#the new emoticon
THE NEXT LEVEL EMOTICON
Researchers at Cambridge University have unveiled what they are calling the “new text message”- a virtual talking head that can take emoticons to a new level. The head, currently played by actress Zoe Lister, has the ability to express a wide range of emotion from happiness to sadness and so forth as well as change the tone of its voice to communicate the proper emotion.
The researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Lab are hoping that eventually the talking head can be personalized to each individual user- allowing for a seemingly live conversation between two friends. While the process to formulate a fully functional Zoe was complicated, the technology to extrapolate the face messaging framework onto mobile users may be coming more quickly than expected.
"This technology could be the start of a whole new generation of interfaces which make interacting with a computer much more like talking to another human being. It took us days to create Zoe, because we had to start from scratch and teach the system to understand language and expression. Now that it already understands those things, it shouldn’t be too hard to transfer the same blueprint to a different voice and face."
– Professor Roberto Cipolla, from the University of Cambridge
#spontaneous hang outs
A new iOS app called Moments Outside the Box (MOB) makes it easy to plan those spontaneous moments with friends and strangers alike. The app connects its users with those around them and limits the painstaking work of an invitation list. MOB Party Planners can simply post their activity live (drum circle, late night dance party, picnic, a good long cry, etc) live while Party goers are free to peruse all nearby events.
Fontly is a new app which preserves typographical treasures. Explore nearby examples of gorgeous signage or add photos of your own to the collective map. The goal of the app is to highlight and preserve typography in the world around us.
An app that brings transparency to political ads.
The technology behind music identifying apps Shazam and SoundHound is being put to good use this election season. Super PAC is an app that listens to and identifies political advertisements to tell you who is behind it. The app reveals who made the ad, how much it cost, how accurate the claims made in the ad are and then you can rate the ad on a scale of “love” to “fail.”
While You Were Off - an app that shows what you missed on the interweb while your phone was off
"Imagine having jeans that charge your phone just by putting it in your pocket. That’s what this material—developed for the British Army—does. The fabric is made of yarn that conducts electricity from a battery pack to anywhere in your clothing. It can charge your gadgets on contact."