Wacky Wednesday: Our Favorite Computer Movies

“I’m in!” and “Hack into the back door” are some key phrases needed in any computer movie, and where would we be without those computer geniuses at age 16? Without them, we wouldn’t be able to hack into the Pentagon, create a model AI beauty nor see the truth in the matrix. Here is a list of our favorite computer movies:

5. The Matrix-1999

An obvious one, we know, but for good reason! This movie was released on the cusp of the millennium, making the fear of Y2K and the takeover of the machines even more likely. And while some will argue Keanu Reeves’s best role was in ‘Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure,” he did pretty well in this, too. The film itself is revolutionary with the life-like CGI and crazy philosophical ideals and definitely deserves a spot on the list.

4. Minority Report-2002

This Tom Cruise classic has some awesome, futuristic technology that isn’t very far into the future. There’s AR and VR, recognition software and good detective work! The precogs would be good to have this decade, especially for Cruise to know he’d leave Scientology, if the tabloid minority reports are true.

3.The Net-1995

Maybe one of the best female computer programmers in a movie predating Trinity (who kind of cheated in achieving her Master Hacker status, but that’s a whole other story). Sandra Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a programmer who gets caught up in a high-stake, fast-paced espionage heist. Cases of mistaken and stolen identity and floppy disks make you sit on the edge of your seat with anticipation and worry; can Bennett solve the mystery? Will she still be mistaken for a criminal? Who are Praetorians? And you have to love the movie’s tagline: “This summer, Sandra Bullock is caught… in the Net!”

2. WarGames-1983

So deliciously 80s, this movie brought us the thrills and dangers of computer-ing; it was early enough that people didn’t know what firewalls were, but at a time where hacking your GPA had been established aspiration of many teenage computer owners. Ally Sheedy plays an impressed Jennifer who is eager to watch computer boy-genius David (Matthew Broderick) play a modern Risk-like game that is actual thermonuclear warfare. Who wouldn’t want to get caught up in governing bodies and their vast array of nukes?

1. Weird Science-1985

This sexist version of the Frankenstein story is every nerdy high school boy’s dream come true. Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) make their dream lady (including a C-cup, Einstein’s brain and Houdini’s magical powers) from Wyatt’s computer by hacking into the city’s power grid for an extra surge of electricity (which is totally thing). Lisa is created, much like Frankenstein’s monster, and learn that having the perfect woman or best party doesn’t make them popular, but their personalities do, and shouldn’t that be the message for all these computer movies?

rosie

Wacky Wednesday-Weird Early Robots

Where would the world be without Wall-E, R2-D2 or Rosie from The Jetsons? We’d be without those happy, helpful, futuristic companions of the future. But before KITT could save Hasselhoff again, we had some real robotic accomplices. Here is a list of our top 5 favorite robots and AI in the real world.

5. David Silver’s (at MIT) Silver Arm-1974

silver arm

The Silver Arm was used for small-parts assembly. Instead of using its powerful crushing capabilities that could destroy the microscopic mechanics, Silver Arm sensed feedback from delicate pressure and touch sensors. The arm corresponded human finger movements.

4. Marvin Minsky developed the Tentacle Arm-1968

tentacle arm

You’ve heard of the octopus, you’ve heard of the arm, combine them together for Minsky’s Tentacle Arm. The Arm had 12 joints to give it tentacle-like movements. A hydraulic fluid-powered PDP-6 computer controlled the Arm, and if you mounted it on a wall, it could lift a person.

3. MIT’s Automatically Programmed Tools project-1959

ashtray

The Automatically Program Tools project was an early form of AI; it was a language used to instruct milling machine operations how to work. In a demonstration, the program built an ashtray for every attendee, just to show off how it good it was.

2. Rancho Arm-1963

rancho arm

The Rancho Arm was designed in Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, Calif. The arm was as flexible as a human arm, thanks to its six joints. It is held as one of the first robotic arms to be controlled by a computer at Stanford.

1. Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell-1978

speak n spel

Do you know how to speak? Do you know how to spell? If so, you probably have the Speak & Spell to thank. But besides being responsible for teaching many kids how to spell, the TI Speak & Spell was also the first electronic duplication of human voice tract on a single silicon chip. Pretty high tech for something used to spell out swear words by teenagers. f

Our New Deal

Here at Prizmiq, we want to make the Internet a better place. And while we don’t have the tools right now to delete all Internet trolls 5ever, we do want to provide a better customer experience for online retailing.

