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Posts tagged ‘Software’


Watch code and projections bring a paper sculpture to life

The Tesela interactive paper sculpture in action

Paper art doesn’t have to be flat and lifeless… just ask Aristides Garcia. The artist recently created an interactive sculpture, Tesela, that uses a combination of 3D projection mapping and tesselation algorithms to cast real-time, viewer-influenced patterns over 103 paper pyramids. The effect is a bit hypnotic, as you’ll see below — it’s as if the paper has suddenly become a living landscape. You sadly can’t see this in person at the moment (Garcia debuted it at a Berlin exhibit in August), but it still shows that the right technology can liven up just about anything, even if it’s made from dead trees.

Via: The Creators Project

Source: Aristides Garcia


ICYMI: Grippy robot hands, smarten up your dumb car and more

ICYMI: Grippy Robot Hands, Smarten Up Your Dumb Car and More

Today on In Case You Missed It: MIT developed robotic hands of pliable silicon that are also studded with pressure sensors so it knows how tightly to hold something. A small dashboard camera and advanced computer vision software are being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area to record potential roadway hazards and track the drivers eyes. And a robotic solar-powered mirror light is here to give Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers another option for Vitamin D.

You definitely need to know about the Experian credit hack at T-Mobile but it might be more fulfilling to check out the livestream or YouTube channel of this year’s migration of animals in Africa via HerdTracker. It’s really beautiful.

If you come across any interesting videos, we’d love to see them. Just tweet us with the #ICYMI hashtag @engadget or @mskerryd.


Android Marshmallow update for the LG G3 and LG G4 are coming very soon

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When Android Lollipop was released late last year, LG was one of the first to release their software update to their then latest flagship, the LG G3. While that meant that the LG G3 wouldn’t get Android 5.1, it was still impressively fast for a manufacturer not called Google or Motorola. Although it remains unannounced, it looks like LG is about the repeat the feat with the Android Marshmallow update for the LG G3 and LG G4  as LG’s Korean support website has been updated already with instructions on how to update the device to Android 6.0 i.e. Android Marshmallow.

While that’s no real confirmation that the update is coming soon, the pages have since been taken down, which is a sure sign that they were prematurely posted. Naturally we’ll have to wait for the official announcement, but presumably it will be in the next week or two.

What do you think about the Android Marshmallow update for the LG G3 and LG G4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: LG World via TalkAndroid

The post Android Marshmallow update for the LG G3 and LG G4 are coming very soon appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Motorola announces which devices will be getting the Android Marshmallow update

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Motorola has had a pretty stellar reputation when it comes to rolling out software updates to its devices quickly, and we’re hoping that won’t be changing for this round of Android Marshmallow updates. Earlier today, Motorola detailed in a blog post exactly which devices are going to be updated to the latest version of Android, which included the following:

  • 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Style (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Play
  • 2015 Moto G (3rd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in the US (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X in Latin America, Europe and Asia2 (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (2nd gen)
  • DROID Turbo
  • 2014 Moto MAXX
  • 2014 Moto Turbo
  • Nexus 6

Motorola does note that things could change and more or less devices could be updated, but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath as some carriers don’t even bother announcing which devices are being updated, let alone give us an incomplete list. We will note that there are some devices we’re surprised are missing, namely all Moto E devices, and carrier versions of the 2014 Moto X – the 2013 Moto X and 2013 Moto G are also missing, but we’re guessing they’ve fallen out of the 2 year window for support.

Motorola also noted in its blog post that it would be retiring a few apps, including Motorola Assist, Motorola Migrate, as well as the Chrome extension for Motorola Connect. If nothing else, Motorola touches on a poignant reason to get rid of these apps:

“Both of these products were valuable in their time but the world has moved on and they no longer add enough value to justify taking up space in your device.”

We’ll pay that. What do you think about Motorola’s Android Marshmallow update list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Motorola Blog via Android Police

The post Motorola announces which devices will be getting the Android Marshmallow update appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Microsoft buys 3D physics developer Havok to boost gaming efforts

Microsoft today announced the acquisition of Havok from Intel. Havok makes a 3D physics engine and licenses it to gaming studios; its work has been featured on more than 600 titles, including popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls and Microsoft’s own Halo. While Microsoft says it is delighted to add Havok’s technologies to its robust portfolio of tools and components for developers, like DirectX 12 and Azure, it did point out that it won’t stop supporting partners going forward. “We will continue to license Havok’s technology to the broad AAA games industry,” Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. “This also means that we will continue to license Havok’s technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo.”

