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Chinese Scientists Use Innovative Chip to Power Autonomous Bicycle

While tech giants like Tesla and Google are working hard to perfect autonomous cars, a team of scientists in China is developing a self-driving bicycle and their results are pretty impressive.

Showcased in a short video presentation, the autonomous bicycle developed by scientists at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, can balance itself while also avoiding obstacles, following certain trajectories and obeying vocal commands. It can do all these things thanks to a revolutionary type of computer chip that combines two different architectural approaches to computing that hadn’t really worked well together until now, due to communication difficulties between the two systems. However, if this self-driving bike is any indication, the Chinese seem to have solved those issues.

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Chinese Startup Creates App That Finds Lost Dogs Using Photos of Their Nose

Chinese facial-recognition startup Megvii has been making news headlines for an app that allows people to track down their lost dogs using photos of their unique noses.

The idea of using AI-powered facial recognition technology to identify pets isn’t new, but what makes Megvii’s solution special is that instead of analyzing several facial features, like the eyes or snout, it focuses solely on dogs’ noses. Apparently, the patterns on a dog’s nose are just as unique as the ones on out fingertips, allowing the company’s app to track down pooches by matching their noses against a database with 95 percent accuracy. Megvii claims that its method is both cheaper and less invasive than inserting identification chips under the animals’ skin.

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Emirati Businessman Wants to Tow Icebergs from Antarctica to the Arabian Gulf

An Emirati entrepreneur and inventor has been working on an ambitious project that involves towing a giant iceberg all the way from Antarctica to the Arabian Gulf in order to provide fresh drinking water for the UAE.

Because of its arid climate, the United Arab Emirates doesn’t have too many options when it comes to water sources. In fact , the Arab country relies heavily on desalinated water, which is not only expensive to obtain but very harmful to the environment. But businessman Abdulla Alshehi thinks he may have found a much better, albeit unconventional alternative. For the last six years he has been working on a plan to tow a 2km x 500m iceberg from Antarctica and use modern technology to tow it 5,500 miles to the Arabian Gulf. The floating block of ice would not only provide drinking water for millions of people, but also determine positive weather changes in the region.

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Online Pet Store Uses Face Recognition Technology to Allow Dogs to Do Their Own Shopping

Brazilian pet shop chain Petz has combined face recognition technology and artificial intelligence to create a groundbreaking platform that allows dogs to buy their favorite products by analyzing their facial expressions.

There’s nothing more disheartening for dog owners that buying a new toy for their pooches only to see them turn their nose up at it. Well, thanks to Pet-Commerce, an online pet-store created by Brazil’s Petz brand, you can avoid such disappointing experiences by allowing the dog to choose his favorite products. All you have to do is hold an internet connected camera to the dog’s face and allow the AI powering Pet-Commerce to analyze its facial expressions as you scroll through the different products listed on the site. Once it detects excitement, it automatically adds the product to your shopping cart and you can finalize the transaction when you’re done.

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Meet Liam Nikuro, Japan’s First Virtual Male Influencer

1sec Inc., a Japanese technology company that specializes in blending the digital world with our reality, has created Japan’s first virtual male influencer, a young music producer named Liam Nikuro.

If you thought making it as an Instagram influencer these days was hard, we have some bad new for you: it’s about to get even harder, with perfect-looking virtual models entering the fray. Following the success of digital social media stars like Miquela and Imma, a Japanese tech start-up set out to create the Asian country’s first virtual male model. The result of their hard work is Liam Nikuro, a young heart-throb “from Los Angeles” who reportedly works in some of the coolest and most profitable industries of our time – music, fashion, and entertainment.

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Forget Face Recognition, Chinese Authorities Now Use “Gait Recognition” Technology That Identifies People By How They Walk

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk, but one Chinese startup has apparently developed technology that allows it to identify individuals by their gait, even if their face is covered or they have their back to the camera.

Known as “gait recognition”, the technology invented by artificial intelligence startup Watrix analyses thousands of metrics about a person’s walk, from their body shape and the angle of arm movement to their posture and whether they have a toe-in or toe-out gait. All these individual traits go into a database that the software then goes through when attempting to identify people. According to an official statement from Watrix, the accuracy rate of gait technology at the laboratory level exceeds 96 per cent.

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China Unveils World’s First AI Female News Anchor, And She Looks Eerily Realistic

China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, yesterday unveiled its newest news anchor, Xin Xiaomeng. Why is this newsworthy? Well, because Xin isn’t a real person, but an ultra-realistic computer generated model powered by advanced AI technology.

The perfectly coiffed Xin Xiaomeng introduced herself to Xinhua’s viewers in a short clip, announcing that she will make her professional debut as news anchor in March. She was developed by the state-run news agency in collaboration with search engine Sogou, and her appearance and voice were inspired by those of a real-life Xinhua broadcaster named Qu Meng. In her introduction video, the perfectly coiffed AI news anchor spoke only in Chinese, and it’s unclear if she’ll be able to tackle English news reports as well.

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Girl Uses “Handwriting Robot” to Complete Homework Faster

The story of a young student who used a so-called “handwriting robot” to complete her Lunar New Year holiday homework in record time made news headlines in China last week, sparking a heated debate.

