MIT is worldwide known for its robotics research. In the past, they managed to create a robot breaking the world record in solving a Rubik’s Cube in only 0.38 seconds, the first four-legged robot to do a backflip, etc.
Sounds impressive, but with their newest development, they can’t just look cool, but it can be used in many ways and bring the robots on to the next level of productivity.
Picking up objects and flipping them around is easy for people. We do it every day, e.g., when we are trying to take notes at University, work, or at home. We pick up the pen and bring it into the right position and start writing. The same scenario is when we are eating a sandwich: We move it a little bit to bite from the other corner.
For our robot friends, however, it is tough to pick up things without either dropping them or destroying them and then to add the factor of turning the object they just mastered to hold? It sounds like a difficult task.
Therefore it took robots a long time to plan and calculate all the factors like geometry, friction, all the possibilities of how the object can be turned, etc. This whole process took tens of minutes previously, which sounds still impressive, bearing in mind that if we measured and calculate these numbers, we would sit there for hours and probably still fail.
MIT mastered to bring down the planning time of the robot to less than a second.
How is that possible? The robot is pushing the object against a stationary surface and slides its claw down the object until it has it in the right position.
For the future, this can mean that instead of a specialized tool like a screwdriver, machines would have more something like a hand, giving them the ability to pick up different kinds of tools and do various tasks.
This improvement would most likely save the companies space and also money since, for multiple steps, they would need one robot.
This is another case were thinking out of the box, by simply using the surroundings, has a huge effect.
Probably most of you are familiar with VR. Not that long ago, we could see it only in movies, but nowadays thanks to Oculus Rift, it started becoming a more mainstream option of entertainment. Well, now imagine that there’s a device that enables you to not only see everything as if you were there, but also to feel it. That’s what Tesla’s new invention is all about.
Teslasuit was presented at CES 2019, where influencers and journalists could even try out the prototype version. It is a new generation of smart clothing. Moreover, it is a full body suit, made from waterproof neoprene, filled with multiple censors, which right now add up to 68. Since it’s waterproof, it is fully washable. Just put it into your washing machine and enjoy the fresh smell. Additionaly, Tesla’s spokesperson stated that by the time that they will hit the market, number of censors will be even higher. Although all of this information may not seem as impressive for you at this moment, let me explain briefly what can it do.
This clothing with the use of haptic feedback can simulate the feeling of touch, bumping into a wall and even getting kicked or punched. It seems pretty futuristic, doesn’t it? Of course everything is done with safety measures, so that it doesn’t hurt you. You can even adjust the power of the sensations, if it’s too much for you, but that’s not all. Let’s ignore for a second the ‘less important’ fact that it measures your biometric data like heart rate and how do you feel overall. It actually can make you feel different temperatures.
Now imagine, that you play Call of Duty or some other FPS game and you have a mission located somewhere in Siberia with -30°C, there are plenty of enemies nearby trying to kill you and you can feel it all! The temperature, bullets hitting you, touching the ground, your weapon, simply everything. Of course it won’t be as real as the real pain or temperature, but it definitely will be different and much better than sitting in front of a computer or a TV on your couch. I don’t know how do you feel about it, but to me it seems amazing.
It provides the sensations, anything from stroke to hard impact … but the hard impact we’ve specifically limited to the own wearer’s strength, not to damage any tissue or anything, to keep it safe.” (Digital Trends).
Imagine the possibilities that this equipment creates. In my opinion, it can even help with obesity to some extent. All of the gamers in order to keep playing, will have to burn all of this calories by moving inside of their houses constantly. That’s definitely not something that you can do, while being overweight. Your actual physical abilities will determine, how good you are at certain games.
Although I’m really enthusiastic about this kind of gaming, let’s talk about some other aspects of this technology, since playing games just isn’t for everyone. In future, it may enable us to for example go explore different countries or watch a NBA game, from the comfort of our own house, just for few bucks. It can even be some form of communication between friend’s and family. Imagine that you are in a long-distance relationship. This technology will enable you to not only talk face-to-face, but feel the presence of your partner. This just blows my mind.
