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Archive for the ‘Companies in Technology’ Category

IPhone 8 Facial Recognition

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Regardless of whether or not the iPhone 8 will feature Touch ID, it’s all but guaranteed that the device will feature facial recognition technology. Over the past few weeks and months, word that the iPhone 8 will incorporate facial recognition has been corroborated by a number of credible sources, not to mention an endless stream of iPhone 8 parts leaks featuring discernible cutouts for additional camera sensors on the front panel of the device. While Apple tends to keep upcoming technologies and features under lock and key, its upcoming facial recognition software will likely be based on technology it acquired when it purchased an Israeli machine learning company called Realface earlier this year. Consequently, a close examination of Realface’s cutting edge technology can provide us with a number of significant clues as to what we can expect out of the highly anticipated iPhone 8.

Now what happens when a person’s appearance changes over time? After all, individuals routinely alter their appearance in a myriad of ways. Impressively, this is where the machine learning aspect of the software comes into play. Another design consideration is the fact that face recognition in the authentication context, you only need to keep track of one individual; but you need to keep track of changes in his appearance over time. People shave, wear makeup, wear their hair differently. So, we designed a new learning method that’s called personalized recognition that enables the system to evolve over time and essentially get to know you. All that being said, Realface’s facial recognition technology is said to be so advanced that it can reliably be used for bio-metric authentication and even as a means to authorize secure financial transactions. Indeed, Littwin during the aforementioned lecture made a point of noting that the technology was designed with the intention of meeting the stringent security requirements of financial institutions.

All in all, this sounds like a great feature, but it’s still hard to envision facial recognition replacing Touch ID entirely given certain use-case scenarios where a user isn’t looking directly at the screen. Replacing Touch ID would also make using Apple Pay decidedly more awkward. The good news is that we won’t have to wait too much longer to see what the iPhone 8 has in store for us. If all goes according to plan, we can expect Apple to unveil the iPhone 8 at a special media event in just about two months.

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AIRLINES WILL SAVE BILLIONS WITH PILOTLESS PLANES

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

A move to pilot less planes would boost industry profitability. Alternatively, if the cost savings were entirely passed to consumers, tickets could cost much less (11% cheaper in the U.S.). That would be about $40 a ticket based on a average of round trips est cost of $370. A survey of 8,000 people found that 54% of respondents were unlikely to take a pilot less flight. Just 17% of respondents, who were from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Australia, said they would buy the ticket. Air traffic laws in most of the world require “four-eye-rule” in the cockpit. Two pilots should be present at all times, and if one of them needs to take a break, another member of the crew has to take his or her spot.

The technologies in development today will enable the aircraft to assist and back up the pilot in all the flight phases, removing the pilot from manual control and systems operations in all types of situations. Commercial flights already land with the assistance of on-board computers, and pilots manually fly the aircraft for only a few minutes on average. However, contrary to popular belief, airliners do not fly themselves, even when they’re on autopilot. Pilots are continually monitoring and adjusting aircraft navigation and systems, communicating with air traffic control and preparing for the next phase of the flight. Analysts said the transition to pilot less planes is likely to happen over many years. Cargo planes would likely be first to incorporate the new technology, with commercial flights being the last to go pilot less. The number of pilots needed for each flight could be reduced along the way.

The shift has the potential to save the aviation industry huge amounts of money. Airlines typically employ 10 pilots per aircraft, and reducing their number would result in less spending on training, salaries and other staffing costs. It could also help alleviate an expected pilot shortage over the coming decades. An annual forecast released by Boeing last month said passenger and cargo airlines around the world are expected to buy 41,000 new airliners between 2017 and 2036.

The aviation industry could save $35 billion a year by moving to pilot less planes, according to a new report. Just one problem: The same report warns that only 17% of travelers are willing to fly without a pilot. The technology required to operate remote-controlled planes could appear by 2025. Further advances beyond 2030 might result in automated business jets and helicopters, and finally commercial aircraft without pilots.

 

 

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Walmart Futuristic Delivery Truck

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Walmart and Peterbilt have collaborated on aerodynamic, hybrid, electrification and alternative fuel projects in the past, each with incremental gains in fuel efficiency and emission reductions. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience tractor combines many of these projects in a single vehicle. “Peterbilt’s goals of producing the most fuel-efficient, aerodynamic, and lightweight trucks in the industry mirror those of Walmart,” said Landon Sproull, chief engineer at Peterbilt. “Our combined efforts help build a business case for these technologies in the future, as well as support one of our best customers.”

