Monthly Archives: April 2015

Teaching Computers to See What We Can See

Our world has gone through many advances in computer AI, and image recognition is no exception. Image recognition, also called computer vision, is a special kind of AI technology that allows computers to identify objects in images. Image recognition has helped greatly in identifying faces, text, and even general patterns.

Image recognition for faces, or face recognition, have been used for digital cameras and devices with a built-in digital camera to tag pictures. Certain websites that allow you to upload and tag pictures, like Facebook, also use face recognition technology. After taking a photo or uploading it, then little rectangles and squares start appearing on the faces of the people in it. Sometimes, you are even asked to tag these photos based off of the face recognition technology.

Optical character recognition, also known as OCR, is designed specifically to recognize text. Essentially, this is how a computer can learn how to read human written language: by recognizing the characters of letters and being able to understand the combinations of those characters in words and sentences. Multiple banks nowadays have used this technology, as has been advertised on television and the internet. People can deposit checks into their bank accounts, depending on the bank, by taking a picture of it and sending it to their bank. The optical character recognition technology used by banks can recognize the bank account number, signature, the amount you want to deposit, and other details on the check.

Of all of the three different types of image recognition, pattern recognition has to be the most complex and advanced. Pattern recognition can be used to learn what an object is based on a photo of that object. Imagine searching using an image instead of words. In fact, the Google search for images actually uses pattern recognition technology for their image searches now. All you would have to do is either upload a picture, copy and paste the URL of a picture, right-click a picture or click and drag a picture. The images you can use to search can range from pictures of handbags and locations to logos and cartoon characters.

Image recognition today is becoming more and more prominent for consumer use and convenience. That’s why certain companies, like Slyce, specialize in providing image recognition software and technology to other companies. Slyce is, in fact, one of the leading companies in providing image recognition software. So far, Slyce has provided their services to six out of 20 of the big name retailers here in North America, including Neiman Marcus and Tilly’s. They provide their technology to these retailers so that people would be able to take pictures of the products provided by these retailers and link them to information about those products. It is both convenient and efficient for shoppers and retailers alike. This is also one of the many different reasons why image recognition can prove to be a major tool in today’s world.

Liquid that Becomes Solid When Shaken

Walk on water might be soon an action easy to do for anyone. The new liquid created by the Moratex Institute of Security Technologies in Poland becomes solid in an instant when shaken or hit. Its main use will be filling the anti-bullet vests. The liquid retains bullets better and diminishes the deflection, which minimizes the risks that a bullet can still go through the clothing. It also diminishes the bend in the fabric of the west when retaining the bullet. The ordinary vests bend and might give painful sensations even when the bullet has not reached the body. The scientists say that it is useful in other areas besides the anti-ballistic one. Soon, the liquid will be available for purchase.

The University of Delaware had worked on similar projects from 2000. Folks at Anastasia Date ( have heard that the laboratory workers called the substance Liquid Armor. They prepared a substance that would improve the doctor’s attire. The latex gloves often get broken or pierced, exposing the doctors to infections. The Liquid Armor is more resistant and would protect the doctors from cuts and needle sticks. The spacesuit manufacturers announced their interest towards the material as well.

The Success of the Biotech Industry

A recent boom in the biotech industry saw venture capital investment climbing from $4.52 billion in 2013 to $5.29 billion in 2014. Joel Marcus, who has been in the industry for 30 years and is currently chief executive of Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., recently discussed trends contributing to the growing success. Marcus believes the industry has changed. Science is constantly evolving as new discoveries are continuously being made. Many fields have seen dramatic progress over the years and with the emergence of new science, a new generation of companies has emerged beyond the traditional Genentech and Amgen. There are exciting areas of opportunities developing.

For example, the neuroscience field which hasn’t seen as much progress in clinical trials as cancer research, is poised to excel in the current boom. Lack of funding for the FDA and NIH may hinder progress, though, as funding issues are causing young scientists to leave the public sector. The occupancy of properties is also a problem. There is fierce competition for space in the current biotech hubs of San Francisco and Cambridge, especially Cambridge where occupancy is already at 97%. Pharmaceutical, tech, and other companies, like Uber, all want space in these areas as well. However, with the resurgence of the biotech industry, other hubs are likely to emerge. NYC is a strong hub already and Texas is prepped to explode. With quality research and clinical practice, the only thing Texas lacks to become the next big hub is a strong commercial sector.

But why are biotech start-ups succeeding in an industry that doesn’t usually breed success? If you remember a piece I wrote back in January on Mark Ahn, the entrepreneur, executive, and consultant says resilience is the key. It takes longer for a product to reach the market in the biotech industry because of long development cycles and strict regulations. Therefore, companies generally require several rounds of outside funding before a product generates income. According to Mark Ahn, it doesn’t help to get caught up in what’s trending or get involved in the newest hype. Instead companies that succeed generally stick to their business plan.

The interview with Joel Marcus, originally reported in the Wall Street Journal, can be found here.