The world of Star Trek featured a handheld device that was used to scan the health of patients. In 2014, it came to light that Alphabet’s “Moonshot Factory” was trying to create such a gadget, with that effort currently housed in Verily Life Sciences. It has now emerged that the X division was working on another tricorder project in 2019, but has since canceled “Maya.”
X Stories March 16
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Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory investigates a number of ideas before publicizing and later graduating them. For the past three years, X has been working on Project Amber to find a biomarker for depression. That ultimately did not come to fruition, but the team did create a portable, low-cost EEG that has been open-sourced.
X Stories October 12, 2020
X Stories March 1, 2020
X Stories February 3, 2020
Report: Alphabet working on software to make quantum computing more accessible
Last October, Google announced that its quantum computer performed a task that would take classical computers infinitely longer to complete. In addition to Google, Alphabet looks to have another team working on quantum computing.
X Stories November 21, 2019
X Stories December 19, 2018
X Stories November 15, 2018
Back in 2013, Google went on a robotics shopping spree with seven acquisitions that included Boston Dynamics and a company called Schaft. That effort has so far yet to materialize, with robotics currently under Alphabet’s X. After failing to find a buyer, Alphabet is shutting down the company focused on bipedal robots.
X Stories October 30, 2018
Following last week’s publication of a report that tied several high-ranking current and former Google executives to incidents of sexual misconduct, the company’s employees have been organizing in protest. Sundar Pichai today voiced support for the upcoming “women’s walk,” while one Googler named by the New York Times has left.
X Stories July 11, 2018
Two of X’s aerial projects are graduating from the Moonshot Factory today to become independent Alphabet companies like Waymo and Verily. Dropping the “project” status, Loon will continue to deliver internet via balloons, while Wing is focusing on a variety of drone-related efforts.
X Stories May 17, 2018
Google has long worked towards a future where its services improve the lives of users. This was evident at I/O 2018 with Google Duplex, Assistant, and Maps, while a new push into “responsibility” and digital wellbeing was aimed at making sure Google gets the approach “right.”
An internal concept video emerged today that imagines Google and technology taking more of an active role in your life in order to shape and — possibly — improve it.
X Stories March 27, 2018
The next moonshot for Alphabet’s X division might be in agriculture as it investigates how to apply artificial intelligence to food production. While in its early days, Astro Teller revealed that the research division is also interested how drones and robotics could be leveraged.
X Stories February 6, 2018
In 2017, Alphabet’s drone delivery program reemerged following financial tightening during the prior year. Project Wing has now added a former Amazon executive to head operations in a sign that it’s possibly nearing a commercial launch.
X Stories January 24, 2018
X Stories November 9, 2017
Project Loon’s deployment of emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico in under a month is quite an impressive technological feat. By the end of October, AT&T and T-Mobile customers could connect to LTE from these miles-high balloons. Alphabet’s X division noted today that over 100,000 people have now benefited from this service.
X Stories October 20, 2017
Update 10/27: T-Mobile customers in Puerto Rico can now connect to Project Loon for emergency internet service. X also revealed that over the past week the balloons have provided connectivity to “tens of thousands.”
Earlier this month, Project Loon was granted authorization to provide emergency service to Puerto Rico using their balloons. Today, the Alphabet division announced that in partnership with AT&T it began providing LTE service to the hurricane-stricken island.
X Stories October 12, 2017
After Android but before leaving Google, Andy Rubin led the company’s robotics efforts and acquired several startups, including Boston Dynamics. As part of the Alphabet re-org in late 2015, a majority of the robots division was absorbed into X. That team has remained quiet until today.
X Stories August 4, 2017
Generating energy by flying a plane-like vehicle with propellers, one of X’s oldest clean energy projects is facing stiff competition from the falling price of existing green energy sources. As a result, Alphabet’s support of Project Makani has fallen since its 2013 acquisition, while the same fate befalls many of the research lab’s other climate change-fighting moonshots.
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In 2014, Google bought Titan Aerospace, maker of high altitude, solar-powered drone aircraft. At the time Google noted, “It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.” Titan previously said that its drones could collect real-time, high-resolution images of the earth, carry other atmospheric sensors and support voice and data services. A video of the Titan Aerospace Solara 50 can be seen below…
X Stories June 22, 2016
Any SF fan will be familiar with Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics, designed to ensure that robots were safe to be around. Scientists at Google, OpenAI, Stanford and Berkeley have just published a paper proposing the real-life equivalent for AI systems.
