TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Facebook's Oculus virtual reality unit has moved on from its founder, Palmer Luckey, but that doesn't mean that the guy who literally kickstarted the modern VR space is done thinking about the future of VR. In an interview with Japan's MoguraVR, translated and surfaced by Road to VR, Luckey talks about the current state of VR and augmented reality (AR) at length. But things get really interesting when he mentions what he thinks is the best cinematic representation of AR currently available.
"The best portrayal of AR can be found in [the movie] Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale," said Luckey. "At the moment most AR devices are just about displaying HUD. On the other hand, the AR technology that appears in the theatrical version of SAO is closer to MR [mixed reality], and builds a virtual world based on reality."
We hear a lot of talk about the possibility of augmented reality glasses in the future, but it turns out there's another way engage the technology that might be more social: through an interactive window. That's the idea behind a new prototype device called DeepFrame from Denmark-based RealFiction. What you'll notice when looking at the demonstration videos (below) is that the images look correctly placed (positionally and in terms of scale) in the real world as opposed to appearing as mere translucent images displayed over a location.
A pair of German researchers have developed a method to harness Wi-Fi signals to capture 3D hologram images of objects around a network, even through solid barriers like doors and walls. The key is recording the shapes made by stray radiation, the electromagnetic waves that bounce off objects as they travel through the air. The research behind the 3D-imaging method, which started as an undergraduate thesis project before being fleshed out into a larger study, was originally published in the Physical Review of Letters earlier this month. The technique described in the study was able to provide images as often as 10 times a second and recreate the contents of an entire building in a large-scale simulation.
The technology behind the cooking rats in “Ratatouille” and the dancing penguins in “Happy Feet” could help bridge stubborn academic gaps between deaf and hearing students. Researchers are using computer-animation techniques, such as motion-capture, to make lifelike computer avatars that can reliably and naturally translate written and spoken words into sign language, whether it’s American Sign Language (ASL) or that of another country.
Google is right. Artificial Intelligence can help us, dammit. The notion of a coming AI apocalypse has grown tiresome, especially because it invariably makes the leap from the nascent forms of AI we experience now to a terrifying future were every robot can out-think and, eventually, annihilate us.
I’m not saying it's not an eventuality, but it is also decades or more away. It’s time to focus on the now, which is why I was so pleased with Google’s I/O 2017 developer’s keynote on Wednesday.
In it, Google CEO Sundar Pichai described the fundamental shift from a mobile-first landscape to an AI-first one. Putting AI first doesn’t cut out mobile. In fact, mobile hardware and software remain a crucial part of Google’s strategy, but now all of it is infused, at some level, with artificial intelligence and, especially, machine learning.
Classroom collaboration software exists, but Disrupt New York Hackathon participant Epigrammar thinks its approach better tackles the issue of student grammar, test creation and comprehension. Teachers can help facilitate student conversations on an assigned text by uploading it to Epigrammar, then helping their students review and annotate the work, in real time.
Epigrammar’s goal to improve reading comprehension among high schoolers is accomplished by collecting compelling annotations and opinions from students, which teachers might use to guide class discussion.
Backstage, I asked the two-man hacker team — Uday Singh and Gilad Penn — how Epigrammar is actually more useful for students than free annotation and collaboration software, like Google Docs. The differentiator is that Epigrammar allows the teacher to save time, which would’ve otherwise been spent passing out sheets in class for students to annotate, or figuring out which areas of an assigned text students need to be tested on.
Epigrammar isn’t only a classroom annotation tool, but a test service, using student’s comments as the source material for automated test questions for class assessments. The test creation service will cost teachers a monthly fee of $20, for an unlimited number of classes.
The software uses PubNub for real-time annotations, Elixir/Phoenix lean API on the backend, Apollo to the React JS front-end and in-house annotation libraries. Regarding launch, Epigrammar expects to debut to the public this summer.
A team of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers launched a mobile app that helps Android users configure many privacy settings necessary to take control of their personal data. The project expands the frontiers of the university’s “IoT expedition,” a collaboration with Google and several other higher ed institutions that aims to create new technology for the Internet of Things. CMU’s Personalized Privacy Assistant Project designed Privacy Assistant, which utilizes machine learning to take control of the information that apps on Android devices routinely collect. It works by asking users a few simple questions about their privacy preferences and then recommends specific permissions settings to best meet those needs. The app is available on the Google Play Store. (It’s only available for use on rooted mobile devices running Android 5.X; Android 6 and 7 users must have “signature verification” disabled to use the app.)
The way you view your credit score is most likely a result of how good your credit is. If it’s decent, you probably don’t pay your score much attention. If it’s bad—and you’re scrambling to find an apartment in a competitive housing market (ahem, Bay Area)—it can feel like a burden, and worse, one you can’t do much about. That’s why it might come as surprise to hear AspirEDU, an educational analytics company, pitch their Dropout Detective software as an “academic credit score” for students. The program provides a “risk index” for students based on a number of factors: homework completion, attendance, participation. But whereas credit scores are designed to prevent risky buyers from getting approved on loans, Dropout Detective is meant to improve student success and lower dropout rates.
Colleges are no strangers to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where malicious actors flood a network with traffic to collapse it. In 2015 alone, Rutgers University suffered six DDoS attacks, including one that lasted for five days. Now, thanks to a new attack method, these attacks might be even more efficient to conduct. Campus Technology reports that cybersecurity company Akamai has identified a new DDoS method that can cause “significant attack bandwidth” using “significantly fewer hosts.” These connection-less lightweight directory access protocol (CLDAP) reflection attacks reportedly hit 50 targets this year, including two educational institutions. Campus Technology indicates that the potential for amplification is high.