Here you can see a quick video of how people reacted to Teslasuit at CES 2019
It all sounds amazing, but nothing there’s always a catch. Well, the device itself isn’t so cheap. When launched on Kickstarter, the ‘Pioneer’ version costed 1500$ and the ‘Prodigy’ version was evaluated at 2750$. The price will probably go down as the interest of the product will go up in future, but it definitely isn’t a product for everyone. Still, in my opinion it’s totally worth it.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
1. Miranda, F. (2019, January 13). The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality. https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/teslasuit-experience-ces-2019/
2. null. (2018, December 31).The TeslaSuit, VR, and Gaming Potential. https://www.gamedesigning.org/gaming/teslasuit/
＂Research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.＂
– Harvard Business Review
If you need to make an insurance claim, you use an online form for that. In the case of opening new accounts, you simply fill in the form, then benefit from the quick mail response. Maybe you would like to take out a loan? Oh, it should be a piece of cake to speak with a chatbot briefly and learn everything about everything. Do you recognize yourself in the lines above?
The answer is unequivocally yes. We are constantly connected to a network. The companies improved efficiency as well as cut their costs by shifting to the digital contact with customers. But on the other side of the coin – for many businesses the emotional bond has been violated by digital strategy and efficiency that directly affected the cost of the brand, revenue growth, and outflow. This backdrop sets the scene for incredible innovation, as it became pretty complicated for clients to differentiate the values of the brand of two different companies. It’s all about digital commoditization.
FaceMe is a world-leading provider of Digital Humans via its Intelligent Digital Human Platform, created on the AI basis, which expands the brand opportunities to build reliable interaction with clients in the real time, based on customized content and unforgettable personalities, which build an emotional connection using the power of the human face. IBM Cloud technologies are used together with high-capacity of IBM Cloud bare metal servers in order to provide endless scalability of this technology for hundreds of simultaneous conversations. It’s such an organization that – to put it in a nutshell – enables organizations to reduce the cost to serve at the same time as enabling opportunity for growth and improving customer experience. The company now operates in New Zealand, the US, Australia, and Europe, working for global brands such as Vodafone and UBS. It’s available for customers through browsers, mobile phones or kiosks.
It is estimated by analytics that within the next decade nearly 85 % of communication with customers will be implemented only via digital channels. Mobile applications, web-portals, and chatbots will become even faster and more convenient, but the companies might have a difficult time building bridges with the clients in such a competitive environment.
I’m pretty sure that our future reality will draw a lot of eyeballs. At least for the reason that Digital Humans will process question in just 100 milliseconds, during which they will converting text from a chatbot into key human qualities through both the ability to respond with speech, facial expression or gestures and also apply dynamic reaction based on customers behavior and emotion. The client, in turn, perceives almost immediate response that means that conversation flows good, and feels as comfortable as talking with the real agent.
Bringing emotional connection to the digital world is as crucial in the context of business as in solving pressing issues, related to health and well-being, education, environment, and many other spheres. Take the example of psychological health. You know, the first important step is just to make patients talk. As studies have shown, 63 % of people would prefer talking about problems of their psychological health with Digital Humans. Therefore, there is a great opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society. FaceMe also works with the Centre for Digital Business to create digital reading instructors, who can help children with reading problems, for whom there is a shortage of qualified teachers. One more potential use case is a provision of consultations and emotional support for patients, recovering after heart surgeries.
Technologies of IBM and FaceMe represent a powerful combination, which intends to change the customer’s experience all over the world. Remember, there is no restriction in our ambitions and ability to make a positive contribution in the society by introducing emotional connection in the digital world.
Recently, MIT engineers have designed and built an electric airplane with no moving parts. The absence of turbines and propellers is possible thanks to “ionic wind”, which occurs when ions generated by the thruster on the aircraft collide with air molecules and propel the plane forward. This ground-breaking machine makes virtually no sound and is powered entirely by battery.
