The 3rd Wave of Computing, Misfit’s New Wearable the ‘Flash’ & a Health Summit in Dublin

Here’s the latest news and events from the RE.WORK team!

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We’ve got 1 day to go til RE.WORK Technology Summit London!

Over 40 speakers, 2 days, 200 attendees, a showcase area, startups, the latest emerging technologies and a historic renovated church in East London.

We’re talking Human Computer Interface & Social Robotics, Next Generation Virtual Assistants, Sensors and Environmental Monitoring and so much more!

Don’t miss out! Book your ticket here

Follow the discussions on Twitter over the two days with the hashtag #reworktech and @teamrework.

VIEW AGENDA

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RE.WORK Health Summit - Advancing Healthcare & Medicine

Join us on 12-13 February in Dublin to meet the latest innovators, leading scientists and discover breakthrough technology impacting the future of our healthcare and medicine.

The RE.WORK Health Summit is a unique opportunity to meet researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry working on:

  • Robotic Technology
  • 3D Printing & Smart Materials
  • Big Data
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Quantified Self
  • Personalised Medicine

Speakers include: 

Book Your Pass

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Forget the Apple Watch: Intelligent virtual assistants are the next tech revolution

We stand on the brink of the third wave of computing, where machines become capable of learning and self reflexively developing knowledge about the people and objects around them.

Results from a new ‘Virtual Assistant’ project will be released at the RE.WORK Technology Summit on 18-19 September by Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

“With the creation and circulation of so many data points defining our behaviours, interactions, activities, and locations, the next step in emerging technologies is a service that consolidates our experience. Think of it as a mash-up of the powerful natural language processing of IBM’s Watson, the voice-activated intelligent assistance of Apple’s Siri, the productivity augmentation of Google Now, and the biometrics and physiological quantifying of the self through wearable technologies”.

Read the full feature here

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Misfit Wearables Announce New Product Flash Ahead of Their Appearance at RE.WORK Tech

Misfit, makers of Shine, today announced its second wearable product, Misfit Flash, a versatile and easy-to-use fitness and sleep monitor. The Misfit Flash is a screenless, waterproof fitness and sleep monitor, available from mid-November.

Tomorrow, at the RE.WORK Technology Summit, we’ll be hearing from Misfit in the session on Wearable Technology & Personalised Healthcare. Amy Puliafito will share more about Misfit’s new product and discuss the impact of wearable technology on our daily lives, fitness, healthcare and mobility with Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology at the Guardian.

Read more here.

To hear more about the new product and other Misfit news, joing us tomorrow at RE.WORK Tech. To register, go to: re-work.co/tech or contact RE.WORK by emailing  hello@re-work.co

Misfit Wearables Announce New Product Flash Ahead of Their Appearance at RE.WORK Tech

Misfit, makers of Shine, today announced its second wearable product, Misfit Flash, a versatile and easy-to-use fitness and sleep monitor. The Misfit Flash is a screenless, waterproof fitness and sleep monitor, available from mid-November.

Tomorrow, at the RE.WORK Technology Summit London, we’ll be hearing from Misfit in the session on Wearable Technology & Personalised Healthcare. Amy Puliafito will share more about Misfit’s new product and discuss the impact of wearable technology on our daily lives, fitness, healthcare and mobility with Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology at the Guardian.

The summit taking place at LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, London, will showcase the opportunities of exponentially accelerating technologies and their impact on business and society. Other sessions will include experts in technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, the Internet of Things, data science, regenerative medicine and renewable sources of energy.

Crafted out of a special soft-touch plastic, Flash is comfortable, extremely durable, and waterproof to 30 metres, making it fit for even the toughest uses. It won’t require nightly charging, because it doesn’t have a battery-draining screen, so it can draw power for months from a watch battery. Instead of a screen, Flash will work like one big button: simply pressing it so embedded LEDs to light up and allow you to check progress towards activity goals.

Like the Shine, the Flash can be worn virtually anywhere - on a user’s wrist, trousers, shirt, shoes, lapel, or even on a keychain. Flash includes the very best of the Shine’s user experience and automatically measures steps, calories, distance, sleep quality and duration. It even tracks cycling, and swimming. Flash syncs wirelessly with the Misfit App on iOS and Android phones.

“Flash is the only fully featured activity and sleep tracker in the world for under £50, making it incredible value,” said Tim Golnik, VP of Product and Design at Misfit.

Amy Puliafito, Communications Lead at Misfit Wearables, will be speaking at RE.WORK Technology Summit London tomorrow on Wearable Technology & Personalised Healthcare.

Standard tickets are available now and passes for startups, students and academics are also available for reduced rates. For further information and to register, go to: re-work.co/tech or contact RE.WORK by emailing  hello@re-work.co

Using Robotics in Energy Efficiency & Future Cities: Q&A with Mathew Holloway from Q-Bot

Mathew Holloway is the Managing Director of Q-Bot where he leads the development and commercialisation of innovative robotics technologies for the construction industry.

Q-Bot combines robotics with one of the most pressing needs; upgrading our existing buildings to make them more comfortable, reduce cold draughts and improve energy efficiency.

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What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society?

Q-Bot’s service has the potential for a massive positive impact on society and business. The robots insulate buildings, reducing heat loss, saving CO2 and most importantly keep our feet warm. Insulating all 7 million of the UK’s suspended timber floors would save enough energy to take off line two power stations.

