As a student, I often use Microsoft Office tools, especially Excel. So, I know how to use many features of this powerful software, but I was amazed when I saw for the first time what Tatsuo Horiuchi can do with this work tool. We generally associate Excel with formulas, but, for him, Excel is more than a spreadsheet, it’s a large (undefined dimensions) blank board where he can express his creativity.
Tatsuo Horiuchi comes from Japan, is currently 77 years old and is retired for over 13 years. Shortly before retiring, this guy decided to challenge himself and he began to look for something he could make during his retirement. The only problem of Horiuchi was that he wasn’t rich, so this activity should be cheap for him. So, he bought a computer with Microsoft Office pre-installed on it. And he started developing his creativity by painting.
“I never used Excel at work but I saw other people making pretty graphs and thought, ‘I could probably draw with that.’”
Instead of using expensive painting supplies or even a basic drawing program for his computer, the choice of Tatsuo Horiuchi fell on Excel, which is even simpler and more functional than Microsoft Paint, according to the artist. Indeed, Excel’s graph building functions can be used to bring colorful landscapes into life. Using simple vector drawing tools developed primarily to create simple graphics and shapes, Horiuchi draws panoramic scenes of life in rural Japan.
“Graphics software is expensive, but Excel comes pre-installed in most computers. And it has more functions and is easier to use than Microsoft Paint.”
Tatsuo also tried to work with the tools offered in Microsoft Word, but the flexibility of Excel is much more developed, allowing him to configure more details in his creative paintings.
Here is a short video about this amazing artist, and you’ll see why his nickname is “Michelangelo of Microsoft Excel”. This video has been realised by “The Great Story”, who visited him at his home for an interview and a behind-the-scene look at how he works with the most powerful computer software available on every computer in the world:
Since choosing this hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has received several awards for his creative work with Excel.
If you want to see (and download) some Excel painted masterpieces, click on these links.
I can’t believe what LG has just invented. The Drone Phone. Really, are you serious?
Unlike the other brands which are focusing on designing and producing more and more borderless – Samsung has just applied for a patent on smartphones without borders –, the Korean electronics manufacturer LG sees things from another angle and decided to move away from its competitors by rising up, taking a little height. Indeed, they decided to make a smartphone flying, dream of many magicians (and users). This smartphone seems to come straight out of a sci-fi movie.
After a long reflexion time and wondering why these lads have invented this crazy idea for a smartphone, I found a lot of pros. To illustrate those advantages, I’ll use simple examples that everybody has already lived once.
Example 1. After a long day of work, I feel so tired that I decide to l lie down in my bed or in the sofa to chill a little bit and to read the news or watch videos on my smartphone. I don’t really care about the battery consumption because I know that my charger is at my fingertips. So, I’m watching videos again and again and I fell asleep in a short time. The next morning, after waking up, I’m in a hurry and I’m running out of battery. This is always a frustrating situation.
Hopefully, LG has searched for a solution to this daily problem and came up with the idea of the Drone Phone. The LG 505 U+ can recognise if you’re sleeping and fly autonomously back to its wireless charging station. Thanks to this, you avoid this stressful moment of looking for a power socket in the bus, the tram or the train.
Example 2. I’m not usually cooking but my mother does. When I see her hands dirty, I really want to do a prank, grab my phone, call her, watch her washing her hands in a hurry to answer the caller and hang up just before she’s able to take her phone. Or imagine that you’re gardening, and your hands are so dirty that you decide not to pick up your phone.
LG has, thanks to its idea to embed the drone technology inside a smartphone, found this solution for those poor mums or gardeners. And for the laziest people in the world. From now, you don’t have to stand up to grab your phone located on the table because you don’t have to move, the smartphone comes to you. By combining the features of a smartphone and a drone, you can now cook while having a videoconference or a phone call without soiling the device.