The airplane made by MIT engineers has a 5 meter wingspan and weighs only 2.45 kilograms. Steven Barrett and his team have been working on this design since 2009. Barrett has said that the science fiction phenomenon, Star Trek, which he often watched during his childhood, greatly inspired him when developing the aircraft. Is it possible that the spaceships we have seen in Star Wars and Star Trek can soon become more than just geeks’ fantasies? While Barrett’s design has still got a long way to go, especially when compared to the USS Enterprise, Millennium Falcon or TIE Fighter, it is still a fantastic accomplishment.
In theory, Ionocrafts could be a game-changer in transportation of cargo and people. Still, one has to remember a revolution is still many years away. The aircraft was tested on a distance of about 60 metres, in a closed gym, under close supervision. Still, Barrett and his team have repeated the test 10 times and found that enough ions have been produced to sustain flight the entire time.
Source: Nature YouTube channel
What struck me the most is the fact that the concept of ionic wind propulsion has been around for quite some time – it was mentioned as far back as 1709, when an English scientist Francis Hauksbee published Physico-Mechanical Experiments on Various Subjects, and in the 1920s by Thomas Townsend Brown, whose research and work have influenced further discoveries. But it was not until the 1960s, when Russian pilot Alexander Prokofiev de Seversky introduced his idea of Ionocraft , that it became to feel more realistic. Still, it was not until earlier this week, in November 2018, that an actual prototype was built and tested.
Have you ever thought that your clothes would assimilate with your body?
Just imagine, your all-natural reactions, behavior and processes are now all captivated by the shoes that you are wearing every day, some T-shirt, dress. Can you come with the idea that your favorite sweater might change a color every time you catch a flu or that you would be able to see the ignorance or anger of the person not through his facial mimics, but due to the movement of the fabrics in his or her shirt?
In the near future, it can be used not only as the protection from the outside of your body factors, but as a real part of you that compliments you, your physical processes and would be an integral part of the communication with the surrounding world.
Nowadays, such assumption is already not a fantasy, but a real fact. There are already created numerous examples of the clothes that seem to not only provide comfort, but to visualize and assist the hidden physical and mental processes of the human body.
The well-known fact is that, people have always been demonstrating their individuality through the clothes they are wearing, in order to create a specific social position in the conversation with others. In fact, the innovations in technology have provided us with the opportunity to express ourselves in a broader way.
The use of technology in fashion is now no more a tool to produce the clothes, but a new way to execute the human’s inside vision.
The newly invented fabrics and materials can correspond and show up the human’s emotions and condition. In result, a person wearing such clothes will be already unique due to the uniqueness of his or her own emotions and feelings, because the inner world of each human is already exclusive.
Therefore, as well, the high-tech clothes would be able to open a real conversation with a human body itself and due to physical factors and sensory processing the clothes would be able to interact with the body and, consequently, transform itself to satisfy the wearer.
The Dutch designer Anouk Whipprecht through the combination of fashion and robotics has created a new realm of personal space. Due to the ability of biosensors to catch any evidence of a dress wearer feeling threatened, the robotic spider legs, built-in dress, create a “spider attack” position.
Social Escape Dress
As well, as Anouk Whipprecht, the designers from Urban Armor have been working on the problem of the personal space within a big city. In fact, the Social Escape Dress is equipped with GSR sensors (Galvanic Skin Response) that indicate a strong feeling of stress. As a result, the dress would emit a cloud of fog from the collar, if the wearer feels stressed and uncomfortable in any surrounding.
By experimenting with the smart fabrics, robotics, sensory processing and eye-tracking technology, the Montreal designer Ying Gao got a chance to create the garment, which is complimenting its “user”. It is a series of two dresses, which have the ability to change the form and light up, if someone is looking at the person wearing these dresses. According to The Culture Trip: “It is normally the wearer who notices your gaze, not the clothes themselves, but this innovative creation has everyone’s head turning”.
