Collaborating Authors

Human Computer Interaction

An inside look at how one person can control a swarm of 130 robots


Last November, at Fort Campbell, Tennessee, half a mile from the Kentucky border, a single human directed a swarm of 130 robots. The exercise was part of DARPA's OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program. If the experiment can be replicated outside the controlled settings of a test environment, it suggests that managing swarms in war could be as easy as point and click for operators in the field. "The operator of our swarm really was interacting with things as a collective, not as individuals," says Shane Clark, of Raytheon BBN, who was the company's main lead for OFFSET. "We had done the work to establish the sort of baseline levels of autonomy to really support those many-to-one interactions in a natural way."

German Bionic's connected exoskeleton helps workers lift smarter


We're still quite a ways away from wielding proper Power Loaders but advances in exosuit technology are rapidly changing how people perform physical tasks in their daily lives -- some designed to help rehabilitate spinal injury patients, others created to improve a Marine's warfighting capabilities, and many built simply to make physically repetitive vocations less stressful for the people performing them. But German Bionic claims only one of them is intelligent enough to learn from its users' mistaken movements: its 5th-generation Cray X. The Cray X fits on workers like a 7kg backpack with hip-mounted actuators that move carbon fiber linkages strapped to the upper legs, allowing a person to easily lift and walk with up to 30kg (66 lbs) with both their legs and backs fully supported. Though it doesn't actively assist the person's shoulders and arms with the task, the Cray X does offer a Smart Safety Companion system to help mitigate common lifting injuries. "It's a real time software application that runs in the background and can warn the worker when the ergonomic risk is getting too high," Norma Steller, German Bionic's Head of IoT, told Engadget.

PlayStation inventor says he 'can't see the point' of the metaverse and headsets are 'annoying'

The Independent - Tech

The inventor of the PlayStation has said he "can't see the point" of the metaverse. "Being in the real world is very important, but the metaverse is about making quasi-real in the virtual world, and I can't see the point of doing it," Ken Kutaragi told Bloomberg News. "You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self? Mr Kutaragi is currently the head of Ascent Robotics, an artificial intelligence startup that aims to build robots for use in retail and logistics. It is also developing a system to transform real-world objects into data that can be read by a computer.

What America's largest technology firms are investing in


WHEN CORPORATE bosses want to impress investors they increasingly reach for the i-word. Mentions of "innovation" during the earnings calls of S&P500 firms have almost doubled in the past decade. And no other sector talks about it as much as the technology companies do. For Hewlett-Packard, a printer and personal-computer maker, innovation has on occasion become what location is to estate agents and education to Tony Blair: so important it has to be said three times in quick succession. Your browser does not support the audio element. Do they protest too much?

22 of the most important insurance technology trends in 2022.


Then came 2021, when insurers focused on pandemic recovery and meeting customer expectations for digitization and personalization. While adapting to the latest insurance technologies was a challenging experience for many carriers, those who did are selling more benefits faster and smarter than ever before. From underwriting and claims to the customer journey and distribution methods, here are the top insurance technology trends our team believes will be beneficial to carriers in 2022. It was once common for insureds to undergo in-person evaluations in traditional underwriting. However, this proved a challenge during the pandemic, and many insurers had to embrace new underwriting methods. The goal of automated underwriting is to streamline information-gathering and reduce as many human touchpoints as possible. Automated underwriting uses tools and techniques like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to import and correct data, assess risk and determine how much coverage a client should get and how much they should pay in premiums. It is important that automated underwriting programs incorporate an insurer's business rules, halting the process when human intervention is required. To this end, automated underwriting technology should enable granular configuration of roles and permissions. The benefits of saving time and money have led to many insurers implementing automated underwriting into their value chain.

Wandercraft's latest exoskeleton lets paraplegics walk with a more natural gait


Paris-based Wandercraft has announced that it's latest "Atalante" exoskeleton has been updated to give paraplegic and other patients a more natural gait during rehabilitation exercises. It also received a Medical Device Regulation (MDR) certificate in Europe, allowing patients and medical staff to use the device more widely. Finally, it's taken a step closer to personal exoskeletons with additional funding. The last time I saw Wandercraft's first-generation exoskeleton was over four years ago, which is ages in the field of robotics. However, I recently got a chance to see the latest model in use with paraplegic patients, and chat with them and the team behind Atalante.

Meta files hundreds of patents for technologies to track users' movements to improve its metaverse

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Meta aims to make realistic avatars for its metaverse and plans to do so by tacking users' every move with customized technologies. The company recently filed a trove of patents for these innovations that monitor facial expressions, eye movements and body poses of players. The patents describe a device that sits around user's waist to track their body poses, sensor-packed gloves to monitor hand gestures and glasses to immerse players in the digital world. Another application shows images of an'avatar personalization engine' that creates 3-D avatars based on a user's photos using tools such as a so-called skin replicator. Meta aims to make realistic avatars for its metaverse and plans to do so by watching users' every move with customized technologies.

Machine Learning and 5G Are Crucial to Scale the Metaverse


Machine learning and 5G can attract more people in the metaverse, blurring the lines between the virtual and real worlds. The concept of metaverse is closely related to advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, 5G and the internet of things (IoT). Improved technology will allow avatars to use body language effectively and better convey human emotions producing a feeling of real communication in a virtual space. AR and VR won't be the only critical components of the metaverse, 5G and machine learning are also crucial. The metaverse is a future iteration of the internet, made up of 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.

Facebook working on mysterious 'authentic' robot eyeball that could track where humans are looking

The Independent - Tech

Facebook has patented a new technology for an "authentic" robot eye. The idea, granted in December, would let the social media company build a "high performing and realistic" eyeball that would be like an "animatronic device" to track humans' eye movements. Tracking eye movements is used in digital ads to detect what people look at, as well as by its parent company Meta's virtual reality applications. This could make it easier to load virtual items in a VR environment – only generating items that the user is looking at. Meta says that the metaverse does not necessitate being online more but being online in a "more meaningful" way, and will be built by multiple companies.

Designing for the metaverse.


The term "metaverse" has its origins in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash as a portmanteau of "meta" and "universe." A thought that existed only in science fiction and futurism is now coming true with big companies like Facebook(Meta), Google, Microsoft. Wikipedia's definition is, a metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In futurism and science fiction, the term is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world facilitated by virtual and augmented reality headsets. Immersive technologies like Artificial Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality have an essential role in the metaverse.