Example 3. Nowadays, the trends of taking selfies has been global and has reached nearly everyone who owns a smartphone. Biggest problem of this trend? Retaking the picture again and again because you are not satisfied for multiple reasons: the quality is not good enough, all the people are not on the picture because the arm (or his/her selfie stick) of the owner is too short, the selfie stick appears on the picture, you were not ready, …
LG has solved this issue for you, selfie lovers! This Drone Phone allows you to take photos of you at a maximum distance of 10 meters. It’s also able to capture the selfie in the air from the best possible angle automatically and to stay perfectly stable at the moment of the picture. This product will appeal to the shy people: the time of asking the bystanders to take picture for you is finally over. This could also use to take picture from inaccessible locations. No need for your buddy to try to reach hardly attainable spots to take amazing pictures (Location: Trolltunga, Norway).
Example 4. Spending time on YouTube or on Netflix with my phone lying in the couch or sitting on the toilet has become a habit for many people (including me). But the only thing I hate is to hold my phone in my hands during a long time in an uncomfortable position.
The flying smartphone doesn’t need to be held in the air to watch your favourite TV series or documentaries. The smartphone is able to recognise where the user is looking and can move around your head to have the best position (optimal distance is 30cm). You could, from that moment, feel like being in a theatre, comfortably seated without using your hands.
Example 5. I watch a lot of videos of extreme sports. These people, usually sponsored by Red Bull, generally use GoPro cameras for their recordings. This type of camera makes the viewer feel like if he was in place of the sportsman or the stuntman. But sometimes, you want to make something crazy and you haven’t brought you GoPro camera with you to record it.
Now, you can record your crazy achievements or your insane actions under a new angle only with your phone. Indeed, the LG device can move in any direction at a maximum speed of 120 km/h. Enough to record a bungee jumping, a cliff jumping, a kart race or even focus on your face on a rollercoaster.
To sum up these five examples, all these ideas are illustrated in the following video:
Nevertheless, I don’t think that such a product won’t be released in the next few months. This breakthrough device is a very good out-of-the-box idea, but it is still at the project stage, which means that research & development must be done to improve the LG 505 U+. Though, this is a preview of the future, which means that you might probably use a phone that can fly in the near future. Regarding the fly feature, I’m wondering if the LG 505 U+ will be considered as a drone or not, because certain governments have set up drone regulations. This could be a big disadvantage for the forerunner of the flying phone.
To conclude this post, please don’t forget: “Life’s Good.”
Who has never dreamt about having a cinema room at home? Or about listening to music without bringing the speaker wherever you go? And what about falling asleep under a “sky full of stars” inside your bedroom? In addition, are you fed up with all the cables of your TV screen connected to all the devices? This 38-centimeter tall egg-shaped globe isn’t a dog but can follow you as a dog. Moreover, this strange robot is the solution to the desires and problems mentioned above.
Keecker is a multifunctional robot designed by a former French Google employee, Pierre Labeau – he was one of the developers of Google Analytics. Instead of being a pet robot, this breakthrough device can be used in several ways:
Thanks to its 360° camera placed at the top of the robot, Keecker could be used as a security device when you’re not at home. You can always have an eye on what is happening at home when you’re at work, when you’re travelling, …
Keecker also includes an adaptable videoprojector. Thanks to its connectivity with a wide range of electronic devices, you can watch your YouTube videos or your favorite movies at home as if you were at the cinema. Another amazing feature of this device is that the LED projector can be used on any surface and oriented by 90°: it is now possible to project your content on the ceiling. Amazing, right? Moreover, by combining the camera and the projector, you could make live videoconference with your co-workers or family for example.
In order to make the cinema experience at home complete, the robot comprises a 4.1 audio system. This means that there are 4 speakers of 10 watts in addition to a 50 watts subwoofer, which can produce up to 117 decibels – tell your neighbors when you’re using it, because it’s equivalent to a concert or a plane! This robot can also wake you up at the right time by playing your favourite music.
This robot is able to move around in the whole house thanks to wheels located below the subwoofer. In order to not hit obstacles, Keecker has a lot of sensors around its “body” and has a 5-megapixel front camera and a 3D depth sensing camera in addition to the 360° 13-megapixel fisheye camera, which helps its “brain” to memorise and map your house. You won’t have to move the TV screen with all the cables from the living room to your bedroom anymore to resume your video game or your movie.
