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Showing posts with label Future Technologies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Future Technologies. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Research on Unvoiced Speech Communications using Smartphones and Mobiles

A startup on kickstarter is touting world's first voice mask for smartphones. Having said that Hushme has been compared to Bane from Batman and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Good detail of Hushme at Engadget here.

This is an interesting concept and has come back in the news after a long gap. Even though we are well past the point of 'Peak Telephony' because we now use text messages and OTT apps for non-urgent communications. Voice will always be around though for not only urgent communications but for things like audio/video conference calls.


Back in 2003 NTT Docomo generated a lot of news on this topic. Their research paper "Unvoiced speech recognition using EMG - mime speech recognition" was the first step in trying to find a way to speak silently while the other party can hear voice. This is probably the most quoted paper on this topic. (picture source).


NASA was working on this area around the same time. They referred to this approach as 'Subvocal Speech'. While the original intention of this approach was for astronauts suits, the intention was that it could also be available for other commercial use. Also, NASA was effectively working on limited number of words using this approach (picture source).

For both the approaches above, there isn't a lot of recent updated information. While it has been easy to recognize certain characters, it takes a lot of effort to do the whole speech. Its also a challenge to play your voice rather than a robotic voice to the other party.

To give a comparison of how big a challenge this is, look at the Youtube videos where they do an automatic captions generation. Even though you can understand what the person is speaking, its always a challenge for the machine. You can read more about the challenge here.

A lot of research in similar areas has been done is France and is available here.


Motorola has gone a step further and patented an e-Tattoo that can be emblazoned over your vocal cords to intercept subtle voice commands — perhaps even subvocal commands, or even the fully internal whisperings that fail to pluck the vocal cords when not given full cerebral approval. One might even conclude that they are not just patenting device communications from a patch of smartskin, but communications from your soul. Read more here.


Another term used for research has been 'lip reading'. While the initial approaches to lip reading was the same as other approaches of attaching sensors to facial muscles (see here), the newer approaches are looking at exploiting smartphone camera for this.

Many researchers have achieved reasonable success using cameras for lip reading (see here and here) but researchers from Google’s AI division DeepMind and the University of Oxford have used artificial intelligence to create the most accurate lip-reading software ever.
Now the challenge with smartphones for using camera for speech recognition will be high speed data connectivity and ability to see lip movement clearly. While in indoor environment this can be solved with Wi-Fi connectivity and looking at the camera, it may be a bit tricky outdoors or not looking at the camera while driving. Who knows, this may be a killer use-case for 5G.

By the way, this is not complete research in this area. If you have additional info, please help others by adding it in the comments section.

Related links:



Thursday, 16 March 2017

Satellite Industry is Gearing up for The Next Revolution in Communications

Intelsat graphic
Source: Intelsat
I have been talking about the role of satellites in future communications on my blog and various industry fora. While most of the telecom industry is focused on 5G, it’s good to see that the satellite industry is getting ready for the next revolution.

Source: New York Times
Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank has made it his mission to merge satellite operators Intelsat and OneWeb. While on the surface they may seem as competitors, in reality they complement each other. Intelsat operates geostationary (GEO) satellites while OneWeb is building low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. They both serve overlapping but different purposes and it makes sense for them to work together. LEO satellites which are roughly at 1200km have far lower latency than compared to GEO satellites that are 36,000km away. On the other hand LEO satellites do not appear stationary unlike GEO satellites.

We in CW are already aware of Masayoshi Son’s ambition and vision. Last year Softbank acquired ARM for approximately £24 billion. In a recent keynote delivered at the Mobile World Congress 2017 (#MWC17), Son explained his vision and reasoning for this purchase. In fact he mentioned that he has a 30 year vision which is why he thinks ‘cell towers from space’ are the next step in evolution. While he refers to them as fiber from the space, I wouldn’t go that far in comparison but do admit they have the potential to deliver high speed connectivity anywhere on earth.

