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Smile’s Innovation Watch #36

Smile’s Innovation Watch #36

Welcome to the 36th issue of Smile Innovation Watch, where we keep an eye on the latest and greatest in the world of innovation 👨🏻‍💻.

From the fun and quirky ways technology is being utilized, such as computer vision for laundry and AI-generated air systems, to the latest acquisitions and layoffs in the tech industry, including Zoom, iRobot & Amazon, and Stripe. We’ll also be exploring the latest advancements in art, medicine, and transportation. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as we dive into the fascinating world of innovation.

⏳ Reading time: 5 minutes

😝 Fun & WTF

Laundry Lens: Computer vision to the rescue of your clothes

Confused by the laundry labels in your clothes? “Just point your camera at a care label and you will be presented [with] the proper instructions on how to take care of your clothes and garments.” No need to call your mom or spouse anymore (or buy this H&M Poster), you too you can now do the laundry all by yourself!

Systems Reef 2

Australian architecture practice BVN have created a 3D printed air conditioning system which ‘breathes’ like frog skin.The system is created using recycled plastics, and each installation is designed using an algorithm which calculates the least amount of plastic needed to implement, saving much more material than standard systems.

This Danish Political Party Is Led by an AI

The Danish political party ‘The Alternative’ has elected an artificial intelligence system, named ‘Ulla’, as its new leader. The party claims that Ulla’s role is not to replace human decision-making but to assist in the decision-making process by providing unbiased, fact-based analysis of policy proposals. The system was developed by a Danish tech company, and it employs machine learning algorithms to understand and evaluate political issues. The party hopes that Ulla’s leadership will inspire other political organizations to adopt AI and machine learning in their decision-making processes.

🤑 Merge, Acquisition and Layoffs

Zoom to cut 1,300 jobs — CEO Eric Yuan taking 98% pay cut

Video conferencing company Zoom announced plans to cut 1,300 jobs, which amounts to roughly 10% of its workforce. The move is part of a restructuring plan aimed at improving the company’s long-term growth prospects. CEO Eric Yuan will also take a 98% pay cut, reducing his annual salary to $6000. Zoom has experienced explosive growth during the pandemic but is facing increased competition from companies like Microsoft and Google as remote work becomes more normalized.

Stripe eyes an exit over next 12 months

Fintech company Stripe has set a one-year deadline to become a public company. It will either list directly or through private transactions such as fundraising events or tender offers. The company has enlisted the help of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to decide the best course of action. Stripe has not been immune to the economic downturn and recently reduced its internal valuation to $63 billion. The company laid off 14% of its staff in November.

Amazon is buying Roomba vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for $1.7 billion

Amazon on Friday announced it has agreed to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion, scooping up another company to add to its collection of smart home appliances amid broader concerns about its market power. Amazon was already buying user data from iRobot for years in order to know the customer’s interior plan in order to push tailor made marketing material.

💡 Innovation


AI-Da Robot is an art project that combines AI and robotics to create an AI humanoid artist that can draw, paint and create artworks. The robot is named after Ada Lovelace, who is considered as the world’s first computer programmer. The project aims to explore the intersection of art and technology and to question the role of AI in the creative process. AI-Da is the first robot to be recognized as an artist by the art world, and its works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. The project is a collaboration between AI experts, roboticists, and artists, and it showcases the potential of AI and robotics to expand the boundaries of art and creativity.

First autonomous X-ray-analyzing AI is cleared in the EU

An artificial intelligence tool that reads chest X-rays without oversight from a radiologist got regulatory clearance in the European Union last week. It’s a big milestone for AI and likely to be contentious, as radiologists have spent the last few years pushing back on efforts to fully automate parts of their job.

AI traffic light system could make traffic jams a distant memory

Long queues at traffic lights could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new artificial intelligence system developed by Aston University researchers. The system—the first of its kind—reads live camera footage and adapts the lights to compensate, keeping the traffic flowing and reducing congestion. The system uses deep reinforcement learning, where a program understands when it is not doing well and tries a different course of action—or continues to improve when it makes progress.

That’s all folks

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