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Acer has an In-Game Live AI Translator on their own esports platform

It’s called SigridWave and the platform is Planet9

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SigridWave

Acer introduces SigridWave — an In-Game Live AI Translator for Planet9 which is the company’s next-generation esports platform. There’s a lot to unpack here so try to digest the information slowly.

SigridWave: In-Game Live AI Translator

SigridWave aims to break language barriers and facilitate communication among gamers around the world. It leverages deep learning tech and is especially trained in gaming jargon.

When in-game, SigridWave employs Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology to recognize utterances and convert them into strings of text. This text is then run through a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology. The NMT Tech has so far been trained with over 10 million bilingual sentence pairs, enabling it to understand the terminology associated with specific games (such as “ADS” or “camping”) and learn how players express themselves.

If your nose is bleeding after reading all of that, don’t worry. Same.

Intended specifically for gaming, SigridWave’s AI has so far been trained with over 1,000 hours of game-centric speech (voice + transcript), enabling it to accurately relay detected messages back to users in a language that they can understand.

Being game-centric is key. Acer points out that the biggest hurdle in machine translation is context. Many words can carry multiple meanings and computers struggle to discern the most suitable translation for the situation, that’s why being focused on gaming is essential.

SigridWave will have a closed beta in Q4 2020, during which time it will be available for two-way translation between English and Mandarin in a number of major FPS titles such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

Planet9 — Acer’s next gen esports platform

SigridWave will work in tandem with Planet9 — a next gen esports platform. The AI Translator is booted up while in a game lobby on Planet9’s desktop client. It’ll appear as a customizable in-game overlay.

The platform itself is meant to be partly competitive and partly social. It’s designed to provide an open community for casual and amateur players who want to improve their skills and take steps towards going pro.

The platform helps players connect with others via teams and social clubs; to improve their skills, via in-depth feedback on gameplay in the form of statistics and coaching; and to experience organized gameplay, via casual or ranked scrimmages and competitive tournaments for most games.

In-game overlays will be supported for League of Legends on launch in late 2020 or early 2021, and support will be made available for additional titles in the future.

Teams

Planet9 strives to help gamers connect with others who have similar skill levels and aspirations. From there, players can create a team to be registered on the website or search for one to join.

Planet9 will also help recruiting teams to fill their rosters, considering factors such as game played, rank, region and language in order to identify potential teammates.

Once a team is established, a private team page is created on the platform to function as a central hub for all involved. In addition to keeping track of match history and statistics for later review and discussion, the team hub includes a number of features to help keep everything organized: a board for discussion and polls, a group calendar for scheduling scrimmages, a tab to keep track of team funding and a directory with basic stats on all members.

Clubs

Planet9’s Club feature is intended to help players keep up with groups they like or admire, whether they’re major names in the industry or a local university team. Clubs consist of two parts, a public “home” page for followers and a private “lounge” for members.

The home page is a place to share content (posts, polls, videos, etc) in order to engage with the community, whereas the lounge is a place to relax and discuss club-related content with a smaller circle of more dedicated members.

Businesses, influencers and public figures are also capable of forming a club on Planet9, creating a unique new touchpoint for brands that wish to connect with gamers. Whether professional or amateur, each club is granted access to a variety of tools to host tournaments in order to grow their own community.

Planet9 recently partnered with Currys PC World to feature Planet9 in its stores in order to enhance esports initiatives in the UK and Ireland. This includes an in-house designed arena to give players a chance to see what it’s like being part of a local gaming club, practicing with teammates and learning from coaches.

These in-house arenas will launch soon with a rapid expansion to 30 stores throughout 2021. Each of the stores will open its own club on Planet9 to grow its gamer community as well as to host tournaments, creating a pipeline for players to show off their talent.

Tournaments

Planet9 includes a significant amount of infrastructure designed to make the process of organizing and hosting tournaments as seamless as possible.

An extensive UI ensures that a successful tournament can be put together even by those with no experience, while a number of automation features (registration, bracket mastering, etc.) enable experienced hosts to minimize time spent on tedious activities and focus on providing as enjoyable an event as possible.

Tournaments are highly customizable, featuring a number of preset brackets and privacy modes, opportunities for sponsored branding and club-determined rewards. Come game day, an all-in-one “Bracket Master” console makes it easy for judges and organizers to communicate, configure matches, broadcast to an audience and more.

