Thought Leadership | Cypress Semiconductor
Say hi to AI, because artificial intelligence is here and is becoming a fixture in our daily lives. From science fiction movies to TV shows and books, the potential of AI is being played up everywhere, and now we are seeing some of those long-awaited advancements finally come to life. While we are not yet living in a galaxy far, far away, AI is being integrated into our daily lives more and more. Check out our five favorite AI trends we’ve seen so far.
1. Paging Dr. Bot
The incorporation of AI in healthcare not only has the potential to save time and money, but ultimately patients’ lives. Healthcare professionals are on a constant time crunch to get to the root of a patient’s health issue and provide top-notch care. A computer’s ability to analyze massive amounts of data faster and more accurately than humans relieves healthcare professionals from menial tasks, allowing them to focus on individual patient care and bigger picture medical questions. AI not only has the power to better diagnose diseases and change the feel of a hospital visit, but can also monitor and predict widespread epidemics. In 2014, a computer algorithm did just that by sifting through social media sites, news reports and government websites to identify an Ebola outbreak in Central and Western Africa nine days before the World Health Organization reported it. These kinds of observations are possible thanks to AI-fueled algorithms.
2. AI-Taught Class is in Session
A class completely taught by Professor Bot is not too far off. Similar to healthcare, AI can assist educators with routine tasks like grading assignments, answering common questions from students and even delivering repetitive lectures. While AI can free up more time for educators, the ultimate goal is to increase engagement in the classroom and ensure that all students receive a high-quality education. The gamification of education through AI-powered applications is steadily gaining popularity. The goofy Professor Einstein robot, supported by the Stein-o-Matic app, was launched on Kickstarter and is designed to teach the basics of science to kids through games and fun interactions.
Bonus: Traveling abroad soon? Duolingo’s chatbots can help you learn a new language and will get smarter the more you use them.
3. Homes are Smarter
Fifty-five years ago, The Jetsons TV show captured imaginations by showing what life might look like in a technologically-advanced society, complete with AI-powered robots. Today, some of the cool gadgets featured in The Jetsons are a reality, while other inventions - like flying cars - haven’t come to fruition just yet. From robot assistants to refrigerators that buy groceries, and speakers that can have an actual conversation with you, more and more smart home devices on the market are integrated with AI to help make our lives more comfortable, easier and safer. From established electronics leaders like Samsung – which has stated that by 2020, all their new home appliances will have smart features, including AI and voice recognition capabilities – to startups that are designing innovative AI-fueled IoT devices, we’re excited to see AI continue to advance and change our lives for the better.
4. Updating your closet
Retailers are harnessing AI to help fill your basket, faster. Brick and mortar locations are getting a whole new look and feel via smart dressing rooms, AI-powered personal shoppers and the eradication of checkout stands. With Amazon Go’s in-store technology, customers can step into a store, take what they need and receive a bill once they exit the store. No lines, no hassle! Online, Amazon is harnessing our online behavior through prediction technology which sifts through searches, purchases and social media activity to determine what a customer will buy, the location of their preferred brick and mortar stores and more. The new way of shopping known as “anticipatory shipping” is the process of retailers shipping goods to your door based on your purchase history, wish lists and even how long your cursor hovers over an item.
While Amazon is leading this movement, data pulled from shoppers’ behaviors – both online and offline – is giving retailers the power to deliver a seamless shopping experience tailored to individual customers, which in turn increases customer retention and saves precious time.
5. AI Hits the Streets
Fully autonomous self-driving cars are in their trial stage – they’re learning to leverage AI to recognize pedestrians, detect traffic lights and more. While fully self-driving cars haven’t hit the streets without the aid of a human driver, companies are making huge strides forward. Lyft recently announced a partnership with Drive.ai, a company that provides AI for self-driving cars, for a pilot program in the Bay Area enabling users to hail a ride in an autonomous car. Audi has announced that its concept electric SUV coupe, Witness Elaine, will be able to park itself, automatically change lanes on highways and even empathize with you in a few years. Fully self-driving and autonomous vehicles will shift the structure of our daily commutes, change the way we interact with our cars and ensure safer travels for both passengers and pedestrians. With these anticipated advancements, cars will transition from being a mode of transportation to a third living space.
Ultimately, we hope the technologies enabled by AI will seamlessly integrate into our daily routines to help us live safer, more efficient and meaningful lives. With the help of robots and computer algorithms, humans can have more time at work to focus on critical meaningful tasks. They will tackle the bigger-picture items and spend less time on the day-to-day. Outside of the workplace, having an increased amount of time translates into doing more of what brings you joy, whether that’s quality time with loved ones or tinkering with your latest project.
The question is, what will you do with your extra free time? We think a Cypress powered project would be a great way to spend a Saturday.
