Reports on Monday have suggested Apple s Siri assistant will soon be receiving a huge upgrade, thanks to some UK-based tech.TechInsider sources say Apple is ready to unleash the power of the VocalIQ start-up it purchased last year.According to the report, VocalIQ s natural language skills will help put Siri beyond Amazon Alexa, Google Now and Microsoft s Cortana.The report says: For example, imagine asking a computer to Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and WiFi that s kid-friendly.See also: Amazon Echo reviewAccording to the report, if a user decided to change the query to a Mexican restaurant, VocalIQ would be capable of remembering the other parameters.Recent speculation has suggested Apple may also open Siri up to third-party developercomments powered by Disqus
The popular virtual assistant is one of the major selling points of the Amazon Echo and its growing smart home ecosystem, but now, you can enjoy Alexa a la carte as well.It s all thanks to a new web app you can access at echosim.io, and it lets you talk to Alexa directly from your Chrome, Firefox, or browser of choice.As Amazon tells it, the web app began with a hackathon project from Sam Machin.The web app features 3D JavaScript animations and Alexa Voice Service AVS integration, allowing users to interact with Alexa and observe her skills and capabilities.And you still give the virtual assistant commands in the same way you would if you had an Echo, although you ll have to click and hold a button in the web app to have Alexa listen to you whereas with an Echo, she s always listening, sometimes too frequently .Amazon is encouraging both developers and tech enthusiasts alike to take the new web app for a spin, noting, Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa s unique UX.
For a limited time, you can step into the future of word processor apps with Scrivener 2 for 50 percent off from TNW Deals.Simply put, Scrivener 2 takes the headache out of writing and organizational tasks, encouraging long-form writing with distraction-free fullscreen mode for composing, as well as a Snapshots feature which allows you to restore and rewrite previous versions of your work.You ll never look back at the limitations of Word as you enjoy loading documents into floating windows above the text for quick reference, as well as a searchable database for storing notes.You can even synchronize the text of your project with mobile apps.Take an evolutionary leap in your writing process with Scrivener 2 for just $22.50 from TNW Deals.Get this dealBonus Deal: Develop high-level mastery of all the components of Scrivener with the Ninja Level Course on Scrivener, a premium-level course to put you in command of your new creative assistant.
Another cool device that Asus is highlighting at its Computex 2016 booth is the Zenbo robot.Zenbo can move independently and understand spoken commands.The robot is particularly focused on helping the elderly.The robot has an integrated sound system allowing kids to sing and dance to songs.An entire library of stores is integrated into the robot and the Zenbo reads the stories in different voices.Asus also has a free Zenbo Developer Program that gives access to the Zenbo SDK and a library of information for developers to bring more functionality to the bot over time.
Meet Zenbo, the robot personal assistant, who will read to your kids and alert you if elderly relatives have a fall.ASUSASUS chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the design at the company s Zenvolution press conference in Taipei, Taiwan.Zenbo will be able to connect with smart home devices: so you ll be able to check who is at the front door from a connected camera, and even remote-unlock the door, as well as controlling lights, TVs and air conditioners.ASUSAn interesting - if a little unnerving - feature is that Zenbo s face transforms into a touchpad control panel allowing you to make video calls, browse the internet, play games, take photographs and screen video content.The robot will be able to dance along to music, as well as read stories aloud from its built-in library, to keep kids entertained.ASUSComparisons have been drawn to Softbanks Pepper robot, but by keeping the design more akin to a cross between Wall-E and BB-8, than I-Robot s NS-5, they ve upped the cute factor and reduced the unsettling fear associated with humanoid robots trying to overthrow humanity or maybe that s just what Zenbo wants us to think .
Meet Zenbo, the robot personal assistant, who will read to your kids and alert you if elderly relatives have a fall.ASUSASUS chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the design at the company s Zenvolution press conference in Taipei, Taiwan.Zenbo will be able to connect with smart home devices: so you ll be able to check who is at the front door from a connected camera, and even remote-unlock the door, as well as controlling lights, TVs and air conditioners.ASUSAn interesting - if a little unnerving - feature is that Zenbo s face transforms into a touchpad control panel allowing you to make video calls, browse the internet, play games, take photographs and screen video content.The robot will be able to dance along to music, as well as read stories aloud from its built-in library, to keep kids entertained.ASUSComparisons have been drawn to Softbanks Pepper robot, but by keeping the design more akin to a cross between Wall-E and BB-8, than I-Robot s NS-5, they ve upped the cute factor and reduced the unsettling fear associated with humanoid robots trying to overthrow humanity or maybe that s just what Zenbo wants us to think .