That’s why, for a limited time, we are offering quite a deal to five qualified shoe brands our services for free.

Yeah, free.

We will cover the cost of 3D imaging for your company’s top 10 most popular products. That means we will scan and render your products and they’ll look just as good as if you’d paid for our services. In exchange, we’d like an A/B test and a nominal revenue share based on the measured lift responsible from our 3D experience.

We’ll 3D image 10 of your top products. Imagine your baseline conversion rate for a particular product is 2% with traditional 2D photography. After conducting the A/B test we find that the same product equipped with our interactive 3D performed at a 2.8% conversion rate. We would only ask for 5% of that extra .8% increase in conversion on the 3D products to cover some of our fixed cost, and only that 5%.

What Prizmiq can do for your product:

  • High definition 3D imaging of your products,
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  • A feature rich viewer that let’s your customers interact, engage and even customize your products in real-time 3D.

How to participate:

  1. Send us 10 of your best selling products
  2. We image your products that week
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This is a limited time offer, and we want to help your businesses succeed. If you have any questions, e-mail Amaris at amaris@prizmiq.com.

manus

Wearables: The Good, The Innovative and The Weird

With our modern day technology looking more and more like it’s headed toward a Jetson-like future, wearable technology is becoming more common, but still impressive. Below are some examples of wearable tech we are excited about:

sony smartwatch 3The Smart Watch:

There are many different types of Smart Watches on the market right now from many different tech companies, including Apple, Android, LG, Samsung and others. Displays can be color or black and white and all can be compatible with your phone. They can alert you to calls, display and send texts and a variety of other things. It’s basically a watch that can replace parts of your phone, which replaced your analog watch initially. According to Wearable.com, the best overall Smart Watch is the Sony SmartWatch 3 (pictured).

The Manus:

A huge game changer, the Manus, is the first consumer VR data-glove. Think NES Power Glove,manus but it works. The Manus was revealed at E3 2015 is expected to be released in early 2016. The glove is compatible with Android 4.4 and up, and uses Bluetooth to make the gloves completely wireless and accurate hand tracking. The software is completely open-sourced and the fingers in the glove are tracked by integrated flex sensors. Though Manus is focused on VR, the gloves can be used with any PC game that uses a mouse and keyboard, incuding The Elder Scrolls, Portal 2, and WoW and LoL with the mouse. The Manus is definitely something to keep an eye on in the coming quarters.

Smart Scarf:

SWARMThis is where wearables get weird. Microsoft’s Project SWARM (Sensing Whether Affect Requires Meditation) syncs to the SWARM app on a smartphone and heats up or vibrates based on certain modules. The Scarf is meant to be therapeutic for those with mental or physical disabilities. While the Scarf has some interesting capabilities, it seems Microsoft is trying too hard to stuff everything in it. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing this product in Microsoft stores anytime soon.

Oculus Touch

Oculus Rift is leveling up the gaming experience

Oculus Rift announced yesterday it is bringing out hand-held controls called Oculus Touch. There are two controllers, which are both handheld and look like an Xbox One controller cut in half with the YX buttons and joystick on one and the AB buttons and second joystick on the other.

The two controllers allow users to “pick up” items in games, such as weapons, and utilize them the same way you would in real life (you can hold up and aim a gun in VR the same way you would in real life). The controllers also vibrate when you pick something up, making it seem heavy in your hand, like you’re actually pick something up.

The controllers are definitely an up-step in the world of handhelds, and could lead to further opportunities for VR outside of gaming. For now, this tech will make Halo a lot more realistic.

ar_man

PacMan AR: The Ghosts Are Real

Playing Pac-Man was always fun, whether the machine was at an arcade or just an app on your phone. But it was missing that realness to it of actually being chased by ghosts and eating those oh-so nutritional pellets. Rather than going to a haunted house or making the upcoming Pixels movie a reality, Epson has created an augmented reality version called AR-Man.

AR-Man will be available on Epson’s Moverio BT-200, binocular-like AR headset in the Moverio ar_manapp store. Unlike the original Pac-Man that was an aerial view, AR-Man puts you in the maze, so knowing where the ghosts are is impossible until they’re right in front of you.

You don’t need a large space to run around in, however. Running in place is sufficient to dodge the ghosts and get those pellets and cherries.

AR-Man is expected to be in the Moverio app store next week, so keep you eyes peeled for Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde!

nomowo

Wacky Wednesday: Read Your Dog’s Mind

Back in December 2013, Swedish-based company No More Woof made everyone write its product on their Christmas lists: A device that allowed you to understand what your dog was thinking.

