- PatientsLikeMe Partners with iCarbonX and Secures $100+ Million Investment
- The curious, the lavish, and the best, most pointless news of CES 2017
- Xiaomi unveils ‘very thin’ modular Mi TV 4, white ceramic Mi Mix smartphone, Mi Router HD
- Mega Man’s 6 NES games are now out on iOS and Android
- Why we need speechbots to answer the phone
- FoldiMate wants to sell you a laundry-folding robot
- XCOM 2 is getting a sequel to the series’ popular Long War mod
- Dell unveils a $5,000 8K UHD 32-inch display
- Ecommerce startup CloudCraze raises $20 million led by Insight Venture Partners
- Dell’s $1,799 Canvas is a Surface Studio competitor that works as an additional display
- Nintendo will talk Switch games on January 13
- Paragon’s newest hero fights with the light and darkness
- AMD’s leaders believe that hardware is hot again
- iCarbonX Expands Digital Life Alliance to Accelerate Development of Global Health Ecosystem
- The Trump Files: Internet Archive compiles everything Donald Trump has said on video
- Google Calendar for Android and iOS can now set times for you to meet fitness goals
- Coros debuts its Linx smart cycling helmet with bone conduction audio
- Smite Tactics enters its closed beta test on PC
- Smite’s new game takes the MOBA to the digital card game arena
- LaMetric Air displays home air quality, humidity, temperature, and more
- Google buys Limes Audio to fix sound quality in video calls
- Twitter nabs exclusive global rights to livestream some PGA Tour golf coverage for free
- ChargePoint claims it can speed up electric car charging by 800%
- Apple says New Year’s Day was biggest day ever for App Store, with $240 million in sales
- Pico Technology reveals untethered virtual reality headset
- AMD unwraps its Vega graphics architecture with promise of rich, lavish virtual worlds
- With Kodakit, Kodak wants to create the ‘photography ecosystem of the future’
- Lumus unveils AR displays for smartglasses with wide field of view
- Ambarella unveils 4K and 8K imaging chips for cars, drones, VR, and sports cameras
- Dotin seeks to mine data from your unconscious mind
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 01:41 PM PST
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 5, 2017–
PatientsLikeMe, the world’s largest personalized health network, has entered into a broad-ranging partnership with digital life company iCarbonX to apply next generation biological measures and machine learning, and accelerate a deeper understanding of the basis of human health and disease. iCarbonX, founded in 2015 by renowned genomicist Jun Wang, has taken a minority equity position in PatientsLikeMe and will provide multi-omics characterization services to the company. Invus, LP, PatientsLikeMe’s anchor investor for the past decade, is also participating in the equity investment.
This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170105005697/en/
PatientsLikeMe and iCarbonX are partnering to accelerate a deeper understanding of human health and disease. PatientsLikeMe Co-founder and Chairman Jamie Heywood, left, with iCarbonX founder Jun Wang. (Photo: Business Wire)
The partnership makes PatientsLikeMe a cornerstone in iCarbonX’s Digital Life Alliance, an expanding ecosystem of leading health technology and application companies that are collaborating to digitize and analyze all aspects of life. The alliance’s ultimate aim is to merge comprehensive biological and patient-generated data with artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help people better understand the medical, behavioral and environmental factors in their lives that may accelerate or mitigate disease, and optimize health. In a separate announcement today, Wang said that the iCarbonX ecosystem has invested a total of nearly $400 million in the initial companies that form the alliance: PatientsLikeMe, SomaLogic, HealthTell, AOBiome, GALT, Imagu and Robustnique.
“The ecosystem we’re creating will connect biology, experience and AI so that we can learn how diseases manifest in the body over time, and how our everyday actions contribute to their progression,” said Wang. “PatientsLikeMe will be at the core of this ecosystem as we digitize, analyze and share insights and knowledge that can improve lives.”
PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and Chairman Jamie Heywood said that since its founding, the company has partnered with patients, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, regulators and nonprofits to develop the infrastructure that makes the patient experience increasingly central to the development and practice of medicine. “Our partnership with iCarbonX will accelerate the development of our vision for a democratic system of discovery, care, and learning built for and with the people it serves-patients. Jun and all the companies in the alliance share this commitment to make patient value the guiding star in all we do.”
Wang said PatientsLikeMe’s unparalleled track record of engaging and empowering patients in their health was a key factor in his partnership decision. “PatientsLikeMe pioneered digitizing the patient experience and connecting people online so that everyone learns from shared data. Our partnership moves this to the next level, bringing new data and technology together to help people assess their health status and their options, and manage their digital life in a more complete manner.”
The company was founded by Heywood, his brother, Ben, and family friend Jeff Cole after the Heywoods’ brother Stephen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The trio built what became the first and only digital platform to date to collect and aggregate patient-generated health data, giving patients the real-world context to make more informed decisions and improve their outcomes. Today more than 500,000 people use patientslikeme.com to track and share information about 2,700 conditions. The result is a unique window into the patient experience unavailable in any clinical system that also helps PatientsLikeMe’s partners improve medicines, devices, and treatment protocols. More than 40 pharmaceutical companies and numerous government organizations have collaborated with PatientsLikeMe and used its data to understand what it’s like to live with and treat disease. The company has also published more than 100 research studies based on patient-generated health data.
The new PatientsLikeMe board of directors is comprised of: Jamie Heywood; PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter; Philippe Amouyal, Managing Director of Invus LP; Jun Wang; and Co-Founder and COO of iCarbonX Chun Wu.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 12:46 PM PST
CES, the most extravagant and important tech trade event of the year, is going down in Las Vegas. As you can imagine, there is an awful lot of news coming out of the convention.
Fear not, though, here’s the breakdown of the biggest news out of CES 2017.
Acer is debuting two new gaming laptops, the Acer Predator 21 X Notebook and the Acer Predator 17 X.
With a curved screen, the 21-inch Predator 21 X gaming laptop will sell for $9,000 and will be available in February.
Center stage of CES’ first day, Lenovo unveiled new devices in its ThinkPad X1 line — an ultrabook, a convertible laptop, and a tablet, all of which run Windows 10.
The second-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga will retail at $1,500, while the new fifth-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts at $1,350.
Lenovo also got itself involved in the smart assistant game. At $130, the device cleverly called Smart Assistant is Lenovo’s response to the Amazon Echo — and it also runs Alexa. The speaker will hit the stores in May.
3dRudder, a New York-based startup, launched its foot-powered controller for PC games, mobile apps, and VR headsets. VB’s very own Dean Takahashi says this “may be the strangest product at CES 2017.”
Hong Kong-based Hubblo is announcing the Hubblo VR camera — a 3D livestreaming device that can stream at 4K. The all-in-one camera will shoot 4K video and debut for $1,000.
Mayfield Robotics introduced Kuri, a $700 machine available for preorder in the U.S. with a $100 deposit. Kuri is touted as not only being “aware and mobile, but also having a personality designed to brighten up your home.”
The Kimon is easy to use, portable, has a replaceable battery and is capable of taking quality photos. All its features are tailored to provide a great selfie-taking experience, including a 16 megapixel camera that supports 4K 25 frames per second video recording.
Polar, a company known for a range of sports training computers, such as activity-trackers and Wi-Fi scales, has announced a new connected sports shirt with built-in health-tracking smarts. The Polar Team Pro Shirt builds on the company's existing athlete-focused heart-rate monitoring hardware, which includes the Polar Team Pro chest strap and serves to give coaches real-time data on their athletes' performance, including effort expended and speed of recovery.
