Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Netflix Prize

Hello readers, here we are again bringing you some good stories from the scientific world.

Now, we are going to introduce you to a rush that recently finished called the Netflix Prize. It consisted basically in a prize open to the public to see who get to design the most effective prediction algorithm.

The objective of having a competition to get the most efficient prediction algorithm was to apply it to the recommendation engine they have running in their site, and in doing so being able to recommend movies that the user might like in a more precise and effective way.

The winner team has been BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos which was a joint team leader by AT&T research.

Is good to see this good initiative in promoting the commercial development of algorithms.


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Thursday, 25 June 2009

The AI Report

Hello readers, we hope you have a wonderful day, night or afternoon.

In a very uncommon report, Forbes Magazine has released what they call the AI report, this has as its objective to inform people the current state of the art in Artificial Intelligence.

It presents a good insight on some of the most important ideas and theories on AI that have been developed in the recent years, like the creation of the AGI, which we will cover in an upcoming post.

We hope you have fun reading it and commenting on it.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A window to our thoughts

A few weeks ago researchers at Brown University discovered a new way to interact with the brain.

Have you ever though on barely looking at something and being able to interact with it the moment you focus your thoughts on it. Well it seems that soon it will be possible as researchers from Brown University are currently testing a new device called BrainGate which in essence is a sensor that attaches to your skull and allows you to control different devices.

Currently they are in the testing of BrainGate2 which ahs the particularity of wireless communication.

If you wish to know more about the device, and maybe be part of the tests, here is the link.

We leave you with a video explaining how the device works.

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Monday, 22 June 2009

Layar Augmented Reality Browser


Hello readers, we hope you have the nicest week ahead of you.

We start today with a very interesting article on a new browser for mobile devices, more exactly the Android OS that Google is developing.

Have you ever though on waking on the street and suddenly want to know the name of certain buildings you are seeing, or even to know what's inside the building, maybe a good restaurant or a movie theater.

Layar browser proposal is, based on image recognition and GPS tracking, to browse the internet for building you are seeing through your cell phone's cameras and actually being able to obtain information and data on the building, road or event.

The idea while not new it is quite innovative and we hope we are able to see it soon as a mandatory add on on every cell phone.

We leave you with a live demo of the device.

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

Willow Garage

Back in 2006, a small startup from one of Google first workers, Scott Hassan founded this small company with a clear objective.

To promote the research and development of non military robots in America. Having an open and available source code for whomever would want to try the software.

Willow Garage team have been present in some of the most important robotic conferences in the world, among those the one that was held here in Japan lat April.

Be sure to visit their website, it has a lot of cool demos and videos, we leave you with a nice demo of them while here in Japan.

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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Do you have a Hunch

While surfing in the web, we usually find some interesting web pages, and among those, a recently launched startup called “Hunch” got our attention.

Hunch is a question engine, which tries to give you the best possible answer to any possible question according to your previous questions and answers in a very interactive way.

It uses some basic Machine Learning techniques to learn from your answers and apply it in suggesting you options, personalizing it in a way no search engine has done before.

The objective is to have at the end of the day a database so big that is able to suggest you answer, from a basic “Should I go to work today” to “Is there a God”.


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Monday, 15 June 2009

Smart Surfaces and Homes

Hello everyone we expect you have a wonderful week full of creativity and creation. The idea behind research, innovation and invention rests in improving human living. An invention outlasts its utility if it does not meet a necessity to be paired with. A lot of research do not have actual application in the near future, but in the time being, we may find some practical use to it. Intelligent systems and interactive systems function should be to enhance and facilitate human interaction within an specific space, here in Hashimoto Laboratory that is our main goal.

All across the world different companies are trying to achieve this as well, we present today a couple of efforts from the likes of Microsoft and Asus to create an Environment that can interact and help the user to take the right decisions, or simply to avoid the user from making some mistake.

Microsoft system is what we would call a smart house, where the user can actually interact with every room, obtaining information that may be of use for the correct function of the house, or maybe even only something for bare entertainment. Asus shows us a table that in Microsoft's fashion, gives us a set of options and information for devices and objects directly in contact with the surface.


