Hands on with Amazon Tap: Get your Echo to go


The Amazon Echo product line grew recently with the launch of the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot. This expands Alexa into a full platform with solutions to appeal to a range of prospective buyers. The more interesting of the two, the Amazon Tap crams a fully functioning Echo into a portable Bluetooth speaker. The more I use the Tap the better I like it, although it's not as satisfying an experience as that of the Amazon Echo. The Echo is still the most-used gadget in my home so the Tap has some big shoes to fill.

Trust The Algorithms, Not The Data.


One mantra we chant frequently is "trust the data". In the context that we use this expression it is often wise. For example: when requested for the facility to adjust the rules of a robustly tested machine-learnt model so that it better jibes with intuition; or when tempted to cherry-pick fields and features which one assumes (be it through years of domain experience or otherwise) enshrine the relevant information. This doesn't mean that the data is always right of course. Certainly weeding out certain kinds of systematic error from the data is essential: a common example of this might be wholesale differences between records created before and after the point that a database was migrated or a new process was introduced.

NASA Is Finally Sending a Hotel Magnate's Inflatable Habitat to the ISS


When humans leave Earth for good, they're going to need somewhere to stay. It sounds like a sci-fi fever dream, but it's becoming reality. On Friday, SpaceX will launch a so-called "expandable"--a prototype called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module--to the International Space Station. It will remain there, attached to the Tranquility module, for two years. Bigelow Aerospace hopes its time in orbit will prove the technology worthy of inhabitants.

New Therapies for ADHD: Buyer Beware

U.S. News

Schools are on the front lines in coping with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More school-age kids are getting diagnosed with it each year (more than one in 10, according to the most recent National Survey of Children's Health) and the classroom is where kids often have their biggest problems with impulse control and an inability to sit still and focus. Some kids take medicine to control these symptoms, but many do not. And so principals and teachers are tremendously interested in non-medical therapies they can use at school to help children. Fortunately, it's an exciting time in ADHD research, thanks to developments in neuroscience, and psychologists hope they will find new tools for schools.

Scarlett Johansson lookalike robot created by Hong Kong man in his flat

The Independent

A Hong Kong man has built a robot version of Scarlett Johansson in his flat. Ricky Ma, a 42-year-old designer, has poured more than 34,000 and over a year of work into the catchily-named'Mark 1' humanoid robot. Speaking to Reuters, Ma said he decided to model the Mark 1's appearance on a Hollywood star. He didn't say which, but it's fair to assume Scarlett Johansson may have given him a lot of inspiration. The robot can move its limbs, alter its facial expressions, and even reply when spoken to by Ma through a microphone.

US working on rules for flying drones over populated areas


According to documents seen by AP, the committee has divided drones into four separate categories for flights over people. The first includes drones under a half-pound with no flight restrictions. However, the manufacturer would have to certify that there would be no more than one percent chance of a person being hurt if it fell on them. The second category is for the most common type of recreational and commercial models by the likes of DJI (above), 3D Robotics and others. Those range from four to five pounds in size, though there would be no set weight limit, according to the AP.

Kinema Systems De-Stealths, Demos Deft Depalletizer

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Today, Kinema Systems, a robotics startup based in Palo Alto, Calif., is coming out of stealth mode to announce Kinema Pick, which is "the world's first self-training, self-calibrating software solution for robotic depalletizing." I know, it sounds a little dry, but they have a convincingly cool demo, and we have lots of details on how the system works (and why it's important) from Kinema co-founder and CEO Sachin Chitta. Depalletizing is the task of picking up boxes of stuff off of shipping pallets and doing something with them. If this sounds like a task that should be easy and useful to automate with an industrial robot arm, that's because it is, with the caveat that it's only easy if you get the same pallets with the same boxes on them over and over again. E-commerce companies are getting pallets with all kinds of random boxes tightly jammed on there however they'll fit, which is too much variability for most robots to handle.

Drone company demos how blood air-drops will work in Rwanda

U.S. News

Drone delivery might be years away in the U.S., but it's becoming a reality in Rwanda this summer. A San Francisco-based drone delivery company says it'll start making its first deliveries of blood and medicine in Rwanda in July. Zipline International Inc., backed by tech heavyweights like Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures, demonstrated its technology for journalists last week in an open field in the San Francisco Bay area. In a demo broadcast on Periscope on Friday, a staffer launched a fixed-wing plane weighing just 22 pounds off a launcher that used compressed air. Electric-powered propellers took it the rest of the way, on a flight that could extend to 75 miles round trip, using military-grade GPS and software to navigate.

Chainsaw attached to drone and flown around in terrifying video footage

The Independent

Nasa has announced that it has found evidence of flowing water on Mars. Scientists have long speculated that Recurring Slope Lineae -- or dark patches -- on Mars were made up of briny water but the new findings prove that those patches are caused by liquid water, which it has established by finding hydrated salts. Several hundred camped outside the London store in Covent Garden. The 6s will have new features like a vastly improved camera and a pressure-sensitive "3D Touch" display

Microsoft's machine learning vision includes security, too


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked a lot about machine learning during his keynote at Microsoft Build 2016, but neither he nor the executives on stage covered how machine learning can drive security applications. But don't let its absence onstage fool you, as several of Microsoft's latest security moves rely on the company's machine learning investments. Take the Intelligent Security Graph, which Nadella announced last fall. Based on the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning technology, it collects "trillions of signals from billions of sources" to provide IT teams with real-time insights they can use to detect and respond to threats. At Build, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group in Microsoft, said Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection relies on the intelligent security graph, behavioral sensors, cloud-based security analytics, and threat intelligence to protect Windows devices.