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    Googles AutoDraw uses machine learning to help you draw like a pro

    Drawing isnt for everyone. I, for one, am definitely not very good at it. But with AutoDraw, Google is launching a new experiment today that uses machine learning algorithms to match your doodles with professional drawings to make you look like you know what youre doing.

    You can use AutoDraw on your phone or desktop and the experience is pretty straightforward. You simply start drawing your best version of a pizza, or house, ordog, or birthday cake and the algorithms try to figure out what it is that youre trying to draw. It then tries to match your squiggles with drawings in its database, and if it finds any possible matches, itll show them in a list at the top of your virtual canvas. If you like one of those options, you simply click on it and AutoDraw replaces your amateurish creation with something a bit slicker.

    Artists who want to donate their drawings to the project can do that here, by the way.

     

    This project actually uses the same technology as Googles QuickDraw experiment.QuickDraw is more of a game, though, where youre trying to draw a given object and hope that the AI algorithms recognize it within 20 seconds. With AutoDraw, you getmore freedom to experiment, and, while you could read all about it here, its probably best you head over to AutoDraw.com and give it a try.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/11/googles-autodraw-uses-machine-learning-to-help-you-draw-like-a-pro/

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    AeroMobil to launch a commercially available flying car this year

    Image: AeroMobil

    Flying cars are the future, right? In the 1960s, the world imagined a future in which anyone could afford to take a drive above the scenery, but the technology simply never got there.

    Now, Slovakian startup AeroMobil has announced it will be launching a flying car this year and unlike their first prototype, unveiled in 2014, this one will be commercially available.

    AeroMobil, which recently raised $3.2 million in funding, will show off the car at the Top Marques Monaco, the supercar show taking place April 20.

    The car is a “completely integrated aircraft as well as a fully functioning four-wheeled car, powered by hybrid propulsion,” claims AeroMobil.

    Image: AeroMobil

    Unfortunately, besides that we don’t have absolutely any details about the vehicle, including the price. The only thing we do know confirmed to Mashable by AeroMobil that the car’s full specs will be unveiled at the aforementioned supercar show, and that the car will be available for pre-orders this year.

    We do know a thing or two about AeroMobil’s 2014 prototype, though. It required regular gas available on any gas station, and only needed a 650-feet strip of land to take off. It could land on an even smaller strip just 164 feet and achieved speed of 124 miles per hour, according to AeroMobil.

    On the topic of flying cars, rules and regulations are just as important as the technological aspect. AeroMobil claims the vehicle is “in compliance with the existing regulatory frameworks for both cars and airplanes.” That still sounds like you’re need both a driver’s and a pilot’s license to operate it, but we can’t really imagine a different scenario anyways.

    Besides the coolness factor, who’d want to use this thing, and for what? AeroMobil has a surprisingly down-to-earth answer. “AeroMobil aims to make personal transportation vastly more efficient and environmentally friendly by allowing significantly faster door-to-door travel for medium distance trips and in areas with limited or missing road infrastructure,” the company said.

    We’ve seen concepts and prototypes of flying cars before, but everything seemed very, very far from commercial availability. We’ll see if AeroMobil can deliver on its promise.

    WATCH: Airbus new flying car concept looks like it’s straight out of The Jetsons’

     

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/11/aeromobil-flying-car/

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    That tingling feeling is just brain stimulation to make you more honest

    Zap!

    Image: Shutterstock / Mopic

    Human beings cheat. Sometimes a lot.

    Though we put systems and rules in place to prevent such deception, even peer pressure, laws, and moral codes often fail to stop us.

    Leave it to scientists, then, to develop a novel, surprising technique for curbing one of our worst impulses. A new study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that non-invasive brain stimulation can actually make us more honest.

    That’s right. Strap electrodes to a person’s scalp while they’re making a decision that could involve cheating, and in many cases, the stimulation of certain brain cells leads them down a more virtuous path.

    You could imagine a dystopian sci-fi future in which this technology becomes our worst nightmare. However, these scientists just wanted to understand how the brain weighs the value of honesty against personal self-interest.

    Using a die-rolling experiment, the researchers told the 145 university students who participated in the study that each roll had a 50-50 chance of winning them nine Swiss francs. The subjects could potentially walk away with 90 francs.

    On average, people told the scientists that they rolled that winning combination more than two-thirds of the time a statistical improbability. About eight percent of the participants cheated whenever possible.

    But when the researchers stimulated a region of the brain associated with increased activity when people choose to be honest, the participants were less likely to cheat. The average percentage of successful dice rolls dropped to 58 percent. While still improbable, it revealed that people didn’t lie as much.

    The number of persistent cheaters, however, didn’t budge from eight percent, indicating that the stimulation didn’t affect everyone equally.

