Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Just as Good a Segway as Any

Or is that segue?

"Segway to build personal robots with Intel, Xiaomi" by Nidhi Subbaraman, 01/04/2016

Scooter maker Segway announced a resolution for the new year Monday: The company plans to launch a personal robotics division in 2016, and intends to work with tech powerhouse Intel and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to do so.

The Bedford company was acquired last year by a Chinese company, Ninebot, which makes standing scooters that look similar to Segway’s own flagship product. At the time, the companies disclosed $80 million in funding from Xiaomi and California venture firm Sequoia Capital.

That investment has been topped off with funding from Intel Capital, the investment arm of the tech giant, and GIC, an investment firm based in Singapore, Segway noted Monday.

According to a 2014 report from the Boston Consulting Group, spending in personal robots is expected to hit $9 billion by 2025, up from $2.5 billion in 2015. Among the indicators of an uptick in interest from major tech companies and investors: Widely watched Boston robotics startup Jibo raised a total of $60 million in funding last year from giants like Samsung and Acer, as well as investors in Asia.

You're kidding, right?

Also, Japan telecommunications company SoftBank purchased and worked with Aldebaran, a French maker of interactive robots, with the goal of creating a line of robotic assistants to help customers in retail stores. The product of that collaboration, a robot called Pepper, went on sale last year.

Why did I, Robot just cross my mind? Must be the concussion

I must not be thinking straight because that means less jobs for humans, right?


I've fought the idea of mass genocide by the ruling elite for a long time, believing they wanted us for their banking and credit schemes; however, it appears the people of the earth have become too unmanageable because the tone and thrust of the last few months has been accelerating in this direction. My observation is that ma$$ media is speaking only to themselves and the elite class and over the top of our heads, even if Americans can't see it. 

You don't have to be a psychic to see them pushing some sort of Terminator or Elysium kind of future upon us:

"MIT system makes human-like predictions about how objects move through the world" by Curt Woodward, 01/04/2016

MIT researchers say they’ve built an artificial intelligence system that’s as good as humans in guessing how physical objects move through the world.

Some day, the scientists say, their research could be used to help build robots that can assist people in complex natural environments.

They will help you get a leg up, so to speak.

But for now, they plan to teach the computer model — nicknamed Galileo — about the movement patterns of things like springs and fluids.

The research, from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, simulates the human brain’s ability to decide whether a given object will roll down a hill, glide to a stop, or smash through an obstruction.

They’re the kind of highly detailed calculations that people make almost moment by moment as they move through the world. For example, a child would easily be able to tell you how fast a basketball will roll down a hill.

But making that same judgment can be much harder for a typical computer simulation because it has to weigh friction, gravity, mass, and a long list of other factors, said Ilker Yildirim, a CSAIL researcher who co-authored a recent paper on the Galileo system.

“Where humans learn to make such judgments intuitively, we essentially had to teach the system each of these properties and how they impact each other collectively,” Yildirim said.

Members of the elite have raised concerns regarding the MilItarizaTion of such things.

The MIT team used several methods to build the Galileo system. First, the system analyzed 150 videos showing how a bunch of different objects moved and reacted with their environment, including items made of rubber, metal, and cardboard.

Next, the software was given data from Bullet, a “3-D physics engine” that is typically employed in creating video games and movie special effects. After that, the MIT researchers developed “deep learning” algorithms, which can repeatedly analyze a set of data in order to teach a software system to spot patterns. 

Please, tell me now, who is going to win the football games this weekend. 

Or better yet, give the Powerball number to me.

They tested the system by having it predict, alongside humans, what would happen in a series of videos showing objects sliding down pitched surfaces or colliding with each other. The Galileo predictions got so human-like, the researchers said, that even its incorrect guesses were similar to the wrong answers given by people in the experiment.

You can test out your own physics prediction skills in this online simulation. And don’t worry if you get a few wrong — you’re only human.

Without meaning to they showed the elitist disdain they feel for you.


It all starts in childhood, doesn't it?

"Lego Education’s new kit will teach elementary students the basics of programming" by Nidhi Subbaraman, Globe Staff  01/05/2016

When you’re about 7, getting to play with Lego bricks in science class is kind of like being allowed to eat ice cream for dinner.

Ahead of its planned move to Boston this year, Lego Education is launching a new kit that will teach elementary students the basics of programming and help teachers with a basic science curriculum.

The setup is called WeDo 2.0, and it’s an upgrade to a program that the company began selling in 2009. The setup goes on sale Tuesday, Lego announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

No worry about hackers at all, and it was all good fun!

Like the original version of its program, WeDo 2.0 includes a set of bricks, a motor, a motion sensor, a tilt sensor, and a software program that runs a basic graphical programming language (think drag-and-drop icons instead of lines of code).

For the first time, the software can work on a tablet or mobile phone, communicating wirelessly with the small machine that a student has built.

Also for the first time, teachers can buy a series of science tutorials and lessons. Teams at Lego Education built that component according to the “Next Generation Science Standards,” a rubric developed and adopted by 26 US states.

Teachers introducing primary and secondary schoolers to the concepts of programming are beginning to line up behind a theory: Learning by doing is better than learning by listening. 

That is a discovery akin to sliced bread or the flush toilet. 

It's not like "the only way to learn how to do something is to do it" is a cliche or anything. 

Talk about a tremendous grasp of the obvious. Must have been the robots help. 

As a result, coding kits that involve small and usually colorful robots that can be programmed with basic commands from a computer are becoming fixtures in some school curriculums. Groups that hold camps for young learners say that the earlier children are introduced to the concepts, the more likely they are to stick with technical courses through college, and eventually land the high-paying jobs.

WeDo 2.0 is one of the tools that Lego Education offers to help teach kids the principles of computer programming. A more advanced version is Lego Mindstorms, a program designed for middle schoolers that includes more complex bricks and its own programming language.

So when does the kid actually start building the wall?

The WeDo platform is something of a hit among teachers in the United States and is the hottest seller among the Lego educational sets for elementary school kids, said Pamela Scifers, an associate marketing manager.

Why not? Corporations have taken over everything else and $chools have served their wishes well over the years.

For WeDo 2.0, a basic set without the curriculum is built for two students and costs $159.99. The setup with the training tools costs $289.95.

Maybe WeDon't.

This is the first upgrade to WeDo, which is used in schools around the globe, according to Lego.

The company intends to support the original version of the coding software until 2017.

I hope the software is better than, well, any other kind of software that's sold because all that other stuff seems to be $hit (can't even get a paper route right).


Coming next: Lego's Economic and Business Curriculum

Yes, "everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're part of a team, everything is awesome, when we're living our dream....  Lost my job, there's a new opportunity, more free time for my awesome community...." 

Yes, "everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're part of a team, everything is awesome, when we're living our dream...." 

Are people contemplating the horrendous level of mind-manipulation being directed at children there, or do they just think it's all cute?

Time to quell the class down:

"FDA approves upgrade to Quell, a dongle that zaps away pain" by Nidhi Subbaraman, 5 days ago

NeuroMetrix Inc. will sell a new version of its pain-zapping dongle, Quell, starting this spring.

Quell is a battery operated device that relieves pain by delivering a small current of electricity to the body.

It looks like a powder compact and is worn strapped to the calf — that’s the best spot for Quell to work its magic, even if the wearer is aching elsewhere, because of how the body’s nerves are arranged. The zapping feels like a gentle vibration, according to Waltham-based NeuroMetrix.

Just going down the electroshock road is slippery.

The new version of Quell is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has a longer battery life.  It’s also the first version that can be controlled remotely; wearers can adjust the intensity of the current and turn it on and off from an app on a smartphone.

Good thing no one ever hacks into those.

Earlier versions of Quell have been able to sense when the wearer is asleep, and power off or decrease the intensity of stimulation during that time. NeuroMetrix claims this sleep-tracking feature has become more sophisticated in the new version.

Meaning it could increase the intensity, too, right?

“There’s a link between pain and sleep — if you’re in pain you don’t sleep if you don’t sleep well you pain is worse,” said Frank McGillin, senior vice president of consumer health at NeuroMetrix.

I awake in a cold sweat screaming "Globe" every morning just before 6 a.m. 

Think there is a link?

Although the idea of strapping a shock-emitting device to your leg might sound a little weird, “transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation” is an accepted form of medical therapy. Founder Shai Gozani founded the company in 1996 with the goal of bringing people relief with a device that was smaller than previous versions and had no wires.

In August, the company described the results of a study that followed 88 people who used the Quell device to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, and sciatica. Two thirds of that group reported that they decreased their dose of pain meds while using the device.

Pharmaceuticals may have to quell this threat.

The FDA approved the first version of the Quell device in 2014, and it went on sale last summer for $249. The new version will be available for sale in March. Both can be purchased without a prescription.


I must be a ma$ochi$t every morning, if you know what I mean.


"Mesh implants used to repair pelvic collapse in women will face new federal scrutiny, under rules responding to thousands of injuries reported with the problem-prone devices. The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that makers of pelvic mesh must submit new applications demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of their products. The change follows years of reports of pain, bleeding, and infection among women receiving the implants. Those complications sometimes require multiple surgeries to remove or reposition the mesh. Patients have filed tens of thousands of lawsuits against mesh manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, and Endo International. In 2014, Ireland-based Endo said it would pay $830 million to settle more than 20,000 personal injury lawsuits."

FDA approval didn't really help quell the queefs, did it?