Twitch can filter streamers by their ‘Overwatch’ hero of choice

It’s not the first time Blizzard has teamed with Amazon’s livestreaming service, nor is it the first time Twitch has integrated metadata filtering options for popular esports games. In June, the two companies partnered to broadcast over 20 tournaments for competitive Hearthstone and Overwatch games, while offering Twitch Prime members a free Overwatch Golden Loot Box containing a guaranteed legendary item. Twitch also debuted filtering options for League of Legends, its most-viewed game, back in April.

The filters themselves were enabled by the team behind ClipMine, a recent Twitch acquisition. According to Twitch, Clipmine’s deep learning video platform is capable of recognizing in-game objects, text and levels, which can then be selected via the site’s filters. If a player wants to get better at playing Reaper in Overwatch, for instance, the filters will identify when a Twitch streamer is playing that same hero and make their gameplay available in the directory.

“When we recently introduced metadata filtering options for one of our top esports games, we not only received positive reception from its fans, but demand from the greater community to have access to similar discovery tools for other titles,” said JT Gleason, Director of Integration Success at Twitch. “Since Overwatch and Hearthstone are also among our most popular competitive games whose players take to Twitch to improve their skills by watching others play, we focused on how we can improve discovery for them. Our new metadata filters now make it easy to find more granular aspects of gameplay that previously required a lot more searching.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/17/twitch-filter-overwatch-and-hearthstone-streams/

Self-healing polymers make for tougher soft robots

The researchers proved that their method works by making a gripper, a robotic hand and an artificial muscle with self-healing properties. In the video above, you can see a robotic hand repair itself after being stabbed. That’s made possible by the material the team used to make the robot: jelly-like rubbery polymers with lots of strands that reorganize and lock together when heat is present.

This self-healing property could lead to soft robots’ deployment in factories to handle fruits and other delicate items, as well as to their use for actual search-and-rescue missions. The team’s current model still requires someone else to apply heat to a robot’s wounds, though. To create truly low-maintenance soft machines, the researchers are now finding a way to automatically trigger their self-healing mechanism. They could either tweak the polymers so that they can repair themselves with no external input or find a way for robots to apply heat to their own damaged components.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/17/soft-robot-self-healing-polymers/

HTC’s U11 will support Bluetooth 5.0 when Android O arrives

U11 owners should be aware that even though the device has been certified for Bluetooth 5.0, it won’t actually be able to take advantage of these enhanced features until Android O launches a little later this year. But when it does, the U11 will be one of the better devices out there to work with smart appliances as well as smart watches — with the bottleneck of slow Bluetooth speeds removed, those devices should work a lot better.

Unfortunately, according to Android Central, the U11 won’t support transmitting over greater distances, one of the most notable features of Bluetooth 5.0. The site notes that not all of Bluetooth 5.0’s features have to be supported to receive certification — it’s a bit confusing, but at the very least U11 owners can look forward to faster data transmission speeds when Android O arrives.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/12/HTC-U11-bluetooth-5-support/

Samsung’s next wearable is the Gear Sport

Details on the device are sketchy — the only hint we get as to the device’s design is a schematic of the bottom of the device. We also know that it will have onboard support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Unsurprisingly, Samsung requested that the rest of the documents (including the operational description, parts list and other specifications) remain confidential.

With IFA coming up in the next few weeks, it’s understandable that Samsung is focusing on a new watch/fitness device (or even introducing a new line of watches/fitness devices). We still don’t have a lot of information, but now we’re even more curious as to what the company has planned for the consumer electronics conference.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/11/samsung-gear-sport-wearable/

GM is beta testing a ride-hailing app for autonomous EVs

“We’ve always said we’d launch first with a ride share application, and this is in line with that and just further evidence of that,” Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt told TechCrunch. “We’re really excited about how the technology is evolving, and the rate at which it’s evolving. This is a manifestation of that – putting the app in people’s hands and having them use it for the first time and make (autonomous vehicles) their primary form of transportation.”

Employees can use the Cruise Anywhere service up to 24 hours a day, says TechCrunch, depending on availability. As required by California law, a “safety driver” remains in the driver’s seat at all times, though TechCrunch reports that the cars have only needed manual takeovers on rare occasions. While the service is limited to GM employees at present, it’s likely only a matter of time before a service like this — with Lyft or as its own business — expands to the general public.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/08/gm-beta-testing-ride-hailing-app-autonomous-evs/

Amazon snags rights to Lucille Ball movie starring Cate Blanchett

There’s no mention of when the movie might be ready, but we’d be patient when the project has been sitting on the backburner for a while. Blanchett and Sorkin were already involved with the movie two years ago. However, it won’t be shocking if Amazon steps up the pace. After all, Netflix hasn’t been shy about scoring top-flight movie deals — Amazon isn’t going to risk losing prestige to its streaming arch-rival by taking a while to bring Lucy and Desi to market. The sooner it finishes production, the more likely it is to scoop up more statuettes and persuade viewers that Prime Video is full of high-quality movies.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/07/amazon-buys-lucille-ball-movie/

Scientists may have found a functional cure for type-1 diabetes

The treatment is specifically aimed at patients with high-risk type-1 diabetes. ViaCyte estimates that around 140,000 people in the US and Canada suffer from the condition, which can cause life-threatening events. The use of stem cells to replace pancreatic insulin cells has been tried before, but without much success. ViaCyte’s approach shows promise because the stem cells can mature within the body itself through an implant the company calls PEC-Direct.