Concerning the battery life, the lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 300Wh, enough to power Keecker for:
6 hours at full use (with projection, sound and movement)
3 days of non-stop music (with sound only, no projection)
7 days of surveillance in patrol mode (depending on the size of the house)
In addition, Keecker is autonomous and smart enough to go back to its charging station when it feels that it needs energy. The only thing you have to do is to show Keecker – during the setup – where its charging base is in the house and the robot will memorise the location.
Regarding to the connectivity of this device, Keecker works with Wi-Fi network and with Bluetooth. Keecker has its own operating systems – Keecker OS1 – which is based on Android 7 TV (Nougat) operating system – and works under a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. This OS allows Keecker to download videos in its hard drive or to stream live videos.
You can use your smartphone as a remote control thanks to an app available both on the Apple Store and on the Google Play Store (supported OS: iOS 10 and up, Android 5 and up). There are 3 ways to give orders to Keecker:
Carrying it – he only weights 8 kilograms
Control it with your index finger through the mobile phone application
Giving it an spoken instruction – Keecker is equipped with a voice recognition system
If you prefer using your computer instead of your smartphone, there is a remote-control web application for all PC, Mac, Windows Phone or other browsers (Linux, …).
Keecker has a 3GB RAM and is available in two versions of flash memory: 32GB or 160 GB storage capacity. Thanks to its operating system, you can interact with Keecker just by saying “Hey Keecker” – like “Ok Google” for Android devices or “Say Siri” for Apple devices. Keecker also includes other features, like:
A humidity sensor
An ambient light detector
To get one of these outstanding robots, you’ll have to spend minimum 1790€ (for the 32-gigabyte version). The 160-gigabyte version is worth 1990€. The number of robots is limited, so don’t hesitate to order yours as soon as possible (if you’re obviously interested in it and if you can afford it). I might probably get one of these robot later because Keecker is like a gathering of every connect object we might have at home.
In my opinion, it has always been a dream to have a cinema room in my future home. This robot will completely change the experience of teleworking from home, of listening to music and of watching to TV/movies. Thanks to it, instead of sitting on an awkward chair at your desk, you could have videoconferences comfortably sit in your sofa, without bringing all the stuff (webcam, computer, …) into the room where you want to move. I think this device could be useful for a lot of things, like projecting a nursery rhyme or listening to a fairy tale for kids going to sleep, looking at your virtual coach while doing yoga or searching for a tutorial on YouTube while cooking without having to wash your hands (thanks to the voice recognition feature). The only bad thing is that this device isn’t available to everybody due to its limited quantity and its price. But, maybe, after several months, the company will grow and produce more robots with probably more features. But, nevertheless, this is a great beginning.
If you want more info, check these websites and articles:
Ten years ago, thinking about riding a fully electric car was an illusion. Nobody could have said that cars would be motorised only by electric motors in such a short period of time. After improving the technology thanks to hybrid cars principally, some start-ups and carmakers succeeded to build 100% electric vehicles. And, the number of sales is always growing. This is why today, you can easily cross cars like Tesla Model S, a BMW i3 or a Renault Zoe in the streets or on the roads.
Nevertheless, these cars are only regular cars and everybody’s dream is to own a supercar, a car you enjoy driving every day and which you can bring on the racetrack to go on full throttle. And now, carmakers are able to raise the bar, to push it to the next level. The result? 2 zero-emission sports cars: the Porsche Mission E (concept released in 2015 and on sale at the end of 2019 because the concept is still in development – but at its final stage) and the Rimac Concept One. To these two environment friendly vehicles, we can add the Tesla Model S P100D – the sports version of the well-known Tesla Model S. Why are these cars so special? Can they compete with Tesla?
Porsche Mission E:
Porsche is the first big sports carmaker to get on with the electric power. Indeed, due to the wish of the Volkswagen Group – Porsche belongs to the enormous Volkswagen Group (see the picture below) – to electrify every car by 2030, which means that every car would be either hybrid or full-electric, brands are spending a lot of money to improve their current models and offer at least hybrid cars. So, in the next few years, you would probably see hybrid Lamborghini or hybrid Audi RS series – Lamborghini is currently working on a new hybrid car to respect the Volkswagen Group’s objective.
