IT hardware

Scientists built this Raspberry Pi-powered, 3D-printed robot-lab to study flies


Researchers have created a Raspberry Pi-powered robotic lab that detects and profiles the behaviour of thousands of fruit-flies in real-time. The researchers, from Imperial College London, built the mini Pi-powered robotics lab to help scale up analyses of fruit flies, which have become popular proxy for scientists to study human genes and the wiring of the brain. The researchers call the lab an ethoscope, an open-source hardware and software platform for "ethomics", which uses machine vision to study animal behaviour. And while computer-assisted analysis promises to revolutionize research techniques for Drosophila (fruit fly) neuroscientists, the researchers argue its potential is constrained by custom hardware, which adds cost and often aren't scalable. The Raspberry Pi-based ethnoscope offers scientists a modular design that can be built with 3D-printed components or even LEGO bricks at a cost of €100 per ethoscope.

How to use an Arduino and Raspberry Pi to turn a fiber optic neural network into wall art


Hollywood has made many big promises about artificial intelligence (AI): how it will destroy us, how it will save us, and how it will pass us butter. One of the less memorable promises is how cool it will look. There's a great example of amazing AI visualization in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Tony Stark's AI butler Jarvis interacts with Ultron and we see an organic floating network of light morphing and pulsing. I wanted to make something similar to fill blank space on my apartment wall (to improve upon the usual Ikea art). Obviously, I couldn't create anything as amazing as Jarvis as a floating orb of light; however, I could use a machine learning algorithm that looks interesting with quirky data visualization: a neural network!

This robot-run 3D printing farm is the future of light manufacturing


A 3D printing farm in Brooklyn needed to scale up to handle large production runs and better compete with injection molding. Until recently, that would have required investing in more 3D printers and additional manpower to run the machines, eliminating many of the cost advantages inherent in 3D printing. Voodoo Manufacturing invested in a single robot, which it leaves running all night--what's known as "lights-out" manufacturing. It's an elegant display of a model that will soon be commonplace: Through its automation efforts, Voodoo is showing how even small businesses are beginning to run fully-automated, lights-out operations. It's also an illustration of the calculus business owners are now engaging in when deciding whether to invest in personnel or technology.

What are mobile AI chips really good for?


What are they actually good for? In the recent months we've heard a lot about specialized silicon being used for machine learning in mobile devices. Apple's new iPhones have their "neural engine"; Huawei's Mate 10 comes with a "neural processing unit"; and companies that manufacture and design chips (like Qualcomm and ARM) are gearing up to supply AI-optimized hardware to the rest of the industry. What's not clear, is how much all this benefits the consumer. When you're buying your phone, should an "AI chip" be on your wish list?

Google pop-up store opens in New York in time for holidays


Google introduces seven new products for home and personal use at the Google pop-up shop in Manhattan Oct. 17, 2017. Ivy Ross, left, and Lily Lin of Google introduce the seven new products for home and personal use at the Google pop-up shop in New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. The shop with be open to the public from Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, until Dec. 31, 2017. The tech giant rolled out new products ranging from home to personal use at the exclusive Made by Google pop-up store in Manhattan's Flatiron district Tuesday. "Technology is here to stay; it has to fit in our environment," said Ivy Ross, vice president of design and use experience for Google.

Intel's Nervana chips will bring AI to more parts of your life


Intel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks at a 2016 AI event. Intel might be an old-school computing company, but the chipmaker thinks the latest trends in artificial intelligence will keep it an important part of your high-tech life. AI technology called machine learning today is instrumental to taking good photos, translating languages, recognizing your friends on Facebook, delivering search results, screening out spam and many other chores. It usually uses an approach called neural networks that works something like a human brain, not a sequence of if-this-then-that steps as in traditional computing. Lots of companies, including Apple, Google, Qualcomm and Nvidia, are designing chips to accelerate this sort of work.

Raspberry Pi: Microsoft comes up with a cool idea to stop it overheating


Microsoft Research offers up a fan mount for the Raspberry Pi 7-inch touch display. The Raspberry Pi 3 disables overclocking or shuts down completely when the ARM CPU reaches 85 degrees Celsius to protect itself, causing problems for the team trying to run complex machine learning models on the tiny device. Normally the Raspberry Pi 3 doesn't need a fan, but because some intensive workloads trigger this self-protection mechanism, Adafruit offers a cheap and tiny 5 volt fan (slightly larger than a quarter) to mount on the developer board. Microsoft Research principal researcher Ofer Dekel explains in a tutorial that a heatsink alone won't do the trick since it doesn't cool the processor. "Some cooling kits for the Raspberry Pi include heatsinks for the other components, but these infra-red images suggest that we should really focus on cooling the processor," the researchers said.



Qualcomm is continuing to place emphasis on the wearables segment, with senior director of Product Management for Qualcomm Atheros Pankaj Kedia telling media that the chip giant will be "doubling" its play in the market. "We have seen public announcements from some of our competitors that they are exiting the wearables space; Qualcomm is doubling our investment, because we are winning today and we intend to continue," Kedia said during the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. Over the next two to three years, you will really see growth around all of this." Kedia said Qualcomm has a cyclical relationship in wearables market growth, increasing its investments alongside growth while in return driving the market with these investments. "Because we are investing in wearable-specific chipsets, we are able to drive market growth, and we are able to do that in a leadership fashion where a majority of wearables shipping today are based on Qualcomm," he said.

Apple has a lot to say to Al Franken about Face ID on the iPhone X


The iPhone X will change everything when it arrives next month. It'll herald in a brave new notch-filled world with no home buttons and Face ID, a new face-recognition technology that unlocks the phone when you look at it. Mere weeks away from launch and a month after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) penned a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook voicing privacy concerns over Face ID, Apple has finally responded to his questions in what's clearly a move to pacify any lingering fears over its new biometric technology. SEE ALSO: Why you'll be forced to buy a case for your iPhone X Apple provided Mashable with a copy of the letter Cynthia Hogan, the company's VP for Public Policy, sent to Sen. Franken. On behalf of Apple, Hogan reiterates how Face ID works using the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera and sensors to scan and analyze a user's face based on depth maps and 2D images it creates.



It's impossible to predict whether Google's brand-new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones will fare better than last year's well-reviewed but poor selling first-generation models. Among other reasons, the smartphone crowd loves their iPhones and Galaxys, and Apple and Samsung obviously remain formidable competitors. What I can say is that the new phones prove how good Google has gotten at hardware, bolstered by artificial intelligence and software. And if you're in the market for a premium handset, Pixels belong in the conversation. For starters, the AI-infused Google Assistant that was a banner feature on the first Pixels is only getting smarter.