In a blog post summarising the proposal, Google Research’s Chris Olah says that while the team believes that AI will greatly benefit humanity, the risks do also need to be considered …
X Stories May 24, 2016
Google is finally about to get the go ahead from the Indian government to run a pilot of Project Loon in India according to a report from the Economic Times. According to the sites source, an anonymous “top government official”, the nation is keen to test as many alternative methods of providing internet connectivity as possible. One of which is Google’s high-altitude balloons.
X Stories May 19, 2016
A previous Google patent described a combination of foam bumpers and external airbags to minimize injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision, but a new patent spotted by Mercury News swaps out the airbags for an adhesive coating intended to act as human flypaper …
X Stories May 13, 2016
You may remember a little while back it was revealed that Google has been feeding its neural networks steamy romance novels to read. The aim through this exercise was to teach it to produce more human-like responses in order to power its search results and ‘smart reply’ systems.
As well as forcing its neural networks to digest more than 11,000 unpublished books (3,000 of which were romance), Google Brain’s engineers have also been teaching it to relate two unique phrases to each other. As revealed in a Quartz article, the method was fairly straightforward and resulted in some really weird, romantic, dark ‘poetry’.
X Stories May 3, 2016
Four months ago, Chrysler unveiled its 2017 Pacifica minivan range at the Detroit Auto Show. If a report from Bloomberg is anything to go by, this Pacifica Hybrid range could feature Google’s self-driving technology, bringing weeks/months of rumors to fruition. The deal could be signed by Tuesday…
X Stories April 29, 2016
Google has in the past explored more than one type of electronic contact lens, but a patent published yesterday takes eye-based electronics to a whole new level. The company believes it can cure short-sightedness by removing the inferior biological lenses from your eyes and replacing them with motorized ones controlled by tiny computers.
The planned device […] contains a number of tiny components: storage, sensors, radio, battery and an electronic lens. The eyeball device gets power wirelessly from an “energy harvesting antenna.” The patent describes what looks like an external device to interface with the eyeball computer. The two will communicate through a radio and the ”interface device” contains the processor to do the necessary computing.
The description is not for the squeamish, especially when it comes to the insertion process …
X Stories April 26, 2016
Google joins Uber, Ford, Volvo and Lyft in forming a Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to promote self driving car regulations on a federal level versus state by state level. Google has been battling the California DMV who have proposed to ban Google’s Koala car that does not have a steering wheel or pedals and would not require a licensed driver.
X Stories April 25, 2016
I’ve said it time and time again over the last couple of years, but maybe this will make you finally believe it. Glass isn’t dead, and as I told you across across several exclusive reports last year, there’s even new hardware being field tested right now.
To further prove this morning that Google’s troubled head-mounted display device isn’t done yet, Glass for Work startup Augmedix — which deploys wearable solutions for healthcare systems and hospitals — announced that it has raised $17 million in funding from five leading healthcare systems across the U.S. And CrowdOptic has announced that it has now surpassed 10,000 Glass livestreams…
X Stories April 19, 2016
X Stories April 12, 2016
Truly autonomous vehicles are poised to be an exciting technology, but as with any other technology, there are always regulatory hurdles to be cleared. As first spotted by public records sleuth Mark Harris, a bill working its way through the California legislature would require the state’s DMV to effectively legalize Google’s ambitions of having a driverless fleet of self-driving Koala cars… expand full story
X Stories April 8, 2016
Update: Google has said that the robot is designed to be a ‘low-cost, low-power, compact device.’
While Alphabet is rumored to sell Boston Dynamics due to a lack of “marketable products”, it still owns quite a few robot companies. This morning one of them called SCHAFT showcased a bipedal robot that is capable of climbing stairs, balancing, and walking on difficult terrain.
X Stories April 5, 2016
Drones have become very popular among consumers over the last few years, with various applications mainly in photography and videography, but their potential suggests that there soon could be a slew of additional uses that normal people could benefit from. Particularly, drones could turn out to be very helpful for delivery of physical objects or perhaps an Internet connection.
