A new smart clothing line promises to help you get your yoga moves right when you’re at home and without an instructor. It’s called Pivot Yoga and it claims to give feedback through small sensors on the clothes that can tell you whether you’re in the right position.

“We know how hard it is to learn yoga, how much yogis want to improve, and how many yogis want to practice at home,” Joe Chamdani, who’s the CEO and co-founder of TuringSense, the developer behind Pivot Yoga, said in a press release.

The Pivot Yoga clothes are supposed to “look, feel, breathe, wash, and perform” like regular yoga clothes, but also maintain a wireless connection to the company’s mobile app. You can take online yoga classes through the app and the sensors will insert a “live avatar” of your body into the video so you can easily compare your movements with the teacher’s.

The app has voice control capabilities so you’re supposed to be able to tell it to pause and start again. The app will say, “Garments detected,” and then you can command it to start by saying, “Begin.” You address the smartphone’s voice assistant by saying, “Pivot, how’s this look?” and the assistant will respond to correct your posture with lines like, “Move your right knee six inches.” You can also cast the app to an Apple TV, any compatible Chromecast device, a Samsung TV from 2013 or newer, or connect it directly via HDMI.

While the premise of the app and clothes sounds like it’d be a huge boon to yogis, it’s difficult to see how the sensors are able to give accurate readings of a body’s movements while the body is in motion. Pivot tells The Verge, “It’s a big challenge, since every yogi’s body is different, and a good question. We’ve designed the clothes so that sensor movement is relatively rare. And we’re designing the clothes and the entire system so that any remaining sensor movement is handled automatically.”

That seems to imply the clothes stay relatively still while a person is moving, which might not be the most comfortable fit, and definitely means that Pivot is constrained from offering a wide variety of sizes. (Indeed, the clothes are available in XS to XL, but there’s no sizing chart to indicate the precise ranges these sizes run.)

The clothes charge by Micro USB and run on 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. They’re made of aluminum, leather, fabric, and plastic. There’s a non-replaceable battery that gives roughly five hours of continuous use, according to Pivot. You’re able to machine wash the clothes in cold water, but you cannot put them in the dryer.

Pivot costs $99 for the top and pants, and the online videos cost $19 per month. The app is only available on iOS 11 or higher for iPhone 7 and up, although the company says an Android version is “expected later.” Preorders are now available, and they’re currently only open to residents in the US and Canada. Pivot tells The Verge the clothes can be expected to ship in spring 2019.

California-based electric car startup Faraday Future might have a strange new ally in its roiling fight with main investor Evergrande: the Trump administration. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued an update on Wednesday to its “Section 301” investigation into China’s alleged practices of intellectual property theft and technology transfer, and Faraday Future was listed among the many examples cited in the refreshed report.

The USTR says in the report that Evergrande’s $2 billion pledge to Faraday Future is an “illustrative example” of how the Chinese government “directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, US companies and assets by Chinese companies to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property.” News of the inclusion of Faraday Future was first reported by the South China Morning Post.

Faraday Future has made similar claims across the last month, arguing that Evergrande shut off funding to push the EV startup into bankruptcy, making it possible to walk away with the IP, which includes some 400 patents. Access to Faraday Future’s patents, as The Verge first reported in April, was a major component of the investment.

China’s government has pushed the country’s domestic car industry to heavily invest in “new energy vehicles” in recent years, and so deals like the one with Faraday Future were encouraged, even as overseas investments trended downward, according to the report. The report also highlights Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan’s close connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as evidence that the Chinese government may have influenced the deal, including a speech where he said that “everything that Evergrande and I have, it is all given by the Party, given by the State, given by society.”

“The US government has now taken notice of Evergrande’s conduct toward Faraday,” Brian Timmons, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, who represents Faraday in the dispute with Evergrande, said in a statement. “Faraday is on the brink of producing a revolutionary electric vehicle, and Evergrande’s actions are jeopardizing both the introduction of this new technology in the U.S. and the jobs of more than a thousand American workers.” Representatives for Faraday Future, Evergrande, and the USTR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Evergrande invested in Faraday Future at the end of 2017, during a time when the EV startup was facing the real threat of running out of cash. The Chinese real estate conglomerate committed $2 billion to Faraday Future, which was to be doled out over the course of three years. The EV startup received the first installment of $800 million by early spring.

