LG to develop robots for restaurants

ZDNet

LG Electronics has partnered up with CJ Foodville to develop robots that will be trialled in the latter's restaurants, the companies have announced. CJ Foodville is one of South Korea's largest food service companies, and is the parent company to popular franchises such as Twosome Place and Tous Les Jours. The coffee chain Twosome Place currently has over 1,000 stores located in South Korea. No specifics regarding the robots' functions have been provided by the companies as of yet. The push into the robotics space follows LG forming a new division for robotics and autonomous vehicles, which occurred during the company's 2018 year-end reshuffle.


Newcastle smart city moves forward with standardised data platform

ZDNet

The City of Newcastle has signed up to a single smart cities Internet of Things (IoT) enterprise platform from the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), the company has announced. "The city standardised on the middleware platform as it prepares to roll out and scale multiple smart city applications," NNNCo said. "The deal between NNNCo and Newcastle City Council includes an agreement to run thousands of IoT devices through the platform for multiple city use cases." As part of the Newcastle City Intelligent Platform implementation, NNNCo will also provide its N-tick device certification program across all devices being deployed across the city. NNNCo CEO Rob Zagarella called the use of one platform and device certification program for an entire city a "breakthrough in the IoT market".


Former student destroys 59 university computers using USB Killer device

ZDNet

An Indian national in the US has pleaded guilty this week to destroying 59 computers at the College of St. Rose, in New York, using a weaponized USB thumb drive named "USB Killer" that he purchased online. The incident took place on February 14, according to court documents obtained by ZDNet, and the suspect, Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, filmed himself while destroying some of the computers. "I'm going to kill this guy," "it's dead," and "it's gone. Boom," Akuthota said on recordings obtained by the prosecution. The suspect destroyed 59 computers, but also seven computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums that had open USB slots.


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.


'Shooting for big game': Softbank's push for transport dominance

Japan Times >> News

SoftBank Group Corp. leader Masayoshi Son has much bigger ambitions for transportation than simply seeing his investment in Uber Technologies Inc. turn into more than $13 billion when the company goes public next month. The Japanese entrepreneur is placing a $60 billion bet in more than 40 companies in a bid to steer the $3 trillion global automotive industry now dominated by vehicles people own and drive to a spectrum of transportation services available at the touch of a smartphone app. Those services range from ride-hailing and car-sharing to delivery robots and self-driving vehicles. The extent of those investments, based on a Reuters analysis of publicly available data and interviews with a dozen sources familiar with SoftBank's investment strategy, has not previously been reported. They show how Son has emerged as one of the power players trying to influence how people and goods move about the world in the coming decades.


The Event Horizon Telescope could capture video of the black hole

Daily Mail

The world's first footage of a black hole in motion could soon be created by the scientists behind a groundbreaking image of the phenomenon released last week. Experts using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) say they will produce a video of hot gases whirling chaotically around the shadow or'accretion disk' of the black hole. The supermassive black hole sits at the centre of the galaxy Messier 87, roughly 54 million light-years from Earth. EHT is a'virtual' telescope that uses data from observatories around the world to turn the whole of the Earth into one giant detector. Researchers believe that, as more telescopes join the EHT project, they can produce more detailed images and eventually film the black hole.


A firefighting robot named Colossus helped 400 firefighters battle a blaze at Notre Dame

Daily Mail

An 1,100-pound emergency robot helped to save a piece of human history during a blaze at Paris' Notre Dame cathedral that threatened to burn the historic monument to the ground. The formidable device, dubbed Colossus, a remote-controlled drone equipped with hoses and cameras, was able to roll its way into the cathedral to help fight the fire -- which burned through the structure's old wooden roof -- from within. Colossus, which is both fire-resistant, water-proof, and capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds not only helped to stop the fire before it completely razed the structure, but reduced the need for fire fighters to enter the church where they would be in danger from falling debris. At the time, the cathedral was only 15 to 30 minutes away from being completely burned to the ground, reports say. Weighing in at 1,100 pounds, Colossus is a firefighting robot that can be controlled remotely.


We could soon have ROBOTS cleaning our messy bedrooms

Daily Mail

A Japanese tech start-up is using deep learning to teach a pair of machines a simple job for a human, but a surprisingly tricky task for a robot - cleaning a bedroom. Though it may seem like a basic, albeit tedious, task for a human, robots find this type of job surprisingly complicated. A Japanese tech start-up is using deep learning to teach AI how to deal with disorder and chaos in a child's room. Deep learning is where algorithms, inspired by the human brain, learn from large amounts of data so they're able to perform complex tasks. Some tasks, like welding car chassis in the exact same way day after day, are easy for robots as it is a repetitive process and the machines do not suffer with boredom in the same way as disgruntled employees.


Scientists create programmable circuits in human cells that could lead to 'biocomputers'

Daily Mail

Researchers say they've successfully created a more powerful computer-like human cell that could eventually be used to help monitor one's health or even fight against cancer and other illnesses. Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, researchers were able to model a human cell after a computer and make what they are referring to as a'program scalable circuits.' 'This cell computer may sound like a very revolutionary idea, but that's not the case," said Martin Fussenegger, Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel. 'The human body itself is a large computer. Its metabolism has drawn on the computing power of trillions of cells since time immemorial.'