Speech2Face – An AI That Can Guess What Someone Looks Like Just by Their Voice

Speech2Face is an advanced neural network developed by MIT scientists and trained to recognize certain facial features and reconstruct people’s faces just by listening to the sound of their voices.

You’ve probably already heard about AI-powered cameras that can recognize people just by analyzing their facial features, but what if there was a way for artificial intelligence to figure out what you look like just by the sound of your voice and without comparing your voice to a database? That’s exactly what a team of scientists at MIT has been working on, and the results of their work are impressive, kind of. While their neural network, named Speech2Face, can’t yet figure out the exact facial features of a human just by their voice, it certainly gets plenty of details right.

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Smart Chopsticks Use Electrical Stimulation to Enhance Food Flavors

Japanese beverage maker Kirin Holdings teamed up with researchers at Meiji University in Tokyo to create smart chopsticks that reportedly make food taste more savory.

Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita has been researching electrical stimulation as a way to alter the way people experience food and flavor for years. In 2016, along with fellow researcher Hiromi Nakamura, he made international news headlines for developing a revolutionary electric fork that could make any food taste saltier than it actually was. And last year, he got even more attention for his Taste the TV (TTTV) project, a lickable TV screen that could imitate the taste of various foods. Now, he’s once again the talk of the interwebs thanks to his latest invention, a pair of smart chopsticks that can allegedly make food more savory.

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This Device Lets You Feel Virtual Reality Pain in Real Life

A Japanese startup is trying to blur the line between reality and virtual reality with technology that allows the wearer to feel the pain experienced inside the metaverse in real life.

H2L Technologies, a Sony-backed technology company based in Tokyo, recently unveiled a wristband that dishes out small electric shocks whenever the wearer suffers pain-inducing damage in the much-hyped metaverse. The device is supposed to do a lot more than that, including mimicking a range of sensations from catching a ball to a bird pinching the wearer’s skin, as well as conveying weight and resistance. It’s all meant to make the metaverse this immersive experience that the people and companies involved in its creation have been pushing over the last year or so.

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Farmer Makes His Cows Wear VR Goggles to Increase Milk Production

In an attempt to increase the daily milk yield of his cows, a farmer in Turkey is experimenting with virtual reality goggles that make the bovines think they are in the middle of a green pasture in summer.

İzzet Koçak’s family has been rearing cattle on a farm in Aksaray, Turkey for three generations, and the business has endured for so long because they have always tried to keep up with the times. Now it’s Izzet’s turn to make sure the family business does well enough to be passed on to the next generation, and he is going all-in on unconventional solutions. After experimenting with soothing music designed to relax the cows, the Turkish farmer is now experimenting with special VR goggles that allegedly make the animals believe that they are grazing in a sunny pasture, instead of a gloomy indoor farm in the middle of winter.

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Netlicks – Professor Creates “Lickable” TV Screen That Imitates Taste of Food

A Japanese professor has created a prototype lickable TV screen that can reportedly imitate the taste of various foods.

Dubbed Taste the TV (TTTV), the prototype was developed by Homei Miyashita, a professor at the prestigious Meiji University in Japan, as a step towards a true multisensory viewing experience. The Intriguing device uses a carousel of 10 flavor canisters that are sprayed in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The cocktail then rolls onto hygienic film over a flat TV screen, and the viewer can sample it. Miyashita believes that this technology can help people connect and interact even over long distances.

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Man Singlehandedly Builds Eerily Realistic Robot Arm Powered by Synthetic Muscles

A Polish robotics engineer recently posted a series of intriguing videos of what looks like a dextrous android arm powered by synthetic muscles.

Łukasz Koźlik, who goes under the moniker Automaton Robotics online, is a talented robotics engineer from Poland who has spent the last few years creating an incredible synthetic muscle arm that moves eerily like a human one. A firm believer in the idea that muscle mimicry is the key to fast, efficient, and affordable robots, Łukasz has been building on the concept of McKibben muscle, or pneumatic artificial muscles, creating a synthetic muscular system that allows robots to move their fingers and palms in a similar way to humans.

