Skydio, a San Francisco-based startup founded by three MIT alumni, is commercializing an autonomous video-capturing drone -- dubbed by some as the "selfie drone" -- that tracks and films a subject, while freely navigating any environment. Called R1, the drone is equipped with 13 cameras that capture omnidirectional video. It launches and lands through an app -- or by itself. On the app, the R1 can also be preset to certain filming and flying conditions or be controlled manually. The concept for the R1 started taking shape almost a decade ago at MIT, where the co-founders -- Adam Bry SM '12, Abraham Bacharach PhD '12, and Matt Donahoe SM '11 -- first met and worked on advanced, prize-winning autonomous drones.
Instead of simply prompting "dial one to speak with a sales associate," a chatbot can direct potential customers and extract details in less time and with greater insight, all while allowing the user to communicate naturally, on their own terms. Working alongside human employees, conversational chatbots can serve as front-line engagement tools that help drive customer interactions and funnel prospects to the appropriate channel where a human resource can truly add value.
The British chip design firm ARM came up with the processors used in virtually all the world's smartphones. Now it plans to add the hardware that will let them run artificial-intelligence algorithms, too. ARM announced today that it has created its first dedicated machine-learning chips, which are meant for use in mobile and smart-home devices. The company says it's sharing the plans with its hardware partners, including smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm, and expects to see devices packing the hardware by early 2019. Currently, most small or portable devices that use machine learning lack the horsepower to run AI algorithms, so they enlist the help of big servers in the cloud.
For many cities, here's the toughest pill to swallow: Their mayors don't actually have control of their streets. This is true of the metro Phoenix area, where Google's self-driving sister company Waymo is testing cars without drivers inside. And Miami, where Ford will touch down with self-driving pizza delivery vehicles this month. And Boston, where cars powered by the developer NuTonomy are picking people up near the seaport.
Flippy the burger-flipping robot that started work this week in a California restaurant has been forced to take a break because it was too slow. The robot was installed at a Cali Burger outlet in Pasadena and replaced human cooks. But after just one day at work the robot has been taken offline, so it can be upgraded to cook more quickly. Its human helpers are also getting extra training to help it keep up with demand at the restaurant. USA Today reported that the robot was still in place behind the grill at the burger joint but was switched off.
MANILA – English school chain ECC Co. will launch a Japanese course in the Philippines in June in partnership with a local college amid growing interest in the language among Filipinos. The Osaka-based firm and the University of Perpetual Help plan to provide a 6-month e-learning program, including a weekly supplementary lecture, for 35,000 pesos (¥72,000), targeting employees of Japanese affiliates and those planning to study and work in Japan, the company said. ECC's first Japanese-language course overseas aims to cater to an increasing number of Filipinos taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, a widely used exam for evaluating and certifying the language proficiency of nonnative speakers, it said. In 2017, a record 14,062 Filipinos took the exam, up 21 percent from the previous year, while the tally for all examinees topped 1 million for the first time, according to the Japan Foundation, which administers the test. The private university, founded in 1975, has three campuses in the south of Manila with about 2,000 employees and some 18,000 students, according to ECC.
Several people who own Amazon's Echo speakers have reported a strange bug: the Alexa voice assistant has been laughing for no reason. Some users on Twitter and Reddit say the outbursts have been entirely spontaneous. Others have said that Alexa has laughed after being asked to turn on the lights -- and may have misheard the command. "Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed," Twitter user @DavidSven wrote recently. "Anybody else ever have that?