Apps

Dark theme on Google Maps finally available for Android users

What took them so long?

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Dark themes or dark modes have been around for years, and pretty much every major platform has adopted the design element. Google rolled out the option gradually to all its apps, but Maps was yet to get the new treatment.

On its blog, Google has confirmed that dark theme will soon be rolling out to all Google Maps for Android users globally. To check for the new option on your phone, simply head to the Settings tab of the app, tap on Theme and then look for the Always in Dark Theme option.

The dark mode is not just an adaptation of operating systems and apps to protect users. It is already an almost natural way to have an interface that consumes less energy and thus, becomes much more interesting to use. AMOLED displays consume significantly low energy, and the greyscale reduces strain.

Android has been at the forefront of this adoption from the start, and Google has done the same with its apps, albeit more slowly. Google says that all users should get the feature soon, and it may take a couple of days for the rollout to complete. For now, there’s no word on when Google Maps for iOS will get the same feature.

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Apps

Race For Water is a virtual race and fundraiser for clean water access

Raise funds when you run, walk, or ride your bike

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Clean water is a right, not a privilege. As per United Nations, the average distance African and Asian women walk to collect water is six kilometers, while carrying at least one 20-liter jug.

Waves for Water Philippines, in partnership with Takbo.PH launches Race For Water, in time for Women’s Month and Water Month. The virtual fundraiser is also tribute to World Water Day, addressing the global water crisis we are facing.

Runners and fitness enthusiasts can hit their personal targets through this online event while helping people along the way. This innovative race is designed to ensure social distancing and prioritize safety among participants and beneficiaries.

“I want clean water access for everyone, how do I help?”

Wherever you are in the world, you can join the virtual event, but entitlements and raffle prizes are open to Philippine residents only. To join, you can amp up your support by walking, running, and biking that extra mile.

Sign up at app.takbo.ph and record your progress using any GPS-tracking app of your choice. For every personal target hit, there’s a monetary equivalent. Waves for Water will convert the accumulated distance traveled by all participants into liters of filtered water.

Proceeds of Race For Water will go towards building a gravity-fed water system for an upland indigenous peoples’ community in Porac, Pampanga. This ensures they have water points within meters of their homes.

“When can I sign up and join the race?”

The Virtual Race starts March 1, 2021, and will be ongoing until April 15, 2021. To know more about Race For Water, visit the fundraising page.

Follow @wavesforwaterphilippines and @race4water on Instagram, for updates on giveaways, premium raffle items, and other side events. The event is organized in partnership with H&M Philippines, Aveda Philippines, The Bouldering Hive, and co-presented by TUMI Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, and Atlas.

For more information, visit Race for Water Virtual Run | Race for Water Virtual Ride.

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Apps

BPI Foundation’s Breakthrough app teaches personal finance through a digital board game

Your financial choices can either save you or break you!

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BPI Foundation, the social responsibility arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, launched its first interactive mobile game. Called Breakthrough: The Financial Choices We Make, the game aims to educate more Filipinos about personal finance in an entertaining manner. For brevity, we’ll be calling the game Breakthrough from hereon.

You can sharpen your financial awareness, understanding, and judgment — from basic to complex financial concepts. Saving, budgeting, insurance, debt management, investments, and retirement planning; your financial choices can either save you or break you.

Walkthrough

Breakthrough utilizes a board game set up like Monopoly, but instead of humans, you’re going against AI opponents. Players roll the dice which travels around the digital board landing on a corresponding tile.

Each tile presents common life events where a player’s decision can affect their score. There’s an opportunity to save, go on vacation, invest in stocks, or purchase insurance. You can even experience mishaps beyond your control like getting scammed, phished, or having emergencies such as car breakdown and home damage.

Overall, you can either amass or lose wealth depending on the path you decide to take. Whoever has the most assets, investments, coins, and highest net worth wins the game.

App development

The development of the app is the Foundation’s response to the World Bank’s study recommending the use of edutainment as a form of teaching financial concepts to the public, as stated by BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo.

Apart from the board game, the app included a Financial Wellness journal, quizzes, and tips for players. Moving forward, the BPI Foundations plans to use the app in future runs of financial education webinars and other Foundation activities.

Moreover, the game is planning to scale up, further improving and expanding the gameplay. The Foundation, together with its partner Taktyl Studios, is working on allowing multi-player options, too. Breakthrough is now available on the App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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