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28Feb/160

Recommended Reading: The Super Bowl MVP is a huge nerd

Nerd
Von Miller,
The Players' Tribune

You may not be able to tell by his on-field dominance, but Super Bowl MVP and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is a huge nerd. Miller, some fellow players and friends discussed his geekiness for The Players' Tribune recently. The stories are quite entertaining, and yes, he used to wear Rec Specs.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/recommended-reading-2-27-16/

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28Feb/160

Scrubbing with a toothbrush that knows when you missed a spot

Once you've stumbled into the bathroom, you'll need to take out your phone and place it in one of Oral-B's new cradles. It's a simple piece of plastic with a pressurised suction cup that's simple enough to attach to a bathroom mirror. The front-facing camera needs to be at eye-level, so you'll probably need to remove the cradle after every use -- that could be a pain, but luckily it doesn't leave behind any marks or nasty gunk.

The toothbrush connects over Bluetooth and you can create a basic profile in the app, such as whether you have particularly sensitive teeth. Then you can pick a color for the light at the top of the handle (very important, of course) and start a new session. You'll see a circle in the middle of the screen, which turns green when your face is being recognised by the camera. A line underneath does the same, indicating that the phone is roughly level, and then you're ready to hit the button and start cleaning.

It's a bunch of tiny steps that I imagine would aggravate my sleep-deprived brain each morning. Thankfully, the actual brushing experience is top-notch. The app uses a simple six-segment diagram, which represents the left, middle and right parts of your top and bottom choppers. As you scrub, the blue panels slowly disappear until it feels that you've cleaned thoroughly. Part of me wanted more detail -- it would be great to know which particular teeth I'm missing -- but in this case, less is probably more. I don't think my brain wants that much information just after I wake up.

The Genius-B comes with the same tricks found in some of Oral-B's other "smart" toothbrushes. There are pressure sensors to stop you from brushing too vigorously (a common problem, I've been told) and a timer to make sure you clean for the dentist-recommended two minutes.

Once I had finished, the app gave me a simple score grading my technique. It was a novel, but unsurprising analysis of my wonky teeth-cleaning habits. I'm intrigued by the general concept -- I want to know if I'm brushing my teeth properly -- but pairing the device with my phone and setting up the app felt like a chore. Although I care about my dental health, I think a bare-bones electric toothbrush is just fine for me right now.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/scrubbing-with-a-toothbrush-that-knows-the-spots-youve-miss/

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28Feb/160

Discogs’ vinyl-tracking app goes wide February 29th

Whether you call it "vinyl," "wax," "black crack" or something else entirely, we can all agree that poring over shelves for new records can be a time-consuming, but ultimately rewarding, process. And now, the folks at Discogs are making it easier to see if that copy of the Lost Highway soundtrack you found is the real deal or just another bootleg. Come Monday, the internet's preeminent destination for music collectors is taking its iOS app out of beta.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/discogs-app-out-of-beta/

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28Feb/160

Sony files patent for ‘Powerglove’-like controller

Sony has reportedly filed a trio of patents for a new glove-based controller system. NeoGAF user Rösti came across the filings. The system centers around a finger-tracking flex sensor, a separate contact sensor that registers when the user touches a physical object and a communications module that sends this data to a VR headset where it is incorporated into the simulated experience.

The filing describes the system as "a trackable object that is configured to be illuminated during interactivity" with "at least one inertial sensor for generating inertial sensor data" which sounds a lot like a more dextrous iteration of the PS3's Move motion controller. With it "users collaborating may use their gloves to touch objects, move objects, interface with surfaces, press on objects, squeeze objects, toss objects, make gesture actions or motions, or the like," the claim said of this emergent tech," the filing states.

