This Crazy Gadget Helps You “Talk” To Your Computer Without Words

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Hey you! Ever wish your technology was more invasive? You love voice-to-text, but it’s just too public?

Some researchers at MIT Media Lab have come up with the perfect gadget for you. And it looks like a Bane mask crossed with a squid. Or, if you prefer: like a horror movie monster slowly encompassing your jaw before crawling into your mouth.

The researchers presented their work at the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (yes such a thing exists) in March in Tokyo.

Whenever you think of words, they’re silently, imperceptibly, transmitted to your mouth. More specifically, signals arrive at the muscles that control your mouth. And those signals aren’t imperceptible to a highly sensitive computer.

The researchers call this device the AlterEgo. It’s got seven electrodes positioned around the mouth to pick up these signals. The data that the electrodes pick up goes through several rounds of processing before being transmitted wirelessly to a device awaiting instruction nearby. Oh, and it’s got bone-conduction headphones so that devices can respond.

AlterEgo in use. Kapur et al, 2018

The scientists tested their prototype on a few people who trained the software to recognize the data that corresponded to different commands (“call,” “reply,” “add,”), then on a few more to see how accurate it was. The results were promising, though it’s not exactly ready to go into mass production.

The closest comparison to this system is a device you can address in your normal speech, like Siri or Alexa. But, terrifyingly, this is not scientists’ first attempt at creating a more direct way to transmit our thoughts to computers. Most earlier versions have relied directly on brain signals (from devices laid over or implanted in the brain. No thank you).

AlterEgo has the following advantages, according to the researchers:

  • It’s not invasive (seems like kind of a low bar but ok)
  • It’s 92 percent accurate (probably marginally better than your average autocorrect, about the same as Siri or Alexa)
  • It’s portable (and about as sexy as one of those Bluetooth earpieces)
  • Unlike direct brain readings, it can’t read your private thoughts (except for the ones you quietly mouth to yourself)

I admit, in some situations a device like this might be useful. Particular movements could tell your phone to turn on music, or use a calculator, or text your friend. It could control your “smart home,” turning off the oven or starting the coffeepot with a mere twitch. Heck, in 10 years, I could be thinking this article into existence. This goes double for people with disabilities or vision problems that might make controlling a digital device challenging otherwise.

BUT. But. There are a few things that might make AlterEgo less than ideal. The electrodes can’t shift when a person is using them, for example, or the reading will get all messed up. It’s hard to imagine that people would be comfortable hanging out with a device covering half their mouths. And there’s no telling how the system would do in real-world settings — that’s what the researchers have to test out next. And, of course, there’s the issue of crossed signals, like when Alexa thought random sounds were telling it to laugh. And — just thinking big for a second — if it were hacked, could the hacker use the electrodes to physically control your mouth?

Might we have a future in which our faces butt-dial for us? Who’s to say. But you can bet all the people in my nightmares of a dystopian future are equipped with one of these bad boys.

The post This Crazy Gadget Helps You “Talk” To Your Computer Without Words appeared first on Futurism.

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It’s time to talk about mental illness in indie development

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This is normal. Heart pounding, hands shaking, head packed with static. The absolute inability to process what anyone is saying, let alone respond to it. Sitting alone at home — lights off because you've been inside all day and the sun set hours ag…
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Let’s Talk iOS 233: Understatement of the year

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Let's Talk iOS podcast on iPhone X

Cody and Sebastien talk about Apple’s education event where the company unveiled new software and a little bit of hardware too. They share thoughts about the overall event, what was announced, and of course, the new iPad. Cody can’t help getting excited about the possibility of a new Apple Watch design. Sebastien is all in too…. Read the rest of this post here


Let’s Talk iOS 233: Understatement of the year” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Clipisode launches a ‘talk show in a box’

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A company called Clipisode is today launching a new service that’s essentially a “talk show in a box,” as founder Brian Alvey describes it. Similar to how Anchor now allows anyone to build a professional podcast using simple mobile and web tools, Clipisode does this for video content. With Clipisode, you can record a video that can be shared across any platform – social media, the web, text messages – and collect video responses that can then be integrated into the “show” and overlaid with professional graphics.

The video responses feature is something more akin to a video voicemail-based call-in feature.

Here’s how it works. The content creator will first use Clipisode to record their video, and receive the link to share the video across social media, the web, or privately through email, text messaging, etc. When the viewer or guest clicks the link, they can respond to the question the show’s “host” posed.

