AEB for All New Cars in Europe and Soon to be in the U.S. As Well

Automatic Emergency Breaking (AEB) has just been declared a requirement for all new cars in Europe to reach a maximum safety rating.  The same requirement is said to be applied in the US by 2022.  New sensing technologies are being applied to AEB systems constantly to improve safety in all cars, and with the current state of development of driverless cars, AEB technology is quickly improving.

Fusion of different sensing technologies is critical for the further development of AEBs.  Some of the different sensing technologies currently being used to produce better AEBs are radar, LiDAR, ultrasonics, and numerous types of cameras.  These devices are being used to gather data so that programs can, with numerous types of inputted data, make the best possible decisions for how cars should break in emergency situations.  Recreating the 360 degree surrounding area around the car is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of AEBs, and AEB systems try to not only produce a simulation of the surrounding area, but monitor the motion, temperature, and sounds of objects around the car, as well as simulating different outcomes based on different motions that the car could perform to ensure the most safe solution.  Also, all of this must be done as quickly as possible to avoid missing potentially life-saving opportunities.

Europe has decided, as of 2018, that AEBs are advanced enough now that all new cars produced must have them.  One reason for this is the incorporation of new millimeter-wave radars that will be able to improve the effecincy of all AEBs.  This decision has also led the US to plan on implementing the same regulations by the year 2022.


Artificial Intelligence is Now Being Used to Reconstruct Damaged Images

The technology already exists that can reconstruct and alter images based on surrounding pixel colors and patterns, but the images that those programs created were often unrealistic and had many flaws, and required a decent amount of manual editing to make the pictures look real.

Nvidia, a U.S. based company, made a new program that is far more effective in accomplishing this, and nearly eliminates all need for manual touch-ups to the altered images.  The process includes many of the same features of previously developed programs, but at a much faster rate as well as a more realistic finished product.  The algorithms use machine learning to find the similarities and differences between facial expressions, scenery, animals, and so on.  Nvidia’s AI also picks up on patterns and colors far better than other similar programs.

Below is a comparison of the inputted image, another inferior program, Nvidia’s AI, and the original image.

As you can see, Nvidia’s AI is significantly better than the previous make, and the images it produces are very close to the originals.  Little to no manual editing is necessary.

While this type of technology does have the potential to to make a productive positive contribution to society, it has also been known to produce images that create political controversy, pornographic images, and photographs that can mislead research and scientific discoveries.  The way that this technology is used, and regulated, will be very interesting to watch unfold throughout the next few months.

3D Printing Cells and Sensors on Skin

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a low-cost, portable 3D printer that uses 3D Sensing technology to map out the shape of the surface skin or a wound to repair cellular tissue to print electronics onto a hand.  This printer cost only $400 and is easily portable.  The printing process for most products onto the skin takes only a matter of minutes, and this technology is hoped to be used on soldiers.

Regarding electronics, sensors can be printed onto the hand that can detect harmful chemical and biohazards that will alert soldiers when activated.  Solar power absorbing cells can also be printed, as well as agents that draw power from natural body heat, which will be used to power such devices.

Additionally, these printers can produce cellular tissue (a technology further being developed by biomechanics company, Cellink, in Sweden) directly onto the skin to heal wounds.  This technology will be able to help soldiers to heal and avoid hazardous situations both during and after battles, and could create a major difference in the way soldiers operate.


VR and AR at the Tribeca Film Festival

Every year, more VR and AR products and games are being seen at the festival.  This year in particular, however, empathy technologies are taking a turn from just simply creative colors and scenery to a more political and serious atmosphere.  One game, entitled Terminal 3 is a game in which the user is an airport security officer interviewing muslims.  In this experience, users are prompted to ask different questions as an interviewer to ultimately decide whether or not to let this individual into the country.

