Watson Learns Japanese; Hospital Robots; Samsung’s Smart TV Debacle

Posted February 11th, 2015 at 2:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Gaming Can Give Troubled Teens Another Shot at Learning

Game developer Kuato’s game, Hakitzu, a hit in London schools, already has been used in more than 1 million coding sessions. The game lets students, some of whom have had various issues, learn how to code by leading a robot through an adventure-shooter scenario.

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Learns Japanese, Set for Robot Launch

A partnership between Japanese telecom giant SoftBank and IBM is set to bring to Japan new features and apps for IBM’s Watson supercomputer, famous for its appearance on the quiz show “Jeopardy,” to allow SoftBank to use Watson’s artificial intelligence in its empathetic robot Pepper.

This Incredible Hospital Robot is Saving Lives

Tug is a robot that shuffles around the halls of the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay wing. The robot is part of a fleet of automatons that deliver drugs, cart away medical waste and deliver clean linens and meals. By March 1, the fleet will include 25 robots, the world’s largest team of medical robots.

Skype Pushes New Feature Allowing Users to Video Chat With Pets

A lot of people apparently treat their pets as members of their family. With that in mind, Microsoft is touting a new Skype feature that lets owners keep an eye on their pets and monitor them with a webcam.

Smartphone Thefts Plummet After Kill-Switch Introduction

U.S. law enforcement officials are hailing news that smartphone thefts have dropped sharply since the introduction of the kill-switch, particularly in iPhones. Overall smartphone thefts dropped 22 percent in San Francisco between 2013-2014. Meanwhile, iPhone thefts fell 40 percent.

Facebook Launches ThreatExchange Platform to Help Firms Share Security Threat Info

Described as an “API-based clearinghouse for security threat information,” Facebook’s new ThreatExchange is a social platform that lets companies exchange information about cybersecurity threats and attacks. Several prominent players have joined, including Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, Bitly and Dropbox.

Samsung Tweaks Television Policy Over Privacy Concerns

Following reports that Samsung’s smart TVs vacuum information from users’ casual conversations, Samsung has clarified that its televisions only listen in if their owners let them. The company has changed its privacy policies to imply that it eavesdrops on users with voice recognition features that let viewers use verbal commands to operate their TV sets.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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