Open Source, science and future, strategy, technology

How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination | Massimo Banzi

Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine — from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”

Blue Ocean, Methods, science and future, technology

Microsoft holographic display for your glasses

Microsoft may be hard at work making HoloLens and other AR/VR headsets a reality for Windows, but none of these devices really deal with holograms.


A true hologram requires a laser-generated 3D image floating in front of your vision to work. HoloLens uses two, 2D images projected onto flat glass to create the illusion of a 3D object. In Microsoft’s latest breakthrough, the image is generated right onto the lens itself to create a true holographic image in one eye.

Microsoft is also working on making holograms more comfortable to look at. They are currently hoping to make holographic displays that people could use without their corrective lenses. These holograms would be able to correct near- and far- sightedness as well as astigmatism. Microsoft’s current holographic display now take into account once inaccessible combinations form factor and field of view as well. Their most recent prototype is similar to sunglasses in form with a thin and transparent holographic optical element. It also allows for a 80 degree horizontal field of view.

science and future, technology


To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, the solution is to go three-dimensional, which could be done using flying cars or to go underground. “The other option is to ‘go down’ and build tunnels,” the website states, as these provide a fair amount of perks, including weatherproofing and the practically limitless layers of tunnels that could be built…much better than malfunctioning cars potentially plummeting from the sky.

But there is a problem. First, there’s the cost. Second, existing tunnels can’t support the Hyperloop pods. Musk’s new company is out to fix this.

“Currently, tunnels are really expensive to dig, with some projects costing as much as $1 billion per mile. In order to make a tunnel network feasible, tunneling costs must be reduced by a factor of more than 10,” explains the new FAQ. To make the tunnel more cost effective and efficient, its diameter is going to be less than 4 meters (14 feet) — whereas normal tunnels (one-lane road tunnels) are usually about 8.5 meters (28 feet) in diameter. To do this, Musk’s tunnel company would use what it calls an “electric sled.”

Musk’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) — or Godot — is ready to start digging the first among these network of tunnels. However, as the TBM isn’t even as fast as a snail yet, Musk is determined to find ways to make tunnel digging faster — “to defeat the snail in a race” by increasing the TBM’s speed, which will also cut down costs

science and future, technology

One Day, AI Can Write Music as Well as a Human Composer ?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to become the most groundbreaking and defining technology of the 21st century. But what exactly comes to mind when people think about AI? Programs that can beat you at poker? Robots that can perform complex tasks with perfection? Or perhaps autonomous beings that are on the verge of replacing your job?

When we think about AI, we often look at those areas where humans can easily be replaced: high-level computation, manual labour, or data-driven optimization. Yet, there is now a new wave of emerging potential for AI in creative industries – one of which happens to be musical composition.

Aiva Technologies is one of the leading startups in the field of AI music composition. It was founded just last year in Luxembourg and London by Pierre Barreau, Denis Shtefan, Arnaud Decker, and Vincent Barreau.

They have created an AI called “Aiva” (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist) and taught it how to compose classical music – an emotional art which is usually considered to be a uniquely human quality. Aiva’s musical pieces are used as soundtracks for film directors, advertising agencies, and even game studios.

This February, they were invited to participate in the highly-acclaimed European Film Market in Berlin, as well as the Artificial Intelligence in Business & Entrepreneurship (AIBE) Summit in London. In the past, they were backed by Luxinnovation’s incubator program, and have even received praise from Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg himself.

Having already released its first album called Genesis, as well as many single tracks, Aiva recently became the first AI ever to officially acquire the worldwide status of Composer. It was registered under the France and Luxembourg authors’ right society (SACEM), where all of its works reside with a copyright to its own name.

The technology behind Aiva is based on deep learning algorithms which use reinforcement learning techniques. Deep learning is a particular type of machine learning whereby multiple layers of “neural networks” are programmed to process information between various input and output points. Although only loosely based on the human brain’s neural structure, it helps to think of it that way. This allows the AI to understand and model high-level abstractions in data, such as the patterns in a melody or the features in a person’s face.

Reinforcement learning, on the other hand, is a machine learning technique which teaches a software agent (AI) to decide what action to take next in order to reach certain objectives by maximizing its “cumulative reward.” Unlike supervised learning, reinforcement learning does not require labelled inputs and outputs of data. This allows the AI to “find its own way” around the data and improve its performance without being given any explicit instructions, which makes it easier to capture the diversity and variation found in creative arts like music.

