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18 Sep 12:03

MouseAir Launches Fake Mice for Kitty Entertainment

by Jeremy S. Cook

One could argue the relative merits of cats versus dogs as the superior pet, but if you happen to be a cat person whose feline companion is in need of a bit more entertainment, MouseAir presents a very interesting solution. The device uses a camera and artificial intelligence via a Raspberry Pi to determine when a kitty walks into view, then fires a mouse for it to chase.

Physically, the build consists of a rack-and-pinion gear that slowly pulls the mouse into launch position under servo control. During this process, a pair of motors spins up like some sort of softball pitching machine, and when the stuffed animal mouse hits the launch spinners, it’s flung into the air for the cat’s entertainment.

A Pi2Grover connector interface and a dedicated MouseAir board assist the Pi with thrower control, while a mouse detector IR sensor is employed to prevent “dry firing.” An ultrasonic distance is available on the front, along with an arrangement of RGB LED lights that could provide user interface for humans — or perhaps felines. A Blynk control panel and a webpage is also implemented for control details.

The contraption is now funding on Kickstarter, with reward levels that vary as to what is provided versus what you supply. The project is open source, so how it works — or if you want to make it a little differently — is entirely up to your imagination!

MouseAir Launches Fake Mice for Kitty Entertainment was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

17 Sep 20:17

Google may reveal ‘Nest Wifi’ with beacons that double as smart speakers on October 15th

by Sean Hollister

Google’s mesh Wi-Fi router — Google Wifi — is nearly three years old, but it may be getting a radically different design next month. 9to5Google is reporting that the company is prepping a new “Nest Wifi” that pairs a single new hub router with two new “beacons” that will double as Google Assistant smart speakers, giving you the equivalent of two additional Google Home Mini speakers to cover additional rooms of your house with both Wi-Fi and sound.

You may note that Google would be effectively copying Amazon’s second-gen Eero router by going with a pair of beacons to extend Wi-Fi coverage across your house, which could have pros and cons. In our review, we found the second-gen Eero to be just as capable as the first-gen model overall, but...

Continue reading…

17 Sep 06:11

Amazon on the hunt for paw-some UK pets

by Scott Thompson

Amazon has launched a Face of Amazon Pets 2019 competition in the UK.

People are invited to enter by sharing their best pet picture or video via social media, stating why their cat, dog etc should win and including the hashtag #AmazonPets2019. The winner will receive the likes of a professional photoshoot, a £1,000 Amazon promo code and the chance to feature as the star of the Face of Amazon Pets. The competition closes at midnight on 6th October.

Amazon has also launched Pet Profiles on Customers can fill out breed, age and preference information as well as upload their own shots to create a profile for their pet. They will then receive personalised product recommendations and deals from the Pet Supplies Store.

“We want to celebrate all creatures great and small by giving them a chance to be the Face of Amazon Pets and, with almost half of all UK households owning a pet, we’re expecting the competition to be ‘fur-midable’," says Matthew Redfearn, Pet Supplies Category Leader,

"We know the UK love pampering their pets which is why we’re also delighted to launch Pet Profiles on Amazon to help our customers get great deals and personalised recommendations for their furry, scaly or feathery friends.”

Sign up for our free retail technology newsletter here.

14 Sep 22:21

Cette machine circulaire presse les oranges et transforme les pelures en gobelets grâce à l’impression 3D

by Mélanie D.

La firme italienne de design Carlo Ratti, en partenariat avec la compagnie d’énergie ENI, ont créé ensemble la campagne “Feel the Peel”. Ce projet à l’aspect environnemental comprend un presse-orange géant circulaire, qui peut contenir jusqu’à environ 1500 oranges !

Après en avoir extrait le jus, la machine sèche la pelure restante et la transforme en filament bioplastique. À l’aide d’une imprimante 3D, on en fait des gobelets biodégradables, dans lesquels le jus fraîchement pressé y est versé !

Bien sûr, rien n’est parfait. Après usage, ces gobelets doivent être jetés ou mis au compost. Malgré tout, ce projet illustre parfaitement la facilité de montrer le développement durable en tant qu’expérience interactive, qui récompense le consommateur pour avoir participé. Un marketing respectueux de l’environnement, efficace et innovant !

Crédits : Carlo Ratti
Crédits : Carlo Ratti
Crédits : Carlo Ratti
Crédits : Carlo Ratti
Crédits : Carlo Ratti
Crédits : Carlo Ratti

L’article Cette machine circulaire presse les oranges et transforme les pelures en gobelets grâce à l’impression 3D est apparu en premier sur Creapills.

08 Sep 17:09

BMW a dévoilé une voiture… vraiment noire

by Mario
Les constructeurs automobiles ne cessent également pas d’innover dans leur domaine. Après avoir révélé un nouveau concept de voiture hybride, BMW développe maintenant un véhicule ultra-noir. La firme allemande devrait notamment présenter la version Vantablack de son modèle X6 au salon automobile de Francfort, qui se déroulera du 14 au 22 septembre prochain. S’il s’agit […]
03 Sep 06:46

Ce fan de Manga fabrique d’incroyables objets en carton recyclé

by GOLEM13

Les amateurs de Nintendo Labo vont adorer les créations de Crafty Transformer. Passionné par les créations maison en carton recyclé, le Youtubeur japonais TSUKURU San transforme des cartons d’emballage Amazon en armes et objets tirés de séries animés, de jeux vidéo ou de Mangas.