There has already been a round of clinical trials to test whether the stem cells could fully grow into the type of cells necessary to produce insulin — called islet cells. That was a success. But the number of cells within the implants wasn’t enough to actually treat the patients; it was solely to test whether the cells could, in fact, be grown. Now, in coordination with JDRF, an organization that funds type-1 diabetes research, ViaCyte has implanted PEC-Directs into two patients as a trial.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a full cure. It’s what ViaCyte President and CEO Paul Laikind calls “a functional cure.” It doesn’t address and treat the specific causes of the condition. Additionally, patients using this treatment would be required to take immunosuppressive drugs to protect the created cells from the body’s immune system, according to New Scientist. Regardless, it’s great news for anyone with the condition, especially considering so many stem cell therapies have turned into predatory and useless treatments.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/07/scientists-stem-cells-type-1-diabetes/

Grab an Amazon Echo for half off today

It’s strange that these devices would be on sale at third-party stores and not Amazon itself (not only is the Echo showing as full price, but it’s out of stock, with an estimated ship date of August 11. However, you can pick up a discounted device at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Bloomingdale’s. We’ve seen sales on the Echo before, but this seems to be the steepest discount yet. If you want to take advantage of this offer, make sure you grab one before midnight tonight, Central time.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/04/amazon-echo-half-off-today/

Nintendo continues to flourish with strong Switch sales

Of course, a year ago the company wasn’t selling the Switch, a console which most consider to be a huge improvement over the Wii U. Nintendo sold 1.97 million portable-console hybrids during the quarter, bringing the system’s total lifetime sales to 4.7 million. For comparison, the Wii U has sold 13.56 million units to date. Sales of the Switch could be higher, however Nintendo has had some manufacturing issues which are limiting consume uptake. April to June was, however, the first full quarter of sales for the Switch, and gives some indication of its long-term popularity.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains the most popular Switch title, selling 1.16 million in the quarter and 3.92 million to date. In second place is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with 3.54 million lifetime sales, followed by 1-2-Switch with 1.22 million, and Arms, which only came out last month, with 1.18 million. With Splatoon 2 out the door and the long-awaited Super Mario Odyssey due in October, Nintendo has high hopes for the Switch. The company has forecasted 10 million sales for the current financial year (April 2017 to March 2018), alongside 35 million total software sales.

Nintendo’s 3DS family continues to sell, though obviously the company has its priorities elsewhere. In its financials, the company highlighted Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia as a “popular title” which contributed to 5.85 million total 3DS game sales. That’s down 31 percent year-over-year, which, while a huge drop, is unsurprising given the age of the platform and the tantalizing new (albeit more expensive) portable Nintendo has recently brought into the market. The company is also upbeat about its smartphone efforts, which drew in 9 billion yen ($80.5 million) over the quarter.

For Nintendo, the next few quarters is all about momentum. The Switch will likely succeed if the company can fix its supply issues and maintain a steady flow of games. Similarly, the 3DS will bob along provided it can keep shipping title like Hey! Pikmin, Metroid: Samus Returns and Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon. On the mobile side, Nintendo has promised an Animal Crossing app, which could be a money-maker like the strategy-focused Fire Emblem Heroes. Oh, and it needs to deliver with the Super NES Classic Edition, building more than 10 so people can actually buy them this fall.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/26/nintendo-financial-earnings-switch-sales/

MIT’s AI knows what’s in your cookies just by looking at them

Other teams and institutions are also working on similar projects, and a common issue is the lack of samples that leads to limited accuracy. The team had to scour various social networks and websites, such as All Recipes and Food, to collect 1 million recipes. They then annotated the collection with more information about their ingredients and used the database to train a neural network.

The result? Their system can identify ingredients like like flour, eggs and butter and can spit out the correct recipe for the dish in an image 65 percent of the time. CSAIL graduate student and lead author Nick Hynes explains:

“This could potentially help people figure out what’s in their food when they don’t have explicit nutritional information. For example, if you know what ingredients went into a dish but not the amount, you can take a photo, enter the ingredients, and run the model to find a similar recipe with known quantities, and then use that information to approximate your own meal.”

Before you can use it as part of your fitness regimen, though, the team still has to work on making it more accurate. They’re also developing its ability to infer how a dish is prepared and to distinguish one ingredient from another. You can put the AI to the test yourself if you want — just upload a pic on the team’s demo website or click one of the available images.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/07/20/mit-ai-pic2recipe/