Designers used extensive computational fluid dynamics analysis to optimize the truck’s styling. The truck’s shape represents a 20 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag over Walmart’s current Peterbilt Model 386. By placing the cab over the engine, the truck’s wheelbase is greatly shortened, resulting in reduced weight and better maneuverability. Walmart relied on product development supplier to carry out the vehicle’s construction with these detailed design specifications.

 

The truck features a micro turbine Range Extender generator developed by Capstone Turbine Corporation. The company also engineered the truck’s integrated hybrid drivetrain solution. The use of a hybrid powertrain allows the turbine to remain at optimum operating revolutions per minute (RPM), while the electric motor/energy storage handles acceleration and deceleration. A longer-range version of this powertrain would feature a larger turbine and smaller energy storage system.

 

When keyed on, the truck automatically detects the state of charge of the batteries and starts charging them, if needed, using the turbine engine. Charge mode can be manually selected if an operator wishes to “top off” the batteries prior to shutting down. For use in urban areas, the truck will run on electric power alone until the battery state of charge hits 50 percent. At that time the turbine will automatically start and begin charging the batteries.

Innovation is key to improvement, and the project aims to demonstrate a wide range of cutting edge technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels. The prototype is the result of collaboration between Walmart and many vendors, including Peterbilt, Roush Engineering, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. Almost every component on this vehicle is cutting edge and showcases innovations of the future that will drive increased efficiency.

 

 

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Microsoft Breaking Barriers – Internet Without Wifi – Greater Distance and same High Speed!

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

 

Many people these days don’t go running towards Wifi unless they are still using regular phone plans to where they have a limited amount of data and have to connect to Wifi. With cell phone plans now going with “Unlimited” data, cable providers giving greater data usage to their customers, and “free” hotspots popping up in most public places, it is clear the data usage war is going to Unlimited access.  Most carriers are offering greater service areas and even more service quality as the ways to capture and keep customers. Outside of using your cell phone’s unlimited access which slows down after a certain amount of data is consumed, the “home”, “work”, or “public” wifi is the next best option to get work done on your computer and stay connected.

Most people when disconnecting from their wifi tend to try to get as much done and downloaded as possible in order to rely lightly on the cell phone data usage.  This is typical due to the lack of range for wifi signals inbetween locations such as work to home, home to public places, etc. In between location A and location B, there is a limitation of range for the wifi signal to travel. Most people are thinking that cell phone signals with their hotspots can make up for the disadvantage. Well even in that aspect, there are cell phone towers which are either not close enough or are not in existence that allow cell phone coverage to be choppy in certain areas or slow in connection speed.  Its always a rule of thumb that people in the city get more coverage with both their wifi signal and their cell phone signal. Rural areas tend to suffer are subject to satellite wifi or cell phone hotspots as coverage is limited outside cities.

Well Microsoft has an answer which could change the way how people receive their data stream by increasing coverage while maintaining speed. Microsoft has been testing the usage of tv signals in order to spread wifi signals. This plan would get rid of cables and introduce a truly wireless network that would travel to the farthest reaches of the continent without building extra towers or harnessing an overload on current towers. This plan uses what is called “white space” television bandwidth. In case you are wondering what is “white space”, well we have you covered.  White space are what tv networks had created years ago which operate below 700 Mhz. These white spaces serve as a buffer between the high traffic channels to give them the extra bandwidth to communicate on.  To expound upon the reach, these bands can stretch over 6 miles away and are not altered or disrupted by buildings or vegetation.

Microsoft has been promoting this technology for years and conducting tests in the Philippines, England, Colombia, and Kenya. By 2018 Microsoft is driving to have the project launched within 12 states. The end goal of the project is to extend this feature in 12 states across the US and connect over 2 million Americans in rural areas by July 4th, 2022.  Microsoft estimates that the project will take between 10-15 billion in order to extend the reach to all of rural America.

 

Even though the project deems to show endless possibilities, there are sceptics that believe the interference of  the “white air” will affect television networks from broadcasting by clogging their network.  Surprisingly enough Microsoft asked the FCC to use this spectrum back in 2010, but have not pressed forward with advancing the space or technology until now. Microsoft has beefed up its campaigns by now advertising in rural parts of Virginia and allowing them to connect via white space internet in 1,000 homes. This technology is proving to be cutting edge and will clearly blur the lines of “digital divide” and change the way how people use and interact with the internet by giving more access. Stay tuned as this white space internet will be expanding and coming to a location near you!

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Futuristic Transportation Already Testing – Hyperloop One is making Leaps of Speed!

