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August 2001. News and Events -Week 2-
AUGUST Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 -Week 4 -Week 5
Sig: the humanoid robot

Japanese researchers have developed a robot that can recognize human voices in a noisy environment.
This robot, named “Sig”, has no legs and has been designed by the ERATO Kitano Symbiotic Systems research group.
Sig is capable of recognizing human voices by using microphones placed on both sides of its head, like ears. It can also visually identify people with its cameras and picture recognition software. Sig could one day be used as a receptionist or tourist guide.

Could your voice be cloned?

AT&T Labs is to start selling speech software that it says is so good at reproducing the sounds, inflections and intonations of a human voice that it can re-create voices and even bring the voices of long-dead celebrities back to life.
The software, called Natural Voices, is not flawless - its utterances still contain a few robotic tones and unnatural inflections - and competitors question whether the software is a substantial step up from existing products. But some of those who have tested the technology say it is the first text-to-speech software to raise the spectre of voice cloning, replicating a person's voice so perfectly that the human ear cannot tell the difference.

Smart Clothes for Bell Canada technicians

Bell Canada is setting a new trend in technology fashion with the purchase of Xybernaut wearable computers, which will initially equip 300 Bell Canada field service technicians.
These Smart Clothes will eventually replace the existing IBM ThinkPad laptops that are used in the field by approximately 10,000 Bell Canada technicians. They enable mobile workers to perform technical functions on-the-go. The wearable computer can be worn as a vest or belt and is equipped with either a head-mounted or a flat panel display screen for viewing images.

Smart Coca-Cola machine

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd., NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and Itochu Corp. have announced the trial launch of a consumer service employing computer software that transforms a soft drink vending machine into an information station and services terminal offering fun, excitement and entertainment.
The new service, named "Cmode", links a specially developed Coca-Cola vending machine, equipped with a printer, sensor and speaker to i-mode, the Internet-enabling system launched by NTT DoCoMo.
Users who are connected to DoCoMo's i-mode service can do a number of other things with Cmode: For example, they can store "cash" on their phone accounts and buy a soda without putting money into the machine. They can also wirelessly download new background images or ring tones for their mobile phone.

Will intelligent agents replace Journalists?

Within a few years newspapers could be written not by human journalists but by a piece of software trained to pluck text off the news wires and rearrange the words into punchy stories.
An intelligent system, called Author, has already passed what some cynics might believe to be the crucial test of modern journalism: the ability to write convincing fairy stories.
Author, which was originally developed to help children get over literacy problems, can generate new versions of traditional fairy tales by changing details about the characters, props and plot.
Journalists need not start worrying about their jobs just yet. The developers said that Author still lacks one fundamental skill: the ability to tell fact from fiction.

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