Category Archives: Hardware

September 26, 2016

Microsoft Bets Its Future on a Reprogrammable Computer Chip

Today, the programmable chips that Burger and Lu believed would transform the world—called field programmable gate arrays—are here. FPGAs already underpin Bing, and in the coming weeks, they will drive new search algorithms based on deep neural networks—artificial intelligence modeled on the structure of the human brain—executing this AI several orders of magnitude faster than ordinary chips could. As in, 23 milliseconds instead of four seconds of nothing on your screen. FPGAs also drive Azure, the company’s cloud computing service. And in the coming years, almost every new Microsoft server will include an FPGA. That’s millions of machines across the globe. “This gives us massive capacity and enormous flexibility, and the economics work,” Burger says. “This is now Microsoft’s standard, worldwide architecture.”

September 11, 2016

Apple Is Said to Be Rethinking Strategy on Self-Driving Cars

In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly.

The job cuts are the latest sign of trouble with Apple’s car initiative. The company has added resources to the project — code-named Titan — over the last two years, but it has struggled to make progress. And in July, the company brought in Bob Mansfield, a highly regarded Apple veteran, to take over the effort.

July 3, 2016
March 31, 2016

Logic Gates

The best visualisations I’ve ever come across on the subject. And they’re presented as animated GIFs. What’s not to like?

January 12, 2016

The second HTC Vive development kit has a built-in camera and new controllers

Right now, the camera doesn’t provide much beyond this boundary feature and a full “chaperone” mode, which replaces your entire environment with the camera view. It’s HTC and Valve’s answer to the vital question “How do you drink a glass of whiskey in VR?”, and while it’s a pretty good one, it’s still not hugely ambitious. But the technology opens up a broader range of possibilities. Third-party developers will be able to tap into it for their own purposes, and an HTC spokesperson says that its software can map 3D space, which would let virtual objects respond to real-world ones — similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens room-scanning tech.

Including front-facing cameras in VR headsets enable, at the very least, some nice quality of life features.

November 27, 2015