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Features


— Computers Feature

Creative AI: The robots that would be painters

Painting might be the last thing you'd expect computers to excel at. It's abstract, expressive, and tied to cultures, psychology, and subjectivity, whereas computers are objective, precise, and governed by the rules of mathematics. Painting, with its emotional reasoning and unclear meanings, appears to be the antithesis of a feeling, logical computer. But they aren't so far apart as they seem. Painting and other forms of visual art owe much to areas of mathematics such as geometry and perspective, and the algorithms that computers adhere to can in fact be made to generate images as varied and subtle as a human painter. Read More
— Computers Feature

Creative AI: Teaching computers to be reporters and storytellers

We humans are obsessed with storytelling. We tell stories to people we meet and people we love. We can't get enough of the stories that drive movies, video games, television, and books. We communicate with stories, and now we're training our computers to do the same. By writing sets of rules and instructions of varying complexity, artificial intelligence experts can enable computers to write stories both real and fictional. Some of these algorithms, as you'll see shortly, produce articles or reports with the sort of flair you'd think only a human could provide, which has fascinating implications for the future of publishing. Read More
— Motorcycles Feature

Geeking out on electric motorcycles – a trip to the Zero factory

Regular readers will know I'm a bit of a fan of Zero's electric motorcycles – as the market leader in performance electric two-wheelers, Zero offers a glimpse into a future where gasoline engines feel frankly archaic. So I was very excited to score myself an invitation to come and visit Zero's head office and factory to see where the company is at, get to know the Zero team, and ride the company's entire 2015 range through the breathtaking mountain ranges of California. It was a great chance to talk about batteries, production lines, the 2015 Zero range and how America's fast-charge infrastructure is letting riders down. Read More
— Games Feature

Creative AI: Procedural generation takes game development to new worlds

Owing perhaps to the difficulty and extreme cost of building virtual worlds that can be seen, heard, explored, and interacted with in multitudes of other ways, video games have long made use of procedural content generation and computation creativity. Epic space-faring BBC Micro game Elite generated its own star systems on the fly way back in 1984, for instance, while the likes of Minecraft, Diablo, and the SimCity series all similarly sport environments sculpted by algorithms. But artificial intelligence research is opening new avenues in the ever-evolving dance between human game developers and their algorithmically-intelligent tools. AIs can now create entire 2D and 3D games from scratch, unassisted, and that could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read More
— Computers Feature

Creative AI: Computer composers are changing how music is made

You've probably heard music composed by a computer algorithm, though you may not realize it. Artificial intelligence researchers have made huge gains in computational – or algorithmic – creativity over the past decade or two, and in music especially these advances are now filtering through to the real world. AI programs have produced albums in multiple genres. They've scored films and advertisements. And they've also generated mood music in games and smartphone apps. But what does computer-authored music sound like? Why do it? And how is it changing music creation? Join us, in this first entry in a series of features on creative AI, as we find out. Read More
— Smartwatches Feature

Haptic technology: The next frontier in video games, wearables, virtual reality, and mobile electronics

Tactile feedback is nothing new. It's been used in telecommunications and in entertainment for decades, and it became a standard feature in the late 1990s in mobile phones and video games – where vibrations alert you to new messages or help you "feel" the forces exerted on your avatar. Haptic technology has been very much a bit player in the fields that it's infiltrated, though, and only now are we seeing it begin to take its place alongside visual and audio tech as a key element in human-computer interaction. Read More
— Space Feature

American independence in space: Ending reliance on the Soyuz spacecraft by 2017

The push to return manned launch capabilities to United States soil is bringing about an exciting period in the commercial space industry. September 2014 saw the awarding of the US Government's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, with both Boeing and SpaceX benefiting from a significant investment of US$6.8 billion. The contract has the ultimate goal of expediting the development and production of commercial spacecraft specializing in low-Earth orbit operations to the ISS. But what were the driving factors behind the change, and how do the planned replacements match up to the capabilities and conditions of the long standing Soyuz program? Read on as we delve deeper into NASA's mission to end the nation's reliance on Russia by 2017. Read More
— Wearable Electronics Feature

One-on-one with Oculus VR and the "Crescent Bay" Oculus Rift

When you visit with enough companies at CES, you start to develop a sixth sense. All of them are ambitious, and some have promising – or even very good – products. But when something is really special, you can just tell. Oculus VR is one of those companies. We're hardly the first to say this, but the Oculus Rift is the future – and, with all due respect, none of the other companies trying to hop aboard the VR gravy train are anywhere close. Read More
— Wearable Electronics Feature

Bored with exercise machines? One day Oculus Rift could spice things up

VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and Gear VR are great for gaming and immersive 360-degree videos. But what about exercise? Though the idea isn't without its flaws, virtual reality could one day add an exciting new dimension to stationary workout machines. Gizmag chatted with a researcher in the field (and went for a mind-bending VR spin of our own) to investigate. Read More
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