Before beginning the “Mission E” project, Porsche has developed a successful hybrid hypercar (Porsche 918 and Porsche 918 Spyder). And now, the next step is to develop a no-combustion-powered vehicle. The brand has already spent more than 3 years on the Mission E. This four-door sports sedan, looking like the well-known Panamera, is the first 100% electrically powered Porsche. Here are some facts about this futuristic car:
The all-wheel-drive vehicle is powered by two electric motors, one in the front and one at the back. The batteries are made of only lithium-ion and are located in the floor of the car to distribute equally the weight and to lower the centre of gravity.
Like the other brand’s series (911, Macan, Cayenne, Boxter, Cayman and Panamera), Porsche is planning to offer different performance levels for the Mission E. The most powerful version would have 600 hp (>440kW) and the top speed would be over 250 km/h.
According to the last updates of the development car’s figures, the range of the car amounts to 530 kilometres (330 miles). To compare, Tesla Model S has just a range of around 450 kilometres (270 miles)
Acceleration speed: 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under 3.5 seconds. Though, the sports version of the Tesla Model S is quicker than the Mission E – P100D version reaches 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds – but Porsche says that there will be software updates in order to improve the performances and the range of its new car.
The car has no exterior mirrors: there are cameras on the side of the car and the images are directly projected in the lower windshield corners.
And a lot of others features (presented in the next video)
“The time is ripe for this study. It shows that, in addition to our plug-in hybrids, all-electric drive systems can truly meet our standards of intelligent performance. For us, this declaration is distilled into one clear philosophy: Porsche E-Performance.”
Charged via an 800-volt charger unit specially developed for the car – which is twice as powerful as today’s quick-charge systems – the lithium-ion batteries integrated within the vehicle floor have enough power again for 80 percent of the range after just 15 minutes. The charging port is hidden at the side of the front fender. Moreover, the vehicle can optionally be recharged wirelessly by induction thanks to a coil set into the garage floor. To drive 100 kilometres, you just need to “refuel” the car for 4 minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?
The engine used by this futuristic car is a PSM high performance motor. PSM stands for “permanently excited synchronous machine”, which means that it’s an electric motor with extremely high-power density, high efficiency and consistent performance over the entire range of speed and distance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to push at full throttle several times in a row without a loss of performance.
The video below shows how the car was designed and what are the new features and technologies inside the “Mission E” project.
According to Porsche’s CEO, Oliver Blume, the brand is “beginning a new chapter in the history of sports cars”. Thanks to this project, over 1000 jobs are being created and around 700 million € will be invested in its factory in Stuttgart for the new production line.
Due to the announcement of the car launch before 2020 during the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September, the market leader, Tesla, fears that he will lose market shares because of the price of Porsche’s car. Indeed, the basis cost would be around the same than the Panamera’s price, so around 85000€. And the Porsche offers a more sportive DNA than the Tesla Model S P100D, for the same price range. Let’s see what Tesla will bring to answer its new rival’s car.
Always more powerful, always faster: this is the dream of every car brand. You might probably don’t know this automaker because Rimac Automobili is relatively new. Rimac Automobili is a Croatian start-up founded in 2009 by Mate Rimac. The world premiere of the Rimac Concept_One was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, but the production of this car only started in 2016. But why do I introduce you this car? This is because the Concept_One is the fastest and most powerful 100% electric hypercar ever built. And this car is far away ahead of its time.
In fact, this car can achieve 100km/h (62mph) in under 2.5 seconds, what makes this car one of the fastest for drag races. The official top speed recorded is 355 km/h (220 mph) thanks to the four engines (one for each wheel) which combine in total 1224 horsepower. All of that to say that electric vehicle can even beat the best internal combustion engines currently on the market.
According to test drivers, this is car is most insane car they have ever driven. It exceeds all the expectations and you usually flirt with the limits. But don’t forget to not overtake these limits because car crashes with that kind of hypercars happen quickly, as attested by the Richard Hammond’s car crash while testing the Rimac Concept_One – Richard Hammond was one of three presenters of the BBC’s program “Top Gear”, and was testing this car for the new Amazon Prime’s show “The Grand Tour”.
