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HK experts explain how tech is disrupting everyday life

Image Credits: HKTDC, Press Release

Experts in tech and innovation from all around the world gathered at a symposium held in conjunction with the HKTDC International ICT Expo, it has been reported.

Both events were organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and many of the world’s leading technological companies gathered the fairs to share insights, research and innovative product lines that cover the gamut of consumer technology.

Some of the industry’s leading experts took to the stage to discuss technological advancements in their respective fields. The afternoon session saw experts highlight the most cutting-edge areas of technology.

The tech included augmented reality to artificial intelligence and how they are now being used to enhance everyday life. Some of the most talked-about innovations are now on the brink of effecting ground-breaking changes for the consumers they reach.

Using AR to excel at sports                                                                                     

In 2018, the global market for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) was RMB70 million. That number looks set to grow exponentially and is expected to exceed RMB200 billion by 2020, according to the General Manager and Vice President of a US-based electronics, speaking on the topic of AR/VR.

The practical applications of these technologies outside of gaming, enterprise or military applications might not seem obvious, but much of that has to do with finding the right fit – literally.

The VP noted that using VR is not as easy as it sounds, explaining that the weight and cumbersome nature of the headset commonly used in VR gaming make it impractical to wear for very long. Many people think the display is one of the major roadblocks to make VR and AR widely popular.

The electronics manufacturer based in the US specialises in display devices for mobile electronics, has refined its AR hardware to mimic the style of ordinary glasses. The result is the firm’s SOLOS smart sunglasses, a stylish line of wearables designed with professional cyclists and runners in mind.

Developed with feedback from Team USA Cycling, these sunglasses can deliver real-time information to the wearer about pace, heart rate and distance travelled, among a host of other useful features.

Most impressively, the firm has partnered with a software platform that delivers a live coaching regimen during a workout, allowing athletes to receive complex coaching directives remotely as they train. Their performance and other vitals are recorded and sent directly to their coaching team, who can then feedback to the athlete at a later point.

The advantages for competitive sports are obvious, and it is compelling proof, that solving the idea of wearability is key to expanding the use of AR/VR.

Helping stroke patients get their voices back

Speech is something so integral to everyday life and the world is experienced; often, the complexity of the process is taken for granted. Research by a professor of System and Engineering & Engineering Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), focused intensely on this topic, in areas such as speech recognition and synthesis, in the pursuit of developing assistive applications for people suffering from speech disorders.

Presenting her CUHK research, the Professor detailed how she developed the world’s leading program capable of understanding the speech of people suffering from dysarthria, an impeded articulation of speech that results from a stroke or cerebral palsy.

By working with patients with dysarthria, and assisted by deep learning, her team now boasts a speech-recognition program capable of understanding the words of affected patients with about 70% accuracy, representing a life-changing development for anyone suffering from the loss of speech.

Saving lives with VR simulated driving

A Deep Learning Solution Architect and Data Scientist at American technology company outlined the incredible scale of data collection, analysis and testing that was required to make autonomous vehicles a reality.

The scientists explained that it could take upwards of 500 years to acquire the necessary training to match a human’s performance of safely operating a vehicle. Instead, the scientist and his team have simulation software that tests different scenarios and environments without the need for an actual road test in the real world.

By artificially building and manipulating the environment within which an autonomous driving model operates, the model becomes more intelligent, nimble, and safer for the individuals who will ride in the self-driving cars of tomorrow.

Sleeping better using the cloud

Around 80% of people affected by sleep apnea, or irregular breathing patterns during sleep, aren’t aware they suffer from the problem. What might seem like an annoying snoring issue could actually be a medical condition that can develop into more serious ailments such as depression, heart disease and diabetes.

The Associate Director of the MPE Cluster & Robotics Platform at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), explained how advancements in biomedical technology could help physicians to diagnose and treat patients more effectively.

The expert spoke about a Hong Kong-based start-up that developed a medical-grade wearable ring to help diagnose sufferers of sleep apnea in their homes.

Previously, to medically diagnose the condition, sufferers would need to sleep in a lab for nocturnal polysomnography, or sleep study, that could prove expensive in terms of time, money and resources. The expert said that wearable technology paired with cloud data collection represents a perfect example of the impact smart innovation can have in the quality of life of patients.

Various other state-of-the-art advancements have been examined by the HKSTP academic including streamlined diabetic retinopathy tests for diabetes patients at risk of going blind, and robotic arms capable of finding and removing hard-to-reach lung tumours in record time.

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