The vaccine rollout is being met with lifted COVID-19 restrictions inside buildings and restaurants, but this change presents a new challenge to business owners -- managing increased occupancy, while still abiding by safety restrictions. Businesses that find themselves exceeding occupancy could face fines, citations, and license suspensions. One increasingly prominent solution employs 3D counting and tracking cameras that monitor occupancy, foot traffic, and flow inside brick-and-motor locations. Regular 2D cameras and traditional counting techniques are not accurate enough. However, depth-sensing 3D cameras can provide real-time updates that increase counting accuracy by an estimated 5% to 8%, according to a spokesperson for one 3D company I spoke with, Orbbec.
Just a couple of months after Ring unwrapped its new, radar-enabled aerial view for the Video Doorbell Pro 2, the Amazon-owned smart brand is now rolling out the clever technology to its updated wired floodlight. At the same time, Ring says it's bringing a color version of its pre-roll video feature to a fourth generation of its battery-powered video doorbell. Slated to ship on May 6 for $250 (you can preorder starting today), the Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro will boast both Bird's-Eye View and 3D Motion Detection, a pair of features powered by radar rather than infrared motion sensors. Meanwhile, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is set to arrive April 28 for $200, and it will add color to the pre-roll functionality that debuted on last year's Video Doorbell 3 Plus. An upgrade to 2019's well received Floodlight Cam, the revamped Floodlight Cam Wired Pro arrives with the same 1080p video resolution while adding HDR for a needed contrast boost, along with a 140-degree (horizontal) by 60-degree (vertical) field of view.
A company that's bringing gourmet pizza to a vending machine near you is adding a new high tech quirk to its quick-serve process. Piestro, which has developed an automated artisan pizza concept, is partnering with PopID, which develops facial recognition payment technology, to offer pizza you pay for with your pretty mug. As I wrote last year when Piestro launched its robotically prepared pizza concept, vending machine pizza isn't such a far fetched concept in the age of fresh-tossed salad from a robot named Sally and a really good pull of espresso from one of Cafe X's robotic baristas. Automation in food preparation was gaining steam even before COVID-19, although there were some telltale disappointments. Zume, an automated end-to-end pizza restaurant and delivery service that primarily used robots instead of humans, once had a $4 billion valuation but shut down its robot-powered pizza business, laid off more than half its staff, and is shifting focus to autonomous packaging.
Who'd have thought that radar would become an increasingly important technology in the smart home? The second-gen Google Nest Hub taps the tech to track your sleep, and now the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is using it for 3D motion detection. Ring's top-of-the-line doorbell camera offers other advanced features, too, but is it enough to justify its $250 price tag--and the subscription you'll need to access them? If you're not familiar with Ring's video doorbells and other home security cameras, you'll get motion and visitor alerts, but you'll only be able to view a live stream of what's happening in front of the camera unless you sign up for a Ring Protect subscription. You can talk to people in front of the camera--using your smartphone or an Echo Show smart display--but you won't be able to see events that occurred in the past. Ring's subscriptions aren't terribly expensive, starting at $3 per camera per month, but they're the only way to get motion-activated recordings that are stored in the cloud, so you can watch them later (you get up to 60 days of history).
Machine learning and deep learning has shown very good results when applied to various computer vision applications such as detection of plant diseases in agriculture (Kamilaris & Prenafeta-Boldú, 2018), fault diagnosis in industrial engineering (Wen et al., 2018), brain tumor recognition from MR images (Chen et al., 2018a), segmentation of endoscopic images for gastric cancer (Hirasawa et al., 2018), or skin lesion recognition (Li & Shen, 2018) and even autonomous vehicles (Alam et al., 2019). As our daily life increasingly depends on sitting work and the opportunities for physical exercising (in the context of COVID-19 pandemic associated restrictions and lockdowns are diminished), many people are facing various medical conditions directly related to such sedentary lifestyles. One of the frequently mentioned problems is back pain, with bad sitting posture being one of the compounding factors to this problem (Grandjean & Hünting, 1977; Sharma & Majumdar, 2009). Inadequate postures adopted by office workers are one of the most significant risk factors of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The direct consequence may be back pain, while indirectly it has been associated with cervical disease, myopia, cardiovascular diseases and premature mortality (Cagnie et al., 2006).
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration has made digitalization a top priority in an effort to transform the nation's economy and society, but as far as the medical care sector is concerned, steps toward that goal are not off to a smooth start. Beginning in March, the government started rolling out My Number cards embedded with IC chips that can double as health care insurance cards. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says use of the new cards, which all Japan residents can apply for, would simplify administrative procedures at hospitals and streamline applications for tax deductions for medical expenses. But the rate of uptake for the cards is low at around 25% and, due to the pandemic, many health care providers are not in a rush to install the facial recognition systems used to scan My Number cards. In order to use their My Number cards as a health insurance card, users must apply for the card and register online, while health care providers need to install proper card-reading equipment and overhaul their computer systems.
Whether it's police brutality, the disproportionate over-exposure of racial minorities to COVID-19 or persistent discrimination in the labour market, Europe is "waking up" to structural racism. Amid the hardships of the pandemic and the environmental crisis, new technological threats are arising. One challenge will be to contest the ways in which emerging technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), reinforce existing forms of discrimination. From predictive policing systems that disproportionately score racialised communities with a higher "risk" of future criminality, all the way to the deployment of facial recognition technologies that consistently mis-identify people of colour, we see how so called "neutral" technologies are secretly harming marginalised communities. The use of data-driven systems to surveil and provide a logic to discrimination is not novel.
Welcome to the new world. Glimmers of optimism are beginning to invade the public debate. And by public, I don't just mean those progressive spring breakers fighting for their freedom on the beaches. Many businesses are now seriously considering a return to their office buildings, some abandoned a year ago. Things, of course, still won't be quite the same.
Despite major disruptions from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, global investment in AI technologies grew by 40 percent in 2020 to $67.9 billion, up from $48.8 billion in 2019, as AI research and use continues to boom across broad segments of bioscience, healthcare, manufacturing and more. The figures, compiled as part of Stanford University's Artificlal Intelligence Index Report 2021 on the state of AI research, development, implementation and use around the world, help illustrate the continually changing scope of the still-maturing technology. The 222-page AI Index 2021 report, touted as the school's fourth annual study of AI impact and progress, was released March 3 by Stanford's Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. The report provides a detailed portrait of the AI waterfront last year, including increasing AI investments and use in medicine and healthcare, China's growth in AI research, huge gains in AI capabilities across industries, concerns about diversity among AI researchers, ongoing debates about AI ethics and more. "The impact of AI this past year was both societal and economic, driven by the increasingly rapid progress of the technology itself," AI Index co-chair Jack Clark said in a statement.
The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is the latest from one of Europe's biggest smart home security product makers. It was first shown at CES 2019, so it's been a long time coming. The product is now available in the U.S. for $300. That makes it much more expensive up front than many of its competitors, but it could easily work out cheaper over time because you don't need to pay any subscription charges for cloud-based video storage or other services. Netatmo's device is larger than some competitors, but it has a smart design with the facia split evenly into three sections: the top is the camera, the center is the speaker, and the lower third is the doorbell button.