This Day in History: The 30th Anniversary of the Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System
Let’s take a journey to Hyrule, the iconic kingdom in The Legend of Zelda. The game’s protagonist, Link, and his difficult voyage to save Princess Zelda and fight Ganon is the stuff of … well, legends. Developed by Nintendo and debuted in Japan in 1986, The Legend of Zelda is credited for changing the gaming industry and bringing to life a new and exciting gaming experience. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game’s release on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in North America, let’s look back at the game’s origins:
The Legend of Zelda NES commercial from 1987
Gamers first got a glimpse of the land of Hyrule in 1986 when The Legend of Zelda was released in Japan on the Family Computer Disk System (Famicon) game console. Thanks to its proprietary floppy disk technology, the Famicon introduced the novel concept of saving games. While we take this feature for granted today, the ability for players to save their games opened the door to a new world of expansive gaming experiences like The Legend of Zelda.
When the Famicon was rebranded as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it was an instant hit. Marketed as a toy rather than an electronics device, the NES rejuvenated the gaming industry and made video games enticing and accessible to adults and kids alike. On Aug. 22, 1987, The Legend of Zelda was introduced on the NES in the United States and became a sensation.
Fast forward to 2017 and The Legend of Zelda has sold more than 75 million units. Today, players can enjoy the game on the Nintendo Switch, a powerful hybrid home console and portable system that gives players the “Freedom to have fun. Wherever. Whenever.”
Cypress’ 802.11ac wireless connectivity solution enables the Switch to deliver a smooth user experience with fast downloads and low-latency, solving many of the problems associated with interactive online multiplayer gaming. The CY4356EC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo solution delivers high-speed connectivity in a power-efficient package to extend the battery life of the Switch, letting gamers fight Ganon longer while they’re on the go.
To celebrate this day in history, we chatted with a few Cypress Problem Solvers who are big Zelda fans. Check out what they had to say about the game below:
Vice President of Sales and Distribution
“The original Zelda is, and will always be, one of the most important video games ever made. When it released, it did things that no other game had successfully executed before. It tossed you in a vibrant and unique world that allowed you to do whatever you want. It was a game where treasures weren’t useless trinkets that just gave you points; they were new toys to play with that opened new possibilities and made you more powerful. The game offered puzzle-solving to pass through dungeons, and that’s the aspect I liked the most. The original Zelda was an inspiration to all future open-ended exploration games. I recently bought the original NES just to rekindle my nostalgia for this game.”
“Breath of the Wild is Nintendo's finest iteration yet - a bold, well-thought through open world combined with the familiar mechanics of Zelda games makes it an instant classic. The new gameplay elements, regions and secrets make it a joy to play, with tons of re-playability.”
James Henry Hill III
Business System Analyst 2
“The Legend of Zelda has resonated for this long, first and foremost, because its games are consistently excellent, with multiple entries regularly included in “Greatest Game of All Time” discussions and ratings. Beyond its quality, the series also brings fantasy thrills like other popular series like Lord of the Rings, allowing gamers to play out the classic hero’s journey, accompanied by interesting characters, fascinating settings and an excellent musical score. My personal favorite is still The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a game that’s actually a few months older than I am. Link to the Past established many of the now-familiar details of the series, nearly doubling the game’s length with parallel worlds to explore, adding then-unheard-of depths of action and adventure and introducing main character Link’s signature weapon, the Master Sword, which at this point is as famous in the gaming world as Excalibur. Meanwhile, the newest entry in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch, has gotten such sky-high reviews that I’ve been tempted to purchase the new console almost solely for that game, and I’m sure once I have a Switch Breath of the Wild will once again show why The Legend of Zelda has captivated gamers across the world for over thirty years.”
The release of new and exciting gadgets each month shows that the explosion of connected devices is not slowing down anytime soon. Consumers are becoming increasingly connected in more ways than one – from their smartphones and laptops, to “wearing” their connectivity.
According to research firm IDC, the wearables market will nearly double by 2021, with device shipments expected to reach to 240.1 million. Over the next few years, how do you think the industry will continue to take shape? Let’s take a closer look at the trends influencing the wearable space:
The “Invisible” Wearable
Wearable technology is starting to integrate itself into our lives on a more subtle level. Not all smartwatches will have a touch screen that looks like the Apple Watch. Instead, we will see more watchmakers incorporate the latest technology into more traditional designs with “hybrid watches.” This type of wearable often will not have a gadget facade and will instead maintain an analog form that can hide its tech features within a classic-looking timepiece. These hybrid watches help solve a big consumer frustration: poor smartwatch battery life. Low power components are essential for prolonging the battery life of your favorite smartwatch. The hybrid and traditional watches consume less battery, allowing these gadgets to run for days, weeks, or months at a time. This year, we’ve seen this mix of old and new with Fossil’s Q smartwatch and Casio’s G-Shock’s discreet activity tracking features.