Samsung on Wednesday announced its intentions to support early-stage startups focused on emerging technologies. The company, through its global innovation group, has established a $150 million fund targeting businesses specializing in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and “other new frontier technologies.”
Nvidia is partnering with Audi to develop artificial intelligence for a new generation of self-driving cars. The companies are looking to commercialize Nvdia’s latest technology for advanced automotive applications.
Jumping into the autonomous vehicle space, Toyota envisions not just a system to let you get to your destination hands-free, but one that knows your route, your driving patterns, schedules, emotion, and other data points.
Don’t get too excited about this futuristic-looking car, though — it’s going to be a while before something like it comes to the market for you to own.
HoloLamp debuted its augmented reality projector system at CES 2017. The projector makes it possible for augmented reality to interact with real objects, and no special glasses or smartphone are required to see its animated images.
The HoloLamp projector will ship with an animated chess game akin to the 3D chess seen in Star Wars: A New Hope and will be available for purchase in the first quarter of this year, the company said.
Lego Mindstorms has taught hordes of teens to learn how to program robots. Now Lego Group is launching Lego Boost, a series of toy robots that can teach younger kids how to code.
Whistle, the maker of pet-tracking and monitoring devices, announced its Whistle 3 product at CES 2017. It can quickly locate a lost pet and can track your pet’s daily exercise. The newest product combines continuous location tracking with upgraded activity monitoring.
ChargePoint is launching its ChargePoint Express Plus platform for charging electric cars, promising to make charging as much as eight times faster. The company says it will be able to add hundreds of miles of range with just 10 to 15 minutes of charging
Ford is working to incorporate Amazon’s Alexa into cars with its Ford Sync 3 service, giving drivers the ability to control their car and smart home devices.
Lumus, an Israeli startup that just raised a $45 million funding round, is unveiling new augmented reality displays for smartglasses that offer a wider field of view.
Coros Wearables is introducing its Linx Smart Cycling Helmet, which has an interesting new technology called “open-ear bone conduction.”
The helmet uses vibration through the bones on the side of your head to play music, conduct phone calls, and communicate with other bikers.
Former camera giant Kodak is setting out to create what it calls “the photography ecosystem of the future,” with the global launch of a new on-demand photography service that connects photographers with brands.
Kodakit is now available in 37 countries, covering major conurbations like New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, and Delhi.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 12:42 PM PST
Xiaomi on Thursday sought to show its potential as a consumer electronics company with the unveiling of several products, including a “very thin” modular television called Mi TV 4, a white variation of its flagship Mi Mix smartphone, and a new wireless router called the Mi Router HD.
“Mi TV 4 is the thinnest TV yet, measuring 4.9 millimeters, practically disappearing when viewed from at a flat angle,” claimed Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president of international, on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show. The television has no frames and “barely any bezels,” with a metal back cover and transparent stand. It ships with Patchwall, the Xiaomi proprietary user interface layer that’s built on Android. The device uses artificial intelligence to surface relevant content for each user, gleaning insight from 44 million movies, 1.52 million comments, and 600,000 in-depth reviews.
Barra boasted: “We put a lot of thought in designing Patchwall. We believe it’s a substantial improvement over any [smart] TV UI.”
Because the Mi TV 4 is a modular television, it’s easier to customize the device to your liking. The television is separate from the electronics, so if you wanted better audio, you need only purchase another sound bar, not scrap your entire TV. Xiaomi said that only one wire is needed to connect all the electronics with the display. The Mi TV 4 comes with 10 integrated speakers, 2 wireless satellite speakers, and a subwoofer. It also supports Dolby Atmos.
Mi TV 4 comes in three sizes — 49 inches, 55 inches, and 65 inches — and goes on sale later this year in China for “well under” $2,000.
Other announcements include the coming release of a white version of Xiaomi’s Mi Mix smartphone in China. The first Mi Mix smartphone launched in October to quite a bit of fanfare. It was touted as being one of the best Android devices out in the market, but it’s currently only available in China and India. The 6.4-inch smartphone was previously available only in black. Barra highlighted many of the phone’s feature before ultimately revealing the white ceramic version.
At the start of the China-based electronics company’s press conference, Xiaomi’s Xiang Wang, senior vice president for global business and IP strategy, spoke about its unique business model. He said there were three pillars the company has been grounded on: hardware, internet services, and the Mi ecosystem, its internet of things platform. “All are scalable areas for us,” he said, also boasting that Xiaomi is now in 20 countries and growing.
The Mi Ecosystem consists of hundreds of smart products, with 77 companies incubated by Xiaomi to date. Barra said, “As part of our approach to the Mi ecosystem, we’ve helped these companies on all things along the supply chain … I can safely say Xiaomi has become the world’s most successful incubator.” In fact, there are more than 50 million devices connected to the company’s products, including a rice cooker, smart scale, fitness wearable, electric folding bike, scooter, drones, smart robots, and more.
To keep these devices connected, Xiaomi has created the Mi Router HD. With 2600 Mbps 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 4×4 MU-MIMO, a Qualcomm IPQ8064 network processor, 8 TB surveillance hard drive, 4 high-gain PCB array antennae, and an aluminum alloy housing, the router is billed as being a powerful way to maintain connectivity in your home or office.
The Mi Router HD will launch later this quarter in China with two prices: $200 for 1 TB hard drive and under $500 for 8 TB.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 12:30 PM PST
The Blue Bomber is on mobile, but a trailer makes it look like they could have used some more time in Dr. Light’s lab.
Capcom today released mobile versions of Mega Man 1 through 6 for iOS and Android. Each game is available for $2 each. The Mega Man games were some of the most popular side-scrollers for the Nintendo Entertainment System, notable for their mix of platforming and shooting action. The games have been ported to numerous other systems, recently together in the Mega Man Legacy Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PC. Mega Man 2 was also one of the 30 games included in the NES Classic Edition.
The $36 billion mobile market is an important segment for game publishers. Older companies like Capcom sometimes port its classics to mobile platforms, although it can sometimes be tricky to translate a game designed for a controller to a touchscreen device. For example, Capcom has brought the Phoenix Wright games to mobile, which work well since players were using to touchscreens to control them on the DS and 3DS.
The Mega Man games are famous for their difficulty, requiring precision aiming and jumping. That might make for a rough translation to a touchscreen device. But that may not be the biggest problem with the ports. If you watch the trailer above, the games look like they’re running … awkwardly. They’re just stuttering along. It’s strange to see such old games performing so poorly on mobile.
But it might be intentional. In a press release sent to GamesBeat, Capcom noted, “Each game has been optimized for the mobile devices with adjustments to game speed.” So, maybe the games look so sluggish because Capcom slowed them down, maybe to give mobile players some extra time to adjust their attacks and jumping. We’ll try the ports out for ourselves and let you know how they play in a future story.
Frank Cifaldi, whose Digital Eclipse put together the praised ports of the Mega Man games in the Legacy Collection, noted on Twitter that his company had nothing to do these mobile versions.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 12:10 PM PST
Industry and media attention have focused on chatbots for digital channels. However, speech bots that answer phone calls could have a greater impact on customer service. First, because phone remains one of the most popular customer service channels, and companies should be doing all they can to meet customers where they prefer to interact. Sixty-eight percent of Americans owned smartphones in 2015, making the phone prime real estate for evolving customer engagement technologies that should not be overshadowed by flashier channels and platforms.