The service also creates jobs where there was previously none, turning difficult dangerous and disruptive work into clean, efficient, safe and productive processes.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating your technological development into industry and society?

Robotics involves complex multi-disciplinary systems and we have yet to create building blocks which allow us to abstract the science from the application effectively. Often the development of robotics is a purely technical challenge to fulfill or replicate some function, rather than starting with a human need or desire and deploying design and technology to find the right solution.

As with any new technology where there is potential for massive impact there will be resistance to change until the potential of the technology and actual reality is understood by society. It is therefore up to those working in these fields to challenge common misconceptions about robotics and educate how they can have a positive impact on our lives.

What sectors have the biggest potential to be impacted by robotics?

All sectors have a potential to be impacted by robotics and machine learning. Robotic technologies are already used across the board, from performing works of art to exploring other planets. In many industries there are still examples where productivity is limited by human labour, advanced technologies will empower these workers and allow them to break this cycle.

A good example is in the construction industry where there is huge potential for a wide range of technologies in areas such as reducing the need to work at height, repair and maintenance, remote applications in hard to reach areas, and improving health and safety.

Another might be assistive technology wherever there are mundane tasks to fulfill or people to care for. Machine learning and automation also has the potential to impact many other industries, from legal professions to politics. Like computers, robotic technologies are likely to become ubiquitous in our daily lives, and as such relatively unremarkable.

What emerging technology in robotics are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise?

We now have very small but powerful computers in the shape of mobile phones. The next stage is to develop inexpensive sensors that take advantage of this, Project Tango from Google is one exciting example.

Mathew will be speaking at RE.WORK The Future of Robotics next month on 14 October. Find out further information on how to attend here: re-work.co/workshops/future-of-robotics

Join the discussion on Twitter with @teamrework and @QBot_UK using #reworkrobotics

Apple Watch, squishy robots & connected cars - Recommended Reads (week ending 14th Sept)

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The tech world is rapidly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! To help you get up to date we’ve rounded up the best tech articles from this past week that you should be reading.

Germanene: Have scientists just created the new graphene?

“The discovery coincides with a breakthrough in China, where scientists were able to create germanene on a platinum surface. The advantage that the Europe team has, though, is that on a large scale development on gold would be considerably cheaper than development on platinum.”

When fridges attack: the new ethics of the Internet of Things

“Basic digital personalities can be created through mathematical rules associating the information the device gets from the world with how it reacts to the world. As smart devices start to work with us, and understand our social rules, we may increasingly see them as human like - a world filled with tools designed to be our friends.”

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Forget Apple Watch: Intelligent virtual assistants are the next tech revolution

“With the creation of so many data points defining our behaviours, interactions, activities, and locations, the next step in emerging technologies is a service that consolidates our experience. Think of it as a mash-up of the powerful natural language processing of IBM’s Watson, the voice-activated intelligent assistance of Apple’s Siri, the productivity enhancement of Google Now, and the biometric and physiological quantifying of the self through wearable technology.”

Dirk Gorissen on how data science can help developing countries

“Just like in developed countries there is huge potential value in unlocking, linking, curating, and analysing existing data sets and national statistics. In developing countries the impacts can be more far reaching than in developed countries as the challenges are more fundamental - access to basic resources such as water, health care, power.”

Squishy Robot Walks Through Acid, Fire and Ice

“The silicone rubber that the robot has been made out of is extraordinarily tough, such that it can continue to function in subzero temperatures (tested down to -9 degrees Celsius), 40 km/h winds, puddles of up to 5 centimeters of water, and 3,000 Kelvin methane flames for up to 50 seconds… And this version is completely autonomous.”

Frustration with waiting for computers to learn things inspired a better approach – 35 Innovators under 35

RE.WORK speaker Quoc Le is one of MIT Technology Review's '35 Innovators Under 35'! You can hear more from Quoc at our Deep Learning Innovation Summit, in San Francisco, 29-30 January 2015. Get more info & register for Early Bird passes here: http://bit.ly/1q7B2gz

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What’s Next? V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) Communication With Connected Cars

“Connected cars will be the ultimate Internet of Things. They will collect and make sense of massive amounts of data from a huge array of sources. Cars will talk to other cars, exchanging data and alerting drivers to potential collisions. They’ll talk to sensors on signs on stoplights, bus stops, even ones embedded in the roads to get traffic updates and rerouting alerts. And they’ll communicate with your house, office, and smart devices, acting as an digital assistant, gathering information you need to go about your day. “

Introducing Binatix: A Deep Learning Trading Firm That’s Already Profitable

“Binatix is effectively a deep learning trading firm, possibly the first to use the state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to spot patterns that offer an edge in investing. The seven-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., company, which is emerging from stealth mode with the publication of this story, says it’s already nicely profitable.”

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A Drone SnotBot And Other Ways That Flying Robots Can Save The World

From collecting whale blow to teaching autistic kids, socially beneficial uses of low-cost drone technology are starting to take off.

Dutch MedTech Startup Team Brings Fresh Hope For Sufferers Of Parkinson’s Disease

“Their next generation technology created a system with 40 individual stimulation points, with the aim of allowing more precise stimulation of the brain, potentially speeding up procedures and resulting in fewer stimulation-induced side effects.”