Swarovski gemstone headpiece
The creative group “The Unseen”, headed by Lauren Bowker, has always been mixing the fashion and science. The Lauren Bowker, as the press calls her, “The Alchemist” has come with the invention of the ink that changes the color of the item it is applied on. Among a large majority of her inventions, like the hair dye that changes color, the headpiece created for Swarovski is the one that is acting in accordance with human body condition. The headpiece is constructed by the gemstones, which have been specially grown and later covered by the specific ink, created by Lauren, to become real indicators of the shift of amount of energy of the human. In fact, when the gemstones “feel” the transition of the condition of the human, they change color. As the Dezeen has stated: “Excitement, nerves, and fear all produce different colours; and quicker shifts in emotion create more dramatic patterns.”
Bubelle emotion sensing dress
About a decade ago, Philips have been experimenting with the combination of smart electronics and fashion and, in fact, there was created one of the first garments that react to the wearer’s emotions. The dress is covered with numerous LEDs that illuminate and change colors due to the emotional condition of the human. Such changes are caught by the bottom layer of the dress, in which there have been installed the skin sensors.
Caress of the Gaze
Behnaz Farahi has developed an interactive garment. The 3D printed collar seems to become an artificial skin that due to built-in camera is able to catch the gaze of the other person and react on it by the lifelike motions. The garment is equipped with the Shape Memory Alloy actuators, which work as a muscle system for this 3D printed “skin”. The idea is to create a conversation not only “person to person”, but “person to person to clothes”.
To conclude, the technological innovation and, in fact, technological symbiosis with fashion have given us the ability to create a new way of expressing ourselves and interacting with the outer world through demonstrating our real inner processes. There, the clothes become a medium between a wearer and the surrounding. Such processes are assisting a human to enter a different level of interaction with the others, where the garment might become an equal conversational partner for people and the world.
But is it the thing that a person wants? There, step up millions of ethical questions. Would we be able to uncover our thoughts, our mood, health status, etc.? Would we be able to sacrifice the privacy of our own bodies and show up the real “I”?
Apple acquired a startup Faceshift, who developed a widely used motion capture technology. Rumors about buying the company from Cupertino Faceshift were before, but now Apple has officially confirmed the purchase, according to TechCrunch.
The publication writes that Apple has not confirmed the deal direct text, but the company voiced its standard response to the case of the purchase: “From time to time Apple buys smaller technology companies. And we generally do not discuss our goals and plans”.
Company Faceshift, founded in 2012, is located in Zurich. It motion capture technology is actively used in scientific research, computer games and film industry in particular, for the filming of the latest Star Wars.
Faceshift is the author of the method of animation characters and objects without the use of markers. This technology requires no special costume or sensors, that is the actor was for the camera in any clothes. Markerless motion capture is especially convenient when shooting the fights, falls, jumps and other complex movements, during which markers may be damaged.
Faceshift has consumer software solutions, including Faceshift Freelance and Faceshift Studio. Sales last stop after the company was bought by Apple. With this program you can create characters and export them to the software for 3D-animation.
It is unknown what the purpose of the acquisition of Apple. In addition, company from Cupertino have patents on the technology of motion capture, face recognition and augmented reality, which Apple acquired earlier along with three other European companies working in this field – PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio. The media speculated that the company uses the acquired technologies in the new generation Apple TV.
A few days charging cable is funded almost 8000 Becker, who invested in UsBidi half a million Australian dollars (about $ 360,000). But the campaign will last 27 days, and most likely, “smart” charger collect half a million in US currency. The goal of the developers was to gather Sydney 35 000 Australian dollars, and at the moment they already have 14 times the amount.
UsBidi creators claim that the speed of charging by USB while using the product is doubled. The device charges more quickly due to the fact that unlike other chargers. UsBidi can not synchronize the data simultaneously with the battery charge. To do this, UsBidi a special button that allows you to turn off synchronization and double the speed of the charge.
Charging is automatically turned off when fully charged, thus protecting it from overheating, and short-term cycles, reduces the service life. Indicator lights UsBidi will know about the status of charging and convenient magnetic mount will lock the cable.
The cable works with smartphones and tablets. Also, the buyer can choose the version with the Lightning connector for Apple devices or for Micro USB devices working on Android. The length of the charging cable can be 30, 90 or 180 cm.
Approximate price for UsBidi would be $18 (+ shipment). Thus the buyer can select the connector, color and length.