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Samsung has created smart TV software you can control with your brainwaves.

The research, called Project Pontis, aims to make Samsung’s televisions more accessible for people with physical disabilities like quadriplegia. The company wants to enable “users with physical limitations to change channels and adjust sound volume with their brains.”

Samsung’s Swiss operations started the project three months ago in partnership with the Center of Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. The company demoed its second prototype TV on Thursday at its developer conference in San Francisco.

“How can we provide accessibility to people who cannot move or who have extreme limitations on their movements,” Ricardo Chavarriaga, a senior scientist at EPFL who’s working on the project with Samsung, said during a panel at Samsung Developer Conference.

“We’re making tech that is more complex, that is more intelligent, but we should not forget this tech is being made to interface with humans,” he added.

The first step in making the brainwave-controlled TV software is to collect a sample of how the brain behaves when the user wants to do something like select a movie. Samsung and EPFL combine indicators from both the environment and brain scans to build a model and apply machine learning to let the user select shows using eye movements and brainwaves.

To collect the brainwaves in the prototype, a user wears a headset covered with 64 sensors while looking at an eye tracker. The headset is connected to a computer that’s mirrored to the TV.

The current prototype uses eye tracking to determine when a user has selected a particular movie. The system then builds a profile of videos the user gravitates toward, making it easier to provide lists of content in the future. The user ultimately makes a selection using eye tracking.

Ricardo Chavarriaga (left), a senior researcher at the Center of Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, and Martin Kathriner, head of public Affairs, Samsung Electronics Switzerland GmbH, have been working on controlling a TV using brainwaves.

Shara Tibken/CNET

Samsung and EPFL are also working on a system that goes further and relies on brain signals alone for users who aren’t able to control their eyes or other muscles reliably, Chavarriaga said.

“One thing we have to take in account is everybody is different,” he said. Currently, the technology has to be tailored to each person because of variations in brains. “We believe we have to do the best for the person, so we have to personalize,” Chavarriaga told CNET.

Samsung this week has been hosting its annual developer conference in San Francisco. SDC reflects Samsung’s big push to get developers to make software specifically for its devices. In the past, that’s meant making apps that work on the edge of Samsung’s curved smartphone displays or take advantage of its S Pen stylus. This year, that focus has turned to Bixby and artificial intelligence. But Samsung also has pushed developers to make apps for its other products, like its TVs and home appliances.

Brain power

While developers aren’t yet making apps that can be controlled with the brain, Samsung’s doing research into the area. And it’s not the only company trying to use brainwaves to control devices. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in March 2017 launched Neuralink, a company dedicated to creating “neural lace,” which involves installing tiny electrodes in the brain to transmit thoughts.

Samsung’s Project Pontis collects brainwaves to decide if the user wants to select a particular movie.

Angela Lang/CNET

And neuroscientists around the globe have been researching ways to make a digital interface for the brain. The technology is still early days, but it could one day replace touch screens and voice assistants in devices. Currently, most brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are currently being created only for people who have suffered debilitating injuries that left them partially or completely paralyzed.

While Samsung’s first prototype also is targeted at accessibility, it’s too soon to say whether we’ll all one day be controlling our devices with our brainwaves, said Martin Kathriner, head of public affairs for Samsung Electronics Switzerland GmbH. There are limitations with the current hardware. The sensor helmet requires a layer of gel applied to the head, something consumers likely aren’t going to do at home.

“To us it’s an accessibility idea,” he told CNET after Samsung’s SDC panel. “If it’s applicable to us one day as pro couch potatoes, I have no idea.”

Samsung initially considered building the technology into a smartphone but opted for the TV in part because of its bigger screen and because most homes have a TV, Kathriner said. He added that TVs also can be used as smart home hubs, which could be attractive for the brainwave technology.

Samsung plans to work on its second prototype through the first quarter of 2019 and then start tests in Swiss hospitals “where we start to explore how this situation, currently a prototype, … is perceived by patients,” Kathriner said.

Originally published at 3:05 p.m. PT
Update at 4:30 p.m. PT with additional details and executive comments.