Unfortunately, No More Woof was only in its prototype stages, but its future looked hopeful. nomowo

The product is a headset for your dog, like something a telemarketer might wear, that analyzed your dog’s brain waves.

The technology is a combination of electroencephalography (EEG) sensing, micro-computing and special brain-computer interface software. All mammals (humans included) process and transport thoughts the same way using electric signals through its neurosystem. EEG has already been able to be used on humans; EEG should be easy to use for dogs because animals are generally less complex, allowing for No More Woof to decipher phrases such as “This is splendid!” “Leave me alone” and many more. The only hiccup in the process is creating a headset that will comfortably fit a dog’s head and still be effective.

nomowo3

As of early 2014, the device can only translate your dog’s thoughts into English, but will soon be able to translate into Spanish, French and even Mandarin!

No More Woof is still seeking funding, you can donate on its website and even purchase a prototype!

Camping with Augmented Reality

Camping and hiking are all fun and games until someone gets lost. You can try to find your way by calling a friend, but they can’t necessarily navigate you back to your tent without knowing exactly where you are. Enter Spyglass, an app for iOS that has a multitude of compasses for your navigation needs as well as finding designated waypoints.

There is a compass available on the app that uses Augmented Reality with GPS capabilities. YouAR Spyglass can look at your phone to navigate and a compass will overlay what you see in front of you. This compass is also enabled when you are trying to find your way back to your camp using the Find Waypoint feature.

You can also navigate via the stars using this app. It utilizes the stars spyglassconstellations, moon and sun to help you find your way.

The app also has an angular calculator and inclinometer allowing you to measure the height of mountains and the distance to them.

At $3.99 on the App Store, it’s a pretty cheap way to not get lost.

The more it looks like an Ewok, the better.

5 Things You Didn’t Know A StartUp Needed

After working as a startup for a good while now, we at Prizmiq wanted to pass on some of our tech-startup wisdom to you all. Here is a list of the Top 5 things you didn’t know your start up needed.

1. Windows

No, we’re not talking about Microsoft. We mean those actual glass squares in walls that allow sunlight in and can let you see what the weather is like without using AccuWeather or Weather Puppy. Windows allow natural light to keep your body awake and is way less glaring than fluorescents. It also gives everyone in the office a chance to say “Hey, it’s nice out, let’s work outside.” The camaraderie that blooms when the sun comes out makes for excellent office morale.

The more it looks like an Ewok, the better.

The more it looks like an Ewok, the better.

2. Office Dog(s)

While this employee won’t be on your payroll, a canine HR rep can boost office morale. Bringing them in also encourages brief 5-10 minute stretches and exercising to take the dog out. Most office spaces don’t allow dogs, however, so make sure you find a space that’s dog-friendly. Also, keep them in a separate room during meetings with investors or prospects.

3. A Watering Hole

Working at a startup can be stressful, so it’s important to blow off some steam either at a coffee place that knows your order by heart, a bar that knows your name or a restaurant with good cheap food. Make sure it’s within walking distance so everyone can go, but far enough away you won’t be forced to think only about the business.

4. Pump Up Playlist

Music has the power to put you in a good mood or bad one, depending on which genre you choose to listen to. Before an important pitch to investors, put on a playlist that instills confidence in your team so they can perform their best during the meeting.

5. Something to Distract You

Listicles and quizzes online can give you a mini break while working on projects. We hope this list brought you a brief moment of sanity from your hectic startup life, now get back to work!

Wingman

Wingman: Allowing you to drink responsibly.

There’s a new app in the Apple app store called Wingman. And while the app’s direct use isn’t getting you laid (though that might happen) it will get you home safe.

When you go out to the bars for shots or hang out with friends wine and cheese night, Wingman is there to let you know your Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC. Basically, you type in what you’re drinking throughout the night and Wingman will give you an estimated BAC. You’ll get notifications such as “feeling it” in relation to your BAC while it keeps track of how many drinks you’ve had.

The app also works on smart watches, like the Apple Watch and Pebble Smart Watch so you don’t accidentally send embarrassing texts with your phone.

The app was developed by Bellevue-based Teku Industries, and will be released in the US this month. For May, the app will cost 99 cents, then it will be bumped up to $1.99, which is a small price to pay to make sure you don’t end up going home with Ryan Gosling and waking up to Steve Buscemi.