Source: Microsoft


Apple acquires speech technology and virtual assistant startup VocalIQ

Autos Apple and Android

Cupertino is set on improving its voice technology and virtual assistant, and is reportedly doing so by acquiring a UK-based startup that specializes in just that. Financial Times reports that Apple acquired VocalIQ, a company that builds virtual assistants using machine learning tech. One can easily surmise that Tim Cook & Co. were interested in VocalIQ’s smarts to further boost Siri, but Apple may also be interested in help with either of its automotive efforts. GM was reportedly working on a system with VocalIQ that would learn a driver’s intentions and vocabulary over time, taking cues that are more intuitive. With Apple having both CarPlay and Project Titan on the table, the company’s plans could be focused solely on the driver’s seat. That being said, we’ll have to wait and see how the matters progress, but hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2019 to get the details.

We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation of the acquisition and will update this post when we hear back.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

Via: Business Insider

Source: Financial Times


AT&T says competitors launched WiFi calling without FCC clearance

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While Sprint and T-Mobile have already flipped the switch on WiFi calling for the iPhone, AT&T continues to wait it out on the sidelines. And now we may know why. As reported by The Verge, the carrier recently sent a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler accusing competitors of launching the feature without legitimate approval from the government agency. AT&T’s Legal Senior Vice President, James Ciccioni, claims Sprint and T-Mobile started offering WiFi calling even though the FCC hadn’t granted a support waiver for teletypewriter communications, also known as TTY — which are typically required for providing accessibility services.

As a result, Cicconi says, AT&T had to make the choice of a) doing what the other networks did or b) come up with an alternative. That eventually led the company to add support for a real-time-text solution, but the FCC hasn’t yet accepted it as a proper replacement for TTY; it was AT&T’s goal to have WiFi calling ahead of the iOS 9 launch. In the letter to the FCC, Cicconi said: “Because the commission has not granted AT&T’s waiver petition we are not in a position to provide WiFi calling services to our customers even while our competitors provide those services in defiance of the commission’s rules.”

Once the FCC grants said request, if it does, AT&T should be able to bring WiFi calling to compatible iPhones.

[Image credits: Getty Images]

Source: The Verge


Apple’s late to the car game and that’s okay

There have been Apple Car (or iCar) rumors since at least 2007. They usually involve the company teaming up with an automaker to design an iPod- or iPhone-ready vehicle. Nothing has ever come of all the speculation and it’s probably for the best. When Apple teams up with another company, the results are rarely satisfying. Remember the train wreck known as the Motorola ROKR? Now it looks like Apple is finally forging ahead with its automotive plans according to reports. But it’ll do so on its own and there will reportedly be a production vehicle ready in 2019. If true, it’s a bold plan. Not because launching a vehicle in that short of a time frame is impossible. It’s that the electric, semi-autonomous vehicle market will be pretty crowded come 2019. But Apple should be fine with that because entering a crowded market with its own twist on a product is what it does.

In 2004, DARPA held a robot-car contest in the Mojave Desert. Autonomous cars would attempt to wind their way through a 150-mile route for the chance to win $1 million. All the vehicles failed. The next year, with the purse doubled, five teams finished the route. While Stanford officially won, the real winner was Google. The director of the university’s team, Sebastian Thrun went on to found Google [x] and the company’s driverless-vehicle initiative.

The company’s research and lobbying in the field has been aggressive. Four states, a town in Idaho and Washington, DC, now allow driverless cars on the road thanks in part to Google’s efforts. All that work has been laying the foundation for a world where autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles will be commonplace on the road.

Thrun left Google in 2014. But what he and his team accomplished set the groundwork for a 2020 launch of its own vehicle and paved the way for Apple and major automakers interested in getting humans out of the driver’s seat. While Google is already showing off a prototype car, Apple isn’t in a hurry. It’s more than happy to wait in the wings and see what’s learned during the testing process.

This is how Apple operates. It didn’t invent the MP3 player, the GUI or the smartphone. It saw what others had done and improved on it for maximum profit. Sure the company makes technology more palatable for the masses, but it does so while making a substantial profit on its products. This is why you haven’t seen a 4K TV with the Apple logo on it. Television sales offer slim profit margins. There’s no need to make a TV when a set-top box that points users to your digital rentals will suffice.

In the mobile world, Android dominates the market. But, Apple still makes huge waves when it launches new iPhones. The company sold 13 million new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets during the first three days of availability. The only handset maker that’s even remotely close to having Apple’s mindshare is Samsung.