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Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser now available on Windows 7 and Windows 8




Microsoft is making its Chromium-powered Edge browser available on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 for testing today. The release comes two months after Chromium Edge first debuted on Windows 10, and a month after it appeared on macOS. Microsoft is releasing the daily Canary builds initially, and plans to support the weekly Dev channel “soon.” You can download the installer over at Microsoft’s Edge Insider site.

“You will find the experience and feature set on previous versions of Windows to be largely the same as on Windows 10, including forthcoming support for Internet Explorer mode for our enterprise customers,” explains a Microsoft Edge team blog post. While most features will be the same, dark mode is missing and Microsoft says there is no support for AAD sign-in.EDGE IS COMING TO WINDOWS 7 BEFORE ITS END OF SUPPORT

Microsoft is still testing its Chromium Edge browser across Windows 10, macOS, and now older versions of Windows, and it’s still not clear when the company will start to release it more broadly. Edge will be available for Windows 7, despite the fact Microsoft is planning to end support for the operating system next January.

Edge Chromium will include an IE mode for businesses, and a new Collections feature that’s designed for web users to be able to more easily collect text, images, and information from the internet into a note. We got a closer look at the new Microsoft Edge earlier this year.


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How to disconnect your Instagram account from Facebook




Connecting your Instagram and Facebook accounts allows you to cross-post between the platforms at will but you can also disconnect them whenever you want. 

Social Media Apps Facebook Instagram
Social Media Apps Facebook Instagram
  • Whether for privacy reasons or just convenience, there may come a time when you want to disconnect your Instagram and Facebook accounts.
  • While connecting your accounts is a quick and easy process, disconnecting them is even simpler.

Facebook was a massive platform on its own, but now that the media monolith also owns Instagram , it likely owns at least two apps on your phone. Chances are that if you use one of the platforms, you likely use the other, and Instagram makes it easy to cross-post between the two if you simply connect your accounts.

However, there may come a time when you no longer want your Facebook and Instagram accounts linked. Thankfully, disconnecting them is a simple process that can be completed in seconds. Here’s how to do it.

How to disconnect your Instagram account from Facebook

1. On your mobile device or tablet, open the Instagram app.

2. Open your profile page, then tap the three stacked horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner of your screen to reveal a menu of options.

3. At the bottom of the option menu, tap “Settings.”


Jennifer Still/Business InsiderIMG_7282

4. On the “Settings” page, look for the “Account” option and tap it.

5. Under “Account,” locate the “Linked accounts” option. On this page, you will see Facebook highlighted with the name featured on your Facebook account.

6. To unlink, tap the Facebook option and tap “Unlink account.”


Jennifer Still/Business InsiderIMG_7283

7. A warning will pop up asking you to confirm your choice to unlink your accounts, and let you know that doing so will make it harder to regain access to Instagram should you get locked out.

8. Click “Yes, Unlink” to complete the process.

Note that disconnecting your Facebook and Instagram accounts doesn’t need to be permanent. You can relink your account at any time via the same menu options used to disconnect.

If you decide to do this, you will need to re-enter your login information and authorize Instagram to access your Facebook account to re-enable cross-posting between the two platforms.


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Apple Getting Rid of iTunes, To Replace It With Separate Apps




The decision to trash iTunes is on par with Apple’s new vision for its future when it comes to its gadgets. Now there will be separate apps for users to listen to music, watch movies and TV and listen to podcasts. You will still be able to manage your Apple gadget through the music app. The announcement of the move came on the heels of Apple’s upcoming WWDC where the company is expected to confirm the decision and announce how it plans to move going forward.

According to Bloomberg:

iTunes has been the way Apple users listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, hear podcasts, and manage their devices for almost two decades. This year, Apple is finally ready to move into a new era. The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app. 

Well if you were looking to blow the dust off your iTunes to help manage your new iPod Touch, then you won’t receive this news too well. 18 years is a long time for an app, so the app is rare air when it comes to outlasting the competition.

iTunes had a hell of a run though, never forget.


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