Emerging Tech Roundup — August 13
The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.
This week in tech: Israel plans to develop AI for cancer prevention, Twitter rewards contestants for finding flaws in their cropping algorithm, Niantic acquires Scaniverse, Audi designs an electric sports car, Xiaomi introduces Cyberdog, Niantic founder blogs about his fear of the Metaverse, and researchers develop a VR experience to be used during MRIs.
New Project in Israel Aims to Use AI to Help Detect Colon Cancer
(The Times of Israel, August 8)
Verily Life Sciences is developing a technology that will use AI to detect colorectal polyps, an indicator of cancer. Colorectal polyps are easily missed in colonoscopies, later leading to cancer diagnoses. Verily wants to use technology to help prevent this from happening, so the team in Israel will be led by computer science professor, Ehud Rivlin, a previous team member at Google Health.
Twitter AI Bias Contest Shows Beauty Filters Hoodwink the Algorithm
(CNet, August 9)
Twitter held a contest to determine any current biases in its algorithm used to crop photos on users’ feeds. With Twitter offering a $3,500 prize, the winner of the competition, a researcher in Switzerland, found that the current algorithm favors slimmer, younger, smoother, and more feminine faces. It also favors white skin over black skin, as well as lighter, warmer skin tones. Twitter plans to fix the algorithm with these findings and make sure it does not contribute to discriminatory practices within the app.
Niantic Acquires 3D Scanning App Scaniverse
(Tech Crunch, August 10)
Niantic has announced its acquisition of Scaniverse, a 3D scanning app, which will still be offered on the App Store. The acquisition should contribute heavily to Niantic’s goal of building a 3D map of the world that can be applied to new and existing games. Keith Ito, Scaniverse creator, will join Niantic’s team to begin mapping out the potential enhancements, post-acquisition, for games like Pokémon GO, Harry Potter Wizards Unite, Ingress, and more.
Audi Skysphere Concept Transforms from Autonomous Cruiser to Electric Sports Car
(Motor Authority, August 10)
During Monterey Car Week, Audi will reveal its Skysphere electric sports car, which can be driven either autonomously or manually in sports mode. Outside of sports mode, the vehicle has no steering wheel or pedals, and it can stream movies and video conferences within the car. The vehicle’s grille is designed with LED sensors and will signal to oncoming drivers whether the car is autonomously driving or in sports mode.
Xiaomi Introduced Voice-Controlled Cyberdog Robot
(VoiceBot, August 11)
Xiaomi has released its Cyberdog robot, selling for 9,999 Yuan (about $1,540). The robotic dog can do tricks, respond to voice commands by its owner or by phone, as well as follow its owner around flat surfaces and up stairs. To further improve and innovate Cyberdog, Xiaomi welcomes any contributions or suggestions and has made the software open-source.
Niantic Founder Calls Metaverse a ‘Dystopian Nightmare’
(IGN, August 11)
Niantic Founder and CEO, John Hanke, revealed that he’s nervous for the looming Metaverse. He believes we should have a goal of reaching the “reality” in virtual reality rather than replacing everyday human interactions with technology. He encourages this in his game development, as Pokémon Go users, for example, still have to get up and walk around to play the game. Niantic has a long-term goal of developing AR games that feel exceptionally real, but still involve physical, real-world presence and human interaction.
Eye-Tracking VR Technology to Make MRI A New Experience
(California News Times, August 11)
Researchers at King’s College London have developed a VR system to make the experience of MRI patients smoother. Young children, as well as those who are claustrophobic or anxiety-ridden, can wear the light-tight headset to distract them from their current position with immersive content. The loud noises and vibrations of the MRI scanner, for example, may be masked by nearby construction in the VR experience. Researchers hope that the experience allows for patients to stay still and calm, so that, in turn, doctors can conduct more successful scans.