Other articles & posts to check out:

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Check out our Linkedin showcase pages for more interesting links and articles:

Internet of Things 

Edtech 

Robotics 

Deep Learning 

Technology 

Cities

Health

 

Forget Apple Watch: Intelligent virtual assistants are the next tech revolution

by Chris Brauer

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Dr Chris Brauer is director of innovation in the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

THE APPLE Watch is just the latest exciting development in wearable technology. But the prospect of consumers interacting with Siri on their smartwatches also hints at another impending revolution in how we access digitised knowledge. Today, we stand on the brink of the third wave of computing – where machines become capable of learning and self-reflexively developing knowledge about the people and objects around them.

With the creation of so many data points defining our behaviours, interactions, activities, and locations, the next step in emerging technologies is a service that consolidates our experience. Think of it as a mash-up of the powerful natural language processing of IBM’s Watson, the voice-activated intelligent assistance of Apple’s Siri, the productivity enhancement of Google Now, and the biometric and physiological quantifying of the self through wearable technology.

Combine it all together and you have a Virtual Assistant (VA), arriving sometime in the next five years. Companies at the forefront of this development, like Viv Labs, are moving beyond screens and social: the VA will be the new gateway to the internet and all the people and things connected to it. For pop culture references, see intelligent computers like Space Odyssey’s HAL, KITT from Knight Rider, or J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Marvel movies.

Q&A with Craig Hollingworth from Concirrus

Craig is an expert in the emerging technologies, Machine 2 Machine (M2M) and Internet of things (IOT) marketplace, having held senior positions in O2, Telefonica, France Telecom, Orange and Masternaut. 

Concirrus was formed to make it easy for companies to design, build and operate solutions for the IOT. With 10-years of experience combined with a proven methodology and a cloud-based platform for managing ‘Things’, Concirrus has simplified the World’s of IOT and M2M into a multi-award winning service for our customers.

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What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society? 

The Internet of Things has an impact on literally everything you can imagine.

For businesses it can remove assumption. Businesses can now collect in-depth information about their product or service in real-time. Then by understanding and organising that information, it can allow companies to take a fresh look at their current practices and generate business change. 

We’ve had a client that has literally turned his entire business around because of the Internet of Things; he went from selling cable to selling an entire service.

For Society, it’s also huge.  With everything becoming more and more connected we have the ability to understand so much more about ourselves, our environment, our world.. just everything. Concirrus recently wrote a blog post about the impact the Internet of Things has on healthcare, from assisting in the operating theatre, to helping us loose weight and stay fit, to how we look after our elderly easier… it almost feels like the possibilities are endless.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector? 

We’re looking for anarchists, we want people to break traditional economic models and know how to disrupt standard business processes. It’s the only way we are going to progress. At Concirrus we like to empower our staff to encourage innovation, there’s never a wrong answer.

What are the main drivers for the IOT revolution? 

The recession has been a little bit of a tinderbox in this respect, during the recession people had to look outside of the box to drive down cost, they had limited budget to do so and therefore innovated. Another key factor is simply the advancement in technology - processes are cheaper, sensors are easier to integrate into devices, communication is faster and simpler, everything is much more accessible. What were once ideas can now be made into reality. 

What are the challenges of integrating IOT into your business?

Fear of change is definitely a factor but for those who overcome that fear and integrate, it’s still not easy, there are knock on effects of everything.  We had a client in the North of England who implemented a small IOT project which fundamentally changed everything for them, they had to change their finance department, their software, their sales department…the lot, it even changed how they were valued in the marketplace. This was when we learnt that the final stage of our service, after-care, was critical.

What are the key factors to plan for post-implementation? 

I would say, be agile, be ready to keep improving and making your product and service better and better. At Concirrus we have a 5 step process, Discover, Design, Deliver, Deploy, Debate, this process repeats itself over and over again. After implementation it’s all about Debate. Here we discuss what went wrong, what went well, how the solution is working, what information we’re collecting and how can things be improved. We discuss these things all the time, once assumption is removed, we can really get to work!

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Craig will be sharing his expertise and speaking at many of our upcoming events including RE.WORK Technology Summit London, Internet of Things Summit San Francisco, RE.WORK Cities London, RE.WORK Health Summit Dublin & Internet of Things Summit London.

Connect with Craig & Concirrus on Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook

Our venue for RE.WORK Technology Summit, London!

With only 9 days to go until the RE.WORK Technology Summit in London, we’d like to give you a look at the beautiful venue we’ll be using.

LSO St Luke’s is a restored 18th-century Grade 1 listed church located on London’s Old Street, EC1. 

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The church was built in 1733, but was continually having repairs made until 1959, when during a dry summer columns became so damaged that the building was declared unsafe, the roof removed and the church abandoned. The shell of the church became a ruin for 40 years, overgrown with trees, despite being a Grade 1 listed building. 

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In the mid-1990s, the London Symphony Orchestra raised the idea of rebuilding the disused Hawksmoor church of St Luke’s close to the Orchestra’s home at the Barbican as a base for the LSO Discovery music education programme. 

St Luke’s has remained in the hands of the London Symphony Orchestra ever since. The transformation is incredible!

We used LSO St Luke’s as our venue for RE.WORK Technology Summit in 2013 and we’re excited to be there again on 18-19 September 2014. Check out these pictures from last years Tech Summit at the venue:

You can still register for passes for the event! Check out the speaker line up and get your passes here: re-work.co/tech

This week’s must reads! (Week ending 7 September, 2014)

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The tech world is rapidly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! To help you get up to date we’ve rounded up the best tech articles from this past week that you should be reading.

