Optus offers World Cup watchers Fetch TV boxes to make up for streaming fiasco

If you’re one of the many Australians who signed up to the Optus Sport service in order to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it’s highly likely that you’ve experienced a number of streaming issues during the event’s opening nights. 

Having already received numerous complaints from disgruntled soccer fans, Optus has extended an olive branch to its customers, announcing that it will provide a free Fetch TV Mini set-top box for 12 months to every Optus Sport Premium subscriber who’s had streaming performance issues between June 14 and June 18. 

The offer is available to anyone who’s signed up for the Optus Sport Premium service, regardless of their broadband or mobile provider — all you have to do is go to your nearest Optus store, allow the staff to verify your Optus Sport email address, and you should be able to walk out with a new Fetch TV Mini.

The Fetch TV Mini box (valued at $168) provides access to a number of services read more

Space Really Does Need Traffic Cops

In the early Space Age, the people who sent up satellites could operate under what’s known as “big sky” theory. Space is so vast, so spacious, that we could never possibly use it all up. History, however, has repeatedly shown that whenever we think something is too abundant for humans to deplete, we’re wrong. And so it is in space, where more and more satellites and space junk threaten to crash into each other and crowd out the future. In 2016, the Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron had to tell satellite operators to watch out for each other 3,995,874 times.

The burden of sending all those safety messages has rested squarely on the Defense Department’s shoulders. But on Monday, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-3, which shifts some of that space traffic responsibility to a new owner: the Department of Commerce.

Commerce? Indeed. “I am instructing my administration to embrace the budding commercial space industry,” read more

MIT uses brain signals and hand gestures to control robots

The team harnessed the power of brain signals called “error-related potentials” (ErrPs), which naturally occur when people notice a mistake. The system monitors the brain activity of a person observing robotic work, and if an ErrP occurs — because the robot has made an error — the robot pauses its activity so the user can correct it. This happens via an interface that measures muscle activity — the person makes hand gestures to select the correct option for the robot.

In one trial, the team used “Baxter”, a robot from Rethink Robotics, to move a power drill to one of three possible targets on the body of a mock plane. With human supervision, Baxter went from choosing the correct target 70 percent of the time to more than 97 percent of the time. Critically, the system works with people it’s never read more

Korean crypto exchange Bithumb says it lost over $30M following a hack

Just weeks after Korean crypto exchange Coinrail lost $40 million through an alleged hack, another in the crypto-mad country — Bithumb — has claimed hackers made off with over $30 million in cryptocurrency.

Coinrail may be one of Korea’s smaller exchanges, but Bithumb is far larger. The exchange is one of the world’s top ten ranked based on trading of Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash, and top for newly-launched EOS, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com.

In a now-deleted tweet, Bithumb said today that 35 billion won of tokens — around $31 million — were snatched. It didn’t provide details of the attack, but it did say it will cover any losses for its users. The company has temporarily frozen deposits and trading while it is in the process of “changing our wallet system” following the incident.

Days prior to the hack, Bithumb said on Twitter that it was “transferring all of asset to the cold wallet read more

Snapchat Lenses bring coral reefs to your neighborhood

These are Lens Studio creations, so you only need to grab the relevant Snapcodes (at the source link) to get started. No, this won’t stand in for a documentary or classroom lecture. However, that’s not really the point — this is more about fostering interest in the reefs, whether you’re interested in preserving them or are just curious about what happens under the waves.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/19/coral-reef-snapchat-lenses/

Football matches land on your table thanks to augmented reality

It’s World Cup season, so that means that even articles about machine learning have to have a football angle. Today’s concession to the beautiful game is a system that takes 2D videos of matches and recreates them in 3D so you can watch them on your coffee table (assuming you have some kind of augmented reality setup, which you almost certainly don’t). It’s not as good as being there, but it might be better than watching it on TV.

The “Soccer On Your Tabletop” system takes as its input a video of a match and watches it carefully, tracking each player and their movements individually. The images of the players are then mapped onto 3D models “extracted from soccer video games,” and placed on a 3D representation of the field. Basically they cross FIFA 18 with real life and produce a sort of miniature hybrid.

Considering the source data — two-dimensional, low-resolution and in motion — it’s a pretty serious accomplishment to reliably reconstruct a realistic and reasonably read more

Facebook Messenger is trialing autoplaying video ads

After seemingly running out of space for ads in its newsfeed, social-media giant Facebook is now in the process of trialling autoplaying video ads in its popular messaging platform, Facebook Messenger.

Alongside chats in your inbox from your friends, family members, and people-you-met-that-one-time, you’ll now be watching video commercials – a form of advertising that nets Facebook much more money than regular static ads.

According to the social network’s first quarter earnings for 2018, advertising was responsible for bringing in 98.6% of the company’s total revenue, accounting for $11.8 billion in the first three months of the year.

On trial

The trial for the feature commenced on Monday, June 18, but as Stefanos Loukakos, Messenger’s head of advertising, told Recode, the company will be monitoring user response to the new format to determine whether it will stick around.

“We don’t know yet,” he said when asked about how a wider rollout. “However, signs until now, when we read more