Pre-orders for the Atari VCS – formerly known as the Atari Box – opened up a few hours ago and it appears that there is a fair bit of public interest in the device. To quickly reiterate, the Atari VCS is a next-generation, retro-inspired console, that's scheduled to arrive in July of 2019. Atari is positioning the device as a modern entertainment hardware platform that will give users access to an assortment of retro and new games, with multi-media and streaming capabilities. The AMD-powered Atari VCS will offer support for 4K resolutions, HDR and 60FPS content, it will have on-board and expandable storage options, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support. The device runs a custom Linux-based OS and will also include a copy of Atari Vault with more than 100 classic games, including favorites like Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, Missile Command, Gravitar and Yars' Revenge.
Atari says it's focusing on the mass market, as well as the charity sector, and that the IoT connectivity will provide various functionality, such as GPS tracking, provide status and temperature info and other basic functionality such as a panic button, or alerting family that you've run out of gas. Atari mentioned to Engadget a wide range of potential markets including kids (trackers), sports, travel and collars for pets. This isn't the first time Atari has tried to reinvent itself. Over the company's 40-year history, it has made arcade games, traditional consoles, home computers, handhelds and, of course, amassed a healthy library of game franchises. Titles that have been reimagined (several times) for modern platforms.
Yes, Atari's speaker-equipped hats are very much real. At the last possible minute, the game brand has started selling the Speakerhat to the masses. Pay $130 or more ($100 until January 2nd) and you too can get a cap with Bluetooth stereo speakers that put your phone's sound inches in front of your forehead. The standard models include a conventional Fuji Blackout cap as well as blue and black snapbacks, while limited edition hats commemorate Pong (above) and the nod to Atari in Blade Runner 2049.
Atari, the same company behind the Atari Computer System, has announced a new product called the Atari Speakerhat. The new device is exactly what the name describes: a baseball cap with built-in speakers. "The Atari Speakerhat is a baseball-style cap with high-fidelity stereo speakers and microphone that can connect instantly to any Bluetooth-enabled device," the company said on its website. "Connect to any smartphone, tablet, personal computer to play any music or other media content, initiate or accept phone calls, receive voice commands, etc." The speakers are embedded right in the underside of the cap's bill/visor.
Chatbots have grown in popularity as natural language processing (NLP) has improved. An example is the Woebot developed by psychologists to assist people who are in need of cognitive behavioral therapy. Chatbots had their origin in the 1960s. One of the early chatbots was the ELIZA program developed at MIT. ELIZA employed very simple NLP and used some tricks to give the illusion that it is understanding what you are saying. For example, the computer could ask how you are feeling and you might say you are feeling blue.