Intel wants to help make your devices smarter through Artificial Intelligence (AI). Its new Neural Compute Stick 2 is a USB flash drive that essentially imparts intelligence into smart home devices by accelerating machine learning algorithms. Because it does not need cloud connectivity, users are able to develop AI algorithms locally. Intel says its original NCS has already been used by thousands of developers to create technology, such as cameras, that screen for skin cancer and self-guided drones. At just $99, the latest edition is accessible to professionals and hobbyists alike. This kind of expanded user base has the potential to open up a whole host of devices to improved AI systems.
Music streaming service Pandora this week unveiled its Podcast Genome Project, which is designed to recommend users content they would find interesting. The initiative is similar to the company’s Music Genome Project, which put Pandora on the map a decade ago with its ability to connect listeners with music they like. The software evaluates more than 1,500 podcast attributes, as well as user habits, with machine learning algorithms and language processing to come up with its recommendations. Ultimately, Pandora hopes its technology can make podcasts more accessible to first-time listeners. “It might feel like podcasts are ubiquitous, but 83 percent of Americans aren’t yet listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, and the majority of them report that’s because they simply don’t know where to start,” said CEO Roger Lynch.
The discussion surrounding self-driving car technology often focuses on what is happening outside the vehicle itself: How well can the car “see”? Can it detect pedestrians? What about avoiding accidents? But if you ask Guardian Optical Technologies, it’s just as important to know what is happening inside the car. The Israeli startup uses sensors that collect 2D, 3D and motion analysis information to monitor passengers – recording everything from minor vibrations to heartbeats in order to prevent dangerous human errors. What’s more, Guardian Optical says it can provide its services at a lower cost because its improved sensors record multiple layers of information with a single device. With the widespread use of self-driving cars looking increasingly likely, investors are clamoring to back industry innovators. Guardian Optical this week landed $2.5 million in new funding that will be used to expand its R&D team.
From museums to sporting events and concerts, waiting in line for tickets is almost always a painful exercise in time-wasting. Dutch startup Tiqets removes the frustration with its mobile-focused booking platform that connects users with more than 2,000 venues in 140 cities around the world. Above all, it’s the investment in Tiqets’ mobile software, which enables seamless booking anywhere in the world, which has paid off. It offers instant delivery, no printing and no waiting in line. It comes as no surprise that this kind of ease has helped Tiqets grow rapidly. Just this week, investors handed the firm $23 million in new funding. “The company has built an outstanding platform,” said Simon Breakwell, Tiqets’ chairman of the board. “With unique real-time connectivity to top partners, we can offer customers great availability and choice of the most popular museums and attractions in the world.”
As the planet’s population continues to rapidly increase, so too does the demand for food. Aquaculture is one of the most vital ways to feed a hungry global populace, but this multi-billion-dollar industry isn’t without its pitfalls. Feeding farmed fish is expensive - it accounts for a reported 70 percent of overhead. A company in Indonesia, however, claims to have the solution. eFishery provides fish farms with a device that automates the feeding of stock, allowing farmers to monitor and schedule feeds via their phones - and save a lot of money in the process. What’s more, eFishery collects a whole host of data on production patterns and fish behavior. It aims to use this data to increase efficiency across the aquaculture industry as a whole. The smart approach is attracting attention from some of the biggest names in fish farming, and this week eFishery scored a new round of investment worth $4 million.