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Nowadays the most common forms of transportation are cars, buses, trains, airplanes, and even boats. We tend to know the safety, reliability, and efficiency of using these vessels. They have been a part of society for many, many years. By using these vessels, we have learned to deal with traffic that causes delays in motor vehicle transportation, airplanes that get delayed for various unforeseen reasons, and boats that also run late due to inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. We have begun to understand and compromise in order to accommodate life’s unknowns that tend to come up.

What if there was another method of transportation that could transport passengers almost as fast as an airplane without hesitation due to the weather or delayed due to traffic? Would you be willing to try it out and make it a part of your daily transportation routine? Well, the people at Hyperloop One believe they have the answer and they have been testing their resolve with the testing of Hyperloop One.

 

Many people wonder what consists of a Hyperloop.  Well it’s an environmentally friendly and efficient new way of transportation.  Many depictions of a hyperloop were in James Bond “The Living Daylights” and “The Polar Express”. Now the dream of the Hyperloop has been brought to life by a company called by the same name “Hyperloop One”. Hyperloop One has begun testing their version of the Hyperloop in Nevada, just north of Las Vegas. Hyperloop One is now on it’s way to getting this new mode of transportation on the market as soon as they can complete their testing to show its ability to not only transport safely, but also faster than any other mode of transportation and equal to that of an airplane, but without the high altitudes.

Hyperloop One anticipates at the peak of the Hyperloop introduction into society, they are anticipating speeds at the speed of sound or 750 miles per hour. The two tests in the desert showed promising. The first test conducted showed the pod tapping out at 2Gs of acceleration and a top speed of 70 Mph. The second test, the company published a video showing the pod tapping out at 192 Mph to give an idea of the direction it is heading towards getting faster and faster in its journey towards the speed of sound.

The mechanics behind the Hyperloop is the Hyperloop One is composed of a 1 passenger pod, which is 28 feet that is composed of aluminum and fiber for its outer shell. The pod was able to reach the top speed of 192 miles per hour in a mere 5 seconds and covering 300 feet before slowing down. Hyperloop one is powered by an electric propulsion system. The pod is pulled along a low-pressure tube by magnetic accelerators which push the pod along the tubes. This system gives the pod its ability to move quickly and slow down equally the same. To deal with air pressure buildup in the front of the pod, the team of Hyperloop One has added air compressors at the front of the pod which moves the air to the rear, while helping to keep the pod aloft by using the air displacement. This new technology could turn a 6 hr trip into a 35 min ride in the Hyperloop.

 

This new mode of transportation is more efficient than conventional rails, water, air, and roads that the world has grown accustomed to using. More overly it is environmentally friendly with zero emissions, faster, and does not use any oil that we are so heavily dependent on currently.  On top of using electric power, the Hyperloop would also be equipped with solar panels which will distribute solar energy making it a low electric energy consumer.

 

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Step Aside Amazon Alexa and Google Home, here is Microsoft’s “Invoke”!

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Amazon started the trend of voice assistants built into a speaker that has taken flight and given the market a new meaning to voice activated shopping, music, event planning, and more. Amazon originally put this technology in the Amazon Echo in 2015 and three years later, they have developed the technology into Alexa, which is a much larger speaker plus added a lot more features. Alexa has the ability to work with other apps including integrate with Smart home devices via some nifty integrated application features.

 

Since Amazon’s introduction of Echo and Alexa, the competition market has picked up by other large companies such as Google which has come out with Google Home to compete against the rise in Amazon’s Alexa and Echo. Since the launch of Google Home in 2016, it has managed to grab a large part of the market by enabling many of the same Amazon features, but with the Google app store integration and Google Assistant. These two large competitors have managed to dominate the voice assistant market since its launch by Amazon a few years ago.

 

There is a new competitor on the market that has taken notes from the defects and short comings of Amazon and Google, to come out with a more optimal device. Microsoft has stepped into the market and pledges to have more features, more integration, and less defects than the current line of Amazon Echo and Alexa. It promises to be more reliable than the current Google Home. Microsoft’s version of the voice assistant is dubbed “Invoke”. Invoke is built by Harmon Kardon and packs a huge plethora of Microsoft technology under the belt.

Invoke will be powered by Cortana as the voice assistant with a cylinder shape similar to that of Amazon’s Alexa. Microsoft services will be integrated such as Skype for business to make voice calls at a mere command or accept and announce them with stereo sound throughout the room.  Cortana will have the latest features such as keeping up with calendars, meetings, reading emails, and ordering from the Microsoft app store.  Bing will be utilized as the search agent of choice as this is a Microsoft flagship product, it will have the bells and whistles of Microsoft’s major product integrations making it easy to transition from voice to pc and more.

