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Samsung unveils AI-powered digital avatar, and other highlights from CES 2020

Samsung unveils AI-powered digital avatar, and other highlights from CES 2020

NEON, a digital avatar described as an AI-powered "artificial human", was unveiled on Jan 7, 2020. (Photo: Twitter/Pranav Mistry)

LAS VEGAS: A Samsung lab on Tuesday (Jan 7) unveiled a digital avatar it described as an AI-powered "artificial human", claiming it is able to "converse and sympathise" like real people.

The announcement at the opening of the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) touted a new kind of artificial intelligence called NEON, produced by the independent Samsung unit Star Labs.

READ: White House proposes regulatory principles to govern AI use

The technology allows for the creation of customised digital beings which can appear on displays or video games and could be designed to be "TV anchors, spokespeople, or movie actors" or simply "companions and friends", according the California-based unit of the South Korean giant.

"NEONs will be our friends, collaborators and companions, continually learning, evolving and forming memories from their interactions," said Pranav Mistry, chief executive of the lab.

Here are a few other highlights from the events at CES in Las Vegas:

TOYOTA'S "WOVEN CITY"

The Japanese auto giant said it would create a "woven city" on 70 hectares at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, to test autonomous driving and other technologies.

"Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city's infrastructure," said company president Akio Toyoda.

He was joined by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which will collaborate on the project.

Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda and Danish architect Bjarke Ingel reveal plans for a prototype "city" of the future during the Toyota press conference at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. (File photo: AFP/Robyn Beck) Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda (L) and Danish architect Bjarke Ingel reveal plans for a prototype "city" of the future at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan during the Toyota press conference at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show AFP/Robyn Beck

The city will be designed for around 2,000 people, including Toyota employees and visiting researchers, with sustainable construction materials, in-home robotics to assist with daily living and sensor-based AI to check occupants' health.

READ: Sony to test self-driving cars to boost sensing, safety technologies

Ingels told the news conference the city would have different types of thoroughfare for autonomous vehicles, pedestrians and "micro mobility" vehicles such as scooters and bikes.

The smart homes "will take advantage of full productivity, using sense of the AI to do things automatically like restocking your fridge or taking out the trash, or even taking care of how healthy you are," Ingels said.

LG GOES SHOPPING

LG said its smart televisions were being enhanced to give viewers real-time answers to questions about what is happening on screens - from sports to news to films, and even help them find and buy what a particular actor may be wearing.

LG's latest LG GX series OLED 4 K and 8K television are seen at the LG press conference at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada AFP/Robyn Beck

Technology created by startup TheTake aims to provide a comprehensive "shoppable video experience" through new partnerships with smart TV leader LG Electronics and media companies including WarnerMedia, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, and NBC Universal.

READ: Uber, Hyundai Motor team up to develop electric air taxi

Beginning this year, owners of LG's new webOS Smart TVs will be able to shop on-screen for things they spy on participating networks' shows, according to TheTake.

"Shoppable video has been talked about since the days of Rachel's sweater on 'Friends,'" said TheTake co-founder and chief executive Tyler Cooper.

5G UNDER US$500

Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL offered a glimpse at three new smartphones, one tailored for super-fast 5G networks, and promised all would come in at less than US$500 at launch later this year.

A man uses a new TCL 10 series phone at the TCL news event during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas AFP/DAVID MCNEW

TCL revealed it is working on a phone with a screen that folds like a book, and a visor headset that gives an experience like looking at a 110-inch television screen. Both of those were prototypes in development.

SAMSUNG'S ROLLING ROBOT

Samsung scored points with its rolling robot ball, named Ballie, which tracks its owner around the home.

The ankle-high robot was designed as a "life companion" and fits into the company's vision of "human centered" artificial intelligence.

Sebastian Seung, chief research scientist at Samsung Electronics, described the tiny robot as a fitness assistant and a mobile interface to help people in various situations.

"It's a remote control that helps seniors control all the smart devices in the home, and calls for help if they need it," he told a CES keynote.

READ: Amazon to showcase its transportation drive at world's largest tech show

READ: Intel's Mobileye demos autonomous car equipped only with cameras, no other sensors

The South Korean consumer electronics giant also showed Sero television that can pivot from portrait to landscape modes the way smartphones or tablets do in an appeal to generations raised with mobile internet viewing habits.

Samsung unveils Sero TV that can pivot from landscape to portrait viewing modes like smartphones to appeal to mobile internet lifestyles at the Consumer Electronics Show during the CES Unveiled event at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show AFP/Glenn CHAPMAN Samsung unveils a ?Sero? TV that can pivot from landscape to portrait viewing modes like smartphones to appeal to mobile internet lifestyles at the Consumer Electronics Show during the CES Unveiled event at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show AFP/Glenn CHAPMAN

The Sero, which means "vertical" in Korean, debuted in South Korea last year but will be available in other countries in 2020.

TV WATCHING BACK

Chinese TV colossus Skyworth is taking its line-up to the US and Europe, with 8K resolution models that boast artificial intelligence along with cameras that watch the watcher.

"We believe adding cameras to TVs will become a new worldwide trend," Skyworth chief executive Tony Wang said while unveiling its latest line-up of displays.

Skyworth chief executive Tony Wang unveils premium 8K TV models at the Consumer Electronics Show AFP/Glenn CHAPMAN

Artificial intelligence built into the cameras in TVs can handle video calls, take pictures, and even track body motion for fitness or game applications.

Source: AFP/ga/jt

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