Trending This Week: Tech Roadmaps for AI and Microsoft Mesh in VR

Quantious Team
4 min readJan 26, 2024

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Emerging Tech Roundup — January 26

The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.

This week in tech: Washington Issues Tech Roadmap for Educators, Hologram Lecturers Thrill Students at Trailblazing UK University, Google’s New Gemini-Powered Conversational Tool Helps Advertisers Quickly Build Search Campaigns, US FDA Approves World’s First AI-Powered Skin Cancer Detecting Device, Etsy Works to Become the Ultimate Gifting Destination, Microsoft Launches Virtual Meeting Platform on Teams, and Pixel 8 Pro Users Can Now Use The Thermometer App to Measure Body Temperature.

Washington Issues Tech Roadmap for Educators: ‘AI is Here and Slowing Down Isn’t an Option’

(Geek Wire, January 19)

Washington has become the fifth state to introduce a roadmap for the responsible use of AI in public schools, emphasizing thoughtful and ethical AI utilization rather than bans. The guidance provides explanations of AI, cautions about its limitations, and encourages a “Human → AI → Human” approach. It offers suggested educational applications of AI and addresses issues like student privacy and professional development for educators, stressing the importance of embracing AI in education.

Hologram Lecturers Thrill Students at Trailblazing UK University

(The Guardian, January 21)

Loughborough University is planning to use holograms to teach fashion students in collaboration with MIT sports scientists, making them the first in Europe to explore the technology’s applications. Students are enjoying the technology, which revolutionizes traditional teaching methods with interactive and immersive learning experiences. The box-based holographic units are sold by Proto, an LA-based company that aims to expand the reach of holographic technology in education.

Google’s New Gemini-Powered Conversational Tool Helps Advertisers Quickly Build Search Campaigns

(Tech Crunch, January 23)

Google has unveiled that Gemini now powers the conversational experience within the Google Ads platform, making it easier for advertisers to create and expand Search ad campaigns. This conversational tool utilizes a website’s URL to generate Search campaigns, suggesting relevant ad content, images, and keywords through generative AI. Advertisers can approve the generated content before launching campaigns, and beta access is currently available to English language advertisers in the U.S. and U.K., with global expansion in the coming weeks and additional language support in the pipeline.

US FDA Approves World’s First AI-Powered Skin Cancer Detecting Device

(Interesting Engineering, January 24)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted marketing authorization to the DermaSensor, an AI-powered device designed for the early detection of skin cancers like melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. The handheld DermaSensor utilizes elastic scattering spectroscopy, and is primarily intended for use by primary care physicians. The device offers a more accurate and timely diagnosis tool, marking a significant breakthrough at the intersection of AI and healthcare.

Etsy’s Journey to Become the Ultimate Gifting Destination

(Etsy, January 24)

Etsy has introduced Gift Mode, an AI-driven feature aimed at simplifying the gift-shopping process and alleviating stress. Users can answer a brief quiz about the recipient’s interests and the occasion, and in return, they receive personalized gift guides from Etsy’s extensive collection of over 100 million items, customized for over 200 unique personas such as “The Music Lover” or “The Video Gamer.” This feature, developed with the help of OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Etsy’s machine learning capabilities, is part of Etsy’s broader strategy to enhance the gifting experience, supported by ongoing AI investments to improve search and recommendation systems.

Microsoft Launches Mesh, a Virtual Meeting Platform on Teams

(Engadget, January 24)

Microsoft is introducing Microsoft Mesh, a virtual connection platform that allows employees to meet through avatars in customized virtual spaces powered by Microsoft Teams. This “hybrid” working approach aims to facilitate collaboration and human connection, offering a more immersive meeting experience. Mesh offers pre-made customizable spaces without the need for coding, and is available on desktop PCs and Meta Quest VR devices.

Pixel 8 Pro Users Can Now Use The Thermometer App to Measure Body Temperature

(Tech Crunch, January 25)

Google just introduced new features for Pixel users, including the ability for Pixel 8 Pro users to use the Thermometer app for taking body temperature through forehead scans — and the readings can be saved to Fitbit profiles for better health insights. The Thermometer app, previously capable of measuring objects like milk bottles, can now be used for body temperature scans after FDA approval. Additionally, Google is rolling out “Circle to Search” to Pixel 8 and 8 Pro users, allowing them to search from anywhere on their phones using gestures. The company is also bringing generative AI Magic Compose technology to these devices, assisting with rewriting messages in various styles and improving professionalism and conciseness.

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