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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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Chinese School Uses Facial Recognition to Monitor Students’ Attention in Class

Students at the No. 11 Middle School in Hangzhou, China, may want to think twice before dozing off or getting distracted in class as a new facial recognition system will be scanning their faces every 30 seconds to make sure they are paying attention.

Called a “smart classroom behavior management system”, the new monitoring solution recently installed at Hangzhou’s No. 11 Middle School is made up of three high-tech cameras positioned above the blackboard that constantly feed information to an AI-powered software that analyzes the students’ facial expressions and general behavior and assesses whether they are enjoying lessons or if their minds are wandering.

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BloxVox – A Bane-Like Mask That Muffles Speech for Private Phone Calls

Having to take a private call in a crowded workplace can be pretty awkward, but thanks to BolxVox, a special mask-like device that muffles speech, you can now talk as loud as you want without worrying about others hearing your conversation.

BloxVox is the brainchild of Greg Umhoefer, a financial technology expert who dedicated the last few years of his life to solving his “favorite” office problem – phone call privacy. Having worked in offices all over the world, Umhoefer constantly experienced this problem first-hand. Whenever he had to make or take a private phone call, he had to get up from his desk, find a quiet place, and often take his laptop and other peripherals with him. He describes the situation as inefficient and “frankly ridiculous”, so after researching the issue and learning that it was common in offices around the globe, he decided to find a practical solution.

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High-Tech Movie Has Five Different Endings, Depending on Who Is Watching It

The Angry River is a short interactive film that uses eye-tracking technology and artificial intelligence to gauge who the viewer looks at and where their eyes linger most on screen. The film then edits itself into one of five possible storylines, to suit the viewer’s interest.

The Angry River is basically a film with the interactivity of a multiple-ending video game, only instead of using a controller or a keyboard to make choices that impact the storyline, you do it with your eyes instead. Armen Perian, the filmmaker behind this groundbreaking project says that he was inspired by something one of the members of his editing team said three years ago. It sounded crazy at the time, but a seed was planted in Perian’s head, and with the advancement in artificial intelligence, that crazy idea became reality.

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Chinese Companies Equip Workers with Brainwave Reading Helmets to Increase Productivity

It sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, but according to recent news reports, Chinese companies are using special helmets to monitor workers’ brain activity in order to reduce stress, manipulate break times with the ultimate goal of increasing productivity.

The South China Morning Post recently reported employee brainwave monitoring in China is used on an unprecedented scale. Sensors concealed in work helmets and lightweight hats constantly monitor and collect workers’ brain activity, which is then fed into computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms that detect “emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage”. This data is then used by management to adjust the work schedule and pace of production or to change working conditions in order to increase productivity.

Hangzhou-based State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power  is one of the many companies relying on employee brainwave monitoring, and according to Cheng Jingzhou, the official in charge of the “emotional surveillance program”, it has definitely paid off. The company’s 40,000 employees manage the power supply and distribution network to homes and businesses in Hangzhou province, and this program has allowed them to that to a higher standard.

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Japanese Engineer Builds 28-Foot-Tall Functional Gundam Mecha Robot

As a child growing up in Japan, engineer Masaaki Nagumo always dreamed of climbing into his very own Mobile Suit Gundam mecha. As an adult, he finally made that dream a reality.

Nagumo created the 28-foot-tall, 7-tonne-heavy LW-Mononofu robot as a project for his employer, industrial machinery maker Sakakibara Kikai, in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture. The metal colossus took six years to finish, and is probably the world’s largest anime-inspired robot that you can actually ride in and control. It can move its arms and fingers, turn its upper body, and walk forward and backward at a snail-like speed of 1km/hour. As any respectable mecha, it also has a weapon – a metal gun that fires sponge balls at a speed of 87 mph.

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