According to the team: “We have taught a deep neural network to understand the art of music composition by reading through a large database of classical partitions written by the most famous composers (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc). Aiva is capable of capturing concepts of music theory just by doing this acquisition of existing musical works.”


science and future, strategy, technology

Eliminating Walls in B2B Platforms (keep an eye on Amazon)

No walled gardens in B2B platforms

Paul Hobcraft and I have noted throughout our writings on platforms and ecosystems the key differences between companies that interact primarily with consumers (B2C) and companies that interact primarily with other corporations (B2B). This difference is especially important when we begin to think about platform dominance.

You see, Facebook interacts primarily, almost exclusively, with customers (B2C) as such it’s platform serves to provide almost the entire interaction between Facebook and its customers. We could almost return to the days of old, when AOL was your conduit to the internet, when we talked about “walled gardens”, because that’s what many of the pure play B2C platforms are – walled gardens, meant to provide as much of the platform as possible. Their goal is “stickiness”, attracting you and keeping you plugged into their platform, consuming their content.maxresdefault

On the other hand, industrial companies are definitely as engaged in platform development, but their solutions require more than one platform.For example, most large corporations have an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, SAP or some other selection, that operates a lot of the financials and back office. While customers and consumers don’t frequently interact with this platform, the company could not exist without it. Further, there are other platforms that industrial companies must use or integrate with to offer a complete solution.

There are customer-facing applications that become platforms, and shared solutions that many in an industry agree to use to facilitate exchange between companies. The banking systems and financial transactions create another platform, because it is far too cumbersome to submit paper orders and invoices and to settle up on a case by case basis.

Finally there are robust, technical platforms (GE’s Predix is an example) that manage the mundane but important integration and automation of machines and sensors. Industrial, B2B companies and industries may wish for the control of a “walled garden”, but none of them on their own can create the breadth and depth of platforms necessary to accomplish all of the important tasks and do so seamlessly.

The company that could…

The company to watch in this scenario is Amazon. While Google, Facebook, Apple and others are building platforms and ecosystems, these are primarily B2C focused and these companies hope to manage the lion’s share of the platform and dictate the ecosystems. This gives them a lot of power and means that they don’t have to integrate to other platforms – often the only other platform or capability is a financial transaction platform. However the vast majority of their customers are consumers in the B2C space.

Facebook, Apple and Google aren’t building robust integrations to other businesses, which simplifies their lives. Amazon is building skills to straddle the B2B and B2C gulf.

Amazon clearly has a powerful B2C platform, where many of us acquire goods online every day. However, Amazon through its AWS cloud capability offers platform capability to larger corporations, and as it becomes better at data analytics, it could become a player in the B2B platform world. Even so it will still need to be able to share and exchange data with other key industrial B2B

What does this mean for B2B platforms?

The stark truth of platforms and ecosystems for B2B companies is that there will never be one dominant platform that everyone accepts and leverages. In fact there will almost always be several segmented platforms in any company or industry. This means there is real value in being a platform bridge or connector.

When you see the advance of Mulesoft – a virtual API bank in the cloud, and think about how Cisco is trying to position itself you can see where real value lies – in connecting these segmented platforms and helping a company or industry bridge the 3 or 4 platforms they must use to create a total solution. Bridging between platforms means moving information between a financial platform and an ERP solution, or moving sensor data to a data analytics engine. These platforms weren’t built for the same purposes and don’t share the same data formats.

For a seamless experience for customers and business partners, data and information must flow effectively from one platform to another.

Three conclusions about B2B platforms

Thus one of the real opportunities in this world of platforms and ecosystems is the ability to connect these disparate and segmented platforms quickly and efficiently. Mulesoft has come from nowhere very quickly with an interesting solution to solve this problem. In the past firms like SAP preferred a “walled garden” making it difficult to integrate with the data that SAP managed, but increasingly SAP and other ERP vendors are recognizing that several platforms must be integrated to provide a total holistic capability for corporations to succeed.

This also means that competitors within an industry are relying on “off the shelf” software like ERP, standard banking and financial transactions, their own internal systems and platforms and other platforms to ensure efficient operations and provide seamless experiences for customers.Increasingly these platforms will no longer be locally optimized but must optimize for the entirety of the value chain or customer experience.

In other words, platforms must be governed holistically rather than by functions or siloes within the company. Increasingly this will mean business process level or even cross-industry standards for data exchange and data analytics.

The final analysis (for now)

In the final analysis it becomes clear that even firms and industries that haven’t exchanged information will be forced to work together in a highly efficient network. A good example is the autonomous car.