It’s been a big news week for RE.WORK speakers, especially Megan Smith, as the White House has just named her U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Megan will be joining us at our Internet of Things Summit this coming November.

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Minecraft For Real Life: This Video Game Wants To Help Redesign Actual Cities

The game will be open-source and free to play, and as players come up with various designs, they’ll be able to add to a growing database of designs that a city could actually implement. The researchers will also be able to pull data from the game and look for patterns in citizen ideas that official urban planners might be overlooking in their own work.

Biodesign: Why the future of our cities is soft and hairy *RE.WORK Speaker*

"We are working towards an actual reality. Society needs to understand that biotech is the best — and perhaps the only — way to achieve sustainability for the whole planet.

"People need to appreciate the benefits for it. Nature has such huge potential. Humans need to take advantage of it to solve the big challenges in the world today."

Alberto T. Estevez, Director of Genetic Barcelona Project will be speaking about their biodesign project at RE.WORK Cities, London, 4-5 December.

Controlled Crystals Make a New Solar Material Practical

A new way to control the growth of crystalline materials called perovskites could lead to commercial solar cells that hit a sweet spot of high performance and low cost. Although individual perovskite cells have achieved promising results in the lab, until now it hasn’t been clear how they might be made in uniform batches.

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White House Names Google’s Megan Smith Chief Technology Officer *RE.WORK Speaker*

Exciting news for RE.WORK speaker Megan Smith! You can hear more from Megan at RE.WORK Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco on Nov 6-7. 

“Megan has inspired so many people through her commitment to inclusion and innovation,” said co-founder Sergey Brin. “We’ll miss her at Google [x] and are excited to see what the future holds for her in Washington.”

The language of the internet of things

Once more things connect, many scenarios present themselves. Connected smoke alarms could enlist nearby light bulbs to flash and speakers to sound an alert. A warning about the smoke’s location could appear on a television. And door locks could be automatically opened. Many other not-yet-thought-of applications will arise, says Liat Ben-Zur, chairwoman of the AllSeen Alliance. “Unexpected capabilities pop up when devices speak the same language,” she says.

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‘Matchmaking’ site for lonely algorithms can make sense of raw data

If the service is to become fully functioning, companies could simply run their data through a search function that will ‘match’ it with the best algorithm which could then make an understandable pattern to otherwise unintelligible data.

So far, the biggest challenge to the idea could be from academics themselves who might feel uncomfortable with the idea of their research being used for commercial gain but, according to their business model, both the company and researcher who designed the algorithm will receive a cut of any payment by a company.

Jan Peters talks opportunities & obstacles for the future of robotics *RE.WORK Speaker*

“Learning algorithms that allow robots to automatically acquire new skills and refine their task execution will allow for a huge shift in possibilities of robot application.  Robots will be able to do a much larger variety of tasks due to the decreased robot programming cost, reducing the need for slave labor in sweatshops all over the world. Robot programming will be possible for laymen, enabling highly specialized surgeons to bring their expert skills to a much wider application, but also the use of robots at home.”

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Misfit launches a development kit that gives other companies access to its sensor algorithms *RE.WORK Speaker*

Misfit, a company best known for making the Shine fitness tracker, has been in the process of transitioning to a company that sells its sleep and activity tracking algorithms in addition to tasteful hardware. On Thursday, it took that process one step farther and announced the Misfit Developer Toolkit, which will allow interested developers and companies to incorporate Misfit’s activity tracking capabilities into their own applications.

Buses are the future of urban transport. No, really.

As it happens, innovation in urban affairs has developed a distinctly Latin flavour of late. From Porto Alegre’s experiments in participatory budgeting to the cable cars of Caracasthis most urbanised of regions would appear to have quietly stolen a march on the rest of the world. Latin American cities have found great success by deploying existing techniques (material or social) at relatively low cost, in unexpected and startlingly effective new combinations – precisely the manner in which Brazilian and Colombian cities have forged a high-capacity mass-transit system from the lowly city bus.

 

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Sparks fly as NASA pushes the limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector —a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine—with design features that took advantage of 3-D printing. To make the parts, the design was entered into the 3-D printer’s computer. The printer then built each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting.

 The cognitive Internet of Things: an interview with Raffaele Giaffreda *RE.WORK Speaker*

RE.WORK speaker Raffaele Giaffreda took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to Web Magazin about the cognitive internet of things and how this will impact our day to day lives in the future.

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Google Launches Effort to Build Its Own Quantum Computer

Quantum computers could be immensely faster than any existing computer at certain problems. That’s because qubits working together can use the quirks of quantum mechanics to quickly discard incorrect paths to a solution and home in on the correct one. However, qubits are tricky to operate because quantum states are so delicate.

Top 10 Companies Innovating Using the Smart Grid

Smart grid innovation doesn’t always have to be about technology. Tendril’s Energy Services Management platform helps utilities and energy service providers better understand the uses and needs of their customers. The platform even uses gamifacation in the form of leader boards so one user’s usage can be compared to another.

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Check out our Facebook page & Linkedin showcase pages for more interesting links and articles:

RE.WORK on Facebook

Internet of Things 

Edtech 

Robotics 

Deep Learning 

Technology 

Cities

Health

Here’s the latest news from the RE.WORK Team - August 2014

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We’re only 2 weeks away!


