TV Documentary Uses Virtual Reality to Reunite People With Loved-Ones Who Have Passed Away

Virtual reality has the potential to change our lives in a number of ways, one of which is apparently the possibility to reunite with loved ones who have passed away.

South Korean television MBC recently started broadcasting season two of its hit documentary,  너를 만났다 (“I Met You”), a unique program that uses state-of-the-art VR gear and software to reunite people with their departed loved ones and allow them to make one more memory together. The network spends months on each case, putting together an emotional reunion in virtual reality, but while the response from the public has been generally positive, there are critics who describe it as emotionally manipulative.

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Japanese Company Creates “Smart Glasses” That Can Allegedly Cure Myopia

Japan’s Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings claims to have developed smart glasses that, if worn just an hour per day, can allegedly cure myopia.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common ophthalmological condition in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away are blurry. To compensate for this blur, you have the option of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, or the more invasive refractive surgery. But a Japanese company claims to have come up with a new non-invasive way of dealing with myopia – a pair of “smart glasses” that project an image from the lens of the unit onto the wearer’s retina to correct the refractive error that causes nearsightedness. Apparently, wearing the device 60 to 90 minutes a day corrects myopia.

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Real-Life Cyborg Has Two Fins Implanted Into His Skull, So He Can Sense the Weather

Spanish artist Manel de Aguas doesn’t consider himself human, but something else. A founding member of the Trans-Species society, he uses technological implants to experience the world differently than the rest of humanity.

24-year-old Manel de Aguas first made international news headlines in August of 2017, when he built the first prototype of a device that allowed him to feel atmospheric vibrations. At the time, it was nothing more than an exposed circuit board that hung on a headband at the back of his head. The following year, he started attaching a pair of fins to the sides of his head, and announced his intention to have them implanted into his skull. Earlier this year, de Aguas did just that, turning those decorative fins into functional organs that perceive the temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure and send sounds to Manel’s brain via bone conduction.

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South Korea’s First AI-Powered News Anchor Looks Eerily Realistic

South Korean television channel MBN recently introduced its viewer’s to the Asian country’s first ever AI-powered news anchor, an eerily realistic version of human anchor Kim Ju-ha.

Developed by MBN in partnership with artificial intelligence  production company Money Brain, South Korea’s first AI-powered news anchor was reportedly shockingly similar to her human inspiration. Not only did it have the exact same look and voice of the popular presenter, but she also mimicked the small gestures that Kim sometimes makes, like fiddling with a pen while reporting the news. During a broadcast on November 6, AI Kim even shared a conversation with real-life Kim Ju-ha to compare their voices, which apparently freaked out a lot of people.

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Researchers Develop High-Tech Device That Simulates Holding a Girl’s Hand

If you’ve ever wanted to hold a girl’s hand and take long romantic walks in the moonlight, but could never actually find a girl to do that with, there’s now a high-tech device you can try.

Developed by a research team at Gifu University, in Japan, “My Girlfriend in Walk” is an ingenious device that aims to recreate the experience a girlfriend’s hand, without an actual girlfriend. The act of walking hand in hand with the opposite sex, be they partner or friend, can be very satisfying, but we don’t always have someone to do it with. Luckily, technology has evolved enough to provide a viable surrogate, kind of…

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Wall of Wind – World’s Most Powerful Fan System Can Reproduce a Category 5 Hurricane

The Wall of Wind is the world’s largest wind simulator, an impressive contraption capable of generating winds of up to 157 miles per hour (70m/s), comparable to those registered during category 5 hurricanes.

In order to better protect against the devastating force of hurricanes, you first have to study them and test various materials against the powerful winds they generate. With this idea in mind, engineers at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at Florida State University spent 15 years building and perfecting the Wall of Wind, an impressive installation capable of replicating hurricane-force winds.

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Robot Legs Help 7,600-Tonne Building “Walk” to New Location

Chinese Engineers have successfully moved an 85-year-old historical school building in Shanghai to a new location with the help of 198 robotic legs.

Moving older buildings to make room for new construction projects is nothing new in China, but what makes this particular case interesting is the method used to move the 7,600-tonne building. Usually, side rails or flatbeads are used to relocate structures, but the irregular shape of the Lagena Primary Schoool posed quite a challenge to engineers. After weighing their options, experts opted for an innovative “walking” system made up of 198 hydraulic legs that lifted the giant building and helped it “walk” a total of 62 meters over 18 days.

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Amazon Drivers Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Deliveries

Amazon contract delivery drivers in Chicago are allegedly hanging their smartphones outside warehouses and delivery points to boost their chances of getting delivery orders.

Major news outlet Bloomberg last week reported on a strange new trend among Amazon and Whole foods contract drivers in Chicago – hanging their smartphones in trees close to the companies’ warehouses and parking their cars nearby to get first dibs on accepting new delivery orders. Amazon’s system allegedly chooses drivers based on who is closest to the pickup location, so even the slightest advantage over the stiff competition among drivers can boost chances of getting access to the offers first. The phones in the trees have the Amazon Flex app installed and are synched with other phones belonging to other drivers, to make it harder for Amazon to detect offenders.