According to Quartz, a new Google patent filed recently is all about a potential medical use. While last year the idea of medical equipment-carrying drones had already been patented by the search giant, it looks like the company may have found a viable method via which users could contact the devices…
Reuters last month reported that Google has been bolstering its self-driving car team as of late, and now as April rolls in, we’ve uncovered some more information on new hires as the team continues to expand. In one case, Google has added an ex-Apple global supply manager for the iPhone and the Apple Watch to the self-driving car supply management team…
X Stories April 4, 2016
One developer has managed to install AOSP KitKat on Google Glass
While the previous version of Google Glass is dead and dying, it is still an Android device. And that means it’s hackable, mod-able, and will probably be tinkered with for years to come. Similar to how other aging devices still have developer support, Reddit user jtxdriggers has managed to install 4.4 KitKat on Glass.
Google/Alphabet published its self-driving car report for March over the weekend, and besides of course the latest numbers (including the number of cars in each city, the total number of autonomous and manual driven miles, etc.), there are also some new details on the system the company uses to map the cars’ surroundings, and mention of a mundane accident that happened in Austin, Texas involving one of the company’s Lexus vehicles…
X Stories March 30, 2016
We reported last week that Tesla is using wearable tech to increase production efficiency at its factory, and cited knowledge of a promotional video that Google made in collaboration with Tesla as reason to believe that the company was using Glass hardware. Now, we have clips to share from that video to prove that, indeed, Tesla Motors did at one time trial using Google’s wearable at its Fremont factory…
X Stories March 28, 2016
Project Ara has been very quiet this year, with the last we really heard from the Mountain View company being a “re-route” announced last year. The project was slated in early 2015 to be getting a market pilot in Puerto Rico, but that just didn’t happen. Everything seemed to be on track when Regina Dugan and co. were talking up the project during the Google ATAP event at I/O last year, but there haven’t been hardly any updates besides a new logo and a video look inside the group since.
Now, some new questions on Google Opinion Rewards seem to be polling the public on how much it might be willing to pay for Project Ara modules…
X Stories March 19, 2016
Update: It appears Google has shut down the eBay listing.
Earlier this year, we told you across several exclusive reports that second-generation Glass hardware was in development, namely a variant of the device reworked with the enterprise in mind. Now, a couple months after getting our first look at FCC images of the device and later an official Google patent, we now have our first look at a unit in the wild via a new eBay listing…
X Stories March 17, 2016
Before former Android head Andy Rubin left Google, he headed up Google’s robotics efforts. In 2013, Google acquired numerous companies and added 300 robotics engineers. The crown jewel was Boston Dynamics, already known for their animal- and human-like robots. However, Bloomberg is now reporting that Alphabet is selling Boston Dynamics.
X Stories March 15, 2016
Back when I was in high school, I remember our computer studies teacher telling us that a computer only does what it’s told to do, and so mistakes are not the machine’s, but rather the user’s. With neural networks and machine learning, that is no longer true. AlphaGo, DeepMind’s specialist Go-playing machine, has proved as much. AlphaGo has been programmed to learn from its mistakes, and can err all on its own.
The AI-powered system failed to recover from an error against Lee Sedol in their fourth game, and eventually lost. In the fifth game, however, it made a mistake and was able to win the series in seemingly dramatic fashion.
X Stories March 12, 2016
Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s CEO and founder, today announced the historic news that its machine, AlphaGo, won its third game in a row versus 18-time Go world champion, Lee Sedol. With the third win under its belt, that’s the five-game match now sealed. A machine has officially beaten the world’s best player at a game which is widely considered to be very difficult to teach a machine.
X Stories March 10, 2016
Speaking in South Korea (where he was also seen using an iPhone), Eric Schmidt addressed the possibility of Google’s driverless cars expanding outside of the United States. In an interview with The Telegraph, Schmidt explained that UK officials have approached the company about bringing its self-driving vehicles to the streets.
As achievements go, learning how to pick up objects doesn’t sound quite as impressive as twice beating the world Go champion – it is, after all, something the average toddler can do. But it’s the fact that the robots themselves figured out the best way to do it using neural networks that makes this notable.
A recent Google report spotted by TNW explains how the company let robot arms pick up a variety of different objects, using neural networks to learn by trial-and-error the best way to handle each. Some 800,000 goes later, the robots seemed to have it figured out pretty well …
Google’s AI system AlphaGo, part of its DeepMind project, has again beaten world champion Lee Sedol – and looks like it may be on track to take the title in the next game. Engadget reports Sedol saying that he was left speechless by his defeat.
“I’m quite speechless,” said Lee in the post-match conference. “It was a clear loss on my part. From the beginning there was no moment I thought I was leading.”
DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis tweeted that AlphaGo “played some beautiful creative moves in this game” …