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Taiwan’s TTA Takes Record 82 Startups To CES 2020

For the third year in a row, Taiwan had a significant presence at one of the biggest electronics trade fairs in the world, CES 2020. Leading a delegation of 82 startups presenting in Las Vegas, Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) said it was their largest delegation ever, winning over US$226 million in business opportunities.

Speaking to EE Times Europe at CES, Dr. Yu-Chin Hsu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, commented, “Taiwan has played an important role in the global high-tech ecosystem in the past 30 years. We have 82 startup teams covering three areas: artificial intelligence (AI), smart technologies, and also in healthcare.” Dr. Hsu emphasized the need for Taiwan and its startups to be connected to the global tech ecosystem in all key markets and applications, which is why presence at a major trade fair like CES is important. “We see that in the future in the AI age, there will be a lot of our startups that become important.”

In addition to promoting its leading startups overseas and connecting them to the global tech ecosystem, Taiwan’s government also works hard to ensure strong collaboration between academia and industry, especially since a lot of leading-edge research is carried out at Taiwan’s research institutes. At CES, we spoke to Dr. Chiou Chyou-Huey, Director General, Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology, who commented, “The Ministry of Science and Technology of government highly encourages industry and academia collaboration. We do so by providing incentives, mentors, mature business models and business plans support.”

He added, “We also provide [academics with] some budget for them to take their scientific research to more mature products or services. Taiwan Tech Arena is a good hub to connect to the international market or international resources. Taiwan is very competitive in terms of talent and technology. That’s the reason why we bring a large delegation to attend CES.

A key focus of the TTA delegation was AI, smart technologies and healthcare. TTA supports startups by providing funding and a platform to grow their businesses. This year it gave the opportunity for startups in the healthcare industry to highlight how AI will improve the quality of lives. The startups which presented at CES 2020 are trying to disrupt current markets and push the boundaries of innovation.

Here we highlight some of the companies that we spoke to on the TTA booth at CES 2020, both in healthcare as well as AI and smart technologies in general.

Hipposcreen Neurotech: objective depression diagnosis

Hipposcreen Neurotech has developed a depression diagnosis system to provide an objective indicator of mental health of a patient, using a system it has developed for brain health assessment. The system combines an electroencephalogram (EEG) recording system and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to provide doctors with a way of rapidly measuring key indicators to identify the mental health of a patient. Using eight EEG electrodes to capture brain waves as input signals to an EEG amplifier, it uses an AI algorithm in the cloud to perform feature extraction and data analysis. Doctors can then view the data and assessment via a web portal within around two minutes.

At CES, the company told us, “We built this system to help doctors to carry out depression diagnosis, to save time and the doctor can also use this report to explain to the patient more easily and provide more accurate assessment results.” Its stress EEG assessment (SEA) system addresses a growing prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) and is expected to be used as an indicator of the level of MDD. The SEA system can achieve accuracy of higher than 80% on the EEG datasets collected as a result of collaboration between the department of psychiatry at National Taiwan University Hospital and Harvard Medical School (McLean Hospital).

Enosim Bio-Tech: an electronic “nose” detects disease

Enosim Bio-Tech has developed a real-time monitoring, breath detection and analysis system to identify ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The core technology is a low power consumption nose-on-a-chip with software, integrated sensors, interface circuits, processors and memory. The breath analysis system uses data from a patient’s breath using the electronic nose to determine known diseases within its dataset. It overcomes environmental interference using a neuromorphic recognition algorithm.

Compared with traditional gas sensing, the e-nose does not use a single sensor, but instead uses multiple sensors to classify a gas. These sensors are combined into an array for odor recognition, and each of the different combinations represents a different odor. Compared with traditional gas analysis instruments, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, the e-nose system is easier to operate and to miniaturize.

The company said, “We are developing new technology to provide fast screening of diseases, by using your breath. If you have cancer or cancer cells, you have bacteria and these have multiple metabolisms, and there will be components existing in your breath. We are trying to detect these molecules.” The development of e-nose still poses many challenges in commercialization, including size and cost. Enosim’s electronic nose technology has been in development for over ten years and is looking to break through the technology bottlenecks.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia refers to a bacterial lung infection in intensive care units (ICU), where patients have been treated with a respirator for more than 48 hours. VAP is the most common nosocomial infection in ICU, and the rate of infection is about 7 to 14%. The mortality rate can reach from 35 to 90%. In ICU, there is an unmet medical need for rapid VAP identification.