The most obvious application of high speed connectivity ubiquitously available anywhere on earth are connected cars. While there is Wi-Fi to provide connectivity and software updates when parked at home, it will be complemented by mobile connectivity within the cities and the major roads. What is missing is anywhere and everywhere connectivity that the satellites can bring.

The big barrier for satellite connectivity in the cars had been the need for satellite dish mounted on the top of a car roof. Kymeta, an innovative company based in Washington, USA has been trying for years to solve this problem. In May, they will start selling  their “lightweight flat-panel antennas, meant to bring fast satellite-transmitted internet connections to cars, trains and boats”.

Source: Seattle Times
Kymeta is partnering with Toyota and Intelsat to bring a complete solution for future connectivity in the cars. They are not the only ones, there are other similar interesting projects ongoing in many different parts of the world.


The telecom industry cannot ignore satellite communications forever. Satellites have already proved themselves beyond doubt in broadcasting, navigation, earth observation, etc. It’s just a matter of time before they prove their while in communications as well.

Originally Posted on CW Blog here.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Connecting Rural Scotland using Airmasts and Droneways


This week EE has finally done a press release on what they term as Airmasts (see my blog post here). Back in Nov. last year, Mansoor Hanif, Director of Converged Networks and Innovation BT/EE gave an excellent presentation on connecting rural Scottish Islands using Airmasts and Droneways at the Facebook TIP Summit. Embedded below are the slides and video from that talk.





In other related news, AT&T is showing flying COWs (Cell On Wheels) that can transmit LTE signals


Their innovation blog says:

It is designed to beam LTE coverage from the sky to customers on the ground during disasters or big events.
...
Here’s how it works. The drone we tested carries a small cell and antennas. It’s connected to the ground by a thin tether. The tether between the drone and the ground provides a highly secure data connection via fiber and supplies power to the Flying COW, which allows for unlimited flight time.  The Flying COW then uses satellite to transport texts, calls, and data. The Flying COW can operate in extremely remote areas and where wired or wireless infrastructure is not immediately available. Like any drone that we deploy, pilots will monitor and operate the device during use.

Once airborne, the Flying COW provides LTE coverage from the sky to a designated area on the ground.  

Compared to a traditional COW, in certain circumstances, a Flying COW can be easier to deploy due to its small size. We expect it to provide coverage to a larger footprint because it can potentially fly at altitudes over 300 feet— about 500% higher than a traditional COW mast.  

Once operational, the Flying COW could eventually provide coverage to an area up to 40 square miles—about the size of a 100 football fields. We may also deploy multiple Flying COWs to expand the coverage footprint.

Nokia on the other hand has also been showcasing drones and LTE connectivity for public safety at D4G Award event in Dubai


Nokia's Ultra Compact Network provides a standalone LTE network to quickly re-establish connectivity to various mission-critical applications including video-equipped drones. Drones can stream video and other sensor data in real time from the disaster site to a control center, providing inputs such as exact locations where people are stranded and nature of the difficulty of reaching the locations.

Related Posts:



Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Facebook's Attempt to Connect the Unconnected

I am sure that by now everyone is aware of Facebook's attempt to connect the people in rural and remote areas. Back in March they published the State of Connectivity report highlighting that there are still over 4 billion people that are unconnected.


The chart above is very interesting and shows that there are still people who use 2G to access Facebook. Personally, I am not sure if these charts take Wi-Fi into account or not.

In my earlier post in the Small Cells blog, I have made a case for using Small Cells as the best solution for rural & remote coverage. There are a variety of options for power including wind turbines, solar power and even the old fashioned diesel/petrol generators. The main challenge is sometimes the backhaul. To solve this issue Facebook has been working on its drones as a means of providing the backhaul connectivity.


Recently Facebook held its first Telco Infra Project (TIP) Summit in California. The intention was to bring the diverse set of members (over 300 as I write this post) in a room, discuss ideas and ongoing projects.


There were quite a few interesting talks (videos available here). I have embedded the slides and the talk by SK Telecom below but before I that I was to highlight the important point  made by AMN.