Asus Chairman Jonney Shih showed off a surprising new product the Computex trade show in Taipei today: Zenbo, a home robot priced at $600.Described as a smart home manager, security guard, hands-free kitchen assistant, and family photographer, Zenbo s "assistance, entertainment and companionship" features are aimed primarily at older people.It can remind people of appointments and when to take medicines, and thanks to its smart home connectivity, Zenbo can control lights, TVs, air conditioners, and other appliances when instructed by a user s voice commands.Children will no doubt appreciate the robot s library of stories that it can read aloud, its singing talents, and the fact it can dance kind of to music."For decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion: One that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal," Shih said."Our ambition is to enable robotic computing for every household."
The Zenfone maker said it wants to enable 'robotic computing for every household'The new Zenbo robot from Asus, unveiled at the Computex trade show on May 29, 2016Asus has just unveiled what s likely to be the most talked about product at this week s Computex trade show in Taipei, a cute talking robot for the home priced at $599.Called Zenbo, Asus pitched it as a personal assistant that can help look after elderly relatives or read stories to the kids, but that might be selling it a bit short.Asus Chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated Zenbo at a press conference in Taipei Monday, giving it voice commands and asking it questions is it rolled around the stage.Yes, I can take photographs, the robot replied.He told Zenbo to take his photo with the audience in the background.It s tempting to think of Zenbo as an Amazon Echo or Siri on wheels, though it s unclear if it will be as smart as those other digital assistants.
The Zenfone maker said it wants to enable 'robotic computing for every household'The new Zenbo robot from Asus, unveiled at the Computex trade show on May 29, 2016Asus has just unveiled what s likely to be the most talked about product at this week s Computex trade show in Taipei, a cute talking robot for the home priced at US$599.Called Zenbo, Asus pitched it as a personal assistant that can help look after elderly relatives or read stories to the kids, but that might be selling it a bit short.Asus Chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated Zenbo at a press conference in Taipei Monday, giving it voice commands and asking it questions is it rolled around the stage.Yes, I can take photographs, the robot replied.He told Zenbo to take his photo with the audience in the background.It s tempting to think of Zenbo as an Amazon Echo or Siri on wheels, though it s unclear if it will be as smart as those other digital assistants.
Arduino has announced two new developer boards aimed at the Internet of Things IoT community, called the Primo and Otto.It comes just one month after the MKR1000 was announced worldwide.For developers that don t want Wi-Fi capabilities or support for expansion boards, Arduino has launched the Primo Core, a cheaper alternative.Image Credit: Magdalena PetrovaArduino s growing familyAlongside the Primo announcement, Arduino also unveiled the Otto, a larger development board aimed at fans of the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices.The Otto comes with a built-in microphone and supports Amazon Echo API.Hobbyists could fit an Otto in every room, to talk to Alexa regardless of the Echo s location.
Considering how much attention the likes of Facebook and Google are giving them, conversational, AI-powered bots are our future, and the Amazon Echo is one of the most well-known smart home devices with a software-driven personality.Alexa is the name of the AI and search technology that powers the Echo, and Amazon just released an online tool called Echosim.io so you can try out the technology for yourself, even if you don't have one of Amazon's devices at home.You're going to need to log into the site using your Amazon credentials and grant the website access to your microphone, but setup just takes a couple of minutes and the service is free for anyone to make use of.Smart attackIt's not the first time Alexa has appeared outside of the Echo, as we've also seen the smart assistant appear on a smartwatch, and Amazon seems keen to have its software technology available on a whole host of devices in the future.With Google Home arriving later this year and Apple rumoured to be building an Echo competitor of its own, the quality of the underlying code is going to be crucial in helping customers pick one always-on smart home device from another.There are now several Echo devices on sale, though they're still only available to customers in the US - how about some love for the rest of the world, Amazon?
