Monthly Archives: November 2017

Show Off Smart Glasses and Directional Speaker at CES

Samsung today offered a peek at three new projects brewing inside its in-house idea incubator Creative Lab (C-Lab).

The tech giant plans to show off the projects — a portable directional speaker dubbed Sound Ray (S-Ray), a device called GoBreath that can help people with lung damage, and a pair of smart eyeglasses with an accompanying app called Relúmino — at CES in Las Vegas next week.

Samsung first showed off its Relúmino app at Mobile World Congress last year, and now the team behind it has developed a pair of smart eyeglasses that can “help people with vision challenges see images clearer when they are reading a book or viewing an object,” the company wrote in a news release.

“The glasses work in conjunction with a smartphone, utilizing its processors and batteries, which makes Relúmino glasses light and comfortable to wear,” Samsung explained. “The smartphone processes images from videos projected through the camera of the glasses, and the processed images are floated into the display of the Relúmino glasses to help the wearer see things better.”
Meanwhile, the GoBreath recovery solution is for those suffering from postoperative pulmonary complications. Developed by a doctor at the Samsung Medical Center, the portable device and mobile app aim to teach patients techniques such as inhalation, coughing and deep breathing.

“Patients can refer to exercise guidelines and check how well their lungs have recovered through the app,” Samsung wrote. “GoBreath even offers a web and cloud service for doctors to help them monitor their patients’ recovery progress as well as provide reminders to practice.”

Finally, S-Ray aims to let you listen to music or podcasts without having to wear uncomfortable earphones, or annoying others around you by playing music over a Bluetooth speaker. Existing directional speakers are “primarily stationary due to their size and price,” Samsung says, but S-Ray is “much smaller, lighter and portable…while maintaining the advantages of conventional directional speakers and/or earphones.”

Besides those three projects, seven startups that have spun out of C-Lab will showcase newly released products that are hitting the market. Those startups include Linkflow, Kitten Planet, lululab, Kidsoft, Mangoslab, Innomdle lab and analogue plus.

“Since launching five years ago, our C-Lab program has gained exciting momentum across Samsung, helping foster an innovation culture, and providing avenue for our creative, talented employees to pursue innovative new projects,” Vice President and Head of Samsung’s Creativity & Innovation Center Jaiil Lee said in a statement. “We will continuously introduce innovative projects through our C-Lab program.”

Facts About the Smartphones in Our Pockets

Be honest: Do you think you could go a day without checking your phone? Obviously, if the answer is no, you’re far from alone. If you’ve ever stopped and looked around a doctor’s waiting room or a subway car, it’s most likely the people around you are engrossed in their devices.

But whether you’re focused on scrolling through the news, keeping tabs on an ex or getting your inbox down to zero, it seems that there is more than just mental strain we have to worry about with constantly looking at our phones.

At the end of 2017, the California Department of Public Health put out a report about the effect that energy that comes from smartphones can have on our long-term health. The CDPH issued some guidelines that essentially boil down to not keeping your phone on your person too much of the time and putting it away from your bed.

They also recommended decreasing cell use when you have a weak signal, streaming less audio or video, reducing downloads of big files on your phone and removing headsets when you aren’t making a call. Also, those products that say they can block radio frequency energy? Turns out, they can actually increase your exposure to it.

Clearly, the force of mobile phones in our lives is powerful, but how much do we really know about them? Read on for 20 odd facts about the smartphone in your pocket.

Interesting Artificial Intelligence Trends

New advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) research made by tech giants and academia have quickly made their way into businesses and business models, while even more companies are introducing established AI solutions like chatbots and virtual assistants. Following all that is happening in the dynamic world of AI is time-consuming for entrepreneurs who are busy running their own companies, so I’ve compiled a list of the most interesting AI trends entrepreneurs should keep an eye on in the coming year.

AI content creation
The trend toward humanization of big data and data analytics will continue in 2018 with new advancements in natural language generation (NLG) and natural language processing (NLP). Using rule-based systems like Wordsmith by Automated Insights, media outlets and companies can already turn structured data into intelligent narratives based on natural language.

Related: How Your Business Can Stay Ahead of the Game With Artificial Intelligence

Making relationships in data understandable to people beyond data science teams will further democratize AI and big data, leading to the era of automatic generation of insights. The same technologies are already enabling automated content generation in news coverage, social media, marketing, fantasy sports, financial reports and more. In the coming year, automated content generation is likely to gain more traction in news reporting and marketing, helping companies instantly respond to emerging trends, news and events by creating the relevant content for their audience and clients.

The rise of capsules AI
Capsule networks (CapsNet) is a new form of deep neural networks proposed by Google’s lead scientist Geoffrey Hinton in a recent paper. In a nutshell, a capsules approach aims to overcome the shortcomings of CNNs (convolutional neural networks) that have been the de facto standard in image recognition for many years. CNNs are good when images fed to them are similar to those used during training. However, if they are asked to recognize images that have rotation, tilt or some misplaced elements, CNNs have poor performance. CNNs’ inability to account for spatial relationships makes it also possible to fool them by changing a position of graphical elements or the angle of the picture.