De Monster Hunter à Naruto en passant par My Hero Academia, ces fabrication 100% carton sont incroyables. Souvent équipés de mécanismes, ces objets peuvent se déployer, léviter ou tirer des projectiles. Dans ses vidéos, le jeune artiste nous présente pas à pas les différentes étapes des ses créations. Des idées et des modèles à reproduire chez vous mais réservés au plus patients et bricoleurs !

L’article Ce fan de Manga fabrique d’incroyables objets en carton recyclé est apparu en premier sur GOLEM13.FR.

03 Sep 06:44

WeChat restricts controversial video face-swapping app Zao, citing “security risks”

by Catherine Shu

Zao went viral in China this weekend for its realistic face-swapping videos, but after controversy about its user policy, WeChat restricted access to the app on its messaging platform.

Users can still upload videos they created with Zao to WeChat, but if they try to download the app or send an invite link to another WeChat user, a message is displayed that says “this web page has been reported multiple times and contains security risks. To maintain a safe online environment, access to this page has been blocked.”23011567479434 .pic

Developed by a unit of Momo, one of China’s most popular dating apps, Zao creates videos that replace the faces of celebrities in scenes from popular movies, shows and music videos with a selfie uploaded by the user.

The app, currently available only in China, went viral as users shared their videos through WeChat and other social media platforms in China. But concerns about the potential misuse of deepfake technology coupled with a clause (now deleted) in Zao’s terms of use that gave it full ownership and copyright to content uploaded or created on it, in addition to “completely free, irrevocable, perpetual, transferrable, and re-licensable rights,” caused controversy.

By going viral quickly and being very easy to use (Zao’s videos can be generated from a single selfie, though it suggests that users upload photos from several angles for better results), the app has also focused more attention on deepfake technology and how it can potentially be used to spread misinformation or harass people.

Zao was released last Friday and quickly became the top free iOS app in China, according to App Annie. A statement posted on Sept. 1 to Zao’s Weibo account says “we completely understand everybody’s concerns about the privacy issue. We are aware of the issue and we are thinking about how to fix the problems, we need a little time.” Its terms and conditions now say user-generated content will only be used by the company to improve the app and that all deleted content will be removed from its servers.

TechCrunch has contacted Zao for comment.

31 Aug 07:53

Adafruit IoT Pi Printer Project Pack

  • Build an "Internet of Things" connected mini printer that will do your bidding! This is a fun weekend project that comes with a beautiful laser cut case. Once assembled, the little printer connects wirelessly to get Internet data for printing onto 2 1/4" wide receipt paper. Based on a Raspberry Pi computer, this is a powerful mini Linux machine. We have example python code for a few different printouts including a daily weather forecast report, sudoku puzzles, image printer and a Tweet-printer that connects Twitter's search API and retrieve and print tweets according to your requests: you can have it print out tweets from a person, a hashtag, mentioning a word, etc! All the code in written in python and is open source so its easy to adapt and write your own custom printer softwareThe project is based on Raspberry Pi, and while its not a very complex project soldering-wise it does require a little simple soldering and assembly work. This project is a good project to take on if you've set up a Raspberry Pi computer before and know how to run commands on your Pi.

    This kit contains all you need but the Pi and tools. Raspberry Pi computer is not included. You can use a Raspberry Pi Zero, Zero W, B+, 2 or Pi 3. We recommend using a Pi 3 or Pi Zero W because the built in WiFi will save you a step. If you are using a Pi Zero you will also need to pick up a 2x20 header to solder in so you can plug in the connectors.


    We've totally revamped this kit to make it less expensive, and easier to build! Check out our tutorial on how to build this kit over at Some assembly, including soldering, required - but it's totally worth it.

  • Revision History:

    • As of Sept 2017 we are selling version 2 which has been redesigned to work with the new Pi B+/2/3 and Pi Zero's! We still have instructions for the old version but the new version of the kit does not come with a Pi, console cable or Cobbler.
  • 31 Aug 07:20

    Deconstructing Chatbots: How to create FAQ Chatbot with Dialogflow

    by Priyanka Vergadia


    In this article we will learn how to use Dialogflow to convert a FAQ document into a conversational experience.

    What you’ll learn

    • What is Knowledge Connector
    • How to set up Dialogflow Knowledge Connector
    • How to test the agent


    • Basic concepts and constructs of Dialogflow. For introductory Dialogflow tutorial videos that covers basic conversational design check out the Deconstructing chatbot series.
    • You could check out the video before you begin, for a visual learning experience.

    Top 4 Bot Tutorials

    1. How we wrote a Wirecutter-like bot with in just a few hours
    2. How to Create a Facebook Messenger Bot with Ruby on Rails
    3. DialogFlow(formerly API.AI): Let’s create a Movie ChatBot in minutes
    4. Chatbot Conference in San Francisco

    What is Knowledge Connector?

    NOTE: Knowledge Connector is a Beta feature so the feature and functionality may change.

    Knowledge connector complements the defined intents by parsing documents such as FAQs or articles to find questions and responses.

    Questions are added as training phrases and answers are added as responses. To configure them, you define one or more knowledge bases, which are collections of documents. At the time of this article, CSV and HTML files are supported for ingestion.

    It is common for an agent using knowledge connectors to also use defined intents. Knowledge connectors offer less response precision and control than intents. When using both intents and knowledge connectors, you should define your intents to handle complex user requests that require special handling and precision, and let knowledge connectors handle simple requests with responses automatically extracted from your documents. When you identify content in FAQs that you want to expand on, you can convert the questions into defined intents, giving you full control.

    Steps to set up Knowledge Connector

    Use an existing Dialogflow agent or create a new one. If you do not know how to create an agent, refer to the third episode of the Deconstructing Chatbot series where we build an appointment scheduler. You could also refer to this article.

