This month a hotch-potch of news from around the IT world.
ASUS is on a crusade to end the scourge of tablets with terrible sound. Its new ZenPad 8.0 has an interchangeable cover design that allows users several functional options. One is the Audio Cover (pictured below), which bumps up sound quality by tucking a 5.1 surround-sound system inside.
With six speakers, including a subwoofer, the Audio Cover promises to significantly improve the tablet experience of watching video and listening to music.
However, unless your tablet constitutes your home entertainment system, I can’t quite understand the point. Sure, it might come in handy if you’re spending some time with friends in the park and streaming from Spotify, but I wouldn’t want to use this to watch Jurassic Park at any type of volume on the train.
Still, it’s a nice idea, and it’s good to see some genuine innovation in tablet covers beyond protection and external charging.
Yet again, Sci-fi becomes Sci-fact!
Remember the ‘hover board’ from Back To The Future’? Or the racing pods from Star Wars? Well the hover bike is here! A U.S. and a U.K. company say they’re teaming up to develop hoverbike technology for the U.S. Department of Defence.
The military wants to use hoverbikes as “tactical reconnaissance vehicles” for scouting, says a recent news release from U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics and U.S.-based SURVICE Engineering Co.
Malloy Aeronautics began developing the hoverbike years ago in an effort to develop a cheaper, safer alternative to helicopters, which can strike things with their rotors, damaging property and causing a crash.
The hoverbike, which is designed to fly with or without a human pilot, could also be used for applications such as search and rescue, humanitarian relief, herding cattle, powerline inspections, geosurveying, filmmaking and transport of people and supplies over difficult terrain.
So far, the company has built and tested two prototypes on the ground. The company is flight-testing a full-size “quadrocopter” version, with one pair of overlapping, enclosed rotors in the front and a second pair of overlapping rotors behind the pilot’s seat.
And finally this month, we know that Facebook already collects information from your photos to suggest tags for your friends when they upload new pictures.
Now it looks like the social networking site could be taking things up a level.
Researchers from Facebook’s artificial intelligence team have been working on technology that aims to recognise someone even if their face isn’t clearly shown in the photo. The algorithm looks at more than 100 different body parts and it’s used in combination with facial recognition and whole body recognition technology.
The idea is that it can learn to recognise the same person in different poses in different photos. Whilst there are no immediate plans to implement this technology on Facebook it can only be a matter of time.
The research team tested their method on 37,000 photos taken from Flickr and claim that their method achieved 83% accuracy with 581 different people.
Is your personal space feeling invaded yet?