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  • Thurston County ARC Agreement Now Official

    arc signing1A formal signing of the ARC ‘Letter of Intent’ took place Friday at the Accountability and Resource Center (ARC) with Thurston County Commissioners and Sheriff John Snaza. The agreement clears the way for the Thurston jail to open.… Read More +

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  • Lawmakers Celebrate Hawks Ahead Of Super Bowl

    Hawkington2The Washington state Senate passed a resolution honoring the Seattle Seahawks as they prepare to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. The resolution was passed Friday, and many lawmakers on the floor were wearing Seahawks jerseys,… Read More +

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  • Baker Signed To Minor-League Deal

    marinersSThe Seattle Mariners have signed catcher John Baker to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. The Mariners announced the signing Thursday after Baker's physical. He is expected to compete with Jesus Sucre for the backup job playing behind starter Mike Zunino.

    Read More
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New Smart Car: Anki Drive Powered by Artificial Intelligence

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-10_40abecb61d.jpgAnki (NEW YORK) -- A lot of artificial intelligence work has focused on big ideas and big-ticket items: autonomous cars, self-stabilizing military transporters, and space exploration vehicles. But what about artificial intelligence for the home -- and specifically for toys? Anki, a company co-founded by Boris Sofman, is starting to address that question with its debut product, Drive.

The new product has gotten tremendous support from Apple as well, including a chance to demo during this year's WWDC conference, as well as the chance to directly reach customers in Apple stores. Drive will be available on Oct. 23 for $199.

Drive is like Mario Kart brought into the physical world. Players start the racing game by picking one of four different race cars, each programmed with its own "personality" that determines how it navigates the track. Players won't be physically steering their vehicles the same way they would a remote-controlled car. What they do have is control over how their cars behave, from deciding what upgrades to apply to improve a car's abilities to deciding what weapons to deploy to mess up rivals.

It may seem that taking the steering out of driving would also take out the fun, but Sofman said that this allows the cars to zip around as quickly as they do. "If you were to scale them up, these cars would be going 250 miles per hour," he told ABC News. "All the cars are equipped with sensors and software that can monitor position 500 times each second."

The processing power required for those quick calculations don't actually need to be calculated by a supercomputer or even a standard desktop computer. The iPhone and iPod Touch have enough power to function both as a controller and the game console itself. "Eighty percent of a video game's processing power goes towards graphics, but the graphics here are the physical world," said Sofman. "Instead, we use maybe 90 percent of the processing power dedicated to the artificial intelligence."

"If you were to scale them up, these cars would be going 250 miles per hour."

The algorithms are what Anki is banking on for its success, not just for Drive but for all of its future products. "We would definitely not call ourselves a toy company, or even an entertainment company," Sofman said. "We're trying to take the tech found in the fields of space and defense, pull them out of the labs, and put them into peoples' lives."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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