Robots Are Mostly Doing the Work People Hate Anyway

When people think of robots, they often think of machines equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities that will, at some point, have the power to rise up and overtake humans as they learn and grow. Sci-fi narrative aside, what many people don’t realize is that robots have been around for a very long time, and often not in the way that they think. There are different types of robotics technologies, some of which are the moving robots that Amazon uses to staff their distribution centers or are the helpers currently roaming the aisles of some Target and Lowe’s stores.

However, physical robots deployed in the blue collar workforce are not the only ones enabling businesses. There are other, much less conspicuous robots that many organizations are already using to exponentially increase staff productivity in white collar roles.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is where software robots interact with existing business and web applications to automate processes within a company’s walls. With RPA, employees have much to gain, including the freedom to focus on productive, rather than repetitive, tasks. Now, as these robots get smarter and easier to deploy, mundane work like reconciling spreadsheets of financial data or filing HR paperwork, will be a thing of the past. This will help foster successful employee engagement strategies by allowing employees to focus on actual data analysis to make the strategic decisions that benefit customers and companies to increase topline growth.

Manual work is torpedoing productivity.
From finance to billing to IT, employees across all departments are plagued with a slew of manual, repetitive tasks. On average, managers spend two full days per week on administrative activities and, in the U.S., approximately $575 billion per year is spent performing administrative work. Millennial employees would rather make $40,000 per year doing a job they love as opposed to making $100,000 per year doing something boring. There is inherent risk with that much manual work, and those risks range from process delays to unnecessary burden on employee time, to ambivalence, boredom and disengagement that leads to errors, mistakes and job hopping. Not only that, but when employees are short on time, they are less likely to foster ideas and make decisions that can affect the overall health of the organization.

As brands look for new ways to gain a competitive edge and increase customer and employee loyalty, it’s more important than ever to implement the right technology to free employees from the more boring, mundane aspects of their jobs, and many are finding that freedom in robotics.

Reality Will Find Its Way Into Your Life in 2018 and Beyond

Remember when Pokémon Go came out in 2016? It was all anyone talked about. Which isn’t too surprising — it was most people’s first impression of a promised future many of us had waited for, something we’d seen only in sci-fi books or Hollywood blockbusters.

This technology is augmented reality (AR). Augmented reality is the integration of virtual experiences with everyday objects and environments, making it different from virtual reality (VR), which is 100 computer generated, and mixed reality (MR), which combines both.

While the past few years have been VR-focused (think Oculus Rift and all those other gaming headsets), AR is taking center stage and will soon become a blue chip industry for entrepreneurs, in industries from marketing to health care to navigation.

Here are three ways augmented reality will find its way into your life sooner than you might expect:

1. A pair of glasses you can’t live without
The problem with AR in past years was that powerful AR glasses were extremely bulky and costly. And the simpler ones released for consumer use, like Google Glass, have had much lower processing power, so you can’t do too much with them.

Perhaps the most refined AR headset out there right now is the Microsoft HoloLens, but its price point is a bit painful, at $3,000. And it’s got a headset which — while still too big and unwieldy — is nevertheless the most fully realized AR headset available for developers right now.

Certainly, Microsoft could make some improvements before the HoloLens is released to the general public, but despite all these drawbacks, it’s still pretty incredible.

We’re also seeing some new companies with ambitious goals appear on the scene. Magic Leap recently updated its website to show off its new MR headset, Lightwear. But there are some caveats here: There is no accompanying video, and skeptics believe that the headset displayed may just be a pre-rendering of an as-of-yet-unfinished product.

Meanwhile, over in China, Rokid is another emerging AR player to watch. The company has a history of building popular AI-enabled products for the Chinese market (with an Alibaba partnership to boot). And it recently announced Rokid Glass for 2018. Also, unlike most of the competition, Rokid intends to release Rokid Glass directly to consumers. The product will debut in a few weeks at CES 2018 in Vegas.

The message here, then, is that once AR glasses become convenient, affordable and widely adopted — the real magic will happen.

2. More immersive (and personalized) marketing
Think of any science fiction movie you’ve seen in the past 10 years and you’ll probably remember at least one scene in which holographic advertisements were the real stars (Blade Runner 2049 offers a prime example of just such a product placement).

How far off are we from a future in which giant, holographic cans of Coco-Cola cans dominate our billboards? Not as far as you’d think. Just check out this video of an interdimensional portal built with ARKit. Prepare to have your mind blown wide open.

Granted, the vast majority of AR and VR experiences today are focused on better, more immersive video games. But that’s a symptom of the current developer community rather than a result of AR technology itself. Once more digital marketers start to really internalize the almost limitless potential of AR, we’ll begin to see this content everywhere we go.