But by July, basically all of that money was gone. More than $400 million went to getting the company’s California factory ready for production of its luxury SUV by the end of 2018, as well as hiring between 300 and 400 new employees, while $130 million was earmarked for paying back suppliers, recent court documents showed. About $200 million was also directed at bringing production online in China.

Facing another cash shortage, Faraday Future CEO and founder Jia Yueting — who has been blacklisted in China because of massive debts he racked up at another company he founded, LeEco — asked Evergrande for an advance on the $1.2 billion remaining on the contract. Evergrande initially agreed to let $700 million loose in small installments through the end of the year, and in return was promised that Jia would distance himself from the company, according to recently revealed court documents.

But Evergrande never made those new payments, claiming that Jia had not truly divested himself from the company, and that he was still operating as a “shadow director.”

While the two sides argued back and forth in private over this, Faraday Future once again started to miss payments to suppliers. In an October filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Evergrande outed Jia’s plan to break the investment deal, and accused him of “manipulating” the board of directors set up after the investment.

The companies continued to trade blows in public, and Faraday Future was awarded some relief: a Hong Kong arbitrator decided in October that the startup could seek new funding. But in the meantime, Faraday Future had to resort to salary cuts, layoffs, and eventually a furlough for hundreds of employees that is still in effect. A co-founder and a number of other significant executives all resigned, and while the startup says it is drawing interest from investors, it only has enough cash in the bank to last through mid-December, The Verge previously reported.

China’s cavalier treatment of intellectual property rights has been a touchy subject in the auto industry for years. The government long mandated that any foreign automaker who wanted to make cars inside the country had to partner with a Chinese manufacturer, and could not own more than 50 percent of the joint venture. This helped the government quickly build up knowledge and skill at big state-owned automakers as China transformed from a primarily agrarian society to an industrial one. But foreign car companies — and, now, the Trump administration — often complained about these close relationships and the risk they presented for protecting assets like patents and trade secrets.

China recently announced plans to relax some of those joint venture rules. But the new USTR report claims that the CCP is already establishing roadblocks that will incentivize foreign automakers to stay close to Chinese automakers, regardless of the rule change. In the meantime, China’s domestic car industry has boomed in recent years, especially for electric and hybrid vehicles. The country leads the world in EV sales, and nearly 500 new EV startups have cropped up, according to a recent report.

By Danny Tomsett, CEO, FaceMe 

“Hey Alexa – what comes next…?” 

Almost every strategy article today sets the scene with stats that scream: “The world has gone digital…so should you.” Brands are increasingly turning to AI to automate customer services and assistants like Amazon Echo are playing a key role in doing so – you only have to utter the words: “Alexa, open Dominos and place my Easy Order” when hungry.

The age of humanless customer experience is well and truly here – but will the future really be all about voice-led commands directed at plastic boxes of different shapes and sizes? With smartphone saturation on the cards and businesses in danger of digital-disconnect (or worse – anonymisation), now is the time to ask: what’s next? 

Siri, I’m bored… 

Voice-based user interfaces are gaining popularity and have changed how we interact with computers. Astonishingly, nearly 1 in 5 US adults have access to a smart speaker, and the adoption of voice-powered devices has grown to 47M in just two years. (By way of comparison, it took 13 years for televisions to reach a similar mark, and 4 years for internet access to achieve the same.) (CBInsights.com)

 

Consumer experience has well and truly entered an ‘automation apocalypse’ – 74% of consumers say they have used voice search in the past month, while daily use is up 27% compared to last year (HubSpot). In 2017, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month – a jump of 128.9% over the previous year (eMarketer).

But despite the novelty, consumers are already asking: what’s next? CBInsights reports that consumers are increasingly looking to their devices for immersive media experiences. “Mixed reality (MR) offers a new digital experience that isn’t confined to handheld mobile screens. The tech — also known as hybrid reality — refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds.”

This unbundling of the smartphone’s grip on consumers will see the next mobile computing and augmented reality platforms emerge. Consumers will start to seek out more immersive experiences in which virtual, augmented, and mixed reality undergird the shift away from traditional screens. What’s more, the demand for AR/VR is projected to reach $80B by 2025, according to Goldman Sachs, while Citigroup pegs it at more than $2T by 2035 as industries and use cases increase.

