Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

Storing information, including film, on DNA sounds like science fiction, but Harvard Medical School researchers just encoded Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 film of a galloping horse onto a strand of DNA in a living cell, from which it can be retrieved and multiplied indefinitely. This is a first, but other researchers previously recorded all of Shakespeare’s sonnets on DNA, and Harvard geneticist George Church, one of the new study’s researchers, did the same with his book “Regenesis” and made 90 billion copies of it. Continue reading Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

SenseTime Co., a Beijing-based startup founded in 2014 that sells its facial recognition systems to the Chinese police, just scored $410 million in new venture capital funding that values the company at more than $1.5 billion. The valuation, which makes the company a unicorn, underscores how such surveillance technologies are increasing in importance. Facial recognition breaks down a face into measurements that create a template, and SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to match faces against those in an image database. Continue reading SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

Hanson Robotics Is Seeking Experienced Product Managers

Hanson Robotics — which develops robot products and artificial intelligence technology to serve consumer, medical and entertainment markets — is currently looking to fill two positions: robotics product manager and software product manager. The company is seeking a robotics product manager to lead product development and manage hardware, arts and software teams. The company’s software product manager will lead software development in collaboration with the hardware, arts and executive teams. Details and contact information for each position are available on ETCentric. Continue reading Hanson Robotics Is Seeking Experienced Product Managers

Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

If you look hard enough, CES is often the place to discover smaller, less publicized technologies and products that could become the seeds for something practical and useful to the ETC member companies. This year I came across several that fit this description, including a technology called SynTouch that could prove beneficial to haptic feedback R&D and physical product quality control, a simple and elegant method from ManoMotion to use hand gestures as a user interface, an OLED necklace that could lead to the launch of a social e-collectible marketplace, and a tiny chip from Chirp Microsystems that could provide a compelling motion capture solution. Continue reading Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

AARP, Experts Discuss Development of Wearables for Seniors

At CES in Las Vegas, AARP vice president of innovation and product development Andy Miller brought together experts who look at the design of wearables for seniors. “Experience wins with regard to product design,” he said. “Are you looking through the lens of experience when you build products — or the features?” Gerontologist Dr. Alexis Abramson stresses that design for mature and older adults requires “thoughtfulness.” “This market has so many people and so much money,” she explained. “Why aren’t we stepping back and addressing them?”

Continue reading AARP, Experts Discuss Development of Wearables for Seniors

CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Eighty-four million wearables were sold in 2015, and experts are predicting the market will grow to 245 million by 2019. That means that, once again, CES 2017 will be the venue to check out the latest commercially available products and the newest technologies that will power wearables of the future. MEMS and sensors are key to wearables’ capabilities and, Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, says CES 2017 will showcase some “exciting” new wearables features. Continue reading CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

IBM Looks to Commercialize Artificial Intelligence with Watson

IBM is launching commercialization of its artificial intelligence technology Watson with the hope of growing it into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Big Blue has already invested billions of dollars and, currently, a staff of 10,000 employees to evolve Watson, which was launched as a business unit in 2014. The effort is beginning to pay off, as Watson is now assisting in diagnosing cancer. IBM is also marketing its AI in TV ads featuring Watson bantering with Nobel laureate Bob Dylan and tennis celebrity Serena Williams. Continue reading IBM Looks to Commercialize Artificial Intelligence with Watson

Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Panasonic has announced that it plans to exit the television screen manufacturing business, and “will stop producing TV screens at its plant in Himeji, western Japan, by the end of September,” according to Reuters. The decision leaves Sharp as Japan’s sole remaining TV panel company. Panasonic’s Himeji plant opened in 2010, but struggled to earn a profit while faced with stiff price competition by rivals located in China and South Korea. Moving forward, the plant is expected to continue manufacturing screens for medical equipment and automobile dashboards. Continue reading Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

Move over, Siri. Some new consumer products will include the artificial intelligence platform and “Jeopardy!” winner, Watson. IBM announced at CES 2016 that it has partnered with Under Armour to use Watson in the company’s fitness app to help make suggestions based on health data. Watson will also power a new robot from the Japan-based SoftBank company. The Pepper robot is designed to provide an interactive experience that would replace the kiosks in retail stores, banks and hotels. Continue reading CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

Sensors Industry Group Sets the Bar, Sees the Future for IoT

At CES 2016, the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group held its fifth conference to focus on the technologies that quite literally enable the Internet of Things. The group’s executive director Karen Lightman notes that MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) are both sensors and actuators, the latter being the key differentiating factor. “Not all MEMS are sensors and not all sensors are MEMS,” she said. “What’s exciting is that MEMS and sensors still offer new science and new ways of addressing challenging issues.” Continue reading Sensors Industry Group Sets the Bar, Sees the Future for IoT

Wearable Form Factors Get Stretchable, Bendable, Lightweight

If MC10 has its way, your next wearable device will be a sticky bandage or temporary tattoo that adheres to your skin and stretches with your every movement. If you’re wearing several on different parts of your body, they’ll synchronize their data. “You achieve stretchability and bendability, which is important when you consider the human body,” said MC10 co-founder/technology vice president Roozbeh Ghaffari. “This allows you to wear systems on your body with minimal discomfort.” Continue reading Wearable Form Factors Get Stretchable, Bendable, Lightweight

A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

Wearables have mostly been discussed in terms of the data they provide — be it steps walked, calories burned or blood pressure measured. Two examples showcased by The New York Times tech writer Eric Taub at CES do more than simply serve data to the user, differences that help to define this new category. One uses sensory information and a rhythmic feedback to change people’s level of happiness and energy; a second was developed by academics, medical centers and Apple to conduct a global medical study on heart health and exercise. Continue reading A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

‘Mind-Blowing Wearables’ for Health, Meditation, Doing Good

At CES in Las Vegas, CTA chief economist Shawn DuBravac gathered three wearable creators that demonstrate the diversity current in the field and hint at the future of this sector. InteraXon showed off Muse, a headband that monitors brainwaves, with an initial use case of helping people learn to meditate. UNICEF Ventures creates a fitness band that motivates kids to “unlock” food for malnourished children via exercise. And MC10 aims to make wearables invisible to the user, with a range of products that fit on the body in unobtrusive ways. Continue reading ‘Mind-Blowing Wearables’ for Health, Meditation, Doing Good

CES 2016: HTC’s Chief Exec Hints at Major VR Announcement

The Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR are not the only anticipated virtual reality devices shipping this year. While VR fans may be disappointed that the HTC Vive release has been pushed to April, CEO Cher Wang hinted at December’s Vive Unbound Developers Conference in Beijing that Valve and her team recently made “a very, very big technological breakthrough” to the system that prompted them to push the original Q1 launch date in favor of a more sophisticated product. Wang did not offer details, other than to suggest that the company is poised to make a major announcement at CES. Continue reading CES 2016: HTC’s Chief Exec Hints at Major VR Announcement

Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours. Continue reading Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

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