Our annual RE.WORK Technology Summit is only two weeks away! 

We’re making the final additions to the agenda, preparing the venue and getting ready for two days of mind-blowing tech!

200+ leading scientists, entrepreneurs, influential businesses & innovators will come together at LSO St Luke’s in London to discuss how emerging technologies such as robotics, wearables, the Internet of Things and 3D printing are reshaping society, the workplace and home to create a new industrial revolution.

Don’t miss out on the latest technology trends including:

  • Wearables & Personalised Medicine
  • Internet of Things & Industry Applications
  • Swarm Robotics & Automatic Ensembles 
  • Smart Materials & 3D Printing
  • The Next Generation of Human Computer Interface

Download the PDF agenda here. Book your tickets here.

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DEEP LEARNING: What is it & why should you care?


Deep learning is a set of algorithms used to create contextual understanding in machines. For example, it is the process of teaching machines to think more contextually to recognize specific features that make up an image, or about the relationship between words and how they fit together to form phrases.

Join us at the Deep Learning Summit in San Francisco on 29-30 January 2015 to find out how it will affect industries from healthcare to transport to security. 

The speaker line up so far includes: 

  • Quoc Le, Research Scientist, Google
  • Charles Cadieu, Postdoctoral Researcher, MIT
  • Roberto Pieraccini, Dir., Advanced Communication Technologies, Jibo
  • Richard Socher, PhD Student, Stanford University
  • Peter Sadowski, PhD Student, University of California

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** Save $450: Book by Friday 5 September**

Book your pass now: re-work.co/internet-of-things

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Q&A with Ladislas de Toldi: Using Robotics in Healthcare

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Ladislas is CEO at Leka, a young startup which develops smart and innovative toys for children with disabilities. Former biotech engineer and long time geek, Ladislas started working on Moti, a spherical robotic smart toy for autistic children, 3 years ago.


Q: What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society?

Providing new technological tools to people who need it the most. Specifically in Healthcare, by building smart autonomous social robots to take better care of the people, in a smarter and more connected way.

Continue reading here


Ladislas de Toldi will be speaking at The Future of Robotics workshop next month in London.

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Other News not to be Missed!

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Intel reveals world’s smallest wireless modem for the Internet of things

Plant Monitoring Devices: is the Internet of Plants Next?

'A glance shows when something's wrong': The IoT startup using 3D interfaces to control smart cities

Check out our weekly updates on the latest tech news: Must Reads

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Until next time!

-The RE.WORK team

Q&A with Ladislas de Toldi: Using robotics in healthcare

Ladislas is CEO at Leka, a young startup which develops smart and innovative toys for children with disabilities. Former biotech engineer and long time geek, Ladislas started working on Moti, a spherical robotic smart toy for autistic children, 3 years ago.

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What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society?

Providing new technological tools to people who need it the most. Specifically in Healthcare, by building smart autonomous social robots to take better care of the people, in a smarter and more connected way.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating your technological development into industry and society?

Generally speaking, people have a negative image of robots as evil beings ready to take on the world. Thanks to Disney and Wall.e, robots can also be cute, friendly and save the world. Focusing on healthcare, we often encounter people saying “robots can not take care of the children the way people do!”. Which of course is true. But robots are not meant to replace human beings, they’re here to help, assist and improve our actions.

Still, regarding healthcare, robots must be 100% reliable, which is kind of hard if your robot is also “social”. We all make social mistakes, everyday, but we understand and correct them. It’s harder for a robot to do the same…

Which sectors have the biggest potential to be impacted by robotics?

We’ve already made some great improvements in the cocktail industry (http://barobot.com/), so I think the next revolution will be in space exploration, service and healthcare. From the Mars rover, through telepresence robotics, to social robots for autistic children and robotic surgery.

Which emerging technology in robotics are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise?

I love everything related to DIY, Arduino, Beaglebone, Raspberry Pi and others. It’s becoming easier than ever to build your own first prototype and test your concept. That’s how innovation is driven: by providing opportunities for people to build new robots!

Ladislas de Toldi will be speaking at RE.WORK The Future of Robotics next month on 14 October. Find out further information on how to attend here: re-work.co/workshops/future-of-robotics

Join the discussion on Twitter with @teamrework and @ladisonline using the hashtag #reworkrobotics

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Early Bird passes end tomorrow! Get yours now @ re-work.co/workshops/future-of-robotics

This week’s must reads!

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The tech world is rapidly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! To help you get up to date we’ve made a selection of the best tech articles from this past week that you should be reading:

Intel reveals world’s smallest wireless modem for the Internet of things

“By 2020, Internet-connected devices are expected to number between 26 billion and 50 billion, according to Raymond James & Associates. The IoT European Research Center estimates there are 80 things connecting to the Internet for the first time every second, and by 2020, this will expand to 250 every second. And those devices will need a lot of modems…”

Plant Monitoring Devices: is the Internet of Plants Next?

“Although most of the devices currently on the market are small consumer products for monitoring when you need to water your plants, the possibilities for using these technologies on a larger scale are huge. A connected network of plants and trees, sensing and monitoring their environment and providing feedback data could be revolutionary for environmental monitoring and positively disruptive to many other industries.”

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Are tiny houses and micro-apartments the future of urban homes?