View photosMoreHttps%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f100459%2famzech9If you've heard about the Amazon Echo and have been wondering what it's like to use it before committing to buying one, there's now an online tool that lets you test it out as much as you want, right in your browser.You don't need to use the name Alexa, you can just ask it any question and, in most cases, get a great answer back.Originally developed last year at a hackathon by UK-based Sam Machin, the barebones page is a simple, but powerful demonstration of a product both Google and if rumors are to be believed Apple are attempting to emulate.A similar Amazon Echo testing device debuted earlier this month for mobile devices called Lexi, and yet another device, called Triby, recently launched as one of the first non-Echo devices with Alexa functionality.With millions of products available via voice, and a growing library of non-ecommerce-based voice functions, Alexa already has a huge lead on any potential competition.But since monopolies rarely serve consumers, we can only hope that Google and Apple hit the accelerator on their digital assistant projects and catch up to Alexa sooner rather than later.
The device with the help of the in-built camera would be able to detect who is in the proximity of the speaker using facial recognition technology and automatically trigger that individual's preferences like choice of music and lighting.CNET, which reported the possible feature, says a source close to Apple has revealed that the company is still in the phase of deciding whether to include that built-in camera.As of now the future device's potential competitors Amazon Echo or the Google Home do not have cameras and can only be controlled by voice-activated speakers.Apple's device will also have the voice command feature with the help of its already existing assistant, Siri.When the news broke, most reports pointed towards it being a standalone hardware product, but a few days ago a report from VentureBeat stated that Apple will build the Amazon Echo-like features not as a new device but within its next-generation Apple TV itself.Google is also said to be developing an Amazon Echo-like portable speaker with voice assistant technology which is internally referred to as "Chirp".
See larger image Apple headlines for the week ending May 27, 2016As Apple s Worldwide Developers Conference WWDC approaches, the rumors are starting to heat up.See larger imageApplied Materials, an Apple supplier, has received almost four times the amount of orders for its display-making machines.Opening the Siri platform will help improve Apple s virtual assistant by incorporating other apps and services that can be activated with voice commands.See larger imageKaren S. Hobbs, an attorney with Federal Trade Commission s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said scammers like iTunes gift cards because they are cash-like in a few critical ways.See larger imageJon Callas most recently worked as a co-founder of Silent Circle, which produced the security-minded Blackphone and has joined the iPhone and iPad maker in an undisclosed capacity.See larger imageIndia s rules only allow 100-percent foreign ownership in a single-brand retail store like the Apple Store if they source 30 percent of their products locally.
The Amazon Echo is still only officially available inside the United States, leaving Brits wondering whether all that hype is merited.Now the company is offering up a demo of the Alexa assistant s capabilities within web browsers, through the Alexa Skill Testing Tool site.The Echoism.io site via VentureBeat , which is based on a like-minded project from independent developer Sam Machin, lets visitors issue commands as they would on the Echo range of smart home speakers.Related: Amazon Echo and Alexa: Everything you need to knowAs well as fulfilling the whims of curious folks outside America, Amazon is also offering up the tool as an aid to developers around the world who can test integration of their apps through the Alexa Skills API.Echosim.io lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills, writes Glenn Cameron on the Amazon developer blog.Amazon is yet to reveal if and when it ll be bringing Alexa to nations beyond the United States.
Apple is building an intelligent home assistant device to compete with Amazon's Echo.On Thursday we learned that it will likely come embedded in the next Apple TV, rather than as a standalone speaker.And now, on Friday, CNET reports that it will likely have a camera that watches whatever room it's plopped down in.With major tech companies betting on a computing future that involves a lot more talking to boxes and orbs strewn about your home — Google is launching an Echo competitor as well — it actually makes a lot of sense that these devices would gain the power of sight.That's because, as is already the case with your laptop and smartphone, it's increasingly important that your home device know exactly who is talking to it before it does anything.In the future, it looks likely that more and more personal data will pass through these devices.A camera would give Apple's Definitely-Not-An-Echo an added layer of security.It could see your face, recognize you, and require that visual confirmation for sensitive data.Of course, there are obviously massive privacy concerns here.Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.Copyright 2016.More from Tech Insider:Scientists only know one kind of person who can tickle themselvesSorry Merriam-Webster, the hot dog is not a sandwichYoga pants contain the only known substance that 'probably' does not cause cancerThe upcoming Echo-like Apple TV might be able to watch you with a camera AAPL Jawbone has stopped producing its fitness trackers and sold the remaining inventory to a third partyNOW WATCH: Here's what happens to your body when you stop eating sugarLoading video...