    Because this is a beta feature we start by going to the gear icon and enabling the beta option.

    Now, we are ready to create our knowledge connector. Select the Knowledge Beta from the left pane and click “Create Knowledge Base”

    Give it a name and save.

    We need a knowledge document that we can use to auto generate the FAQ chatbot. This compute engine FAQ can be used as sample. Feel free to use your own sample document here.

    Now, go back to the Dialoglfow agent and create the first knowledge connector.

    Create New Knowledge Document
    • Give it a name, I called it “Compute Engine FAQ”
    • Select a knowledge type — it is FAQ
    • Select Mime type — in this case, it is a HTML file.
    • And we add a URL to the document. I am using this
    • Once you have filled, click create.

    And with that, the Knowledge connector has created the FAQ chatbot, Click on the Compute Engine FAQ.

    We see that the questions are parsed into requests and responses neatly.

    Questions from the document parsed into Questions and Answers

    Click on Add response to enable the automated responses and save.

    Before testing, be sure to enable the chatbot. Click on the checkbox beside the name of the FAQ and click enable.

    Test Your Chatbot!

    Now we are ready to test! In the simulator on the right, query your Dialogflow agent with “what is pricing for compute engine” and you will see a response from the bot. Try out more examples like “How do I get support”. You will notice that even if you do not type the exact same question from the FAQ it still gets mapped to the correct intent. That’s the beauty of knowledge connector.


    You created a FAQ chatbot from a HTML or CSV file in less than 2 mins. Try this awesome beta feature and create some chatbots to answer those FAQ questions automatically!! Once you do, don’t forget to share the experience with here in comments.

    Next steps

    • Check out the Dialogflow website here for documentation, APIs and more.
    • Follow Deconstructing Chatbots video series and subscribe to Google cloud platform youtube channel
    • Try Dialogflow, it is free to build a bot! Check it out.

    Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

    Deconstructing Chatbots: How to create FAQ Chatbot with Dialogflow was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    29 Aug 12:44

    IKEA RAST Dresser Hack: The complete wine cart

    by Contributor

    Are you ready to see how to change the life of an IKEA RAST Dresser Hack?

    I am not talking just painting the drawers and changing the hardware – but a true IKEA RAST dresser hack that converts into this beautiful new piece of furniture.


    This is the before. And after! It’s a complete wine cart with space for bottles, wine glasses and accessories. Even a table top for us to conveniently mix our drinks.

    IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cabinet

    So…without further ado … let’s show you what we did.

    IKEA RAST dresser hack: DIY wine cabinet

    We started by assembling the sides of the dresser.

    Once completed, we added a bottom, and inserted a wine bottle holder made of wood and metal from Marshalls for $9.99.

    We cut the sides to fit, added a cute little trim piece and attached to the bottom.

    • side panels
      Side panels
    • wine racks
      Dresser Bottom Shelf
    • wine rack dry fit
      Wine rack dry fit

    Related: DIY RAST wine cabinet

    Once we had the wine rack set, we moved on to the drawer.

    Knowing we wanted to add stemware holders, we decide to take the drawer front and cut it down, giving us a secret drawer to store accessories like wine stoppers, drink markers, etc.

    • trim
      Trim drawer front
    • drawer front completed
      Drawer front completed

    Here’s how the completed drawer with hardware looks.

    Isn’t the hardware from Hickory Hardware to die for? We just love the affect it provides our wine cart.

    • drawer front
      Drawer completed
    • wine rack
      Wine glass holders installed

    Once we complete the drawer we then affixed the stem holders. We were able to find and attach four wine glass holders that matched the Hickory Hardware. How sweet is that?

    Painting it black

    Once our build was complete we selected an elegant Black Magic paint. This paint was a dream to work with and is 100% Latex with a zero VOC Low Odor control.

    As the Black Magic color dressed up our IKEA RAST Dresser Hack wine cart, we could tell this was high quality and would provide just the look we wanted. We added some light distressing and then used a top coat to seal the paint

    • paint
    • paint

    Look at her shine!

    • IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cart
      Wine rack completed
    • IKEA RAST dresser hack hardware

    To complete the look, we attached the beautiful handles from Hickory Hardware on the side and front.

    For the final touch, we added a block of American Walnut on top of the dresser, which we applied food grade oil to bring it all to life.

    Lastly, we added castor wheels to the bottom to turn it into a mobile wine cart.

    Wine cart completed

    So – can you even tell this was ever a dresser? I sure can’t. We truly put our all into making this wonderful piece of furniture.

    It does not just have to have a painted front and new knobs. With a little imagination, it became a completely different piece of new furniture.

    • IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cabinet
    • IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cabinet
    • IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cabinet
    • IKEA RAST dresser hack wine cart

    Well, that completes our IKEA RAST Dresser Hack. We hope you loved it as much as we do.

    ~ Linda Crandall

    The post IKEA RAST Dresser Hack: The complete wine cart appeared first on IKEA Hackers.

    28 Aug 08:36

    Actualité : Après Samsung, TCL dévoile aussi un téléviseur vertical

    by Tanguy Andrillon
    Le fabricant TCL vient de dévoiler un nouveau téléviseur pivotable décliné en deux versions : le TCL XESS Smart Screen et le TCL XESS Smart Screen Pro. Ces deux téléviseurs disposent d'une dalle LCD de 55 pouces pivotable à 90° pour un passage en mode portrait. Elle vise avant tout les jeunes générations friandes de réseaux sociaux comme Facebook ou Instagram....
    28 Aug 08:36

    This Electronic Die Lights Up and Communicates with Every Roll

    by Jeremy S. Cook

    Dice, in one form or another, have been used for thousands of years, in fact “since before recorded history” according to Wikipedia. While manufacturing methods have certainly changed, dice have remained roughly the same throughout the ages. Jean Simonet, however, has ambitiously set out to make something new — a die that lights up depending on the number thrown.