Second, speech bots are a major cost-saving opportunity. Voice agents far outnumber chat or social agents, and companies can substitute live agents for speech bots to greatly reduce expenditures, which means budget can instead go to other business ventures.
And third, the phone already provides a natural interface — spoken language — that is accessible even when a screen is not present. Unfortunately, consumers view traditional phone automation systems (IVRs) as a hindrance rather than a help, caused by poor natural language understanding and limited functional range.
To become intelligent speech bots, companies must enhance IVRs to demonstrate the following capabilities:
At their core, bots will have domain knowledge not tied to any specific channel. Rather, bots’ knowledge should encompass all business logic required to handle customer requests (business rules, workflows, backend integrations, etc.). Bots can then vary their interactions and behaviors depending on speech or text input, and further tailor responses based on a channel’s unique constraints and norms.
Viewed this way, just one both can act as both a speech bot and chatbot, rather than using two separate systems.
This dual approach will allow companies to make greater investments in speech bots without sacrificing current chatbot efforts. Attention to speech bots will prove useful as mobile dependency continues. Forty-one percent of American homes used just wireless phones by 2014, and almost half of U.S. smartphone owners say their device is something they couldn’t live without. Telephone devices and usage are certainly changing, and companies can be sure that speech bots will be a key part of that evolution.
Bots can already chat on websites, answer questions on mobile apps, and respond to social messages. Shouldn’t they also pick up the phone?
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 12:00 PM PST
Technology is for the lazy. The creators of FoldiMate certainly kept that in mind when they created a laundry-folding robot.
FoldiMate has talked about the FoldiMate Family robot for a while, and the company is showing a prototype of its machine at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. FoldiMate founder and CEO Gal Rozov said the device is “saving marriages around the world.”
FoldiMate’s machine requires you to clip your clothes onto a slot on the machine. The robot pulls the item over a board and irons it, steams it, and then folds it. Once the robot is finished with the whole rack, it spits out the folded clothes for you to remove. The machine will cost around $850, or so.
It takes the robot about 10 seconds to fold one item, and it has a capacity of about 15 to 20 items. The machine weighs about 66 pounds, uses standard power, and it is connected via Wi-Fi. The company plans to announce more shipping details soon.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 11:33 AM PST
One of XCOM’s best mods is getting a sequel.
The official XCOM site announced today that Long War 2 is coming to XCOM 2 on PC. The first Long War was a fan mod for XCOM: Enemy Unkown that came out in 2013. It was one of the most popular for the turn-based strategy game, adding new units and weapons in an entirely different story campaign. It also brought new concepts to the game, such as fatigued soldiers (so you couldn’t send the same people on multiple missions in a row). Also, the enemy aliens also research their own improvements, making them a more formidable foe over time.
Long War Studios, which is now named Pavonis Interactive, created the original Long War and is working on the sequel. It’s site lists the developer as an independent studio. 2K told GamesBeat that Pavonis is partnering with the publisher and Firaxis for Long War and other XCOM 2 mods.
The video game industry is filled with examples of mod developers that became parts of bigger studios. Team Fortress Classic and Counter-Strike were both mods for Half-Life before Valve took their creators in, and the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients has had the people who worked on it go on to form League of Legends studio Riot Games and also join Valve to create Dota 2.
We don’t know much about Long War 2, but XCOM developer Firaxis said that it will release more information in the coming weeks.
XCOM 2 came out for PC in February in 2016, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions following in September. The console versions, however, do not have mod support, so Long War 2 is only slated for a PC release.
Mod support is a great way to keep a community interested in a game. Not only does it give players new content, but it can bring together fans who want to make their creations a part of their favorite games.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:53 AM PST
At the CES conference in Las Vegas today, Dell is introducing an impressive 8K Ultra HD 32-inch desktop monitor. The UltraSharp 32 will cost $4,999 when it becomes available on March 23.
I was stunned when I got a chance to look at the device during a press briefing in San Francisco last month. It’s as if Dell took four high-quality monitors, ripped off their bezels, and stuck them together seamlessly. While you might have to get up close to see all of the detail, or zoom in, you can theoretically be very productive, because you can have several things going on onscreen at once.
Other 8K monitors have previously hit the market, from the likes of LG, Samsung, and Sharp. But this one is from Dell, which has led the desktop monitor market going back to 2012, according to Statista.
This product might not sell in huge bulk, but now that Dell is making it, some types of people may want to buy it, and meanwhile competitors may look to innovate or come out with lower-priced alternatives.
The monitor shows 1.07 billion colors. And with an optional X-rite colorimeter, customers can adjust colors to get exactly what they want.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:49 AM PST
CloudCraze, an ecommerce startup that integrates into Salesforce’s cloud services, announced this morning that it landed $20 million in funding. The round was led by Insight Venture Partners. Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment arm of Salesforce, also joined.
The Chicago-based startup provides businesses with a tool to generate online revenue by connecting buyers and sellers on multiple channels. Customers include Coca-Cola, GE, and Kellogg's. One of CloudCraze’s main competitors, Demandware, was recently acquired by Salesforce for $2.8 billion. This, along with Salesforce’s new business division, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, is a clear indication of the CRM giant’s desire to establish its presence in the ecommerce market.
CloudCraze’s latest funding will be used to further product development, expand in the the U.S. and EMEA, and grow the team. Founded in 2009, the startup is currently being managed by CEO Chris Dalton.
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Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:45 AM PST
At the CES consumer technology show in Las Vegas today, Dell is pulling the covers off of its Canvas 27, a 27-inch anti-glare QHD display that hooks up to a Windows 10 PC. You can draw on it with a special stylus, navigate with touch gestures, and control things with a can-like contraption called a Totem.
If that description reminds you of the Surface Studio all-in-one computer that Microsoft recently introduced, well, that’s understandable. But whereas the Surface Studio is a fully functioning computer, the Canvas is ultimately an accessory, albeit one that will appeal to certain people, like artists and architects.
It’s also considerably cheaper. The Canvas will cost $1,799 when it becomes available on March 30, according to Dell. The Surface Studio goes for $3,000.
The product is three years in the making, so it’s not as if Dell rushed out its answer to the Surface Studio. If the circumstances had been different, perhaps the Canvas would have beaten the Studio to market. But the notable thing is that the world’s largest technology companies are now getting into a market that’s been dominated for years by smaller companies like Huion, Ugee, and Wacom.
The way Dell imagines it, people will use the Canvas at a slight angle on a flat horizontal surface, while in front of them will be a more traditional monitor — perhaps an all-in-one PC, or maybe just a standalone large display that’s connected to a powerful laptop right alongside the Canvas.
Unlike the Surface Studio, the Canvas can’t be tilted up to nearly any angle out of the box. After all, some people don’t want to look down all day while working. But Dell will come out with an optional articulating stand.
You’ll place the Totem on the Canvas, and it will stay there after your hand is removed. But unlike the Surface Studio’s Surface Dial companion, the Totem will not work if it’s resting on a desk or some other flat surface. Dell may well come out with Totems in different shapes and sizes in the future.
Interestingly, the Surface Dial will work on the Canvas. But then again, two Totems are included with the Canvas, while the Surface Dial and Surface Studio are sold separately.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:41 AM PST
Save a seat at your breakfast table for Nintendo on January 13 — you just might learn what games you’ll want to buy with your new Switch console.
Today, Nintendo’s official Twitter feed announced that the Japanese game maker will stream an episode of Treehouse Live, a series of marketing videos that show off products and interviews with developers and designers. This 6:30 a.m. Pacific broadcast will focus on games for the company’s new Switch hybrid home/portable console. While we know some of the system’s releases, like the highly anticipated The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo hasn’t gone in-depth with what games will come with the Switch when it launches in March.
