This week in the connected world: Disney tracks movie audience’s enjoyment with a new facial recognition system, Apple and Cochlear develop the first iPhone hearing implant and Google announces a new studio aimed at getting machine learning startups off the ground. Read on for the latest.
Google introduces Launchpad Studio for AI startups
Another week, another AI announcement from Google. This time it’s a studio aimed at giving AI startups key resources to help them get going in the real world. The Launchpad Studio offers both tools (in the form of specialised data sets and simulation tools), and human resources (with access to Google engineers, IP experts and product gurus) to boost existing talent and expertise in the teams they plan to help.
Apple and Cochlear unveil first hearing implant for the iPhone
Apple and Australian-based Cochlear have joined forces to create a made-for-iPhone cochlear implant to aid those with hearing loss. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can stream sound from iPhones, and lets those with surgically embedded implants control the sound directly from their device.
Disney’s facial recognition system measures audience enjoyment in real time
A new system from Caltech and Disney Research is tracking audience reactions as they watch movies. The idea is to measure exactly how much (or little) people are enjoying a movie by monitoring their facial expressions at particular points. The research team collected around 16 million data points by recording audiences with an infrared high-definition camera as they watched Disney movies. The data points were fed into the neural network, after which the system was set loose on audiences in real-time, to attempt to predict when people would laugh or smile. So far it’s pretty reliable at predicting joyful emotion – tears are yet to be tracked it seems.
Facebook developing smart speaker with touch screen
A report from DigiTimes suggests that Facebook is building a 15-inch touch-screen smart speaker to encourage an upswing in messaging activity, alongside photo and video views. Pegatron (the Chinese iPhone manufacturer) is building the device, which is slated for a 2018 launch. Details around functionality are thin on the ground as yet, with Facebook unable to share anything concrete for now.
Brolly AI insurance app raises £1 million in seed funding
AI-driven insurance app Brolly has raised £1 million in seed funding. The startup offers personalized insurance solutions via an app, which analyses gaps or duplication in your current insurance policies, then shops around on your behalf for a better deal. The startup was founded by Phoebe Hugh, formerly of Aviva, and Mykhailo Loginov, Microsoft engineering manager, when the two met at Entrepreneur First.
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