    Although this would be a relatively attainable job at a larger scale, Simonet’s design measures just 17mm on a side, compared to standard die that comes in at 16mm. Inside, he’s packed 21 LEDs, an accelerometer to detect motion, and even a Simblee module that combines a microcontroller with a Bluetooth radio and chip antenna. This allows it to not only illuminate with LEDs corresponding to the roll, but communicate with a nearby smartphone as well. With this interface, the die can be preset for certain games, lighting up in custom modes or even resolving competition automatically. It can also be used without a host smart device as drop-in replacements for normal “number-cubes,” but with new effects.

    According to Simonet, there’s still a lot of work to do, but as it stands today it’s an incredible feat of 3D printing and careful flexible PCB design to wrap everything in the cube along with a tiny CR-1/3N battery. Future plans include the possibility of RGB lighting, along with further app development, and there’s even a 20-sided die prototype. It will be interesting to see this project’s progress. Code is available on GitHub, and you can sign up on to “get notified of future developments.”

    This Electronic Die Lights Up and Communicates with Every Roll was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    28 Aug 08:33

    Deep Ink Diver Is a Scalable Pen Plotter

    by Jeremy S. Cook

    If you’ve ever wanted to do a “deep dive” into how plotters work, then the d.i.d., or Deep Ink Diver, from studioprogettiperduti looks like a great option. The device boasts a structure made out of aluminum extrusion, plus some 3D-printed parts, enabling it to be scaled up for different sized paper as needed.

    The plotter is driven by a pair of NEMA 17 stepper motors, one of which pulls the writing carriage along steel rods in one axis, while a roller pulls the paper into position on the other. The actual writing implement is held in a 3D-printed carriage, which can accommodate different tools like pens, pencils, and markers. The implement in use is pushed up and out of the way with an SG90 servo, for movement without marking when needed.

    d.i.d. is built around an Arduino Uno with a CNC shield, running grbl firmware specialized to allow for servo control. Per the project write-up, using this firmware “is pretty much plug and play,” and G-code can be generated as if it was a laser engraver with this Inkscape plugin.

    Studioprogettiperduti made six prototypes to get to a plotter that they were happy with, and what they’ve put out looks like a great way to get started in your plotting adventure!

    Deep Ink Diver Is a Scalable Pen Plotter was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    26 Aug 20:54

    Google’s Smart Speaker Sales Decline in Q2 2019, Falls Behind Baidu While Device Shipments Rise 55 Percent Globally

    by Bret Kinsella
    • Global smart speaker sales overall rose by 55% in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018 according to research firm Canalys.
    • Canalys also estimates that Google’s global smart speaker sales market share fell from 32.3% in Q2 2018 to just 16.7% in Q2 2019. That also reflected the sale of 1.1 million fewer smart speakers in Q2 2019 while all other vendors saw significant growth.
    • Google’s decline was accompanied by a rapid rise by Baidu to climb from near zero to over 17% sales share in Q2 2019.
    • Amazon took the top spot in global smart speaker market sales with 25.4% share and 6.6 million devices sold.
    • Canalys also noted more than half of quarterly smart speaker sales are now outside the U.S. for both Amazon and Google.
    • U.S. smart speaker sales declined 2.4% compared to the comparable quarter in 2018.

    New data from research firm Canalys suggests Google’s share of the global smart speaker shipments in Q2 2019 trailed both Amazon and Baidu. Canalys estimates Amazon shipped 6.6 million smart speakers in the quarter compared to 4.5 million for Baidu and 4.3 million from Google. The figures place Amazon’s sales market share at 25.4% followed by 17.3% and 16.7% for Baidu and Google respectively. This is the first quarter that Google has not been first or second in global smart speaker shipments since launching a device in 2016.

    Google’s sales were followed by Alibaba with 4.1 million units and Xiaomi with 2.8 million which accounted for 15.8% and 10.8% market share respectively. Other smart speaker makers shipped 3.7 million devices for a 14.1% combined share. Overall, smart speaker shipments rose 55.4% over the comparable 2018 quarter to reach 26.1 million units.

    Google Smart Speaker Shipments Decline for the First Time

    Notably, Q2 2019 marks not just Google slipping behind Baidu, but also that first time that the company has shown a year-over-year decline in smart speaker shipments for a quarterly total. In Q2 2018, Canalys says that Google led all smart speaker sellers with 5.4 million devices shipped and 32.3% market share. The Q2 2019 figures represented a halving of the company’s market share and a reduction of 1.1 million smart speakers sold. Google’s 20% year-over-year decline compares to every other vendor’s sales increase of at least 37%.

    Factors Contributing to Google’s Sales Decline

    Google may be suffering from three factors that are undermining its sales volume. First, the flagship Google Home smart speaker launched in 2016 and has not been updated. The value segment Google Home Mini followed in 2017 and has similarly not seen an update other than additional color options. By contrast, Amazon has regularly introduced updates to its core smart speaker portfolio approximately every two years for each device. Google is said to be working on an update to the popular Google Home Mini and that will likely arrive in the company’s annual hardware event in October. Google Nest Hub Max, a smart display designed to compete with the Amazon Echo Show and Facebook Portal, is also due to start shipping soon so we may see a turnaround as new products entice consumer interest.