The Switch is a significant bet for Nintendo, which saw its Wii U console tank shortly after its 2012 launch (it racked up just 13.36 million systems sold, far behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles). It’s an intriguing console, with a base it can plug into for play on the TV and a portable that enables for gaming on the go. As GamesBeat learned last month, it uses older Nvidia Maxwell chips, but Nintendo has never focused on cutting-edge tech in its consoles.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:15 AM PST
Paragon has a new champion.
Epic Games revealed a new hero today, Serath, for its multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). New characters can give current players a reason to stick around with a free-to-play game. Paragon is in an open beta (meaning anyone can download and play it) for PlayStation 4 and PC.
MOBAs are some of the most popular games out there, especially in the growing esports market. League of Legends and Dota 2 lead the field, but Paragon differs from them with a third-person camera. It also has a PlayStation 4 release, while League of Legends and Dota 2 are only playable on PC. Paragon also benefits from Epic Game’s Unreal Engine 4, which makes it graphically superior to its competition.
Still, Epic Games does not give out player numbers for Paragon, so we don’t know how it ranks compared with League of Legends or Dota 2. But it’s unlikely to be more popular.
Serath is a melee fighter that attacks with both holy and dark abilities. You can see her in action in the trailer above.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:00 AM PST
Advanced Micro Devices is taking a swing at Intel with its new Ryzen desktop processors, and it’s going after Nvidia with its new Radeon Instinct artificial intelligence processors. After playing catch-up for years, Sunnyvale, California-based AMD is back on the offensive.
Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, and Raja Koduri, senior vice president of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, hope that their efforts will reinvigorate competition in the computer industry. The Ryzen desktop computer chips, which use AMD’s Zen core designs, will debut in the first quarter. And the new Radeon Instinct machine intelligence chips will debut during the first half of 2017.
AMD says the Ryzen chips are 40 percent faster per clock cycle than the previous generation, and Su is confident that it will beat Intel’s fastest desktop processors on a variety of fronts. And she’s still confident that 2017 will bring great things for the company, and that “AMD is back.”
I sat down with Su and Koduri at an AMD event in Sonoma, California. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
VentureBeat: It looked to me like phasing the graphics strategy in here—you've taken care of graphics, and now you're taking care of AI. Is it a kind of one-bite-at-a-time strategy?
Lisa Su: We view graphics as very strategic over the next five to 10 years. When we started with the road map, it was, "Consumer graphics is very important. It's a core user base for us." That was Polaris this year. But, no question, our plan was always to compete across the entire graphics end-to-end space. The next phase is compute and making sure we have a very competitive hardware and software platform.
VB: Was that a resource allocation strategy?
Raja Koduri: We definitely have graphics as a focus, a continued focus, a lot of investment on that side. But on the compute side, we had to build up infrastructure. That enormous software stack I showed you, we've been working on that. To go to market we needed the right software stack. The timing is now. It all happened to coincide with having the MI25 and the Vega architecture. The pieces are falling together for us in 2017.
We have a lot of work to do in graphics still. We haven't taken care of it. We have a lot more opportunity, if you look at the size of the market and the dollars that are still there. We have a lot more to grow in graphics alone. Compute is exciting, though. It's great that we finally have a compelling software stack that goes along with our hardware.
VB: These look like great accomplishments, Zen and Vega. Do you know yet how good they're going to be for you, though, given the competitive picture? Does this possibly take us back to the days of Opteron, when AMD had a competitive advantage? Or do you have to wait and see where Intel and Nvidia will come in?
Su: Let me comment on Zen and Raja can comment on Vega. We know what the competitive market is like, very well. We believe, whether you're talking about desktop or servers, there are portions of the market that are not served well by the products that are there today. I absolutely believe we'll grow share. We'll see how much we grow as the products roll out. But we feel very good about where we are.
Koduri: We definitely know where we are right now, and the competitive trajectories. We always count on competition executing well. The great thing that you're seeing in the 2016 momentum, and also going into 2017, is that we're competing and fighting in every segment. We're not leaving any segment to the competition. That's how we think about 2017. We're going into every segment.
The excitement with Vega is that we're getting back into the high end of the graphics segment. In 2016 we didn't have any coverage there.
VB: It looks like you have a very competitive product in the same space as Nvidia. Do you think you're going to come to care as much about things like self-driving cars as Nvidia does today? Is that a little further down the road?
Koduri: Like I say, we definitely care about all applications of machine intelligence. Our approach is going to be different. We're not going to take Nvidia's approach. Our approach will be very focused on key customers and key enabling of those customers. The amazing thing, is that the technology we're building to scale for the data center, 90 percent of those same things are required for machine intelligence in the auto industry. There's some additional stuff in terms of qualifications, robustness of the hardware, some certifications and all that we'll have to do on top of that. But the base infrastructure is there.
We want to go into these markets in a very focused manner. AMD, in the past, had many great initiatives. One of the things Lisa keeps us grounded on is, how do we go and execute on a vertical, enable a customer, and then go on to the next one? Rather than going too broad and not having enough focus and enough resources to execute.
VB: We're probably a little ways away from design announcements? You showed some people with products, but they're not necessarily —
Koduri: On the cloud hyperscale on the compute side, you saw some of the — our current partners have announced their stuff. It's in their cycle that we announce. We have a lot of good engagement and momentum going on. We'll see some interesting announcements in 2017. But yes, we're just going public with our initiative. We've been doing a lot of background work and you'll see the momentum in 2017.
Su: You should expect that we'll have customer design announcements in 2017.
VB: Do you see the amount of investment that's gone into both sides, graphics and Zen, as basically the same? Are these equally ambitious projects as far as manpower?
Su: You're asking me which child I love better, and I'm sitting next to one of them. [laughs] For sure, we're committed to high performance road maps on both the CPU and the GPU side. I will say, incremental investment in graphics is higher right now. You look at the explosion in the graphics market. It almost has a rebirth going on, not only in terms of consumer but also professional, and now in the data center as well. The incremental investments in graphics around the software and the platform that Raja was talking about are critical for us.
VB: Was it the same years-long effort to get to this point for you guys? Was it coordinated, or did they just happen to appear at the same time, the CPU and GPU?
Koduri: To some extent the same core technology, processor technology, drives both CPU roadmap and GPU roadmap. It's not coincidental in that sense. A new CPU architecture and a new GPU architecture that leverages the CPU node come together in close proximity. I'd say that's more a factor than anything else. When there's a new technology node, all of us are excited, CPU guys and GPU guys. We all try to get something new.
Su: It's also fair to say that the data center focus has become a clear priority for us over the last couple of years. Having both the CPU and the GPU road map optimized for compute was very important.
Koduri: That's a huge thing, like I said on stage, that we're finding with customers, the amount of excitement between the server CPUs and our capabilities there paired up with GPUs. Our customers are telling us, more than us telling them, what the value is there. It's rare to see that level of excitement from our customers.
VB: Qualcomm had their announcement this week as well, with Snapdragon desktop and laptop SKUs at some point. It's another interesting avenue of competition.
