Big Tech &
Microsoft’s AI generates voices that sing in Chinese and English (3 minute read)
Researchers at Zhejiang University and Microsoft have developed an AI that can generate singing voices in multiple languages. Deepsinger was trained using data from music websites. It can generate songs in Chinese, Cantonese, and English. The resulting voices are high quality in terms of both pitch accuracy and voice naturalness. A sample from Deepsinger is available in the article. Technology like this has already caused issues in the music industry, with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label recently filing copyright notices against videos that used AI to make him rap a Billy Joel song.
Google just put a photo of the Pixel 4A on its store (1 minute read)
An image of Google's Pixel 4A was mistakenly published on its Canadian store. The image is available in the article. It features the 4A in a matte black finish with a light blue power button. The phone has one camera and a headphone jack. It supposedly passed FCC approval last month, suggesting it might be released soon. The screen inside the image has a date of May 12th, indicating that Google had originally planned to launch the phone during its annual developer's conference before it was canceled.
Noise-cancelling windows halve traffic sounds even when they're open (2 minute read)
A team from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has created a device that can reduce the sound coming through an open window by up to 10 decibels. It uses 24 small loudspeakers and can be attached to the security grilles commonly used across South-East Asia. The device can reduce noise by 50% for frequencies between 300 and 1000 Hz. Frequencies lower than 300 Hz would require larger speakers, which might obstruct the view of the window. The device tested well in the lab, and the team plans to test a prototype soon in real-world experiments.
Robots run this farm (13 minute video)
Water is used for almost everything that we do, from growing food to manufacturing every type of goods, and it is becoming more and more scarce. A team at Columbia University, New York, has developed a technique to create clean drinking water from industrial waste. It can remove more than 98% of salt from wastewater with high efficiency. While the technique was created for industrial waste, it is also effective for treating other wastewater. Another way to preserve water is through recycling water used in farming, which is what a company called Bowery is doing. Bowery builds indoor vertical farms inside cities which can grow crops all year around. It grows crops twice as fast as traditional farms while saving 95% of the water it uses. The whole farm is automated and everything is controlled with a central operating system. Ideas like these will help prevent a water crisis in the future.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tiny-XSS-Payloads (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a collection of XSS payloads that can be used in different contexts. A list of current payloads is available and a working demo is linked.
Dark Web Price Index 2020 (8 minute read)
The Dark Web is known to be a place where people can purchase illegal items. Horror stories where people have their identities or bank accounts stolen are not unheard of, and they could be justified given the prices and items available for purchase. This article contains a list of items that can be purchased on the dark web, their price ranges, as well as some detail on how the purchase process works. Protecting yourself from identity fraud involves being careful about where you give out information, checking ATMs for signs of tampering, checking your computer for malware, securing your internet connection, and making sure your online accounts are secure. A more detailed guide to protecting your identity is available at the end of the article.
This ‘smart’ face mask can translate what you say into eight languages (2 minute read)
Donut Robotics in Japan has developed a face mask that can translate what the wearer is saying into eight different languages. The C-FACE Smart Mask works by connecting to a smartphone app to translate words into text messages or speech. It will be available in Japan in September for around $40 per mask. The company plans to sell the masks in China, the US, and Europe.