Skype chats are coming to Alexa devices — from engadget.com by Richard Lawlor
Voice controlled internet calls to or from any device with Amazon’s system in it.

Excerpt:

Aside from all of the Alexa-connected hardware, there’s one more big development coming for Amazon’s technology: integration with Skype. Microsoft and Amazon said that voice and video calls via the service will come to Alexa devices (including Microsoft’s Xbox One) with calls that you can start and control just by voice.

 

 

Amazon Hardware Event 2018
From techcrunch.com

 

Echo HomePod? Amazon wants you to build your own — by Brian Heater
One of the bigger surprises at today’s big Amazon event was something the company didn’t announce. After a couple of years of speculation that the company was working on its own version of the Home…

 

 

The long list of new Alexa devices Amazon announced at its hardware event — by Everyone’s favorite trillion-dollar retailer hosted a private event today where they continued to…

 

Amazon introduces APL, a new design language for building Alexa skills for devices with screensAlong with the launch of the all-new Echo Show, the Alexa-powered device with a screen, Amazon also introduced a new design language for developers who want to build voice skills that include multimedia…

Excerpt:

Called Alexa Presentation Language, or APL, developers will be able to build voice-based apps that also include things like images, graphics, slideshows and video, and easily customize them for different device types – including not only the Echo Show, but other Alexa-enabled devices like Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and the small screen of the Alexa alarm clock, the Echo Spot.

 

From DSC:
This is a great move by Amazon — as NLP and our voices become increasingly important in how we “drive” and utilize our computing devices.

 

 

Amazon launches an Echo Wall Clock, because Alexa is gonna be everywhere — by Sarah Perez

 

 

Amazon’s new Echo lineup targets Google, Apple and Sonos — from engadget.com by Nicole Lee
Alexa, dominate the industry.

The business plan from here is clear: Companies pay a premium to be activated when users pose questions related to their products and services. “How do you cook an egg?” could pull up a Food Network tutorial; “How far is Morocco?” could enable the Expedia app.
Also see how Alexa might be a key piece of smart classrooms in the future:
 

Skype launches call recording across desktop, iOS, and Android — from windowscentral.com by Dan Thorp-Lancaster
Recording your Skype calls will now be much, much easier.

 

Microsoft's Skype now allows you to record your sessions

 

Excerpt:

Skype has been testing integrated call recording with preview users for some time, but it looks like the feature is now ready for primetime.  The Skype team announced today that call recording is now rolling out across its Android, iOS, and desktop apps, allowing you to capture your calls with a tap. “Call recording is completely cloud-based and is now available on the latest version of Skype and on most platforms, except Windows 10,” Microsoft says. “Call recording is coming to Windows 10 with the latest version of Skype releasing in the coming weeks.”

 

Also see:

 

 

 

8 great iPad audio recording apps for teachers & students — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

For those of you asking about audio recording apps to use on iPad, here is a list of some of the best options out there. Whether you want to record a lecture, an audio note, a memo, or simply capture ideas and thoughts as they happen, the apps below provide you with the necessary technology to do so, and in the easiest and most effective way.

 

Oculus’ VR television hub launches today on Oculus Go — from theverge.com by Adi Robertson

 

Excerpt:

Oculus is officially launching Oculus TV, its dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality, on the standalone Oculus Go headset. Oculus TV was announced at last month’s F8 conference, and it ties together a lot of existing VR video options, highlighting Oculus’ attempts to emphasize non-gaming uses of VR. The free app features a virtual home theater with what Oculus claims is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen. It offers access to several streaming video services, including subscription-based platforms like Showtime and free web television services like Pluto TV as well as video from Oculus’ parent company Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Seek launches world’s first mobile Augmented Reality (AR) creation studio — from globenewswire.com
All Mobile Phone Users Can Now Create, Publish and Discover AR Experiences

Excerpt:

Lehi, UT, May 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, fast-growing augmented reality startup, Seek, is launching Seek Studio, the world’s first mobile augmented reality studio, allowing anybody with a phone and no coding expertise required, to create their own AR experiences and publish them for the world to see. With mobile AR now made more readily available, average consumers are beginning to discover the magic that AR can bring to the palm of their hand, and Seek Studio turns everyone into a creator.