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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Design of Future Things

By Peshala

Have you ever imagined a car reacting to the way you drive?
It gets scared, seats gets straighten, seat belts get tighten and so on and so forth when it realizes that you are driving recklessly.
This was one of the ideas presented by Professor Donald Norman in his book named "Design of future things".

Donald Arthur Norman is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the Segal Design Institute.
In The Design of Future Things, Donald A. Norman presents a revealing examination of smart technology, while exploring the links between design and human psychology. Realizing the importance of knowing future technical trends, we at Hashimoto laboratory discussed immensely on the content of this book at our regular lab meetings.
The Design of Future

Things is a must-read for anyone interested in the dawn of a new era in technology.
The following video provides a good background to this book and his ideas and we highly recommend that you have a look at it.

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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Swarm Robotics and Claytronics (Shifting Reality)

In our laboratory we have done some small research in swarm robotics over the time, but never quite deep. Swarm Robotics builds in the idea of multiple simple organisms working together towards a common end. The most obvious example in nature are ants. In Carnegie Mellon University, they have an ongoing project called claytronics, in which multiple nano robots work together towards building any imaginable object.

They are currently taking a swarm intelligence approach in getting this project throug, yet, there is a lot of work to de yet. I leave you with the video of the current state of affairs in the Claytronic project.

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Monday, 8 June 2009

The moon in HD (Kaguya Video)

The Kaguya is the name the Japanese give to Selene Project, and it is the latest project of lunar exploration launched to this date. The project is one of the first projects of the JAXA (Japan aerospace Exploration Agency) in which Tokyo University has a great deal of researchers and students.

The spacecrafts gives us some of the most amazing images of the moon surface ever seen, mainly due to its HD mounted camera.  The spacecraft will shortly enter to its extended period, meaning that it has already achieved the purpose which was it built.

We leave you with some recently released images of the Kaguya for you to amaze with the emptiness and the wonder of the moon.

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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Project Natal

Hello readers, once again in our efforts to keep you informed of the latest in technology, we have to deviate ourselves of our DARPA challenge posting to present you with a project that might well change the way we look at videogames.

Code named Project Natal is the latest effort from Microsoft to allow the gamer to be more involved in the gaming experience, in an idea similar to the Wii Mote, Microsoft brings us a sensing system without the needs of a control.

Meanwhile some of the major details are still hidden, some technical specs have been released.

Its sensor system consists in an array of Microphones for  Acoustic source localization and includes as well an RGB camera and a depth sensor similar to the one the SwissRanger features.

The most important part are the vision and motion detection algorithm that according to some sources are as advanced as some state of the art algorithms presented in recent conferences.

There is no release date yet for the system, but it sure point interacting in the right direction.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Carnegie Mellon Robotic Institute

Hello again readers, this time and following up with the DARPA Challenge contestants, we present you the Carnegie Mellon Robotic Institute. An Institute within Carnegie Mellon which was in charge of developing the DARPA challenge winning team 2 years ago.

The institute has a number of research projects such as RETSINA, an architecture that allows an easier interconnection between agents.

Their Biorobotics laboratory is as well trying to mimic living beings behaviors in robotic system, to implement and improve overall performance.

It was a group of people from this Institute that has been winner or runner up of the DARPA Challenge

We leave you with a video explaining more deeply the institute.

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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Reinventing and creating

Hello users, since we are still putting together the pictures and reports of the Open Laboratory, we are going to post today on a brand new technology Google just presented last weekend, and that it certain ways it intends to change the way we chat, write mails, and why not, do social media itself.

The name of this new product is Google wave, the wave is basically a chat window, where people can chat, send emails, and post social media, everything in just one window.

The main idea is to change the way we communicate with our peers and in doing so Google is presenting a way in which we can share YouTube videos, without having to go to YouTube, or any other content such as images and files, everything would be stored within the wave.

The best part of it presents in the form of it being open sourced, meaning anyone can create new functionalities, the product itself is set to release later this year, but if you wish to create something cool, jus click here and start programming.

We leave you with a video, a little bit long but well worth the time of the presentation done of Google Wave.

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