“Urban housing supplies are already straining worldwide with 54% of the global population of 7.2 billion living in cities, according to the United Nation’s World Urbanization Prospects 2014 report. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 6.33 billion, or 66% of a forecasted world population of 9.6 billion. ”

Digital learning: how technology is reshaping teaching

“Using technology in an educational environment not only better reflects children’s life outside the classroom, but also allows them to hone their digital skills in a way that will continue to be valuable throughout their adult life.

"The use of mobile digital technologies in the classroom might be largely unfamiliar to parents, but the benefits can be huge,” said Drew Buddie, senior vice chair at Naace, the association for the UK’s education technology community.

"It’s not about just shifting traditional lessons onto screens - it’s about allowing pupils to make use of their devices to truly enhance their learning while giving teachers better ways to track individual achievement and personalise lessons."

These 3-D Printed Skeleton Keys Can Pick High-Security Locks in Seconds

“Ultimately, the two lockpickers say they’re trying to show lock companies and their customers that 3-D printing has changed lockpicking in ways that may leave previously secure locks vulnerable. After all, many lock makers seem to rely on their keys’ restricted shapes—their “key profile”—as their sole defense against tricks like bumping. “It’s a kind of false sense of security,” says Holler. “If a protected profile is your only protection, you should be aware that’s no longer enough.”

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12 NHS Hospitals Using 3D-Printed Models To Test Implants Before Surgery

“The models that the hospitals commonly request include jaw bones, for facial reconstruction surgery; elbows; hip revision models, to rehearse repairing hip replacements; forearms, to repair deformed bones; and cranial plastics, whereby the surgeon has to fit a titanium implant to a hole in a person’s skull.

The 3D models have also been used in orthopedics, neurology, spinal and ears, nose and throat wards, so that surgeons can identify the best procedure to use before surgery, which has cut down surgery time and hospital costs dramatically.”

 'A glance shows when something's wrong': The IoT startup using 3D interfaces to control smart cities

“Many Internet of Things (IoT) businesses target small companies and consumers with everything from smart home technology to wearable devices, but CyberLightning is going for the source. The company, founded in 2010, is freshly backed by $4.2m in funding and its CyberVille software is aimed at infrastructure companies, helping them collect, manage, and analyse their data more easily through 3D modelling.”

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Research Paves Way for Cyborg Moth ‘Biobots’

“The moth is connected to a wireless platform that collects the electromyographic data as the moth moves its wings. To give the moth freedom to turn left and right, the entire platform levitates, suspended in mid-air by electromagnets. ”

Raffaele Giaffreda on the exciting future of the Internet of Things, and its obstacles

“…I believe that a big chunk of that market size will be in the healthcare sector. Assisted living in smart homes, real-time monitoring through wearables, tele-care, together with the advances in cloud and cognitive computing to process monitored data and ensure more accurate correlation between treatment and illness to be cured, these are all means that will increase the quality of our lives especially towards the end of it or in the case of ill health with a positive impact to our society.”

'Robo Brain' will teach robots everything from the Internet

“The system employs what computer scientists call “structured deep learning,” where information is stored in many levels of abstraction. An easy chair is a member of the class of chairs, and going up another level, chairs are furniture. Robo Brain knows that chairs are something you can sit on, but that a human can also sit on a stool, a bench or the lawn.”

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Could A Giant Artificial Reef Save Venice From Sinking?

“The reef would be made from “smart droplets” that are attracted away from light. Over time, they would grow to cover the wooden poles under the city and spread to create a new platform to prop everything up.

"It would be porous, yet rigid, and could potentially stop the city sinking by producing an upward and lateral counter-force through the process of active growth, like expanding roots," Armstrong explains. It could possibly even grow strong enough to push the city up above sea level.

Since the droplets scoop up minerals and carbon dioxide, they may also help clean the water and reduce acidity.” 

Meet Enlitic, a startup that helps doctors analyze images with deep learning

“A technology attracting no shortage of hype these days, deep learning is changing quickly, with new best practices and techniques coming out all of the time. With the launch of Enlitic, it’s becoming clear that just as there’s room for deep-learning technology that can come in handy across many industries, there could also be room for applications for specific areas and types of workers.”

 

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Raffaele Giaffreda on the exciting future of the Internet of Things, and its obstacles

Raffaele Giaffreda is the Head of Smart IoT research group at CREATE-NET and Project Coordinator of EU FP7 iCore. 

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What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society?

From the business side we hear very frequently about the great potential of the Internet of Things ($19 trillion over the next decade according to Cisco and similar figures from many other big consultancy firms). An increasing population (9.3bln by 2050), an aging society (1.5bln of over 65 by 2050), more and more concentrated in cities (urban population 70% of the overall by 2050) will call for different approaches to healthcare if we are to hit those predicted numbers. Having made these premises, I believe that a big chunk of that market size will be in the healthcare sector. Assisted living in smart homes, real-time monitoring through wearables, tele-care, together with the advances in cloud and cognitive computing to process monitored data and ensure more accurate correlation between treatment and illness to be cured, these are all means that will increase the quality of our lives especially towards the end of it or in the case of ill health with a positive impact to our society.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating your technological development into industry and society?

