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Google Glass can make you learn Morse Code in 4 Hours using a series of Vibrations

Morse code is a method of transmitting text information in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short light or sound signals

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Google Glass. Flickr

New York, October 29, 2016: Google Glass can make learning Morse code much easier as researchers have developed a system that teaches the code within four hours using a series of vibrations felt near the ear. Morse code is a method of transmitting text information in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short light or sound signals. Participants wearing Google Glass learned it without paying attention to the signals, they played games, while feeling the taps and hearing the corresponding letters.

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After those few hours, they were 94 per cent accurate keying a sentence that included every letter of the alphabet and 98 per cent accurate writing codes for every letter, the researchers said.

Morse code is a method of transmitting text information in which letters are represented by combinations of… Click To Tweet

“Does this new study mean that people will rush out to learn Morse code? Probably not,” said lead researcher Thad Starner, Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.

“It shows that PHL (passive haptic learning) lowers the barrier to learn text-entry methods, something we need for smartwatches and any text-entry that doesn’t require you to look at your device or keyboard,” Starner said in a Georgia Tech statement. This is the latest chapter of passive haptic learning studies at Georgia Tech.

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The same method, using vibrations while participants aren’t paying attention, has taught people braille, how to play the piano and improved hand sensation for those with partial spinal cord injury. In the current study, the team decided to use Glass because it has both a built-in speaker and tapper (Glass’s bone-conduction transducer).

In the study, participants played a game while feeling vibration taps between their temple and ear. The taps represented the dots and dashes of Morse code and passively ‘taught’ users through their tactile senses, even while they were distracted by the game. The taps were created when researchers sent a very low-frequency signal to Glass’s speaker system. Because it was played very slowly, the sound was felt as a vibration.

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Half of the participants in the study felt the vibration taps and a voice prompt for each corresponding letter. The other half, the control group, felt no taps to help them learn. Participants were tested throughout the study on their knowledge of Morse code and their ability to type it. After less than four hours of feeling every letter, everyone was challenged to type the alphabet in Morse code in a final test. The control group was accurate only half the time. Those who felt the passive cues were nearly perfect. (IANS)

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Wearable Technology Google Glass Teaches Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Google Glass listens to conversations and prompts the user with an appropriate reply

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Google Glass
Google Glass. IANS

Toronto, Sep 16, 2017: An app to be used with wearable technology such as Google Glass — a head-mounted display in the shape of eyeglasses — can coach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in everyday social interactions, new research has found.

A defining feature of ASD is difficulties with social communication — which can include initiating and maintaining conversations with others.

“We developed software for a wearable system that helps coach children with autism spectrum disorder in everyday social interactions,” said Azadeh Kushki, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

“In this study, we show that children are able to use this new technology and they enjoy interacting with it,” Kushki added.

Children with autism spectrum disorder are often drawn to technological devices and find them highly motivating tools for delivering interventions designed to help them.

Also Read: Technology Takes a Major Leap: Self-Driving Boats May Soon Be Reality Because ‘Humans get Distracted, Humans get Tired’ 

The problem with existing technology, however, is that using human-to-computer interaction to teach social skills can have the opposite effect to its goal, in that the user becomes socially isolated.

“The interesting thing about our new technology is that we are not trying to replace human-to-human interactions; instead, we use this app to coach children who are communicating with people in real-world situations,” Kushki explained.

“Children can practice their skills outside of their normal therapy sessions and it can provide them with increased independence in everyday interactions,” Kushki added.

Kushki and her colleagues developed the app, named Holli, to be used with wearable technology such as Google Glass. It listens to conversations and prompts the user with an appropriate reply.

For example, if the user is greeted by a person who says ‘Welcome’, Holli will provide various responses to choose from, such as ‘Hey’, ‘Hello’ or ‘Afternoon’.

When Holli recognises the user’s response, the prompts disappear and Holli waits for the next exchange in conversation.

To assess the usability of the prototype software, the researchers asked a small group of children with ASD to be guided by Holli when interacting socially.

They saw that Holli could complete most conversations without error, and that children could follow the prompts to carry on a social interaction.

In fact, Holli was often able to understand what the user was saying before/he she finished saying it, which helped the conversation to flow naturally, the study said.

“This study shows the potential of technology-based intervention to help children with ASD,” Kushki said.

“These systems can be used in everyday settings, such as home and school, to reinforce techniques learned in therapeutic settings,” she added. (IANS)

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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India’s Textile and Fashion Heritage now part of Google project

Google's project 'We Wear Culture' is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

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we wear culture
Google's new art project 'We wear Culture' digitizes fashion, Wikimedia
  • Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India
  • It intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures
  • Its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

June 15, 2017: To a certain extent, a culture is defined by what is worn by its people. In a country as diverse as India, vast and varied spectrum of cultures and clothes is one of the specialties. Google’s latest virtual exhibition project now provides us the opportunity to explore and know more about it.

Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago, from the ancient Silk Road to the unmatched elegance of the Indian Saree,  from the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the Victorian ballgowns with intricate thread work.

According to Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture,”We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear. You might be surprised to find out that your Saree, jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a centuries-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art.”

Culture is defined by what is worn by its people. Click To Tweet

The company also mentioned that noteworthy collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat sarees will be included in the online project, as it intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures.

ALSO READ: New Google Project Digitizes World’s Top Fashion Archives.

According to PTI reports, the world fashion exhibit also includes designs from north-eastern India including the weaves of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis. it will showcase the traditional attire from Meghalaya called ‘Dhara’ or ‘Nara’ worn by the Khasi women as well.

As a part of the exhibit, Sewa Hansiba Museum has brought the unique colorful and rich embroidery arts, applique and mirror work from different communities such as the Ahir, Rabari, Chaudhury Patel and many others from the western part of India online.

The exhibition conducted by Salar Jung Museum brings to light the Sherwani and its journey of becoming the royal fashion statement of the Nizams from 19th century Hyderabad. Fashion and textiles enthusiasts can revisit Colonial Indian attires with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Over 400 online exhibitions and stories sharing a total of 50,000 photos, videos and other documents on world fashion are open to exploration as well.

The ‘We wear Culture’ initiative highlights significant events in the growth of the world fashion industry; the icons, the movements, the game changers and the trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Audrey Hepburn and many more.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang