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Tech Talk May 17, 2024

Exploring the Future: Microsoft’s AI Avatars, iPhone Holograms, AI-Powered Robots, and 3D-Printed Vegan Steaks

Microsoft’s AI Avatars

  • Microsoft Research in Asia is pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence with their latest AI model.
  • This innovative technology can synchronize animated videos of a person talking or singing from just a single photo, using an existing audio track.
  • The potential applications include creating virtual avatars that operate locally without the need for video feeds—imagine real-time, lifelike interactions with avatars that mimic human conversation.
  • Such technology could dramatically transform digital communication, potentially allowing continued engagement even in the absence of one party, or creating a form of digital immortality.

University of Tokyo’s iPhone Holography

  • Scientists from the University of Tokyo have achieved a significant technological breakthrough.
  • They have developed a method to create 3D holographic displays using just a simple iPhone, a task that previously required complex and expensive laser systems.
  • This approach simplifies the holographic process, integrating it into everyday technology without the need for additional equipment.
  • The technology conjures images reminiscent of sci-fi scenarios, like Princess Leia’s hologram in “Star Wars,” now possible right from your smartphone.

Xpeng Robotics Unicorn for Kids

  • Xpeng Robotics has introduced Unicorn, an AI-powered robot designed specifically for children.
  • The robot features expressive eyes, a friendly appearance, and a range of interactive capabilities.
  • It can recognize faces, emotions, and gestures, which enhances its interaction with kids.
  • Unicorn is not just for fun; it can play games, tell stories, dance, and even help with educational tasks like language learning and math.
  • Parents can keep track of their child’s interactions with the robot through a dedicated companion app, ensuring both safety and educational value.

Novameat’s 3D-Printed Vegan Steak

  • Novameat, a Barcelona-based company, has made headlines with its creation of a 3D-printed, plant-based steak that mimics beef.
  • Their product uses natural ingredients like coconut fat, legumes, and soy to replicate the texture, taste, and visual appearance of real meat.
  • This innovation targets not only vegetarians and vegans but also meat lovers and those concerned with environmental sustainability.
  • Novameat plans to roll out its vegan steaks in EU and UK markets, aiming to be available in supermarkets and restaurants within the next few years.