Smile Innovation’s watch #26
So lockdown and remote working is our new way of living for a couple of weeks now. But that doesn’t stop us to curate a list of excellent articles to get the latest news in terms of innovation, tooling, open-source, etc.; with a special COVID-19 list of news related to the innovation stimulated by the crisis.
This is Smile’s Innovation Watch.
This content was sent on May 4st in our Tech Watch Newsletter
🦠 Special COVID-19
A neural network can help spot Covid-19 in chest x-rays. Called COVID-NET, it could help scientist develop an AI tool that can pick up telltale signs.
A company rethinks our open spaces to respect the 2 meters distance between all employees needed to resume economic activities. After this sanitary crisis, our offices will never be the same.
Wing, an Alphabet company, is expanding widely in rural Virginia during the crisis. The company is operating aerial drone delivery services.
Zenly, a Snapchat owned app, is taking advantage of the crisis to launch a social challenge to #stayathome
The campus is closed, so college students are rebuilding their schools in Minecraft. Just in time for graduation 🎓.
As crazy as it sounds, Google developed an AI model called WaveNetEQ that can compensate all our bad internet connexion glitched in their video calling app Duo. The model is trained on 100 voices in 48 different languages and now can auto-complete short sections of speech based on common patterns in the way people talk. The cherry on top? The model runs on your phone, locally. No cloud.
OK said like this it sounds crazy but driving in a crowded city autonomously is very difficult and that’s the very challenge car manufacturer and tech companies are facing now. And driving in L.A. with its typical road architecture and topology is just even worst. I mean it’s challenging even for humans. So … how good the tech can do?
Early research results show that up to 77 percent of the bone scaffolding had been absorbed and replaced by natural bone 6 months after surgery.
🗽 Privacy & Freedom
Normal life has ground to a halt in the region as businesses lay off workers, hospitals struggle to care for patients, and ordinary people despair. Business people are taking a flight out of the country to download emails then come back to ensure business continuity. How mad is this?
Union Tech is ramping up work on its UOS Linux distribution by recruiting 5,000 people to work on it and using Chinese-made chips. So it’s not just a Chinese Linux distribution but something dedicated to run on sovereign hardware.
Israeli researchers use sound waves from CPU, GPU, or PC chassis fans to broadcast stolen information through solid materials and to nearby receivers (like a smartphone), breaking air-gapped system protections. So basically, a computer with no connectivity but infected (through USB, files, …) can we able to slightly make the machine vibrate and transmit data to a receiver nearby. TOP10 of my preferred way to make crazy data extraction 😁
Uber developed Piranha to seamlessly delete code related to obsolete feature flags, leading to improved developer productivity and a cleaner codebase. Now, they open-sourced it so that everyone can use it.
OpenDrop is a command-line tool that allows sharing files between devices directly over Wi-Fi. Its unique feature is that it is protocol-compatible with Apple AirDrop, which allows sharing files with Apple devices running iOS and macOS. Currently (and probably also for the foreseeable future), OpenDrop only supports sending to Apple devices that are discoverable by everybody as the default contacts only mode requires Apple-signed certificates. Use it on your Raspberry Pi!
🌱 Sustainability & Society
THIS IS NOT A TIDE POD CHALLENGE! Notpla is a company that found a way of creating water bottles you can eat (or compost). They don’t stop to just water; in fact, any beverage from energy drinks to… Scottish whiskey. Next? They want to adapt their tech to a small portion of ketchup/mayo you have in fast food.
When I first saw this article about the use of deep fake during India Delhi Election, I thought it was for evil. Like we already saw dozens in the U.S. campaign … But not this time. This time it’s about using the A.I. generation capacity to translate automatically, following the candidate’s voice, his speech in several languages he wouldn’t even know to speak, and keeping the mouth movement realistic. That’s the first time for sure and very creative use of that technology.
“Traditional” Amazon Go locations are small convenient shops, kinda like the ones you can find in a train station before you leave or a small, proximity business. But Amazon opened now a full-size grocery store, with all the alley and goods you may expect from a middle-size store, still 100% cashier-less and with all the hundreds of cameras needed to operate.
😁 Fun & WTF
It’s called “Chef Garden”, and it comes with all the A.I. you don’t know you already need. Checking your plant needs and growth, predicting the harvesting period, offering receipts based on what’s growing in your fridge. It reminds me of all those futuristic hydroponic in-house agriculture you see on old futuristic movies.
Many companies like Level Ex are offering more and more realistic V.R. experiences to train employees in several scenarios. But far from basic safety measures or how to repair a gearbox, assemble some product, they are focusing on medical education for doctors. Serious games are hitting the market, and educational resources get more “fun” to use (so learning gets more people sticking with it) and increase their potential reach in countries where learning structures could be hard to deploy.
Google has launched a certification program for its deep-learning framework TensorFlow. The certification exam is administered using a PyCharm IDE plugin, and candidates who pass can be listed in Google’s world-wide Certification Directory.
It’s called Tabler Icons, and each icon is designed on a 24x24 grid and a 2px stroke.
Apple Music is now partnering with businesses to play music at retail stores. In a partnership with PlayNetwork, companies can sign up to Apple Music for Business plans and get licensed music to be played in their retail locations with Apple providing human-curated playlists and even custom recommendations matched to the individual store brand. It may never be available in Europe due to how the SACEM and other likely organisms are managing rights collection. See, in French, the case between Jamendo, SACEM, and St Maclou.
Google’s smart debit card is coming.
After Apple and its credit card launched with Chase, Huawei, with UnionPay, Google is coming with a Debit card. And we think it’s a smart move. A debit card allows you to be a prepaid card just like Revolut or N26, meaning you don’t need a joint venture with a credit company. You can even operate yourself via a subsidiary which needs less requirement than being a bank and partner with VISA or MasterCard to edit the card. A smart debit card and checking accounts could pave the way for Google offering banking, stock brokerage, financial advice or robot-advising, accounting, insurance, or lending.
At I/O 2019, Sundar Pichai announced that Duplex was “moving beyond voice” and coming to the internet. Google Duplex now completely replace the individual movie theaters buying experience with their own, more straightforward, smarter one. And that’s a trend we are seeing for quite a couple of months now, the erosion of the brand and shops own selling canal to a more integrated experience for the end-user.
That’s all folks!