RelaJet Tech: allowing people to hear in noisy environments

RelaJet Tech has developed the R1898 DSP, a complete solution for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. The company said it has an AI acoustic fingerprinting engine which carries out edge processing on hearing aids. It said it can extract human voice characteristics within 10 milliseconds and amplify them so that people with hearing difficulties are still able to hear individual people talk in noisy environments. “Our focus of the company is to provide hearing aid solutions. Our key technology is what we call speech separation. We can separate the human voice from environmental noise within a millisecond using our DSP,” said a company spokesperson.

Through just 3-5 seconds of a recording, Relajet said it can label a specific voice, divide it and enhance it in real-time. It can also cancel certain sounds or noises and remove them in real-time. Finally, it can covert 2D sound into 3D – it does so by analyzing sound and environment, and then simulating 3D surround with its engine so that the user can ‘hear the space.’

Taiwan User-Friendly Sensor & Technology: food allergy detection

Existing point of care devices for food allergy detection can only detect gluten over 20 ppm, and hence lack the ability to quantify smaller concentrations. Taiwan User-Friendly Sensor & Technology has developed a point-of-care device based on connected electrochemical sensors, which can quantify targets below 10ppm for multiple proteins simultaneously. With its rapid extraction techniques, the device can readout data in less than two minutes, and costs just a few dollars per test, compared to the thousands of dollars and a few hours to carry out the gold standard ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) tests for food allergy detection.

The company’s co-founder and CTO, Dr. Hsing-Yi Lin said, “Our company is providing a food allergy detection device, which provides very quick detection of allergy. Currently in the lab, detection time takes four hours, but using our technology we can quickly detect allergies within two minutes.”

The company’s device consists of a handheld product which can extract allergens from food, and an electronic keychain reader for sensing allergens, connecting wirelessly to a smartphone to communicate the results.

SWR Technology: wireless power for 5G devices

SWR Technology delivers 65W of wireless power through windows, enabling faster deployment of 5G connected smart devices within homes and buildings in the AIoT world.

In one application, its system solution with RF IC provider MaxLinear can deliver more than 1Gbps symmetrical data rate and up to 35W wireless power through triple-silver-coated low-emissivity (low-e) glass windows up to 35mm thick. The design allows 5G fixed wireless broadband (FWB) service providers to deploy gigabit broadband speeds using mmWave spectrum.  With the solution, consumers can self-install small indoor/outdoor devices in the corner of a window, without drilling holes, without running new cables, and without needing a professional installation. The small, low-profile form factor enables aesthetically pleasing designs that will not obstruct views through the window. SWR Technology’s wireless power module uses a proprietary high tolerance resonance transfer technology to transmit 20 Watts of power through standard or triple-silver-coated low-e glass up to 35mm thick.

Shengming Shan, CEO of SWR Technology CEO, told us, “SWR Technology is a mid-distance wireless power technology company. At CES, we are looking to find a lot of great partners that could enlarge and change people’s expectations and user experience with wireless power.”

Mindtronic AI: embedded systems for automotive cockpit DMS

Mindtronic AI is an AI startup with a focus on human machine interaction, designing ultra-light embedded computer vision algorithms serving a wide range of applications. At CES, the company demonstrated its expertise in automotive AI solutions with its cockpit driver monitoring system (DMS) and interaction platform, the DMX.  This utilizes high quality biometric technology for a luxury user interface, plus a DMS to assess a driver’s cognition and connect this to the vehicle’s ADAS systems.

The company offers a standalone DMS module board for direct integration with a vehicle’s dashboard system, as well as a software SDK for integrating into any embedded hardware system. Mindtronic AI’s solution is already validated in a vehicle use case. Its’ adaptive algorithm guarantees high-quality image acquisition in adverse lighting conditions, and the algorithms work in concert with the adaptive NIR array and allow the DMS to deliver constant, noise resistant, quality output to the car system. The acquisition speed and quality are enabled by a high performance ultra-lightweight deep learning framework design for low power embedded systems.

Lixel: 3D images without special headsets

Addressing the opportunities for presenting 3D visual images without the need for any special glasses or headsets, Lixel has developed a technology called 3D floating image with interaction. This is based on a light field and Lixel’s patent-designed flat display which can be viewed with the naked eye and features oblique viewing and interaction.