Technological advancements are also allowing sensors to become integrated in more flexible formats and materials, like clothing. Last year, Cypress partnered with Hexoskin, a Canadian-based smart clothing company, in the development of the Hexoskin Smart biometric-tracking shirts. Our small, low-power Bluetooth module is embedded in these shirts to collect data and send it to the user’s mobile device to track and analyze cardiac, respiratory and activity data. These tiny modules seamlessly blend in with the design of the shirts so the wearer can inconspicuously track their health data, enabling fitness enthusiasts and tech geeks alike to look stylish and stay comfortable, all while taking full advantage of the latest wearable technology.
In a breakthrough earlier this year, Harvard engineers announced shieldex, a stretchable, motion-measuring sensor textile. These soft-sensors could lead to the mass production of smart clothing.
"Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices. This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.”
– Walt Mossberg,
In the coming years, connected accessories and clothing will become a more common sight on the high fashion runways and in malls around the world. “Invisible” embedded solutions with extremely small form factors and flexible designs are essential to making smart clothing fashionable and desirable to mainstream consumers.
Augmented Reality Wearables
While most wearables on the market today tell us about ourselves and our bodies, augmented reality (AR) applications are opening the doors to more experiences in the outside world. One of the most popular AR applications is Pokémon Go, which transforms the world around you into PokéStops using location data from your smartphone. Since its launch last summer, the game has showcased the far reaching potential of AR applications beyond gaming; Pokémon Go and other AR applications are bringing people together, inspiring people to explore new areas and are providing an incentive for people to get more exercise.
Beyond its consumer use cases, augmented wearables are also making an appearance in enterprise applications. Recently, Google Glass made headlines again for its enterprise edition. The revamped glasses aim to help workers in various industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare and logistics, access information that can supplement their work. Manufacturing workers at GE are using Glass to pull up instructional videos and animations when repairing a machine, while doctors at Dignity Health are taking notes with Glass while speaking with patients.
Pokémon Go and Google Glass are just some of the latest artificial reality trends that represent the tip of the iceberg; AR is poised to truly revolutionize the way we access information and experience the world. As AR is integrated into wearables of all form factors, we’ll see new applications for almost every industry imaginable, from education to retail and healthcare to manufacturing.
Another exciting wearables trend is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into devices. According to a Counterpoint study, one in three wearables in 2017 will be AI-powered. Many wearables on the market use algorithms to synthesize data collected from users and make tailored recommendations for the users’ health, fitness, productivity and more. Getting a fitness trainer or health coach might be out of your budget, but an affordable AI-powered wearable could give you the information you need to get into shape and sleep better at night.
An AI-powered wearable could even save your life one day! A recent UCSF study found that the Apple Watch, when paired with neural network algorithms, can detect heart arrhythmia with 97 percent accuracy to warn patients when they need to seek medical care.
Need to brush up on your conversational skills? MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory built a deep-learning system that uses a smart watch to measure audio, text transcriptions, and physiological signals to detect emotions in conversations.
"Imagine if, at the end of a conversation, you could rewind it and see the moments when the people around you felt the most anxious. Our work is a step in this direction, suggesting that we may not be that far away from a world where people can have an AI social coach right in their pocket.”
– Tuka Alhanai,
MIT graduate student"
The portability and affordability of wearables makes them an ideal tool to unleash the power of AI to improve people’s lives. One thing to keep in mind is to look out for devices with ultra-low energy connectivity when you’re shopping for a new gadget. Compute-intensive processes like AI can drain batteries quickly, so embedded solutions that support standards like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are essential to making wearables devices run longer.
To bring to life wearables that are “invisible,” have AR functionality or are powered by AI, embedded solutions need to meet specific requirements. Microcontrollers, modules, NOR flash and other components need to be feature-rich to meet the high-performance needs of wearables. Embedded solutions must have an extremely small form factor so they can fit in slim, sleek devices or be integrated into smart fabrics. Low-power performance is another critical element, ensuring that battery life lasts as long as possible, especially since some applications in wearables are “always-on.” It’s also critical these components include strong built-in security features to protect devices from cyber-attacks. Cypress’ portfolio of secure, low power and flexible connectivity solutions power the hottest wearables on the market, and we can’t wait to see what new design problems our customers solve next.
For most of us, our experience with race car driving has typically been limited to:
- Watching NASCAR on TV.
- Getting behind the wheel as Mario.
Cheering on James Hinchcliffe in the IndyCar series.
