Ray Kurzweil announced via his blog that he is joining Google to work on projects that consisting of machine learning and language processing.
"I'm excited to share that I'll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17," Kurzweil said. "I've been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the bling, among other inventions. I've always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people's lives, which is what excites me as an inventor."
Kurzweil will serve as a Director of Engineering, though it's not clear on how immediate Kurzweil's focus will be on consumer products.
Read More | Kurzweil
Among their plasticky robotic things, WowWee introduced their new Alive line of cubs. The panda, white tiger, polar bear and lion cubs are actually articulated robots with sensors that detect the angle at which they are being held and where they are being touched. The Alive Cubs will be available this Spring at an MSRP of $59.
On the plasticky side of things, in addition to the Mr. Personality robot just released, WowWee has three robots on deck: the Tribot, the Rovio, and the Bladestar. The Tribot is a remote controlled, 3-wheeled robot which features an alarm clock and can move in almost any direction. Tribot will be available this spring for an estimated $99. The Rovio is a roving robotic video and audio recorder which can be controlled remotely through its own website. The website also broadcasts Rovio’s video and audio feeds. Rovio will be available in the fourth quarter of 2008 for an estimated $299. The Bladestar is the next generation Dragonfly - a super capacitor powers the wings, and an infrared signal bounces off obstacles (walls, ceilings, exceptionally large headed friends) to make sure Bladestar stays on an unobstructed flight path. Bladestar will be available in February for an estimated $49.
It seems that one Santa had a little too much ho-ho-ho at the expense of Microsoft. Last year, the company instigated AIs at firstname.lastname@example.org for kids to add to their Windows Live Messenger contact list. When a reader in the UK noticed that his young nieces had been talking to it this year, he also noted that their conversation turned from talking about eating pizza to another subject we will refer to as “more mature.”
Spokesperson Adam Sohn says, “If they’re meant to be cheeky and have fun with you, they may repeat certain things back,” he said, or respond to certain words with “that’s naughty.”
Although they tried to clean up its act, they finally shut down the service, undoubtedly fearing now that the word was out, others might be tempted to push it to its limit.
Read More | ABC
Meet one of the first interactive mixed reality humanoid robots. Put on a special HMD (head-mounted display) and U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi appears as an animated character that you can literally touch. The 3D avatar is made with skin that acts as a green screen and as users adjust their head angle and position, so does the robot. Created by Michihiko Shoji, the plans are for U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi to enhance existing virtual reality and its first application will probably be in arcades, with household usage to come later. This brings on a whole new meaning of self-communication, doesn’t it?
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Primarily known for providing various products to car manufacturers, Visteon has now ventured into the realm of car accessories. The in-vehicle wireless gadget sits in your cupholder, plugs into your car lighter socket, and can charge MP3 players, PDAs, cell phones, and digital cameras. It also contains an AI that can determine if the object to be charged is in close proximity and if it can be charged.
The device will be officially featured at next week’s CES 2007 where it has already received Design and Engineering honors. With the recent glut of cupholder products, we may get a bigger car just for all the new accessories.
Read More | Visteon In-Vehicle Recharger