Technology

Google Now Lets Developers Write Apps For the Assistant On Google Home

Slashdot - 4 hours 21 min ago
Google today announced it will open up Home to third-party developers, allowing all developers to start bringing their applications and services to the Google Assistant. Developers can start building "conversation actions" for the Google Assistant, which "allows developers to create back-and-forth conversations with users through the Assistant," writes Frederic Lardinois via TechCrunch. "Users can simply start these conversations by using a phrase like 'OK Google, talk to Eliza.'" TechCrunch reports: While the Assistant also runs on the Pixel phones and inside the Allo chat app, Google says it plans to bring actions to these other "Assistant surfaces" in the future, but it's unclear when exactly this will happen. To help developers who want to build these new Conversation Actions get started, Google has teamed up with a number of partners, including API.AI, GupShup, DashBot and VoiceLabs, Assist, Notify.IO, Witlingo and Spoken Layer. Google has also allowed a small number of partners to enable their apps on Google Home already. These integrations will roll out as early as next week. Given that users will be able to invoke these new actions with a simple command (and without having to first enable a skill, like on Alexa), Google's platform looks to be a rather accessible and low-friction way for developers to get their voice-enabled services to users. Google will have the final say over which actions will be enabled on Google Home.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Local Motors unveils 3D printed autonomous car with drone

ReadWriteWeb - 5 hours 21 min ago

Engineers from Local Motors have recently found a way to utilize a self-driving car, a 3D printer and a drone, all together in one amazing machine.

Working directly with Grant Imahara of Mythbusters, the engineers have produced a 3D printed, autonomous vehicle that comes equipped with its own 3D printed drone. Mouser Electronics provided the autonomous software, which allows the car to navigate alone, while the passenger operates the drone.  The drone then provides video feed back to the vehicle.  This allows the driver to discover possible traffic jam areas and enjoy the scenery in the area from a unique perspective.

See Also: US government says drones must now be registered

The drone has been created as the result of a recent contest.  The contest winner, Finn Yonkers, stated that he created “fly mode” due to wanting to flip the idea of autonomy on its side.

“So by introducing the element of flight, you are actually increasing the sensory experience of travel, giving you a viewpoint that’s out of context, so you’re not really inside the vehicle anymore,” he continued. You’re outside of it, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to expand on the experience.”

How Local Motors can use this in the future

According to Local Motors, the drone has other uses too, such as playing an augmented reality game, and sending the vehicle important information.

Who knows what the future will hold with this new technological breakthrough.  For now, it is certainly a cool machine for drone and autonomous car enthusiasts alike.

The post Local Motors unveils 3D printed autonomous car with drone appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

UK’s Bristol wins laurels for its programmable city initiative

ReadWriteWeb - 5 hours 52 min ago

The future-friendly city of Bristol received a notable Internet of Things (IoT) award for its programmable city initiative.
Globe Newswire said that the southwest U.K. city recently won the Smart City Award at the World Communications Awards & Internet of Things Awards in London.

The city was recognized for its Bristol is Open project, which is a joint venture between the Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol.

The ambitious initiative is essentially an open “programmable city” project that allows citizens to digitally contribute to the functioning of the city itself.

Specifically, the project creates an experimental high-performance software defined network. It achieves this using wireless networks, mesh networks and dedicated fiber deployed across Bristol.

The project was also hailed for its ability to draw together research organizations, technology companies, government and the public to develop and collaborate on next generation network research.

Bristol is Open included a number of notable partners such as Nokia, the University of Bath and InterDigital among others.

Showing the way for future smart cities

An example of industry involvement comes from wireless systems developer InterDigital which joined the project in late 2015. As part of Bristol is Open, the company capitalized on the project’s city-scale research and development network to determine how future cities can use programmable networks to solve large challenges.

As a result, InterDigital performed a live demonstration of a related video streaming innovation over the Bristol is Open test bed in February 2016.

The recognition of Bristol is Open follows a recent smart city research paper by Siemens Financial Services that identified nearly $7 billion in potential smart city funding.

After looking at private funding sources in 13 countries, the study concluded that the U.K. could rustle up $6.98 billion for smart city projects.

The paper modeled private sector financing opportunities to make up the shortfall in public funds that British smart city projects currently face.

The post UK’s Bristol wins laurels for its programmable city initiative appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

The Physics of Spider-Man’s New Web Wings

Wired - Top Stories - 6 hours 16 min ago
In the latest trailer from Spider-Man: Homecoming, we see that he now has wings on his suit. Here is a rough model of him falling with wings. The post The Physics of Spider-Man's New Web Wings appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

The First Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer Is Gonna Eat the Web

Wired - Top Stories - 6 hours 18 min ago
Parker your butt on a chair, and get ready to watch this thing over and over again. The post The First Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer Is Gonna Eat the Web appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 10:49pm

Online clothes shopping has surged in the past few years, as consumers become more confident buying before trying. However, everyone has had one bad experience with size, length or fit and had to return or live with the mistake.