    “This finding suggests that the stimulation mainly reduced cheating in participants who actually experienced a moral conflict, but did not influence the decision making process in those who were committed to maximizing their earnings,” Christian Ruff, a co-author of the study and a professor of neuroeconomics and decision neuroscience at the University of Zurich, said in a press release.

    The researchers took into account and eliminated other potential factors that could sway people’s decisions, including gender, age, mood, cognitive skills, and “Machiavellism,” a personality measure that gauges a person’s tendency to display opportunism, status seeking, and amorality.

    Another experiment with 156 students made it possible for participants to earn money not for themselves but for another anonymous person. In this scenario, people still cheated a lot.

    Interestingly, though, brain stimulation didn’t reduce dishonesty this time around, suggesting the process triggered by the electrical current helps to resolve only trade-offs between a person’s own self-interest and telling the truth.

    The study’s authors wrote that their findings may have implications for punishing legal transgressions given that it sheds light on the “biological limits” of taking responsibility for wrongdoing. The discovery of a neural process that influences honesty, they add, may also help develop measures to promote truthfulness.

    It’s hard to imagine what those might be, but let’s hope they won’t involve strapping electrodes to people’s scalps against their will.

    WATCH: Prosthetic talks to the brain, restores touch in man’s hand

     

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/11/brain-stimulation-decreases-cheating-lying/

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    Tesla’s Valuation Is Inexplicable: AutoNation CEO

    America’s biggest auto dealer isn’t sold on Tesla Inc. becoming the top U.S. automaker by market capitalization.

    The relative value of Tesla and General Motors Co. is headed for a correction, as the latter is “clearly” undervalued, Mike Jackson, the chief executive officer of AutoNation Inc., said Tuesday. A week after topping Ford Motor Co., Tesla’s market cap climbed to $50.9 billion at Monday’s close, valuing the electric-car maker as worth about $64 million more than GM.

    “It’s either one of the great Ponzi schemes of all time or it’s all going to work out” for Tesla, Jackson said at a conference in New York hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association and J.D. Power. “It’s totally inexplicable, as far as its valuation.”

    Tesla’s surpassing of GM and Ford has spurred debate over the relative value of the Elon Musk-led company compared with some of the world’s top-selling automakers. Tesla delivered fewer than 80,000 vehicles last year and has only reported two profitable quarters in its short history. GM, on the other hand, sold more than 10 million vehicles and expects to earn more than $9 billion this year.

    Tesla representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Jackson’s remarks. The Palo Alto, California-based company sells vehicles through its own stores and has battled in court with dealers who argue Tesla violates laws against direct sales by auto manufacturers.

    Although Jackson, 68, was dismissive of Tesla’s valuation, he praised the job Musk has done to build fervor for his company’s cars.

    “You have to tip your hat that he’s created a brand that has a strong, cult-like following,” Jackson said of Musk, 45.

    GM’s market value edged back above Tesla’s as of 1:35 p.m. Tuesday in New York trading. Tesla traded down 0.8 percent while GM dropped 0.4 percent.

     

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-11/tesla-s-valuation-called-inexplicable-by-top-u-s-auto-dealer

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    Toyota introduces robotic leg brace to help paralyzed people walk

    Toyota is introducing a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk.

    The Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person’s leg from the knee down. The patients can practice walking wearing the robotic device on a special treadmill that can support their weight.

    Toyota Motor Corp. demonstrated the equipment for reporters at its Tokyo headquarters on Wednesday.

    One hundred such systems will be rented to medical facilities in Japan later this year, Toyota said. The service entails a one-time initial charge of $9,000 and a $3,200 monthly fee.

    The gadget is designed to be worn on one leg at a time for patients severely paralyzed on one side of the body due to a stroke or other ailments, Eiichi Saito, a medical doctor and executive vice president at Fujita Health University, explained.

    The university joined with Toyota in developing the device.

    A person demonstrating it strapped the brace to her thigh, knee, ankle and foot and then showed how it is used to practice walking on the treadmill. Her body was supported from above by a harness and the motor helped to bend and straighten her knee. Sensors in the device can monitor the walking and adjust quickly to help out. Medical staff control the system through a touch panel screen.

    Japanese automakers have been developing robotics both for manufacturing and other uses. Honda Motor Co.’s Asimo humanoid can run and dance, pour a drink and carry on simple conversations, while WelWalk is more of a system that uses robotics than a stand-alone robot.

    Given how common paralysis due to strokes is in fast-aging Japan, Toyota’s device could be very helpful, Saito said. He said patients using it can recover more quickly as the sensitive robotic sensor in Welwalk fine-tunes the level of support better than a human therapist can.

    “This helps just barely enough,” said Saito, explaining that helping too much can slow progress in rehabilitation.

    The field of robotic aids for walking and rehabilitation is growing quickly. A battery-powered wearable exoskeleton made by Israeli manufacturer ReWalk Robotics enables people relying on a wheelchair to stand upright and walk.

