Creators and bot enthusiasts can explore the potential of a new open-source project from IBM called TJ Bot.

TJ Bot is a DIY kit that allows programmers to create a cardboard robot powered by Watson. TJ Bot consists of a Raspberry Pi, a variety of add-ons, and a cardboard cutout, which can be 3D-printed or laser cut.

On GitHub, developers can find “recipes” for how to bring TJ Bot to life, and developers are encouraged to submit their own ideas and instructions for other programmers to follow. So far, recipes include ways to make TJ Bot respond to emotions, voice control for giving TJ Bot basic commands, and three Watson APIs for creating a talking bot.

More information on how to get started with TJ Bot can be found here.

New evening programming courses from Origin Code Academy
Origin Code Academy has announced that it is expanding its evening programmer training course in San Diego, as well as adding daytime developer courses.

“Our evening courses are geared toward those students that have work or family commitments that prevent them taking our daytime courses,” said Jeff Winkler, founder and CEO of Origin Code Academy. “By opening up an evening course, we’re now more accommodating for those individuals who want to make a career shift, but can’t abandon their current daytime schedule. It’s about being more inclusive and serving those that have true drive and a strong ambition to learn.”

Origin Code Academy teaches a variety of courses, like HTML, CSS, .NET, JavaScript, and frameworks. Students can also learn about database technologies and APIs.

Registration for the courses that begin on Jan. 9, 2017 are now open. More information can be found here.

Performance improvements in Visual Studio “15”
Microsoft wants to make it easier for developers to work with and install its developer tools. The company announced updates to Visual Studio “15” with a focus on reliability and performance.

Some updates include a performance monitoring system for extensions; batch extension updates; the ability to detect and install dependent components; and performance enhancements.

Other improvements include the ability to transition to the Visual Studio Marketplace, a lightweight solution load, and a new Visual Studio Installer.

IBM and NVIDIA team up on deep learning
IBM and NVIDIA want to help train computers to think and learn like humans. The companies announced a new collaboration to create a deep learning toolkit. IBM PowerAI features NVIDIA NVLink, IBM’s AI server, performance improvements, and IBM’s cognitive solutions.

“PowerAI democratizes deep learning and other advanced analytic technologies by giving enterprise data scientists and research scientists alike an easy to deploy platform to rapidly advance their journey on AI,” SAID Ken King, general manager for OpenPOWER, in a statement. “Coupled with our high-performance computing servers built for AI, IBM provides what we believe is the best platform for enterprises building AI-based software, whether it’s chatbots for customer engagement, or real-time analysis of social media data.”