The autonomous car relies on a number of different platforms and engages an entire ecosystem, but many of these companies (all B2B) and governments rarely interacted with each other. Sensor companies, software companies, the automobile manufacturers, mapping companies, big data companies and local and federal agencies must all work together, combining their platforms and relying on a host of ecosystem partners in order to make the autonomous car work seamlessly.

There’s no possibility of a “walled garden” approach when people’s lives are at stake. Increasingly we’ll see a lot more interaction between industries and platforms that may not have recognized or even acknowledged each other previously.

From: Eliminating Walls in B2B Platforms (keep an eye on Amazon)

science and future, technology

The Heart of Innovation: Why Use a Creative Thinking Technique?

If you have ever jump started your car in the winter with a pair of jumper cables you already know why it makes sense to use a creative thinking technique: to spark your ability to arrive at your preferred destination.

Sometimes, to get you moving, a spark is needed — a jolt — and that’s where creative thinking techniques come in.Jumper cables

All of us, no matter where we live and what we do for a living, are creative. We are. It’s built in. The problem is, for many of us, our creativity peaked when we were five years old. Since then, it’s been a slow and steady decline into conformity and conventionality. Our innate creativity has, all-too-often, gotten buried, neglected, and ignored. Like a car engine in winter, it sometimes goes cold. So cold, in fact, that we can’t figure out how to get it started again.

Continue reading: The Heart of Innovation: Why Use a Creative Thinking Technique?

science and future, technology

No walled gardens in B2B platforms

Ecosystems 4 innovators

Walled Garden Illustration by David Simonds

Paul and I have noted throughout our writings on platforms and ecosystems the key differences between companies that interact primarily with consumers (B2C) and companies that interact primarily with other corporations (B2B).  This difference is especially important when we begin to think about platform dominance.

You see, Facebook interacts primarily, almost exclusively, with customers (B2C) as such it’s platform serves to provide almost the entire interaction between Facebook and its customers.  We could almost return to the days of old, when AOL was your conduit to the internet, when we talked about “walled gardens”, because that’s what many of the pure play B2C platforms are – walled gardens, meant to provide as much of the platform as possible.  Their goal is “stickiness”, attracting you and keeping you plugged into their platform, consuming their content.

On the other hand, industrial companies are definitely as engaged…

View original post 879 more words

science and future, technology

Tesla settles lawsuit against ex-Autopilot lead’s self-driving startup Aurora

Tesla has settled a lawsuit it filed against Sterling Anderson, a former employee and past director of Autopilot. Anderson was a key leader of Tesla’s semi-automated highway driving features, prior to leaving the company to found his own self-driving startup, Aurora, along with former Google self-driving car project CTO Chris Urmson.

The settlement clears Aurora and Anderson of wrongdoing, and includes a one-time “reimbursement” payment of $100,000 from the startup to Tesla. Tesla had accused Aurora and Anderson of poaching Tesla employees for the new venture, and the settlement also includes a provision whereby Aurora agreed not to actively pursue luring anyone away from Tesla, either full-time employees or contractors, until at least next February.


Tesla will also be conducting an “audit” of Aurora devices and material, run by a neutral third-party, to ensure no Tesla confidential info resides on Aurora-related devices and accounts.

This is actually a lot of what Tesla was looking for from an ultimate ruling in the case, per their original filing against Anderson, Aurora and Urmson. Tesla provided, through a spokesperson, the following statement to TechCrunch regarding the settlement:

Click here to continue reading 

science and future, technology

13 Incredible Inventions That Will Power The Future And Change Our Tomorrow For The Best

The world is full of opportunities. It’s budding with ideas that have the potential to change the world we inhabit. We are literally living in a hotbed of progress that’s merging human intelligence with technology like we have never witnessed before. With inventions like edible water bubbles and helium balloons that transport us to near space, our future looks very promising.

Come, let’s fast forward to the future with these 13 inventions.

1. Edible water blobs

Plastic water bottles may soon become a thing of the past if they are replaced by edible water blobs called the Ooho!. Water bubbles come encased in an edible membrane made of a natural seaweed extract that decomposes if not consumed in 4 to 6 weeks. Wow!

The brainchild of Skipping Rocks Lab – a team of students from RCA and Imperial College London – this invention is one we can get behind if we want plastic to stop degrading our environment.


2. Helium balloons that travel to space

Forget space capsules, don’t you think it would be more thrilling to just hop on a giant-ass balloon that takes you to space? Well, not actual space but even touching the periphery would do the job, won’t it?


View original post on IndiaTimes