It is based on the founders’ collective expertise in light field technology, and aims to make images more natural, intelligent and responsive than before. Its technology and product can be integrated into products to provide more natural vision and intuitive interaction experiences.

Potential uses include virtual assistants and communication, infotainment applications within cars (floating buttons to enhance safety and navigation), gaming and entertainment, online advertisement, online shopping. Lixel’s technology can be used in everything from general displays to consumer electronics and professional displays, such as in laptops, smartphones, and games consoles.

A spokesperson for Lixel told EE Times, “We develop new technologies beyond 2D: vision and touch technology. We bring the 3D floating image into action. The main purpose to come to CES is to introduce our 3D technology to the world. Because CES is a very important show in entire world. This year we will push ourselves to develop and release our product. We are still developing this market, and of course we will work very closely with our partners to develop new applications.”

Nestech: smart access control systems

Nestech combines edge computing and AI to develop smart access control systems. At CES, the company was showing its smart building control system and ACM smart hazard detection system to enable both management and safety for the hospitality and property management industries. Nestech provides complete turnkey solutions for various industries, ranging from intelligent city, hotel automation, smart home, intelligent office and other potential uses of smart connected devices. It specializes in system integration for internet of things (IoT) device and system development, as well as artificial intelligence IoT (AIoT) systems.

Future of Technology in Racing: A Formula 1 Driver’s Perspective

By Nitin Dahad

LAS VEGAS — As my colleagues have written from CES 2020, automotive technology has somewhat dominated the conference here in Las Vegas. While there’s no doubt that advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) have come a long way and there are still roadmaps to go even further to improve driving experiences and safety, the question in my mind is: How far do we go with fully autonomous vehicles?

Even in the age of digital native youngsters, the camp is divided. On the one hand, there are 20-something-year-olds who stick to their belief that they will never need to drive cars, as everything will be autonomous, and in the age of Uber and Lyft, why would they ever need to drive a car? And then there are still driving enthusiasts.

We managed to catch up at CES with someone from the latter camp, 20-year-old Formula 1 driver for McLaren, Lando Norris, a strong driving enthusiast right from his early school years. Clearly, technology is an important part of the engineering of modern racing cars, almost to the same levels of advanced electronics and communications systems as in modern commercial aircraft.

Lando Norris explained how technology, and particularly live real-time data on all aspects of his drive, is a vital part of modern racing. As a top-tier racing driver, everything evolves around the technology.

He told EE Times, “One of the biggest things that helps me to drive is to be able to compare data. So we have live data while driving on track, which is relaying back to the engineers and the whole team, which they can then relay back to me, telling me where I need to go better and when I’m not doing good enough.” As a result, this helps him to improve constantly.

And in a race environment, one of the most useful parts of his technology arsenal is the radio — where he can talk constantly to the team to change things on the fly as he drives.

We asked his thoughts on what might be next for motor sports and technology. He said, “It’s going to advance a lot.” He jokingly added, “I don’t want it to advance too much that it puts me out of a job.

“Things will advance, but you don’t want to be changing what Formula 1 is. It still has the characteristic of someone, a human being, driving around a racing car as fast as they can. You don’t want anything to be too automated. Everything will improve, efficiencies will improve, data will improve, but I still want to be able to drive a racing car, in control of brake, throttle, steering, sliding the car around and having fun. In every aspect, it’s going to get better and move forward, but Formula 1 and my passion is driving a car as fast as I can.”

To me, that says a lot. There are some people that like driving, like Lando Norris. And there are others who can’t wait for fully autonomous vehicles, whenever that might arrive.

But it also leads to the question about what we automate and how far we can go, as well as the limitations of technology. In motor racing, you can have all the driver assistance you want. But the human can still control the destiny and the difference between winning and losing.

Last year, I had visited Oulu in Finland, and part of my program involved looking in on a global drone-racing competition. It had all the razzamatazz of Formula 1, with drones whizzing around the stadium at breakneck speeds and crashing into each other and into the side netting. But they were still being controlled by human “drivers” from the sidelines.

Maybe they could have gone fully autonomous with sensors to ensure that they don’t crash into other drones or the sides. But the problem at those speeds is likely that the response times in the electronics and sensors are not fast enough.

And in the world of motor racing, while Lando Norrris clearly has a passion for driving really fast, it may still be some time before the huge amounts of processing and the sensor-actuator response times are fast enough to cope with reacting at speeds of over 200 mph.