Now, as always, just because a company files a patent for an idea doesn't mean that it will ever actually become a real thing. However, given the current levels of rabid interest in VR technology from both industry and consumers -- not to mention Sony's imminent release of the PSVR -- this idea doesn't sound all that far fetched.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/sony-files-patent-for-powerglove-like-controller/

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28Feb/160

Runkeeper nixes its ‘DJ’ feature in favor of ‘Spotify Running’

Interestingly, this is basically the same functionality that Runkeeper's own "DJ" feature used to offer. RunKeeper DJ debuted last summer, shortly after Spotify announced Running. However, Spotify integration has been "hands-down one of our most frequently asked questions over the years," Runkeeper's announcement post proclaimed. And in the face of overwhelming customer demand, the running app maker appears to be forgoing its in-house beat-matching service in favor of Spotify's.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/runkeeper-nixes-its-dj-feature-in-favor-of-spotify-running/

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28Feb/160

Volvo shows off a prototype of its self-emptying trash can

Volvo's ROAR (RObot based Autonomous Refuse handling) project has moved into prototype testing, the company announced earlier this week. The ROAR system is designed to autonomously empty trash cans from the back of a garbage truck, saving the driver from having to manually load bins into the hopper. The initial concept involved just the robot, which relied on maps of the neighborhood and likely bin locations (as well as GPS, LiDAR and accelerometers) to help it navigate. The new iteration, on the other hand, also employs an aerial drone that lifts off from the garbage truck's roof to act as a pair of "eyes in the sky" for the ROAR, telling it where the trash cans actually are, not just where they're supposed to be.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/28/volvo-shows-off-a-prototype-of-its-self-emptying-trash-can/

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28Feb/160

Valve has fired its ‘Dota 2’ Shanghai Major tournament host

Gabe Newell, head honcho at Valve, has abruptly (and very publicly) fired 'Dota 2' Shanghai Major tournament host James "2GD" Harding. Newell made the announcement via Reddit on Friday, stating "We've had issues with James at previous events. Some Valve people lobbied to bring him back for Shanghai, feeling that he deserved another chance. That was a mistake. James is an ass, and we won't be working with him again." Newell also confirmed that he'd fired the production company responsible for the tournament's broadcast.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/28/valve-fires-dota-2-tournament-host/

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28Feb/160

AI learns to predict human reactions by reading our fiction

"Over many millions of words, these mundane patterns [of people's reactions] are far more common than their dramatic counterparts," the team wrote in their study. "Characters in modern fiction turn on the lights after entering rooms; they react to compliments by blushing; they do not answer their phones when they are in meetings."

In its initial field tests, using an Augur-powered wearable camera, the system correctly identified objects and people 91 percent of the time. It correctly predicted their next move 71 percent of the time.

This isn't the first time developers have turned to books to teach computers, mind you. Facebook just this week handed its AI a 1.96 gb stack of children's books in hopes of teaching it a similar lesson.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/28/ai-learns-to-predict-human-reactions-by-reading-our-fiction/

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28Feb/160

Ducati XDiavel S throws a devilish punch

"The idea here is that we have the most technologically-advanced cruiser," said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America. "We decided that it was important to capture kind of the raw elements of a cruiser, but then look forward to the future...in regards to technology that Ducati can bring to the table and bring to this market."

The laundry list of technologies include keyless ignition, traction control, cornering ABS, Ducati power launch control, customizable ride modes, and other connected tech like a Bluetooth link between the rider's helmet and the bike. Of course, Bucko had to test out wheelie control on the XDiavel S.

"You've got 156 horsepower and 95 ft-lbs of torque," said Jonathon. "That basically means that I'm currently riding a cruiser that not only can do wheelies, but wants to do wheelies."

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/28/ducati-xdiavel-s-throws-a-devilish-punch/

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28Feb/160

MWC Revisited: The best of the rest

We've seen smartphones, wearables and tablets galore here at Mobile World Congress, plastered with mucky fingerprints and goodness knows what else over the week on the show floor. But, that's not all. During our travels we've also discovered some weird and wonderful products that require a roundup of their own. So without further ado, here's the "best of the rest," a collection of the good, the bad and the downright strange that didn't make our other catchup pieces.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/27/mwc-revisited-the-best-of-the-rest/

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