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Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft shows off universal translator (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Microsoft Research has shown off software that translates your spoken words into another language while preserving the accent, timbre, and intonation of your actual voice. In a demo of the prototype software, Rick Rashid, Microsoft’s chief research officer, said a long sentence in English, and then had it translated into Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin. You can definitely hear an edge of digitized “Microsoft Sam,” but overall it’s remarkable how the three translations still sound just like Rashid. The translation requires an hour of training, but after that there's no reason why it couldn't be run in real time on a smartphone, or near-real-time with a cloud backend. Imagine this tech in a two-way setup. You speak into your smartphone, and it comes out in their language. Then, the person you’re talking to speaks into your smartphone and their voice comes out in your language."
Technology

Submission + - SXSW: Marketing agency uses homeless as Wi-Fi hotspots (ibtimes.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Marketing agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) has launched a controversial charity scheme at this year's South by Southwest festival, in which homeless people are being used to provide Wi-Fi hotspots.
The project, Homeless Hotspots, seeks to address people's need for a high-speed data connection at the festival in Austin, Texas, by issuing the homeless with T-shirts that say "I am a 4G hotspot".

Nintendo

Nintendo, Sony Take Big Financial Hits 119

The Installer writes with news that Nintendo is seeing a significant financial downturn to match the general slowdown in the rest of the industry. "Sales of the once unstoppable Wii console have tumbled for the first time since its launch three years ago, sending the gaming giant's quarterly profit down 61 percent." Meanwhile, Sony is feeling the pain as well; the company sold 500,000 fewer PS3 consoles than in the previous quarter, and PSP sales saw an even bigger drop. Interestingly, Sony also revealed that the manufacturing cost of the PS3 has now dropped 70% since it was released. The drop in sales has caused the resurgence of rumors about console price cuts.

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