Futurist Paul Saffo may have been the first to proclaim the PC dead, but he wasn’t alone. Over more than two decades, as networked devices, mobile devices and most recently tablets have come to market, a host of industry figures and observers have continued to predict the death of the PC.
Silicon Valley technology companies back bid to win Super Bowl 50 in 2016, which would be played in the new, high tech Levi’s Stadium, new home of the San Francisco 49ers.
When your compute devices can read your mind and gestures.
Control, Alt, Delete … that’s not natural. We should be able to communicate with a computer the same way we communicate with one another.
— Mooly Eden, senior vice president and president of Intel Israel, said in Making Computers More Human.
Researchers in Samsung’s Emerging Technology Lab are testing tablets that can be controlled by your brain, using a cap that resembles a ski hat studded with monitoring electrodes, the MIT Technology Review, the science and technology journal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported this month.
The technology, often called a brain computer interface, was conceived to enable people with paralysis and other disabilities to interact with computers or control robotic arms, all by simply thinking about such actions. Before long, these technologies could well be in consumer electronics, too.
Another slightly crazy thing that we’re working on is trying to create brain implants that are powered and read by near-field communication. What that means is your cell phone could talk to the implant electronics in your brain and power it. Who knows what the possibilities are, but if there’s going to be some type of implant in your brain then why not have the cell phone be the thing that powers and reads it. You think you like your cell phone now? Imagine when they can read your thoughts.
— Joshua Smith, who leads the Sensor Systems Laboratory and research group at the University of Washington
Researchers at the University of Washington’s aptly named Ubiquitous Computing Lab can turn any LCD monitor in your hous into a touchscreen, with nothing more than a $5 sensor that plugs into the wall and some clever software.
The technology, called uTouch, works by measuring the electromagnetic interference (EMI) caused by your hand when it moves near or touches an LCD monitor. This might sound a little bit crazy, but I’ll explain. Basically, the electricity running through the wires in your house has a unique electromagnetic signature. There is the “carrier wave,” provided by the power company and your nearby substation, and then every single kink and switch along the way modulates the EM signature until it is quite unique. What most people don’t realize, though, is that every device that is plugged into a wall outlet also changes your EM signature. Your TV doesn’t just suck power from your house — it’s a two-way street, with the electronic components in the TV producing interference that change your house’s EM signature.
Rise of Data Scientists
Big data is a buzzword. I’m glad it exists because it makes people more interested in what we do. There’s an enormous amount of value to be had out of data. Ten years ago those decisions were made on gut feel and intuition and now we’ve had fabulous case studies both in business — I think of Tesco and the advent of the loyalty card as probably the most prominent business case study. There’s also the case study of the Oakland A’s and “Moneyball,” and another on predicting election outcomes. I think all of this comes to demonstrate why basing decisions on data leads to much better decisions than just relying on gut instinct.
— Kaggle founder and CEO Anthony Goldbloom
Data is playing a bigger role in business decisions, and with the tremendous rise in amounts of data being collected today there is a growing need for data scientists to help companies make sense of it all, according to Anthony Goldbloom, founder and CEO of Kaggle, a company that organizes competitions that rank top data scientists from around the world and then helps them connect with companies which want to put their skills to work.
Full story: A Marketplace for Data Scientists
Silicon Valley is popping!
— Bill Mark, vice president of information and computer science at SRI International, one of the largest contract research firms in the world.
The state of innovation in Silicon Valley and across the technology industry is popping, according to Bill Mark, vice president of information and computer science at SRI International. Mark and SRI President and CEO Curt Carlson share what they see as booming areas of innovation, including education, healthcare, and perceptual and ubiquitous computing.
I think engineering is, in a way, based on exploration. It’s always about trying to ask questions, about being curious, being creative.
— Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, National Geographic emerging explorer and UC San Diego research scientist.
Full story: Modern-Day Explorer Goes High-Tech Out of Respect — National Geographic, academia provide outlet for adventurer to follow his passion.
Could big data lower your power bill?
Just as consumers are turning to mobile apps to track vital signs and manage their personal health, researchers believe that smart grid and sensor-based data collection technologies in homes could help people better manage their monthly utility bills.
“The more sensors that you have in the home, the more your home begins to look like an OnStar system,” said Pecan Street Inc. CEO Brewster McCracken. “These sensors could trigger a check engine warning light for the home.”
The full interview with McCraken can be found here, where talks about how smart grid and sensor technologies can help families curb consumer energy use.
From writing too long to peppering your message with emoticons, elevate your IMs to the next level with these texting power tips.
Historian Ernest Freeberg said, “[Thomas] Edison invented a new style of invention, a coordinated program of scientific research and product development” that paved the way for “a world where we assume invention is not just something that comes along when someone has a great idea, but this is a force that can be shaped and controlled.” Freeberg is the author of “The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America.”
If nascent computer sensory systems catch up with more evolved computer processors, they way people interact and think about their laptops, tablets and other devices might take a leap ahead.
Achin Bhowmik, director on Intel’s Perceptual Computing Group, believes that the future of personal computers depends on their vastly improved abilities to see, hear and interact with people more naturally than the archaic keyboard and mouse.
“The laptop is still primitive with only one eye, one ear and they are now just getting touch,” he said. “By giving computing devices 3-D vision systems like human beings, we can bring natural interaction to PCs and open up a whole new dimension not just for PCs, but for smartphones, tablets, media boxes, vending machines, cars and almost anything that connects to the Internet.”
Touchscreen Smart Jukebox (by IntelFreePress)
Just as the Internet disrupted the record industry, mobile and touch technology are now upending the jukebox business. One of the newest breeds is the Virtuo, designed by New York-based TouchTunes, that mounts on a wall like a giant touchscreen. The Linux-based operating system runs on an Intel Core processor, and the Virtuo has built-in 4G wireless Internet technology that allows it to receive updates every day.
Rather than just playing songs from a selection of a few hundred titles, these multi-functional, computer-powered jukeboxes can offer song catalogs that numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Playing songs is just one of many functions. The machines also act as karaoke devices and photo booths, and display interactive digital advertising that brings new experiences to patrons and revenue streams to venues and jukebox vendors.
Local dive bars and social hangouts across North America are getting a technology makeover as a wave of Internet and smartphone-connected, touchscreen-controlled digital jukeboxes supplant the iconic 45 rpm record-spinning and more recent CD-based models.
Field research conducted by Intel Free Press revealed that the popularity of these new jukeboxes may depend less upon generational and more upon technological preferences. The experience of analog music may always have a place in people’s hearts, but the spread of always-connected mobile technologies are allowing those experiences to be augmented through Internet control and sharing capabilities.
The high-tech jukeboxes are installed at two established San Francisco bars in North Beach neighborhood, home of the Beat Generation. The TouchTunes device stirred mixed reactions from happy hour patrons and bartenders. A 60-year-old bartender in Gino and Carlo’s said it was popular and simple. “I can show you in three easy steps how to use it,” he said. However, his younger coworker claiming not to be a smartphone guy called it lame, echoing a long-time patron who asked, “Why come into a bar and play that thing with your phone when you can spend your time talking with people?” Another bartender down the street at Kennedy’s said he’d like to put in a separate music system because the digital jukebox wasn’t used enough and didn’t allow him free play or enough control.
The full story: Jukebox Reinvented for the Digital Age