High fragmentation of standards and interoperability between the many solutions coming to market is a big obstacle that is holding back the Internet of Things great potential. There are many different communication protocols for collecting from / sending data to sensors (with REST standards emerging for client-server type of communications and MQTT for publish-subscribe ones), different data models for structuring the same type of information in similar applications from different providers in different domains (opportunities for interworking data models are a subject of current research). From a societal point of view of course there is still strong skepticism towards such potentially intrusive technologies. So far the perceived risks are still high compared to the benefits. Early adopters aside, people are put off by security risks of IoT, they worry about privacy of data that can be harvested about them through various sensors.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

Key skills can easily be derived looking at what hits the headlines about pros and cons of such unprecedented availability of low-cost and miniaturised sensing capabilities: monitor through sensors, collect data, interpret it or nicely package interesting statistics with it and visualise it through an iOS or Android app. Create more knowledge to help us make better decisions certainly is amongst the most recurring pros for the IoT. On the cons side, people worry about invasion into their privacy and misuse of these technologies. Indeed there is great need for security experts able to make sure we don’t open a highway of opportunities for hackers to tamper with your devices / data. In terms of key skills and required expertise, the ingredients behind most products in the IoT domain are often the same so a bit of imagination and foresight might be what will help making the difference in the future of such an increasingly crowded sector. If you are enthusiastically tinkering with sensors, Arduinos and / or Rasperry Pis, chances are that you can get a comfortable seat on the Internet of Things band wagon; if you also have familiarity with means to secure access to IoT devices and / or associated data then you can claim a first class ticket!

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise?

The Internet of Things is increasing the amount of data the experts in various disciplines will be able to rely on. What I am mostly excited about, in terms of emerging technologies, is the ability to create more accurate models or digital representations of the real world which rely on the richness and quality of analysed data. This brings the potential of foreseeing events before they happen, helping reduce the occurrence of unforeseen ones but also help to more wisely manage limited resources. Within a European collaborative research project I have coordinated for the past three years (iCore) we created a framework for factoring out from IoT services the use of cognitive technologies, creating the opportunity of delegating data analytics and predictive model creation to data science and machine learning experts who will hopefully make future IoT applications more reliable and adaptive. Similar initiatives have also been going on for a number of years, but the game changer now is the more detailed data availability, thanks to IoT resources becoming widespread and widely adopted in many domains. The potential impact for society is tremendous from fighting environmental climate change to increasing quality of life in our cities as more and more people will abandon rural areas, from mitigating the effects of natural disasters to ensuring better and more tailored tailored healthcare and education services.

Raffaele Giaffreda will be speaking at RE.WORK Technology Summit in London next month on 18-19 September.

Find out further information on how to attend here: https://www.re-work.co/tech

You can follow Raffaele Giaffreda on Twitter - @giaffred

Emerging Technologies: Plant Monitoring Devices

In this new blog series we will be exploring the emerging technologies we’re excited about and how they can positively impact business & society. First up we’re looking at plant monitoring devices!

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It started with the Internet of computers and now, as the development of the Internet of Things is accelerating, products are appearing on the market for plant sensing devices. Is the Internet of Plants next?

Plants have amazing and significant sensing abilities - each single root apex can simultaneously and continuously monitor many chemical and physical parameters. And just like humans, plants give off electrical signals when they move. By analysing and defining these signals, it’s possible to understand the stimuli causing them. Once we can read the signals accurately and tell them apart, we can begin to use plants as biosensors. Trees, plants and shrubs can become part of a network that observes and reacts to its environment.

Already researchers have worked with crops to gradually build up data which with time they will develop algorithms for devices that can be attached to plants. The ability to have devices monitoring vast crops, and ultimately the wider natural environment, opens up a huge range of possibilities. The use of trees and other plants in environmental monitoring could have a huge positive impact on improving the quality of food and reducing pollution, as well as enabling the collection of data that may one day provide solutions to climate change.

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Although most of the devices currently on the market are small consumer products for monitoring when you need to water your plants, the possibilities for using these technologies on a larger scale are huge. A connected network of plants and trees, sensing and monitoring their environment and providing feedback data could be revolutionary for environmental monitoring and positively disruptive to many other industries.

Using plants in this way on a wider scale might be a while away yet, but there’s no doubt they would make cheap and practical environmental biosensors. In addition to their use in agriculture and personal gardening, there may be many useful future applications in monitoring the effects of acid rain, detecting air and water pollution, to even being used in war zones and in space.

For the agricultural industry, plant monitoring devices could potentially detect parasites and pollutants in crops, and tell farmers when they need more water and nutrients (or less). Precision agriculture is already benefiting from connected sensors that monitor elements of crop growth that can prevent crops from ruin, which can have an economic impact at an industry as well as individual level. When these devices are developed further and are more widely accessible, the farming industry could perform more efficiently.

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At the Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco, we will be hearing from Lance Donny, CEO of OnFarm. OnFarm combines a comprehensive array of leading farm hardware technologies into a single grower-friendly management and decision platform.

“We have an internet of things platform for agriculture and integrates disparate devices in the field into one software product,” Donny said, “We’re kind of the operating system for the farm.” OnFarm evolves farm information. You control your dashboards, what’s important and how you manage it; with data from the best companies.

Plant monitoring devices also embrace the recent trend of returning to our roots – a movement of reconnecting with the physical world, without leaving behind progress we’ve made in the digital. As global awareness grows for environmental issues such as climate change and pollution, the need for a better understanding of how the modern world can work with nature and not against it is increasingly important.

