Amazon Go a new way to shop, without waiting in a line

Amazon unveiled a grocery store without checkout counters or lines. Amazon Go is a 1800 square foot retail space locatred in Seattle that lets shoppers grab items that they want and walk out with it, while the order gets charged to the shoppers Amazon account afterwards.

Amazon Go uses computer vision and sensors to detect the items that are taken. Shoppers scan an app as they enter the store, sensors identify the items in shoppers carts, and charges for items to the account.

Amazon Go will stock most items found in convenience stores such as snacks, drinks, bread, milk, and more. The store is open in beta to Amazon employees only. A public release is scheduled for early 2017.

Nissan develops self driving chair

Nissan is taking automation to a different level, instead of self driving cars they have developed self driving chairs. Nissan unveiled their automated chair, the ProPilot Chair, named after its autonomous driving technology.

ProPilot uses the same technology that is in the Nissan Serena minivan, a semi autonomous vehicle that maintains a safe distance between cars and helps keep the vehicle in the middle of a lane. Nissan visions upgraded the technology by the 2020s to be able to drive in crowded city centers.

The chairs come equipped with sensors that allow each chair to detect and follow in line to the front. Empty chairs automatically move themselves to the back of the line. Other applications would be conference room chairs that move to allow seating and tucking in under the table once unused.

Nissan will begin testing the chairs in Japan 2017. These chairs will be installed in select restaurants.

UPS Testing Drone Deliveries

UPS has started trials of deliveries using drones that deliver medical, emergency, items. UPS tested a delivery at Marblehead where a drone dropped a package at Children’s Island, running a scenario where a young child needed an asthma inhaler. The delivery took about 8 minutes for a 3 mile journey.

The company UPS has parented to work with is CyPhy Works, a Massachusetts based drone company. UPS has also invested in CyPhy.

The company is running trials currently, there’s no certain date in the future where these deliveries using drones would be used. Though we can see from the many companies that are testing drones, such as Domino’s, Wal-Mart, and Amazon, are finding unique ways to adapt to new technologies.


Autopilot update 8.0 moving forward

Elon Musk tweeted this morning saying that he is “hoping to start the rollout of 8.0 on Wednesday if no last minute issues discovered.”

The biggest change in Autopilot is an increased reliance radar. “After careful consideration, we now believe [radar] can be used as a primary control sensor without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition,” wrote Musk in a blog post on Sunday. The sensor was first installed to Tesla vehicles in 2014 and this update may be because of the fatal car crash of a Tesla Model S in which the driver was killed while using the Autopilot service in May.

Also included in the update will be a “geocoded whitelist” of objects such as signs and other obstacles that result in the misidentification of objects and the vehicle making unnecessary braking or dangerous maneuvering. The fatal accident in May was caused when Autopilot did not recognize a truck that was turning towards the car and instead identified it as an overhead sign.

To those with Autopilot always drive safely. The update will be delivered over the air to eligible vehicles. shows off Comma One autonomous driving technology

At TechCrunch Disrupt SF hacker George Hotz unveiled the Comma One, the first official product of his automotive AI company, The Comma One isn’t a vehicle, its an add on that’s installed into vehicles. It sells for $999 with a $24 month software subscription.

The Comma One is similar to Tesla’s autopilot. Its a system that doesn’t fully automotive vehicles simply had features that allow for near automation. During his speech at Disrupt Hotz stated that the Comma One would allow vehicles to drive from Mountain View to San Francisco without touching the wheel.

It doesn’t have many sensors because it relies on the built in car front radars. Though Hotz stated that the Comma One does come with a camera, which would allow video capture. We’re actually getting back the video, even Tesla isn’t doing that,” Hotz said. “We have all the video data.”

Hotz stated that they will try to ship the product before the end of this year and will only be sold in limited quantities.

Meet Rotterdams newest Aqua Drones the Water Shark and AquasmartXL

Drones are made to just fly in the air, there are also others that are made to swim.

The Port of Rotterdam debuted their aquatic drones at the World Port Days conference. The first water drone, AquasmartXL, is planned to travel across the Port of Rotterdam and is equipped with a camera to send real time images for surveillance and inspection of infrastructure.

Another drone called the Waste Shark is used to remove up to 500 kilos of waste from the water, which is then processed. The Waste Shark, developed by RanMarine, will be used to clean up the Rotterdam docks. It has an open mouth that is located 35 centimeters below the water surface, which is used to take in more than a thousand pound of waste in the water. It can also gather data about water quality. For 6 months tests will be run using 4 Waste Sharks.

Sanbot the latest humanoid robot

Qihan showed off its mesmerizing humanoid robot: the Sanbot at IFA 2016, Europe’s biggest tech show.

Sanbot has flipper arms, a pair of wheels to move about, 3 cameras for security, a 3D camera for spatial awareness, and a HD camera, a touchscreen tablet, and infrared sensors. the back of its head has a built in HD projector and its torso houses speaker grilles and a sub-woofer. It can also recognize faces and voices. It even knows when its time to recharge. The Sanbot can be controlled using an Android or iOS app. It appears to be a personable humanoid, it looks friendly, obviously cute, and harmless.

