Toyota's latest self-driving car is more aware of its surroundings

about X hours ago from
Toyota's latest self-driving car is more aware of its surroundings

Toyota barely unveiled its second-generation self-driving testbed half a year ago, but it's already back with an update. The automaker is showing off a Platform 2.1 research vehicle that has made some big technology strides... including some unusual design decisions. The biggest upgrade is an awareness of its surroundings: the modified Lexus is using new lidar from Luminar that not only sees further and maps more data but has a "dynamically configurable" field of view that focuses its attention on the areas they're needed most. There are also new deep learning AI models that are better at spotting objects around the car as well as predicting a safe path.

Every new Echo announced today -- and a Fire TV

about X hours ago from
Every new Echo announced today -- and a Fire TV

If you hadn't noticed, Amazon introduced a lot of devices at its Alexa-themed event -- so many that keeping tabs on them all could be a challenge in itself. Thankfully, you don't have to sweat it. We've rounded up all the new Alexa-powered hardware in one place, ranging from the next generation of the standard Echo speaker to the Fire TV and the cute-as-a-button Echo Spot. If you've been thinking of snagging Amazon gear going into the holidays, you'll hopefully have a better sense of what's on offer.

Amazon brings voice control to Hulu and other video apps on Fire TV

about X hours ago from
Amazon brings voice control to Hulu and other video apps on Fire TV

You can already use Alexa voice commands to steer some video playback on a Fire TV, but Amazon is about to throw the doors wide open. It just unveiled a slew of partners that will use the Video Skills Kit to add Alexa support to their video apps, and these are definitely companies you'll recognize: Hulu, PlayStation Vue, CBS All Access, Bravo, Showtime and multiple NBC apps will all take spoken playback commands. You might not have to lift a finger to skip backwards in The Handmaid's Tale or switch live channels in Vue.

Scientists record a fourth set of gravitational waves

about X hours ago from
Scientists record a fourth set of gravitational waves

Last year, researchers confirmed the existence of gravitational waves with two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. Shortly thereafter, they detected two additional gravitational wave-causing events that sent ripples through the universe. Well, we can now add a fourth to that list, as astronomers announced another set of waves. And for the first time, they observed the waves with a third detector -- the Italy-based Virgo.

Amazon's new Echo designs bring Alexa in all sizes

about X hours ago from
Amazon's new Echo designs bring Alexa in all sizes

Aside from the Echo Spot, Amazon also introduced two new versions of its speaker-only Echos. One is simply known as the Echo, while the more advanced version is called the Echo Plus. Both boast audio improvements with a new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5-inch down-firing woofer and Dolby sound. The two also boast better far field technology, which means you should now be able to shout "Alexa" at your Echo from across a crowded room and it'll still recognize you.

Wandercraft's exoskeleton was made to help paraplegics walk

about X hours ago from
Wandercraft's exoskeleton was made to help paraplegics walk

There's a reason you've never seen fully autonomous exoskeletons that help the disabled walk without crutches: Building one is crazy hard. But the founders of a Paris-based startup called Wandercraft are uniquely qualified to do it. They're roboticists who happen to have loved ones in wheelchairs, giving them both the expertise and motivation to develop an exoskeleton that helps users walk again. After years of development, they're nearly ready to show it to the public, following a round of promising patient trials.

Google and Snapchat team up on geofilter coding contest for teens

about X hours ago from
Google and Snapchat team up on geofilter coding contest for teens

Snapchat is teaming up with Google's Made With Code initiative to try and encourage teenagers to get into computer science. Teens aged 13 - 18 can build a Snapchat geofilter with Google's Blockly coding system for kids, then submit it to win a trip to the TEDWomen conference in New Orleans and mentoring sessions from Google and Snapchat engineers to create a Lens, an augmented reality filter for your photos. The five finalists' Lenses will be judged at the conference for a chance to go live in the Snapchat app, along with a trip to Los Angeles for a private tour of the Snap, Inc. and Google offices.