Koduri: Right. Hardware is hot again.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 09:56 AM PST
Investments Totaling Nearly $400 Million in Leading Bio and Health Technology Companies Fuel Single Vision to Give Every Individual a Personalized Guide for Living Well
Investments Totaling Nearly $400 Million in Leading Bio and Health Technology Companies Fuel Single Vision to Give Every Individual a Personalized Guide for Living Well
SHENZHEN, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 5, 2017–
At the first Digital Life Summit, iCarbonX founder Jun Wang announced that seven companies have joined iCarbonX’s Digital Life Alliance and will collaborate to give people a deeper understanding of the medical, behavioral and environmental factors that can accelerate disease or optimize health. Wang also announced that the iCarbonX ecosystem has invested a total of nearly $400 million in the seven companies that form the alliance: SomaLogic, HealthTell, PatientsLikeMe, AOBiome, GALT, Imagu and Robustnique.
The Digital Life Alliance is an unprecedented ecosystem of the world’s leading bio, health networking, sequencing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology and application companies. The alliance’s ultimate aim is to merge comprehensive biological and patient-generated data with AI technology to instantly detect meaningful signals about health, disease and aging, and deliver a personalized guide for living a healthy life. “We can only reach this audacious goal if we successfully integrate traditionally separate fields of expertise into one collaborative ecosystem,” Wang said. “These alliance companies add to iCarbonX’s own deep expertise in AI and data analysis and mining, and provide the diverse but fundamental capabilities we need to quickly succeed.”
Wang added the ecosystem comes at a time when the technologies needed to measure biology, process data and connect people are ready to come together to produce a revolution in knowledge and personal insight that goes well beyond genetics.
“Today we know a great deal about how genes impact our health. But for that knowledge to be useful, we need to know how disease and aging manifest in the body over time, and how our everyday choices affect their progression,” said Wang. “This ecosystem will be capable of connecting the biology and experience of individuals, and of creating useful, predictive algorithms to illuminate personal susceptibilities, differences in body functions and variations in treatment responses. We’ll be able to offer a ‘Digital Me,’ a personal guide for living well, and give the healthcare industry a more efficient, precise and cost-effective system to develop and deliver treatments and care.”
Background about Digital Life Alliance Members
Initial Launch of Meum™ Platform
The Meum™ platform, initially launched in the Chinese market, rests on a robust database of meaningful health and life-related big data, including genetics, molecular profiles, phenotype and behavior data and other indexes, as well as time serial interactions. In the future the platform will be available globally to consumers and potential solution providers. It will also be open to scientific and medical researchers, giving them access to massive, multi-dimensional life data to ask-and answer-even the most difficult research questions.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 09:10 AM PST
The Internet Archive has launched an online repository designed to host all public comments made by Donald Trump in recent years, including speeches, debates, interviews, and news broadcasts.
The aptly titled Trump Archive is live now, and the searchable collection of videos already contains more than 700 broadcasts dating back to 2009.
“The project is a work in progress, with improvements planned for expanding collection and making searching more efficient,” explained Nancy Watzman, managing editor at the Internet Archive’s television archive arm.
The Internet Archive has been documenting the web's evolution since 1996, letting anyone revisit the Apple homepage on a specific day in the 1990s or VentureBeat in 2006 — simply by plugging their desired URL into the Wayback Machine.
The Trump-specific archive follows hot on the heels of a number of political initiatives from the San Francisco-based not-for-profit. Last January, it launched the Political TV Ad Archive to help journalists fact-check claims made during political campaigning.
And just as George W. Bush’s time in office was coming to an end in 2008, the End of Term Web Archive was introduced by the Internet Archive in collaboration with the Library of Congress, University of North Texas, George Washington University, Stanford University, and California Digital Library, among others. The goal? To preserve a permanent record of government-related communications during presidential transitions. As Barack Obama prepares to make way for Trump, the Internet Archive revealed last month that it aims to preserve 100 terabytes of government website data.
The outcome of the election has led to concerns about what a Trump administration will mean for technology companies in the U.S., with issues around surveillance and encryption a particular cause for concern. With that in mind, the Internet Archive recently revealed plans to build a replica database in Canada in response to these concerns.
Though the Trump Archive is expected to grow over time, it already hosts more than 520 hours of video related to Trump, including statements relating to immigration, health care, Trump’s tax returns, and Hillary Clinton — all fact-checked by FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post's Fact Checker.
The purpose of the archive is to help everyone, from journalists to Joe Public, research things Trump has said in the past and compare it to things he may be saying now. For what it’s worth.
The organization is also looking for help to boost the archive.
“While we’ve largely hand-curated this collection, we hope to collaborate with researchers to apply machine intelligence to expand this collection, building others and making search of our entire TV library vastly more efficient,” added Watzman.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 09:00 AM PST
Google is announcing today that its Google Calendar app for Android and iOS now lets users set goals to do different kinds of fitness activities for specific periods of time. From there, the app can slot in times when users can actually make good on those promises.
The app now contains a way to check on the progress of your fitness goals, too. It can even automatically mark individual workout events as completed if you integrate Google Calendar with Apple’s iOS Health app or the Google Fit app for Android.
And, in keeping with Google’s increasing focus on artificial intelligence (AI), the app is smart. Google product manager Florian Goerisch provides an example in a blog post:
Google first introduced Goals in Google Calendar last year. Like regular goals, goal-oriented fitness events can be viewed on the web but can only be created in the mobile apps, a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 08:01 AM PST
Coros Wearables is introducing its Linx Smart Cycling Helmet, which has an interesting new technology called “open-ear bone conduction.”
The helmet uses vibration through the bones on the side of your head to play music, conduct phone calls, and communicate with other bikers. The company announced the helmet at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
Coros uses bone conduction technology in lieu of ear buds to let bikers listen to audio while remaining fully aware of cars and their immediate surroundings.
Coros raised $319,765 from 2,135 backers via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
"Linx is a smart cycling helmet for people who want to enjoy key features of their phone while cycling, all without the hassles of ear buds, wires, and distractions," said Coros CEO Vincent Xiong, in a statement. "Our unique approach to precision audio is akin to today's must-haves in your car: seamless, wireless access to your personal music and calls without distraction so you can focus on the road."
The Linx smart cycling helmet uses bone conduction technology placed on the helmet straps, which rest on the rider's cheekbones. Bone conduction sends small vibrations directly to the inner ear and bypasses the ear canal and eardrum, leaving the ear completely open and aware of external noises, such as cars or conversations with fellow riders.
The Linx helmet also has a wind-resistant microphone near the forehead for two-way communications. In addition, Linx ships with a wireless smart remote so the rider can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the bars while controlling their media and calls with the tap of a button.
Setup is simple: Charge the helmet, and push “on” to activate it. You then pair the helmet with your smartphone, and that’s it. The helmet has a USB chargeable battery with more than 10 hours of play and talk time.
The Linx helmet offers a sleek, high-speed, low-drag, aerodynamic road cycling design that is well ventilated to stay cool on long rides. The all-weather helmet is resistant to rain, water, splashes, and sweat and is Consumer Product Safety Commission certified in the U.S.
The helmet ships this month for $200.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST
Smite is turning into a franchise.
Developer Hi-Rez Studio announced today during its Hi-Rez Expo in Atlanta that Smite Tactics has entered its closed beta. You can sign up for it here. Smite Tactics is a spin-off of Hi-Rez’s multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). While the MOBA focuses on teamwork, the new title is a tactical game that involves cards.
The closed beta is for PC, although Hi-Rez notes that it hopes to add a console closed beta in the coming months.
Hi-Rez doesn't release player numbers for Smite. League of Legends and Dota 2 are the MOBA kings, although Paragon stand out since it’s on a console and has a third-person camera. Hi-Rez also developed the team-based shooter Paladins.
