Computational creativity and the future of AI

Good Thinking

Two-in-one shoe makes driving safer

June 20, 2007 From side air bags to anti-lock braking systems and traction control, technology has delivered a raft of safety enhancing features for motor vehicles, but sometimes accidents occur because of much simpler deficiencies in our driving preparedness – namely our choice of shoes. This issue is especially relevant to women’s shoes where the latest fashion may not be the ideal choice when it comes to controlling an automobile. The solution offered by UK based car insurance company Sheilas’ Wheels is to combine two types of shoe into one – a safe, flat driving shoe that transforms into a stylish pair of heels at the a push of a button.  Read More

DDD Simulation Software for Military and Civilian Teams

June 19, 2007 As we pointed out last week, the science of building an effective team is often overlooked but we’re pleased to note the release of some new software designed to forge a highly functional team when the job is mission critical. Aptima’s DDD 4.0 is simulation software for military and civilian organizations involved in planning and preparing for complex team-based missions. A desktop software application, DDD is unique in its ability to cover a wide range of scenarios, including AWACS air battle management, civilian disaster response, search and rescue, Joint Task Force command decision-making, and business management. A fully functional 30-day evaluation copy can be downloaded for free ...  Read More

PopSci's Predictions Exchange

June 15, 2007 Reckon you've got your finger on the pulse of technology and innovation? You can now test your predictions against the world market using PopSci's Predictions Exchange - a free share trading game where you can make virtual profits by betting on the outcome of the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war, or whether Google will overtake Yahoo in its number of hits by the end of the year. It's an addictive game and a fascinating insight into consumer confidence in a range of brands and technologies - and if you can pick the "stocks" that are about to swing one way or the other, there's big (virtual) profits to be made!  Read More

Retail evolves: the wireless, handheld store assistant

June 14, 2007 A knowledgeable store assistant who knows what to suggest at the right time can mean the difference between a t-shirt sale and a whole outfit - not to mention making shopping a much more pleasant experience for the consumer. Motorola have just released the fascinating new MC17 handheld device for retail outlets that acts as a virtual shop assistant as a customer carries it around a store. Customers can use it to locate items, check pricing, options and availability, see related or complementary items, scan coupons and even whizz through the checkout process - and it's an ideal platform for intelligent cross-promotion and pinpoint-targeted advertising.  Read More

The Mister Money Payday Loan Self-Service Kiosk

June 8, 2007 The engenuity of man knows no bounds – with secure processes and some multimedia, new machines can reduce a costly and inefficient manual process to zeroes and ones and a few minutes. A shining example of this is Mister Money's AFS self-service kiosk for automated payday loan processing. Mister Money operates in the pawn and subprime lending industries, so it is no stranger to assessing and mitigating risk via a verification, scoring and approval methodology. It has now automated that approval methodology and has been granted a patent on this process, incorporating the lot into in an unmanned kiosk application. The kiosks and loan processing software are available for purchase and licensing.  Read More

Digital paper with interactivity and sound

June 6, 2007 Paper has been the predominant advertising medium since advertising began and despite the likelihood that it will lose that mantle in the foreseeable future, there’s life in the old dog yet. Swedish researchers are showing a working prototype of a fourth generation of paper products that can communicate with computers. By combining paper with printed graphic codes and electronically conductive ink that is engineered to be sensitive to pressure. When the paper “buttons” are touched, the sound is played out via the printed speakers. A video of the paper used in large boards and store displays can be seen here. The technology has obvious application in high-impact point-of-purchase promotional displays.  Read More

Xerox demonstrates its flourescent anti-counterfeit technology.

May 31, 2007 Due to the expensive equipment required, anti-counterfeit printing measures have largely been the domain of government money-printing mints. Now, a bit of clever thinking at Xerox has resulted in a new method of using standard colour printer toner to produce flourescent anti-counterfeit watermarking that shows up under UV light, making bogus copies easy to spot.  Read More

3D laser structuring can burn microstructures into free form surfaces

May 30, 2007 Micrometer-fine patterns in surfaces endow components with amazing properties: Plastic dashboards can be made to look like leather, sharkskin patterned ribs on an aircraft’s fuselage can significantly reduce air resistance and micro-recesses in human implants can dramatically improve connection with the bone. There are many reasons for applying microstructures but actually doing so is by no means easy. While lasers have been used for quite a long time to structure flat surfaces, the problems associated with using lasers on three-dimensional components of complex shape has ensured that etching techniques have had to be deployed, involving the use of large quantities of chemicals and costly processes. Now European researchers have developed a machine that can burn microstructures into free form surfaces.  Read More

With the swipe of a 'loyalty' card at the experimental Retail Shopping Assistant, HP Labs ...

May 30, 2007 With computerisation now an integral part of most retail store infrastructures and the general tech-savviness of the population underpinned by a new generation raised on computer games and the internet, it will be interesting to see how quickly very sophisticated systems come to market. A glimpse at what’s possible in the very near future came this week when HP showed off its Retail Store Assistant, an experimental system designed to enhance the consumer shopping experience and improve efficiency for retailers by bringing the power of online access to brick-and-mortar stores. The idea is that the customer swipes their loyalty card on entering the store, receiving a printout that includes a personalized shopping list, relevant coupons, notice of associated store discounts or sales, and even a map to where the items can be found in the store.  Read More

New software helps you make better decisions

May 29, 2007 We’d all like to think that we can read the play better than the next person, that we can use our innate intelligence, intuition and gut feel to make well considered business and personal decisions, even though human intuition is seldom sufficient in complex decision-making situations. After several years of research at Mid Sweden University, the decision tool DecideIT has been developed for the purpose of enhancing the ability of decision-makers to reach rational decisions. The advantages include a more structured decision-making process and the capacity to analyze problems that previously were too complex for analysis.  Read More

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