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Makr Shakr app-controlled robot bartender is boozing up Google I/O

Makr Shakr bartender robot Google I:O

Google I/O is all about the latest in what developers are capable of building next, so it’s no surprise that even the bartenders serving up cocktails are a product of some complex computing. No, these guys didn’t need to take some bartending class or wait until they’re 18 years of age. The Makr Shakr robot, unveiled today at Google I/O, will mix the perfect cocktail – provided you give it the desired recipe.

Designed by MIT’s Senseable City Lab in partnership with Coca-Cola and Bacardi, the Makr Shakr is a series of large, orange arms designed to put on a show while it’s making your drinks. The robot, controlled by a smartphone app, will crowdsource drink requests and shake up liquor combinations of the guest’s choice. This means visitors can choose a classic Bacardi and Coke, or try something a little stranger, like Diet Coke, coconut, rum, and lime. Odd. Makr Shakr offers up to 100 types of flavors from fruit juices, liquor, syrups, soda, and more. Its arms, modeled after ballet dancer Roberto Bolle, are also supposed to replicate some very intricate human movements, from shaking up the mixer to slicing lemon and lime wedges.

Makr Shakr bartender robotVia the Makr Shakr app, guests can also check out other recipes those surrounding them are creating, giving them an opportunity to rate the drinks, get social, and break the ice. Google I/O may not be your idea of a bar, but nothing’s better than some liquid courage to get you talking to some new friends. Additionally, the app will monitor your blood alcohol level depending on what you ordered and how often you ordered it, calculating your rough drunkness estimate. Which could be useful, considering that the National Transportation Safety Board may soon lower the blood alcohol level that constitutes drunk driving.

Makr Shakr may not be your new favorite neighborhood bartender or give you an extra shot for being awesome, but it sure is fun to watch. Just give it a black vest to add that speakeasy bartender attire.

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Natt Garun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
An avid gadgets and Internet culture enthusiast, Natt Garun spends her days bringing you the funniest, coolest, and strangest…
Epson’s augmented reality smart glasses show off gesture control at Google I/O

All the cool kids at Google I/O may be walking around with Google Glass, but they can only see the interface out of one eye and need to use their voice or swipe their finger against the side of the eyewear to navigate the device. With the APX Labs enhanced smart glasses from Epson, called the Moverio BT-100, you can navigate a virtual wall of YouTube videos with just a tilt of your head.
These Epson smart glasses have actually been on the market for over a year and are the result of over 15 years of research and development. While Google Glass is more geared for consumers, the Moverio BT-100 has its eyes set on developers and commercial uses for hands-free computing.
As you can see in the photo, the $700 Moverio smart glasses feature a pair of transparent lenses so you can see 3D augmented reality content projected on top of the real world. Eric Mizufuka, product manager of new markets for Epson, assured us that looking through these glasses is like looking at a "floating" 80-inch display. These glasses also have on-board Wi-Fi connectivity and are wired to an Android-based mini-touchpad where you can side-load content like Angry Birds via its microSD card slot.
But without a front-facing camera or other motion sensors, the Moverio glasses have limited functionality. That's why APX Labs updated the BT-100 with a 5-megapixel camera, a microphone, and motion sensors like a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a magnetometer. Currently, these additions to the Epson glasses are housed in a white box above the lenses, but both companies would like to work those technologies into the frames so they will look more slick over time.
To show off what these suped up Moverio glasses can do, APX Labs also created a YouTube app that takes advantage of its Northstar user interface to navigate a wall of videos using just your head movements. To see all the videos that are available on the app, you simply have to move your head left and right to bring those clips within view, according to APX Labs' Director of Research and Development Jay Kim. When you want to watch a particular video, simply look up or down at the video until it gets highlighted, and it will start playing. To fast-forward or rewind the clip, just turn your head to the right or left, respectively.  
These APX Labs enhanced Moverio smart glasses from Epson makes hands-free navigation extremely intuitive, and we hope it will be able to bring their expertise to the consumer realm soon.

[Image via the MoverioChannel on YouTube]

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If you thought Google Glass is dorky, check out what early prototypes looked like

By now, many of us are familiar with what the Google Glass looks like. It's sleek, straps around the front of your forehead, and has that rectangle with a glass screen set for the right eye. Even though Google is rumored to be working with Warby Parker to create a cool look for the Glass, today's test Explorer edition came a long way from beginning stages. In Google I/O's "7 Techmakers and a Microphone" panel last night, Google Project Glass Staff Hardware Engineer Jean Wang unveiled some photos of what the Glass looked like during prototype. And man, they were ugly.
Yes, the Glass is basically a computer and projector shrunk down to the size of a finger then attached to a thin frame. But early prototypes showed that the process of miniaturizing the Glass's hardware was no easy task. The first few versions looked like Google straight up stuck a smartphone on a pair of goggles. Then it looked like Google stripped down the smartphone to the motherboard, then glued it onto some hipster glasses frame. Eventually, the team opted for 3D-printed components (top right) to help de-clutter. Wang also admitted that she'd seen the Saturday Night Live parody with Fred Armisen, and said some of his fictional struggles were not too far off from what testing the Glass was like.
Technology development is a long and tiring process, but a quick look at these photos makes us appreciate today's tech so much more. A lot of work were put into making the product function and look good. Although the Glass may have its issues today, we'll hold out that these same developers can perfect the device - even if we're still not quite sure where we'd ever wear the Glass to... or if $1,500 is worth the investment in a controversial test gadget.

