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Wing Zone goes all in on robot fry cook

ZDNet

It's official: the robots are here to stay. Another fast food restaurant has opted to place a robot cook in the back of house, marking a swift and dramatic shift away from humans in fast food. This week's update comes via Wing Zone, which offers made-to-order chicken wings. This chain is partnering with Miso Robotics to make Flippy 2 a part of its standard build for all future restaurant locations. This is significant in that it goes well beyond the trials and testbeds we've seen before, and it suggests a much broader commitment to automated fry cooks going forward. "With over 100 new shops in our current development pipeline, our technology roadmap relies heavily on strategic partnerships with companies like Miso, a pioneer in the field of food automation, that has the knowledge, data and resources to design robotics solutions that maximize our efficiency and provide a better overall customer experience," said David Bloom, Chief Development and Operating Officer of Wing Zone.


From deep tech to agritech, this tiny country is developing a thriving startup ecosystem

ZDNet

While not as well-known as its more digitally advanced neighbor Estonia, the tiny Baltic country of Latvia in northeast Europe is home to a blossoming startup ecosystem. A country with a population of under two million, Latvia is home to a handful of successful tech companies and, through initiatives with the country's technical universities, several vibrant cooperative programs between startups and the academic sector. Latvia also has a history of inventing and producing groundbreaking innovations – from the sub-miniature Minox'spy camera' used by intelligence agents in the Second World War and Cold War, to the first heavy multi-engine aircraft in the world, created by famous aviator Igor Sikorsky. Growing up in the Latvian countryside is what inspired 31-year-old entrepreneur Alfiya Kayumova to get into agricultural technology – or'agritech', as it is known in the industry. SEE: Developers are burned out.


Singapore touts need for AI transparency in launch of test toolkit

ZDNet

Businesses in Singapore now will be able to tap a governance testing framework and toolkit to demonstrate their "objective and verifiable" use of artificial intelligence (AI). The move is part of the government's efforts to drive transparency in AI deployments through technical and process checks. Coined A.I. Verify, the new toolkit was developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), which administers the country's Personal Data Protection Act. The government agencies underscored the need for consumers to know AI systems were "fair, explainable, and safe", as more products and services were embedded with AI to deliver more personalised user experience or make decisions without human intervention. They also needed to be assured that organisations that deploy such offerings were accountable and transparent.


Swinburne University researchers develop blood donation processing robot

ZDNet

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology have developed a robotic prototype designed to help staff automate the processing of blood donation packs. Currently, processing blood donation is a largely manual task, according to Swinburne. The university explained the process involves separating whole blood donations into its cellular components via centrifugation, a mechanical method that involves spinning each blood pack in a solution in a centrifuge rotor at high speed. To do this, the blood pack needs to be folded in a particular way to ensure there is no bacterial contamination, which can still carry risk due to human error. "Damaged or torn packs not only lead to the loss of a precious donation, but also disrupt production and expose staff to potentially hazardous biological materials. Even subtle non-conformities can occur and build over time, leading to quality deviations," the university said.


Managing disaster and disruption with AI, one tree at a time

ZDNet

It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but disaster and disruption management is a thing. Disaster and disruption are precisely what ensues when catastrophic natural events occur, and unfortunately, the trajectory the world is on seems to be exacerbating the issue. In 2021 alone, the US experienced 15 weather/climate disaster events with damages exceeding $1 billion. Previously, we have explored various aspects of the ways data science and machine learning intertwine with natural events -- from weather prediction to the impact of climate change on extreme phenomena and measuring the impact of disaster relief. AiDash, however, is aiming at something different: helping utility and energy companies, as well as governments and cities, manage the impact of natural disasters, including storms and wildfires.


Microsoft expands its AI partnership with Meta

ZDNet

Microsoft and Meta are extending their ongoing AI partnership, with Meta selecting Azure as "a strategic cloud provider" to accelerate its own AI research and development. Microsoft officials shared more details about the latest on the Microsoft-Meta partnership on Day 2 of the Microsoft Build 2022 developers conference. Microsoft and Meta -- back when it was still known as Facebook -- announced the ONNX (Open Neural Network Exchange) format in 2017 in the name of enabling developers to move deep-learning models between different AI frameworks. Microsoft open sourced the ONNX Runtime, which is the inference engine for models in the ONNX format, in 2018. Today, Meta officials said they'll be using Azure to accelerate research and development across the Meta AI group.


Fujitsu turns attention to workflow management to lift employee experience

ZDNet

Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet. Fujitsu is usually the one providing the technology to help customers solve problems. But this time around, the Japanese conglomerate was the one having issues. As Fujitsu executive officer, EVP, and global services business group head Tim White described during the ServiceNow Knowledge 22 Sydney event on Wednesday, the company may be a global organisation, but it did not necessarily build out like one.


'Project Volterra': Microsoft is building an Arm dev kit on the Snapdragon compute platform

ZDNet

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek, and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2. Microsoft is working on a new Windows-on-Arm dev kit powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon compute platform that will allow Windows developers to build Arm-native apps. Codenamed "Project Volterra," the dev kit, coming sometime later this year, will allow developers to use coming Arm-native versions of Microsoft dev tools to build apps -- especially apps that handle AI processing on the device. Microsoft announced Volterra on Day 1 of its virtual Build 2022 developers conference on May 24, hoping to generate more excitement around its Windows on Arm (WoA) platform. Microsoft has been working on Windows on Arm for years, but there are still few (if any) compelling PCs and devices running on it.


Microsoft Teams and Power Platform to get more collaboration, AI-assisted additions

ZDNet

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek, and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2. Among the 50 new product and technology announcements at Microsoft's Build 2022 developers conference are several new tools and functionality for Teams and Power Platform developers. Teams is getting a new feature called "Live Share," which will allow apps to go beyond passive screen sharing and enable participants to watch, edit/annotate and create together inside of Teams meetings. Developers can use new extensions in preview for the Teams Client software development kit (SDK) to extend existing Teams apps and create Live Share scenarios in meetings. Live Share in Teams is not the same as Live Share in Visual Studio; the two technologies with the same name are built on top of different technology stacks.


SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless headset review: A gamer's delight

ZDNet

I had a love-hate relationship with gaming. Plopping down in my desk chair, a bowl of Skittles ready, I was thrilled at the prospect of booting up Stardew Valley -- with one exception. My headset, an old, bulky beast I pilfered from my significant other, made my gaming experience less than stellar, leaving my ears pained by the time I practically ripped them off my head. Plus, other players would tell me my gaming headset made it nearly impossible to hear me. Clearly, I needed a new headset.