The designer and writer of this game, Asad J. Malik, grew up in Pakistan and he claims that his game’s purpose is not to promote any one specific message in particular about Muslims and the way that they are treated in airports.  Rather, he just wants to illustrate the tremendous difference in the personalities and backgrounds that most people do not realize.  He says that there is such variety in the types of people that may or may not recognize themselves as Muslims, but “who the world would recognize as Muslims.” Malik is using his knowledge of empathy technologies and his credibility as a designer at the Tribeca Film Festival to create a change that he would like to see in the world.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival uses AR and VR to explore music-making and empathy


Augmented Reality Glasses Could Hit the Market Sooner than You Think

We have all seen highly advanced augmented reality glasses, lenses, and other types of products in plenty of fictional movies, but these types of products have never been mass-produced in our reality.  However, a new partnership between WaveOptics and EV Group (two augmented reality developmental companies) is working on developing a marketable pair of AR lenses.

Once the technology is developed, it is expected to be sold to larger corporations such as Samsung or Apple so that production can be scaled up tremendously.  Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said last year that he simply believed that the technology readily available was too clunky and heavy to be marketable, but what WaveOptics and EV Group are planning to do is to create a pair of lenses that look and feel like normal sunglasses, and they have figured out how exactly they are going to do this.  They estimate that next year, their product will cost around $600 when it first hits the markets, and that prices will continuously go down as cheaper, but still high quality, alternative materials are discovered.

While there are no release dates or beta products yet, WaveOptics and EV Group are certain that their product will be hitting markets in late 2018-2019.


Virtual Reality is an Artform

James R. Eads is an artist who uses technology to create new and unique masterpieces.  He works heavily with animation and VR, and advertises his works through social media.  I first came across him on the “Explore” page on Instagram, and was amazed with the beautiful works he creates through the use of new technologies (to see him “painting” in action, watch the video link above – is it truly amazing).

Eads is a popular animator of music videos and occasionally provides special effects for shows and movies.  His work depicts abstract renditions of popular tv shows, films, other historical artwork, and current events.  In addition, he does a lot of his own work from scratch, creating etherial and other-worldly scenes that people used to say reminded them of outer space.  That is when Eads got the idea to work with a new medium: virtual reality.

Perhaps Eads’s most influential (or soon to be influential) work is what he does in VR.  He wanted to be able to put users inside of the art and take them inside of the artwork itself.  His device, called the tiltbrush, allows him to draw in the air and see his brush strokes through a VR headset.  The work that he does combines traditional art styles with modern technology, and it is incredible.

Another of his works, which he entitled “Twenty Eight Days of Portals” can be seen below. This piece was meant to take viewers on a trip through a miniature universe that he designed.

Another, titled “The Darkest Hour” can be seen here.



The Collection of Data Off Social Media Sites is Soon to be Nationally Regulated

Facebook and Google, along with many other companies, have been known to collect data that users might not want collected.  On Tuesday, however, two politicians released a bill that will impose strong new regulations on companies that collect their user’s data, if it gets passed.

The Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2018 will regulate how companies collect and handle user’s data in a few ways.  First, they will have to provide to their users a report of whatever data is harvested by the company.  Second, they will have to explain why that information is being collected and what is will be used for.  Third, companies will have to explain how exactly the information is collected, as well as how certain employees will be granted access to the data.  Finally, if a company decides to misuse user’s data or change the way they use it, they must alert users no longer than 72 hours after the data usage is altered.  It should be noted that this is a far shorter timeframe than when Facebook learned that user data was being collected by Cambridge Analytica.  Facebook remained quiet for nearly two years after they learned user data had been wrongfully collected by a foreign entity.  You could say that that scandal is what prompted the drafting of this new bill, and if this bill is passed, companies are going to start being far more careful with the way that user data is collected and used.