It has many uses for the home, shops, hospitals, schools, and many other places. It was made to meet human needs, which there are many. For example the Sanbot at the Shenzhen airport in China, which provides passengers with flight information. Whats unique is that the company allows for developers and companies to use publicly available tools to create new roles for the humanoid.

Its maker Qihan, is known for home surveillance. According to the company the Sanbot has been stationed at various places around China such as airports. The humanoid costs around $6,000 (45,000 yuan), which is astonishingly cheap. The company has reportedly shipped around 30,000 of these little humanoids.

NASA in Planning Stage to Send SubMarine to Saturn’s Largest Moon Titan

NASA is working on a submarine but not just any submarine, one that will be sent to Kraken Mare, the largest ocean on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Ever since the discovery of Titans earth like habitat, with clouds, an atmosphere, and a large ocean that may hold life, its become a mission to go to that moon and NASA is planning a trip there. “To determine if hydrocarbon-based life is possible on Titan,” said Jason Hartwig, a NASA cryogenics engineer, in a presentation at the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Hartwigs Titan Submarine would be fully autonomous, of course, and would carry instruments to measure the chemical composition of Titans ocean and the structure o the ocean floor. A mast on top of the submarine allows it to communicate with Earth. The sub would have resurface to send data to Earth.

There are numerous problems that would be faced on Titan. Somewhere around the 450-500 meter mark we may start to freeze,” said Hartwig. Hartwig and his team are working on a way to fix this problem. If Titan is like Earth then many life forms may be hidden in the depths of the Ocean, therefore its crucial to get the sub 500 meters or more below the surface.

The project is in a planning stage and most likely wont occur for more than a decade. Though its going to happen sooner or later and we will either find life or walk away with enormous knowledge on the moons habitat.

Google Launches Project Blocks to teach kids to code

Google announced Project Bloks, an open hardware platform that allows developers to build their own devices and is aimed at helping kids learn to code.

From Googles Creative Lab Goldstein and Wilbert worked together with IDEO and Paulo Blikstein, the Director of Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Stanford University to develop this project.

The platform has 3 parts that make up the development system to allow for customization, reconfiguration, and rearrangement.

three boards.jpg

The first part is called the “Brain Board,” which is a Raspberry Pi Zero based board. The board will be the central processing unit and power unit. The Brain Board talks to the “Pucks” and “Base Board,” which make up the physical programming language. The board contains an API to receive and send data to the Base Boards. It sends the instructions from the Base Board to any device with WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity and an API.

Pucks are used to send commands such as ‘turn on or off’, ‘move left’ or ‘jump’. Google shows the use of buttons, dials, and switches, however you are able to use different forms such as paper with conductive ink. Pucks.jpg

The Base Board reads the commands from the Pucks and transmits them to the Brain Board. The Base Board has haptic motors and an LED to allow users to get real-time feedback. It can also be used to play audio using the speakers that come on the Brain Board. image08

In the introduction video kids use Bloks to control a Lego WeDo 2.0 robot. Project Bloks may pave the way for a new way of learning how to code and build systems for kids.

“Imagine what could happen if we had 10 times more people developing ways for children to learn coding and computational thinking: not just the traditional way, but kits that would teach programming in different ways such as making music or controlling the physical world,” Blikstein said in a statement. “That is what this platform will enable: make it easy to think outside of the box, without all the technical obstacles.”

Google is looking for educators, developers, parents and researchers, from around the world to remotley participate in research studies later in the year. You can sign up for the study here.

Olli and Watson a new way to travel

IBMs AI platform, Watson, is being integrated with Olli services.

Olli interiorOlli is an electric-powered autonomous vehicle, minibus, that has the capacity to carry up 12 people. It was designed by Local Motors, based in Arizona, using technologies such as 3D printing.
The vehicle will have a unique version of Watson integrated into Ollie to improve passengers experience, according to IBM. Though Watson won’t be navigating or driving the vehicle. “IBM technology, including IBM Watson or IBM Watson IOT technology, does not control, navigate or drive Olli. Rather, the IBM Watson capabilities of Olli will help to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle,” the company said.

A few Watson APIs will be integrated with Ollie: Speech to Text and Text to Speech, Natural Language Classifier, and Entity Extraction. Passengers could be able to talk to Ollie and ask for locations of landmarks, attractions, restaurants and much more.

These vehicles are planned to operate in Washington, DC, and then expand to Miami-Date County and Las Vegas.

Automated vehicles will one day change how we drive and most specifically the taxi industry and IBM, one of the worlds largest technology companies, is taking its first steps.  “Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue,” John B. Rogers, co-founder of Local Motors, said in a statement. “Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we’ve been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year. We are now ready to accelerate the adoption of this technology and apply it to nearly every vehicle in our current portfolio and those in the very near future. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.”