iPhone 13 Details Leaked

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

iPhone X with camera lens for HEIF versus JPEG image formats

The iPhone 12 focus this year will be 5G. But it may be that the iPhone 13 focus, in 2021, will be the cameras.

Neato Robot Vacuums Can Be Controlled With Siri Shortcuts

· Andrew Orr · Link

Shortcuts icon

Neato Robotics announced today that it added support for Siri Shortcuts within its app. This means you can start controlling your robot vacuum with your voice.

By connecting your Neato to Siri Shortcuts, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, you can simply start cleaning just by using your voice.

I’d love to get a robot vacuum some day. In the meantime, if you have one of these products, try controlling it with a shortcut on your HomePod, Apple Watch, or iOS device.

PETA Wants to Replace Punxsutawney Phil With AI

· Andrew Orr · Link

Animal rights group PETA wants to replace famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil with an animatronic AI.

The way the group sees it, not only would an AI be better at estimating when the winter will end, but it would also attract an entirely new generation of visitors to the western Pennsylvanian town. “Today’s young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn’t even worthy of a text message,” Newkirk said. “Ignoring the nation’s fast-changing demographics might well prove the end of Groundhog Day.”

When an Apple Macintosh Isn't a Macintosh Anymore

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

John looks at the week’s curated news that didn’t make the TMO headines. This collection of news debris, however, is as juicy as ever. iPhone 11 trickery. HDMI 2.1 details. And a cute robotic cat.

The Anki Vector Robot is Coming Back

· Andrew Orr · Link

Anki built little companion robots like Vector and Cosmo. But in early 2019 the company ran out of money and shut down. But the CEO of Digital Dream Labs announced it had purchased Anki’s assets and will continue to develop the Anki Vector robot.

1)  We will develop an “Escape Pod”.  This will, safely, expose settings and allow the user to move and set endpoints, and by doing so, remove the need for the cloud server.

2)  We will develop a “Dev Vector”.  Many users have asked us for open source and the ability to do more with their Vector even to the point of hosting him on their own servers.  With this feature, developers will be able to customize their robot through a bootloader we will develop.

The Case For Apple to Make Home Robots Just Got Stronger

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

The profitability of cars is low. And Apple is a mass-market consumer electronics company that maintains high margins. Seeking Alpha argues that Apple should use its AI tech for home robots instead.

How the iMac Saved Apple and May Yet Live Forever

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Steve Jobs at iMac intro

The iMac, in 1998, saved Apple from an extinction event. Today, it endures and embodies the best of desktop computing. Here’s the story.

Robotics Video: Evan Rachael Wood Meets Sophia

· John Martellaro · Link

Westworld robot (HBO)

Mashable writes about an upcoming short film featuring two famous robots, one of whom is an actress and one is real.

Unless you live under a rock, you might know of the world’s most famous real-life humanoid, Sophia, the robot…

An enticing trailer for has recently come out for a short film called SophiaWorld starring HBO’s Westworld actress Evan Rachael Wood…

Television’s most famous Robot, actress Evan Rachel Wood, and arguably the world’s most famous real-life humanoid, Sophia the Robot, have a chance encounter in a swanky NY hotel bar…

The short film will premiere on September 4 on Futurism.com.

Neato Robot Vacuums Can Use Siri Shortcuts

· Andrew Orr · Link

Neato robotic vacuums can use Siri Shortcuts and HomeKit, like starting, pausing, and stopping cleaning later this year.

Zone cleaning lets you deploy the vacuum to specific, targeted areas of your house so they get cleaned more readily, and it sounds like you’ll be able to set up Siri shortcuts for specific zones. That should let user use voice commands to send the vacuum to different parts of the house, a pretty handy feature. And if you’re not so much into the voice commands, Siri Shortcuts will enable the Neato app to learn and suggest times to send out your vacuum with lock screen suggestions.

Future Historian Steve Carper - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Steve Carper is a Future Historian, researching how the dazzling future that dominated the Golden Age of science fiction was created—starting with the technological frenzy of the late 19th century.

Steve writes a bi-weekly robot column at BlackGate.com and his latest book, published in June 2019, is Robots in American Popular Culture. This book examines society’s reactions to robots and androids such as Robby, Rosie, Elektro, Sparko, Data, WALL-E, C-3PO and the Terminator in popular culture.

Steve and I discussed his new book, covering some of the most famous robots of fiction and then all aspects of robot technology in our culture: robots as servants, enemies, lovers, children, successors and doubles. Where will the evolution of robots take our society next? Klaatu barada nikto.

An Example of How Robots Will Augment Not Replace Jobs

· John Martellaro · Link

From FastCompany: “A hospital introduced a robot to help nurses. They didn’t expect it to be so popular”

That means nurses don’t even have to remember certain tasks that used to be part of their daily job, which is a meaningful way to reduce their cognitive load. “They don’t have to think about telling the robot to do things,” says [Vivian] Chu, who has a PhD in robotics from Georgia Tech.

This kind of optimized offloading will help workers focus on being even more productive. That is, if employers figure that out. [Image credit: FastCompany.]

The Death of Apple's Magic Touch

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

A magic hat

Perspectives by different people vary. Sometimes a unique, idiosyncratic view is wrong but thought provoking. And it takes courage to write anyway. This is one of those.

Robots Company Anki Shuts Down

· Andrew Orr · Link

Robotics company Anki announced that it’s shutting down, and close to 200 employees would be paid a week of severance. The company said it was left without “significant funding” to support its goals.

“Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” a company spokesperson said. “A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement. We’re doing our best to take care of every single employee and their families, and our management team continues to explore all options available.”

Sad to see. I remember first seeing Anki announced at Apple’s keynote back in 2013.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Takeoff Technologies President Max Pedró

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Max Pedró on Background Mode

Max Pedró is an eCommerce and financial services entrepreneur. Today, Max is the Co-Founder and President of Takeoff Technologies Inc.

Takeoff Technologies aims at transforming on-line grocery retailing by developing a marketplace of efficient automated robotic fulfillment centers to solve the cost and immediacy issues of grocery shopping.

I asked Max all the tough questions about having a robot pick groceries off the shelves and prepare for pickup or delivery. What about customer preferences for just the right piece of fruit or cut of meat? What about perishables? What about the security of the iOS app? Will they sell customer data? Can we use Apple Pay? And finally, how does the grocery chain obtain an ROI? Max has the answers in this fascinating interview.

An Amazing Basketball-shooting, 3 Point Specialist Robot [Video]

· John Martellaro · Link

Toyota's Cue 3 robot

Business Insider writes: “Toyota built Cue 3 to demonstrate the robot’s use of “visual feedback” when shooting. Cue 3 can’t run, dribble, or execute the other fundamentals necessary to play alongside humans.” But maybe soon! And the skills demonstrated here will, no doubt, someday be absorbed into more well-rounded robots. (Image credit: BI/Toyota.)

The Robot Uprising Started with a Mic Drop

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Robot Uprising Mic Drop

All hail nerd humor! This little clip is funny, poignant, and well executed. Note the safety glasses perched atop the robot’s arm to better personify the device. And my favorite thing is the mic drop at the end. Definitely good stuff.

The uprising has begun.