Scientists at la Universidad Carlos III of Madrid have designed augmented reality glasses for university professors. Called the Augmented Lecture Feedback System, the glasses allow professors to see symbols over students' heads that signify their understanding of the material. These symbols are activated by the students' cell phones. They can assign themselves a symbol that tells the professor they understand or not, prefer the professor to slow down or if they know an answer to a question. The glasses are meant to allow professors and students to communicate more easily. At a glance, professors will be able to gauge their students' understanding and modify their lecture as appropriate.
Some people invent new things just because they can. Take for example Scentee: an app from ChatPerf that lets your smartphone emit odors. Yep -- we're about to be bombarded by strangers' phone smells, on top of their cologne.
The app uses a small accessory that you plug into your iPhone or iPad, giving you access to more than 500 different smells, ranging from the delicious (bacon) to the disgusting (durian). It's like augmented reality for your nose; we wouldn't be surprised if certain iPad games start incorporating sense-based "experiences" like this.
The Scentee app will be available in August, and its hardware accessory will retail for $30. Happy smelling!
Robots that make life easier are pretty awesome in their own right. But what about a robot that would transform agriculture as we know it, while saving our health and helping the environment? That beats the heck out of a robotic barista.
Blue River Technology, based in Mountain View, Calif., is working on development of a robot that could solve the No. 1 problem in agriculture: eliminating weeds. Sure, that sounds simple, but how do you safely eliminate weeds without adding herbicideas to food crops, genetically modifying the seeds or resorting to costly, time-consuming manual removal?
Using computer vision, of course! Blue River's robot combines computer vision with advanced spray technology; when it is pulled behind a tractor, it uses a camera to look down at the field below. The bot processes what it sees in mere milliseconds, enabling it to distinguish weeds from plants. Then, it sprays only the weeds with herbicide. What a welcomed change from the traditional method of spraying an entire field with herbicide and genetically modifying crops to resist herbicide.
Blue River's method could prove better for consumers' health, the environment and farmers' wallets -- which, in turn, could lead to more affordable produce. Blue River, which was founded in 2011, plans to deploys its first robotic weed-busters this year, on California lettuce crops.
There are amazing things happening in robotics these days. Some seamingly simple projects are actually helping immensely to advance the field as a whole, and it's exciting to see where things are going.
Case in point: Austin-based Briggo, a company that has automated the process of making a barista-brewed cup of coffee. So far there's a prototype in operation at the University of Texas, Austin, and it will soon be upgraded with the official commercial model. The company raised $3.2 million last year and plans to push test kiosks at hospitals, airports and corporate campuses -- the perfect places for quick, no-nonsense gourmet coffee.
According to Entrepreneur.com, Briggo founder Charles Studor hired a champion barista to serve as the model for his "robotic barista":
Behind the walls of a kiosk, a robotic mechanism grinds coffee to order, using a real tamper and stable water temperature to make precise shots of espresso, as well as a steam wand that mimics the precise angle used by Pierce. The machine can handle a high level of customization and can make multiple drinks at once.
"This is the most complex coffee machine on the planet," Studor says. "It replicates what champion baristas do every time they try to make their best shot."
So, where do food service robots go from here? I'm guessing ... everywhere.
VirtualMob, a provider of mobile augmented reality solutions to top brands, today announced the immediate availability of the Point-At-Me (PAM) Augmented Reality Platform, which lets businesses and brands create AR-enabled mobile applications and campaigns in a matter of minutes without any technical knowledge. The platform makes it simple, quick and inexpensive to create an AR enabled application or campaign.
PAM, which has been in private beta for 1 month, is powering applications and campaigns for more than 200 customers.
“Feedback on PAM from our beta customers has been incredibly positive,” said Chaya Jadav, CEO and Co-Founder of VirtualMob. “Brands are realizing the value of AR to more deeply engage with customers and potential customers, to collect data about their products and services, and to grow their revenue. PAM enables them to integrate AR into their current marketing and servicing efforts without a huge monetary or time commitment.”
PAM (Point-at-Me) AR Platform Key Features
· Self Service platform – doesn't require programming or design knowledge
· Rich interface builder - Easy to use drag and drop features
· Plug & Play platform - An option to embed PAM into your existing mobile apps, with AR enabled functions.
· Bespoke analytics – Each campaigns can track individual users, location, click through rates and their interactions.
· Point & Purchase - Create additional revenue channels with in-app purchase capabilities
· Embed 3D elements to increase brand engagement and create rich intuitive experience.
· Future compatibilty & Integration with Google Glass
The PAM AR Platform is available for immediate use at www.pointatme.co.uk. The PAM application is available in the iTunes app store as a free download and will soon be available for Android.