“Smite Tactics is a turn-based, one-vs-one strategy game set in the same mythological universe as the hit multiplayer online battleground arena (MOBA), Smite,” Hi-Rez detailed in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Players build decks of cards that spawn units onto a fully rendered 3D battlefield. Every unit has unique abilities and can be moved tactically across the battleground. Card decks are themed from each of Smite’s mythological pantheons and led by a god from that respective pantheon. The goal of the game is simple: Defeat the opponent's leader.”
Hi-Rez is busy trying to expand Smite beyond the MOBA space. Along with Smite Tactics, the studio also announced another, more traditional digital card game, Smite Rivals, during the Hi-Rez Expo.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST
Hi-Rez Studios wants to smite the digital card game world.
The developer today announced Smite Rivals during its Hi-Rez Expo in Atlanta. Smite is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This spin-off takes the franchise to the digital card game space, a market worth $1.2 billion. It will be free-to-play for PC and mobile devices. You can sign up for the closed beta here. This is actually the second card-based spin-off for Smite, with Smite Tactics entering its closed beta today. Blizzard’s Hearthstone leads the digital card game market, but it is seeing new competition from The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Duelyst, Hex, and now Smite Rivals.
Hi-Rez doesn’t release player numbers for Smite, although its unlikely to be performing better than the MOBA kinks, League of Legends and Dota 2. Hi-Rez also developed the team-based shooter Paladins.
"With Smite Rivals, we want to create a game for our fans that is familiar, fast-paced, and engaging, but different from the MOBA experience we all know and love," said Brian Grayson, executive producer of Smite Rivals, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. "Not only will players collect and command an army of their favorite characters in a new and fun art style, but we're excited to share that in-game progression will be continuous across all platforms. If you play on PC, you can pick up wherever you left off on your mobile device, and vice versa."
Battles in Smite will take place in three lanes, just like in the MOBA. However, these fights will pit players against each other in one-on-one matches, who will use cards to deploy units on those lanes.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST
Smart Atoms debuted prototypes of its LaMetric Air home environment monitor today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
With sensors built into the triangle-shaped device, LaMetric Air monitors air quality, temperature, humidity, noise levels, and lighting in real time, displaying results and providing alerts if conditions are less than optimal.
"In contrast to display-less devices, which require you to open an app to know whether the conditions are comfortable, it provides the information in a natural way, in real time and at a glance," said LaMetric in a statement shared with VentureBeat.
Should CO2 reach abnormal levels or the air get too dry, LaMetric Air will offer solutions, such as airing out the room or decreasing the temperature.
LaMetric Air is the second product by LaMetric, following the LaMetric Time smart clock. The clock, which made its consumer debut in fall 2015, is able to deliver web analytics and email alerts, play music, and control smart home devices.
LaMetric Air will track and share data about environmental conditions over time through a smartphone app.
A release date for LaMetric Air has not yet been set.
Fueled by a successful crowdfunding campaign, LaMetric-maker Smart Atoms made its debut in 2014.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 07:25 AM PST
Google’s latest acquisition is Limes Audio, a 10-year-old Swedish company that sought to fix the terrible audio issues that arise during conference calls.
Google announced the news in a blog post today, and cited Hangouts and its enterprise counterpart, Chromebox for Meetings, as two products the Limes Audio tech may improve.
From the looks of it, Limes Audio is shutting down following the deal and hauling its software to Mountain View, California. A note from the founders suggests the team may “continue collaborating within the community” going forward, “working together towards a better audio experience for everyone.”
We’re reached out to Google for more details.
More to follow.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 06:56 AM PST
Twitter has signed a deal to broadcast more than 70 hours of live PGA Tour golf coverage from across 31 tournaments in the remaining 2016-2017 season.
You may remember that back in August PGA Tour tested a global livestream of the FedexCup Playoffs on both Twitter and Facebook. Well, Twitter is now taking things to the next level by becoming the “exclusive global platform” to broadcast coverage of some games.
Though it’s available free to anyone, whether they’re signed into Twitter or not, the deal does come with some major limitations in place. Coverage will generally include up to 90 minutes of the early Thursday and Friday morning hours from PGA Tour Live’s over-the-top (OTT) subscription window. For the uninitiated, PGA Tour Live is the PGA Tour’s subscription service where fans can pay $6 per month or $40 for the year to access full coverage of play. On Twitter, however, users will be able to access pre-game analysis, interviews, and “live competition from the first two holes of each day’s PGA Tour Live Marquee Groups,” according to the press release. So it’s likely the free Twitter streams will be used to encourage golf fans to sign up for a subscription.
Twitter and the PGA Tour have long partnered to provide highlights coverage through Twitter’s Amplify advertising program, and this is something that will be extended in light of this new partnership.
The PGA Tour tie-up represents the latest in a line of livestreaming initiatives from Twitter, as it looks to gain mindshare as a media company. Last April, the company revealed it was effectively becoming a global TV network after it won the online rights to stream Thursday night NFL games in full. It later partnered with Disney to broadcast live footage around the launch of the new Star Wars movie, and it also partnered with BuzzFeed for a U.S. presidential election livestream. So, it perhaps makes sense that Twitter would launch its own dedicated live video app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One.
Twitter will begin livestreaming at the CareerBuilder Challenge on January 19 and will conclude at the season-ending TOUR Championship.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 06:53 AM PST
ChargePoint is launching its ChargePoint Express Plus platform for charging electric cars, promising to make charging as much as eight times faster. The company says it will be able to add hundreds of miles of range with just 10 to 15 minutes of charging.
Campbell, Calif.-based ChargePoint made the announcement at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
The DC-charging ChargePoint Express Plus can charge today's electric vehicles, such as Chevy Bolt EV, at their maximum rate. And it will also charge upcoming electric vehicles (EVs), such as the Tesla Model 3, as quickly as possible.
The company said it is also ready to deliver maximum charging speed to EVs that haven't been announced yet, as well as electric buses and service trucks. A modular platform designed for businesses and charging centers along major roadways or transit depots, Express Plus can deliver up to 400 kilowatts (kW) to an EV.
This kind of progress is necessary if electric travel is to live up to its promise of transforming how we get around. EVs are expected to reach 35 percent of global new car sales by 2040.
"Express Plus is a platform built to support our vision for the future of DC fast charging: simple, ultra-fast, scalable and incredibly efficient charging that's conveniently located where drivers need it for long trips," said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, in a statement. "Express Plus charging centers can start small and grow as needed by adding charging capacity without infrastructure upgrades. Together with our commercial and residential charging solutions, Express Plus completes the fueling network that will make fully electric transit a reality."
Express Plus builds on the existing network of more than 31,000 ChargePoint charging spots to support the next generation of EVs.
Along with the Express Plus platform, ChargePoint announced ChargePoint Express 250, a standalone DC fast-charging station capable of adding 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. Express Plus will be available in July 2017.
So far, ChargePoint drivers have completed more than 20.4 million charging sessions, saving upwards of 19.8 million gallons of gasoline and driving over 475 million gas-free miles.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 06:16 AM PST
The Apple App Store saw a record day for revenues on January 1, with customers racking up almost $240 million in sales.
December was also a bumper month, with $3 billion in sales, according to a press release. Super Mario Run alone notched up 40 million downloads in the four days following its release and went on to become the most downloaded app on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The holiday period is always a busy time for app stores, given that this is when many people are likely to be playing games and downloading apps on new devices they’ve procured. And people generally have a lot more leisure time at their disposal.