In the next decade or so, mixed reality is expected to overtake current AR/VR markets to become the dominant technology for everyday computing, with its three main drivers being MR technology, voice driven virtual assistants and anticipatory AI. This could see the adoption of new mobile computing platforms and expand the mobile experience away from screens.

We’re also seeing a shift away from command explicit interaction in which the end user instructs the computer to do something vs implicit understanding in which the computer observes the user’s behaviour and infers, predicts, and responds to user intent. (CBInsights.com)

Put simply, the average Joe is tired of Siri…

Digital disconnect

In addition, although businesses have delivered exactly what consumers want when it comes to self-service, research consistently drives home that the human touch is still critical to customer satisfaction. Harvard Business Review reports that “Research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.” There is also a growing body of research that suggests that over-automation is damaging to brands.

Rachel Barton, Managing Director, Advanced Customer Strategy, Accenture, believes “Companies abandon the human connection at their own risk and are facing the need to rebuild it to deliver the varied and tailored outcomes that customers demand.”

The question we’re now asking is: has going digital caused a ‘digital disconnect’? Somewhat counter-intuitively, it was our desire to be more connected (customers to businesses) that caused the disconnect.

My Customer puts technology’s emergence into perspective: The more technology enhances us, the more it creates the opportunity for a human touch. It also calls for “the new machine” – one that delivers superior customer experiences.

Who would have thought, pre-digital, that we’d be asking the question: how can technology make the customer experience more human?

The rise of the ‘invisible’ brand

Equally as concerning for brands is phenomenon we like to call the rise of the ‘invisible brand’. Within a voice-led future in which consumers turn to Alexa and others with increasing frequency, how do brands ensure their customers value them and not their voice-activated assistant? Put another way – when every bank allows voice-activated account setup, account balance enquiries or transfers via Siri, the only way to compete is price. Brands will become anonymous, unless they can stop big brand behemoths from coming in between them and their customers. Earlier this year, KPMG cautioned: “Retail banks could become largely invisible to consumers. Customers already trust tech companies such as Amazon more than their primary bank.”

This trilemma: higher and higher consumer expectations; a digital disconnect and the anonymisation of brands bodes well for emerging digital human technologies as the ‘next’ of customer service. Essentially a way of wrapping the best of humanity around the best of the intelligence of machines to create a better, more engaging experience, chatbots and voice-led tech are the start of this journey as brands fight for their relevance.

In a recent paper on how digital assistants communicate, the authors put forward that “In persuasion one has to convince with logos (rational argumentation), ethos (the persuader’s credibility and reliability), and pathos (the appeal to the emotions…).” While chat and voice-based technologies might tick the first two boxes, it’s the third one that they fall short on. It’s also this one that successful brands of the future are starting to hone in on.

Experiments have been done for years around how we as people can connect the dots between interfaces and experiences. Previously, technology has been the only barrier, but the emergence of digital humans is the promise of a universal way of connecting the two. In future, 3D rendered humans will be able to understand the tone of your voice, facial expression and non-verbal cues like body language. Companies will use them to embody their brand in a way that other digital channels can’t and to engender loyalty and trust through face-to-face interaction that drives emotional connection and engagement. These digital humans will deliver better conversion and provide real-time analytics about their level of customer support.

What’s next, you ask? Perhaps instead of Alexa connecting you to information, she becomes a global directory for connecting you to specialist Digital Humans. People don’t have to talk to plastic boxes. They can have meaningful conversations and come away feeling valued. Digital Humans offer an incredible future for brands…but not only this. They could revolutionise mental health, healthcare and a number of other specialist fields currently under the resources pump. It’s a future that is being made possible today.

 

The exterior of the Draper features black corrugated metal with a hint of red wood. Much like its sister design, the Drake, this RV has a unique, slanted shape that creates a sense of movement even when it is not in motion. The elevated volume not only gives the tiny home a bold presence and more interior space, but it also helps with the aerodynamic pull while on the road.

The two designs are quite similar, but the Draper has a few extras such as an ingenious fold-out deck. Made out of renewable Brazilian hardwood, the deck can be folded out to create a wonderful seating area, or folded up flush to the exterior when on the road.

In contrast to its bold black exterior, the interior of the RV is light and airy. White-washed pine lends a fresh aesthetic, which is further enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to the many clerestory windows. The interior is also quite spacious, with 10? ceilings that open up the space.