    Such systems also can aid therapists in monitoring a patient’s progress, Luke Hares, chief technology officer at Cambridge Medical Robotics in Britain, said in a phone interview.

    “They can be so much more precise,” he said.

    Previously, Toyota has shown robots that play the violin and trumpet. It plans to start sales in Japan of a tiny boy-like robot for conversational companionship. It is also investing in artificial intelligence and developing self-driving vehicles.

    Toshiyuki Isobe, Toyota’s chief officer for research, said Welwalk reflects the company’s desire to apply robotics in medicine and other social welfare areas, not just entertainment. The company also has an R2-D2-like machine, called the Human Support Robot, whose mechanical arm can help bed-ridden people pick things up.

    “Our vision is about trying to deliver mobility for everybody,” said Isobe. “We have been developing industrial robotics for auto manufacturing, and we are trying to figure out how we can use that technology to fill social needs and help people more.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/04/12/toyota-introduces-robotic-leg-brace-to-help-paralyzed-people-walk.html

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    Apple might have a secret team working on glucose sensor technology for diabetes

    Applehas hired a group of biomedical researchers to work on a secret project to monitor diabetic patients using sensors, according to a CNBC report.

    An estimated 371 million people have the disease worldwide and in the last few years, several tech companies have been trying to come up with better solutions to help those afflicted. Virtais a newly launched startup tackling type 2 diabetes that promises to completely cure patients by remotely monitoring behaviors. Livongo Health is another startup in the Bay Area that just raised $52.5 million to launch its blood sugar monitoring product.

    Normally, patients monitor their glucose by pricking themselves to get a blood sample so not having to do that any more would be a real game-changer. One person told CNBC Apple is developing optical sensors that shine a light through the skin to measure glucose.

    However, others have tried to come up with technology to bypass prickingbefore and its proven tough to do. Alphabets life science company Verily has also tried to take on the disease with a smart contact lensthat measures blood glucose levels through the eye but some reports suggest the now three-year-old project isnt going well.

     

    But Apples project has been going on for at least five years, according to the report, and is now to the point where its ready to conduct feasibility trials. Apple has also reportedly hired consultants to help it jump through the inevitable regulatory hoops as well.

    The team is said to be made up of Johny Srouji, Apples senior vice president of hardware technologies and possibly 30 other people at least a dozen of whom could have come from a frenzy of hires Apple made from the biomedical field, including companies like ZONARE, Vital Connect, Sano and Medtronic.

    While we cant confirm details of the project with Apple (weve reached out but have not heard back yet), it would fit well with one of the companys earlier visions. Steve Jobs believed Apple would one day be at the intersection of technology and biology, according to Walter Isaacsonsbiographyof him. The Apple Watch is already there, counting steps, calories burned, taking our heart rate and other biological measures.Add on a sensor you can take with you wherever you go and able to detect glucose levels without drawing blood and youve officially transformed an entire industry.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/12/apple-might-have-a-secret-team-working-on-glucose-sensor-technology-for-diabetes/

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    New 4D prints transform into permanent shapes when heat is applied

    New work out of Georgia Tech promises to lend a sense of permanence to shape-shifting 3D printing. The technology, commonly referred to as 4D printing by those in the know, aims to add another dimension to the 3D printing process by creating an object designed to change shape after it leaves the print bed.

    Most models from research institutes like Harvard and MIT have relied on hydrogels to execute the process. The soft materials execute the functionality slowly and dont retain their shape after the process is completed.

    Videos out of Georgia Techs team show a real-time transformation that takes around five seconds to complete, once the polymer object has come into contact with a heat source, like a blow drier or hot water.

    Normally the time is pretty long, Georgia Tech professor H. Jerry Qi told TechCrunch. You have to wait hours for it to change shape. And also theyre very soft, because hydrogels are soft. Theyre typically softer than skin. With our new approach, the responsive time is very fast. The videos are real-time. The shape change happens almost instantly.

     

    The videos highlight a number of different objects to show the diversity of the process, from a lattice work that unfolds to eight times its size, to a complex and colorful flower that appears to wilt when dipped in hot water. The researchers were also able to determine the objects final shape to some degree during the printing process.

    The shape change is all controlled by printing parameters and how you arrange the print structures and the different materials in the structures, said Qi. Its an advance from what weve done before, because it simplifies the process significantly.

    For now, the research is the stuff of cool lab videos and grant fodder, but in the future, such shape shifting objects could have potentially wide ranging device. Biomedical devicesare one that immediately spring to mind for the team, like implants that change shape ones they come into contact with body heat.

    The permanence of the new structure post transformation could also broaden the products appeal in the consumer field

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/12/4d-printing-technology/

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    Mobile devices are helping to make information more accessible for the blind

    A braille computer aid.