If Apple can get a tiny fraction of those people to buy its new vehicle, it’ll be doing pretty well. It doesn’t need to beat Toyota, Ford or Honda in car sales; it just needs to make a profit. Yes, a car is far more expensive than a phone or a computer, but that Apple brand could be enough to get folks to buy a car from a tech company.

It’s something that’s actually already happening.

Tesla started as a Silicon Valley car company, but it’s currently more than that. Incorporated in 2003, it introduced its Roadster prototype in 2006. Since then it’s become a technology that just happens to sell cars and giant batteries for your home. It’s even building a battery factory in Nevada to produce the packs needed for those vehicles at large scale. It makes the whole widget — something Steve Jobs was fond of saying about Apple.

But while Tesla is diversifying, its first mission was cars. The Apple car, on the other hand, will be a side business. New ventures are expensive and even if the company hires all the car engineers it can find, there’s always the chance the iCar (or Apple Car or whatever it’s called) will be a flop.

While Silicon Valley moves quickly, Apple tends to wait and see before it goes full bore so it doesn’t end up with another Newton on its hands.

The robot-driving future is uncertain. But what is certain is that if Apple participates, for better or worse, there will be people lining up to be the first to drive the car that starts when the drivers says, “Hey Siri!”


Vodafone’s Call+ lets you share photos and maps while you chat

Regular phone calls are simple affairs: just one voice on either end of the line. If you want to share anything other than a quick natter, like a meet-up address, some other communication tool is required. Not with Call+, though, Vodafone’s new service that brings multimedia sharing to the humble phone call. Launching less than a month after Vodafone switched on seamless WiFi calling, the Call+ service lets users send images, maps and contacts in real-time, as well as start a video call on the fly. All of this is also accessible from the call log after you hang up, much like an instant messaging thread.

You can begin sharing before the call even connects, too. The “pre-call” feature lets you add a note about why you’re calling, an indication of how important the call is, and even a map or picture for added context. If the recipient doesn’t answer, you can add a follow-up text or voice message that’ll appear alongside their missed call notification. All in all, it’s a pretty neat upgrade to standard phone calls that adds some of the functionality you’d expect from a VoIP service like Skype.

Vodafone’s the first UK carrier to employ these advanced calling features, thanks to the same Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard that also powers the network’s Message+ client (a texting app with much of the functionality of IM services like WhatsApp and Google Hangouts). There is one minor barrier to entry, though, in that Vodafone customers need to download the required Android app to start using Call+ features (and both ends of the conversation will need it). Apart from owners of either the Xperia Z3 range or the Xperia Z5 or Z5 Compact (launching October 5th on Vodafone), that is. Those handsets are able to use Call+ features without the app, and will also support the real-time annotating of images and maps, too.

The Xperia handsets named aren’t the only phones that support RCS native, but Vodafone is staying quiet on when other Android smartphones might be able to use baked-in Call+ services. Regarding iOS, the network said it’s working on it, but doesn’t have anything else to share just yet.

Source: Vodafone Message+ & Call+ (Google play)


Apple’s mobile ad-blockers save you time and money, NYT finds


It’s no secret that ad-blocking software, well, blocks ads. Now that Apple allows ad-blockers on its mobile devices, The New York Times decided to find out what else the software does for your iPhone 6’s data plan. Turns out, using a mobile ad-blocker in the Safari browser netted a 21 percent increase in battery life (that’s with internet browsing only though), significantly lowered the device’s data usage and often shaved seconds off loading times. This means ad-blockers can save you money, as well. For example, hitting up the homepage every day for a month costs about $9.50 in data usage in ads alone, the study found. That’s the most extreme example, since that site featured video ads front-and-center. NYT tested 50 news sites in total, including Engadget.

More than half of all data on the tested pages came from ads, the study found. It took Engadget’s homepage 0.9 seconds to load ads and 6.3 seconds to load editorial content. That was near the low end of ad load times (the lowest was 0.2 seconds for The Guardian) and in the mid-high range for editorial. topped out at 30.8 seconds to load 15.4MB of advertising content, and 8.1 seconds to load 4MB of editorial content. For the record, Engadget’s homepage tallied 0.5MB advertising and 3.2MB editorial content, with $0.01 to load ads and $0.06 to load editorial.

Of course, the ad-blocking extensions also broke some websites and content, and they deny ad revenue to the sites they target. Ad-blockers can also make shopping impossible on certain mobile sites, as we found out last week. But, hey — that’s just another way to save some pocket change.

Source: The New York Times


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