Wi-fi on Rays of Light: 100 Times Faster, and Never Overloaded

Eindhoven University of Technology, 3/17/2017

Work by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology could lead to wi-fi that transports data via infrared rays. This approach would have huge data capacities compared to current standards. It would use fiber-optic antennas that keep track of every connected device’s exact position, and emitting rays with a wavelength that is totally safe for the human eye.

Dive With a Blue Whale in New Virtual-Reality Experience

Live Science, 3/16/2017

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (NHMLA) collaborated with designers from Wevr to develop an oceanic underwater virtual reality (VR) experience for visitors. The VR gives visitors an opportunity to explore and interact with marine animals in their natural habitat, with the further goal of raising awareness about environmental issues that threaten ocean wildlife.

Using Virtual Reality to Catch a Real Ball

EurekAlert!, 3/20/2017

Disney researchers are developing ways to improve virtual-reality interactions with physical objects. Specifically, they are seeking to make it easier to catch a real physical object like a ball while using a VR system. Possible applications include enhancing interactive gaming systems, and even potentially helping people train their hand-eye coordination.

Offline AI Revolution Awaits Smartphones

Phys.org/AFP, 2/27/2017

Phone manufacturers are attempting to make handsets operate offline by using artificial intelligence (AI) and faster processors. This could let handsets use data already stored to operate. Some companies are focusing on AI technologies that let handsets perform tasks before the user does. For example, Neura, a startup from┬áCalifornia uses an AI that takes data from user’s routine behaviors and then makes predictions on what the users next steps are. Handsets that operate offline and perform tasks before the user does become more helpful and user interactive.

AncestryAI Algorithm Traces Your Family Tree Back More Than 300 Years

Aalto University, 3/16/2017

An Aalto University graduate student is developing a new family-tree algorithm called AncestryAI that uses Finnish parish registers to generate a probable family tree. Register data comes from HisKi, an open genealogical database supported by volunteer data entry. AncestryAI users can leave feedback on the accuracy of their tree, which is used to further train the algorithm.

Virtual Reality Training for “Safety-Critical” Jobs

University of Exeter, 3/6/2017

A virtual-reality training system currently in development by Exeter-based researchers and experts from the nuclear power industry could help prevent accidents in high-risk jobs. Employees using the system could gain experience with high-stress tasks in a safe environment, while employers could use the eye tracking and physiological sensor data to better understand how workers learn and how they react under pressure.

Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind

The New York Times, 2/22/2017

The federal government is attempting to bridge the growing digital divide in low-income families by expanding a subsidy program, Lifeline, to include broadband Internet access. The Federal Communications Commission’s main goal in revising Lifeline is to address the increasing number of students without online access needed to complete schoolwork and homework. Other methods are being used to in an effort to patch this divide, such as wifi-equipped buses and school-provided wireless hotspots.

New Internet Security Device Launched to Safeguard Schools Against Child Abuse

Plymouth University, 2/20/2017

The University of Plymouth has developed ICAlert, an easy-to-install device that monitors network traffic and sends alerts if users try to access dangerous web content (such as child pornography or terrorist sites). They aim to make browsing safer for children and teens by providing the devices and software to schools at a low cost.