BBC Micro Bit Shipping Date Revealed

BBC’s Micro Bit pocket-sized and programmable computer is an amazing little piece of technology, but the best of all is that one million of them will be given free to any year 7 pupils across the UK. Originally the BBC Micro Bit should have started shipping out October last year, but there were issues with the power and the project release got pushed back. At first, it was said that teachers should have the new units in December last year with students receiving them early this year. But that didn’t happen and it got pushed once again. Last month we got another minor delay as teachers already should have had their units ahead of the February half term, but that didn’t happen either.

Enough with the old bad news, time for the good news. The Micro Bit is ready and broadcaster has confirmed a countrywide roll-out of the one million devices for pupils will begin before easter. Naturally they won’t send out all at once, but they will start to ship officially on March the 22nd. So mark your calendars if you got children of that age, you might have new toys to play with soon.

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC learning, said: “It has been a joy to see these micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like this adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”

The Micro bit (micro:bit) is a handheld and fully-programmable computer that encourages children to get creative with technology. The 4cm by 5cm device is the successor to the popular 1980s home computer, BBC Micro, and includes a Bluetooth antenna, USB plug and a processor, linked to a printed circuit board with 25 red LED lights which flash messages.

The BBC is yet to announce when the Micro Bit will be available for the public to buy and how much it will cost us ordinary mortals.

Apple Turn Stores into Classroom for a Day

Apple is known for a wide variety of things, from their phones and tablets to their business practices with other companies and their own employees. Craig Federighi, one of Apple’s executives, wants them to be known for something else, something that he hopes will be the start of something amazing. Stating that he wanted to “set off a spark”, Apple is looking to turn their stores around the world into temporary classrooms in order to support the “Hour Of Code” programme worldwide.

The hour of code is designed as an introduction to programming, not only for learning the act of programming but developing the mindset of logically finding a solution to a problem. By supporting the scheme which is known around the world and backed by people such as David Cameron, Bill Gates, Barak Obama and even large companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, Apple hope that together the idea of a solitary computer programme could be proved wrong and more can be encouraged to look into the activity.

If you’re interested in the scheme you can find more information here, while the Hour of Code website provides year round tutorials and support for several programming languages.

If you’re not interested, please take a few minutes to watch the video below and consider what you could be capable of.

Nvidia Introduces Its Drive PX Self-Driving Car Computer

Nvidia has introduced its Drive PX, a self-driving computer for the automotive industry, which is now available as a developer kit. The device is said to go on sale this May for a price tag of $10.000, which is not a huge price for the car industry. Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, believes that this is where the industry is heading.

Nvidia has compared the Drive PX with one of its former DARPA projects called Dave, which as a small self-driving car based on deep learning neural network that processed a lot of images in order to learn how to drive and avoid obstacles.

DARPA’s Dave had 3.1 million connections, 12 frames per second and was capable of 38 million connections a second. Nvidia now has the AlexNet deep learning network that can do 630 million connections at 184 frames per second and, with 116 billion connects a second.

The Drive PX comes equipped with 12 camera inputs and has 2.3 Teraflops of computing power, as well as ADAS which runs multiple cameras and combines the data from them. Nvidia might be taking the automotive industry to the next level with this new project.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Discuss the Rise of Deep Learning

GTC 2015: For the most part, GTC has already been a huge event for NVIDIA with the unveiling of the new TITAN X graphics card to the market but while this is great for the average consumer, NVIDIA have a lot more to offer than just their GeForce segment and one aspect of this is deep learning, and actually is a segment from within their company that crosses over into GeForce and other more industrial sectors that NVIDIA have to offer.

Jen-Hsun Huang (CEO and co-founder of NVIDIA) took to the stage at NVIDIA GTC 2015 to talk through the theme of the event this year and deep learning was at the core.

You can see part 1 of the video here:

As you can see from the video, Jen-Hsun went through the various milestones of the company last year including GeForce, Shield, Tegra, enterprise graphics and of course what NVIDIA are doing from within the car industry.

A big highlight was what the new TITAN X GPU can do in comparison to other offerings on the market. A comparison of a 16-core Xeon CPU, original TITAN, TITAN Black and the newest TITAN X were shown training AlexNet and while the TITAN and TITAN Black managed to improve on what the Xeon CPU could do by cutting down the time it takes to train AlexNet, the new TITAN X dramatically improved even on that. This sees the AlexNet training take just 3 days opposed to the 43 days that the Xeon takes showing that NVIDIA are focussing on more than just gaming.

Kickstarter Campaign ‘Reading Rainbow’ Most Successful Campaign To Date

Back in the 80’s, Reading Rainbow was one of the best known educational programs going, teaching kids of all ages how to read and when it came off air in 2006, many thought this would be the last we would see of one of the best educational programmes of recent times. This however has been far from the case as LeVar Burton has been busy working away behind the scenes to give it a more modern comeback. A couple of years back saw part of the homecoming with the launch of a mobile app for tablets and smartphones and whilst this is a great way to spread the tool out to the masses, Burton has wanted more so he turned to crowd funding site Kickstarter, asking for $1 Million to help him to develop Reading Rainbow for all platforms.

Compared to some of the most well know campaigns of recent times however, Burton could not have expected to get the amount of backing that he has had to date. In the space of 11 hours from the point of launch, Burton’s campaign hit its target and since then it has gone on to reach close to $5 million with only a couple of days left to go. Not only this, but the campaign has seen support from over 90,000 backers – more than any other campaign to date – working out at a rough bid of around $50 person.

Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from ROOTS, or Geordi La Forge, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

You also may have grown up with me on Reading Rainbow.

It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could “go anywhere” and “be anything.” Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.

Over the past year, I have watched Kickstarter bring communities together to support artists and inventors. Again and again, I have been inspired by watching like-minded people team up to accomplish impossible dreams, and to change the world.

Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.

Together, we can change the lives of millions of children. But you don’t have to take my word for it: just keep reading!

With so much funding on tap, LeVar and his team are looking to push out the reading programme to as many schools and platforms as possible, with the aim to reduce the number of children that have difficulty in reading at their age levels.

If you want to find out more information on the Reading Rainbow Campaign or you want to help towards the eduction of children around the world (as that is effectively what you are doing, but on a massive scale) head over to its campaign page over on Kickstarter.

A.I. Company DeepMind Acquired By Google, Should We Expect Cyborgs Now?

Google is in process of acquiring artificial intelligence company DeepMind based in London for a reported price of $400 million. It is said that Google confirmed the acquisition, but they did not specify a price for the deal.

DeepMind has been founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. The company specializes in artificial intelligence for a variety of products, ranging from games, simulations, to e-commerce and even websites. It is also said that CEO Larry Page led the deal himself, due to the fact that not only the company has potential in the long run, but also Hassabis is known for his particular talent, dubbed “probably the best games player in history” by Mind Sports Olympiad.

Judging from LinkedIn, the company is quite young, having around 3 years, and it specializes mainly in building learning algorithms. Sources have said that Founders Fund , along with Horizons Venture are major investors in DeepMind, while having Skype and Kazaa developer Jaan Tallinn as an investor and advisor. Also, sources have said that DeepMind has a team of at least 50 people and has secured more than $50 million in funding. DeepMind is described as “the last large independent company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence,” and is said it competed with companies like Google, Facebook and Baidu for talent.

It makes sense for Google to be interested in such a company with great potential, and think of the possibilities with the AI algorithms! Why, not long ago Google acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that specializes in robotics. Whether they intent to implement the learning algorithms in their giant search engine or their newly acquired ‘toys’, we would expect to see ‘revolutionary’ results from Google in the near future.

Thank you re/code for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of re/code