For example, a reporter could ask for viewers’ thoughts on an issue or a creator could ask their fans what they want to see next.

How the video creator wants to use this functionality is really up to them, and specific to the type of video show they’re making.

To give you an idea, during a pre-launch period, the app has been tested by AXS TV to promote their upcoming Top Ten Revealed series by asking music industry experts “Who Is Your All-time Favorite Guitarist?

BBC Scotland asked their Twitter followers who they want to see hired as the new manager for the Scotland national football team.

A full-time Twitch gamer, Chris Melberger asked his subscribers what device they watch Twitch on.

The content creator can then receive all the video responses to these questions privately, choose which ones they want to include in their finished show, and drag those responses into the order they want. The creator can respond back to the clips, too, or just add another clip at the end of their video. Uploading pre-recorded clips from services like Dropbox or even your phone is supported as well.

Plus, content creators can use Clipisode to overlay professional-looking animations and graphics on top of the final video with the responses and replies. This makes it seem more like something made with help from a video editing team, not an app on your phone.

Because Clipisode invitations are web links, they don’t require the recipients to download an app.

“[People] don’t want to download an app for a one-time video reply,” explains Alvey. “But with this, people can reply.” And, he adds, what makes Clipisode interesting from a technical perspective, is that the web links users click to reply can work in any app in a way that feels seamless to the end user.

“That’s our biggest trick – making this work in other people’s apps, so there’s no new social network to join and nothing to download,” he says.

The app is free currently, but the plan is to generate revenue by later selling subscription access to the authoring suite where users can create the animated overlays and branding components that give the video the professional look-and-feel.

In an online CMS, creators can author, test and deploy animated themes that run on top of their videos.

The final video product can be shared back to social media, or downloaded as a video file to be published on video-sharing sites, social media, or as a video podcast.

Clipisode has been in development for some time, Alvey says. The company originally raised less than a million from investors including Mike Jones and Mark Cuban for a different product the founder describes as a Patreon competitor, before pivoting to Clipisode. Investors funded the new product with less than half a million.

The app itself took a couple of years to complete, something that Alvey says has to do with the animation studio it includes and the small team. (It’s just him and technical co-founder Max Schmeling.)

Clipisode is a free download on iOS and Android.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Jake Paul is getting his own talk show on YouTube Red

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Controversial vlogger Jake Paul, brother to similarly controversial vlogger Logan Paul, is developing a talk show for YouTube Red. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paul will host and executive produce the show, which is described as having a “late-night variety show feel.” The pilot for the as-of-yet untitled series is expected to start shooting as early as May.

Gavin Purcell will executive produce the pilot. (Purcell produced Late Night with Jimmy Fallon before working as head of video for The Verge’s parent company, Vox Media; he recently signed on as showrunner for Sarah Silverman’s upcoming Hulu show I Love You, America.) However, a YouTube spokesperson told Variety that the Paul show is just one of several projects the service…

Continue reading…

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Apple seeks VR patent to bring zombie attacks and talk shows into self-driving cars

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In recent weeks, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published Apple patent applications for several fascinating virtual reality concepts, but the latest one takes the cake: Apple has applied to patent a VR system for autonomous cars that radically transforms the car’s interior and exterior environments, making the ride more fun for pass…Read More
Apple – VentureBeat
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Telegram is down for many users – go talk cryptocurrency somewhere else

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No, it’s not just you: Telegram is down for many users across the board – so you might have to move your cryptocurrency and blockchain discussions to another platform for the time being. The popular encrypted messenger has confirmed it is struggling with server downtime due to a power outage. The issue is affecting users in Europe, Middle East, and certain parts of Asia. It seems that Russia and countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (like Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Moldova) are most severely affected. Telegram has been struggling with intermittent downtime for a couple of  hours now, but it is worth…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

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Let’s Talk iOS 232: Now that we’ve got your attention

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Let's Talk iOS podcast on iPhone X

Cody and Sebastien talk about Apple’s education event and a recap of the products that might be unveiled. They also talk about the inevitable Facebook.
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Let’s Talk iOS 232: Now that we’ve got your attention” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Let’s Talk iOS 231: The Bermuda triangle of tech problems

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Let's Talk iOS podcast on iPhone X

Cody and Sebastien muse on Apple’s upcoming education event and what could be announced in terms of software and hardware. The two also discuss WWDC 2018, and surprisingly, how Cody could be the secret inventor of the iPhone. … Read the rest of this post here


Let’s Talk iOS 231: The Bermuda triangle of tech problems” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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