As can be seen in the picture above, technology is just one of the challenges in providing rural and remote connectivity. There are other challenges that have to be considered too.

Embedded below is the talk provided by Dr. Alex Jinsung Choi,  CTO, SK Telecom and TIP Chairman and the slides follow that.



For more info, see:
Download the TIP slides from here.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Quantum Technology and Future Telecommunications

Last year I posted an excerpt from an article in FT which implied that Quantum technology will play a big role in post-5G world. Earlier this month CW held their annual Technology & Engineering Conference (CW TEC). The topic was "The Quantum Revolution is coming". I have to admit that I knew next to nothing before the conference, however now I hope I know just enough to dabble in quantum technology related discussions.

The main question that I had before the conference was 'when will quantum technology be here?'. While there were different answers, depending on what you think Quantum is, I think the answer I feel comfortable is more like 2030 (just in time for 6G?)


There are already some great write-ups of the conference by others, please see links at the bottom of the post. However I have tried to create a story based on the tweets and embedded the links to presentations for each speaker where available. Hopefully you will enjoy my story.




Blog posts and summaries of CW TEC 'The Quantum Revolution is Coming' conference:

Saturday, 4 June 2016

5G and Future Technologies from Johannesberg Summit

Johannesberg Summit is an annual forum to discuss how Wireless ICT is transforming business and society.  Interesting talks from industry leaders and leading academics are mixed with panel discussions with a broad perspective on technologies, services, business and policy models that may have an impact in the long-range evolution of society and various industries. Topics have over the years included future user behavior and requirements, novel services and applications, new business models as well as policy and regulation. These more general topics have been matched with visions on how wireless technologies and architectures can handle these needs.

The 2016 summit had 4 key topic areas:

  • The transformation of the transport industry
  • The transformation of the manufacturing industry (“Industry 4.0”)
  • Future key technologies
  • Update on 5G year


The best things is that they make all the presentations available online. Initially in the video form and later on the PDF's as well. I am embedding playlist of all video talks below but have a look at the program here.




You can also look at the 2015 program here that includes videos and PDFs of the presentations from last year.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2016 Technology Jokes

When I posted April Fools' jokes on the blog last couple of years (see 2014 & 2015) , they seem to be very popular so I thought its worth posting them this year too. If I missed any interesting ones, please add in comments.


The one I really liked best is the Samsung Internet of Trousers (IoT) featuring:

Wi-Fly: Gone are the days of unnoticed, unzipped trouser zippers upon exiting the restroom. Should your fly remain open for more than three minutes, the ZipARTIK module will send a series of notifications to your smartphone to save you from further embarrassment.

Get Up! Alert: Using pressure sensors, Samsung’s intelligent trousers detect prolonged periods of inactivity and send notifications to ‘get up off of that thing’ at least once an hour. Should you remain seated for more than three hours, devices embedded in each of the rear pockets send mild electrical shocks to provide extra motivation.

Keep-Your-Pants-On Mode: Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the moment. The Samsung Bio-Processor in your pants checks your bio-data including your heart rate and perspiration level. If these indicators get too high, Samsung’s trousers will send you subtle notifications as a reminder of the importance of keeping your cool.

Fridge Lock: If the tension around your waist gets too high, the embedded ARTIK chip module will send signals to your refrigerator to prevent you from overeating. The fridge door lock can then only be deactivated with consent from a designated person such as your mother or significant other.



Microsoft has an MS-DOS mobile in mind for this day. I wont be surprised if a real product like this does become popular with older generation. I personally wouldn't mind an MS-DOS app on my mobile. Here is a video:




It would have been strange if we didnt have a Robot for a joke. Domino's have introduced the Domimaker. Here's how it works:




T-Mobile USA is not shy pulling punches on its rivals with the Binge On data plan where it lets people view certain video channels without using up their data. Here is the video and more details on mashable.



Samsung ExoKinetic helps your phone self-charge

Google had quite a few pranks as always. I will ignore 'mic drop' which backfired and caused them headache.