AMD Targets Top End Content and Gaming With New Mobile and Desktop Processors

By Nitin Dahad

LAS VEGAS — AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, was ebullient at CES 2020 as she announced what she said was the world’s highest-performance desktop processor and ultrathin laptop processors. The latest mobile processor family, the AMD Ryzen 4000 series, features 59% higher performance than its previous generation, and its desktop processor, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, is the first using 64 cores.

The new AMD Ryzen 4000 Series is the first x86 eight-core ultrathin laptop mobile processor family, built on the Zen 2 core architecture with 7-nm process technology and optimized high-performance Radeon graphics in a system-on-chip (SoC) design. As the third generation of AMD Ryzen mobile processors, it provides significant performance improvements, design enhancements, and power efficiency for ultrathin and gaming laptops. AMD also announced the AMD Athlon 3000 Series mobile processor family powered by its Zen architecture, enabling modern computing experiences with real performance for a wider range of laptop users.

Consumers will be able to purchase the first AMD Ryzen 4000 Series- and Athlon 3000 Series-powered laptops from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others starting in Q1 2020, with more systems expected to launch throughout 2020 with global OEM partners.

For high-end desktops, AMD also announced the 64-core, 128-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, which will be available globally from Feb. 7, 2020. Purpose-built to enable extreme performance for 3D, visual effects, and video professionals, the 3990X delivers up to 51% fast

AMD Ryzen

er rendering performance than the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X processor.

Su emphasized that gamers and creators helped AMD push the envelope for more performance in both laptops and desktops, as they always want more out of their system. In that respect, she said that 2020 was going to be an even bigger year in terms of being able to deliver the best to gamers and creators. “We are introducing the best laptop processor ever built. This is disruptive performance, since we wanted to be above the historical curve in terms of performance improvement.”

She added that the new Ryzen 4000 series was twice as power-efficient compared to their previous generation as a result of the gains from the 7-nm process as well as design and architecture work.

Featuring up to eight cores and 16 threads, the AMD Ryzen 4000 U-Series mobile processors provide “incredible” responsiveness and portability, delivering disruptive performance for ultrathin laptops with a configurable 15-W thermal design power (TDP). Additionally, AMD said th

at with more than 90 million laptop gamers and creators, the AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series mobile processors will set the new standard for gaming and content creation with innovative, thin, and light laptops with a configurable 45-W TDP.

The new AMD Ryzen 7 4800U offers up to 4% greater single-thread performance and up to 90% faster multi-threaded performance than the competition, plus up to 18% faster graphics performance (benchmarked against an Intel Ice Lake processor). The H version, AMD Ryzen 7 480

0H, provides up to 5% greater single-threaded and up to 46% greater multi-threaded performance than the competition, plus up to 25% faster 4K video encoding using Adobe Premier than the competition (again compared against an Intel Ice Lake processor).

Offloading the processor for even better performance
In addition, AMD detailed its SmartShift technology, which allows users to harness Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, Radeon graphics, and its latest AMD Radeon software Adrenalin 2020 edition, to advance computing experiences by efficiently optimizing performance as needed and taking gaming experiences to “new levels.” It does so by dynamically shifting power between the Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics, which it claims can seamlessly deliver up to 10% greater gaming performance and up to 12% more content-creation performance.

AMD Threadripper

64-core desktop processor
AMD also launched the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, its first 64-core desktop processor. Creators will be able to buy the processor from participating global retailers and system integrators, with on-shelf availability expected Feb. 7, 2020.

It features an “unprecedented” amount of single-socket compute performance in a desktop platform, which AMD said will make processor the definitive solution for digital content creation professionals working with 3D animation, raytraced VFX, and 8K video codecs. It can deliver up to 51% greater performance than the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X in 3D ray tracing with the MAXON Cinema4D Renderer and a historic Cinebench R20.06 score of 25,399 points for a single processor.

CES: Intelligence, Electrification, and Digital Health Top Trends in 2020

By Nitin Dahad

LAS VEGAS — More intelligence in devices, electrification of vehicles, and digital health are the top tech trends to watch for in 2020, said the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in the opening presentation at CES 2020 here in Las Vegas.

