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CES: These gadgets were voted coolest of the cool

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Last Gadget Standing 2019 Top 10 Gadgets:

  • HP Spectre Folio
  • MIXXTAPE
  • Vuze XR
  • Orii from Origami Labs
  • Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
  • YubiKey 5 NFC
  • IQ Buds BOOST from Nuheara
  • Owl Car Cam
  • Shure MV88+ Video Kit
  • Rosary Beads from Gadgetek

Following LGS, five exceptional students under the age of 20 from the US and Canada were named the 2019 Young Innovators to Watch (YITW) for their innovative and outstanding inventions. Thanks to the generosity of Lenovo, the Young Innovators to Watch award offers scholarships to students who are moving the technology needle with game-changing products and new ideas.

Backen: Tomorrow’s learning system was built by a student today. Jerry Qu, 17 (Unionville High School, Markham, Ontario, Canada), created Backen using Tensorflow, Microsoft Azure, and various APIs, all connected in Python. The system uses machine learning to automatically tag keywords in research papers, and recommends and suggests relevant articles, the first step towards a universal knowledge bank.

HICCUP: At 17, Lyron Co Ting Keh (Crescenta Valley High School, La Crescenta, CA) is already hard at work in one of the most prestigious cancer labs, the Alizadeh Lab (Stanford Medicine, Division of Oncology). He works on algorithms to help research in “Cancer of Unknown Primary” (CUP) where he designed and trained a robust and cost-effective machine learning model to carry out non-invasive CUP classifications from cell-free DNA (cfDNA).

HotSpot: HotSpot is a peer-to-peer Wifi network created on the blockchain that allows you to make money from sharing your hotspot. Born out of a Wifi-challenged visit in Berlin, 17-year-olds Vishanth Thangavelautham and Talha Atta (R.H. King Academy, Toronto, Canada) didn’t want to waste $20 on an Uber and took the train, but they didn’t have Wifi and didn’t know how to navigate. They only needed Wifi for 10 minutes so why buy a different SIM card? Should they not be able to just pay to use someone else’s network for five or ten minutes?

Lumen: Kumaran Akilan, 18, and Archishman Sravankumar, 17 (Cupertino High School, Cupertino, CA), have devised a promising algorithm for detecting early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease via retinal scan. They’ve been working with data sets supplied from Belfast University, creating a completely autonomous algorithm. Along with a team of mentors in the fields of ophthalmology and computer science, they hope to fulfill the promise of a low-cost, non-invasive early detection test.

Quantum Vector: Tanisha Bassan, 17 (St. Robert Catholic High School, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), is leveraging quantum machine learning using IBM’s Qiskit software to run a quantum support vector machine kernel algorithm. Support vector machines, she says, help computers classify different types of objects (cats & dogs) and can project complex data structures into higher dimensions for accurate classification.

“These outstanding students set themselves apart by serving their communities with remarkable innovations,” said Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times. “The scholarships and recognition they received at CES acknowledge their brilliance and can encourage them to continue their passion for creativity and technology and combine both to affect and improve how we live.”

The YITW winners received $500 scholarships, a trip to CES, dinner with industry leaders, and global recognition.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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