Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, a virtual assistant that combines AI with on-demand access to industry experts. Ask Avnet targets "engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain -- which includes the product manufacturing chain," said Kevin Yapp, SVP for digital transformation at Avnet. Ask Avnet gathers information from the company's Web-based ecosystem -- including Avnet.com, element14.com and Hackster.io -- and soon will include access to other Avnet properties.
Google has introduced a new video format, VR180, developed with input from its Daydream team. The VR180 format, which displays what's in front of the user only, delivers good video quality both on desktop PCs and mobile devices. While VR180 videos appear in 2D on desktops and mobile devices, they appear in 3D VR when viewed with Cardboard, Google's Daydream headset or Sony's PlayStation VR headset. Creators "don't have to choose between making a 360 video and/or providing new content for their subscribers," said Google spokesperson Liz Markman.
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk," wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky reportedly has volunteered to turn over his company's software source code to allay fears about possible ties with the Russian government. Kaspersky made the offer public at CeBIT Australia last week. Some U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Kaspersky Lab might have a close working relationship with the Russian government. Kaspersky five years ago replaced a number of high-level managers with people who had ties to Russia's military or intelligence services, according to reports.
Nvidia recently announced that Toyota will use its Drive PX AI car computer platform for advanced autonomous vehicles slated for introduction over the next few years. Nvidia is combining breakthroughs in AI and high-performance computing to build Nvidia Drive PX, the brain of the autonomous car, said CEO Jensen Huang. "It's also noteworthy that the [partnership] announcement states that it is to deliver artificial intelligence hardware and software technologies," noted Ian Riches, Strategy Analytics' global automotive practice director.
Internet security at Mar-a-Lago -- the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the "Southern White House" -- is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago's dining room, with members and waiters present and able to overhear the conversation. In April, he tracked an attack he ordered on Syria from a makeshift situation room at Mar-a-Lago.
Cardiogram last week announced that it has developed a preliminary algorithm to use with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices to detect atrial fibrillation with higher accuracy than previously validated detection methods. Atrial fibrillation, or AF, affects about 2.7 million Americans, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Overall, it causes about 15 percent of strokes. Cardiogram trained a deep neural network using heart rate readings taken from Apple Watches. The company sent 200 AliveCor mobile electrocardiogram devices to people diagnosed with AF.
HPE on Tuesday introduced the world's largest single-memory computer as part of The Machine, its research project into memory-driven computing. The computer has 160 T-bytes of memory, and HPE expects the architecture to allow memory to scale up to 4.096 yottabytes. The memory is spread across 40 physical nodes that are interconnected using a high-performance fabric protocol. The computer runs on an optimized Linux-based operating system running ThunderX2, Cavium's flagship second-generation dual socket-capable ARMv8-A workload optimized SoC.
Google and AIY Projects have launched an open source DIY artificial intelligence Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi hobbyists. The AIY Voice Kit includes hardware for audio capture and playback, connectors for the dual mike daughterboard and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components such as micro servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for a dedicated power supply. The Voice Kit can use cloud services such as Google Assistant SDK, which is enabled by default, or it can use the Cloud Speech API or run completely on-device.
A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said, through both automatic and manual actions. It removed the fake pages and applications, and it pushed updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail and other anti-abuse systems.