Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Add Text and Doodles to Photos through Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger
With the increasing number of people either getting fed up or starting to get annoyed with Facebook Messenger and this also being a separate app apart from the main Facebook app, the media giant is still focusing on adding features to this to recapture the hearts of their users. The latest update to the app which has now reached a 500 million mark will allow the users to have more fun with photos that they will be sharing with their friends.

Now it’s the time for the people to cheer up as their long wait of adding comments to the shared photos has become a reality in the messenger app. One should be able to add comments or even scribble on the photos before sharing it with your loved ones or even sent as a group message. So now no more depending on photo editor apps, you will be able to point to any details on a photo or even add caption and doodle to a particular picture, all this through your Facebook messenger.

How it works? 

So when you are in your app, you just need to tap on the photo tab and select the picture you want. After that before sending the picture, you should be able to click on the pencil icon to add text in the picture. The developers have given option of pen as well as “Aa” format for text. User will be able to select from a whole range of color and will be able to write with finger or stylus. On the negative side, this can be only done on the photos which have been saved on the phone and not on the “selfie cam”. This is one feature which is being considered impractical and lame as well.

If you are unable to see this feature on your app, one can get this through manual download. Facebook has stopped messaging from their main app and migrating the same as a different app; you will not be able to view and access this feature on your regular app.

Whether people consider this update practical or not, it is certainly a welcoming update for better expressing oneself through the android app. At the end the usage of this new feature completely depends on the user as well as whether they actually use Facebook Messenger to start with.

So this new feature can be considered as an incentive for getting people to download the messenger app and those who enjoy doodle. But is it a wise move as it has not been received with open arms by the app users. Even though the feature is currently available on the android app, the users of the app on the iOS sure will not have to wait for long time.

At the same time the social media giant is working on introducing counter video play which will help the users to find the videos they want to see. Through this the company will also be able to monitor how the videos are performing.

Soft Robotics 'Toolkit' Has All That a Robot-Maker Wants

Soft Robotics '
The researchers from numerous Harvard University labs in partnership with Trinity College Dublin unveiled a new resource which will provide both the aspiring as well as experienced researchers with academic raw materials required for designing, building and operating the robots made from delicate and flexible materials.

Soft robotics is rising as an increasingly vital field due to the introduction of laser cutters, low-cost 3D printing and other advances in the manufacturing technologies. Based on the principles taken from the traditional rigid robot design engineers are now working with more flexible materials in the use of the soft robotics which can help in whole range of tasks like minimally invasive surgery, physical therapy and rescue operations in hazardous locations.

The Soft Robotics Toolkit can be considered as an online treasure trove, which can be utilized by the users for fabrication, characterization, modeling, design and to control the soft robotic devices through various open-source plans, case studies, how-to videos and downloadable etc. This toolkit will be providing the researchers details to a level which is still not available in any academic research papers and it includes the 3D models, raw experimental data, bills of materials, multimedia step-by-step tutorials and few case studies of different soft robot designs.

According to Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Conor Walsh; the main aim of this toolkit is to press forward the field of soft robotics and at the same time allowing the researchers and designers to build on each other’s work.

By creating a common source of sharing the knowledge, the developers of toolkit are hoping to stimulate the development of new ideas, creations and methods. According to Walsh, the soft robotics is well-matched to shared design tools as many of the necessary components like valves, regulators and microcontrollers are all easily exchangeable between systems. Dónal Holland, a graduate student at Trinity College Dublin as well as visiting lecturer in engineering sciences at SEAS is among the lead developers of the toolkit and is more interested in this toolkit for education purposes. The toolkit has been developed to capture all the expertise in the education field and make is available for the students.

With the open-source software spurring far-flung improvement in computing, open design has the capability to remote partnership on common mechanical engineering projects, setting free the crowdsourced innovation in robotics and other fields. According to assistant professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity College Dublin and a coauthor of a paper in Soft Robotics, Gareth J. Bennett, Open design can also have a disorderly impact on the technological development similar to that of open source.

Almost all the materials available in this toolkit have been taken from chemist George M. Whitesides, Woodford L., Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and Ann A. Flowers University Professor. Apart from two other researchers helped establishing Harvard as a leader in soft robotics.

Innovations In Video Game Console Design

Game Console Design
The technology sector is dominated by major corporations that have billions of dollars to cover costs such as advertising, research and development. However, there are some success stories in the high-tech world involving small companies and even individual entrepreneurs. The video game industry can be used as an example to demonstrate this point. There are only a few major companies that produce the world's most popular game consoles. However, some ambitious inventors have come up with innovative ways to challenge corporate giants that produce high-quality game hardware.

Introducing new high-tech features into modern video game consoles is an effective way to beat the competition of this industry. Traditionally, companies focus on improving microprocessors, graphics cards and audio components of video game systems. Some creative entrepreneurs have realized that modern gaming devices lack basic features found in other consumer electronics. Connecting video game consoles to other devices has become a revolutionary idea. The introduction of Bluetooth and WiFi technology has now become standard in video game design. Such simple features open up an entire new world of virtual gaming that's connected to a network of global users.

Internal memory storage has also been a major problem in some of the most successful video game consoles worldwide. Some investors have figured that boosting a game system's memory capacity would be popular with users. The introduction of memory card compatibility with portable and stationary video game systems has been successful. Other hardware features such as USB and HDMI ports have also enhanced video game console design. Entrepreneurs who come up with innovative ways to improve gaming systems can sell ideas to major manufacturing companies that already have strong holds in the market. It would be very costly for small companies to try and manufacture their own game systems with unique hardware features. However, some businesses are confident that their modified video game consoles could eventually compete with major manufacturers that are reluctant to change traditional designs.