    Second, Google decided in Q2 2019 to change the product branding away from “Home” to “Nest.” The Google Home Hub was rebranded Google Nest Hub and all devices are expected to gain the “Nest” branding. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it may be creating consumer confusion. “Google’s transition to the Nest branding while pivoting to smart displays proved to be a challenge, especially as it began rolling out its Nest Hub globally. Google urgently requires a revamped non-display smart speaker portfolio to rekindle consumer interest,” said Canalys senior analyst Jason Low.

    No New Country Launches in Q2 2019

    Another challenge for Google’s unit sales may be a lack of new country introductions in Q2 of this year. In April 2018, Google Home began shipping in Italy, India, Singapore, Spain, Australia, Ireland, and Mexico. There was also aggressive discounting in Q2 2018 with deals for purchases of multiple Google Home Minis. Maybe even more important, was the interest that Google Duplex, first demonstrated in May 2018, drove around Google Assistant capabilities in general. That has since launched but its features are limited to use from a smartphone.

    Q2 2019 saw the introduction of Google Assistant in Belgium. However, Google Home smart speakers were not introduced into any new countries for the first time. The Google Nest Hub did start shipping in Canada for the first time, but the country has had Google-enabled smart speakers for two years and the smart display immediately received added competition from the new Amazon Echo Show 5. So, the lack of new country launches is the most likely culprit for depressed unit sales, but it is also worth noting that Amazon didn’t have any new country launches during the quarter and still experienced 61% year-over-year unit growth. Google’s Q3 and Q4 sales volume will merit close scrutiny to assess whether the decline is cyclical or representative of waning consumer interest.

    Amazon and Google Smart Speaker Sales More Global Than 2018

    Canalys also noted that Amazon and Google both sold more than 50% of their smart speakers outside of the U.S. in Q2 2019. That is the first time Canalys has found more international sales for Amazon and Google smart speakers.

    This shift is particularly important for Google and Amazon because Canalys also reported that total smart speaker sales in the U.S. declined 2.4% to 6.1 million units in Q2 2019. That year-over-year quarterly contraction is also a first since smart speakers first came to market in 2014. Amazon was clearly able to manage this shift in demand more effectively than Google. Going forward, this will be another data point to monitor to see if U.S. sales begin to rise again and how non-U.S. sales trend for the leading smart speaker manufacturers.

    Follow @bretkinsella Follow @voicebotai

    Google Gave Away 19,596 Google Home Minis at the Warriors – Trail Blazers NBA Playoff Game This Evening. Here’s Why.

    The post Google’s Smart Speaker Sales Decline in Q2 2019, Falls Behind Baidu While Device Shipments Rise 55 Percent Globally appeared first on Voicebot.

    18 Aug 16:31

    Flexible stick-on sensors could wirelessly monitor your sweat and pulse

    by Devin Coldewey

    As people strive ever harder to minutely quantify every action they do, the sensors that monitor those actions are growing lighter and less invasive. Two prototype sensors from crosstown rivals Stanford and Berkeley stick right to the skin and provide a wealth of physiological data.

    Stanford’s stretchy wireless “BodyNet” isn’t just flexible in order to survive being worn on the shifting surface of the body; that flexing is where its data comes from.

    The sensor is made of metallic ink laid on top of a flexible material like that in an adhesive bandage. But unlike phones and smartwatches, which use tiny accelerometers or optical tricks to track the body, this system relies on how it is itself stretched and compressed. These movements cause tiny changes in how electricity passes through the ink, changes that are relayed to a processor nearby.

    Naturally if one is placed on a joint, as some of these electronic stickers were, it can report back whether and how much that joint has been flexed. But the system is sensitive enough that it can also detect the slight changes the skin experiences during each heartbeat, or the broader changes that accompany breathing.

    The problem comes when you have to get that signal off the skin. Using a wire is annoying and definitely very ’90s. But antennas don’t work well when they’re flexed in weird directions — efficiency drops off a cliff, and there’s very little power to begin with — the skin sensor is powered by harvesting RFID signals, a technique that renders very little in the way of voltage.

    bodynet sticker and receiver

    The second part of their work, then, and the part that is clearly most in need of further improvement and miniaturization, is the receiver, which collects and re-transmits the sensor’s signal to a phone or other device. Although they managed to create a unit that’s light enough to be clipped to clothes, it’s still not the kind of thing you’d want to wear to the gym.

    The good news is that’s an engineering and design limitation, not a theoretical one — so a couple years of work and progress on the electronics front and they could have a much more attractive system.

    “We think one day it will be possible to create a full-body skin-sensor array to collect physiological data without interfering with a person’s normal behavior,” Stanford professor Zhenan Bao said in a news release.

    Over at Cal is a project in a similar domain that’s working to get from prototype to production. Researchers there have been working on a sweat monitor for a few years that could detect a number of physiological factors.

    SensorOnForehead BN

    Normally you’d just collect sweat every 15 minutes or so and analyze each batch separately. But that doesn’t really give you very good temporal resolution — what if you want to know how the sweat changes minute by minute or less? By putting the sweat collection and analysis systems together right on the skin, you can do just that.

    While the sensor has been in the works for a while, it’s only recently that the team has started moving toward user testing at scale to see what exactly sweat measurements have to offer.

    RollToRoll BN 768x960“The goal of the project is not just to make the sensors but start to do many subject studies and see what sweat tells us — I always say ‘decoding’ sweat composition. For that we need sensors that are reliable, reproducible, and that we can fabricate to scale so that we can put multiple sensors in different spots of the body and put them on many subjects,” explained Ali Javey, Berkeley professor and head of the project.

