The 5 Most Exciting Tech Research Projects Underway

Project Adam

Project Adam

Smart machines with the ability to understand their environment are to be the most disruptive emerging technology in IT according to Gartner. Microsoft Research is working on a project with this in mind, known as ‘Project Adam.’ The artificial intelligence object recognition software was announced at the 2014 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit.

The goal is to create software that can visually recognise any object; using more than 14 million images, Microsoft is training a neural network that consists of billions of connections. The technology has been demonstrated to identify the differences between dog breeds and has the future possibility for numerous applications. These range from aiding visually impaired people to listen to descriptions of their environment to the feedback of nutritional information based on recognition of food in a picture.

Room Alive

Another project from Microsoft, Room Alive, extends the gaming environment into an entire room. Researchers at Microsoft have been combining Kinect technology with projectors to create an interactive, augmented reality environment that fills the player’s living room. By tracking the positioning of a player’s head the technology users can interact with any surface, with the aim being to work towards also incorporating physical objects as part of the gaming experience.

 Project Lucy

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IBM’s Watson super computer already uses artificial intelligence to aid doctors. By using data that compares symptoms and cures, doctors are able to more easily find the most effective treatments for cancer patients. It is also used for real-time analytics within the financial sector as well as to spot fraud.

The latest project for the Watson is named ‘Project Lucy,’ after the name given to the first known human descendent. The project involves introducing Watson, the first cognitive computing system, to Africa. It is a $100 million project in which IBM Research aims to use the technology to gain insights from Big Data and develop solutions to some of the big problems in Africa including water and sanitation, healthcare and education.

Implantable Technology

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Tech research is also pushing the concept of wearable technology; researchers at Stanford University have developed a new technique for wirelessly charging small devices that are implanted within the body with a small device from outside of the body.

This research contributes to a growing field of tech in the healthcare industry. Tiny sensors are already being used to inform patients and doctors about overall health or to monitor specific diseases; this is made possible by blood, glucose and vital signs being monitored internally and transmitted to smartphones.

Project Loon

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Project Loon is one of the biggest projects that the research arm of Google is currently working on. It aims to provide global internet access via balloons that are located 20km above the earth’s surface and can move to provide connectivity to developing countries and remote areas.

The project only started a year ago and has already been piloted in New Zealand, Brazil and California; with the goal to expand the project to provide uninterrupted coverage to more and more remote locations as soon as possible.

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