But these are notable figures for Apple, as they represent a sizable increase over last year. While New Year’s Day 2016 was previously the biggest day in the App Store’s history, it only resulted in $144 million in sales — almost $100 million less than this year.
Elsewhere, Apple says that in 2016 developers earned more than $20 billion, an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015. Apple has paid out $60 billion since the App Store’s inception in 2008. Last year’s figures reveal that developers had earned $40 million since 2008, which means that the App Store generated a staggering $20 billion in revenue for developers in 2016. That’s a third of the total amount the App Store has generated for developers since it opened.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 06:01 AM PST
Pico Technology unveiled a completely untethered virtual reality headset, the Pico Neo CV.
Untethered VR is expected to be the wave of the future, as VR growth has been stunted by PC-based VR systems that come with wires you can get tangled up in. But it’s a big design feat to pack a lot of functionality into a battery-powered, stand-alone VR headset.
China-based Pico Technology said its all-in-one, fully untethered, lightweight headset is designed to immerse users right out of the box. The company hopes to launch the headset in 2017. It will also launch its Pico Tracking Kit and the previously revealed business-oriented VR headset, the Pico Neo DK. Pico made the announcements at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
The company said the Pico Neo CV brings users fast performance with high picture quality and clear resolution. The device uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor (released in 2015), as well as the Qualcomm Snapdragon VR software development kit. That gives the Pico Neo CV six degrees of freedom. It has two 1.5K displays at 90 hertz, and built-in Hi-Fi speakers with a spatial rendering engine.
"Our talented Pico Technology team designed the Pico Neo CV with a consumer-first approach so that users can simply put it on and go without being tied to a computer, console, or mobile phone," said Paul Viglienzone, vice president of business development at Pico Technology, in a statement.
Competitors such as Intel and Facebook’s Oculus are also working on untethered headsets. Rival headsets are likely to use a more advanced Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 835.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 06:00 AM PST
Advanced Micro Devices has unveiled the first details of its next-generation graphics processing unit (GPU) architecture, dubbed Vega, that will serve as the heart of the PC 3D graphics chips that AMD introduces in the next year or two.
The first chips based on the Vega architecture are expected to debut in the first half of 2017. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company believes Vega-based chips will compete with the very best chips that Nvidia has to offer, both with 3D graphics chips for gaming PCs and with Radeon Instinct artificial intelligence chips for servers. With Vega, AMD promises that gamers will be able to play in “rich, lavish virtual worlds.”
AMD’s rival Nvidia launched its new graphics architecture, dubbed Pascal, during 2016, while AMD introduced cards based on its low-end and mid-range graphics architecture, dubbed Polaris. But Polaris-based graphics chips weren’t competitive at the high end. The Vega architecture GPUs will enable a whole new range of Radeon brand graphics cards.
“We definitely know where we are right now, and the competitive trajectories,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president of the Radeon Technologies Group, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We always count on competition executing well. The great thing that you're seeing in the 2016 momentum, and also going into 2017, is that we're competing and fighting in every segment. We're not leaving any segment to the competition. That's how we think about 2017. We're going into every segment.”
He added, “The excitement with Vega is that we're getting back into the high end of the graphics segment. In 2016 we didn't have any coverage there.”
AMD showed one Vega card at its New Horizon event in December, showing it could run Star Wars Battlefront at 4K and more than 60 frames per second. And in a demo at an event in Sonoma, Calif., AMD showed Vega-based hardware running the first-person shooter Doom in 4K at 70 frames per second with 100-times gains in energy efficiency.
“Vegas is a GPU architecture for the immersive and instinctive computing era,” Koduri said.
Vega comes with a number of architectural advances. They include a new geometry pipeline, a new compute unit, high bandwidth cache memory, and an advanced pixel engine.
AMD made all of these changes to create GPUs that can scale with an enormous increase in data. Whether game art or other data, data is growing exponentially in modern applications, particularly in apps such as image recognition and visual computing. Meanwhile, growth in processing power has outstripped growth in memory capacity.
That’s why AMD added a high-bandwidth memory cache, or secondary memory that is on the GPU itself. That cache has double the bandwidth per pin in the chip. It also has eight times capacity per stack. The high-bandwidth memory will be half the size of the space required by the current GDDR5 memory. The chip also has a high-bandwidth cache controller that creates a virtual address space of 512 terabytes, far more than in current computers.
Meanwhile, the geometry pipeline has more than two times the peak throughput for clock for geometry calculations. The new compute unit is optimized for higher clock speeds and higher PC performance, hitting 512 8-bit operations per clock, or 256 16-bit operations per clock, or 128 32-bit operations per clock. And the new pixel engine also adds performance to the overall chip, partly by drawing only the pixels that are visible on the screen.
“It’s a really exciting time at AMD when you can see this kind of graphics processing power,” said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD. “It’s exponential growth. The challenge is huge. Moore’s Law may be slowing. But we’re going to solve the problem of how you bring more performance in different ways.”
With Vega, AMD brought the cache and memory closer to the processing elements on Vega. That brings more performance with less power.
“There’s more complexity, and it’s changing the way you have to put silicon and software solutions together,” Papermaster said.
AMD has also been moving forward on software. It has invested heavily in Vulkan, its applications programming interface (API) for GPUs. It enables developers to create games that are optimized for close-to-the-metal coding on the PC.
“Having a good graphics architecture is about a third of the battle in GPUs, but a vital one,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email. “I believe Vega is a huge step forward for Radeon as it gives AMD a shot at the highest end graphics market which they haven’t seen for a while. AMD still has to show competitive cards in volume and make a profit doing it, but this is their best chance in five years.”
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:36 AM PST
Former camera giant Kodak is setting out to create what it calls “the photography ecosystem of the future,” with the global launch of a new on-demand photography service that connects photographers with brands.
The Kodakit service launched in Singapore last March, but at CES in Las Vegas this week, Kodak announced that Kodakit is now available in 37 countries, covering major conurbations like New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, and Delhi.
In its simplest form, Kodakit is a marketplace that helps companies find pre-vetted photographers for shoots and helps photographers “connect” with brands, while removing many of the common pain points, such as marketing, booking, pricing, invoicing, and more. Individuals can also use it to secure the services of a photographer to cover a family event or a party. It’s basically an all-in-one platform that manages every stage of the process, and it includes delivery of the images through a private cloud service.
Kodak has come a long way since its foundation in 1888. Once one of the biggest brands in photography, the company suffered as digital photography and smartphones entered the fold in the late 20th century, and Kodak revealed back in 2012 that it had filed for bankruptcy and was exiting the camera business entirely. It emerged from bankruptcy a year later as a technology company with a particular focus on the business realm, though it does offer some consumer products, including an Android smartphone targeted at digital photography enthusiasts.
There are already plenty of marketplaces connecting companies with photographers, including 500px and Snapwire, but it will be interesting to see whether Kodak can leverage its brand and succeed with a comprehensive platform that manages the entire search and transaction process between creatives and brands.
“Kodakit has boiled down a complicated process into a user-friendly platform that addresses a huge and growing need in the market," explained Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke. "Kodak Founder George Eastman once said, 'You press the button, we do the rest’. For photographers and companies, Kodakit operates on this same principle. Building upon our longstanding legacy as one of the most trusted names in film and photography, Kodakit will revolutionize how photographers and businesses work together, creating the photography ecosystem of the future.”
