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Computers

Mid-air holograms respond to human touch

Researchers from Tsukuba University in Japan have created holograms that respond to human touch. Involving femtosecond lasers, which can stimulate physical matter to emit light in 3D form, the research could eventually lead to the creation of holograms that humans are able to interact with.Read More

nOb offers precision control of virtually any onscreen element

The scroll wheel of a computer mouse can be a bit of an imprecise monster when it comes to making fine adjustments in media production software like video editing suites or digital audio workstations, leading to frustrating back and forth marathons or manual interventions to get onscreen elements to behave. The delightfully retro-looking nOb is kind of like a supercharged scroll wheel that's used for making ultra-fine adjustments of parameters, settings and screen elements.Read More

Review

Review: ZuperDAC makes hi-res thumb-sized

With a few notable exceptions, you'd be forgiven for thinking that laptop audio circuitry is something of a manufacturing afterthought, with decisions on such things made at the very end of the design process when there's very little money left in the pot. Plugging a pair of top drawer headphones into a notebook's (often cheap and cheerful) audio out jack can therefore be a little disappointing, leading many music lovers to look to the USB ports for help. Though some USB digital-to-analog converters and headphone amps can be a good deal bigger than the laptop they're connected to, and have a suitably large price tag to match, smaller options are available. The successfully-crowdfunded ZuperDAC from Zorloo, for example, is about the size of a USB thumb drive and supports audio file resolutions right up to 24-bit/192 kHz. We've spent the last few weeks diving into our hi-res FLAC and WAV vault for some lossless easy listening.Read More

IBM's Watson gets chatty to act as a sounding board

While researchers around the world are making gradual gains in the monumental task of developing artificial intelligences that can creatively solve problems or produce art, IBM's Watson supercomputer has now learned how to help people get more creative. Six student teams at Georgia Tech trained Watson to chat with them about the many systems from nature that we could mimic in solving big problems such as long-term space travel and more efficient desalination processes. Read More

"World's first personal computer" sells for €34,000

One of only ten surviving Kenbak-1 personal computers from 1971 has sold at auction for €34,000 (US$36,500). Judged the "first commercially available personal computer" in 1987 by a panel at the Boston Computer Museum that included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, it's a fascinating piece of history that sheds a light on the chaotic early days of the desktop computer.Read More

DeepBeat uses deep learning to help you write rap

So, you've got the stage presence and you've got the moves, the only thing you need to become the next great rapper is, uh … stuff to rap about. Well, researchers from Finland's Aalto University, HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology) and the University of Helsinki may be able to help. Their DeepBeat machine learning algorithm can help shmucks like us create rap lyrics, with a little help from the pros.Read More

Hiku gets online shopping on the button

We all know the frustration of getting home from the supermarket only to realize we've forgotten something - or to find that someone else has also been. The Hiku grocery button is aimed at helping users to avoid shopping list mix-ups. it can even help users avoid going to the supermarket altogether.Read More

Google's neural network to compose email responses for you

Gmail users are set to benefit from Google's machine learning research with Smart Reply. The system will use a deep neural network to not only analyze incoming emails for what information is required to form an appropriate response, but to propose three likely replies, with the end result enabling mobile users to respond quickly to emails.
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