Give Amazon a Key to Your House and Your Car

Amazon Prime subscribers are now being presented with the opportunity to have packages delivered inside their houses and inside their cars.  With the new Amazon Key, through an application on the delivery driver’s phone, Amazon is aiming to beat porch-thieves by granting their deliverers access to unlock your house and your car.  Their primary appeal was to people who lived in urban areas who frequently ordered from Amazon and often found their packages stolen from their front porch, and because the Amazon Home Key project was so successful, they decided to do in-car delivery as well.  Now, customers can have packages delivered to the trunk of their cars, wherever their car is located.

Due to security regulations, Amazon’s car-delivery service is only being offered in 37 cities right now, and only a select few car companies have agreed to work with Amazon on this project.  To ensure security and prevent hackers from gaining more-than-valuable information, this whole process is done remotely.  Delivery drivers are given no special codes or keys.  Instead, through an application on the driver’s phone, the driver can remotely access Amazon’s network, which then grants access to unlock the car for just long enough for the package to be delivered.  Customers receive a notification as soon as their car is opened, and the car is locked immediately after by Amazon’s remote system.  While this feature is meant to provide comfort to customers that their packages will be delivered safely, there are still a few risks.

While Amazon has a very high level of security and supervision over this system, hackers still could figure out a way to tap into the system, or into the delivery drivers’ phones, and use this to steal cars and access houses.  Amazon claims that this process is completely safe, recently there have been no instances of Amazon Key leading to a robbery, but the system is still new, and there is a reason that it has only been permitted usage in 37 cities thus far.  This process is meant to provide security and comfort to customers, but you never know what hackers are capable of.

You can now give Amazon the keys to your car

3D Printing Cellular Tissue

When desktop computers first came into the market, many people thought that they were just for nerds and computer geeks.  Now most Americans have computers in their pockets, on their desks, and at their workplace.  3D Printers are on the same path.  More and more people are finding different and unique uses for 3D Printers, and one company headquartered out in Sweden is using 3D printing technology to create cellular tissue from scratch.

Celllink is a Swedish biotech company that recently has developed a printer that is capable of not only printing living tissues, but also provides what Cellink calls their “patent pending Clean Chamber Technology” that is capable of removing 99.97% of all airborne particles in the chamber.  This allows for a tremendously high quality finish on anything the new device prints.

Cellink is a rapidly growing company, constantly improving and expanding their office space over the last few months.  Their new printer, called the Cellink Bio X, now costs around $40,000, and the company has only produced one so far.  However, as this company grows more and more, they should begin produce and even sell these printers to hospitals and other biotech-based companies, and they are currently working on making the production of the Bio X printer more affordable.

Cellink’s vision as a business is to eventually make it possible for “scientists and researchers to create human organs and tissues at each using a biological ink, modified 3D printers and human cells…  What we do at Cellink is to provide this entire package of components to customers and users worldwide so that they can get started as easily as possible.”  Cellink’s technology has the potential to revolutionize many industries, and they simply want to provide that technology and see what other researchers are going to use it for.


Today Snapchat Released a New “Shoppable” Augmented Reality Button

Snapchat launches ‘shoppable’ augmented reality feature in Lenses

A Snapchat update in 2015 offered an augmented reality that can alter users’ faces, providing funny and interesting new features.  Later they released another update to their augmented reality feature that was sponsored by specific brands, making Snapchat money from advertisements and providing new, temporary features to keep users engaged in the application.  Today, they updated their sponsored AR by including a “shop now” button.

Four brands were granted the opportunity to be the first to use this new feature: Adidas, Clairol, King, and STX Entertainment.  The update includes the use of augmented reality and facial recognition technology to attract users to utilize the new feature.  Once their attention is grabbed, right above the button you would normally click to take the picture, there is a “shop now” button that is a link to the sponsored company’s advertised product.

With over 250 million snapchats sent every day using this AR lens, and an average of three minutes of use per user, Snapchat’s AR advertisements are going to bring revenue to both Snapchat as well as any company that partners with them.  Because these advertisements change every day, this will play a large role in Snapchat’s total revenue.  Snapchat successfully used augmented reality to bring significant profit to their company.