tech innovation

IBM Predicts Five Tech Innovations Coming to Your Senses

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2012 03:29 PM

Smartphones are pretty smart as it is now. But in five years’ time, they could be smelling you to see if you have a cold, allow users to feel objects from across the globe, and see such things as cell structures that are likely to turn into a melanoma. Not too shabby, right?

Some of IBM’s top researchers share the news on these potential capabilities – and plenty more – in the company’s new list of five predictions of innovations that will change our lives in the next five years. The annual "Smarter Planet" look what’s coming down the pike in the world of technology this year is grouped around cognitive computing, another name for trying to get computers to behave more like humans.

“With all due respect to current technology, our computers today are just large calculators,” said Paul Bloom, the CTO of Telecom Research at IBM. “They calculate very fast and lots of data, but they really don’t think.” That is about to change. IBM has released five videos (watch below) to showcase how computing may change each of the five senses — hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. Researchers, for example, are getting closer to “hearing” mudslides and other natural disasters before they actually occur.

"This is really an assistive technology," commented Dr. Bernard Meyerson, IBM's VP of research. "It can't go off on its own. It's not designed to do that. What it's designed to do, in fact, is respond to a human in an assistive manner. But by providing a human-style of input, it's freed us from the task of programming and moved to the task of training. It simply has — not more intelligence — but more bandwidth, and there's a huge difference between the two."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Microsoft Celebrates a Year of Milestones

Posted by Andrew Chan on December 13, 2012 12:13 PM

2012 was a momentous year for Microsoft, building its devices and services foundation for the year to come. The company introduced the world to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, its family of Surface PCs, a new version of Microsoft Office and “Halo 4,” Microsoft celebrates "a steady rhythm of advancements across its most popular products for individuals and businesses" throughout 2012. See more in the video below and slideshow, and don't miss Bing's top searches of 2012.Continue reading...

tech innovation

NYC's Two-Way Touch-Screen Public Phones Ready for Emergencies, Advertisers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 23, 2012 11:01 AM

One very small silver lining in the wake of Super Storm Sand on the Big Apple: public phone booths are being reimagined anew in a public-private partnership between New York City and two companies, Cisco and City 24/7.

During the downgraded-but-still-devastating hurricane, New Yorkers with access turned to the retro public phone in droves to try and connect and get information and this has led to a renewed commitment to transform pay phones into giant touch screens providing services from emergency broadcasts to local business deals. In a public emergency they’ll become two-way distress devices for citizen use and aid with Cisco providing back-end tools integrating New York’s 911 and 311 services.

The smart screens had been in pilot phase but soon 250 of the devices are being installed in all five city boroughs. “We’ll average a couple of installs per day. With the holidays approaching, they won’t all be in for a couple of months,” City 24/7 CEO Tom Touchet, former producer of The Today Show on NBC, told GigaOm.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Nissan Takes Wraps Off Driverless Car Concept

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 3, 2012 05:17 PM

Google isn't the only brand developing driverless cars. Nissan, which rose 30 percent on Interbrand's new Best Global Brands report, has unveiled NSC-2015, a prototype version of its Leaf electric vehicle "that can park itself, come when you call it and warn you about burglars," as Forbes notes. "The car can’t drive itself down the street," or and wouldn't even be legal in Japan (yet). Still, it's an intriguing move for the Japanese automaker as it works out the kinks on the cloud-based technology.

"When a smartphone sends an instruction to park, the instruction enters the cloud to the Nissan Global Data Center," explained Tooru Futami, engineering director at Nissan's Electronics Engineering Development Division. "There, a car health check is performed. The system decides if the car is OK to enter automatic driving mode. If everything with the car is OK, the automatic driving mode is enabled."

See more of the test car, cruising driverless at around 5 kmh at CEATEC in Japan, billed as Asia's biggest tech show, below.Continue reading...

tech innovation

P&G Brings Video Ads to Print With Dolce&Gabbana Ad in Marie Claire

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2012 03:47 PM

The September issues of fashion magazines tend are closely watched because of September's annual fashion frenzy, but at least one October fashion magazine issue is garnering attention. And not for its take on hemlines and the new runway collections, but for one of its ads, which will play a video. In print.

The October issue of Marie Claire UK incorporates a black-and-white commercial for Dolce&Gabbana fragrance, the first UK display advert of its kind. Appearing on pages 34 and 35 in a limited run of a few thousand copies of the issue, a male and female model pose in a coastal scene and when the page is opened, the 45-second spot (directed by Mario Testino) automatically plays. And hopefully won't remind readers of those annoying greeting cards that play music upon opening.

D&G's description of the spot: "In the campaign that launches the Dolce&Gabbana classic fragrances Pour Femme and Pour Homme, Mario Testino sets a scene of fairytale romance, as the backdrop for a tale of love and transgression, like a gem of ancient storytelling. Starring Laetitia Casta and Noah Mills, and set to the strains of 'Città Vuota' by Mina. Shot on location in Sicily in the magnificent baroque village of Erice and the beach of La Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro."

The underlying technology that whisks them from the screen to the page is produced by Americhip, which has been developing multisensory advertising and marketing technologies since 2001.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Magic Arms for Emma: How 3D Printing is Changing Lives

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 14, 2012 12:03 PM

Some people use their 3D printers to create thousands of faces. Some just want to create 3D versions of the 2D video-game characters they’ve grown to love. Others use the technology to create wearable bikinis or replicas of the human jaw or a whole building.

Then there are the folks at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. The innovative researchers there are using the trendy technology to change lives. 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys is taking the month of August to showcase how the technology is doing just that via its Facebook page, YouTube channel and blog, and we dare you not to feel a little choked up as you read on.

First up is 4-year old Emma Lavelle, a preschooler with a congenital disorder that hasn’t allowed her to use her arms. Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing, docs and researchers in Philly can print out a custom-designed durable robotic exoskeleton that allows her to lift her own arms. Suddenly she can feed herself and simply play like other kids with her “magic arms.” It’s a transformative moment, as you can see in the video below.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Watch Google Discuss 'Agile Creativity' Pitch With Agency Heads [VIDEO]

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 9, 2012 01:03 PM

As Ad Age notes this week, Google is pitching ad agencies on its new Silicon Valley x Madison Avenue positioning, "Agile Creativity." As the trailer above shows, it's Google's hope that it will spark conversations with advertisers and marketers about tapping into and collaborating with its technology — such as Project Glass (aka the augmented reality Google Googles), self-driving car, and other innovations.

Below, watch the August 8th Google Hangout discussing the digital tech pitch with, from Google, Torrence Boone, Managing Director, Agency Business Development (a former agency exec); Chee Chew, Director of Engineering, Google+; a rare sneak behind the curtain by Rich DeVaul, Rapid Evaluator at the stealth skunkworks that is the Google[x] Lab; and on the agency side, Greg Andersen, CEO of BBH NY; and John Boiler, CEO & Founder, 72andSunny — both of whom share their insights on Google's new Agile Creativity home page.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Google Expands Self-Driving Car Test

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 7, 2012 02:01 PM

Google today announced it's expanding its self-driving robotic car test with a new car model for the next leg of its journey: the Lexus RX450h, which will help it "refine our systems in different environments and on different terrain." Its blog post update on the project:

Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control. We’re encouraged by this progress, but there’s still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter. As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter. One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed.

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