Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.
This week we’re taking a BYTE out of driver license tests given by AI, Motorola walkie-talkie, Nasoni’ Fountain Faucet, PhoneBook, helpless robots, and rats doing anything for Froot Loops. Dig in!
AI Program Giving Driver’s License Test
We all remember being nervous at the wheel about to take a test that determines if you’ll be able to join everyone else on the road. Now imagine being nervous, plus finding out that an AI machine is going to determine if you pass or fail your test. This is what is starting to happen in India. Hundreds of people are being given their test by an AI system connected to a smartphone through software called Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety. HAMS software was created by Microsoft and uses the smart phone’s camera and other sensors to watch the driver. HAMS can analyze if the driver does an unnecessary stop or move that goes over the limitations of what they were allowed for the test. HAMS is alleviating the evaluators the pressure of giving the actual driving test and delivers unbiased results. How do you feel about an AI system giving the test?
Better Walkie-talkies for First Responders
Recently, Motorola created a new Land Mobile Radio also known as a Walkie-talkie. For years, first responders have relied on walkie-talkies as their communication device because cell phones tend to lose their signal. Motorola Solutions has created a more advanced walkie-talkie, called the APX Next. These advancements to the walkie-talkie include voice recognition and AI Technology. APX Next can answer questions for a first responder, such as looking up license plate numbers, without contacting the operator. This device makes it possible for the first responder to be hands free because in the case of emergency it’s best to have as many hands free as possible.
The Da Vinci Water Faucet
The water fountain is a convenient device to use when you're thirsty and don’t want the hassle of obtaining a cup. So why not have one in your own home as well? Da Vinci Fountain Faucet has all the features of a normal sink but also has a water fountain attached to it. You simply flip the lever and water flows out of the hole on top of the neck of the spout. It’s not only a convenient device but it is also better for the environment because the fountain feature gives you a limited flow, therefore, you’re wasting less water.
Plug-in Device Converts Your Smartphone Into a Touchscreen Laptop
Working on your smartphone can be straining to your eyes and a tedious task. PhoneBook is a plug-in device created to help solve this by converting your smartphone to a touchscreen laptop. The way this device works is you plug it into your smartphone and use its laptop body as a visual to your phone’s CPU. Features of PhoneBook include a full-size keyboard, trackpad/mouse, stereo speakers, and an HD screen. This device also functions with programs used on laptops such as windows programs and office suite. No more straining your eyes. The PhoneBook is compatible with all smartphones.
Robots Still Rely On Humans
Robots are not fully autonomous yet. This Bipedal robot, called Little Hermes, uses a human navigator to help it move without falling. It mimics how the human moves. This is possible because of the hybrid human-robot system, it operates by the human standing on a pressure-sensing plate and wears a force-feedback vest. The robot senses the movement by the operator and calculates how this corresponds to him. The human can feel that the robot is going down a slope and automatically senses that he needs to lean the other way, therefore making the robot do the same. This robot could help in the future with emergencies and help us navigate disaster sites.
Rats Will do Anything For Froot Loops
Scientists taught rats to drive tiny cars by enticing them with cereal. A study at the University of Richmond showed that rats could drive by being placed in plastic containers on top of the cars and pushing on bars. Research also showed that the rats actually enjoyed learning how to drive a car.