Google’s New Experiment Can Display Different Weather Conditions

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. terrarium / təˈreə.ri.əm / (n) – a glass container used to keep plants and small animals

    The class turtle is kept inside the terrarium.

  2. replicate / ˈrep·lɪˌkeɪt / (v) – to duplicate or reproduce something

    You can replicate the design by using the template.

  3. semantic / sɪˈmæntɪk / (adj) – associated with meanings of words

    The semantic theory explains how people form meanings.

  4. grasp / ɡræsp / (v) – to understand

    The student was able to grasp the difficult concepts during the lesson.

  5. excerpt / ˈek·sɜrpt / (n) – a short part taken from a book or other texts

    The author shared an excerpt from his latest novel.


Read the text below.

Google’s new experimental project can simulate real-world weather conditions.

The tech giant’s latest innovation called “Project Oasis” is an AI-generated terrarium. Developed by Indian inventor Harpreet Sareen, the terrarium collects weather information from different parts of the world. These weather conditions are then displayed in the box.

Users can activate “Project Oasis” through Google Assistant—a voice-controlled virtual app—by directly asking about a certain area’s weather. Then, the terrarium will respond by generating effects to recreate the place’s weather. For instance, it will produce bright lights to imitate sunlight, mist to replicate fog or clouds, and sprinklers to simulate rain.

“Project Oasis” was created using some of Google’s programs like Dialogflow—a software that enables human-computer interaction. Sareen believes that the project serves as an experiment that prompts humans to interact with technology and the natural environment.

Apart from letting users interact with the device, “Project Oasis” also allows users to make their own terrarium through the Project Oasis Github page.

Aside from “Project Oasis,” Google has also initiated other experimental projects.

The company also launched “Semantic Experiences,” a website featuring tasks that illustrate AI’s capacity in grasping the way humans speak. Currently, the project has two experiments, which include “Talk to Books” and “Semantris.” “Talk to Books” is a program that converses with users by answering questions about a particular book. The program does so by providing excerpts from the book. On the other hand, “Semantris” is an interactive game that determines how well users can form different word associations.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think it is necessary to create technology that displays real-world weather conditions? Why or why not?
• Which of the two experiments from Google’s “Semantic Experiences” would you be interested to try? Explain.

Discussion B

• Why do you think tech companies invest in experimental projects?
• If you were to create an experimental project, what would it be about? Discuss.