    Image: Shutterstock / zlikovec

    He plays on an Xbox, navigates his way using a GPS and knows when to turn the lights off but life wasn’t always this easy for David Woodbridge.

    Woodbridge, who lost his sight when he was 8 years old, says things were very different 20 years ago.

    “I had to do a lot more work and running around to get the same level of access I do today,” he tells Mashable.

    “I was very reliant on my laptop and [had to have] multiple standalone devices: a talking calculator, watch, GPS, diary.”

    Image: apple

    The task of reading a printed document, for instance, had to be scanned in to the computer and analysed with OCR (optical character recognition) software a tedious process.

    These devices were also prohibitively expensive.

    “I had a talking GPS system before but it was around $1000, and you needed to bring it into the supplier to get it updated regularly,” Woodbridge explains.

    All of those devices are replaced by an iPhone.

    Today, all of that is replaced by his iPhone.

    An app on his phone tells him if the lights are on, and a scanner can identify paper money on the go.

    Voice dictation on modern mobile devices has also come a long way since the ’90s, he added. “I had Dragon Dictate in 1991, it captured maybe 80 percent of what you said, and you had to keep reading it back to yourself with Braille to check.”

    Woodbridge, who works with non-profit Vision Australia as a technical trainer, is also one of Apple’s accessibility ambassadors.

    So naturally, he’s a big fan of its products, and carries an iPad, Apple Watch, in addition to relying on his Apple TV at home.

    But he struggles with autocorrect like the rest of us.

    “I turn autocorrect off.”

    “I turn autocorrect off,” he says. “It irritates me because it’s always trying to suggest what to type for me.”

    He also wishes that app makers would consider the needs of people with disabilities a little more in their user interface designs.

    “[I’ve been] in the technology field for 27 years, but any time I try to use new UI, it’a challenge,” Woodbridge says.

    “I’ve got the mentality that something might not work the first time, [so] i don’t get irritated until the eighth or ninth time.”

    You can catch more of Woodbridge on Twitter and via his regular technology podcasts, where he reviews software and gadgets from an accessibility perspective.

    WATCH: This app helps the blind “see” by identifying objects around them

     

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/12/david-woodbridge-apple/

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    Apple is secretly working to revolutionize diabetes treatment

    An Apple Watch a day keeps the doctor away.

    Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Personal computing, phones, watches, and … diabetes?

    Cupertino-based Apple has over its 41-year lifespan successfully disrupted the former, but it may be about to revolutionize treatment for the latter.

    According to a report from CNBC, the tech giant has a secret team of scientists working to develop technology that would allow for the continuous and non-invasive monitoring of blood sugar levels as part of an effort to better treat diabetes.

    This project was reportedly conceptualized by the late Steve Jobs, and, if successful, CNBC notes would represent a “holy grail” for scientists.

    How would this magic tech work? While the details are under wraps, one source told the channel that Apple is looking to use optical sensors to somehow measure glucose levels through the skin. The sensor could potentially interface with an Apple Watch, instantly making the device a must-have for a huge group of people.

    That Apple Watch might actually turn out to be worth owning.

    Image: Pablo Cuadra/Getty

    The unnamed group of biomedical engineers has reportedly been at work on the project for the past five years, and is in the process of conducting feasibility trials. The engineers apparently report to Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji.

    Apple has in part kept all this under the radar by stationing the estimated 30-person team at an office building miles away from its Cupertino headquarters.

    The secret, however, appears to be out. Now the approximately 420 million people worldwide with diabetes will just have to wait and see if Apple can deliver.

    WATCH: The Mac Pro is getting a major do-over

     

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/12/apple-diabetes-treatment/

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    AutoDraw by Google is a design tool for non-designers

     

    Your doodles are about to get a whole lot better.

    Part of Google’s new A.I. Experiments collection, AutoDraw is like an AI-powered Microsoft Paint. The app combines conventional doodling with art from professionals to enhance your doodles and help create better art.

    The app works by trying to guess what you’re drawing and then offering alternatives for you to build on.

    Image: google

    Google calls AutoDraw a drawing tool for the rest of us;” that is, people who aren’t professional designers. What it really does is recognize what you’re trying to draw and replace that with a version drawn by an artist. The tool turned my terrible doodle of a cake that really could have been anything, and offered me this great cake instead.

     

    Image: google

     

    Image: google

    AutoDraw uses the same technology in Google’s other AI-based drawing tool, QuickDraw to guess what you’re trying to draw. While far from professional design software, AutoDraw as an intuitive quick and easy way to make cards and flyers.

    AutoDraw can also be used as a regular canvas tool without the AI component, a lot like MS Paint but much sleeker. It’s useful for any quick art needs you may have, and it’s a ton of fun. You can try AutoDraw here.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/12/google-autodraw/

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