To make the process incredibly easy, Seek provides templates for users to create their first AR experiences. As an example, a user can select a photo on their phone, outline the portion of the image they want turned into a 3D object and then publish it to Seek. They will then be able to share it with their friends through popular social networks or text. A brand could additionally upload a 3D model of their product and publish it to Seek, providing an experience for their customers to easily view that content in their own home. Seek Studio will launch with 6 templates and will release new ones every few days over the coming months to constantly improve the complexity and types of experiences possible to create within the platform.

 

Apple unveils new AR file format and ARKit 2.0 — from enturebeat.com by Stephanie Chan

Excerpt:

Apple unveiled its new augmented reality file format, as well as ARKit 2.0, at its annual WWDC developer conference today. Both will be available to users later this year with iOS 12.

The tech company partnered with Pixar to develop the AR file format Universal Scene Description (USDZ) to streamline the process of sharing and accessing augmented reality files. USDZ will be compatible with tools like Adobe, Autodesk, Sketchfab, PTC, and Quixel. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis spoke briefly on stage about how the file format will have native Adobe Creative Cloud support, and described it as the first time “you’ll be able to have what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editing” for AR objects.

 

HTC’s New Vive Focus Headset Locker Aims to Put VR at the Forefront of Education in China — from oadtovr.com by Scott Hayden

With a starting focus on University-level education and vocational schools in sectors such as mechanical engineering, VivEdu branched out to K-12 education in 2018, boasting a comprehensive VR approach to learning science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art for kids.

 

Apple takes augmented-reality gaming to the ‘next level’ with Lego and slingshot apps — from businessinsider.com by Isobel Asher Hamilton

Excerpt:

  • Apple hopes to take augmented-reality gaming to the “next level” with multiplayer apps.
  • The company used its developer’s conference to showcase Lego and slingshot games, built using its new and improved AR building software ARKit 2.
  • The Lego game allows you to create virtual worlds around your real-life Lego builds.

 

Apple Swift Shot hands-on — augmented reality goes multiplayer with ARKit 2.0 — from venturebeat.com by Dean Takahasjo

 

 

Apple’s new AR features are proof that wearables are coming — from wired.com by Peter Rubin

Excerpt:

That roadmap, of course, is just beginning. Which is where the developers—and those arm’s-length iPads—come in. “They’re pushing AR onto phones to make sure they’re a winner when the headsets come around,” Miesnieks says of Apple. “You can’t wait for headsets and then quickly do 10 years’ worth of R&D on the software.”

 

Adobe’s Project Aero will let designers easily create AR content using existing Creative Cloud tools — from 9to5mac.comby Michael Steeber

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

To fully realize the potential will require a broad ecosystem. Adobe is partnering with technology leaders to standardize interaction models and file formats in the rapidly growing AR ecosystem. We’re also working with leading platform vendors, open standards efforts like usdz and glTF as well as media companies and the creative community to deliver a comprehensive AR offering. usdz is now supported by Apple, Adobe, Pixar and many others while glTF is supported by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe and other industry leaders.

 

Create Floor Plans With IStaging VR Maker — from vrfocus.com by Rebecca Hills-Duty
Virtual tour app utilises ARKit technology to easily create floor plans.

Excerpt:

There are a number of professionals who would find the ability to quickly and easily create floor plans to be extremely useful. Estate agents, interior designers and event organisers would all no doubt find such a capability to be extremely valuable. For those users, the new feature added to iStaging’s VR Maker app might be of considerable interest.

The new VR Maker feature utilises Apple’s ARKit toolset to recognise spaces, such as walls and floors and can provide accurate measurements. By scanning each wall of a space, a floor plan can be produced quickly and easily.

 

 

Where is VR headed? Investors share insights on the industry’s trajectory — fromventurebeat.com by Michael Park

Excerpt:

I’ve interviewed nine investors who have provided their insights on where the VR industry has come, as well as the risks and opportunities that exist in 2018 and beyond. We’ve asked them what opportunities are available in the space — and what tips they have for startups.

 

Can this explosion-proof AR headset change how industries do business? — from digitaltrends.com by Christian de Looper

Excerpt:

Augmented reality (AR) hasn’t truly permeated the mainstream consciousness yet, but the technology is swiftly being adopted by global industries. It’ll soon be unsurprising to find a pair of AR glasses strapped to a helmet sitting on the heads of service workers, and RealWear, a company at the forefront on developing these headsets, thinks it’s on the edge of something big.