 

With this device being made available to the public in the Fall of 2017, Microsoft is said to have a “killer feature” that is said to change the game in the voice assistant industry. Google and Amazon are on edge to find out what this new feature is that Microsoft is to unveil with their new flag ship for technology. Microsoft is gearing up to push for this device to its 145 million Windows 10 Cortana base to in an attempt to offset the Amazon and Google market. However, with Invoke not scheduled to be revealed until Fall of 2017, Google and Amazon have time to instill many upgrades in anticipation of this new adversary on the market.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom opens doors for an electric future

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Rolls-Royce is in a peculiar position when it comes to imagining the future of luxury transportation. The 112-year-old motor company is the very definition of a luxury car, but much of its auspicious reputation is based on its embodiment of classical luxury, in the tradition of Beethoven, and delectable suicide doors. Rolls-Royce customers expect the best, and as the brand focuses on wooing a younger customer base, tasteful, top-of-the-line technology is becoming paramount to those expectations. The look, tactile feel, and the user experience of that technology fall on its design department to imagine. Giles Taylor is charged with striking that careful balance as design director of Rolls-Royce. His most contemporary response is the brand’s flagship model, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, officially unveiled today in the UK. It is the eighth Phantom model to be produced in the history of the company.

 

The new Phantom is anything but unemotional. Sweeping curves disguise a myriad of sensors, including a touch-sensitive one on the door for valets to use at great affect. A new feature the brand calls “The Gallery” toys with the screen art of the car, featuring the work of commissioned artists as a backdrop option that spans across the dash. The instrument panel is digitized against a 12.3-inch display. Rolls-Royce markets it as “the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.” The clock, however, is analogue. While the Phantom was revealed publicly today, It was first seen in its aluminum space frame flesh at a private viewing for select customers and media in New York City in June. Both Taylor and Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös were there to present the car and describe its nuances. Pageantry is essential to the presentation of a new Rolls-Royce. The brand, owned by parent company BMW, makes every effort to distinguish itself as a distinctly unforgettable British, super luxury car-maker.

 

How this translates into the modern-day eighth generation Phantom is alluded to in design elements such as the shape of the grille, which is presented flush to the car. “We wanted to start to get the grille as an expression of the car rather than a standalone piece, Taylor said. “Does it really need to be there to hide a combustion engine? Finally, the aesthetics can start to grapple with that new sense of freedom.” In a company that grapples with maintaining its classic identity, these structural changes are not made lightly. In a Rolls-Royce, each part of the hand-built interior feels like a jewel.

 

 

 

 

 

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Artificial Intelligence, Rapid Integration, and the move to Consciousness!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

It has been talked about and brought to life in movies and series such as Star Trek, and I, Robot. In Star Trek we see machines such as Data which is self-aware, but very helpful to human beings and also very protective of the human race. On the other hand we see I, Robot in which the robots choose to use their state of consciousness in order to take over and move to attempt to eliminate the human race. Both are similar in their depiction of Artificial Intelligence being a constantly evolving software that reaches the tipping point to choose to be either “bad” or “good”.

 

 

In the news, articles and shows, the word AI has been used so frequently that most people when they hear the word it doesn’t prime a severe reaction, but maybe a grunt or good read if you are lucky. However, lets peel back the possibilities and see where we are today using Artificial Intelligence. We are rapidly developing AI as a human race on a global scale. The integration of AI in almost every technology has been seamless and most people use AI daily without even realizing the gradual integration. For example, Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are virtual assistants that assist users in making their experience with a device more interactive and memorable. AI in the background gathers and uses the information to be more efficient at helping its owners to achieve any task they desire on their device of choice.

Video games is another noted system integrated with AI which is why the game changes scenes and difficulty levels due to the playing habits and skill level of the user or users playing the games.  The software constantly is learning and using the data from the games being played in order to become better and more efficient. Over the years the types of AI and the ability that the software has compared to years ago is a completely different system now compared to then. One heavily AI integrated game is 2014’s Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. In this game, each of the non-player characters have individual personality and memories of past interactions including previous objectives. Other noted games are Call of Duty and Far Cry which use the data gathered by AI to strategize, analyze environments, investigate sounds, and find objects. This AI is a money maker in its usefulness which is why gamers are always spending millions of dollars to keep up with this technology and assist in making it greater.

 

 

 

If you are noticing a rise in “self-driving” cars or cars that can reverse and park on their own, well this is because they have an on-board AI which is constantly learning and can depict the environment to determine when to move the wheel, change gears, or apply the brake in various cases.  In the news lately has been Google’s self-driving car project and Tesla’s auto-driving feature. The algorithm that Google is using for its AI is capable or allowing the AI to learn how to drive in the same manner that humans are capable.

