions, let’s look at a specific technology as an example. The company Casetext recently unveiled a tool called CARA to help lawyers do legal research. CARA stands for Case Analysis Research Assistant (it also means friend in Irish). This rollout coincides with Casetext’s announcement that it has secured $ 12 million in Series B funding, which will be used in part to further develop their AI capabilities.
How does CARA work? The user uploads a legal brief to Casetext’s website; CARA scans the brief and instantly returns a list of relevant cases that the brief failed to cite. I tested it out with a brief I wrote a few years ago when I was still practicing law. CARA’s speed and accuracy are truly astounding. It would have taken me hours of research to come up with the list of cases that CARA generated instantaneously.
But for those who have not experienced the drudgery of legal research firsthand, it’s hard to understand what this all means. Readers may be wondering, What is a “relevant case” and why is it so important to make sure you didn’t miss one?
To appreciate the impact of tools like CARA, it’s important to have an understanding of how our legal system works. (Even if this was covered in a civics class at some point, most of us could use a refresher.) When a dispute ends up in court, the judge writes a decision resolving the case. Courts publish these decisions and they are collectively referred to as “case law.”
Our legal system is based on the principle of stare decisis, a Latin term meaning that cases should be decided consistently so that similar situations will yield similar results. Accordingly, when a dispute ends up in court, the lawyers and judge involved in the case look to older case law to see if the issue has been decided before. If it has, the older case will act as a precedent and the judge will follow its reasoning in deciding the current dispute.
Or, one of the lawyers may argue that the current situation is different enough from the older case to justify a different result. Even if there is a statute or regulation that seems to directly address the subject matter of a dispute, there may still be case law interpreting the language of the statute or regulation—filling in gaps or explaining how that rule applies to specific situation. In other words, no matter what type of dispute you have, it’s important to search all of the case law to see what judges have said about similar disputes in the past.
Enormous potential time savings
Before computers, cases were published in volumes organized chronologically. Lawyers would use the index to find cases relevant to their current dispute. This took time—lots of time. Even with the advent of computer databases such as Lexis Nexis and Westlaw, researching case law was still laborious because you had to try a lot of different word combinations to make sure you weren’t missing a case where a judge used slightly different terminology. Or your search term might be very common and you’d have to read through a lot of cases to find the ones that were most similar to your dispute.
CARA makes this process exponentially faster; she “reads” your brief so she understands the context of your dispute, and then she instantly searches a database of millions of cases and tells you which ones are relevant to your dispute—but she’ll omit the cases you cited in the brief, since you clearly know about those already.
As amazing as CARA is, however, the truth is that doing the case-law research is only part of the battle. If you’re involved in a court dispute, someone still needs to write the brief and show up in court to summarize the brief orally for the judge (among other tasks). There are companies out there, such as ROSS Intelligence, that are testing AI-assisted brief writing, but we’re still a ways off from robots showing up in court and talking to the judge.
In sum, lawyers perform a variety of complicated tasks. Computers can already do some of these tasks much better than humans—but not all of the tasks. Until that happens—or until we make lawyers’ jobs less complicated (perhaps an even more challenging task given the power of inertia)—we will still need human lawyers to wield these impressive AI-powered tools.