Although the living area, which is installed with LED lighting, boasts a sophisticated design, the layout was created with adventurers in mind. There is a 7-foot-wide mud room at the entryway to store gear such as hiking boots, climbing equipment and more. There is also additional storage installed throughout the home.

Custom-made, flexible furniture makes the living space highly versatile. For example, a large galley kitchen with a convertible U-shaped dining space can be configured into different uses. When not needed, the dining table can be stowed underneath, opening up room for the sofa cushions to be folded out into a queen-sized bed, perfect for overnight guests.

On the other side of the kitchen, the living room extends to the outdoor deck through a set of large sliding glass doors. The master bedroom is located on a sleeping loft at the far side of the home. The bedroom is reached by ladder and has enough space for a king-sized bed. The tiny home’s bathroom also comes installed with a vanity, wall-hung toilet and a full-size shower.

This jet black RV is designed for intrepid travelers who like to explore in style [Inhabitat]

Dishing out Asset Light IT Strategies


I have to commend Ahead, Experts in Enterprise Cloud, and based in Chicago for the AWS courses they are conducting and dishing out. And I do mean dishing out. I attended last weeks presentation at Gibson’s Steakhouse in Oak Brook and aside from the rich lab content on IaaS, virtual cloud (VPC), Storage (S3), and Cloud Compute (EC2) that only an IT connoisseur can appreciate, the lunch included portions of Gibson’s famous prime rib. Well done Bryan and Jaime.

 

While large enterprises (Netflix, Siemens, GoDaddy, etc. ) understand fully the benefits of an asset light IT strategy that the AWS pay-as-you-use business model offers… the barriers for mid-to-small enterprise organizations on making the leap still exist. These barriers manifest themselves in…fear of change or losing IT control, lack of competitive urgency, redesigning and re-learning IT frameworks, indifference to lower-cost advantages…and others. With MS Azure giving AWS a run for its money, this increased competition adds to the complexity of weighing an outsource strategy. Nevertheless, these asset light strategies offer excellent opportunities for instructors, SME’s, and IT consultants to drive the message on game-changing reduced CAPEX/OPEX that brings music to the ears that only C-Levels can appreciate.

Samsung may be just days away from taking the wraps off its very own foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid, but consumer electronics company Royole has stolen a bit of its thunder with its very own flexible display device. Called the FlexPai, the 7.8-inch hybrid device can fold 180 degrees and transform from a tablet into a phone, albeit a bulky one.

At an event in San Francisco this evening, Royole brought out a working version of the FlexPai that we actually got to hold, and the folding feature works as advertised. Granted, it feels miles away in quality from a high-end modern flagship, but it is still the first real foldable device I’ve seen in person, and not just in a concept video or prototype stage.

The FlexPai will be available as a consumer device in China with a base model price of 8,999 yuan, or around $1,300. You can also pay that amount of money in USD for a developer version if you live in North America. That gets you 128GB of storage, but you can double it for an additional $150 and add an additional 2GB of RAM for a total of 8GB.

 Image: Royole

As for the other specs, the device is going to come with a 2.8Ghz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the display resolution is 1920 x 1440 when fully expanded, and it comes with a 3,800 mAh battery. Both the consumer model and the developer version are up for preorder on Royole’s website right now. Royole says the Chinese consumer model and the developer version are slated to ship in December.

 Image: Royole

It should be said that this device is very much a first-generation product. The software seemed extremely sluggish, apps continuously opened accidentally, and the orientation kept changing randomly when one of the Royole representatives was demonstrating the folding process. That, to me, indicates that the company’s custom Water OS (a fork of Android 9.0, Royole says) is probably not the most robust operating system just yet.

 Image: Royole

Still, this is much more about the hardware innovation of making a virtually unbreakable AMOLED display, with a reasonable enough battery that can sustain the folding process. Royole says the screen can withstand being folded 200,000 times. (What happens after that was not made immediately clear.) We don’t know how it will stack up against Samsung’s version, or whatever competing display makers like LG are working on. But it certainly bodes well for the imminent foldable / flexible display trend that we’re already seeing working devices like this hit the market.