See the line up of speakers for RE.WORK Internet of Things Summit here: re-work.co/internet-of-things

This week’s must reads!

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The tech world is rapidly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! To help you keep up to date we’ve made a selection of the last week’s best tech articles you should be reading:

“The problem with past attempts to develop a transparent solar panel has been energy harvesting — they did not deliver enough energy to make the technique worthwhile.

The Michigan team thinks it can get round this by tuning organic luminescent salts to absorb near-infrared energy. The energy travels along the plastic coating to the edge of the panel to be converted using the usual photovoltaic solar cells, which are applied in thin strips here.”

“Impact Hub members are a diverse lot, from seasoned professionals to start up entrepreneurs, running businesses and charities spanning the social spectrum. Always interested to find out who makes our community we caught up with Nikita Johnson, Founder of RE.WORK to find out about her journey to Impact Hub King’s Cross…”

"First applications could be in more low-lifetime products in which long-term stability is not required, i.e. on clothing, or for various indoor applications to scavenge energy," says lead researcher David Lidzey. Later, the technology might be used in stable places like the gap between two windows, and eventually, on the facade of buildings.”

“If you go back just 2 years, it was almost unheard of to see media coverage of 3D printing technology coming to the aid of doctors in the operating room. Now, it seems as though every week there is a new “breakthrough” surgery that takes place with the help of 3D printing. Most of the stories that are reported, seem to originate either from the US, Europe or China. These are the places with the most prominent media coverage, and areas on the globe that 3D printing has really begun to gain a strong foothold in.

However, one man, named Jorge Vicente Lopes da Silva, has been helping doctors and surgeons in Brazil use 3D printing and scanning technologies for years, yet you don’t see these stories in the mainstream media…”

“Some of the hottest fields of computer science right now, including deep learning, are potentially revolutionary but are still waiting for applications that really matter. The more data sensors let us generate about the food we eat, the way we treat disease and the way our cities function, the more shots we have to put new computing techniques to the test and really make a difference.”

“Developing social robots does not only require excellent skills in computer science and engineering, but importantly, knowledge of and experience in developing interactive, robotic systems. Interaction with social robots goes beyond common human-computer interaction, and requires specific attention to the quality and acceptability of interaction and communication with such machines in order to facilitate ‘natural’ human-robot interaction.”

“Speaking about the technique, collaborator Zhaohui Zhong predicted: “With our platform technology, we can measure a variety of chemicals at the same time, or modify the device to target specific chemicals. There are limitless possibilities.” Expanding its uses would mean developing new detection algorithms for different biomarkers, and the team suggests it could be used to detect chemical leaks in the lab or accumulate stats on pollution if members of the public wear them daily.”

“Eventually robots may be able to switch fluidly between harder and softer states. In July, Cheng and MIT mechanical engineering professor Anette Hosoi published research on a “squishy robot” material of wax and foam that can do just that to create a soft mechanical joint. They say it could help robots perform search-and-rescue operations. If engineers can give them brains as well as brawn, soft robots may find their way into our homes, too.”

“From DIY fingertips to airway splints that help babies breathe, 3D printing has provided some significant advances for dealing with tricky medical problems. Craniums and facial bones are just the beginning for what can be done with materials and methods like Oxford uses for its OsteoFab devices. We may soon see FDA approval for other bones, like knee caps, hips, and even small bones in the fingers and hands.”

"The Abracadabra robot’s design is still in progress. It will be humanoid, 120 centimeters tall and 50 cm wide, and not threatening - but it’s not supposed to be baby-rabbit cute. It will be able to express faux emotion through a light display, the image on its "face" screen and gestures with its arms.

Abracadabra’s thing is the algorithms and software, not the hardware. The company, which has five employees and has won support from the Israeli government, will be outsourcing construction of the robots. Following the pilot at Tel Hashomer, another round of testing is scheduled at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in California.”

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Q&A: Kerstin Dautenhahn on human interaction with robots

Kerstin Dautenhahn is Full Professor in the School of Computer Science at University of Hertfordshire where she coordinates the Adaptive Systems Research Group. She has pioneered research in social robotics, human-robot interaction, assistive technology and published more than 300 research articles.

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What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society?

Contributing to the quality of life and healthcare of users by developing adaptive, personalized and social robots that are able to learn from and with their users.


What is the biggest obstacle to integrating your technological development into industry and society?

Acceptability of robots is often influenced by very negative images of robots in the public domain (“robots taking over the world etc.”), while users who are involved in the evaluation of social robot technology are usually very positive if they can experience the actual benefits. A main challenge for research and development is to clearly demonstrate the benefits of such systems as well as the limitations.


What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

Developing social robots does not only require excellent skills in computer science and engineering, but importantly, knowledge of and experience in developing interactive, robotic systems. Interaction with social robots goes beyond common human-computer interaction, and requires specific attention to the quality and acceptability of interaction and communication with such machines in order to facilitate ‘natural’ human-robot interaction.


What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise?

I am most excited about social robots that are not only fun to interact with, but have clear benefits in terms of health or quality of life of their users. Such machines do not necessarily require very complex levels of general purpose intelligence, but they need to be able to adapt and learn in human-inhabited environments.

Kerstin Dautenhahn will be speaking about the Societal Issues of Deploying Robotic Technology at RE.WORK Technology Summit in London next month on 18-19 September.

Find out further information on how to attend here: https://www.re-work.co/tech