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Larry Page talks about innovations, interoperation, technology in Google I/O keynote

Google's keynote address at its I/O developer conference today had everything a geek could want from free laptops to new APIs. Near the end of the three and a half hour presentation, Google's Chairman and CEO Larry Page took the stage to give his final remarks and answer questions. During this discussion, Page took the time to talk about everything from innovation to inter-operation of companies, government regulations, goals for Google as a company, and some sobering viewpoints he had on the world of technology and development for it.
Page on his childhood and the importance of innovation
Larry Page began his own address with a story form his own childhood. His voice was soft and quiet, a product of health issues related to his thyroid and a stark contrast from some other CEOs and their addresses. Page talked about how his dad took him and his family across the country to a robotic conference, fighting tooth and nail to get his son into the conference despite being below the age requirement. This was the beginning to his monologue on the importance of innovation and for a company like Google to continue building new creative ideas.
"One of the themes I just want to talk to you about is how important it is for us - all of the developers in the room and watching - to really focus on technology and to get more people involved in it," he said.
Page talked about a lot of the innovations seen in recent years from developments in both mobility and the Internet, and how we haven't seen a rate in change like this "since the birth of the PC." He exuded optimism and talked about all the exciting new technologies we may see just around the corner, from innovations in clean coal to self-driving cars, which he sees as the next step to "change our lives and our landscape" from adding green space, to causing fewer accidents and offering more freedom to drivers.
Page on being tired of negativity
However, this optimism came alongside sobering thoughts about how others in the industry - notably competitors and the press - viewed Google's ambitions, "Every story I read about Google is about us versus some other company or some stupid thing that I don't find that very interesting. We should be about building great things that don't exist." He talked about how Google's endeavors are not simply measured in profit, or even with respect to what the company is already known for doing. He especially didn't enjoy being compared to companies like Apple and Microsoft, where he sees Google as simply an innovator to make lives better, and not necessarily competition with these companies.
"Being negative is not how we make progress, and the most important things are not zero sum," Page added. He was talking about initiatives made by Google like Google Fiber and Gmail, which were both new things way outside what the company was known for doing. Google got it's start in search, but took its experience in building data centers and storage services to offer something like Gmail - free e-mail with tons of storage - that no one had ever done before. Now it's offering some of the fastest internet in the country to help make the internet experience a better one for its users.
"I encourage companies to do a little more that's outside of their comfort zone" Page told the audience, "Almost every time we do something crazy, we make progress." These and other initiatives, including "Physical World initiatives" like the self-driving car and Android are what Page sees as new opportunities that offer a lot more than Google spent developing them, and every company should be considering such options. "As technologists, we should have some safe places where we can try out the effects of technology" Page later said, hinting that it would be great if there were actual cities or regions where large-scale technological inventions could be tested.
Page on the open Web
 "As technologists, we should have some safe places where we can try out the effects of technology."
 During the Q&A, one of the questions brought to Page was about how Google sees the future of the Web with technologies like Java, and the open Web. He noted how he was "personally quite sad" about how some companies see the need to work together to advance the Web as a whole. 
"You need to have interoperation... We struggle with people like Microsoft. The Web is advancing too slowly. I'd like to see more open standards," Page said. He also noted that he has also been sad with how the industry has been unable to advance the Web as quickly as it could have because of a focus on negativity and zero sum gains. He also noted other companies like Oracle and his difficulty in working with them, "Money is more important to them than collaboration."
Page on freedom of speech
Another interesting question that came forward was regarding government regulation and internet freedom of speech. Page defended the need for freedom of speech, but also stated that "We're [Google] protecting your private information, and ensuring security. We're being as transparent as we can."
Freedom of speech also came up later when talking about initiatives like Google Health, which met their demise not from the idea or the functionality, but instead from government regulations, and the fear of users placing their health records online. He noted how people feared their health records and knowledge of their health not for their safety but because of being possibly denied insurance. Page noted that there should be initiatives to offer everyone health insurance so that knowledge about health could be freely shared to help people.
Page on Google Glass
When it came to Google Glass, Larry Page made clear his own feelings on why Google is doing something like it, and why they're currently offering the device only to developers and select members of the press. "Our main goal is to get happy users using Glass," he said, noting that with happy users Google could work to improve the technology and eventually make it ready for the average user. "We want to make sure that we're making user experiences that make people happy." Again this vision was dead-set on the "Don't be evil"  mindset Google set forth back when it was founded.
Page on women in tech
One of the last questions brought forth to Page was about how few women were in the audience. "We have to start young, getting young girls interested in technology," he noted, also talking about the many women Google interviews when looking for people to add to the team.
All in all, Larry Page offered the audiences of Google I/O an engaging conversation that was more wide-ranging and deeper than your typical press conference. While most companies look to flaunt ideas and attract press, Page took a more down-to-earth approach and covered a mixture between his own values and Google's own vision for the coming years. The real question though is if Google will live up to these visions as the years go on.

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