“The last decade was about the internet of things [IoT] — but now, we kick off a new decade defined by the intelligence of things,” said Steve Koenig, vice president of market research, CTA. “Connected intelligence defines today’s device ecosystem from consumer favorites such as smartphones and TVs to an expanding universe of smart home solutions making intelligent living spaces a reality. Over the next 10 years, the dynamic of connected intelligence will grow apace with advancing 5G networks and innovative applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to propel the consumer tech industry forward — and with it, consumer experiences, safety, health, and more.”


Consumerization of AI
AI will be found in more end devices. (Source: CTA)

To readers of EE Times, this might not be new, as embedded intelligence in connected devices has become increasingly important because of issues such as latency and security increasing with the need to gather and process significant volumes of data. Manufacturers are now taking full advantage of the potential of embedded technologies for both connectivity (such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) and sensors, which they are incorporating into practically every device on the market, according to the CTA. These technologies, embedded in several key products such as wireless earbuds, health and fitness devices, smart speakers, and smart home products, were enough to help the hardware segment maintain slightly positive growth in 2019 and will contribute to increased hardware growth in 2020.

With 5G on the horizon and AI providing the brains to everything from digital assistants to vehicles, this will drive much of the connected intelligence market. Skyrocketing popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds along with 5G connectivity and AI-enabled devices will drive revenue growth for the U.S. consumer tech industry to a record $422 billion in retail revenues in 2020 — nearly 4% growth over last year.

“More and more consumers are embracing the faster connectivity, advanced intelligence, and seemingly infinite content that technology offers today — pushing consumer technology industry revenues toward another record-setting year in 2020,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We’ll see advancements in 5G connectivity and AI play out across the CES 2020 show floor this week — from digital health to self-driving vehicles and smart homes — vital technologies that are changing our lives for the better.”

Smartphones lead growth due to 5G
Smartphones will lead the growth again, but so will digital health. After a dip in 2019, smartphones will recoup losses with an uptick in 5G-enabled smartphone shipments this year. Smartphones are projected to reach 166 million units (2% increase) and earn $79 billion dollars in revenue (up 3%) in 2020. 5G smartphones will hit their stride, with 20.3 million units sold (a 12× growth spurt over last year’s initial introduction) and generate $15.3 billion in revenue (10× percent jump), with the build out of U.S. 5G capabilities. According to Steve Koenig, “By 2022, the market will flip from a 4G focus to a 5G focus for handsets.”


5G led by enterprise
5G will be led by enterprise. (Source: CTA)

Digital health
CTA’s forecast for digital health devices, which includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, and connected health monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors and smart scales, projects that 64 million devices will be sold this year, with a total value of $10 billion.


Digital health
Digital health will be one of the big trends of 2020.

The future of transportation: EVs will be the big story in 2020
Koenig said that 2020 and the whole coming decade will see electrification of vehicles become more mainstream. “We are finally at the inflection point where electrification makes sense. This is the decade for electrification of vehicles, not just cars. Electric vehicles (EVs) will be the big story for CES 2020.” He pointed out that this is due to innovation in battery technologies as well as better charging infrastructure and business models.

He added that we will also see more and more commercial deployments of self-driving car fleets. Koenig also said that while a lot of the multi-modal transportation work has been focused on the last mile, CES 2020 will be about the “next mile” — in other words, flying cars for urban areas or electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) cars.


future of transportation
The future of transportation — what to expect in 2020

Highlights of trends to watch in 2020
Here are the key points in CTA’s overview of tech trends to watch in 2020:

  • Consumer tech transforming from internet of things to intelligence of things
  • 5G handset shipments to reach 20.2 million handsets in 2020
  • 5G will be led by the enterprise, with two key areas of focus: massive IoT and critical IoT
  • Consumerization of AI: We’ll find AI in a lot more end-devices and services
  • Connected intelligence in more everyday devices, with upscaling AI chips in TVs, facial recognition in doorbells, and object detection in home appliances
  • Advances in virtual reality, with six degrees of freedom, and augmented reality, with AR glasses becoming more realistic
  • Transportation will evolve, particularly self-driving fleets and electrification
  • eVTOL cars will take off
  • Digital health becomes a lifestyle, with everything from sleep tech to baby tech, plus telemedicine and remote surgery and AI-assisted diagnosis
  • Resilient technologies come to the fore, with areas like cybersecurity, public alert systems, disaster recovery, and emergency preparedness
  • Task-based robots will become the norm
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