Wiivv Wearables wants to make the fear of a wrong size a thing of the past, by combining a 3D printer scanner with a smartphone. The measurements are then sent to the cloud, manufactured on a 3D printer, and sent to the customer.

See Also: GE spends billions to print 3D piles of IIoT money

The Vancouver-based startup only sells insoles at the moment, but the team is interested in expanding to fashion and sportswear in the future.

Cuts costs from $300 to $75

3D printing reduces the costs of insoles by nearly half, from $300-600 at an orthotics to $75 from the app. Wiivv also claims that the scanner is more accurate than an orthotics, so the insole may provide even more comfort to the customer.

The system only requires five photos of the foot at different positions to build an accurate model. We could see the same functionality being applied to the waist, chest, or legs to obtain accurate body measurements in a few minutes, though jackets and jeans may require more data than an insole.

3D printing has not democratized manufacturing in the way some would have liked, 3D printers are still too expensive for most people and too complex for beginners. Wiivv could be a nice midway point for manufacturing, allowing customers to customize their clothes to fit and look exactly how they want, and get them shipped at a reasonable price.

The post This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

US Life Expectancy Declines For the First Time Since 1993

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 10:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source) -- a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States. Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans. Its findings show increases in "virtually every cause of death. It's all ages," said David Weir, director of the health and retirement study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Over the past five years, he noted, improvements in death rates were among the smallest of the past four decades. "There's this just across-the-board [phenomenon] of not doing very well in the United States." Overall, life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, according to the latest data. The last time U.S. life expectancy at birth declined was in 1993, when it dropped from 75.6 to 75.4, according to World Bank data. The overall death rate rose 1.2 percent in 2015, its first uptick since 1999. More than 2.7 million people died, about 45 percent of them from heart disease or cancer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Many Pebble customers are left without a warranty or technical support after the Fitbit acquisition (Alex Cranz/Gizmodo)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 9:55pm

Alex Cranz / Gizmodo:
Many Pebble customers are left without a warranty or technical support after the Fitbit acquisition  —  Pebble, one of the best-known smartwatch brands, is dead.  Rumors about the company's demise have been swirling since The Information reported a potential Fitbit buyout last week.

Categories: Technology

Sources: Gene Munster to leave Piper Jaffray to start Loup Ventures, a VC firm that plans to invest in VR, AR, AI, and robotics (Benzinga)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 9:05pm

Benzinga:
Sources: Gene Munster to leave Piper Jaffray to start Loup Ventures, a VC firm that plans to invest in VR, AR, AI, and robotics  —  Wall Street's sell-side community will be getting a bit of a shake up Thursday.  —  In addition to word that technology and internet analyst Bob Peck …

Categories: Technology

US Presidential Election Was Most 'Talked About' Topic In 2016, Says Facebook

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 9:05pm
What may come as no surprise to Facebook users, the social media company announced in a blog post that the U.S. presidential election was the most "talked about" topic on Facebook in 2016. Phys.Org highlights the other most-discussed topics in its report: The bitterly contested election in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton was ranked as the leading issue, followed by Brazil's political developments which included the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff, Facebook said in a blog post. On the lighter side at number three was the runaway success of Pokemon Go, the location-based augmented reality game for smartphone users. Other subject matters shared among Facebook's 1.79 billion users were more sober, with the fourth leading topic the "Black Lives Matter" movement, followed by the election in the Philippines of Rodrigo Duterte. Number six on the list was the Olympic games, followed by Brexit, the Super Bowl and the deaths of rock star David Bowie and boxing icon Muhammad Ali. Facebook said it measured leading topics by how frequently an issue was mentioned in posts made between January 1 and November 27.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Transportation Department Proposes Allowing In-Flight Phone Calls

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 8:25pm
Yesterday, France's Le Monde newspaper issued a report, citing documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that says American and British spies have since 2005 been working on intercepting phone calls and data transfers made from aircraft. Assuming the report is accurate, national security agencies may soon have their hands full if a new proposal by the Department of Transportation becomes official, which would allow each airline to decide whether its passengers will be permitted to make in-flight phone calls using the aircraft's onboard Wi-Fi system. ABC News reports: The Department of Transportation's proposal leaves it up to airlines whether to allow the calls. But carriers would be required to inform passengers at the time they purchase a ticket if the calls are allowed. That would give passengers the opportunity to make other travel arrangements if they don't want to risk the possibility of sitting near passengers making phone calls. The Federal Communications Commission prohibits using mobile phones to make calls during flights, but not Wi-Fi calls. There is a minimum 60-day comment period and the proposal leaves the door open to an outright ban. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the proposal.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Yik Yak Lays Off 60 Percent of Employees As Growth Collapses

