Olly, the Robot with a Personality

Imagine, a black donut shaped robot that will rise to greet you and face in your direction whenever speaking.  A robot that doesn’t just respond with a voice, but also responds with light patterns.

Meet Olly, your robot with a personality.

Olly is a brain-inspired artificial intelligence formed by a group of machine and neuroscience learning scientists.  Olly is a robot you are able to have a conversation with, and is always there to help.  And since you are a unique person, every Olly is different and unique, depending on your daily conversations and interactions.

A couple of years ago in London the first Olly prototype was showed on stage at the TechCrunch Battlefield, and this year they picked up multiple awards for the product which include four innovation awards; Smart Home, Drones and Unnamed Systems, Home Appliances, and Home Audio-video Accessories.

Since the Olly was presented, many things were changed.  The overall design of Olly is completely changed, the company itself has built a speech recognition, and all hardware is tailor made.  They have used shape, colour, and movement to create a UI system.  This allows Olly to express its personality and emotions.

To show just how unique each Olly is, Emotech had a booth at CES where they had two Olly’s present.  The first Olly was very energetic and wanted to start a conversation with anyone who walked by.  Olly number two would wait patiently for someone to come up to it to start a conversation.  The booth was to show that Olly has deep-learning capabilities, which means if you were to buy one yourself, Olly would slowly become more like you when it starts to understand you and your daily routines.

But what else can Olly do?  Olly is also quite similar to Amazon’s Echo and/or Google Home.  Olly can look up questions for you, and you can connect it to your smartphone.  But with it’s deep-learning capabilities Olly is then able to detect things such as wanting to listen to music and what type of music.

Olly is not yet available to the public, but when it is the price should be around $700.

What do you think about Olly?

2020 Olympic Medals

Since 2016 members of Japan’s Olympic organizing committee came up with the idea to start using recycled smartphones for the Olympic medals.

Japan will now be asking the Japanese public to start donating old phones and/or small appliances to gather around eight ton of gold, silver, and bronze for the 5,000 medals given in the Olympics.  Since Japan has an absence in its own mineral resources, they thought that donating old smartphones would not only be good for the environment but would also allow the people of Japan to take part in actually creating the medals. Also it will reduce a lot of waste.

In the past the medals have usually been made out of, well, metal.  They would ask mining companies to donate whatever material necessary.

As of April of this year Mobile giant NTT Docomo will have 2400 collection boxes in stores, and to reach the 8-ton goal of metals be will need millions of phones.

So how does electronic waste (e-waste) work?  Used consumer electronics (tablets and smartphones) contain little amounts of rare earth metals.  This includes platinum, palladium, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt, and nickel.  Other electronics (home appliances and scrap cars) also contain these metals, along with iron, base metals, copper, lead, and zinc.  Then the refining and/or recycling companies will collect all of the e-waste.  They will then use a chemical process to separate the metals.  This work is usually done in China, India, and Indonesia.

In my opinion using old smartphones and tablets for used metals is great.  With there being a limit to resources on Earth, it’s amazing to be recycling these products and it makes us think more about how we’re affecting the environment.  I think Japan is making a step in the right direction with making the Olympic medals out of scrap metal, and hopefully this will inspire all countries to start recycling and reusing these materials.

Livia: A Menstrual Cramp Miracle

Have you ever experienced such painful menstrual cramps that could make you just rip out your uterus and call it a day? Me too!

Livia, a drug-free form of eliminating menstrual cramps, is out for delivery this month! Now, to elaborate more on this product.

Livia’s research and development started in February of 2013, and what they were hoping for was a new solution for instant pain relief while on your period.  Now how does it work? Livia is a single touch device that stimulates your nerves with a pulse and basically keeps the nerves busy, blocking the pain from going to the brain. With this device there should be little to no pain and pills.

Benefits with this product: Livia works instantaneously, it has no side-effects, it’s drug free so you can’t build a tolerance, you can use one Livia for years, and your pain is relieved for how ever long the device is on for.

In May of 2014 there was a group of beta testers (163 woman) who tried out the Livia product and here’s what they had to say:

“I have to admit, I was skeptical.. But this thing actually works for me!” – Suzanne, 25.

“I always need to take a load of pills, and even then it didn’t help.  Now I usually don’t need pills at all.” – Tracey, 29.

“I was a little surprised by the size, it’s very small and discreet. When I wear it nobody notices.” – Diana, 27.

Here’s some interesting FAQ’s about Livia from their indiegogo page.

 

Q: Can I sit/move/exercise with this?

