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CES: Teens to wow Vegas

Five apps that solve societal challenges – and built by teenagers – will be showcased at CES next week.

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Five innovative apps developed by teenagers will be showcased at CES in Las Vegas next week, at The Young Innovators to Watch (YITW) awards ceremony.

The event recognises children aged 13-18 who have developed innovative ideas tackling health, societal, computer science, and educational challenges.

In the five years since the event was launched, its winners have continued their commitment to the sciences, going on to Ivy League schools, launching projects, obtaining patents, and starting companies. The 2019 YITW winners were selected by judges from academia, venture capital, and product development.  The teens who win are flown to CES in Las Vegas to “see their future,” accept their awards, tour CES in a curated way, and speak at Living in Digital Times’ Digital Health Dinner.

The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, 10 January 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

These are the apps that have been selected for the Young Innovators to Watch awards for 2019:

Backen:  Jerry Qu, 17, (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.

HICCUPLyron Co Ting Keh, 17, (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.

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 Tahla Atta (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, 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 a Belfast University, creating a completely autonomous algorithm. Along with a team of mentors in the fields of ophthalmology and computer science, they hope to fulfil the promise of a low-cost, non-invasive early detection test.

Quantum Vector:  Tanisha Bassan, 17, (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.

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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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