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Robot babies used in Japan to encourage population growth

Decline in the population has led to a trend in Japan of developing robotic babies to encourage couples to have children. Some robots look like real children while others mimic or imitate the behavior of babies. Examples include Toyota's Kirobo Mini, which can recognize and respond to people, and Yotaro's robotic baby simulator, which projects facial emotions and expressions in response to touch, mood or illness. There are also projects in development which use artificial intelligence to enable the robots to form a relationship with humans. Studies in the US and Australia have shown that robotic babies have increased pregnancies among test subjects.

Key Takeaway: 

Faced with a declining population, roboticists and engineers in Japan are developing robots that look or resemble real babies to encourage young couples to start their own families.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2016

DeepMind’s new hybrid AI learns from memory on its own

Google's DeepMind built a new hybrid artificial intelligence that can learn on its own from the memory it already has. The system, called Differential Neural Computer (DNC), is hybrid because it has both a neural network and the data storage of conventional computers. This allows it to learn from examples as well as store vast amounts of data like traditional computers. From demonstrations, it was able to infer family connections on its own with just a few inputs about certain relationships. It also determined complex relationships and possible routes for a public transit system after learning the basics. This gives it capabilities much like the human brain where it solves new information based on data from its memory, leading to a future where computers can answer questions on new topics based on prior data or artificial intelligence systems that can reason independently.

Key Takeaway: 

A new hybrid AI called Differential Neural Computer, developed by DeepMind, is both a neural network and a powerful memory computer, able to learn and figure out new information from existing data in its memory independently.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2016

Mice produced from stem cells could be possible for humans one day

Researchers in Japan have grown artificial eggs in a lab for the first time using the tissue cells of a mouse's tail that was reprogrammed into stem cells. Same eggs were then fertilized by a mouse's sperm and placed in a female mouse which bore 11 healthy mouse pups. The procedure can help to reproduce living animals (of other species) in a lab, including humans, but not for the time being. If possible, it can create healthy egg cells for infertile and aging women or produce healthier babies. It could also recreate extinct animals. The mouse babies also have some chromosomal abnormalities and different genetic expressions compared to other mice. The research was published in Nature.

Key Takeaway: 

Japanese researchers have reproduced mice from artificial eggs grown from stem cells in a lab, demonstrating the procedure could be used to one day recreate species of animals including humans.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2016

Modem that supports gigabit speeds will be available at year end

Qualcomm, Netgear, Ericsson and Telstra announced the first product, a hotspot, to support gigabit LTE speeds which will be available at the end of the year. The hotspot, a modem called X16, uses different technologies to reach gigabit speeds, including carrier aggregation and is faster than the 600 megabits per second maximum speed the current X12 modem offers. Qualcomm believes carriers will launch gigabit LTE services once X16 is available. It will also include the modem in its new chip for smartphones, expected in the market in 2017. It has also announced its plans for the Snapdragon X50 which will have speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second and will be commercialized in 2018. It will be featured in the next Olympics in Korea as a testbed for 5G technology.

Key Takeaway: 

The first modem to support gigabit LTE speeds will be available at the end of this year, which can be a gateway for carriers to introduce services with fast gigabit speeds.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 17, 2016

New sensor for driverless cars is smaller and cheaper

Quanergy, a startup based in California, has created a lidar for self-driving cars that is not only half the size of existing lidars but also cheaper. Its small size and cost can make better driverless cars. Called the S3, the new lidar is smaller than a camera with a weight of less than 11 ounces. It is also more advanced - it can scan objects and areas in higher resolution and greater range than other lidars. At a commercial price point of $250, the S3 is 32 times less expensive than a traditional lidar, and can produce half a million point-cloud data points a second. The sensors will be used in prototype cars next year and in commercial vehicles by 2018.

Key Takeaway: 

A new lidar system invented by Quanergy, which is more advanced, half the size and 32 times cheaper than existing lidars, can enable new designs for autonomous cars and develop smarter, more cost efficient vehicles.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 16, 2016

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