There are so many notable instance of AI in today’s society which include purchase prediction, fraud protection, online customer support, and much more. Some of the more notable aspects are AI being able to monitor security surveillance, recommend movies, smart home devices, and much more. There is even a second layer to the AI intelligence arena which has been noted ahead of its time, but is giving AI the access and data it needs to learn part of us allowing AI to be self-aware and self-reliant? Well the answer to that is no, because every action of AI currently needs commands to be programed in the machine in order for it to learn or gesture in the manner that we see.

 

So the answer to the question is “no”, there is no wave of robots etching to take over the world in the near future as they become self-aware, but with advances in AI including Deep Learning integration, the possibilities of tomorrow are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOPPING ON eBAY JUST GOT EASIER

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

eBay is introducing two new features for its mobile apps that use image matching to help customers search for products they might not be able to describe. The Image Search feature lets users shop by uploading a photo onto the app’s search bar. The Find It On eBay feature allows shoppers on any social media platform or website to share an image they like with eBay, which will then spit out listings matching the product. Both features are due this fall. eBay says at the time of launch, Image Search will be supported on both Android and iOS, while Find It On eBay will only be for Android devices in the initial stages.

eBay is at a technological advantage due to the rich set of user-generated images and item data we’ve accumulated through the years. By applying machine learning technology, eBay can deliver a fast and reliable shopping experience backed by one of the world’s largest commerce data sets. eBay says it has a catalog of around 1.1 billion items listed at any given time, and will leverage the latest advances in AI, including computer vision and deep learning, to enable the new features. eBay uses a deep learning model to process the images, the output of the model gives eBay a representation of the image that they can use to compare to the images of the live listings on eBay. Then eBay ranks the items based on visual similarity and use a open-source platform to quickly bring these results to you.

The move makes a lot of sense for eBay as image-based searching becomes more and more prevalent in today’s world. Will eBay live up to expectations?

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Next Level Security – Microchipping – RFID on the Rise!

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Do you ever get tired of reaching for your badge when going to work just so that you can get access? Do you forget your badge at home and have to go through a lot of hurdles just so that you can get access to the building? Do you have a badge for the building, and another access card for your computer? Well there is a rapidly growing company which has an answer for its employees which they are giving them totally free if they opt-in to getting it done. They are offering for their employees to get microchipped with their company access.

 

What do we mean by microchipped, well there are several movies that depict microchipping being done.  One of those movies could be StarTrek where the users simply walk up and the door knows their name or they are able to obtain any data that they need without scanning a badge or showing ID. This is because they had a microchip inserted beneath their skin which is read by the computer close by and it depicts the identity of the person which has the microchip. Three Square Market is a company which is zoning in on that concept and is offering it to their employees as an option this year.

 

 

Their employees will be able to log into computers, use facilities and equipment such as printers, open doors, and much more. Surprisingly enough, many people would squirm at the thought of having a medical procedure done to make it easier to access their job, but according to a report published by the company, about 50 employees have signed up to getting microchipped and more are expected to sign up. Three Market Square received their inspiration from another company called BioHax International which is a leader in microchipping and is pushing its belief in the technology across all platforms as a method of payment, security, and way of life.

 

RFID or Radio-Frequency Identification technology is becoming largely popular as it gives companies security in knowing that the only way for their information to be accessed is by an active employee. This is a one-time process which lasts the entire employment of the employee.  These chips can store critical information such as medical records, financial information, security clearances, log into computers, open doors, sharing business cards, unlocking phones, and much more.  This technology is replacing the need to keep up with passwords, badges, and credit cards, making the person having the chip completely independent of carrying around unnecessary material. The vision of RFID is for it to eventually become a requirement to have passport information, access public transportation, security, and handling all purchases.

 

This technology is by far already in use in society and is greatly becoming more and more frequent. Uses of RFID can be noted by supply chains using it to track goods at various supply chains, find lost dogs or cats, and also to report times from athletes.  This technology is definitely a wave of the future and will drastically change how we live and how we interact with each other on a global scale.  These chips by Three Square Market will be inserted between the thumb and the index finger in the space between the skin in that location. Other companies are researching the possibility of placing the chip in other locations within the body, but for now the hand seems to be the most practical location for being microchipped.

 

 

 

 

 

We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA are steadily watching this technology as it develops and anticipate its expansion to go much further than Three Square Market. The myths and science fiction thought up in movies such as Star Trek are no longer dreams, but the reality that we live In today.

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

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