Leap Motion’s ‘Collapsible’ User Interface for AR Headsets

Leap Motion, the company behind the hand-tracking depth sensor, recently showed off a prototype of a user interface for AR headsets this time centered on how some simple elements might work in the “augmented office” of the near future.

By moving your hand closer to the small white bar, which is projected to appear on the edge of a desk, you can produce a 2D window, pick it up, place it in mid-air, and even lay it down flat on a desk.

The prototype is still in it’s very early stages and the road to a final product is still a long way off, but it is already a great example of what the future of AR might look like.

Convolutional Neural Network Based Level Editor for Virtual Reality

Sam Snider-Held, a creative technologist working at MediaMonks, created a Convolutional Neural Network that can be used as a VR level editor type interface.
The whole project has a Harry Potter feel to it as you draw objects in VR and the neural network can detect it and load the corresponding primitive or asset so you can quickly build objects in 3d.

This is a great example of intersection of AI, Creativity, and 3D content generation and having the experience of drawing objects out of thin air is quite magical.

Flying a holographic drone in your living room

Epson announced the launch of an augmented reality flight simulator that will let you pilot a virtual drone through the physical space around you using the company’s Maverio AR glasses.
There are even a few games built into the app. You can collect candy or fly through some rings. Figuring out how the holographic drone relates to these objects in space definitely highlighted some of the limitations of the simulation.
It shows that combining 2 wildly different fields can give impressive results, and gives you the pleasure of having a drone without breaking the bank.

Augmented reality devices like the Microsoft Hololens or the Magic Leap or systems like Apple ARKit or Google Tango are extending the reality with an additional synthetic visual layer and are opening complete new possibilities for guidance, info- and entertainment systems.

Nvidias new neural network creates fake celebrities

Nvidia just released a video showing off its use of a generative adversarial network (GAN) to create high-definition photos of fake humans. The results are impressive and extremely realistic as it uses a database of celebrity photos to generate new faces.

NVIDIA used a special “progressive” method that began the GAN’s tuition on low-res images, and then worked upwards to HD. “This both speeds the training up and greatly stabilizes it, allowing us to produce images of unprecedented quality” wrote the company of its approach.

This is another great example how powerful neural networks and AI really are and how they can be used for creative applications.

More information: research.nvidia.com

Google’s new wireless earphones with live translation will change the world

Google’s new wireless earphones, called Pixel Buds, designed for use with the company’s new Pixel 2 handset have an extraordinary special feature: If you tell it to “Help me speak Japanese” and then start speaking in English, the phone’s speakers will output your translated words as you speak them. The other party’s reply will then play into your ear through the Pixel Buds translated to your language. Next to this cool feature you have all the standars like issuing commands to Google Assistant on the Pixel 2, have it play music, give you directions, place a phone call and whatnot.

Getting all of the necessary bits and pieces necessary to facilitate real-time language translation into a device small enough to fit into your ear and pocket is no easy feat and is truly amazing. The future we all have been waiting for is finally starting to arrive in the present.

Classyfier – Using AI to match the right music to the right situation

The Classyfier is a table developed at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction that detects the beverages people consume around it and chooses music that fits the situation accordingly. A built in microphone catches characteristic sounds and then compares these sounds to a catalogue of pre-trained examples.
The Classyfier identifies it as belonging to one of three classes; hot beverages, wine or beer. Each class has its own playlist that one can navigate through by knocking on the table.
The idea behind this project was to build a smart object that uses machine learning and naturally occurring sounds as input to enhance the ambiance of different situations.

Deep neural networks and machine-learning are key players of artificial intelligence. They are simulating basic information processing of the brain and are more and more used in many products.

Cymatics – The science of visualising audio frequencies

Inspired by synesthesia and cymatics, Nigel Stanford set out to make a music video where every note has a corresponding visual that is produced by the music that is played.
He teamed up with a video director and the result is an amazing blend of Physics, Technology and music all wrapped up in a music video.
It shows that combining different fields and thinking outside the box can create an very innovate project, which what creative development is all about.

If you are interested in more you can read and watch videos of the making of on his website

Ferrolic: A beautiful living clock

Ferrolic is a clock made out of ferro fluid that is moved by magnets to visualise the changing of time. The dynamic of the movement of the ferro fluid gives the clock a tangible and mesmerizing feel to the passage of time.
The only downside is that the clock has a short lifespan of a few months since the ferrofluid degrades after a while and will stop responding to the magnetic fields.

Still, this is a great example of creatively combining physics, technology and a sense of design to produce an item that looks like a piece of art, but also retains it’s original usefulness.

More information: Ferrolic.com

Google Jamboard: A 55” 4k digital whiteboard

Google recently launched their 55 inch 4k digital whiteboard called Jamboard. It essentially tries to improve and enhance the whiteboard experience by leveraging the current power of 4k and inter-connectivity.

It boasts some impressive features like handwriting and shape recognition, 16 touch points, seamless integration with Jamboard apps on phones and tablets. If you are interested in the full specs you find them here.

The only downside you could argue about is it’s price: $5000. Next to that, you will also be required to pay an annual management and support fee of $600. If the price is no issue then you might just be signing on to the next evolution of a collaborative experience.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware

Years before any new shiny piece of tech arrives in the West, people in Shenzhen are already bored of it and on the next train. You might not fully realise it, but Shenzhen is truly the Tomorrowland of today’s world.

The proximity to an enormous infrastructure of hardware manufacturers combined with a lot of engineering talent and creativity makes Shenzhen the place to be if you want a glimpse of the future.

This special Wired documentary is just over an hour long, but for those who have not seen it yet will not regret the time spent. It gives a fascinating insight into how and where most of the world’s computer hardware is designed and built. If you want to know what’s coming next…the compass points squarely into one direct: Shenzhen.