Google Express has a new delivery mechanism, just for the April Fool's day. (There has to be one drone idea)





Google Cardboard Plastic is an interesting one too. Here is the video:


Finally, its the Google Fiber Teleportation.



Other interesting ones:



Monday, 29 February 2016

The Internet of Me: It’s all about my screens - Bob Schukai


I had the pleasure of attending the IET Turing lecture last week and listening to Robert Schukai. He gave a brilliant talk on how Smartphones are changing the way we do things. Its a very interesting talk but its nearly 87 minutes long. Slides are not available but the video is embedded below.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Interesting gadgets from CES 2016

Here are some gadgets from the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016. These are all collected from the tweets and there is a Youtube video below if you are interested. There are just too many interesting things to list but do let me know which ones are your favourites.





Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Have researchers moved on past 5G on to 6G Wireless?


As I am active on multiple social networks including blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc., Its always tricky to be able to share information from one on to another. Some time back I tweeted about the 6G research that seems to have started according to an article in FT.

While I had a few retweets and interactions, I realised that its always challenging to search the tweets so I decided to add this in the blog post, always easier to look it up.

So the FT Article states that:

Even as 5G remains a distant prospect for most mobile users, some scientists have already begun to work on plans for 6G services in the future.

To an extent, terms such as 4G and 5G have become as much about marketing equipment as any single technology breakthrough, with incremental improvements to technical specifications often arbitrarily given names such as 3.5G or 4.5G.

But that has not stopped people from thinking about what 6G could look like — and in the UK at least, the prediction is for a “quantum” leap.

Britain has created a “national quantum strategy” to identify areas where advances in technology will have the greatest impact on daily lives in the future. The strategy was developed by the Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board, a government funded agency, which oversees the £270m programme. 

One of the key goals will be the development of faster communications for mobile devices. The advisory board predicts that the market for quantum products and technology has the potential to become a £1bn industry, even if details of how mobile technology can use quantum theory — science at an atomic level — are thin on the ground.

So why did I suddenly think about 6G? Because I have had a few discussions where the research community feel that they should focus on technologies beyond 5G, something that would be a game changer and would change the way we do communications. To be honest, new ways of communications have been found (like LED-Fi / Li-Fi ) but they have not really been ground breaking.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions, add it as comments.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Wireless Charging: A must-have technology with maturing standards


Wireless charging has been in news recently with the discovery that Apple has found a brilliant way to wireless charge iPhones, iPads and iWatches. While we continue to wait for the details of that one, I thought its worth providing a bit of round up from the LTE World Summit not so long back. A summary of market by IHS is embedded as follows:



Qi (pronounced Chee), probably the most well known standard, not just because its already available in devices like Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet  but also because its 1.2 standard allows devices to be charged from some distance away. They had an excellent presentation outlining their progress and technology as follows:





Finally, any discussion on Wireless Charging wont be complete without the mention of other big player, Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). The above shows a comparison between different standards and the presentation from A4WP is as follows:




Finally, if you haven't seen our concept of futuristic 'Smart Batteries' (crossed 10K+ views) then check it out here.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

AT&T on Mobile Security


Nice presentation from Ed Amoroso from AT&T outlining how the security is evolving to cope with the new technologies and threats. He points to encryption, containerization, proxy & virtualization as the four key pillars of technology for enabling operators to protect the network in a mobility era where the perimeter can no longer do the job it used to do.

Here is the video:

If you cant see the video, click on this link to watch it on Light Reading's website.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Five Future Technologies (#FutureTech) we may see soon in our devices!

Remember 'Internet of Everything' rather than 'Internet of Things', here is a recent Cisco video explaining this vision:

You can read more on these topics on Cisco blogs.


Next is the self-healing technology:



Spray-on clothes
These will go very well with phones where you can spray paint phone covers and maybe if its possible to dissolve the skin and re-use it, it would be an added bonus.


Just think how the technology used to design Robots can enable flexible phones and other devices.