The Qianjiang Evening News reported the case of a junior high-school student from Harbin who spent 800 yuan ($118) on a copying robot that allowed her to complete her transcribing assignments and essays in no time at all. The girl’s mother, surnamed Zhang, became suspicious when her daughter turned in her holiday homework, neatly written and with absolutely no errors, despite having very little time to do it, due to Lunar New Year festivities and traveling. Then, while cleaning the girl’s room, Zhang found a bizarre metal contraption as well as its packaging, which claimed that it could imitate any handwriting.

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Korean Company Creates Smart Treadmill for Cats

Getting a house cat to exercise can be quite a challenge, but a Korean company claims that it’s smart exercise machine can keep felines in tip-top shape even when their owners are away. There’s just one catch – it costs $1,800.

Korean startup Pet Ding unveiled its smart treadmill for cats earlier this month, at CES Las Vegas. The Little Cat relies on LED lights to motivate cats to exercise, allows owners to check on the cat’s activity when they’re away and record encouragement voice messages for their pet, and a companion app lets users set fitness goals for their purring felines. The smart exercise machine features an auto mode that promises to “provide the ideal workout program for your cat, and manage workout patterns,” but also lets users who want to get more involved in their cat’s workout control the speed of the treadmill.

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Chinese Schools Track Students with GPS-Enabled “Smart Uniforms”

Eleven schools in the Chinese province of Guizhou have introduced micro-chipped uniforms that track and monitor the students even beyond school grounds.

Developed by local company Guizhou Guanyu Technology, the smart school uniforms feature two microchips embedded into the shoulder pads which allow both the school and the children’s parents to monitor their activity at all times. A GPS system tracks their movements and an alarm informs both teachers and parents whenever a student leaves the classroom or school grounds without permission, or if he falls asleep during classes. The smart uniforms also allow students’ parents to monitor their purchases at school and set spending limits via a mobile app.

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Modern Scarecrows Use Lasers to Keep Hungry Birds At Bay

We are always looking for new and innovative ways to harness technology, and the industry of farming is no exception. A blueberry farm in Oregon was having big problems with birds stealing up to 25% of their crops and this year, they addressed the problem using a somewhat unconventional new technology.

At the start of the blueberry growing season, the farm installed 6 Agrilaser Autonomics—automated laser guns which are mounted on a pedestal. These laser guns shoot a steady green laser beam across the bushes. The birds seem to mistake the laser for an incoming predator, and will immediately flee whenever the laser comes close to them.

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Billion Dollar Real Estate Company Ditches Physical Offices for Virtual Reality Campus

eXp Realty, one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful real estate companies, has become famous for not investing in any actual real-estate, opting instead for virtual reality offices that allow its agents and brokers to interact and socialize from anywhere around the globe.

Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty’s founder and CEO, founded the company a decade ago, soon after the real estate market collapse of 2007. He couldn’t afford to buy or rent office space, and figured that focusing on a system that allowed his team to work remotely would help the company avert disaster, should another real-estate crisis occur in the future. So eXp Realty relied on services like Google Docs and spreadsheets, project management solutions like Trello, and communications app Slack to help its workforce work together without actually sharing the same space. But three years ago, the company took this remote collaboration system to a whole new level, by building a campus complete with offices, meeting rooms, auditoriums, lounges and more, in virtual reality.

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This Japanese Gadget Tells You How Bad You Stink

Body odor is a very serious issue, so serious in fact that there is actually a market for high-tech devices that alert users if they start to stink.

The problem with body odor is that you can’t really smell is on yourself, and in an exceptionally polite society like Japan’s that can put people in uncomfortable situations. Carrying a bottle of deodorant on you at all times during the summer is quite common in Japan, but putting on too much of that stuff too often can irritate the skin or stain clothing, so it’s not exactly a fool-proof solution. If only we had a way of knowing when we smell, and how bad… Thankfully, Japanese wellness device maker Tanita just unveiled its newest creation, a handheld smell checker that analyzes body odor and ranks its intensity on a scale of 1 to 10.

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Millionaire Teen Builds Functional Dr. Octopus Suit

Erik Finman, the world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire, recently made headlines for creating a real-life, functional version of Dr. Octopus’ iconic four-arm prosthesis for a young Marvel fan who also suffers from hypermobility symptoms.

19-year-old Finman, who got his start in cryptocurrency when he was only 12, by investing  a $1,000 gift from his grandmother in Bitcoin, is now worth around $3 million, and is considered one of the world’s most influential teenagers. He has been involved in several projects over the last few years, from start-ups to an ongoing collaboration with NASA, but his most exciting venture yet has to be transforming a 10-year-old comics fan into a real-life version of Marvel villain Dr. Octopus with the help of an intriguing prosthesis.

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Meet Norman, the World’s First Psychopath AI

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have trained an artificial intelligence algorithm  to become a psychopath by exposing it to gruesome and violent images on popular social network Reddit.

Called Norman, after the iconic Anthony Perkins character in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho”, the AI was trained to perform image captioning, a popular deep learning method of generating a textual description of an image. But there was a fun twist – for an extended period of time, Norman was only exposed to gruesome and violent images from an infamous subreddit dedicated to documenting and observing the disturbing reality of death. Researchers then used Rorsach inkblots to compare Norman to other AI which hadn’t been exposed to the same gruesome images.

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