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Day 2 highlights from CES 2018

Intel’s Loihi Chip, Qualcomm’s smart speaker development kit, LG’s object recognition AI, and more

Day 2 of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) witnessed major contributions by Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Udacity, and LG in incorporating AI in their technologies and products. Here are the top highlights:

Intel shows off its neuromorphic AI chip and a 49 qubit quantum chip

Intel announced that its Loihi AI chip, launched on September 17, is now fully-functional and ready to be shared with research partners. Loihi is Intel’s first neuromorphic chip, designed to mimic the functioning of neurons and synapses in the brain. They are less flexible and more powerful than most general-purpose chips. The Loihi chips don’t require a huge amount of training data to learn a process and are energy efficient. Currently, its functionality is limited to simple object recognition. However further applications of these chips are likely to be in robotics and self-driving cars.

Intel also unveiled its Tangle Lake chip—a superconducting quantum test chip of 49 qubits at CES 2018. The 49-qubit chip builds upon their earlier work with 17-qubit arrays. Intel has also developed packaging to prevent radio-frequency interference with the qubits. They use a flip chip technology that enables smaller and denser connections to get signals on and off the chips. This new announcement has put Intel in a good position with IBM and Google as far as the quantum computing race goes.

Qualcomm plans to make a smart speaker development kit and extends its support to popular voice assistants

Qualcomm announced their plans for the first half of 2018 at the ongoing CES event. First, they plan to make a smart speaker development kit based on the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform. The development kit is engineered to help developers and audio manufacturers simplify the development of smart speaker products. The development kit will feature a Wi-Fi certified System-on-Module (SoM) that integrates the key system components. The kit also includes schematics and design files to support easier customization and differentiation in the manufacturers’ products. Additionally, the development kit offers a reference design for smart speaker devices.

The company also announced that its Smart Audio Platform will now allow developers to choose which assistant they want to incorporate into their smart speakers. A choice of voice assistants from Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google assistant will also allow other hardware manufacturers to more easily build devices that support these virtual assistants.

LG plans to intelligently enhance TV images using computer vision

LG announced its plans to apply AI to enhance TV images using state-of-the-art computer vision at the ongoing CES 2018. They will apply object-based enhancement to TV images. Applying object recognition AI will help in smoothing color banding and also help in identifying faces in a picture or distinguishing between, say a cat from a dog. Thus every image or scene will be parsed more intelligently. However, this announcement is at a very early stage, as more progress is still to happen. Apart from this, LG also talked about the potential of its new AI platform, ThinQ, for bringing deep learning and interoperability to the company’s smart products. LG smart appliances will have the ability to learn habits over time and communicate with each other.

Samsung plans to connect all its products with the IoT cloud by 2020

Samsung announced plans to connect 90 percent of their products with the IoT cloud at the CES 2018.  Additionally, the products will have artificial intelligence capabilities through Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby.

Samsung’s SmartThings Cloud service will also be available this spring. The SmartThings Cloud would allow people to control IoT devices from a single app, instead of having one for each gadget. Apart from working with Samsung products, it will also connect with cars running on Harman’s Ignite cloud and other products that work with SmartThings.

Samsung also unveiled its modular TV, called The Wall with customizable size configurations. It will also have built-in Bixby support for searching for TV shows, movies, weather reports, play songs, show photos from the cloud etc.

Udacity and Baidu partner to come up with AI courses for building self-driving cars

Baidu, one of the leading AI organizations has partnered with Udacity, an online education platform for building courses together. This collaboration was announced by Baidu’s COO Qi Liu and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun at the ongoing CES 2018. According to Thrun, the AI expertise required to build self-driving cars is depleting and thus courses and programs like these are necessary to bring more talent in this area. Apart from these, Udacity will also make contributions in Baidu’s Apollo which is an open platform for autonomous driving. In regards to this Udacity will offer an Introduction to Apollo program and help Apollo with talent identification and acquisition. The program will be free of cost to the aspirants and will cover the entire Apollo software and simulation environment with hands-on learning opportunities.

More advancements and announcements are bound to continue for the next 3 days as more organizations showcase their innovative products. Keep an eye on our website for further updates.

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Sugandha Lahoti

A web dev and data science enthusiast and an avid reader of fiction novels. Always on the lookout for new and upcoming tech-savvy stuff.

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