In contrast with the Porsche Mission E, which is affordable for nearly everybody, the Rimac Concept_One is exclusive: this car is worth over 1.2 million €. We might say that this toy is not something to give to the standard driver. A common characteristic between these two cars is that you can control all the data (estimated remaining range, telemetry data, location, speed, …) thanks to a mobile phone app.
And the trend of developing 100% electric cars continues, because new carmakers are entering this promising market like Faraday Future, which has recently revealed its new electric sports car called FF 91. In addition, the use of electric features in racing championships – Formula1, Formula E and other championships – will help the development of electric engines to make the sports car drive faster. Moreover, other brands – Volvo as it happens – have said that they will progressively give up producing vehicles with combustion engine. Other start-ups or carmakers enter the market and directly focus on hybrid or electric cars.
In my opinion, the way we will move in the next decades will change. And this change will go through the improvement of the electric car’s technology. Due to all the regulations in the EU about the carbon dioxide emissions, car brands are obliged to develop new engines and, to anticipate the next regulations, it’s better to build hybrid or electricity-powered cars. I think the technology about full-electric car is progressing so fast in terms of performance, range, price, etc. that before 2030, everybody would be driving a hybrid or a full-electric car. And the revolution has already begun. Electric vehicles are gaining market shares in nearly every country, which means that the population is aware of the ecological issues and that they want to improve this situation by buying more electric-powered vehicles. And Norway is an example for the other countries because nearly a quarter of the automotive fleet is composed of electric cars. (see article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car_use_by_country)
After 3 years of secret developing, the next document editor has been launched. Coda is a start-up which was co-founded by Shishir Mehrotra, a former YouTube head of product, and Alex DeNeui, who is also a Google alumni. The initial idea is to provide a flexible tool for cooperative work which can help groups of people to edit documents. In fact, Mehrotra’s idea came from his experience with his team at YouTube: they used several tools like Google Docs and Sheets for their sharing work but these tools were built, in his opinion, for a previous age. Moreover, it wasn’t easy to combine all these softwares in a single document. That’s why he wondered “What would documents and spreadsheets look if they were invented today?”
What does this software consist of? How does it work?
Coda, whose codename during the 3-year development time was “Krypton”, is a collaborative document editor that combines a word processor and a spreadsheet. The start-up’s ambition is to create “documents as powerful as an app”. Like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, Coda consists of a blank canvas but it allows the users to build, for instance, spreadsheets or surveys, on top of it. It is really easy to drop in a table and use the power of the tool’s engine. The founders’ hope is that Coda can be flexible enough to put together the problems that overlap collaborative tools – sheets, docs, or other kinds of places where people collaborate or store information – into a single flow.
Although, in contrast with Microsoft Excel, Coda has developed his own programming language design to integrate other services into your spreadsheets. In Coda, rows and columns are called “objects” instead of describing a table of several rows and columns “A1:G6” for example. Now you just have to type the name of the column or of the cell to have your formula. Besides, the formulas in Excel needed to be placed inside of tables. In Coda, just write the “=” sign in the object formula and you can bring in data from anywhere else in your document.
Furthermore, a really good novelty is that you can, for instance, enter “GoogleDirections” into a formula and this will insert a Google Map window in your document to give you directions from an origin location to a destination. Coda’s engine is so well developed that it is more powerful than Excel – which is already considered as the one of the most powerful tech engines in the world.
This software is so flexible with the needs of groups work that some beta testers have described this tool “Minecraft for docs”. And these documents are really good-looking!
How much does it cost to develop such a collaborative document editor?
Considering the financing, the co-founders have raised for now $60 million for the start-up to develop the software. Investing companies like Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst, NEA or Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers have taken part to the funding while Reid Hoffman, a LinkedIn cofounder, has integrated the board. However, according to previous reports, the project “Krypton” was valued at $400 million. Nevertheless, the total project cost hasn’t been revealed yet.