Siri is due for a big upgrade.Apple now has the tech in place to give its digital assistant a big boost thanks to a UK-based company called VocalIQ it bought last year.According to a source familiar with VocalIQ s product, it s much more robust and capable than Siri s biggest competitors like Google Now, Amazon s Alexa, and Microsoft s Cortana.After the acquisition, Apple kept most of the VocalIQ team and let them work out of their Cambridge office and integrate the product into Siri.Before Apple bought the company, VocalIQ tested its product against Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, and the results were impressive.Those commands can be long and complicated, and the other assistants had trouble catching everything.For example, imagine asking a computer to Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and WiFi that s kid-friendly.In fact, VocalIQ only considers itself a success when the user is able to complete a task without looking at a screen.In theory, Apple would be able to train Siri to do everything much better using VocalIQ.VocalIQ can also filter out extraneous noise to figure out exactly what you re saying, thus making it more accurate than Siri is today.It s able to take in all the noise in an environment — the TV, kids shouting, whatever — and determine with a high probability which sound is actually the user s query.
You will soon be able to 3D print all your medication into a customised super pill, if this latest research is anything to go by.Scientists at the National University of Singapore NUS have developed a new technology that combines multiple pills of varying dosages into a single tablet.The pills have time-release factored in as well, which means the drugs are released in the body in pulses rather than in one go.View photosMoreAssistant professor Soh Siow Ling, right, with PhD student Sun Yajuan NUS For a long time, personalised tablets has been a mere concept as it was far too complex or expensive to be realised, said assistant professor Soh Siow Ling – one of the researchers involved in the project.Each component is a specifically designed shape separated by a polymer that will determine when the drug is released into the body and in what dosage.The method essentially requires doctors to map out all the medications their patients need to take, the doses they require and the time they need to take them.
It s a browser-based simulator that only requires an Amazon account; once logged in, anyone with a microphone, of course can talk to the on-screen Alexa in much the same way you would if an actual device were in the room.The help documentation explains that EchoSim doesn t support streaming music and far-field voice recognition.In announcing EchoSim today, Amazon s Glenn Cameron says it s for developers who want to test their skills — Amazon s word for the third-party apps that work with Alexa.His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism.After leaving traditional media in the mid-1990s, he began developing and marketing websites and continued to provide consulting services for more than 15 years.You can reach Matt via email using our Contact page.
One teaching assistant replied, pointing to a portion of the assignment that set a 15 minute limit.The student clarified that their agent was running a little slow, and could take a bit longer. But this past January-April was the first semester in which he let the AI, secretly, help teach.Here's how he pulled it off: While the core of an online course is usually a video series with the professor, most of the actual class — including interactions with teaching assistants — happens through text posts.In Goel's case his students,  300 enrollees in Georgia Tech's online masters in computer science program, had a class-wide forum where they could ask questions about the class, its subject matter, and the assignments. "It's a graduate-level class in AI," Goel pointed out, "And the 300 students in this class typically are professionals. Goel wants to build a world where AIs make online education better, more accessible, and more effective in teaching individual students who might otherwise drop out for lack of individualized attention.Jill is just his first step.This is the first article in a quick, three-part series on Jill Watson, her training, and her implications for the future of education. Check back soon for more.Read the original article on Tech Insider. More from Tech Insider:IBM's brilliant AI just helped teach a grad-level college courseNest CEO Tony Fadell is making an electric go-kart for kids that parents can control from their phonesA hacker explains why US nukes controlled by ancient computers is actually a good thing Twitter sent a woman's address to the man who was harassing her after she filed a complaint TWTR How a drug smuggler who got caught with 6,500 ecstasy pills went on to build a $30 million tech businessNOW WATCH: Microsoft's artificial intelligence is so smart it can tell blind people what's going on around themLoading video...
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