A: Livia doesn’t restrict your movement at any way, it’s designed to be clipped on and forgotten about.

 

Q: Can it affect my fertility?

A: Absolutely not.  The Livia process is external and doesn’t intervene with your cycle, your hormonal balance or anything like that.

 

Q: How do I use it?

A: You simply attach Livia’s use stickers to where you feel pain, press the “ON” button and that’s it.  You can adjust the intensity depending on the level of pain.

Q: Will I need to change batteries?

A: No. Livia operates on internal batteries.  You charge it by plugging it into any USB cable.  Charges last for about 15 hours.

 

I think Livia is an amazing product.  Having to deal with menstrual cramps for 3-7 days a month is no fun at all, and knowing that there’s a solution to the pain without constantly using pills, that may not even work, makes me unbelievably happy.

 

Xbox One S

We’ve all heard about the new Xbox One S and its 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, but what else does it have to offer?

In August of 2016 Microsoft released a new and improved Xbox One, called the Xbox One S, but how “improved” is it actually?  Now although there aren’t very many differences between the 2 consoles, the Xbox One S does have a new design and newer features.

Speaking about the design, the dimensions of the Xbox One are 333mm x 276mm xx 78mm with the power supply being external, the Xbox One S is 40% smaller, with the power supply inside the unit which is remarkable.  A new design the creators brought to the table are the holes covering half of the system, this in no way improves the console but it does help with cooling purposes and gives it a pleasing atheistic.  The design of the Xbox controller has mainly stayed the same other than making it sleeker with a grippy underside.

Now the newest feature to this system is it’s 4k capabilities.  These capabilities include HDR (High Dynamic Range) support, 4K Ultra HD, and 4K Blu-ray.  With HDR it means that supported games will look a lot better thanks to it’s high contrast ratio and sharp resolution.  Although it may not make a huge difference with the TV you have now, it will definitely be a game changer to those with a 4K TV.  The 4K Ultra HD makes streaming a much better experience, and with the console having a 4K Blu-ray built right in, it’s the cheaper route for wanting a 4K Blu-ray player.

Other small differences to this console consists of storing the system in an upright position, possibly making it easier to tuck away.  They have added and IR Blaster which, when configured, will be able to turn on other devices.  There is now no sole port for the Kinect since there has been a huge decrease in interest around the product, but there is an adapter available to purchase if wanted.

Now, is the Xbox One S really worth it?  Speaking for myself, I would definitely purchase this system.  For the sole reason of not owning my own Xbox to begin with.  If I already had an Xbox One and didn’t care for the 4K capabilities I really see no reason to be getting a whole new console.

Pokemon Sun and Moon: Alola Region Designs a Flop?

Since being released on November 18th, 2016 Pokémon Sun and Moon have been getting mixed emotions with their new generation of Pokemon.  With the game now set in the Alola Region and with 2016 being the 20th anniversary, developers decided it was again time for a new generation of creatures.  And in this new generation of Pokemon the developers wanted to bring more of a fun side to their designs since it was the anniversary.  Intentionally making the designs to be funny, the creators still wanted to have a nice balance with other designs, such as cute and cool ones.

With these new Pokemon having a funny looking design, consumers thought the developers were trolling the audience.  Before the game was released new Pokemon had been showcased, some of the more talked about pokemon included Alolan Exeggutor (the Alolan form of Exeggutor from the Kanto Region, pictured below), Palossand (a literal sandcastle), and Alolan Muk (the Alolan form of Muk from the Kanto Region).

The company did end up elaborating on the design of the Alolan Exeggutor, saying that the sun was so strong it made the Pokemon grow to a new height.  They wanted the different ecosystem of the Alola Region to affect some of the same types of Pokemon in various ways.

Now, like every new generation of Pokemon that is released, people will be mad and upset with the new designs.  It’s challenging to make every single creature something completely different, which is why we see Pokemon that have the same characteristics as everyday things such as ice cream, chandlers, clouds, etcetera.

In my opinion the concept of the Alola Regions ecosystem affecting the older generations of Pokemon is a great thing.  At first I thought it was one of the most ridiculous things ever (and seeing some of the restructured Pokemon, I was not wrong) but when I took into consideration of how difficult it would be to constantly be creating something new and never seen before, my mind was changed.  And having a legitimate reason as to why these generations of Pokemon change in the Alola Region makes the game a little more fun.  Instead of seeing all of the same old same old we get to experience some of the classic, maybe even your favourite, Pokemon in a new and exciting way.