Ahead of the US midterm elections next Tuesday, Twitter is hard at work scrubbing its platform of thousands of fake accounts and coordinated activity seemingly designed to influence voter turnout, according to a report from Reuters today. The report says Twitter has removed around 10,000 such accounts targeting Democratic voters and masquerading as party members and officials, and it continues to monitor its platform for similar activity.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that it has been removing these accounts throughout September and October, but the company did not confirm the 10,000-account figure. The tweets were first brought Twitter’s attention by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC), Reuters reports. The DNCC has increased its efforts to detect and shut down such behavior on social platforms following the widespread Russian influence campaign that aided President Donald Trump and sought to harm Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“For the election this year we have established open lines of communication and direct, easy escalation paths for state election officials, DHS, and campaign organizations from both major parties,” a Twitter representative said in a statement. “We removed a series of accounts for engaging in attempts to share disinformation in an automated fashion — a violation of our policies. We stopped this quickly and at its source.”

Twitter too has been amplifying its efforts to combat bots, misinformation, and election interference of late, as activity on the social networking platform has intensified ahead of the midterms. Earlier this week, Twitter added a function to its reporting process that lets users specific when they think a specific tweet has been sent out by a bot account. The company also said back in July that it had suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June alone, and that it was removing up to 1 million additional accounts per day that were violating rules around misinformation, propaganda, and other forms of coordinated activity that may be used as election interference tools.

While most of us are perfectly happy with our smartphones, some prefer something a little more compact and pocketable. For those people, Japanese company Kyocera has come up with a device that it’s billing as the “thinnest smartphone in the world.” It’s called the KY-O1L, and it’s built specifically to fit inside a business card holder. For that, the phone has been given the nickname of the “card phone.”

The phone itself comes in at 5.3mm thick and weighs a measly 47g, making it also one of the lightest devices around. On top of that, it boasts LTE connectivity and a 2.8-inch monochrome epaper display. Powering it all is a 380mAh battery, which should be more than enough for a phone with an epaper display.

Of course, there is some debate about whether or not this is really the thinnest phone out there. As The Verge notes, the 2016 Moto Z came in at only 5.2mm — though that excludes the camera bump. Before that, there was the Oppo R5, which came in at a tiny 4.9mm thick. That said, none of those phones offer the same adorable basic-ness as the KY-O1L.

Whether it is truly the thinnest phone or just one of them, it’s still an interesting device. The user interface offers everything a basic phone needs, though there is no app marketplace and as such, this is perhaps only a good choice for those that need something to make calls and text people, with the occasional news reading online. There’s also no camera so don’t expect to get any shots with this device.

The Kyocera KY-O1L comes at 32,000 yen, which equates to around $300. It’s also only available in Japan so don’t expect to get your hands on the phone anytime soon if you don’t live there. Even in Japan, it’s only available on the country’s NTT Docomo carrier.

Smaller phones may be a growing trend. Just recently Palm took the wraps off of a new smartphone that’s specifically aimed at reducing people’s addiction to their phones. It syncs to your primary phone, so you’ll get all your notifications and calls.

The world’s thinnest smartphone fits alongside your business cards [New Atlas]

Nov. 3rd- Saturday

Noche de Ciencias…join SHPE Chicago and our student chapter SHPE/UIC as they host Noche de Ciencias (Night of Science) from 10am to 2pm at Instituto del Progresso Latino in Chicago. This is a free STEM career awareness event for parents and Latino students K6-12. 

Registration required...click here!

 

Add to Calendar
11/03/2018 10:00 AM
11/03/2018 02:00 PM
America/Chicago
Noche de Ciencias
This is a free STEM career awareness event for parents and Latino students K6-12. Join SHPE Chicago and our student chapter SHPE/UIC as they host Noche de Ciencias (Night of Science)
Instituto del Progresso Latino 2520 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60608

Did you know?…

 

 



Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers

Follow us on……Facebook! 
Become a member…Join us!

Adrian Alvarado

Executive Board
Corporate Development
vp-corporate@shpechicago.org

“Looking forward to an exciting 2019… con impacto! 

Get on board with SHPE Chicago events  and support our high tech career and D&I initiatives.

We sometimes come across gigantic 3D printing projects that send your imagination racing, but these generally involve an equally large 3D printer. Just this week we’ve seen an actual lawnmower being printed with a garage-filling machine.

more:New York artist creates a life-sized Honda CB500 motorcycle using just an Ultimaker 3D printer