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Engineer Creates ‘A.I. Jesus’ Trained Only on King James Bible

An artificial intelligence engineer has created an intriguing algorithm that learned human language from reading “the bible and nothing else” and is now churning out ominous prophecies based on the Holy Book.

George Davila Durendal, a childhood coding prodigy and current AI engineer and entrepreneur, recently unveiled his wackies creation yet, an A.I. algorithm trained solely on the King James Bible and dubbed “AI Jesus”. Described by Durendal himself as an “A.I. clone of Jesus”, the software is a Boltzmannian natural-language processing model that “tries to replicate the style of the King James Bible without quite copying it”. Designed to write about 3 different topics – ‘The Plague’, ‘Caesar’ and ‘The End of Days’ – using the language of the Bible, AI Jesus has so far come up with some pretty scary, if somewhat nonsensical, prophecies…

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Automation Studio Creates Robot Swift That Flies Just Like the Real Bird

German automation company Festo recently unveiled its latest bio-inspired creation, the Bionic Swift, a lightweight robot capable of mimicking the flight of an actual swift.

Over the last decade Festo has unveiled an impressive number of robots inspired by the Earth’s fauna, from bionic ants and butterflies, to penguins, jellyfish and even kangaroos. Earlier this month, the robotics studio showcased their newest invention, a lightweight flying robot inspired by the swift and capable of mimicking its flight maneuvers with impressive accuracy. From steep turns and drops to nausea-inducing loops, the new Bionic Swift can pull of most, if not all, of a real swift’s movements.

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Russian Cows Wear VR Headsets to Reduce Their Anxiety, Increase Milk Production

In an attempt to reduce cows’ anxiety and hopefully increase their dairy production, a cattle farm in Moscow’s Ramensky district has equipped its herd with specially-designed virtual reality headsets.

Research has shown that there is a link between a cow’s emotional state and it’s daily milk yield. In the past, we’ve heard of dairy farms playing soothing classical music for their cows in order to lower their stress level and increase productivity, but as technology advances, new mood-altering solutions are introduced. For example, the RusMoloko farm in Moscow recently equipped its cattle with VR systems adapted for the “structural features of cow heads”.

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Chinese Researchers Create Stretchable Display Thin Enough to Be Worn as Temporary Tattoo

A team of researchers from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Nanjing University recently unveiled an innovative display that is thin and flexible enough to be worn on skin, like a type of temporary tattoo.

Having to check a stopwatch to see your time while running, or looking at your smartphone screen to see who is calling may soon be things of the past thanks to a new and revolutionary human-machine interface that allows information to be displayed directly on human skin. Called alternating-current electroluminescent (ACEL) display, this new invention consists of an electroluminescent layer made of light-emitting microparticles sandwiched between two flexible silver nanowire electrodes. The ceramic nanoparticles embedded in stretchable polymer make this ACEL display brighter than any other, allowing it be clearly visible even in a well-lit room.

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Harry Potter Fans Eye Toyota’s New Electrically-Powered Witch’s Broom

Called an “e-broom”, Toyota’s latest mobility platform looks like a futuristic witch’s broom that users can ride to get around. Apparently, quidditch fans found the concept very intriguing.

Unfortunately, Toyota’s e-broom isn’t yet able to make quidditch players airborne, like in the popular Harry Potter books, but they are capable of propelling people on the ground, as long as they are wearing roller-skates. The e-broom is meant to be ridden like a witch’s broom, only instead of relying on magic to whisk its users towards the sky, it relies on an electrical motor and a wheel at the bottom to propel its rider forward at moderate speed. It’s not as impressive as we’d like it to be, but at least it’s a step toward a real life quidditch broom.

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French Researchers Build Creepy Phone Case That Mimics Human Skin

A team of French and English researchers recently showcased a prototype phone case called Skin-On, which not only mimics the look and feel of human skin, but also enables interaction communication through gestures like pinching or tickling.

Developed by researchers at the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecomm ParisTech and Sorbonne University, Skin-On consists of a layer of stretchable copper wire in between two different forms of silicone layers. The materials are mass-produced, and the creators of Skin-On claim that the cost of a commercial version of the case would be around $6.5. While anyone could build it, project leader Marc Teyssier admitted that finding the right balance to create what is essentially artificial skin was challenging, considering the case was also supposed to detect touch. But why bother making a smartphone case that everyone generally agrees is “decidedly creepy”. Dr Anne Roudaut, Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction, explains:

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Chinese Company Develops New Recognition System Based on Veins in the Human Hand

While most human identification technology companies choose to focus on facial recognition, one Chinese startup claims to have developed  much more accurate identification system based on micro traits of veins within human hand.

Developed by MELUX, AirWave is an incredibly efficient identification system that is said to be a million times more accurate than facial recognition technology. There are only 80 to 280 feature points on the face that artificial intelligence can asses when scanning an individual, but AirWave is able to scan more than a million micro-feature points in the palm of the hand in under 0.3 seconds, making it virtually impossible to cheat. A simple swipe of the palm over a special sensor is all that’s required to get an ultra-accurate authentication and/or authorization in real time.

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