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There's No Cure for Covid-19 Loneliness, but Robots Can Help – IAM Network

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During the Covid-19 crisis, Shibata has corresponded with people all over the world who have recently turned to Paro robots as a therapeutic tool. In addition to their increased prominence in elderly and memory care, Shibata says the pandemic has created some novel use cases. Workers at a high-volume call center in Tokyo who dealt with calls about coronavirus testing were given a Paro as a stress-relief tool this May. And Shibata has been emailing with a 34-year-old nurse in an Atlanta intensive care unit who started using a Paro this April as a way to cope with being isolated from his loved ones and pet. "He used to live with his family and a dog at the home, but in order to avoid any risks of infection from him to them, they moved to a different house," Shibata says.


Japanese startup creates 'connected' face mask for coronavirus new normal

The Japan Times

As face coverings become the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected "smart mask" that can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages. The white plastic c-mask fits over standard face masks and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer's voice. "We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society," said Taisuke Ono, the chief executive of Donut Robotics. Donut Robotics' engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. When the coronavirus struck, it had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the collapse of air travel.



Circular Reasoning: Spiraling Circuits for More Efficient AI

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University of Tokyo create a new integrated three-dimensional circuit architecture for artificial intelligence applications with spiraling stacks of memory modules. Researchers at the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science in Japan stacked resistive random-access memory modules for artificial intelligence (AI) applications in a novel three-dimensional spiral. The modules feature oxide semiconductor access transistors, which boost the efficiency of the machine learning training process. The team further enhanced energy efficiency via a system of binarized neural networks, which restricts the parameters to be either 1 or -1, rather than any number, to compress the volume of data to be stored. In having the device interpret a database of handwritten digits, the researchers learned that increasing the size of each circuit layer could improve algorithmic accuracy to approximately 90%.


Challenge Yourself by Reaching for the Highest Bar

Communications of the ACM

Challenge yourself and reach for the highest bar. If you succeed, keep pushing the boundaries." This is what my friend Hassan Hajji advised when I started my career at IBM Research Tokyo in 2002, and these words have been a guiding force in my career ever since. At IBM, I was challenged to learn as much as possible about the research process in an industrial lab (prototyping ideas, patenting, publishing results), and it dovetailed nicely with my desire to work toward a Ph.D. in systems biology. After receiving my doctorate, which allowed me to enhance my skills in computational and mathematical analysis to understand complex biological systems, I was ready for a new challenge. I left Japan to work in the U.K. at a small startup, ecrebo,a which provides a coupon-issuing system for retailers who seek to attract customers based on their individual purchasing habits. I was responsible for developing a backend server for the coupon system. It had to be able to analyze the contents of the receipt, determine whether it met the conditions for issuing the coupon, and return it within three seconds, including communication time with the POS system.


Data Scientist - IoT BigData Jobs

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IgnitionOne is an international digital marketing company with offices in Brussels, London, New York, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. The company has different products including display advertising, search marketing, a data management platform, and web personalization. Primary responsibilities for this role are to develop forecasting and optimization methodologies for digital advertising. Our platform currently processes 2 trillions transactions per year, growing at 30% a year, making us a company that understands "Big Data." We are using the latest machine learning tools and data processing technologies for our work and are looking for someone who is passionate about data sciences to join the team.


In a post-coronavirus world, hotels could be staffed by robots – IAM Network

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Humanoid robot Pepper is placed at the lobby area of a hotel in Tokyo reserved for coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms. Researchers say they could soon be undertaking all front and back of house activities in hotels to help the industry from the coronavirus crisis. These include cooking hamburgers and cleaning floors, as well as serving cocktails, checking in hotel guests, and delivering items to hotel rooms. They say the development of service robots are anticipated to increase efficiency and productivity of hotel activities. The team from the University of Surrey spoke to 19 different hotel HR experts to identify the key trends and major challenges that will emerge in the next ten years.



Virus cuts off educational support for Japan's children of foreign descent

The Japan Times

Around 70 percent of about 100 nonprofit groups and individuals offering educational support to children of foreign descent across Japan have stopped or cut back on their operations amid the coronavirus epidemic, an online poll showed. The poll -- conducted by the Youth Support Center in Fussa, western Tokyo, between April 15 and 21 -- targeted groups and individuals nationwide that help children with foreign roots learn the Japanese language and assist their studies in general. In addition to schools or community centers being closed amid the outbreak, the poll also showed there was only limited online interaction with the children, either because there was no internet available at the students' homes or because the aging educational assistants lack the relevant technical knowledge. One survey respondent said it is "difficult to teach children online with the level of Japanese they have." Responses also highlighted the plight of the children amid the prolonged school closures.


Pepper the robot comforts coronavirus patients being quarantined at Tokyo hotels

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are quarantined at hotels in Tokyo staffed by robots. Five hotels are around the city are using robots to help limit the spread, one being the world's first social humanoid Pepper. 'Please, wear a mask inside,' it says in a perky voice to welcome those moving into the hotel and also offers words of support - 'I hope you recover as quickly as possible.' Other facilities have employed AI-powered robots that disinfect surfaces to limit the need of human workers who are at risk of being exposed. Coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are quarantined at hotels in Tokyo staffed by robots.