Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Google designs new self-driving vehicles that lose the steering wheel and pedals

Google has been tweaking its self-driving car project for years, but now it's taking another big step. Later this summer it will start testing prototype vehicles it's designed from the ground up, instead of merely retrofitting existing vehicles. Announced tonight the the Code Conference, the new prototypes aren't equipped with a steering wheel, mirrors, pedals or other vestiges of vehicles gone by, and for now are limited to a maximum speed of 25MPH. As explained in an early preview to Re/code, the car is driven entirely by computer, with backup automated systems for brakes and steering that would take over in case of a failure of the primary setup. So far, Google says it's not planning to sell the vehicles itself, but is looking for "friends and partners to bring them to market. Following rumors from late last year, the automated cars could partner with a "friend" like Uber for a delivery service that runs on autopilot.

Read more..

via Engadget RSS Feed

Leap Motion Adds More-Intricate Tracking to Its Amazing Controller

Leap Motion’s newest motion-tracking software just got much more precise. Today, the company released its Version 2 (V2) software to developers in a public beta. The update allows developers to create applications that can make use of very subtle finger and joint movements.

As Leap Motion’s first video of V2 in action shows, this could mean incredible things for the world of computer-generated animation. The video shows how the V2 software recognizes individual hand, fingers, joints, and bones through its “Visualizer” mode; you can compare its more-granular skills to the previous version of the software in this video. When those more-intricate gestures are mapped to an animated set of Mickey-Mouse-like hands, the on-screen results are incredibly smooth and lifelike.

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via WIRED » Gadget Lab

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nitrogen vs Air In Tyres

Is it really worth it.. Nitrogen... Decide for your selves.

Chrome's 'OK Google' voice search rolls out to all


If you wanted to enjoy hands-free Google searching from your desktop, your only option was to install an extension or become an early tester. The downside was that you'd have to accept some additional bugs might come your way. No more -- Google has rolled out a Chrome update that integrates the company's now iconic "OK Google" command directly into the latest version of its browser and in Chrome OS. As long as you're based in the US or have Chrome set to US English, any time you visit the Google homepage or open a new tab, you can quickly say (or loudly shout, the choice is yours) "OK Google" to perform a search, ask a question or schedule a reminder. 

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via Engadget RSS Feed

Samsung's mobile health app can now tell when you're stressed out

The Galaxy S5's heart rate sensor has mostly been handy for fitness gurus, but it's now helpful for the rest of us, too. Samsung has pushed out an update to S Health that uses the sensor to track stress levels; if your heart is racing after a bad day at work, you'll know. The app also tracks long-term trends, so it should be clear when you're overdue for a vacation. While S Health won't help you get rid of the annoying coworkers or personal dramas that cause stress, the app will at least make it clear that it's time to relax.

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via Engadget RSS Feed

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rest in peace Ubuntu for Android, we hardly knew ye

We can't say that the future of Ubuntu for Android ever looked particularly bright, but we were enamored with the concept. You'd walk around by day with a standard-issue Android phone in your pocket, but when you docked it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor, you were greeted with a full Ubuntu desktop experience. Well, Canonical has decided to put the project out to pasture apparently. Buried away in a recent bug report (now hidden frompublic view) was the fact that "Ubuntu for Android is no longer in development," and thus its landing page should be taken offline. Though some responses from the Canonical team appear to muddy the story, the take away is the same -- active development on Ubuntu for Android has come to a halt.

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via Engadget RSS Feed

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This Video Shows What Caffeine Does to Your Brain and How Much Is Safe

Caffeine is a fascinating drug, one that many of us enjoy via coffee, tea, and other products. This video from the American Chemical Society is a quick look on how caffeine actually affects our bodies and how much is a safe dose .


via Lifehacker

The Untold Story of Larry Page’s Incredible Comeback

I thought you might like this article on Slate:

Everyone knows the Steve Jobs story—how he was fired from the company he founded, Apple, only to return from exile decades later to save the business.

What's less well understood is that Apple's board and investors were absolutely right to fire Jobs. Early in his career, he was petulant, mean, and destructive. Only by leaving Apple, humbling himself, and finding a second success—with Pixar—was he able to mature into the leader who would return to Apple and build it into the world's most valuable company.

Larry Page is the Steve Jobs of Google.

Like Jobs, Page has a co-founder, Sergey Brin, but Page has always been his company's true visionary and driving force. And just as Apple's investors threw Jobs out of his company, Google's investors ignored Page's wishes and forced him hire a CEO to be adult supervision.

Both then underwent a long period in the wilderness. Steve Jobs' banishment was more severe, but Page also spent years at a remove from the day-to-day world of Google. As with Jobs, it was only through this long exile that Page was able to mature into a self-awareness of his strengths and weaknesses.

Then, like Jobs, Page came back with wild ambitions and new resolve.

Control Arduino Projects with Your Voice and an Android Phone

Voice recognition is a one of the best ways to control Arduino projects, but it's not exactly easy to implement on your own. Instructables user ASCAS shows off how to add voice control to your Arduino projects using your Android phone and Bluetooth.

The Arduino gets a Bluetooth attachment and a set of code. Then you'll need 
Android Meets Robots, an app that lets you pair voice recognition with any Bluetooth module. From there, it's just about pairing the two together and creating your own commands.


via Lifehacker

Word Lens, The Real-Time Translation App, is Now Free

Android/iOS: Word Lens, the app that can translate the words and language it sees in real time, is free to download today.

Google has purchased Word Lens' parent company, Quest Visual, and their first move was making the app free to download. 


via Lifehacker

How Linux is Built

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Celebrate the 40th birthday of Rubik's Cube with today's Google Doodle

It must be hard being Ernő Rubik. Back in the 1980s, the architect and toy inventor had the rare good fortune of becoming one of very few self-made millionaires from communist Europe. But in the process he was horribly pigeon-holed. His patented...

via Engadget RSS Feed

Samsung plans to bring biometric security to its low-end phones


The Galaxy S5 was widely tipped to launch with iris-scanning capabilities. When the crunch time came, Samsung played safe with only fingerprint sensor support. According to the Wall Street Journal, the eye-centric tech is still on the company's radar and could soon debut in new high- and low-end phones alike. "We're looking at various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of things that everybody is looking at is iris detection," Samsung executive Rhee In-jong admitted today, adding that it would likely be included in flagship smartphones first. 

Like fingerprint recognition, iris scanning would likely form another link in Samsung's Knox platform, putting it in good stead with big organizations like the US government. Samsung's desire to "follow the market trend" often causes it to beat rivals to market with features that customers rarely use. Iris scanning could well be the next example.

via Engadget RSS Feed

Scientists make deep-brain implants possible through wireless charging

Stanford researchers have figured out a way to wirelessly charge electronic devices that are deep inside your body. Currently pacemakers and nerve transmitters need to have large receiving coils near the top of your skin to charge up (limiting where you can put them), or periodically have their battery replaced through surgery. This new method, however, would allow devices to be much smaller because they don't have to tote around such a huge battery. Also since they're not reliant on charging coils they could live much deeper in the body and brain.


via Engadget RSS Feed

Chinese Search Giant Baidu Hires Man Behind the “Google Brain”

Leading AI researcher Andrew Ng, previously associated with Google, will lead a new effort by China’s Baidu to create software that understands the world.

Recent advances have triggered a technological arms race in Silicon Valley, with big Web companies competing for the best academic talent. Like Google, Facebook, and other companies rushing to invest in deep learning, Baidu is motivated by the promise of dramatic advances in artificial intelligence.


via Computing - MIT Technology Review