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Personalizing Artificial Intelligence

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-06-2017 Vishal Mathur

Tech companies and start-ups are spending a lot of time these days developing products, refining machine learning and adding personalization capabilities to their smart gadgets. “Almost every product can benefit from AI (Artificial Intelligence), lighting, purification, cleaning—everything that you see in a room needs AI,” James Dyson, founder of British tech giant Dyson, said at the launch of their new research facility in Singapore in February. AI is being used everywhere—from headphones, speakers and toothbrushes to robots. Chances are, your next tech purchase could be very intelligent.

Kuri robot

Kuri, developed by US-based Mayfield Robotics, uses an army of cameras and sensors to roam around your home. It will avoid all obstacles, such as furniture, and its speakers and microphones will allow you to check on parents, children, pets, and home safety in general, from anywhere in the world through your phone. It can learn the faces and voices of different family members, has directional intelligence, knows which room belongs to whom, and can even wake you up in the morning. Kuri’s touch sensors allow it to respond to the human touch. The robot’s head and eye movements look fluid and natural—it can, for instance, blink and smile. Call out to Kuri, and it’ll walk up to you. Pre-orders have started at $699 (around Rs45,000 ; www.heykuri.com).

Harman Kardon invoke speaker

Harman Kardon invoke speaker

Microsoft’s Cortana assistant is one of the “big three” AI products for consumers, along with Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. It is in your phone, in your PC, and will soon be in your car too. What was missing from its arsenal, however, was a smart speaker.

But that will change soon, with audio brand Harman Kardon’s Invoke speaker (release date is yet to be confirmed). At its heart is the Cortana AI. It will listen to you, answer queries and do searches based on voice commands, control smart home gadgets, and make hands-free voice calls, among other things.

The music playback capabilities include 360-degree sound, and Harman Kardon’s audio expertise should shine through. The price isn’t known yet, but Microsoft might want to peg it at around the $129 (around Rs8,300) price point of the Google Home speaker.

Bonjour smart alarm clock.

Bonjour smart alarm clock

This is an AI-powered virtual assistant made by French tech brand Holî . It will wake you up with your calendar appointments, weather and news updates, traffic predictions for the drive to work, and stream your favourite music. It has biometric identification, and can recognize different individuals, thereby customizing responses to individual preferences. It checks if you have a meeting scheduled for the morning, and if it detects heavier than usual traffic on the route, it’ll wake you a bit earlier based on calculations. Tell the Bonjour alarm clock that you want to go for a jog on Sunday morning, and it will not wake you if it is raining. Bonjour uses Holi’s SleepSensor to understand sleep patterns and provide suggestions if it detects poor-quality sleep. Prices start at $179 (www.holi.io).

Vinci headphones.

Vinci headphones

Vinci Smart headphones run the MediaTek processor, have 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB and 32 GB storage options, as well as a display on the outside of one earpiece. It runs a smart operating system called Vinci OS. The AI architecture plugs in to understand your music preferences using deep learning and will become smarter with song-matching recommendations. It can be controlled with voice commands (for music, checking the weather, and more).

The internal storage space allows you to store music and use the Vinci as a stand-alone music player too. The head-tracking feature claims to redirect the sound as you change your head position, and offers a 3D audio playback experience. Music buffs will appreciate the noise cancellation capabilities and the high-quality audio DAC hardware. Prices start from $199 (en.vinci.im).

*Prices may vary.

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