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Scientists Use Brain Implant to Cure Woman’s Severe Depression

A woman who had exhausted all other options of treating her depression claims her life has become infinitely better since having a matchbox-sized implanted into her skull.

Having holes drilled into your skull and electrical wires connected directly to your brain sounds like a daunting proposition for most people, but for Sarah, a 36-year-old woman who had been battling depression for years, it was a desperate attempt to get back to a normal life. For years, she had been battling severe depression, and all other treatments, including anti-depressants and electroconvulsive therapy, had failed. Anything was better than the darkness she had been experiencing, and getting a brain implant proved a winning bet, as she has now been depression-free for over a year.

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Microchip Manicure Turns Your Nails into Digital Business Cards

A beauty salon in Dubai has been getting a lot of attention for its microchip manicure, which involves applying a small NFC chip onto the client’s fingernails and turning them into business cards.

We covered the trend of having NFC microchips inserted under the skin to make interacting with gadgets a more seamless experience, but one Dubai salon has come up with a non-invasive technique to achieve similar results. Instead of using a needle to insert the subdermal chip, the Lanour Beauty Lounge in Dubai simply applies it onto the fingernail and covers it with a special coating for protection. They can have all sorts of data installed onto the chip, from the user’s social media profiles and websites, to their contact details and phone number.

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Chinese Army Showcases Eerily Realistic Fish-Like Underwater Drone

An ultra-realistic underwater drone modelled after the arowana fish has been getting a lot of attention online, after making its debut at a military expo earlier this month.

This year’s Beijing Military Expo opened on June 5th, but it wasn’t the tanks, missiles, and other potentially lethal military equipment that drew reporters’ attention, it was a rather strange arowana fish swimming in a large water tank installed on site. At first glance, it was just a fish that seemed to swim and behave normally. It would swim around normally, and raise its head for a while whenever it reached a wall, then just wing its tail again and swim in another direction. At first glance, its appearance and movements were those of an actual fish, and it was only on close inspection that one realized this was an advanced fish-like robot.

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Engineer Falls Off Bicycle, Creates Self-Balancing Bike That Anyone Can Ride

After losing his balance and falling off his bicycle, a bright Chinese engineer dedicated his spare time to designing and building a bike that not only self-balances, but also detects and avoids obstacles.

I never learned how to ride a bicycle, and I always wondered how people managed to keep their balance on those two thin wheels, but thanks to the efforts of Zhi Hui Jun, I may never have to. The talented engineer was fascinated by the self-driving bicycle built by scientists at Beijing Tsinghua University back in 2019, and after suffering a bicycle accident that left him with minor injuries to his face, the young engineer decided to build his own self-balancing bicycle.

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Meet China’s First AI-Powered Virtual University Student

Hua Zhibing officially registered and became a student of Beijing’s Tsinghua University on Tuesday. But she’s not just another student, but China’s first AI-powered, virtual student.

Hua Zhibing’s appearance, voice and even the music playing in the background of the vlog she introduced herself to the world in were all created using on a record-breaking AI modeling system called Wudao 2.0. It was unveiled at the 2021 Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI) Conference on June 1, and, according to its developers, it is the first trillion scale model in China and the largest in the world. Wudao 2.0 is designed to enable machines to think like humans and is reportedly close to passing the Turing test in poetry and couplets creation, text summaries, answering questions and painting.

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Company Develops AI-Controlled Shoes That Help the Blind Avoid Obstacles

Austrian company Tec-Innovation recently unveiled smart shoes that use ultrasonic sensors to help people suffering from blindness of vision impairment to detect obstacles up to four meters away.

Known as InnoMake, the smart shoe aims to become a modern alternative to the decades-old walking stick that millions of people around the world depend on to get around as safely as possible. The currently available model relies on sensors to detect obstacles and warns the wearer via vibration and an audible alert sounded on a Bluetooth-linked smartphone. That sounds impressive enough, but the company is already working on a much more advanced version that incorporates cameras and artificial intelligence to not only detect obstacles but also their nature.

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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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