With sensors becoming smaller and cheaper, more of them are being put in our devices. Many years back people were saying that breath analysers could be available in mobiles but I guess there wasnt a business case for that. Also many of these sensors have come as part of Bluetooth add-ons to keep the cost/weight/size of the device down. Now there is a possibility of whole new range of sensors coming to our devices.

You can read more details on this here.


Finally, there is always one user who would ask me why is there no mention of LTE in the videos above so here is a **bonus** video.

I have to mention that this didnt sound very convincing to me as a selling point. Its like back in the year 2000, 3G was being sold as an enabler to the must have 'Video calling'.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Google Glasses - take two

Picture source: Guardian

So nearly after a year of my Google Glass post, looks like Google is ready to ship some of these glasses to some competition winners for $1500. Even the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is excited and cant wait to get his hands on it.

There is also this new video showing 'How it Feels' wearing Glass and everytime I go back to youtube, the count increases by 100K. Embedded below:


My two main concerns are that I have to speak loudly to the glass which may not be convenient in public places or in front of others and the other being that when many people will have these devices, my Glass may pickup command from another user.

Sometime back there was a discussion on 'Bone conduction audio'. This will allow the user to hear from the Glass without the need of a headphone or speakers, I guess a similar kind of technology is needed in place of a mic. The Glass can sense that the user who is wearing it is talking instead of someone else. It should also solve the need to speak to speak loudly to the Glass.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Future mobile technology with Graphene



Some days back I attended an interesting talk where the speaker showed how Graphene will revolutionise the future mobile devices. Here is what Graphene is:



Another version:



A concept phone video from Samsung



And a Nokia demo from the last MWC that uses Graphene as a sensor and also opens the possibility of using other gestures except for touch

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

5 videos on Augmented Reality

Looks like Augmented Reality (AR) is getting hot, just in time for Christmas. I wonder how many products will be sold based on AR. As I suggested in an earlier post, there may be 1 Billion users by 2020. Here are the videos:

Google's Ingress is an AR baased game:



Augmented Reality Book of Spells, Harry Potter experience:

Wonder when/ever it will come to a mobile near you.

LightBeam - Interacting with Augmented Real-World Objects in Pico Projections:



The next is a bit old but worth mentioning:

LuminAR from MIT


Finally, the science of Haptics will allows us to "touch" objects in a virtual world in future

Augmented Reality and Touch


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Connected Lighting of the future

This is an advertisement from Philips about their personal wireless lighting system called Hue. This is also the reason why we say that in future everything would be connected and with its own IP address (though this is not the case in Hue).


With Internet of Things (IoT) becoming more mainstream, it would be interesting to see these things becoming more popular and we will hopefully see more interesting apps.

This article makes an interesting reading too.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Evolution of 'Internet of Things' to 'Internet of Everything' #IoE



Will the 'Internet of Humans' and the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) evolve into 'Internet of Everything' (IoE). This is certainly what Dave Evans, the Cisco Futurist thinks. This is from his blog:


From the Internet of Things (IoT), where we are today, we are just beginning to enter a new realm: the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power, and greater sensing abilities. Add people and information into the mix and you get a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create unprecedented opportunities and give things that were silent a voice.

As more things, people, and data become connected, the power of the Internet (essentially a network of networks) grows exponentially. This thinking (“Metcalfe’s law”) comes from Robert Metcalfe, well-known technologist and founder of 3Com, who stated that the value of a network increases proportionately to the square of the number of users. In essence, the power of the network is greater than the sum of its parts, making the Internet of Everything, incredibly powerful.


You can read more here.

See Also:


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Intelligent Devices and Smart Journeys

Couple of days back, I posted some videos that show technology advancements for the mobile phones. Here is a presentation by Peter Whale from Qualcomm in a recent Cambridge Wireless event about how Sensors and Context-engine will make the future devices much more intelligent then they already are.



A shameless plug for my presentation on the similar topic from the LTE World Summit 2012, that has now crossed 6000 views, available here.