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Cosplayer Rifle Beach
Photo credit: Peta Pixel
Before planning a cosplay shoot with fake weapons, make sure it isn’t in a public area, or else you may end up on the news, and not for the reasons you’d expect. One woman was spotted holding what appeared to be a rifle at Seacliff State Beach in Monterey Bay, and even though she was dressed in a costume, some people said it was not the right place or time to do that, especially with children in the vicinity. Read more for the news report and additional information.

Google Independence Day Easter Egg Fireworks
Another holiday, another Google Easter egg, and for this Independence Day, it has everything to do with fireworks. That’s right, you’re based in the US (or using a VPN), simply typing “Fourth of July”, “Fourth of July fireworks”, or just “fireworks” into the search box will put a fireworks show o your screen, mobile devices included. Once activated, the show lasts for around 5-6 seconds before returning to normal, but the one term that won’t trigger anything is “firework safety”, and for good reason. Read more for additional pictures and information.

Drone Umbrella DroneBrella
A French magician who goes by Moulla wanted a hands-free umbrella solution that didn’t involve wearing something. So, he decided to combine a drone, umbrella and a smartphone app into one creation, called the “DroneBrella”. It’s basically an app-controlled umbrella that was developed by Moulla and his team at Augmented magic. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on pricing or availability. Read more for a video and additional information.

CNC Machine Mac Pro Grille Cheese
Apple unveiled the new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019 earlier this month, and ever since that time, people have been comparing its design to a cheese grater, and rightfully so. Aerospace enthusiast and maker Winston Moy wanted to see just how an Apple cheese grater would perform if they ever made one, so he fired up the CNC machine create his very own replica. Does it do a good job? Let’s just say that Apple should stick with electronics. Read more for the video and additional information.

Deepfake Static Photo Audio Animated

London’s Imperial College and Samsung’s AI researchers have developed a new algorithm that can turn a static photo and audio file into an animated singing video portrait. Similar to other deepfake AI algorithms, this one also uses machine learning to generate their output, and even though the clips may be rough around the edges, it shows just what is possible in the future for better or worse. Read more for two videos showing the algorithm in-action, all created from a static photos and audio files.

Pakistani Politicians Facebook Cat Filter
An official media address by Pakistani regional minister Shaukat Yousafzai gained international attention last week, but not for the reasons you may think. Simply put, someone accidentally left the cat filter on during the Facebook livestream, thus transforming Yousafzai and other party members into cats for the entire conference. They intended to discuss important decisions of the provincial cabinet in Peshawar last Friday, but the social media team handling the broadcast wasn’t quite paying attention to what was going on. Read more for a video clip and additional information.

Boston Dynamics Robot Parody
For those who aren’t familiar with Boston Dynamics, it’s basically an American engineering and robotics design company founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group. They’re most well known for their development of BigDog, a quadruped robot designed for the U.S. military with funding from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). What if they eventually developed an AI-powered, self-aware robot that was able to fight back? Bosstownn Dynamics attempts to show us with their parody video. Read more to watch.

Computer Programmer Girlfriend AI Chat Bot
Li Kaixiang, a software development engineer for Chinese e-commerce website JD.com, has been inundated with projects, but didn’t want to leave his girlfriend hanging. So, he decided to create an AI-powered chatbot to answer and send messages automatically. The screenshot you see above is one sample conversation that the chatbot had recently, and while not perfectly human-like, it gets the job done. Read more for the original message that was posted to Weibo in Chinese.

Petz Store Facial Recognition Technology
Petz, a Brazilian pet shop chain, has decided to use facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence to let dogs to buy their favorite products by simply analyzing their facial expressions. How does it work? Simply turn on your internet connected camera, put the dog’s face in frame and then allow the AI system to analyze its facial expressions as you scroll through the various products listed on the site. Once it detects excitement, it automatically adds the product to your shopping cart. Read more for a video and additional information.

Switch to Flip Phone Contest

Frontier Communications is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first ever flip-phone, so the Utah-based ISP decided to offer $1,000 to someone willing to ditch their modern smartphone for a week. There are a few requirements for the winner, and they include recording how long it takes them to do simple tasks such as texting, sending emails, how much sleep they get, and whether their productivity increases during the experiment. Read more for another video and additional information on how to enter.