    As anyone who’s working in hardware will tell you, going from a hand-built prototype to a mass-produced model is a huge challenge. So the Berkeley team tapped their Finnish friends at VTT Technical Research Center, who make a specialty of roll-to-roll printing.

    For flat, relatively simple electronics, roll-to-roll is a great technique, essentially printing the sensors right onto a flexible plastic substrate that can then simply be cut to size. This way they can make hundreds or thousands of the sensors quickly and cheaply, making them much simpler to deploy at arbitrary scales.

    These are far from the only flexible or skin-mounted electronics projects out there, but it’s clear that we’re approaching the point when they begin to leave the lab and head out to hospitals, gyms and homes.

    The paper describing Stanford’s flexible sensor appeared this week in the journal Nature Electronics, while Berkeley’s sweat tracker was in Science Advances.

    18 Aug 16:17

    Wooden Log Bathroom Sink

    by staff
    Jean-Philippe Encausse

    la next step ;-)

    Keep things rustic yet stylish in your bathroom by replacing your existing sink for this distinguished wooden log bathroom sink. Made from cherry wood, each sink is hand sculpted, ensuring that each piece is truly unique.

    Check it out


    18 Aug 16:16

    IKEA crée une unité dédiée à la domotique

    by Morgan Fromentin
    IKEA crée une unité dédiée à la domotique
    IKEA propose depuis tout récemment des produits de domotique. Des ampoules, des lampes et autres volets connectés. Le marché est assurément porteur puisque le géant suédois a décidé de mettre sur pied une équipe dédiée à ce segment de la maison.
    04 Aug 09:00

    Ping Pong Trickshots Play the Xylophone

    by Miss Cellania

    DoodleChaos used 213 ping pong balls to play the xylophone. The song is Jacques Offenbach’s “Galop Infernal” in the operetta Orpheus in the Underworld, which most of us call “the Can-can.” You can hear it better if you run the video at double speed (under settings). How the balls were tossed into the cups so precisely has me skeptical that there aren’t any video shenanigans going on here, but he says,

    I underestimated how random ping pong ball bounces are. Even on a perfectly flat tile, there can be over a foot diameter where the final bounce ends up. My first design for this contraption included 3 bounces, but I ended up redesigning it to be more reliable. I’m thankful for this decision because it meant less time tracking the ball paths in Premiere. If you’re curious how I achieved this effect, I moved a mask to cover every single movement of every ball’s path by hand. Repeating and overlapping multiple layers became very complicated because the balls would cross paths. Once I learned tracks could be nested together I became more organized.

    Well, that explains that.

    The post Ping Pong Trickshots Play the Xylophone appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

    01 Aug 19:08

    Guy Documents His Hair Growth For 2 Years

    Guy Documents His Hair Growth For 2 Years..(Read...)

    31 Jul 12:15

    Kiki Is an AI-Enabled Robot “Sidekick” That’s Like a Pet You Don’t Have to Feed

    by Cameron Coward

    Unless you’re some sort of monster, you probably like animals. But you’re also a busy person who may not have the time to take care of a real, living pet. That means you’re left coming home to a cold, empty apartment with no one to greet you. That’s just depressing. Luckily, technology can help! Thanks to the Kiki AI-enabled robot “sidekick,” you can have an artificial pet that never needs to be fed or taken for a walk, but will still act like it loves you.

    Kiki, created by a company called Zoetic AI that was founded by two former Google employees, recently launched on Kickstarter. So far, it has raised about $10,000 — which is 10 percent of the funding goal. As the campaign video will confidently tell you, “you’ve always dreamed of having a robot companion.” Now you can have one!

    Like many other competing products that have hit the market recently, Kiki is pretty darn adorable. It can’t drive around or anything, but it can move its head and show emotions using eyes on an LCD screen, RGB LEDs, and cute little sounds. You can interact with Kiki by petting one of its touch sensors. Kiki will also watch you with a camera and can recognize you and your friends. Zoetic AI does, however, promise that the data collected will never be uploaded to the cloud.

    Despite having “real-time onboard intelligence,” Kiki isn’t a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. It can’t order you toilet paper, tell you tomorrow’s weather forecast, or put appointments on your calendar. Instead, it’s designed simply to provide you with social interaction. It will develop a personality, understand your feelings, and — as the copy proudly proclaims — Kiki “loves you back.”

    If that sounds like something you want in your home, the Kiki Kickstarter campaign will be running until September 28th. A single Kiki robot — with birth certificate included — will cost you a whopping $799. Rewards are expected to be delivered in May of 2020. Or, you could just go to your local animal shelter and adopt a real animal that needs a home.

    Kiki Is an AI-Enabled Robot “Sidekick” That’s Like a Pet You Don’t Have to Feed was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    31 Jul 12:09

    AWS’ new text-to-speech engine sounds like a newscaster

    by Frederic Lardinois

    Thanks to modern machine learning techniques, text-to-speech engines have made massive strides over the last few years. It used to be incredibly easy to know that it was a computer that was reading a text and not a human being. But that’s changing quickly. Amazon’s AWS cloud computing arm today launched a number of new neural text-to-speech models, as well as a new newscaster style that is meant to mimic the way… you guessed it… newscasters sound.

    “Speech quality is certainly important, but more can be done to make a synthetic voice sound even more realistic and engaging,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “What about style? For sure, human ears can tell the difference between a newscast, a sportscast, a university class and so on; indeed, most humans adopt the right style of speech for the right context, and this certainly helps in getting their message across.”