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 7:45pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Yik Yak has laid off 60 percent of employees amid a downturn in the app's growth prospects, The Verge has learned. The three-year-old anonymous social network has raised $73.5 million from top-tier investors on the promise that its young, college-age network of users could one day build a company to rival Facebook. But the challenge of growing its community while moving gradually away from anonymity has so far proven to be more than the company could muster. Employees who were affected were informed of the layoffs Thursday morning, sources told The Verge. Yik Yak employed about 50 people, and now only about 20 remain, the company said. The community, marketing, design, and product teams were all deeply affected, one source said. Atlanta-based Yik Yak was founded in 2014 by Furman University students Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington. The app updated the concept of dorm newsletters for the mobile era, letting anyone post comments about school, their campus, or life in general. The fact that comments were anonymous initially helped the app grow, as it encouraged more candid forms of sharing than students might otherwise post on Facebook or Instagram.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Watchdog Group Claims Smart Toys Are Spying On Kids

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 7:05pm
The Center for Digital Democracy has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission warning of security and privacy holes associated with a pair of smart toys designed for children. Mashable reports: "This complaint concerns toys that spy," reads the complaint, which claims the Genesis Toys' My Friend Cayla and i-QUE Intelligent Robot can record and collect private conversations and offer no limitations on the collection and use of personal information. Both toys use voice recognition, internet connectivity and Bluetooth to engage with children in conversational manner and answer questions. The CDD claims they do all of this in wildly insecure and invasive ways. Both My Friend Cayla and i-QUE use Nuance Communications' voice-recognition platform to listen and respond to queries. On the Genesis Toy site, the manufacturer notes that while "most of Cayla's conversational features can be accessed offline," searching for information may require an internet connection. The promotional video for Cayla encourages children to "ask Cayla almost anything." The dolls work in concert with mobile apps. Some questions can be asked directly, but the toys maintain a constant Bluetooth connection to the dolls so they can also react to actions in the app and even appear to identify objects the child taps on on screen. While some of the questions children ask the dolls are apparently recorded and sent to Nuance's servers for parsing, it's unclear how much of the information is personal in nature. The Genesis Privacy Policy promises to anonymize information. The CDD also claims, however, that My Friend Cayla and i-Que employ Bluetooth in the least secure way possible. Instead of requiring a PIN code to complete pairing between the toy and a smartphone or iPad, "Cayla and i-Que do not employ... authentication mechanisms to establish a Bluetooth connection between the doll and a smartphone or tablet. The dolls do not implement any other security measure to prevent unauthorized Bluetooth pairing." Without a pairing notification on the toy or any authentication strategy, anyone with a Bluetooth device could connect to the toys' open Bluetooth networks, according to the complaint.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Viral Video Stars Rhett and Link Risk Showing Us the Last Thing on Their Phones

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 6:45pm
WIRED asked Rhett and Link to show us what was on their devices. The results were kinda strange. The post Viral Video Stars Rhett and Link Risk Showing Us the Last Thing on Their Phones appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

AT&T To Cough Up $88 Million For 'Cramming' Mobile Customer Bills

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 6:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Some 2.7 million ATT customers will share $88 million in compensation for having had unauthorized third-party charges added to their mobile bills, the Federal Trade Commission announced this morning. The latest shot in the federal government's years-long battle against such abuses, these refunds will represent the most money ever recouped by victims of what is known as "mobile cramming," according to the FTC. From an FTC press release: "Through the FTC's refund program, nearly 2.5 million current ATT customers will receive a credit on their bill within the next 75 days, and more than 300,000 former customers will receive a check. The average refund amount is $31. [...] According to the FTC's complaint, ATT placed unauthorized third-party charges on its customers' phone bills, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for ringtones and text message subscriptions containing love tips, horoscopes, and 'fun facts.' The FTC alleged that ATT kept at least 35 percent of the charges it imposed on its customers." The matter with ATT was originally made public in 2014 and also involved two companies that actually applied the unauthorized charges, Tatto and Acquinity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

AI Will Disrupt How Developers Build Applications and the Nature of the Applications they Build

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:45pm
AI will soon help programmers improve development, says Diego Lo Giudice, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, in an article published on ZDNet today. He isn't saying that programmers will be out of jobs soon and AIs will take over. But he is making a compelling argument for how AI has already begun disrupting how developers build applications. An excerpt from the article: We can see early signs of this: Microsoft's Intellisense is integrated into Visual Studio and other IDEs to improve the developer experience. HPE is working on some interesting tech previews that leverage AI and machine learning to enable systems to predict key actions for participants in the application development and testing life cycle, such as managing/refining test coverage, the propensity of a code change to disrupt/break a build, or the optimal order of user story engagement. But AI will do much more for us in the future. How fast this happens depends on the investments and focus on solving some of the harder problems, such as "unsupervised deep learning," that firms like Google, FaceBook, Baidu and others are working on, with NLP linguists that are too researching on how to improve language comprehension by computers leveraging ML and neural networks. But in the short term, AI will most likely help you be more productive and creative as a developer, tester, or dev team rather than making you redundant.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology