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IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 20th April 2017

Welcome to the IoT weekly round-up. Unsurprisingly, this week is full of Facebook news from the two-day F8 event on 18-19 April, the most interesting of which is the possibility that one day we will be able to publish emails, tweets and messages directly from our thoughts. Read on for the latest.

A flood of announcements at Facebook’s F8 event

In the main, the F8 developer conference showcased Facebook’s ability to process information and feedback in the virtual and haptic worlds. Announcements included updates to Facebook Analytics, Facebook Login and Account Kit. Workplace continues to grow and Messenger now supports QR codes alongside group bots and a bot discovery tab. Oh, and there’s also the new Creative Effects studio, which layers real life with virtual art and messages.

Facebook investigates typing directly from your brain to minimize smartphone distraction

Apparently, the answer to dealing with distracting smartphones isn’t simply to put them away and do something else, it’s to develop technology that means you can ‘think’ your messages into being without having to type them. It might be fun to point out that South Park got there first, predicting a similar system called ‘Sh*tter’ in the episode ‘Let Go, Let Gov’. Anyway, it seems that this brain-computer interface technology isn’t that far away, and already exists in a rudimentary form. Facebook, who have a team of 60 machine learning and neural prosthetics experts looking into the feasibility of such a system, highlighted the example of a test subject whose pea-sized brain implant allowed her to comprehend a vocabulary of up to nine words that she could hear through her skin. If the brain implant isn’t for you, you might prefer the alternative: developing a brain-computer interface with sensors that can measure brain activity and decode the signals associated with language in real time. Then again, you might prefer to type your messages instead.

Self-driving Olli is a Best Auto Mobility Product finalist

Olli, the self-driving shuttle bus developed by Local Motors with IBM is a finalist in the 2017 TU-Automotive Awards, within the Best Auto Mobility Product category. Over 400 nominations were received from various segments of the connected car industry. Great news, Olli!

NBA team has AR basketball game for its scoreboard

NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers have launched an Augmented Reality game that you can play while you’re at a real basketball game. The app opens to your camera and overlays an AR basketball net, complete with ball, which the player can attempt to flick into the net. The Cavaliers aim to put the graphic up on the main scoreboard during home playoff games, so that fans can virtually shoot hoops from their seats in the stands.

AeroMobil accepts pre-orders for its first flying car

If you have lots and lots of money, you can now pre-order AeroMobil’s ‘first edition’ flying car, which was unveiled earlier this week. It won’t ship until 2020, but until then there are some truly mouth-watering pictures and descriptions to ogle. The AeroMobil transforms from car mode to air mode in less than three minutes and can do around 224mph during flight.

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