Representation & Reasoning


Comment on "Ghost cytometry"

Science

Ota et al. (Reports, 15 June 2018, p. 1246) report using pseudo-random optical masks and a spatial-temporal transformation to perform blur-free, high–frame rate imaging of cells in flow with a high signal-to-noise ratio. They also claim sorting at rates of 3000 cells per second, based on imaging data. The experiments conducted and results reported in their study are insufficient to support these conclusions. Ota et al. (1) proposed an approach to perform image-based flow cytometry and cell sorting that has attracted substantial attention because high throughput ( 3000 cells/s) and a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were claimed. For example, on the basis of these assertions, the introductory commentary (2) referred to the system as an "ultrahigh-speed fluorescence imaging–activated cell sorter."


Facebook is making an Alexa rival for its Portal and Oculus hardware

ZDNet

Facebook this week slashed the price of its Portal video chat screen and now the company has revealed it is working on a voice assistant that could be used in the devices. Today the tablet-like devices ship with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built-in, but the devices could soon have a Facebook-made assistant. "We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNET on Wednesday. According to CNBC, a Facebook team is based in Redmond and headed up Ira Snyder, a former Microsoft employee whose current Facebook title is "director of VR/AR and Facebook Assistant". The company reportedly kicked off the voice assistant project in early 2018, around the time it pulled its Messenger bot M. Facebook this week discounted its two Portal models by $100 hoping to capture extra sales on Mother's Day.


Death of the keyboard? Let's ask Alexa

ZDNet

Voice technology is quickly gaining ground as a primary way we interact with devices. In the zero sum UX game, that's eaten into the dominance of tactile interfaces like touchscreens and keyboards, and a new survey suggests that a surprising portion of consumers expect that keyboards in particular are on their way out. As I lazily cleaned my laptop keyboard this morning while trying in vain not to wake the computer up (yeah yeah ... but who has time to turn their computer off?), all I could think was: Good riddance. The survey, conducted by Pindrop Solutions, which provides phone-based fraud detection and authentication technology for enterprise customers, is the result of 4057 online interviews conducted with a representative sample of people in the UK, USA, France, and Germany. The results outline a market that's been primed by voice assistants and sci-fi depictions for a truly voice-activated technology experience.


Pete and Chasten Buttigieg's em Other /em Potential First: a White House App Marriage

Slate

It's common knowledge that Barack Obama met the woman who eventually became his wife, Michelle Robinson, when he came to work at her law firm as a summer associate. George W. Bush met the future Mrs. Bush, who was Laura Welch back then, at a barbecue and took her mini-golfing the next day. And we all remember that Bill and Hillary Clinton were law school sweethearts. The historical record is full of these president-and-first-lady origin stories: Harry Truman was just 6 when he met the woman he would go on to marry, in church. So it's only natural to ask how the current crop of presidential candidates' how-they-met stories stack up.


Anker's Roav Bolt brings Google Assistant to your car's 12V socket, even with an iPhone

PCWorld

If you want to summon Google Assistant in your car, you basically have two options: Enable "Hey Google" and Smart Lock on your Android phone or launch Android Auto (should you be lucky enough to have a car with it built in). But with the new Roav Bolt, Anker gives us a third option, and even iPhone users can get in on it. Like the Alexa-powered Roav Viva, the Bolt plugs into your car's 12V socket and connects via Bluetooth or an auxiliary jack. A pair of USB ports lets you keep your phone charged while driving, and a single button on the front lets you manually summon Google Assistant. Otherwise, the Bolt is all about its noise-canceling microphones, which should provide better voice pick-up than the mic on your phone.


Best smart speakers: Which deliver the best combination of digital assistant and audio performance?

PCWorld

Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. You don't need to live in a smart home to benefit from a Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and other digital assistants can help you in dozens of ways, and you don't have to lift a finger to summon them--just speak their names. If you already know you want a smart speaker, scroll down for our top recommendations.


Facebook is working on a voice AI rival to Siri and Alexa

Engadget

Facebook might introduce its own voice assistant à la Siri and Alexa in the future. According to CNBC, the social network's augmented and virtual reality team led by Ira Snyder has been developing a voice AI since 2018. The team has even started contacting smart speaker vendors, presumably to forge partnerships that would lead to devices powered by the new assistant. Based on what a spokesperson told Reuters, though, Facebook is mainly developing the assistant for its Oculus headsets, its Portal smart display and future AR/VR devices. "We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products."


Facebook is reportedly working on an Alexa rival

Mashable

But the company is now working on its own digital assistant, according to a new report from CNBC. It's not clear exactly how the assistant will work or what it will be called, though CNBC reports it could be integrated with Facebook's Oculus virtual reality headsets or with the company's Portal speakers. Right now, Portal relies on Alexa for assistant functionality, though you can control speaker functions like volume by saying "hey Portal." Facebook doesn't have an AI assistant of its own, however, despite longstanding rumors about its ambitions in the space. The latest project is reportedly being led by Ira Snyder, who works in Facebook's Reality Labs.


How to use Google Assistant on your iPhone with Siri

USATODAY

Apple is notorious for not playing nice with other platforms. They have traditionally made access to even the most in-demand services like Google Assistant impossible to iPhone users even though it's widely accepted that "Hey Google" is superior to Siri. Now, thanks to Apple's Shortcuts, the frustration of not having voice access to Google on your iPhone is a thing of the past. Shortcuts is an app on iOS that allows users to basically program their own Siri commands. The list of Shortcuts-compatible apps is growing with time, and while the possibilities are endless if you're willing to tinker with the app, there are lots of great shortcuts to choose from in the app's gallery and across the web.


The Best Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches of 2019

USATODAY

There are lots of options when it comes to smart lighting, but if you want to do it right, you've got to go with a smart dimmer switch. Even the best smart bulbs become dumb with the accidental flick of a light switch, but these dimmers always stay powered since they have a direct power line. After all of our testing, it's clear that Lutron's Caséta Wireless system (available at Amazon for $99.95) is the best dimmer around. While dimmers, and even smart dimmers, have existed for decades, these new models are taking off thanks to smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google Home, which allow for voice control and remote usage from cell phones and tablets. Even though pretty much all dimmers work the same, there can be big differences in the quality of their app-connected smarts.