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Twill - Humanising VR, adopt a robot, names that break databases, an AI creative director, and the past and future of multi-sensory immersion.

This week: Humanising VR, adopt a robot, names that break databases, an AI creative director, and the

Twill by yiibu

April 3 · Issue #8 · View online
A weekly dispatch on our evolving relationship with technology. Topics: Near-future design, autonomous everything, design ethics, machine learning and the human impact of embedding technology into everyday life.

This week: Humanising VR, adopt a robot, names that break databases, an AI creative director, and the past and future of multi-sensory immersion.

yiibu news
Bryan is blogging once again (yay!) and just published two articles: Pause and effect, a retrospective on the past years’ sabbatical, and What I talk about when I talk about VR, an introduction to a new project of ours.
For those of you in Vancouver…Steph’s been invited for a fireside chat on April 13th to discuss all things conversational commerce and the future of the web.  Spaces still available.
Of interest this week
0.0 One of the most awesome things we’ve seen this week, and a really interesting sign of things to come. If people already care enough about VR to spontaneously humanise the awkward bits, we’re off to a very good start :-)
Click above for more photos...
1.0 Some robots seem to be designed to induce sci-fi-inspired nightmares (although this one is also very cool).
…the first robot to combine flying, perching with passive attachment technology, and climbing. It can also recover from climbing failures, as well as take off when it’s ready to fly again.More details here and see the video below.
Meet SCAMP: The Flying, Perching, Climbing Robot - YouTube
2.0 The lovely team at Mayfield Robotics is building a household robot and currently looking for families willing to welcome a prototype into their home.  US only :(
3.0 A surprisingly nice DIY-ish heads up display prototype for Honda motorcycles. Kind of like Gear VR but for your bike. 
4.0 Short expose on the building of London’s new Crossrail subway line. You could probably write a whole book about this project due to its complexity. They’ve also found tombs and tons of historical artefacts under there.
5.0 These unlucky people have names that break databases :-) Nice counterpart to this list of falsehoods that programmers believe about addresses.
6.0 “You have to assume they’ll fall out of the sky” Ongoing challenges in the quest to deliver things using drones. 
Many cats and their human companions seem to develop a pidgin language in order to communicate better. We don’t yet know whether there are similarities in the languages or whether they’re specific to a cat/human pair.
8.0 Find out which of your favorite websites are powered by clean or dirty energy using this Greenpeace extension. (Or scroll down on that page for the methodology and downloadable report).
9.0 Despite the timing, this is apparently not an April fool’s joke: global agency McCann has appointed an AI creative director. The idea isn’t particularly new but the specifics are a bit disturbing.
The AI has been built to respond to a product or message with the optimal commercial direction, based off historical data. The AI has also been built to then learn from the results of the campaigns its directed
10.0 Bitcoin just can’t catch a break these days. We always knew the power requirements would be a problem, but this new study suggest Bitcoin could consume as much energy as Denmark.
11.0 Interesting retrospective from Microsoft about their now-infamous Tay bot. Uncomfortable question (that’s been asked before), but I wonder if the vastly different experiences of Tay vs. Microsoft’s much older and still wildly popular, and apparently well behaved Chinese bot Xiaoice weren’t in some part cultural?
12.0 We saved the best for last! Check out the video for this new VR Zone experience-space in Japan. “Looks like vomit waiting to happen” (and also involves cats…but in a good way).
PS - The missing link from last week’s newsletter (sorry!) about the fisherman and vertical underwater farming revolution.
Thing from the past. Thing from the future
First…this week’s honorary category: “Very Japanese problems” 
All transportation systems should have these for the entertainment value alone!
From the past: Today, the past rather sadly collides with the future (…will we ever learn?) Developed in the 1950s, it was hoped that Smell-o-vision would attract punters away from the (then) new kid on the block profit-killer that was television.
Now...they SMELL!!
From the future: After 3D comes 4D, which apparently means sitting in a theatre while you are rained on, punched and subjected to strange smells for fun. Only available in Korea for now, and as theatres are still trying to recoup the cost of blanketing screens with 3D, let’s hope it stays that way.
In the meantime, if you own an Oculus and have $250 burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy a Sensory Immersion Generator
One of the better April fools we've seen :-) ...and now probably a Kickstarter
That is all...
Our best wishes for a productive week.
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