July 13, 2017 | Written by: Jen Clark
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This week in the connected world, DARPA funds the efforts of six groups to develop a brain-to-computer, two-way interface, there’s a new tool for the visually impaired with text and facial recognition, and IBM has a new solution in town: The IBM Services Platform with Watson. Read on for the latest.
DARPA agency awards $65 million to fund brain-computer interface
DARPA will fund five academic research groups and one San Jose-based company, in a bid to develop a two-way brain-computer interface. The goal is to create neural implants that will enable the human brain to speak straight to computer interfaces. One team, at Brown, are working on a network of ‘neurograins’ – or sensors – to be worn as implants in the cerebral cortex, in the hope of decoding how the brain understands spoken language.
PayPal is now a payment option for Apple users in 11 new markets
PayPal is now available as an option on iOS devices, as the result of an expanded partnership with Apple, announced earlier this week. Paypal was already available as a payment method on iTunes for U.S. users, but this expansion gives access to 11 new countries, including the U.K., Australia, Canada, Mexico, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Israel.
The OrCam MyEye recognizes faces and text
Those with vision difficulties now have a secret weapon: a tiny wearable that clips on to your glasses and reads text for you. The OrCam MyEye comes with camera, speaker and cable that hooks up to a larger smartphone-esque device. It can read text on pretty much any medium (and in most languages too) – you just need to point to what you’re reading. Facial recognition is another key tool. If you’ve made a previous record of a face, the device will tell you the name of the person it belongs to. If not, it drops handy hints describing the person looking at you and their proximity.
You can now try out Apple smart home experiences in its retail stores
To those who haven’t had the opportunity to play with Apple HomeKit products in situ, these devices may be something of an enigma. But now, Apple is offering HomeKit experiences in 46 of its retail stores, to help potential customers understand how it all works. Customers can use the Home app from most Apple devices to control light bulbs, ceiling fans and shades at the touch of a button.
Microsoft’s AI for Earth will support environmental projects
Microsoft announced a new programmed dedicated to AI-based projects for agriculture, water, biodiversity and climate change, known as AI for Earth. Microsoft will donate its own tools and services (to the tune of $2 million) to the project, which will be led by Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Scientist.
The IBM Services Platform with Watson leverages AI to manage IT operations
IBM is launching the IBM Services Platform with Watson – a machine learning product that helps businesses manage their IT infrastructure and make better decisions with the help of data insights. With the IBM Services Platform, the data gathered from enterprise networks and operations can be used to prevent future problems, take preventative action and autonomously fix existing issues. The solution provides IT staff with data-driven insights about their networks and tools, and is already in play with early adopter Danske Bank as part of a 10-year IT infrastructure service contract.
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