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Jun 10, 2023

Sol Reader is a VR headset exclusively for reading books

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, computing, mobile phones, neuroscience, virtual reality, wearables

We’ve been waxing lyrical (and critical) about Apple’s Vision Pro here at TechCrunch this week – but, of course, there are other things happening in the world of wearable tech, as well. Sol Reader raised a $5 million seed round with a headset that doesn’t promise to do more. In fact, it is trying to do just the opposite: Focus your attention on just the book at hand. Or book on the face, as it were.

“I’m excited to see Apple’s demonstration of the future of general AR/VR for the masses. However, even if it’s eventually affordable and in a much smaller form factor, we’re still left with the haunting question: Do I really need more time with my smart devices,” said Ben Chelf, CEO at Sol. “At Sol, we’re less concerned with spatial computing or augmented and virtual realities and more interested in how our personal devices can encourage us to spend our time wisely. We are building the Sol Reader specifically for a single important use case — reading. And while Big Tech surely will improve specs and reduce cost over time, we can now provide a time-well-spent option at 10% of the cost of Apple’s Vision.”

The device is simple: It slips over your eyes like a pair of glasses and blocks all distractions while reading. Even as I’m typing that, I’m sensing some sadness: I have wanted this product to exist for many years – I was basically raised by books, and lost my ability to focus on reading over the past few years. Something broke in me during the pandemic – I was checking my phone every 10 seconds to see what Trump had done now and how close we were to a COVID-19-powered abyss. Suffice it to say, my mental health wasn’t at its finest – and I can’t praise the idea of Sol Reader enough. The idea of being able to set a timer and put a book on my face is extremely attractive to me.

Jun 10, 2023

China’s photonic quantum computer is 180 million times faster says ‘father of quantum’

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, robotics/AI, supercomputing

It took less than a second to solve a puzzle that super computers would take five years to solve.

A quantum computer, Juizhang, built by a team led by Pan Jianwei, has claimed that it can process artificial intelligence (AI) related tasks 180 million times faster, the South China Morning Post.

Even as the US celebrates its lead in the list of TOP500 supercomputers in the world, China has been slowly building its expertise in the next frontier of computing — quantum computing. Unlike conventional computing, where a bit-the smallest block of information can either exist as one or zero, a bit in quantum computing can exist in both states at once.

Jun 10, 2023

Microsoft will now offer OpenAI’s GPT-4 to US government agencies

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, security

Services will be provided through Azure Government Cloud to ensure data security.

Government agencies in the U.S. will now have access to OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as GPT-4 and its predecessor after Microsoft announced that it would offer Azure OpenAI services to the government as well.

OpenAI’s GPT-4 is the powerhouse behind Microsoft’s new Bing search engine and a hot favorite among companies looking to leverage AI to make better use of their data. As per Microsoft’s claims, its Azure OpenAI services, launched only in January this year, serve more than 4,500 customers.

Jun 10, 2023

A telescope accidentally captured the brightest supernova ever seen

Posted by in category: cosmology


This is according to a report by Ars Technica published on Friday.

Jun 10, 2023

Quantum Computing in AI (a NEW Era of Technology)

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, finance, quantum physics, robotics/AI

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Welcome to a thrilling exploration of Quantum Computing in AI! This video breaks new ground in explaining the exciting world of Quantum Computing, its intersection with Artificial Intelligence, and how it ushers us into a revolutionary new era of technology.

In the first segment, we demystify the concept of Quantum Computing. We delve into its complex yet fascinating principles, making it understandable even if you’re a novice in this field. If you’ve ever wondered how quantum bits (qubits) and superposition defy the norms of classical computing, this is your ultimate guide.

Continue reading “Quantum Computing in AI (a NEW Era of Technology)” »

Jun 10, 2023

Beyond the Kardashev Scale

Posted by in category: futurism

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Beyond the Kardashev Scale.

Continue reading “Beyond the Kardashev Scale” »

Jun 10, 2023

Should we take evolution into our own hands and become transhuman?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, cyborgs, evolution, genetics, neuroscience, transhumanism

Worth a listen to understand the current reality and the future potential:

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Continue reading “Should we take evolution into our own hands and become transhuman?” »

Jun 10, 2023

JetZero’s Next-Gen Aircraft Could Change How We Fly for the First Time in Decades

Posted by in categories: business, finance, military, space travel

A California-based startup called JetZero has a different idea: changing the shape of commercial planes and the material they’re made of. The company unveiled its designs for the midsize commercial and military tanker-transport markets this spring, and has big plans to upend the way air travel looks and feels—as well as how much it costs and how much carbon it emits. Tony Fadell, founder of venture capital firm Build Collective and a JetZero investor and strategic advisor, thinks the company could be the “SpaceX of aviation” due to its potential to disrupt the existing business model.

JetZero’s planes, which are still in the concept/prototype phase, have a blended wing body design. That means the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft, rather than being attached to a hollow tube like the planes we travel in today. Picture the body of a manta ray: wide and flat, it tapers off to a narrower fin at each side, with a head and a tail. A blended wing body aircraft isn’t terribly different, though on JetZero’s models the body isn’t quite as wide.

Besides providing a lot more space, this design is more aerodynamic than tube-and-wing planes. JetZero plans to fly its planes at higher altitudes than today’s norm (40 to 45,000 feet rather than 30 to 35,000), and says its airframe will cut fuel burn and emissions in half. It plans to make its planes out of carbon fiber and kevlar (a strong lightweight fiber used for things like body armor, bulletproof vests, car brakes, boats, and aircraft). The company says its planes’ lighter weight and improved aerodynamics would be able to fly at the same speed and range as existing midbody jetliners, but burn half as much fuel in the process.

Jun 10, 2023

Meta test puts Reels on the Quest

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, internet, space, virtual reality

Reels started as Instagram’s solution for competing with TikTok and soon launched on sister-site Facebook — a natural expansion. Meta is now testing Reels on a less expected medium: the Meta Quest. Its VR headset works for internet browsing, watching movies, games and more — but the addition of typically-vertical Reels presents a different viewing experience than these more malleable (and typically screen-wide) options.

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the update through a 13-second video on Meta’s Instagram Channel. It featured a Reel from influencer Austin Sprinz’s Instagram account in which he visited the world’s deepest pool. The immersive video is a good choice for VR, taking the viewer underwater into a seemingly bottomless space — and is certainly better than a cooking or dance Reel.

The Reels update comes ahead of Meta Quest 3’s fall release and follows Apple’s new AR/VR Vision Pro headset announcement. Though, with Quest 3’s pricing starting at $499, compared to the Vision Pro’s $3,499, the pair don’t exactly fall into the same category. Meta’s VR headset line first launched as Oculus Quest and subsequently Oculus Quest 2 before the second-generation model was rebranded as Meta Quest 2. The Meta Quest Pro followed soon after the name change. As for Reels, there’s no timeline for if and when it will leave the testing phase and become available across Meta Quest headsets.

Jun 10, 2023

These AI Music Generators Are Mind-Blowing—And Make You Feel Like a Virtuoso

Posted by in categories: media & arts, robotics/AI

Instead of yanking the rug away from producers, these tools can actually streamline the music production workflow. We put together a guide to help you get your feet wet.

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