    The new newscaster style is now available in two U.S. voices (Joanna and Matthew) and Amazon is already working with USA Today and Canada’s The Globe and Mail, among a number of other companies, to help them voice their texts.

    Have a listen for yourself:

    Amazon Polly Newscaster, as the new service is officially called, is the result of years of research on text-to-speech, which AWS is also now making available through its Neural Text-to-Speech engine. This new engine, which isn’t unlike similar neural engines like Google’s WaveNet and others, currently features 11 voices, three for U.K. English and eight for U.S. English.

    You can hear a few more of these voices here.

    In this age of fake news, having life-like robot voices that sound like real newscasters feels a bit problematic at first. For the most part, though, whether a robot or human reads the text doesn’t make all that much of a difference. There are plenty of good use cases for the voices, and given the examples that AWS provided, you’ll be able to listen to these voices for significantly longer than the old ones before you want to cut your ears off.

    30 Jul 17:02

    This Human Gene Editing Trial Will Use CRISPR to Treat Blindness

    by Victor Tangermann
    Up to 18 people will be part of the first ever human study in the U.S. that uses gene editing technique CRISPR inside the body to treat blindness.

    CRISPR Drawer

    Up to 18 people, ages three and up, will be part of the first ever human study in the U.S. that uses the gene-editing technique CRISPR inside the body. The goal is to treat an eye disorder that causes blindness, according to the Associated Press.

    In many cases the heritable disorder, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), eventually causes complete loss of vision. In fact, it’s the number one cause of inherited blindness in children.

    The trial, which will be carried out by pharmaceutical companies Editas Medicine and Allergan, will attempt to address a specific variant of LCA called LCA 10. Researchers will use CRISPR to supply a healthy version of a gene that the patients lack through a subretinal injection.

    See the Light

    But this change will not be passed on to future generations, as the AP points out. That makes it different from the highly controversial series of human embryo trials by Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who used a similar technique to edit the germline of future human generations.

    A different, non-CRISPR gene therapy treatment for LCA already exists, called Luxturna, which involves injecting a modified virus that delivers the corrected gene into the retina’s cells.

    READ MORE: First CRISPR study inside the body to start in US [Associated Press]

    More on CRISPR: Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Found a Safer Alternative to CRISPR

    The post This Human Gene Editing Trial Will Use CRISPR to Treat Blindness appeared first on Futurism.

    30 Jul 07:59

    Actualité : Google Pixel 4 : reconnaissance faciale et projet Soli au programme

    by Corentin Bechade
    Probablement lassé de voir ses terminaux fuiter de tous les côtés, Google prend désormais les devants et vient de dévoiler deux nouveautés prévues sur les futurs Pixel 4 (attendus en octobre). Dans une vidéo publiée sur YouTube, le géant de la recherche confirme deux rumeurs qui enflaient ces derniers mois : les Pixel 4 auront bien le droit à la reconnaissance...
    30 Jul 06:15

    Take Care of Your Plant Like a Tamagotchi with This Smart Planter

    by Cameron Coward

    A lot of video games these days end up being a lot like second jobs. Some, like World of Warcraft, require grinding — a term for completing dull, repetitive tasks in order to gain experience, currency, or items. Others, such as the infamous Facebook game Farmville, are essentially job simulators. But, unlike real work, those games are addicting because you earn frequent and regular rewards that trigger a dopamine release in your brain. One of the earliest examples of that game genre was the Tamagotchi, and now you can replicate that experience with your real plants using the Lua smart planter.

    Lua is being crowdfunded through Indiegogo, and the campaign has already tripled its goal with five days still left to go. This smart planter essentially uses gamification to motivate you to take care of your plant. Like a Tamagotchi, the Lua smart planter displays emotions that correspond to its health, and the only way to make the planter happy is to ensure that it is properly taken care of. This gamification gives you an instant reward in the form of a happy response when you take care of the plant, which is much more of a motivation than the slow growth that is the normal reward for gardening.

    It works by monitoring the plant’s conditions using a variety of sensors, which can detect moisture, temperature, and light exposure. Using a smartphone app, you tell the Lua planter what kind of plant you’re trying to raise. Doing so lets the planter know that plant’s ideal conditions. The planter can then display a number of emotions, such as panting when water is needed, on an LCD screen to let you know what you need to do to keep the plant healthy. It can even use a built-in motion sensor to display additional animations based on your movement.

    If you want a Lua smart planter, the Indiegogo campaign will be running for another five days. A single planter will cost you $110, and there are different color options to suit your decor. Rewards are expected to be shipped in December.

    Take Care of Your Plant Like a Tamagotchi with This Smart Planter was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    30 Jul 06:14

    Amazon’s Ring reportedly partners with more than 200 US police departments

    by Colin Lecher
    Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

    Amazon’s surveillance camera brand Ring has partnered with more than 200 police departments across the country, according to a new report by Motherboard.

    The news shows the scope of the relationship

    It’s been widely known that Ring has worked with law enforcement: Motherboard recently reported on a contract between the company and a police department, and Amazon has even used footage of suspected thieves to promote the products. But the news highlights the scope of the relationship between the company and police.

    Motherboard obtained notes from an officer given a webinar by Ring. According to the notes, Ring lets officers request footage from owners through Ring. While police reportedly need consent from owners, a warrant isn’t...

    Continue reading…

    30 Jul 06:13

    Browse the Internet with a Rotary Phone

    by Jeremy S. Cook

    Today, getting on the Internet is as easy as picking up your phone. For that matter, “getting on” the Internet seems like a bit of a misnomer, as unlike circa 20 years ago, you never really log on or off, you’re mostly just connected with periods where you aren’t actually staring at a screen. This certainly makes things easier, and is (maybe) for the best, but what if you miss the adventure of plugging in arcane commands and numbers for access?

