COVID-19 has infected more than 23 million Americans and killed 386,000 of them to date, since the global pandemic began last March. Complicating the public health response is the fact that we still know so little about how the virus operates -- such as why some patients remain asymptomatic while it ravages others. Effectively allocating resources like ICU beds and ventilators becomes a Sisyphean task when doctors can only guess as to who might recover and who might be intubated within the next 96 hours. However a trio of new machine learning algorithms developed by Facebook's AI division (FAIR) in cooperation with NYU Langone Health can help predict patient outcomes up to four days in advance using just a patient's chest x-rays. The models can, respectively, predict patient deterioration based on either a single X-ray or a sequence as well as determine how much supplemental oxygen the patient will likely need.
Parity is among a growing crop of startups promising organizations ways to develop, monitor, and fix their AI models. They offer a range of products and services from bias-mitigation tools to explainability platforms. Initially most of their clients came from heavily regulated industries like finance and health care. But increased research and media attention on issues of bias, privacy, and transparency have shifted the focus of the conversation. New clients are often simply worried about being responsible, while others want to "future proof" themselves in anticipation of regulation.
With virtual booths and digital portals taking the place of convention center halls and showcases, CES in the time of coronavirus looked different. So did some of the tech. COVID-oriented tech products stood out at this year's CES. Some brands debuted new products made for the pandemic, others found that items they'd been working on all along now have newfound applications and relevance. But is "COVID tech" really necessary? After all, the best way to slow the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing and wear a face mask, which can be as simple as a bandana or a repurposed old T-shirt -- fundamentally low-tech strategies.
The technology show CES 2021 had the usual high-tech parade of TVs, laptops, phones and robots, but masks made this year's event different. Here are some of the highlights of CES 2021, which ends on Thursday. AirPop says its masks have the bacterial barrier protection of medical masks but the comfort of consumer masks. The AirPop Active mask with four filters that last for 40 hours each is priced at $149.99. A detachable ventilator regulates airflow and a charging case is lined with a UV light interior to kill bacteria and viruses as the mask charges.
Samsung has unveiled its latest range of flagship smartphones, with three models ranging in price from £769 ($799) to £1,149 ($1,199). The S21 range from the South Korean tech giant features an entry-level model, the mid-range Plus, and the Ultra – which is the first S Series phone to be compatible with the Samsung's S-Pen stylus. The stand-out feature on all three devices is the upgraded rear camera system, which was heavily leaked ahead of today's announcement and features night and portrait mode as well as its 100x'space zoom'. Pre-orders of the handsets open today, and the phones will be available as of January 29. The Ultra also comes with S-pen compatibility, the first Galaxy device to do so.
Google has completed its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, more than a year after the deal was first announced. The EU approved the acquisition in late December, clearing the way towards Google's ownership over what is perhaps the best-known brand out there for mainstream fitness-tracking devices. Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park reiterated in a letter today that Fitbit would continue to be device-agnostic, making products that work with both iPhones and Android devices. Both Park and Google's Rick Osterloh also reiterated that this deal was always about "devices, not data." That's shorthand for Google and Fitbit's pledge to keep user data private going forward; Park said that "Fitbit users' health and wellness data won't be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data."
As Wednesday draws to a close, so does a grand social experiment: the first-ever online-only CES. In the end, the experience was invariably different. We particularly missed being able to wander The Sands and have learn about smaller, up-and-coming startups. And if seeing is believing, the oddest entries at the show remained locked behind our computer screen, with no chance of getting hands-on time. And yet, we were kept busy this week. Most of the usual tech giants had news to share, and many of those were able to show us their wares in person, ahead of the three-day gadget extravaganza.
We'll admit, we weren't entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to judge the annual Best of CES Awards without an in-person show. How many companies would show up to an online-only show? What would we lose without being able to wander the halls of a massive convention center and see the products up close? As it turns out, we needn't have worried. More than 1,900 brands, big and small, turned up this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the industry group that organizes the show each year. What's more, many companies found socially distant ways to show us their latest and greatest in person, ahead of the show. In the end, we had enough fodder for 14 categories covering hardware and services in every sector from home theater to transportation to accessibility tech. We'll announce the winners tomorrow at 4:30pm ET during a ceremony on our virtual stage, which we'll livestream to Engadget.com We're also continuing tradition and opening up voting for our People's Choice Award -- our reader poll is live now and closes tomorrow, ahead of the ceremony. Please be sure to vote, and congrats to all of the finalists! The technology underpinning the Mudra Band might seem fanciful: sensors capture neural electrical impulses in the wrist and map them onto specific movements like a swipe or a tap, essentially letting you control an Apple Watch with subtle finger movements on one hand. There's no doubt the benefit of convenience -- you can operate your watch when your hands are wet or dirty, for instance.
Each year, CES runs an extensive programme of innovation awards, calling out a subset of the thousands of products on show for excellence in engineering, aesthetics and design, uniqueness, the innovation they bring to the consumer market, and more. There are two levels of recognition: 'Honorees' are products that score above the threshold for a given category, while'Best of Innovation' is reserved for the highest-rated product(s) in each category (see the CES website for more details on the judging process and expert panel). As usual, there's a diverse range of products on view, from the mainstream (AMD's Ryzen 5000 desktop processors, Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 smartphones, for example) to the highly specialised (E2IP Technologies' Electromagnetic Engineered Surfaces that reflect/redirect/block specific radiofrequency waves, John Deere's X-Series robotic combine harvester, for example). The latter uses voxel-based graphics rendering to capture a person's physical appearance, convert it to digital and create live 3D holograms viewable with VR/AR headsets. Use cases include remote collaboration, gaming, telehealth, online education and live entertainment.
New York (CNN Business)Disinfectant gadgets, next-generation fitness equipment and robots that help you cook dinner. Those are a few of the countless new products expected to be unveiled next week at the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual splashy tech conference that typically sets the tone for the biggest trends of the year. Home automation, health and 5G will once again be buzzy topics, but many companies will also introduce pandemic-specific features to reflect our increased time at home. Each year, reporters, exhibitors and investors typically explore Las Vegas showrooms filled with giant TVs, smart cars and robots fixing martinis, but CES will be online only for the first time in its 54-year history due to Covid-19. The Consumer Electronics Association, the nonprofit behind the four-day event starting Monday, said 1,800 exhibitors from around the world will fill its "digital venue" this year -- a number that's down significantly from 4,000 in-person exhibitors last year.