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:01 AM PST
The company showed the Maximus prototype for AR glasses with a 55-degree field of view at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
Rehovot, Israel-based Lumus makes the optical engine that empowers AR solutions. AR is expected to become a $90 billion market by 2020, according to tech advisor Digi-Capital. Market researcher IDC predicts that 30 percent of Global 2000 companies will begin incorporating AR and virtual reality (VR) into their marketing programs in 2017.
Founded in 2000, Lumus is on a mission to create optics that transform the way people interact with their reality. The company is working on optical technology for see-through wearable displays and serves multiple AR vertical markets, including health care, manufacturing logistics, avionics, and, more recently, consumer products. The Lumus solution is based on its patented Light-guide Optical Element (LOE) waveguide, which combines the smallest dimension eyewear for any given field of view.
Lumus technology enables the production of wearable eyeglass displays that are compact, comfortable, and fashionable. The Lumus near-to-eye transparent display technology consists of a unique lens that contains an array of ultra-thin transparent reflectors — the patented Light-Guide Optical Element — and a mini-projector that injects an image into the lens, also patented. These two elements are combined to create a wide field of view, true color, daylight brightness, and a see-through display.
The Maximus prototype features a top-down design, allowing users to wear their own prescription glasses. Lumus also showed its Sleek prototype, which focuses more on style, compactness, and mobility.
"Lumus is determined to deliver on the promise of the consumer AR market by offering a range of optical displays to several key segments," Lumus CEO Ben Weinberger said in a statement. "From our unique vantage point as the key enabler of augmented reality eyewear, we foresee the consumer AR market arriving sooner than expected, with some of our customers planning to introduce consumer prototypes during the coming year."
Lumus has targeted its products at health care, military aviation, and logistics, among others. The company has 70 employees.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:00 AM PST
Ambarella has carved out a niche in video compression and image processing chips, generating $100 million a quarter in revenue. And today, the company is launching three new chips that will bring next-generation imaging features to cars, drones, virtual reality, and sports cameras.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Ambarella showed off the three new chips at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. Ambarella’s chips are already used in a lot of high-end drones from companies such as DJI and Yuneec, and the company has also supplied a lot of chips to makers of action cameras, like GoPro, as well as home security cameras.
“We’ve captured high-market share in the drone business, or, as we call them, flying cameras,” said Chris Day, vice president of marketing and business development at Ambarella, in an interview with VentureBeat. “Now we’re moving into our first electronic mirror application.”
The first chip being introduced today is the A9AQ, which can be used in electronic mirrors in cars. The chip is a camera system-on-chip (SoC) that can process 4K images from multiple still cameras or video recording systems. The A9AQ features an 800-megahertz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 central processing unit (CPU) to handle imaging tasks in modern cars, from advanced driver assistance to user interface and wireless networking. The chip comes with a companion Serdes chip for high-performance video camera applications.
The single chip works with camera side-view and rear-view electronic mirrors, which show you a video of what’s behind your car as you back up. It has multi-exposure high-dynamic range (HDR) processing to provide visibility in low-light and high-contrast scenes. That means you may be able to see even if someone is shining LED headlights in your mirror. The mirrors are increasingly common in cars that assist drivers with tasks such as parking.
“It can take multiple video inputs to provide the output you need,” Day said.
Ambarella also showed its 8K UltraHD chip for virtual reality and drone cameras. The Ambarella H3 SoC delivers 8K UltraHD at 30 frames per second and 4K UltraHD at 120 frames per second. That’s going to lead to drones and VR equipment that will be able to take phenomenal-quality pictures and videos. For VR, the chips could be the heart of 360-degree VR cameras. And 8K videos played on 8K displays will eventually provide us with remarkably good video experiences, as pixels at this resolution are indistinguishable to the human eye.
"With the introduction of H3 we believe we provide the highest video performance and best image quality solution for high-end drones and multi-sensor video cameras," said Fermi Wang, president and CEO of Ambarella, in a statement. "H3 delivers 8Kp30 video performance to match the next generation of displays, such as 8K televisions and high-resolution head-mounted displays."
The chip’s 10-bit HEVC HDR video processing handles scenes with high contrast and wide color range. It also features Ambarella's advanced Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), capable of generating a smooth 4Kp60 video output under challenging conditions, including during high winds and with extreme degrees of rotation. The chip integrates a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU with floating point, and Neon provides significant processing power for customer applications, including computer vision, wireless networking, and multi-sensor stitching algorithms. The chip can support wide-angle panoramic and fish-eye lens designs.
Ambarella also introduced a new chip for next-generation drones and sports cameras. The H22 SoC targets a new generation of 4K drones and sports cameras with leading-edge video features. It is capable of encoding 4K Ultra HD video at 60 frames per second using the H.265 (HEVC) or H.264 (AVC) video formats, and it supports advanced Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) up to 4K resolution. The onboard 1.2 GHz Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU provides significant processing power for customer applications, including camera flight control, advanced analytics, video stitching, and wireless networking.
Since the chip is made in a 14-nanometer process technology, it has very low power consumption, enabling 4K cameras with small sizes and extended battery life.
The device's 4K EIS can augment or potentially eliminate the need for a mechanical gimbal in a drone. The ability to encode at high frame rates, including 4Kp60 and 1080p120, delivers smooth slow motion, high-definition video, even during fast action shots.
Day said the products in the space are advancing remarkably fast. Snapchat introduced its augmented-reality glasses, dubbed Snapchat Spectacles, which use Ambarella’s imaging chips. Ambarella’s chips are also used in dashboard cameras that are used to record video and provide proof of what really happened in case of a crash. The company has 660 employees.
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:30 AM PST
Data mining has been a great way to get insights into our conscious decisions. But Dotin figured out that 95 percent of human decisions are made by the unconscious mind, and so the startup has developed a way to draw insights from those decisions.
Ganesh Iyer, founder of Dotin, said in an email that the company has developed an artificial intelligence engine that can tap into the subconscious mind of humans and gain powerful business insights. The company is demoing the technology at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company competes with the likes of IBM Watson, but Watson focuses more on people’s conscious behavior. Iyer said his company can capture the equivalent of a digital personality fingerprint with its Digital Personality Signature Software.
The business-to-business AI engine captures your social data, such as your Facebook page data, and 10 images that you provide it. From that data, the software looks for patterns within the images that reflect the user’s subconscious mind. The company said that data like this can be used to generate sales leads, do target marketing, and help with employee hiring decisions.
Of course, there is the issue of user privacy. Iyer said, “We leverage the public information of users that they already have in the open. Also, as our analysis is agnostic of objects, it helps HR to not worry about any color or person discrimination. Moreover, this will be a part of the decision-making — but not the only one to make a decision.”
The company asks users to take a personality assessment. The software extracts positive personality attributes, negative personality attributes, compatibility personality matches, Hollands Occupational Insights, Gardner’s multiple intelligence and learning style, employment affinity, employment non-affinity, colors affinity, product-buying affinity, product-buying non-affinity, and buying preferences.
Iyer said four pilot customers are using this software to solve a couple of different pain points. One of the potential customers is San Jose State University.
"I find it very close to me.. I was really amazed!" said Jean-Yves Leonnec, chief architect at Orange, in a statement regarding the personality assessment.
Iyer shared his own personality assessment. The ultimate goal isn’t to invade everyone’s privacy; it’s about “accelerating the personalization of every device around us.”
I took the test and found the results mildly interesting. I don’t think they were particularly accurate or inaccurate, as the descriptions were somewhat vague. I am very curious about the technology, though.
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