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Tag Archives: automation

At Apple’s WWDC 2018, accessibility pervades all 

Steven Aquino Contributor Share on Twitter Steven Aquino is a freelance tech writer and iOS accessibility expert. More posts by this contributor AirPods to get Live Listen feature in iOS 12 For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education Accessibility has long played an integral role at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference , and it certainly had its presence felt in 2018. There are some constant elements of the week, such as the labs, sessions, and mid-week social that brings together members of Apple’s Accessibility group, developers and others interested in the disabled community to celebrate inclusiveness and accessible design. This year had a different vibe. After attending the keynote and speaking with numerous people at Apple during the week, one feeling that has resonated with me is that accessibility, conceptually, has become a mandatory part of not only how Apple designs its products, but of the Apple ecosystem at large. To be mindful of accessibility is now, more than ever, an expectation. Several student scholarship winners I spoke to eagerly expressed their desire to learn more about what accessibility is, how it works and how to best incorporate it into their apps. They truly want to build tools for everyone. The announcements made this year were less about discrete features for accessibility’s sake and more about how the new features, as Apple designed them, are inherently accessible. The Apple Design Awards , for instance, has included an accessibility category the last few years, but not so this year. In fact, accessibility has always been part of the criteria for selecting winners, and Apple says this year’s winners have support for accessibility built in. Calzy , a calculator app from indie developer Raja Vijayaraman, supports Dynamic Type. Accessible announcements As a disabled reporter who has covered the last several Apple media events, I’ve attended enough now that I’ve come to realize there is an interesting (to me) accessibility angle to how the company structures its events and how it supports attendees with disabilities.

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Apple introduces iOS 12

Apple announced the next version of iOS at its WWDC developer conference . While iOS 12 won’t be available before the fall, it’s always interesting to get a sneak peek at the next version of iOS. Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi first talked about some numbers. 81 percent of iOS users are currently running iOS 11. 6 percent of Android users are currently on the last version. “For iOS 12, we’re doubling down on performance,” Federighi said. iOS 12 is going to be available on all devices that currently support iOS 11. It’s interesting the Federighi talked about iOS 12 on the iPhone 6 Plus. Apps launch 40 percent faster, the keyboard comes up 50 percent faster and opening the camera is 70 percent faster. You get the idea, the big new feature of iOS 12 is performance and optimization . But it doesn’t mean that Apple didn’t think about new features. Apple has created a new file format for augmented reality called USDZ. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis talked for a couple of minutes to announce that Adobe apps are going to support USDZ. Apple is launching a new app to educate people about augmented reality. This app is called Measure and works pretty much like popular third-party app MeasureKit .

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Apple introduces iOS 12

Apple announced the next version of iOS at its WWDC developer conference . While iOS 12 won’t be available before the fall, it’s always interesting to get a sneak peek at the next version of iOS. Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi first talked about some numbers. 81 percent of iOS users are currently running iOS 11. 6 percent of Android users are currently on the last version. “For iOS 12, we’re doubling down on performance,” Federighi said. iOS 12 is going to be available on all devices that currently support iOS 11. It’s interesting the Federighi talked about iOS 12 on the iPhone 6 Plus. Apps launch 40 percent faster, the keyboard comes up 50 percent faster and opening the camera is 70 percent faster. You get the idea, the big new feature of iOS 12 is performance and optimization . But it doesn’t mean that Apple didn’t think about new features. Apple has created a new file format for augmented reality called USDZ. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis talked for a couple of minutes to announce that Adobe apps are going to support USDZ

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Watch a hard-working robot improvise to climb drawers and cross gaps

A robot’s got to know its limitations. But that doesn’t mean it has to accept them. This one in particular uses tools to expand its capabilities, commandeering nearby items to construct ramps and bridges. It’s satisfying to watch but, of course, also a little worrying. This research, from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania , is essentially about making a robot take stock of its surroundings and recognize something it can use to accomplish a task that it knows it can’t do on its own. It’s actually more like a team of robots, since the parts can detach from one another and accomplish things on their own. But you didn’t come here to debate the multiplicity or unity of modular robotic systems! That’s for the folks at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, where this paper was presented (and Spectrum got the first look ). SMORES-EP is the robot in play here, and the researchers have given it a specific breadth of knowledge. It knows how to navigate its environment, but also how to inspect it with its little mast-cam and from that inspection derive meaningful data like whether an object can be rolled over, or a gap can be crossed. It also knows how to interact with certain objects, and what they do; for instance, it can use its built-in magnets to pull open a drawer, and it knows that a ramp can be used to roll up to an object of a given height or lower. A high-level planning system directs the robots/robot-parts based on knowledge that isn’t critical for any single part to know.

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Nvidia’s researchers teach a robot to perform simple tasks by observing a human

Industrial robots are typically all about repeating a well-defined task over and over again. Usually, that means performing those tasks a safe distance away from the fragile humans that programmed them. More and more, however, researchers are now thinking about how robots and humans can work in close proximity to humans and even learn from them. In part, that’s what Nvidia’s new robotics lab in Seattle focuses on and the company’s research team today presented some of its most recent work around teaching robots by observing humans at the  International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), in Brisbane, Australia. Nvidia’s director of robotics research Dieter Fox. As Dieter Fox, the senior director of robotics research at Nvidia (and a professor at the University of Washington), told me, the team wants to enable this next generation of robots that can safely work in close proximity to humans. But to do that, those robots need to be able to detect people, tracker their activities and learn how they can help people. That may be in small-scale industrial setting or in somebody’s home. While it’s possible to train an algorithm to successfully play a video game by rote repetition and teaching it to learn from its mistakes, Fox argues that the decision space for training robots that way is far too large to do this efficiently. Instead, a team of Nvidia researchers led by Stan Birchfield and Jonathan Tremblay, developed a system that allows them to teach a robot to perform new tasks by simply observing a human. The tasks in this example are pretty straightforward and involve nothing more than stacking a few colored cubes. But it’s also an important step in this overall journey to enable us to quickly teach a robot new tasks

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What is the latest suave geek toy on market? – Robotics and Automation News (press release)

Robotics and Automation News (press release) What is the latest suave geek toy on market? Robotics and Automation News (press release) Right from fitness, to car accessories , to survival gear, to video games, to smart tech gadgets, there's something for everyone. ... Keyboard Waffle Iron – For someone who loves food as much as they love computers , this is a must-have. ... Other than ...

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Microsoft explains its role in the conviction of e-waste recycler Eric Lundgren, says he was counterfeiting Windows software in China and importing it…

Frank X. Shaw / Microsoft on the Issues : Microsoft explains its role in the conviction of e-waste recycler Eric Lundgren, says he was counterfeiting Windows software in China and importing it to the US   —  In the last few days there have been several stories about the sentencing of Eric Lundgren in a case that began in 2012 …

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