Fears that computers were taking over swept the world this week when stories emerged about Facebook’s AI creating its own language that researchers couldn’t understand. But they might be a little misplaced.
For such a simple tool, the white cane has been incredibly enduring. With all of the technological advances that have been made over the past century, we haven’t come up with much better than a stick with a metal tip for helping the visually impaired get around. Though researchers at MIT have been working on a wearable solution designed to augment and, hopefully, one day replace the cane. The system features a 3D camera with an on-board computer hung around the neck at chest level. The camera senses the location of objects, converting the signals into pulsing haptic vibrations that alert the wearer to the location of an object. The on-board motors vibrate with a variety of patterns and frequencies to signify different things, like the distance of an object. READ MORE: MIT develops a vibrating wearable to help people with visual impairments navigate | TechCrunch
Engel and Resnick are part of Google Magenta—a small team of AI researchers inside the internet giant building computer systems that can make their own art—and this is their latest project. It’s called NSynth, and the team will publicly demonstrate the technology later this week at Moogfest, the annual art, music, and technology festival, held this year in Durham, North Carolina.
A Universe Explodes is an unusual e-book in a variety of ways. Best viewed on a mobile device, it’s about 20 pages long and has 128 words per page. Only 100 people “own” the original version, though the book itself is free and can be read by anyone at any time. Each copy can be shared with up to 100 others, but first each owner must personalize it by removing two words and adding one to every page. Since each copy is subtly different, they are all considered “limited editions.” Owners are required to share the book with a friend once they’re done editing it — and each time the e-book is passed on, more and more words disappear until there’s only one left per page. READ MORE: This experimental e-book gets edited every time it changes hands | engadget
You may know someone who sends messages with more emojis than words, but chances are they don’t need those symbols to communicate. For some with language disorders such as aphasia, a disorder that can make it difficult to read, talk, or write, emojis can be an ideal way for those with the disorder to communicate with others around them. Samsung Electronics Italia, the company’s Italian subsidiary, just came out with a new app called Wemogee that helps those with language disorders talk to others by using emoji-based messages. READ MORE: Samsung develops emoji-based chat app for people with language disorders | Ars Technica