VOICE ACTIVATION
What’s most impressive about the RealWear HMT-1Z1 is how you control it. There’s no touch-sensitive gestures you need to learn — it’s all managed with voice, and better yet, there’s no need for a hotword like “Hey Google.” The headset listens for certain commands. For example, from the home screen just say “show my files” to see files downloaded to the device, and you can go back to the home screen by saying “navigate home.” When you’re looking at documents — like schematics — you can say “zoom in” or “zoom out” to change focus. It worked almost flawlessly, even in a noisy environment like the AWE show floor.

 

How Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) Can Benefit the Aviation Industry — from eonreality.com

Excerpt:

David Scowsill‘s experience in the aviation industry spans over 30 years. He has worked for British Airways, American Airlines, Easy Jet, Manchester Airport, and most recently the World Travel and Tourism Council, giving him a unique perspective on how Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) can impact the aviation industry.

These technologies have the power to transform the entire aviation industry, providing benefits to companies and consumers. From check-in, baggage drop, ramp operations and maintenance, to pilots and flight attendants, AVR can accelerate training, improve safety, and increase efficiency.

 

This VR project shows us how animals see the world — from thenextweb.com by Ailsa Sherrington

Excerpt:

London-based design studio Marshmallow Laser Feast is using VR to let us reconnect with nature. With headsets, you can see a forest through the eyes of different animals and experience the sensations they feel. Creative Director Ersinhan Ersin took the stage at TNW Conference last week to show us how and why they created the project, titled In the Eyes of the Animal.

 

The Future of AR/VR Headset Design is Hybrid — from medium.com by Christine Hart

Excerpt:

Have you already taken a side when it comes to XR wearables? Whether you prefer AR glasses or VR headsets likely depends on the application you need. But wouldn’t it be great to have a device that could perform as both? As XR tech advances, we think crossovers will start popping up around the world.

A Beijing startup called AntVR recently rocketed past its Kickstarter goal for an AR/VR visor. Their product, the Mix, uses tinted lenses to toggle between real world overlay and full immersion. It’s an exciting prospect. But rather than digging into the tech (or the controversy surrounding their name, their marketing, and a certain Marvel character) we’re looking at what this means for how XR devices are developed and sold.

 

Google Expeditions app now offers augmented reality tours — from techcrunch.com by Lucas Matney

Excerpt:

Google is bringing AR tech to its Expeditions app with a new update going live today. Last year, the company introduced its GoogleExpeditions AR Pioneer Program, which brought the app into classrooms across the country; with this launch the functionality is available to all.

Expeditions will have more than 100 AR tours in addition to the 800 VR tours already available. Examples include experiences that let users explore Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions and ones that let you interact with the human skeletal system.

 

VR Wave Breaking Outside The Home — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

At four recent VR conferences and events there was a palpable sense that despite new home VR devices getting the majority of marketing and media attention this year, the immediate promise and momentum is in the location-based VR (LBVR) attractions industry. The VR Arcade Conference (April 29th and 30th), VRLA (May 4th and 5th), the Digital Entertainment Group’s May meeting (May 1), and FoIL (Future of Immersive Leisure, May 16th and 17th) all highlighted a topic that suddenly no one can stop talking about: location-based VR (LBVR). With hungry landlords giving great deals for empty retail locations, VRcades, which are inexpensive to open (like Internet Cafes), are popping up all over the country. As a result, VRcade royalties for developers are on the rise, so they are shifting their attention accordingly to shorter experiences optimized for LBVR, which is much less expensive than building a VR app for the home.

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some excerpted slides from her presentation…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

  • 20 important takeaways for learning world from Mary Meeker’s brilliant tech trends – from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    Mary Meeker’s slide deck has a reputation of being the Delphic Oracle of tech. But, at 294 slides it’s a lot to take in. Don’t worry, I’ve been through them all. It has tons on economic stuff that is of marginal interest to education and training but there’s plenty to to get our teeth into. We’re not immune to tech trends, indeed we tend to follow in lock-step, just a bit later than everyone else. Among the data are lots of fascinating insights that point the way forward in terms of what we’re likely to be doing over the next decade. So here’s a really quick, top-end summary for folk in the learning game.