    While it won’t bring back the screeching modem tones of old, Jan Derogee’s Rrotary dial phone for your web browser (for your windows computer)” at least brings back some of the confusion and inconvenience. The setup acts as an auxiliary keyboard, but instead of making things more accessible with single button press as you’d normally expect, it forces you to dial a series of numbers on a rotary phone. This, along with a shift button, allows you to either access websites using Firefox, or perform convoluted on-screen calculations via your computer’s calculator app.

    In action, the device uses a SparkFun Pro Micro with an ATmega32U4 microcontroller to read pulses from the rotary dial, then convert them to emulated keyboard commands. This means that no special software is needed to run the device, though your computer needs to be set up correctly to properly respond to the issued commands. The phone plugs in via a modified wall-mount phone outlet, which theoretically enables any rotary phone to be plugged in as “needed” for this unnecessary shortcut keyboard.

    Browse the Internet with a Rotary Phone was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

    29 Jul 15:16

    Disney Animals as People [Pics]

    by Geeks are Sexy

    Artist s0alaina re-imagined some of the most popular animals from Disney franchises as humans while keeping in mind the style and spirit of the era they’re in while designing them.

















    [Source: s0alaina on Deviantart | Via NA]

    The post Disney Animals as People [Pics] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

    29 Jul 11:05

    An AR chatbot serves as a tour guide

    by Keely Khoury

    Spotted: Immersive technology company Arcade uses augmented reality (AR) to enhance visitors’ experiences of tourist attractions and public spaces. Working with the Sea Life London Aquarium, Arcade created the multi-award winning Roxy the Ranger, an AR chatbot.

    Roxy interacts with visitors, who can pilot her vehicles in and through the aquarium’s tanks. With the app, the Aquarium hoped to increase engagement and time spent at the attraction. On average, visitors that used the app spent 25 percent more time there and expressed much higher satisfaction with their experience.

    The company’s latest launch is the Fame Cam for London’s Madame Tussauds. Using AR, the Fame Cam app allows visitors to learn more about their favourite celebrities and see different facial expressions. If sightseers use the app with all the waxworks on display, they receive discounts in the gift shop. Arcade works with governments, heritage centres, businesses, event organisers and more, always with the goal of turning bystanders into participants. 

    Arcade is part of the Augmentor Programme at Digital Catapult.

    Selected for the Createch 2019 Ones to Watch, produced by the Creative Industries Council with the support of Digital CatapultLondon & Partners and Springwise.

    The post An AR chatbot serves as a tour guide appeared first on Springwise.

    29 Jul 10:57

    Cette Française a créé un cendrier à base de champignons qui “digèrent” les mégots de cigarettes

    by Manon Bodeving

    Véritable fléau environnemental, la pollution due aux mégots de cigarettes est partout : sur les plages, dans les rues, en haut des montagnes… Chaque année en France, 30 milliards de mégots sont jetés dans la nature. Le chiffre s’élève à 4 300 milliards à l’échelle du globe ! Ce reliquat de cigarette – dont le filtre est composé d’acétate de cellulose, qui est une matière plastique – peut mettre jusqu’à 15 ans à se décomposer. Un désastre environnemental en somme…

    En plus de la pollution visuelle qu’ils représentent, les mégots engendrent également des risques de pollution chimique car ils contiennent de nombreux composants nuisibles à l’environnement tels que la nicotine, l’ammoniac, l’arsenic, le mercure, etc. Afin de lutter contre cette situation qui ne fait que s’aggraver, Audrey Speyer, une designeuse française, et sa startup PuriFungi, ont conçu un cendrier qui digère les mégots de cigarettes !

    En fait, il s’agit d’un champignon capable de faire disparaître totalement ces déchets. Mais comment ça marche ? Et bien, une litière de paille, de copeaux, de bois et de carton sert de lieu de culture aux champignons : c’est ici que vous déposez votre mégot. En deux semaines, le mycélium

    (la racine du champignon) se développe et recouvre le mégot. Ensuite, ses enzymes le digèrent et en deux mois, il a disparu !

    Résultat : on récupère une espèce de résine que l’on peut utiliser comme brique de construction et peut même se substituer au cuir ou au plastique ! Enfin, le champignon “mange-mégots” sera testé pour la toute première fois au Cabaret vert, du 22 au 25 août 2019, à Charleville-Mézières.

    Dans les Pyrénées-Orientales, la commune de Collioure a scellé une plaque près des bouches d’évacuation des eaux fluviales pour lutter contre la pollution.

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : PuriFungi

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : Audrey Speyer

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : Audrey Speyer

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : Audrey Speyer

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : Vicente Mateu

    Champignon mange mégots Audrey Speyer

    Crédits : Tom Mannion

    Imaginé par : Audrey Speyer
    Source :

    L’article Cette Française a créé un cendrier à base de champignons qui “digèrent” les mégots de cigarettes est apparu en premier sur Creapills.

    28 Jul 14:38

    Artist Portrays Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor

    by Geeks are Sexy

    As you might have heard, Natalie Portman will become The Mighty Thor in the upcoming Phase 4 marvel movie, Thor: Love and Thunder. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what will happen to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, but one thing is for sure, people are really divided over Portman’s return to the MCU. If you’re wondering what the actress will look like as the female incarnation of Thor, artist apexform has done a wonderful job in portraying her as the character. Check it out below!

    [Source: Apexform on Instagram]

    The post Artist Portrays Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.