iStock
iStock

This Sound-Tracking System Is Like a 'Smoke Detector for Noise'

iStock
iStock

You may expect your neighbors to get a little noisy now and then (like when they're cheering on a football game or hammering their walls), but there’s a difference between the occasional disturbance and a racket that keeps you up every night. A sound-detecting system called NoiseAware was designed to distinguish between the two.

NoiseAware bills itself as “a smoke detector for noise.” According to Co.Design, the Wi-Fi enabled decibel sensors are plugged into walls where they listen for sound trends that fall outside the norm. Sound caused by something accidental, like a plate falling to the floor, for instance, gets ignored. But if NoiseAware senses a rowdy party or a prolonged screaming match happening in the space, it will alert its owner via text so they can handle it from there.

The product is meant for landlords who want a way to curb their tenants' disruptive behavior when they’re not on the property, but it can also be used by Airbnb hosts or even parents who want to keep tabs on their kids when they’re home alone. NoiseAware tracks general noise patterns over time without recording actual sound, which means the content of private conversations is kept private. Property owners can shop systems online—and even if you don't own your home, you can always try suggesting it to your landlord to deter noisy neighbors.

[h/t Co.Design]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
A New App Interprets Sign Language for the Amazon Echo
iStock
iStock

The convenience of the Amazon Echo smart speaker only goes so far. Without any sort of visual interface, the voice-activated home assistant isn't very useful for deaf people—Alexa only understands three languages, none of which are American Sign Language. But Fast Company reports that one programmer has invented an ingenious system that allows the Echo to communicate visually.

Abhishek Singh's new artificial intelligence app acts as an interpreter between deaf people and Alexa. For it to work, users must sign at a web cam that's connected to a computer. The app translates the ASL signs from the webcam into text and reads it aloud for Alexa to hear. When Alexa talks back, the app generates a text version of the response for the user to read.

Singh had to teach his system ASL himself by signing various words at his web cam repeatedly. Working within the machine-learning platform Tensorflow, the AI program eventually collected enough data to recognize the meaning of certain gestures automatically.

While Amazon does have two smart home devices with screens—the Echo Show and Echo Spot—for now, Singh's app is one of the best options out there for signers using voice assistants that don't have visual components. He plans to make the code open-source and share his full methodology in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Watch his demo in the video below.

[h/t Fast Company]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
The 'David Bowie Is' Exhibition Is Coming to Your Smartphone
 Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images

"David Bowie is," an exhibition dedicated to the life, work, and legacy of the pop icon, concluded its six-year world tour on July 15. If you didn't get a chance to see it in person at its final stop at New York City's Brooklyn Museum, you can still experience the exhibit at home. As engadget reports, the artifacts displayed in the collection will be recreated in virtual and augmented reality.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, the curator of the exhibit, and the David Bowie Archive are collaborating with Sony Music Entertainment and the sound and media studio Planeta on the new project, "David Bowie is Virtual." Like the physical exhibition, the digital experience will integrate visual scenes with the music of David Bowie: 3D scans will bring the musician's costumes and personal items into the virtual sphere, allowing viewers to examine them up close, and possibly in the case of the outfits, try them on.

"These new digital versions of ‘David Bowie is’ will add unprecedented depth and intimacy to the exhibition experience, allowing the viewer to engage with the work of one of the world’s most popular and influential artists as never before," the announcement of the project reads. "Both the visual richness of this show and the visionary nature of Bowie and his art makes this a particularly ideal candidate for a VR/AR adaptation."

"David Bowie is Virtual" will be released for smartphones and all major VR and AR platforms sometimes this fall. Like the museum exhibition, it will come with an admission price, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.

[h/t engadget]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios