Sounding off for noises on

first_imgBring back the noise.Such was the prescription from indie musicians Amanda Palmer and Damon Krukowski ’85 during an animated discussion about digital creativity Tuesday night at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.Krukowski, who came to the Consumer Research Center/store to kick off the tour for his new book, “The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World,” used “noise” to describe the ambient sounds such as air conditioning or breathing that found their way onto analog audio recordings, but he was also speaking of life in the pre-digital world before social media giants’ content streams.Krukowski, who was the founder and drummer for Galaxie 500 in the late ’80s, worked on the idea of analog versus digital as a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society in 2015-16. By eliminating noise, he argued, digital technology has isolated authentic sound, though he hoped the debate would not be seen as old versus new, or good versus bad.But Palmer, a rock ’n’ roll performer who has cultivated an intimate relationship with fans on and off social media, wasted no time lamenting the loss. Instead, she commiserated with Krukowski over a shared displeasure with Facebook. She quoted from Krukowski’s book: “Social media have no content to offer other than what their users provide. Yet that information, too, is limited to isolated signal as defined by the platform — a neat trick.” Then she made her own supporting argument.“I also hate Facebook, and I hate Facebook more and more every day,” she said, bemoaning the algorithms it uses to determine what is signal and what is noise for its 2 billion users.“Noise is necessary. If we’re going to stay human, visual, audio, emotional noise, it’s what makes life. If you don’t have it, you don’t really even have the conditions for living. If things are signal only, that literally means there is no room for coincidence, synchronicity, kismet, randomness — the things that make life feel realistic,” she said.Krukowski was a member of indie band Galaxie 500 in the ’80s. While a 2015-16 fellow at the Berkman Center, he worked on the idea of analog versus digital. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerKrukowski got into the noise-making business in forming Galaxie 500 with classmates Dean Wareham ’85 and Naomi Yang ’86. He and Yang are now married, constitute the folk-rock duo Damon & Naomi, and publish the literary press “Exact Change.” In “The New Analog,” he shared personal moments (listening to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” in his bedroom as a kid) that helped form his musical identity and provided detailed deconstruction of formative pieces of music that shaped his sense of sound. In the chapter titled “Surface Noise,” he broke down the Beach Boys’ recording “Here Today,” highlighting the noises layered onto the song:“1:15 Mike (Love) starts singing the chorus too soon … 1:27 Something metallic is dropped … 1:52 Someone says something supposedly about cameras … 1:56 Someone else replies …”He writes: “Noise has value. It communicates location, proximity, and depth. It tests the limits of our individual perception, and binds us together in shared time.”Palmer, who has a 2-year-old son, Ash, shared a tale of value added by noise. She recalled a car drive from New York to Boston with Ash in the back seat while she played a Nick Drake CD.“I had it cranked, and there was, in between the tracks, a tape hiss,” she said. “In between one song and another, I realized I couldn’t differentiate between whether what I was hearing was the tape hiss or the baby crying because they were in the exact same frequency. And it was just kind of beautiful.”She asked Krukowski his advice for solving the noiseless conundrum, and he suggested less uniform channels of communication such as Bandcamp, an online music store that helps independent artists share and sell their music.Palmer traded the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes for Patreon, a subscription content service.“I’m very fortunate because I have 10,000 fans who have given me their credit cards. That’s amazing,” she said, noting that her current business model, though digital in form, reminds her of the earliest days in music when people played in a room for their community.“Make music for those people around you,” she said.  “Even if those people are in an internet village.”last_img read more

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Feeling woozy? Time to check the tattoo

first_img Related Of helixes, neurons, and chemicals Nan Jiang, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said the project, “Dermal Abyss,” was conducted as a proof of concept, and that further refinements — such as stabilizing ink so designs don’t fade or diffuse into surrounding tissue — would be needed for a medical product.The Dermal Abyss tattoo inks change color according to the chemistry of the body’s interstitial fluid, which can be used as a surrogate for constituents of the blood. One ink changes from green to brown as glucose concentration increases. The team has also developed a green ink, viewable under blue light, that grows more intense as sodium concentration rises, an indication of dehydration. Researchers tattooed the inks onto segments of pig skin and noted how they changed color or intensity in response to different biomarkers.Jiang and Yetisen said that once the bugs are worked out, the applications for biologically-sensitive ink are fairly broad. Ink could be incorporated into long-lasting tattoos for chronic conditions or into temporary designs for shorter-duration monitoring. Another possibility is invisible ink that reacts to a particular kind of light.HMS postdoctoral fellows Ali Yetisen (left) and Nan Jiang collaborated with MIT researchers to develop the biosensitive tattoo ink, which unlike current wearable monitoring devices, doesn’t require batteries or wireless connectivity.Yetisen has already developed an app that can analyze a picture of a sensor and provide quantitative diagnostic results. While patients are an obvious potential market, Yetisen said the technology could be used in astronauts, for whom continuous health monitoring is desirable.Jiang said the project’s purpose was to excite artists and scientists alike about the potential for such technology, and to stimulate discussion of ethical issues it might raise, such as people’s willingness to have health information displayed for all to see.“The purpose of the work is to light the imagination of biotechnologists and stimulate public support for such efforts,” Jiang said. “These questions of how technology impacts our lives must be considered as carefully as the design of the molecular sensors patients may someday carry embedded in their skin.” A drawback of current wearable monitoring devices is that they don’t seamlessly integrate with the body, Yetisen said. Short battery life is a concern and so is the need for wireless connectivity, neither of which is an issue with the simple, color-based interface of biosensitive tattoo ink.“We wanted to go beyond what is available through wearables today,” Yetisen said. Science author Zimmer uncovers scientists’ tattoos <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok5RucH09Sw” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/ok5RucH09Sw/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Harvard and MIT researchers have developed smart tattoo ink capable of monitoring health by changing color to tell an athlete when she is dehydrated or a diabetic when his blood sugar rises.The work, conducted by two postdoctoral fellows at Harvard Medical School and colleagues led by Katia Vega at MIT’s Media Lab, paired biosensitive inks developed at Harvard with traditional tattoo artistry as a way to overcome some of the limitations of current biomedical monitoring devices.“We were thinking: New technologies, what is the next generation after wearables?” said Ali Yetisen, who is a Tosteson postdoctoral fellow at HMS and Massachusetts General Hospital. “And so we came up with the idea that we could incorporate biosensors in the skin.”Tattoos as medical condition monitorslast_img read more

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Purpose in service

first_imgThe ROTC commissioning ceremony Wednesday at Tercentenary Theatre saluted the long Crimson line of Harvard students who have joined the military.Eight years ago, Shawna Sinnott ’10 received her commission as a Navy second lieutenant at a ceremony attended by Harvard President Drew Faust. In January of this year, Sinnott, now a captain in the Marine Corps, sent Faust an American flag she had flown for her in Afghanistan.The same flag took center stage at Wednesday’s event.Harvard President Drew Faust and Belfer Center director Ash Carter pledge allegiance before the ceremony. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“Capt. Shawna Sinnott wrote to explain that on the eve of her fourth deployment, she was sending me a flag she had flown in my honor while she was stationed in Afghanistan,” Faust said in her remarks. “I was deeply moved by her gift and her story, as I have been by the stories of sacrifice and service of all 74 Harvard students I have cheered on as they have taken their officer’s oaths in this ceremony over the past 10 years.”Faust brought the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps back to campus in 2011 after a nearly 40-year absence. In her speech, she highlighted Harvard’s long tradition of service to the nation.“Strong connections between Harvard and our armed forces are essential to Harvard’s — and the nation’s — present and future,” she said. “Harvard students aspiring to be leaders and influencers in America and the world need to understand the military. And the military has and will continue to benefit from the contributions of the extraordinary leaders educated here.”,The ceremony recognized two Army second lieutenants, two Marine Corps second lieutenants, and three Navy ensigns.Army 2nd Lt. Daniel Cord, who graduated with a master’s in Middle Eastern Studies, will serve as a military intelligence officer at Fort Devens, Mass. Army 2nd Lt. Nathan Williams, a government concentrator, will attend the engineer officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Kevin Zhu, a visual and environmental studies concentrator, and Marine Corps 2nd Lt. James Joyce, an economics concentrator, will attend the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.Ensigns Michael Haley, an economics concentrator, and Phillip Ramirez, a government concentrator, were selected for aviation duty and will report to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. Ensign Kirstin Anderson, a physics concentrator, will report to Charleston, S.C., to be assigned to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.The new officers swore an oath to the Constitution and received their first salute; their relatives pinned their insignias to their uniforms. When the ceremony ended, the warrior-scholars were embraced by families, classmates, and friends.,Asked why he joined the military, Zhu, who grew up in Boston, said he was moved by a desire to give back.“This country has given a lot to my family and me,” he said. “I wanted to make some kind of impact as a young person — do my part and serve the country.”Guest speaker Ash Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School, commended the new officers for their spirit of sacrifice and for choosing to serve “something bigger than yourselves.”A historian of the Civil War and the American South and the great-granddaughter of a West Point graduate, Faust saluted the group’s dedication to a “bigger purpose.”“We do not know yet what path will unfold for those of you on the stage today,” she said. “We do not know what price might be asked. But we know that Harvard has helped you to develop skills and capacities that will enable you to make significant contributions in the year ahead. And we know that the most important and fundamental of your contributions will be the selflessness and service that your decision to join the military represents.”last_img read more

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Colson Whitehead ’91 wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

first_img Harvard Arts Medalist recalls journey behind Pulitzer Prize-winning novel: ‘I felt I needed to become a better writer’ An imaginative leap into real-life horror Strong Pulitzer showing for Harvard Vision for ‘Underground Railroad’ brought out the best in Colson Whitehead Sociologist Matthew Desmond, journalist David Fahrenthold, novelist Colson Whitehead, and composer Du Yun among winners center_img Related Novelist Colson Whitehead has an interest in history, and now he has made some.The 1991 Harvard graduate won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in fiction on Monday for his novel “The Nickel Boys,” joining William Faulkner, John Updike, and Booth Tarkington as the only writers to win the prestigious prize twice. But unlike the other three, Whitehead’s wins are consecutive efforts, his last book, “The Underground Railroad,” having garnered a Pulitzer in 2017.Judges praised the novel, inspired by a brutal real-life reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida, for its “spare and devastating exploration of abuse … that is ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption.”“Obviously I’m very honored and I hope that it raises awareness of the real-life model for the novel — the Dozier School for Boys — so that the victims and their stories are not forgotten,” Whitehead, 50, said in a statement.Former inmates of the school, which ran for more than a century before it was closed in 2011, said that beatings, abuse, and forced labor were regular features of life at the Dozier School. In recent years, investigators have identified scores of unmarked graves on its grounds.Whitehead’s other Pulitzer winner, “The Underground Railroad,” follows an enslaved teenage girl’s journey to freedom from a Georgia plantation by way of an actual underground railway. Embracing elements of magical realism, it is an inventive piece of storytelling (a hallmark of Whitehead’s other fiction, such as “John Henry Days,” “The Intuitionist,” and “Zone One”). In addition to the Pulitzer, “The Underground Railroad” also won the National Book Award.“The Nickel Boys” won the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Bestseller. President Barack Obama recommended the novel in his list of favorite books in 2019.Born and raised in New York City, Whitehead said in a 2016 interview with the Gazette that he always knew he wanted to be a writer. Growing up, he read comics, science fiction, Stephen King’s books, and dreamed about writing “The Black Shining.”When he came to Harvard, he wanted to write about werewolves and vampires, but reading books by James Joyce, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Samuel Beckett in his first year expanded his horizons. After that, he said in a public talk at a Brookline library, he wanted to be “the black Garcia Marquez.”A recipient of both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Whitehead was awarded the 2018 Harvard Arts Medal. In a ceremony at Sanders Theater, he recalled his Harvard days, including how a creative writing class in his junior year helped him develop his craft.“Harvard didn’t make me a writer,” said Whitehead, “but it made me a reader.” Colson Whitehead ’91 talks about ‘The Underground Railroad’last_img read more

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Sleep test predicts dementia in older adults

first_imgDementia is a growing problem for people as they age, but it often goes undiagnosed. Now investigators at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have discovered and validated a marker of dementia that may help clinicians identify patients who have the condition or are at risk of developing it. The findings are published in JAMA Network Open.The team recently created the Brain Age Index (BAI), a model that relies on artificial intelligence and a large set of sleep data to estimate the difference between a person’s chronological age and the biological age of their brain when computed through electrical measurements (with an electroencephalogram, or EEG) during sleep. A higher BAI signifies deviation from normal brain aging, which could reflect the presence and severity of dementia.“The model computes the difference between a person’s chronological age and how old their brain activity during sleep ‘looks,’ to provide an indication of whether a person’s brain is aging faster than is normal,” said senior author M. Brandon Westover, investigator in the Department of Neurology at MGH and director of Data Science at the MGH McCance Center for Brain Health. “This is an important advance, because before now it has only been possible to measure brain age using brain imaging with magnetic resonance imaging, which is much more expensive, not easy to repeat, and impossible to measure at home,” added Elissa Ye, the first author of the study and a member of Westover’s laboratory. She noted that sleep EEG tests are increasingly accessible in non-sleep laboratory environments, using inexpensive technologies such as headbands and dry EEG electrodes.To test whether high BAI values obtained through EEG measurements may be indicative of dementia, the researchers computed values for 5,144 sleep tests in 88 individuals with dementia, 44 with mild cognitive impairment, 1,075 with cognitive symptoms but no diagnosis of impairment, and 2,336 without dementia. BAI values rose across the groups as cognitive impairment increased, and patients with dementia had an average value of about four years older than those without dementia. BAI values also correlated with neuropsychiatric scores from standard cognitive assessments conducted by clinicians before or after the sleep study.“Because quite feasible to obtain multiple nights of EEG, even at home, we expect that measuring BAI will one day become a routine part of primary care, as important as measuring blood pressure,” said co-senior author Alice D. Lam, an investigator in the Department of Neurology at MGH. “BAI has potential as a screening tool for the presence of underlying neurodegenerative disease and monitoring of disease progression.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

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Sweat the Small Stuff

first_imgCollaboration is the essential ingredient for intelligent “workplace” teams, as studies have told us for decades — yet for many enterprise organizations today, working together easily still remains elusive.I can point to a few reasons historically for this failure, but more hopefully, I see multiple trends that will change our future.Turn Quadrants Upside DownFirst, for the past twenty years or more, the team collaboration topic has often been approached with the classic 1970 Boston Consulting mindset: solve the largest problem for the largest gain. In fact, coming at “working together” from an individual user-based perspective is a better strategy in today’s product-as-a-service world.I would argue that IT apps should eliminate small, frustrating, and painful tasks to create instant user gratification. Doing this repeatedly over time, I believe, earns loyalists who are thrilled to use your collaboration tools and are then highly productive.Take the common collaboration roadblock of trying to share a file. Fixing this alone might dislodge the majority of pain holding back teamwork in your enterprise.In a typical scenario, a team working together wants to share a large PowerPoint file, but IT blocks large file sends through email. Instead, IT could enable shared folders with a smart phone app, then allow easily copy/pasted folder links sent in email. Work teams would gain immediate file access, even while traveling, to keep collaboration going.All it takes is prioritizing the user pain.Focusing on improving one small productivity task increases the likelihood of it getting solved. Choosing to solve the most frustrating or inhibiting user problems generates rampant user engagement – top criteria for enterprise software success in a cloud future.Similarly, using apps that do one thing well can drive productivity through the roof. Sweating the small stuff that holds users back will pay off in team motivation and their day-to-day ability to work together productively.Respect Muscle MemorySecond, old yet productive working habits have been outright forsaken for the new. If colleagues are adept with email and use it fluently, incorporate that habit into the newest services you deliver.Allow teams to continue using email as a sharing mechanism while taking away its inefficiencies. Better yet, give them improvements, such as protection from malicious email attachments.Habits are embedded in muscle memory. The fewer you have to change, the better. How much are your collaboration apps undoing productivity for the sake of productivity?Adapt to Users, Not to InitiativesFinally, rethink what’s causing frustration or creating inefficiencies in your teams in the first place. Does solving the root cause of working together really require a complete technical rearchitecture?Considering that the tenure of corporate leaders continues to drop, fitting collaboration projects into smaller 1-2 year efforts with rapid iteration cycles is critical. Look for creative and innovative solutions that keeps users productive first.My favorite example is that you don’t have to reconfigure SAP and change your invoice processing workflow just to solve getting SOWs signed. We simply incorporated electronic signatures into our file sharing app. If an executive is on the road, no need to print, sign, fax and return a document. Just fingertip sign and click to share, all in one place.Enterprises have enough company-wide initiatives to drive, and coming at collaboration as an entire reconfiguration can lose steam before it ever delights a single user. Adapt your collaboration services to users first, so approved apps are immediately desirable at the grassroots level. And rethink functionality from the user level to uncover potentially simple, shorter-term solutions.Why the Future Looks BrighterOf course, hindsight is 20/20, and there have been valiant attempts to make collaboration better. Recent studies are looking at how to design the smartest teams possible in the first place so they’re predestined to collaborate, for example.But from a technology perspective, I see several trends that were not pervasive decades ago. These have changed behaviors and laid the groundwork for us to come at collaboration differently. This is why I’m hopeful things will change for the better.For IT, for example, the ease of delivering incremental software changes to users has greatly improved. Users know how to self-procure apps. They are on the lookout for, and willing to try, better ways of working. IT can take advantage of this new mindset by delivering the best user-loved solutions. IT can lead impactful changes that address strategic organizational needs, like productivity and global collaboration.Vendors have changed as well, amidst the popularity of smart devices. The constraints of small screen sizes have forced the quality of software to improve. Only the most essential functions can be presented to today’s users, who are constantly swiping and mobile. This mobile design discipline has made it a requirement to do less things very well, rather than delivering distracting or unused feature sets that might slow users down.These future trends and an understanding of past failures can help us, as leaders, navigate to gain incredible team efficiencies in the present. Start by solving the painful annoyances that hold teamwork back; carry forward learned productivity habits that work; and focus on users, not initiatives.last_img read more

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The Next Evolution of Converged Infrastructure Solutions

first_imgThe current state of the IT industry reminds me of the saying, “May you live in interesting times.” These are interesting times indeed for CIOs and IT leaders dealing with rapid change across multiple dimensions from technology to economics to organizational culture & skill sets. The primary goal of IT engineers today is to stitch together individual technologies into an end-to-end service while balancing design and operational complexity in the Data Center. Companies are moving to agile business models which require IT teams to respond rapidly to business and end user requirements while actively managing operational costs.Technology companies are rightly proud of their component innovations, but IT organizations today are less interested in the infrastructure components and more focused on architectures that solve the real problems they face. We consistently hear the need for a solutions approach that combines the hardware and software infrastructure with a management and orchestration framework that can deliver rigorous SLAs for availability, performance and cost.VCE epitomizes the solutions approach to innovation. In 2009, we pioneered the Converged Infrastructure concept to help IT teams rapidly deploy new technology components in a state-of-the-art infrastructure that just works. As a foundational building block in data centers worldwide today, the Vblock platform delivers a high performance, highly available infrastructure which dramatically simplifies the operational environment.Looking ahead, we see Converged Infrastructure evolving along two axes – along the horizontal with new variations of Converged Infrastructure platforms, and along the vertical by expanding the scope of Converged Infrastructure, extending from physical hardware elements to include application and cloud infrastructure.From a platform perspective, VCE believes that IT teams expect solutions that are built for data center scale, and optimized for mixed workloads with simplified operations and lifecycle support. This week we are launching VCE’s Vscale architecture for data center scale infrastructure, our new VxBlock platforms that enable technology choice, and our Vision 3.0 Converge software. These offerings – with the VSPEX BLUE hyper-converged appliance and EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution – give us the most comprehensive set of platforms and the only fully integrated cloud solution in the industry.VCE’s close partnership with IT teams to design, deploy, support and scale Converged Infrastructure solutions from platforms up to the application and cloud layer uniquely positions us to innovate and redefine the market. As we look ahead, you can expect to see VCE deliver new platforms and solutions in rapid intervals along both axes, becoming a true Converged Solutions provider.We live in interesting times indeed …Onwards and upwards!last_img read more

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Let the Transformation Begin

first_imgIn a few weeks’ time all eyes will turn to Austin, where the sun is warm, the finest food comes on trucks and the music never stops. Yes, I’m talking about Dell EMC World (Oct 18 – 20), the biggest enterprise technology event of the year and our first big event as Dell EMC.Bigger and better than ever, Dell EMC World will be full of technical and strategy sessions, as well as a CxO event with tracks for both commercial and enterprise-sized businesses. The Converged Platforms and Solutions Division will be a critical part of the event and we’ll be showcasing the full range of our build to buy continuum, from validated systems to engineered solutions.There’ll be plenty of new announcements which we can’t wait to share with our customers, partners and the industry. I won’t be letting the cat out of the bag if I mentioned that one of these announcements will be about the mighty PowerEdge servers which have taken the market by storm to become the market share leader as recognized by the Gartner and IDC quarterly market share report. Customers are at the heart of everything we do and our customers are demanding that we expand the reach and scope of our HCI platforms in order to give them more choice and flexibility, and do so at a better price point. I assure you we will not disappoint them.In other news our Hybrid Cloud Platform team is working apace on an analytics platform and I can’t wait to share more details about that.From an event participation perspective Chad Sakac, president of the Converged  Platforms and Solutions Division will be joining Jeremy Burton in a General Session: Transforming IT: From the edge, to the core, to the cloud. Featuring an all-star cast from various divisions within the company they’ll be showcasing the real heroes of Dell EMC World: the incredible new products and solutions destined to defeat any IT challenges they come up against.Chad Sakac will answer all your questions on whether hyper-converged or converged is the right option for your business or if you should build or buy your infrastructure in a breakout session that will explain the benefits of modernizing your data center wherever you stand on the buy or build continuum.Want to find out why developers love the Native Hybrid Cloud platform? Don’t miss Chad Sakac at the Dell EMC World Live Tech Chat with Barton George where they will discuss the importance of speeding up application development for the new digital enterprise.For those who are not attending the event – you can catch the keynotes and highlight session via the virtual event.  You can be social with us by following the #DellEMCWorld hashtag to see what is happening at the show and what is being announced.  Also stop by the booth and tweet why #VxRailRocks to collect a prize from the VxRail Locker.With Alabama Shake providing entertainment – it’s promising to be an event the size of Texas and I can’t wait to touch down in Austin!See you on the other side.last_img read more

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Virtual Reality: Beyond the Hype and Ready for Business

first_imgIn recent years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies have operated with a bit of hype—and C-suite skepticism—about their potential business use in practical applications. Of course, most will concede VR’s use in gaming. And, to “see” state-of-the-art military use of AR, they need look no further than the $400,000 F-35 pilot’s helmet. But, fact is, both are ready to transform the workplace by unleashing new waves of productivity in workers and professionals alike, thanks to powerful underlying technologies.AR and VR: What’s the difference?For people not staying up to date with AR and VR news, the two technologies might seem to mix their capabilities and applications. But to be clear, AR overlays data onto users’ views of their environments, and VR provides a totally immersive, simulated experience.An example of the former would be an AR industrial hard hat with a visor worn by workers on the floor of a petrochemical refinery. The visor’s margins would provide the interface for overlaying visualization of real-time, plant operational data, while the worker’s visual field out into the plant would remain unimpeded.An example of the latter is the VR headset that’s reportedly aboard the International Space Station. It surrounds astronaut users’ visual fields with a totally simulated environment to help train them in new critical procedures. In turn, it uses eye-tracking technology to provide a feedback loop to the software driving the training simulation — and to ground controllers, who can collaborate in the training.Powerful enabling technologies are keyThe secret to liberating AR and VR from the realm of science fiction is a combination of increasingly powerful hardware and software technologies. Developers now have massive processing power for desktop use as well as in portable form factors for field use.Take the new Dell Precision 7720 mobile workstation, for example. As Dell’s first VR-ready mobile model, it features the fastest Intel® Xeon™ processors available. These are supported with up to 64GB of compute RAM and 16GB of graphics RAM, plus fast SSD or HDD storage of up to 4TB.Hardware that’s so powerful yet portable unhitches AR and VR developers from fixed laboratories, so they can create enterprise solutions in the field, where users are. This can accelerate solutions development tremendously by helping to enable rapid prototyping around user activities, while effectively eliminating cycles of field testing.Then there are software advancements. At SXSW 2017 in March, Dell hosted the #Dell Experience VR Panel. One of the panelists was Michael Gold, co-founder and CEO of Holojam. His company provides a drag-and-drop platform for creators of AR and VR content and applications. There’s no need for custom code or expensive motion-capture stages, as was the case until recently.In effect, Holojam’s platform provides tools to expand the potential of AR and VR for use in business. And we can expect that many more companies will lower the entry barriers for AR and VR, just as video editing software on smartphones has enabled feature-length films to be shot without multimillion-dollar budgets.Examples of practical applications are growingOne of the most promising fields for practical applications of AR and VR is training. Most everyone has heard of flight simulators, the multimillion-dollar airline cockpits moved around by robotic arms in response to actions by the pilot trainees inside. AR and VR promise to condense all that into a headset.In addition to VR’s use in the space station, NASA is also using VR on the ground to train astronauts in spacewalking. AR and VR technologies are helping to train technicians in repairing complex infrastructure, too. Likewise, they can help surgeons acquire new techniques without putting patients at risk during the learning process.Speaking of healthcare, one of the panelists on the Dell SXSW 2017 VR panel was Dr. Skip Rizzo. As a psychologist at the University of Southern California, he uses VR to treat people with anxiety, PTSD and other neuropsychiatric disorders. His approach is now employed at Veterans Affairs hospitals, military bases and universities across the U.S.Architecture, construction and product development — or just about any discipline using computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering — can also benefit from AR and VR applications. These applications can immerse project stakeholders inside life-sized 3D simulations of their creations so they can work out design issues and limitations before sinking large amounts of capital into building or manufacturer.*         *          *Many more examples exist of how AR and VR technologies are finding their way into practical applications for business, industry, healthcare, education and other fields. We can expect gains in computing power and density to continue, while independent software developers, such as Holojam, accelerate their drive to bring new tools and applications to market. It finally appears that the hype around AR and VR is over and that both are here—for real.Find out more about how Dell EMC customer Solidray, a VR pioneer, uses Dell Precision Tower 5000 Series and Alienware Gaming Desktops to develop low-cost, head-mounted displays.last_img read more

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Meet New Dell Technologies IoT GM Ray O’Farrell

first_imgAt Dell Technologies we have a vision for how the new world of IoT comes together – how our businesses can help drive human progress by transforming IoT into IQT or the IQ of Things.To enable this vision, we unveiled a new IoT division that will help our customers navigate across all the Dell Technologies’ brands. This new IoT division will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell, and I caught up with him just before today’s event to ask what it means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.Congratulations on your new role. How has your work as VMware’s CTO prepared you for it?While I am currently the VMware CTO, most of my time at VMware was spent running product development teams and this has required me to partner closely with customers and leverage a broad ecosystem as we take products to market. As CTO, one of my main focus areas is on long-term technology research, innovation and market trends. I have also been responsible for ensuring VMware’s successful partnerships across the industry with a focus on the Dell Technologies family of businesses. I plan to leverage these these experiences as I take on this additional responsibility of general manager for Dell Technologies’ IoT division.Can you tell us more about your new responsibilities?Our new IoT division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem. To prepare for that, I have been working with a small team across Dell Technologies and have been interviewing customers, partners and IoT experts to help build this division.We’ll continue to do research that will help us prepare for building future IoT products and solutions, while also aligning current offerings across the Dell Technologies businesses to deliver unified solutions to our customers and ecosystem.What are you most excited about as you look forward?I am excited about the fourth industrial revolution that we are embarking into. As Jeremy Burton has noted, it’s a revolution that will impact every company in every industry. I’m equally excited to be leading this new Dell Technologies division. Given our rich history in the edge computing market, we have an outstanding opportunity to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.What are the leadership traits the IoT market requires?The most important trait is listening – it is vitally important to understand the business need and impact your customer is trying achieve by leveraging IoT. The second most important trait is spending time with our partners, many IoT solutions are vertical within a given industry requiring you to partner deeply with the experts in that specific field.Get to know another side of O’Farrell by watching the latest edition of our Meet the Leaders video series:last_img read more

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