Coda is entering a crowded market and will compete with tech giants. This fact will probably increase the future costs because of marketing costs – entering a “Red Ocean” market needs a lot of funds for brand awareness. However, the collaborative office work has created an opportunity for Coda to create a niche market. And this tool caters the collaborative work.
Coda is currently only available on desktops and for a few business thanks to a private beta version. And the company doesn’t know when it will be available to the larger public.
In my opinion, this tool will revolutionize the spreadsheets tools. Today, worldwide spreadsheets uses are multiple that they are currently running the world. This is why this new breakout tool would be a success. “The more flexible the system, the more uses people find for it” says the CEO Shishir Mehrotra. This is absolutely true, because nowadays, people needs are, in most of the cases, finding new ways of working and fitting to everybody’s business. And people are always looking for these kind of new flexible tools.
On 4th October 2017 in San Francisco took place the long-awaited Google Ask More conference. It was just the occasion for the well-known technologic brand to introduce its new phones, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL, and also a lot of other novelties like the Google Home, the Google Daydream View and a lot of updated technologies or Google devices. Among these novelties, we can find a breakthrough device: the Google Pixel Buds.
The Google Pixel Buds are a 159$ pair of wireless earbuds connected to an Android device (but until now, only the smartphones Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are compatible with these earbuds) which include the Google Assistant. In fact, the Google Pixel Buds are able to control your music (skip one song or repeat the previous one), turn up or down the volume with a single gesture or even give walking directions while using Google Maps. All of these actions could be done by keeping your phone in your pocket, you only just have to press the Google button on the side of the earbud to activate the Google Assistant and ask him what you want to make him do.
Instead of just compete with the new Airpods from Apple, Google has introduced an amazing feature to these earbuds: the instantaneous translation of the real-time speech of a person speaking in a foreign language, thanks to the connection to the Google Translate app of your Android device. In fact, the earbuds are able to listen to the conversation just by pressing the Google button on the side of it to enable the microphone to record the message. Then, the message is sent to your phone, which can translate it directly into 40 others languages. The translated message is sent to the earbuds’ speakers in order to understand what your addressee has just said. Finally, you just have to press and keep your finger on the Google button while you’re answering and the same process will translate the answer into the mother tongue of the first speaker (see the video below).
These headphones have an autonomy of 5 hours of listening on a single charge. These earbuds are also provided with a charging case which can power these earbuds multiple times and it should provide them up to 24 hours of listening time.
The Google Pixel Buds are available in 3 different colours: “Clearly White”, “Kinda Blue” and “Just Black”. For the moment, Google’s online shop says that the Blue and Black versions will be sent in 6 or 7 weeks while the White version is already “out of stock”.
What would be the conceivable consequences of this breakthrough instantaneous translator?
In my opinion is the current generation too dependent on the Internet and all the services its allows (mobile phone applications, geo-tracking, messaging, entertainment, …). Nowadays is unusual to use a map to track or search for the right way since the global use of the GPS, to send letters or postcards to friends or family instead of using text messages or other ways to communicate through Internet (Messenger, WhatsApp, …). However, the real-time translation into foreign languages hasn’t found any technology yet to help people to communicate with foreigners. This is why, everybody is learning foreign languages at school, at the university or in evening classes. But now, Google offers an alternative to learning languages, so I fear that people will give up learning and only rely on the technology to solve their understanding issues. Moreover, in my opinion, the fact of learning foreign languages is a great challenge for myself. I always prefer to express with others words and if I don’t succeed to make me understood, then I will only search for the translation online. People often like when you’re trying to speak in their native language instead of always go on the Internet to show them the translation of what you want to say. Every language has its own beauties when you’re trying to learn it and the fact of using this new tool make this language loose its charms.
However, thanks to the introduction of this technology, a lot of misunderstandings could be avoided and we could use this technology to develop a new way of learning foreign languages. This tool could be also used for international business meetings. This novelty could be the beginning of the end for professional translators, which attend meetings or events to translate the speech of the guest if this one doesn’t speak the native language of the audience.
After all, this instantaneous translator has its pros and cons. But all of this will depend on the ability of the next generation to use this tool in the appropriate way.