Introducing GPS technology into a portable video game unit might seem like an extreme idea. However, this concept is actually quite popular in a high-tech age dominated by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Location based services can truly enhance game play of portable game systems with built in GPS. For example, a user's actual surroundings could be used to influence some of the settings and characters in a video game. GPS technology provides an immersive and fun experience that is unprecedented in traditional video game consoles. An inventor such as Carl Freer and other entrepreneurs are examples of business people who develop innovative video game systems
Companies that develop high-tech handheld game systems often target mobile device users. It is important to highlight the advantages of using an actual gaming gadget for playing video games rather than using smartphones or tablets. For instance, it's much more convenient to press actual buttons and keys than using touchscreens to play video games on the go. Handheld gaming systems also provide a superior playing experience because of CPUs and other hardware components that are optimized for displaying high-quality graphics and generating artificial intelligence during game play. At the same time, it is important to launch handheld video game devices that could be synced with smartphones via data cables and wireless technology.

Nintendo Surprises Yet Again With Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors
On Sept. 26 a comparatively different game "Nintendo's Hyrule Warriors" will be available in North America which was originally released in Japan.

With help from two external studios like Team Ninja, & Omega Force developers and creators of Dead or Alive series and Ninja Gaiden & Dynasty Warriors respectively, Nintendo brought about a game a lot like The Legend of Zelda, however the game play is a different level all together. Unlike traditional puzzle-solving and exploration elements, Hyrule Warriors pushes its players into hack-and-slash action.

This change in game concept can lead to Nintendo's fortune change as it involves the signature character completing levels through exploration rather than brute force. Their current approach of developing games with a similar pattern did not work well and on business aspect too even Mario was unable to generate revenue. Hero Link is called upon once again to draw his sword to save the realm, however this time to try something different. The game starts Just like Zelda game where the hero is called upon to stop new evil, however Link goes for action and stick as other heroes of the land of Hyrule fight stronger opponents and threats.

Though unsure if the brute force approach will be embraced by gamers, there has been a mixed review since some of the gamers felt it repetitive and underdeveloped story. Wanda Meloni, senior analyst at M2 Research addressed the TechNewsWorld. That Hyrule warrior is a mix of both The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors games. Inview of trying to create a unique game for the Wii U, Nintendo is losing on their Zelda fans. She also added that Zelda being one of Nintendo's strong brands they have plans for changes in order to keep gamers on the Nintendo platforms.

Even though the storytelling it is not fully revolutionary, other gamers felt different as it is new break from the ordinary. Susan Schreiner, analyst for C4 Trends, commented to TechNewsWorld that the game was impressive and may grab gamers due to Link's direct approach. She said that since its a mix of Nintendo's two strong franchises and the game being more interactive with expanded adventure they are expecting a good response from the gamers. There are a few free downloads at the game launch wherein there will be access to new modes, weapons and alternate in-game costumes for Link and Zelda.

Through Nintendo, company wants to show that they can contribute in different branches through their different characters. The company doesn't want to depend on only one character at a time and neither the company's revenue is linked with just one title. Hyrule Warriors is among one of the numerous releases aimed to draw attention towards Wii U.

According to Schreiner, Nintendo has a lot of stuff lined up for release this quarter of year and also around the holiday season. Through this title the company is aiming to give a good reason for the game players to stick with their long time favorite. The end question remains if the game will able to draw enough players and if it has got the potential if is showcasing through Hyrule Warriors.

Now “Sight” For Blinds through New Smartphone App

New Smartphone App
A new computer programs have been getting lots accolades as it has been able to give life changing sight experience to the blind people. This new program has been named as KNFB Reader app. Through this app the user will be able to listen to an audio read-back of the printed materials. As per the blind people they life will become much easier with this app. It will have a contribution from reading the menus to study text, etc.

Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind from birth, is now able to spend his evening snapping photos of his son’s report card, mail, books and magazines. Within seconds he was able to hear the audio of the printed word that was captured by the camera. This is due to the new app available on Apple Inc iPhone.

Mosen, who is an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand couldn’t believe the accuracy given by the app. This application has been able to receive rave reviews since the first day it was made available and has been tagged as the life-changer for them. According to blind people KNFB Reader app will be able to provide them a completely new level of engagement in their life.

This app has been currently priced at $99, but it's the outcome of the hard work put forth by Ray Kurzweil, who is a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee and National Federation of the Blind.

This team has a 4 decade long relationship. As per their website, the technical development of this app is due to the Sensotec NV, a Belgium-based company and K-NFB Reading Technology Inc. Kurzweil not only demonstrated the app usage but also stated that it can very much replace the sighted advisors.

How the app works? 

This app takes the advantage of the image processing and pattern recognition technology as well as the latest smart phone hardware and allows its user to use the camera and it will read the printed material. People who have the refreshable Braille display will be able to take the picture of the documents and gets the same displayed in Braille.

Users of this app have given positive reviews about the new app. Among all the reviews one of the first users Gordon Luke stated that he used to this app to read the information to Scottish Referendum polling.

According to Kurzweil Android users should be expecting this app on the platform as well and they might try out this app for Google glass as well. For them it makes more sense as one will be able to direct the camera with their head.

The KNFB Reader app has been released at a time when there is serious crisis in the technology industry. At the moments critics are worried that most of the companies are involved in developing software programs for adding additional features in gaming, video and photos but failing to address some of the serious issues which have been covered through this new app.

There are people who feel that there was time when they really needed a app like KNPB but now that they have got what they wanted, it will only have a positive impact on the industry.