DT Daily: Intel’s bracelet, bionic bird drone, computer ‘vision’

Today on DT Daily: Intel’s fashionable wearable, drones are for the birds, and computers are learning to see better than ever.

So far, the most fashionable wearable we’ve seen come down the pipe has been the gold Apple Watch. But now it looks like chipmaker Intel is getting into the wearables game with a very high-tech – and good-looking – bracelet.

Called the Meeka, which stands for My Intelligent Communication Accessory, the device features a curved OLED touchscreen on the underside and, so far at least, two appearance options on the outside. The Meeka is also a standalone device, so it doesn’t need to pair with your smartphone to work. As you might imagine, it’s being marketed to women. It’s $495, but that price does include two years of 3G wireless data service through AT&T.

The Meeka can run apps, get notifications and links to Bluetooth headphones as well. We think it looks pretty good and should go well with our Bluetooth earrings.

Frenchman Edwin Van Ruyumbeck loves him some birds. As a kid in the 60’s, his dad actually built him a wind-up mechanical bird that really flew. Now, Edwin is taking his love for birds – and complex engineering – to the next level with his own creation, called Bionic Bird.

Controlled by a smartphone – and eventually a smartwatch – Bionic Bird can fly for 10 minutes at heights up to nearly 300 feet. It’s so convincing that real birds often join the fun. The project is already funded on Indiegogo and is into stretch goals, which could include a built-in HD camera to record flights. Eventually, there may also be a hovering hummingbird-type model as well. Some “early bird” units are still available for $140, or get two for a $190 pledge.

One big problem that A.I. researchers have yet to solve is image recognition by computers, but two simultaneous announcements this week may signal a breakthrough. Both Stanford University and Google announced that their independent projects have vastly improved a computer’s ability to describe what’s in an image, and not just by locating a person or a car in the picture.

For instance, Google’s system identified one scene as “a group of young people playing a game of Frisbee.” It says that another is “a person riding a motorcycle on a dirt road.” Both were correct. Not bad! But there’s still work to be done, since a kite in a blue sky was described as “a man flying through the air while riding a snowboard.”

The new ability could help computers better describe photos and video footage, possibly helping to solve crimes, speed up search results and hasten the arrival of even more advanced artificial intelligence, so we’re keeping an eye on it…

Your host today is Holly Resnick. Miss a day? Watch all the episodes of DT Daily right here. And be sure to catch our latest podcast.