Monitor Your Cat’s Diet in Real Time With Smart Pet FeederPre-Order Your Voice-Activated Heated Jacket Living 3,500 miles from family and friends has its challenges—like keeping in touch despite varying time zones.While a text app or voice calling service is usually enough to stay connected, my niece and nephew are still too young to operate a digital keyboard or carry on a phone conversation.They’re also too young to sit still for more than two minutes, turning a video chat into a game of computerized cat and mouse. But a Silicon Valley robotics startup has a solution: Ohmni.The home robot—”a fresh approach to telepresence,” according to manufacturer OhmniLabs—makes it easy for folks to share experiences—cooking, watching movies, playing games—across any distance.I’ll have what she’s having (OhmniLabs)I can easily imagine my brother and sister-in-law unfolding and powering up Ohmni, letting me virtually follow the kids from room to room as they show off their latest stuffed animals, dance moves, and toys.Call with one click from any Mac, PC, or Android device using the Chrome browser; remotely control Ohmni with your keyboard, trackpad, or touchscreen.“Families today are often spread out across countries and continents, making it a challenge to stay in touch. We created a robot that people can use every day to not only communicate but experience life together,” OhmniLabs CEO Thuc Vu said in a statement. “The possibilities are endless. I use Ohmni with my grandma in Vietnam, and it’s amazing how natural our interaction is.”That’s ‘quixotry’ for 365 points (OhmniLabs)Standing at “human height,” the robot employs proprietary MotionMap technology that allows for floor-to-ceiling movement, from subtle screen tilts mimicking the nod of a head to a full-body scan of a new outfit.Whisper-silent brushless motors, meanwhile, promise a smooth, quiet ride, “so you can hang out for a long time without bugging anyone,” lead engineer Mark Edstrom said. Because that’s just what every family wants: a digital face lurking in the shadows while they sleep.If that’s your thing, the Ohmni Robot is available now to pre-order in white or black for $1,399—$500 off the expected retail price. Jazz it up with a bamboo base cover and emotive LEDs for an additional $160.In less than two days, the skinny cyborg raised more than 70 percent of the Indiegogo fixed goal; OhmniLabs has a month left to collect at least $100,000. Stay on target
According to IBM, the Natural Language Processing APIs enable digital solutions to understand human language and its intent. The Machine Learning Watson APIs perform data processing, monitoring data inputs, and how the data is being utilized to create rankings of the data based on priorities it has learned. The Video and Image Analytics APIs enable monitoring of unstructured data from videos, photos and other images to identify patterns.Here’s the example IBM provided: Video analytics that monitor security cameras might note the presence of a forklift infringing on a restricted area, creating a minor alert in the system. Three days later, an asset in that area begins to exhibit decreased performance. The two incidents can be correlated to identify a collision between the forklift and an asset that might not have been readily apparent from the video or the data from the machine. Finally, the Text Analytics APIs enable data mining for unstructured information such as call center calls, maintenance logs, blogs and tweets to find correlations and patterns. So, phrases in tweets such as “The brake pedal feels mushy” can be correlated to other entries to determine if there are issues in a particular make and model of a car.IoT, O’Connor said, is advancing from the simple collection of data from myriad devices to more complex system processing, which can enable business optimization, the creation of new business models, and businesses to connect directly to customers who buy their products. In the example of automobiles, manufacturers and drivers have a layer between them: dealers. Advanced cognitive systems can help manufacturers communicate directly with buyers.The Watson IoT Foundation is cloud-based with data center presence points in 40 centers around the world, O’Connor said, enabling connectivity, information management, security and cognition “just about everywhere.” Further, IBM announced today that it is opening a global headquarters for the Watson Internet of Things unit in Munich, Germany, which will also serve as a research center and innovation lab.“Quarter to quarter, we’re seeing a spike in inquiries and businesses trying to figure out how to do this,” he said. IBM today announced it is making cognitive Web services a part of its Watson IoT Foundation with the addition of four API families to the platform.The API families deliver natural-language processing, machine-learning capabilities, text analytics, and video and image analytics, according to the company’s announcement. Those APIs are among the 28 IBM already publishes for Watson computing, and the company is making the four directly referenceable so Internet of Things systems can combine them to gain context surrounding the information, Chris O’Connor, general manager of IoT at IBM, told SD Times.(Related: IBM launches IoT community)“IoT starts with the device, but it’s also about the environment around it,” he said. Offering the example of an Airbus airframe, he said there are 6 million parts in it provided by 3,000 suppliers. (An airframe is the mechanical structure of the plane, minus the engine.) Each of those parts could be an instrumented IoT instance, he said, that fit together and relate to each other. But environmental factors affect the plane in the air, such as weather, wind speed and turbulence, and these external variables drive demands on those IoT devices. So, he said, “You need to bring more data together to gain context, and Watson can make the data contextually relevant” using the capabilities underlying the APIs.