Collaborating Authors


AI Generator Learns to 'Draw' Like Cartoonist Lee Mal-Nyeon in Just 10 Hours


A Seoul National University Master's student and developer has trained a face generating model to transfer normal face photographs into cartoon images in the distinctive style of Lee Mal-nyeon. The student (GitHub user name: bryandlee) used webcomics images by South Korean cartoonist Lee Mal-nyeon (이말년) as input data, building a dataset of malnyun cartoon faces then testing popular deep generative models on it. By combining a pretrained face generating model with special training techniques, they were able to train a generator at 256 256 resolution in just 10 hours on a single RTX 2080ti GPU, using only 500 manually annotated images. Since the cascade classifier for human faces provided in OpenCV-- a library of programming functions mainly aimed at real-time computer vision -- did not work well on the cartoon domain, the student manually annotated 500 input cartoon face images. The student incorporated FreezeD, a simple yet effective baseline for transfer learning of GANs proposed earlier this year by KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and POSTECH ( Pohang University of Science and Technology) researchers to reduce the burden of heavy data and computational resources when training GANs. The developer tested the idea of freezing the early layers of the generator in transfer learning settings on the proposed FreezeG (freezing generator) and found that "it worked pretty well."

Riiid raises $41.8 million to expand its AI test prep apps


Riiid, a Seoul, South Korea-based startup developing AI test prep solutions, today closed a $41.8 million pre-series D financing round, bringing its total venture capital raised to date to $70.2 million. CEO YJ Jang says the funding will be used to advance Riiid's technology that offers personalized study solutions based on big data analysis, and to bolster the company's expansion across the U.S., South America, and the Middle East as it establishes an R&D lab -- Riiid Labs -- in Silicon Valley. The pandemic has forced the shutdown of schools in countries around the world; cramped indoor classrooms are seen as a major threat vector. Despite inequities with regard to internet access and the widening achievement gap, it's the belief of educators that the health pros outweigh the cons. Riiid, which offers its services exclusively online, has been a beneficiary of the shift.

Artificial spider webs shake to stay clean, just like the real thing

New Scientist

Material scientists have made artificial spider webs that attract objects and shake off water, just like the real thing. They hope that the material could one day be used to help robots self-clean. Won Jun Song at Seoul National University in South Korea and his colleagues based the silk in their spider webs on a composite of silicone, a highly conductive gel and a hydrophobic coating. "Hydrogels have several outstanding features for spider webs," says Song. For instance, they are transparent and highly stretchable.

LG expands service robot deployment to hospitals


LG Electronics has expanded the deployment of its service robots to a hospital and more restaurants, the company said on Wednesday. LG Cloi Servebot will be deployed to Seoul National University Hospital to assist staff with carrying medical equipment such as blood samples, prescription drugs, and diagnostic reagents among other equipment, the South Korean electronics maker said. The service robot comes in two variants -- a drawer version and a shelf version. The drawer version has been deployed at the hospital. LG said the drawer version of the robot is suitable for hospitals, hotels, and offices as it is sized 50cm x 50cm x 130 cm and can carry up to 15kg of goods in its three drawers.

Microsoft Korea demonstrates AI-based elderly mental health care service


[Courtesy of Microsoft] SEOUL -- The South Korean branch of U.S. tech company Microsoft has kick-started an artificial intelligence-based elderly mental health care service using various sensors and wearable devices to prevent mental illnesses such as geriatric depression, depression in older a...

A deep-learning E-skin decodes complex human motion


Conventional approaches require many sensor networks that cover the entire curvilinear surfaces of the target area. Unlike conventional wafer-based fabrication, this laser fabrication provides a new sensing paradigm for motion tracking. The research team, led by Professor Sungho Jo from the School of Computing, collaborated with Professor Seunghwan Ko from Seoul National University to design this new measuring system that extracts signals corresponding to multiple finger motions by generating cracks in metal nanoparticle films using laser technology. The sensor patch was then attached to a user's wrist to detect the movement of the fingers. The concept of this research started from the idea that pinpointing a single area would be more efficient for identifying movements than affixing sensors to every joint and muscle.

In virus-hit South Korea, AI monitors lonely elders

The Japan Times

Seoul – In a cramped office in eastern Seoul, Hwang Seungwon points a remote control toward a huge NASA-like overhead screen stretching across one of the walls. With each flick of the control, a colorful array of pie charts, graphs and maps reveals the search habits of thousands of South Korean senior citizens being monitored by voice-enabled "smart" speakers, an experimental remote care service the company says is increasingly needed during the coronavirus crisis. "We closely monitor for signs of danger, whether they are more frequently using search words that indicate rising states of loneliness or insecurity," said Hwang, director of a social enterprise established by SK Telecom to handle the service. Trigger words lead to a recommendation for a visit by local public health officials. As South Korea's government pushes to allow businesses to access vast amounts of personal information and to ease restrictions holding back telemedicine, tech firms could potentially find much bigger markets for their artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

Glasses that can monitor your health and let you play video games with your eyes are developed

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Multifunction glasses that can monitor your health, let you play video games with your eyes and still work as sunglasses are developed by South Korean scientists. The groundbreaking new wearable tech built at Korea University, Seoul, can provide more advanced personal health data than devices like Fitbits or smart watches. Devices that measure electrical signals from the brain or eyes can help to diagnose conditions like epilepsy and sleep disorders -- as well as in controlling computers. A long-running challenge in measuring these electronic signals, however, has been in developing devices that can maintain the needed steady physical contact between the wearable's sensors and the user's skin. The researchers overcame this issue by integrating soft, conductive electrodes into their glasses that can wirelessly monitor the electrical signals.

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Daily Mail - Science & tech

South Korea s top infectious disease expert says the country may need to reimpose social distancing restrictions it eased in April, with coronavirus transmissions creeping up in the populated Seoul metropolitan area and elsewhere in recent weeks. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a virus briefing on Wednesday, May 27, it s becoming increasingly difficult for health workers to track the spread of COVID-19, which has coincided with increased public activity amid warmer weather and eased attitudes on social distancing. South Korea reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily jump in nearly 50 days, as officials scrambled to trace hundreds of infections linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul. 'We will do our best to trace contacts and implement preventive measures, but there s a limit to such efforts,' Jeong said. 'There s a need to maximise social distancing in areas where the virus is circulating, to force people to avoid public facilities and other crowded spaces.'