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) April 9, 2017
However, recent advancements in virtual reality (VR) and gaming technology have enabled motorsports to shift gears to more interactive experiences. Here are some game-changing automotive technology stories we’ve seen this past year:
Experiencing Le Mans with VR: Ford released a VR app that gives users a 360-view of the Le Mans racetrack, the Baja 1000 off-road course and more. All you need is a smartphone or VR headset for a front row seat. This app gives a glimpse into the potential for VR technology to change the way we watch and engage with sports games and other events from the comfort of our homes.
Virtual Racing with Project Cars 2: The video game Project Cars 2, set to be released this September, promises to be a full-featured racing simulation for VR headsets. Your car’s performance will change based on weather, temperature and altitude conditions in the game, offering a hyper-realistic driving experience. It’s clear that VR is upping the ante for gaming and we’ll continue to see more immersive virtual experiences.
Autonomous Racing: Roborace is poised to become the “world’s first self-driving racing series.” Ten teams will develop two driverless cars to compete against each other during the Formula E season. One of the robocars was on display in New York City’s Times Square last week, showing off a brightly colored prototype. Autonomous driving is not only making strides on the race track, but automakers are racing to bring a fully autonomous driving experience to the mass market.
The automotive industry is rich with innovation, and semiconductor technology is driving the next generation of automotive design. Every connected car feature, from backup cameras to infotainment systems and in-vehicle connectivity, is enabled by semiconductors. At Cypress, we have a wide portfolio of automotive technology for ADAS, infotainment, instrument clusters, and body and comfort electronics to make it easier for automakers to deploy automatic braking and steering systems, elegant touch-based controls, interactive infotainment systems and many more connected car features.
We can’t wait to see what automotive technology is coming next!
A total of $4.5 billion has been spent on advertising in the first 50 years of the Super Bowl, according to Ad Age. Today, companies spend approximately $4.8 million for one 30-second commercial spot alone. Super Bowl 50 will debut the ads of technology companies such as Amazon and LG. As trends change, so do the advertisements we see. In this blog, I’m taking out my crystal ball and looking into what the biggest commercials from Super Bowl 2020 could look like.
Advanced Automotive Systems Going Mainstream
Car commercials are a classic; they are ingrained in the Super Bowl culture. Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have commercials during the Super Bowl each year, and while these ads have typically focused on speed, sleek designs and even fuel-efficiency, car ads in the future will sing a different tune.
No one can deny the fact that our cars are getting smarter every day. One day, self-driving cars will be commercialized and rule the road. In 2020, manufacturers will be highlighting features such as firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) updates in mass-market cars, ADAS, infotainment and other advanced systems in connected cars in their Super Bowl ads. As early as now, Cypress can enable FOTA adoption in standard vehicles with our latest additions to the Traveo automotive portfolio.
A Smarter Smart Home
With predictions that half of Americans will have smart-home technology by the end of this year, the Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming mainstream. LG will be showcasing its OLEG TV technology at this year’s Super Bowl, which is fitting because smart entertainment is currently the most popular type of smart-home technology. According to a survey by Coldwell Banker, 44 percent of smart-home tech owners saying they already have smart TVs and speaker systems.
During Super Bowl 2020, you can bet on seeing advertisements for smart security, smart thermostats, smart lighting and even smart safety solutions. Just imagine if you could turn multiple lights on and off at your house at the same time. In the past, Bluetooth® could only connect from a smartphone to one device, but with the help of long-range Bluetooth and Bluetooth smart mesh technologies, just wave your hand to turn on or off all the lights in your home.
More Convenient Wearables
From simple pedometers to professional-grade wearables, many athletes and fitness enthusiasts have begun utilizing the latest technology for health management. While most wearables are great for basic tracking, it is hard to get the specific details to take advantage of the biometrics being tracked, especially if you forget to charge or even wear your wearable.
In 2020, we’ll see everyday wearables tracking embedded into everyday clothing, as well as implementing wireless charging. Hexoskin, the world leader in smart clothing design and intelligent software for health and performance, is already using the Bluetooth Smart-based EZ-BLE™ PRoC™ module for use in its Hexoskin Smart biometric-tracking shirts. Though the Apple Watch already features wireless charging capability, many other wearables still require a USB charge or disposable battery replacement. Market research firm IHS predicts that 40 percent of all wearable devices shipped will be enabled to charge wirelessly by 2020. So after a nice jog in the park, the runner in this Super Bowl ad will go home to wirelessly charge his/her workout clothes while swiping through their smart device for metrics.
At Cypress, we’re enabling tomorrow’s technologies today. Now that you know what to expect for Super Bowl 2020, these trends won’t surprise you like a blind side hit from Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. For additional details on our diverse product line, please visit the Cypress website.
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