 

“Educational content usage online is ramping fast” with over 1 billion daily educational videos watched. There is evidence that use of the Internet for informal and formal learning is taking off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Big Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s Widely-Read Internet Report — from fortune.com by  Leena Rao

 

 

 

 

Assistive technology to help students with developmental delays succeed academically — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Developmental delays can affect almost every area of a child’s life. This broad issue can cover any possible milestone that a child doesn’t meet according to the expected timeline, including speech or movement. While children with developmental delays can still be successful, it will require some additional help from patient teachers. Educators would do well to research the available assistive technology that can help to bolster a child’s education and encourage academic success.

What tools are available to help students compensate for their developmental delays? Here are just a few of the top technologies that parents and teachers have found to be successful in the classroom.

 

 

Assistive technology to help students with articulation disorder succeed academically — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Some students encounter extraordinary challenges when it comes to forming the sounds of everyday communication. This may be due to a structural problem with the mouth or a motor-based issue. Collectively, these difficulties are considered to be articulation disorders. They can make classroom education extremely hard for both teachers and students. However, there are some ways that teachers can help students with articulation disorders still succeed academically.

If you want to help your student with articulation disorder succeed, you will need some of the best assistive technology available. You can see the recommendations for the top assistive technologies used with this disorder below.

 

 

 

Alexa creepily recorded a family’s private conversations, sent them to business associate — from usatoday.com by Elizabeth Weise

Excerpt:

In this instance, a random series of disconnected conversations got interpreted by Alexa as a specific and connected series of commands.

It doesn’t appear that the family members actually heard Alexa asking who it should send a message to, or confirming that it should be sent.

That’s probably a function of how good the Echo’s far field voice recognition is. Each speaker has seven microphones which are arrayed so the cylindrical speaker can pick up voice commands from far away or even in noisy rooms with lots of conversations going on.

Amazon says it is evaluating options to make cases such as happened to the Portland family less likely.

But given that Forrester predicts by 2020 almost 50% of American households will contain a smart speaker, expect more such confusions in the future.

 

 

 

 

The scary amount that college will cost in the future — from cnbc.com by Annie Nova

Excerpt:

Think college is expensive now? Then new parents will probably want to take a seat for this news.

In 2036, just 18 years from now, four years at a private university will be around $303,000, up from $167,000 today.

To get a degree at a public university you’ll need about $184,000, compared with $101,000 now.

These forecasts were provided by Wealthfront, an automated investment platform that offers college saving options. It uses Department of Education data on the current cost of schools along with expected annual inflation to come up with its projections.

 

Excerpted graphic:

 

From DSC:
We had better be at the end of the line of thinking that says these tuition hikes can continue. It’s not ok. More and more people will be shut out by this kind of societal gatekeeper. The ever-increasing cost of obtaining a degree has become a matter of social justice for me. Other solutions are needed. The 800 pound gorilla of debt that’s already being loaded onto more and more of our graduates will impact them for years…even for decades in many of our graduates’ cases.

It’s my hope that a variety of technologies will make learning more affordable, yet still provide a high quality of education. In fact, I’m hopeful that the personalization/customization of learning will take some major steps forward in the very near future. We will still need and want solid teachers, professors, and trainers, but I’m hopeful that those folks will be aided by the heavy lifting that will be done by some powerful tools/technologies that will be aimed at helping people learn and grow…providing lifelong learners with more choice, more control.

I love the physical campus as much as anyone, and I hope that all students can have that experience if they want it. But I’ve seen and worked with the high costs of building and maintaining physical spaces — maintaining our learning spaces, dorms, libraries, gyms, etc. is very expensive.

I see streams of content becoming more prevalent in the future — especially for lifelong learners who need to reinvent themselves in order to stay marketable. We will be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to curated streams of content that we want to learn more about. For example, today, that could involve RSS feeds and Feedly (to aggregate those feeds). I see us using micro-learning to help us encode information and then practice recalling it (i.e., spaced practice), to help us stop or lessen the forgetting curves we all experience, to help us sort information into things we know and things that we need more assistance on (while providing links to resources that will help us obtain better mastery of the subject(s)).

 

 

Educause Releases 2018 Horizon Report Preview — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

After acquiring the rights to the New Media Consortium’s Horizon project earlier this year, Educause has now published a preview of the 2018 Higher Education Edition of the Horizon Report — research that was in progress at the time of NMC’s sudden dissolution. The report covers the key technology trends, challenges and developments expected to impact higher ed in the short-, mid- and long-term future.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

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