Emerging Tech Roundup — August 25
The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.
This week in tech: Kombai Raises $4.5M to Simplify UI Coding With AI, Threads Launches Web App, Ozlo Reinvents the Bose Sleepbuds, MidJourney Adds Image Inpainting, ChatGPT-3.5 Intros Turbo Fine-Tuning and API Updates, Study Enables Paralyzed Woman to ‘Speak’ Through a Digital Avatar, and Researchers Measure Quantum Entanglement Waves.
India’s Kombai Raises $4.5M to Simplify UI Coding With AI
(Tech Crunch, August 22)
Kombai, a startup focused on aiding front-end developers in efficiently translating UI designs into code using AI, has surfaced from stealth mode. Kombai has secured $4.5 million in seed funding, spearheaded by Stellaris Venture Partners and Foundation Capital. The demand for enhanced user interfaces, driven by rapid hardware advancements, has highlighted the significance of streamlined software development. Kombai’s AI model, set for public research release, aims to alleviate the coding complexities faced by front-end developers in quickly implementing distinctive designs for startups and established tech companies alike.
It’s Official: Threads Launches its Highly Anticipated Web App
(Tech Crunch, August 22)
Instagram Threads has initiated the rollout of a highly requested feature — web access for logged-in users. This update permits Threads users to post, browse their feed, and engage with content via desktop, although certain functionalities like profile editing and sending threads to Instagram DMs won’t be available initially. While the web experience isn’t entirely equivalent to the mobile app, the Threads team plans to gradually bridge the gap by introducing more features in the coming weeks.
Three Ex-Bose Employees are Resurrecting the Sleepbuds
(The Verge, August 22)
Five years after Bose introduced its original Sleepbuds, a startup called Ozlo acquired the Sleepbuds trademark from Bose and aims to enhance the concept. Ozlo’s version, with a similar appearance to the original, incorporates biometric sensing technology to monitor sleepers’ movement and respiration, helping to detect when they’ve fallen asleep and understand various sleep stages. While the revamped Sleepbuds retain their predecessor’s comfort and battery life, Ozlo plans to take the concept further by incorporating advanced sleep monitoring features.
MidJourney Adds Image Inpainting — Game Changer or Catch-Up Play?
(Decrypt, August 22)
AI image generator Midjourney has introduced a novel “Vary (Region)” feature, permitting users to perform inpainting, which involves editing particular segments of an image using text prompts. This tool empowers users to selectively alter aspects of an image, like making transformations to a section or incorporating new elements into a portrait. Notably, although this represents a substantial advancement for Midjourney, its competitor, Stable Diffusion, has been offering both inpainting and outpainting capabilities since its v1.2 launch in June 2022 at no cost.
New ChatGPT-3.5 Turbo Fine-Tuning and API Updates
(Geeky Gadgets, August 23)
OpenAI’s latest update introduces fine-tuning to GPT-3.5 Turbo, promising enhanced customization for developers and unprecedented AI performance. Early tests show fine-tuned GPT-3.5 Turbo models matching, or even surpassing GPT-4 capabilities in specific tasks — aiming to deliver unique and boundary-pushing AI experiences. This advancement allows for more efficient AI through supervised fine-tuning, while businesses benefit from shortened prompts without sacrificing performance, resulting in faster API responses and cost savings.
University of California BCI Study Enables Paralyzed Woman to ‘Speak’ Through a Digital Avatar
(Engadget, August 23)
Scientists have developed an innovative communication system enabling a woman, paralyzed by a stroke, to communicate fluently through a digital avatar that she controls with a brain-computer interface. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) interpret brain signals into digital commands for computers, and in this study, a sophisticated electrode array was implanted into the patient’s speech center. These electrodes captured neural signals that were rerouted to a processor housing a machine learning AI, allowing the woman to control a digital avatar and express over 1,000 words through the trained system.
Quantum Entanglement Waves Measured For the First Time
(Interesting Engineering, August 24)
Researchers achieved a breakthrough by crafting an artificial quantum material featuring unique magnetic traits, using cobalt-phthalocyanine molecules. Through innovative real-space measurements, they successfully tracked quantum entanglement waves — notably observing singlet-triplet excitations within the material’s molecular components and larger structures such as molecular chains and islands. This advancement paves the way for insights into emergent quantum behaviors in materials.