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Researcher Developing Smart Chips to Address Battery Safety




Battery development firm KVI is working on smart chips to improve the safety and performance of lithium-ion batteries, used in many devices today from electric vehicles to smartphones. (GETTY IMAGES)

By AI Trends Staff

The number one issue in lithium-ion batteries powering products from e-bikes and power tools for consumers, to self-driving cars and submarines, is to enhance battery safety, Dr. Rachid Yazami told an audience at the virtual International Battery Seminar from Cambridge EnerTech this week.

Dr. Yazami, founder of Singapore startup KVI, which is developing smart chips to enhance battery performance and safety, is known for his critical role in the development of lithium-ion batteries. In a talk on whether AI can help address battery issues, he outlined the challenges in a battery market that is projected to reach $35 billion in value by 2025. “The market is growing very fast,” he said.

Dr. Rachid Yazami, founder of KVI and contributor to development of the lithium-ion battery

Short circuits in lithium-ion batteries are caused when a thin slip of polypropylene that keeps electrodes from touching is breached, so that the electrodes come in contact and generate heat and possibly fire.

“We don’t want to see vehicles and mobile phones catching fire,” Dr. Yazami said. “These things we have to address very seriously. A lot of progress has been made, especially in increasing the quality of the batteries.”

Additional challenges include: reducing charging time currently ranging from 1.5 to eight hours for an electric vehicle depending on the battery, to less than one hour and even 30 minutes; increasing the driving range from 250 km to 500 km (150 to 300 miles) currently, to 900 km (560 miles); and extending the battery service life, currently at about two years, to 10 years.

In its work to address these challenges, KVI has developed two kinds of chips, one that combines material science with AI to “manage the battery performance in smarter ways,” and the other that helps to manage a new protocol for fast charging. Eventually the chips may be combined, “to get all the advantages.”  Dr. Yazami will be looking for manufacturers to embed the chips in new batteries once they are available,  which he estimated would be in 12 to 18 months.  “We already have working prototypes for ultrafast battery chargers,” he said in response to a question from AI Trends.

The fast-charging chip can measure data on entropy, a property of a thermodynamic system, to assess the state of the battery and of its safety. “We can adapt the charging protocol according to the state of charge of the battery, Dr. Yazami said. “We use the AI to optimize the data processing and the protocols we use to charge the battery,” allowing for optimal charging, not more than the battery can take. The system continues to learn as the battery is used and is aging.

One of the biggest reasons for fires in lithium-ion batteries are internal short circuits, “which happen when the separator breaks or there is a hot spot and it melts,” Dr Yazami said. “That can trigger events that end in a thermal runaway, sometimes fire and explosions.” Detecting this thermal runaway at an early stage is very difficult.

“We have developed some technology to detect it at a very early stage,” he said. He has found a linear relationship between battery entropy, charted on the Y axis, and battery enthalpy, a thermodynamic quantity equal to the total heat content of the system, on the X axis. “We have found very specific cell voltages where we can trigger an alarm.” This allows the researchers to adjust the charging voltages based on the state of health of the battery, using AI to help. “We are developing the software to follow the battery as it is aging.”

The team has also developed a non-linear fast charging solution, in which current and voltage is not constant, but adapts to the battery.

“We have developed solutions based on AI and thermodynamics data to monitor the state of battery safety,” Dr. Yazami said.

Asked by another researcher how he measures entropy and enthalpy for state of charge (SoC) detection, Dr. Yazami said the linear relationship depends on the chemistry and state of health of the battery. ”The linear coefficients evolve as the battery ages. The AI enables prediction of the coefficients to determine the state of health of the battery,” he said.

Learn more about Dr. Rachid Yazami.



How Voice Recognition Technology Works




It is when Apple introduced Siri as part of the iPhone when Voice assistants became much of a popular trend. After that, there are some companies that followed. Amazon introduced Alexa and it was followed by Google Assistant.

Samsung also introduced their own version which they called Bixby and there was also Microsoft and their very own Cortana. Since then, a lot of people have shown interest in Voice AI

In 2019, it has been recorded that 111.8 million people in the US alone are making use of voice assistants. This trend has reached eMarketing and it has provided a log of opportunities for marketers not only to reach their customers but also to understand the needs of the people. 

What is Voice Recognition Technology?

When we talk about voice recognition, we are referring to the machine or program’s ability to receive and to interpret spoken commands. By simply speaking, voice recognition systems can interact with customers. There is no need for hand requests as the task is understood by the voice AI. 

This technology has originated on PCs but it became popular and was accepted in the consumer space where mobile devices and other home products become involved. When Smartphones became popular, voice recognition also became a thing in-home devices. Google Home and Amazon Echo can now be accessed with the use of home devices. With this, the technology has become available in the kitchens, living rooms and basically everywhere. 

The demand for voice recognition technology is continually growing and a lot of people are interacting with it. This is why companies have considered a lot of improvements including the increase in the capability and in the accuracy of the use of the voice recognition products. 

History of Voice Recognition Technology

It has been recorded that the first speech recognition system does not use words but numbers. The “Audrey” system recognized digits that are read aloud. This is designed by Bell Laboratories in 1952. After 10 years, “Shoebox” was introduced by IBM.

This system can understand and respond to 16 English words. From then until the end of 1960s, people have already developed a technology that can support words. And by 1970, there was another introduction made by Bell Laboratories and this time, the system is better as it understands multiple voices. 

In the 1980s, the “Hidden Markov Model” (HMM) was introduced. It is a statistical method that recognizes sound patterns instead of words. And by 1990, fast processors and personal computers made it possible for software such as the Dragon Dictate to be used. The accuracy of speech recognition technology has already become a bit more sophisticated by the year 2001. 

It was 2011 when Apple decided to launch Siri. This is the same as Google’s Voice Search. This decade became the golden time for voice recognition apps. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home became widely used. 

How does Voice Recognition Work?

There is a difference between voice and speech recognition. Voice recognition works in a more sophisticated and personalized way. It is able to identify and authenticate the speaker. It works in such a way that it analyzes the patterns and other elements of a person’s voice. With this, it will be able to identify if the caller is an individual. 

Voice recognition has taken a step further as compared to speech recognition. While speech recognition recognizes the words, voice recognition ensures that it is only your voice that is recognized.

This way, the commands will be done according to your own advantage. For example, whenever you unlock your home, your voice is the only one that can be recognized. This way, your safety is ensured. 

Types of Voice Recognition Systems:

There are two types of voice recognition, text-dependent and text-independent. Here are the differences: 

  • Text-Dependent

This is the type of voice recognition system that depends on the text that the person speaks. For this type of system, step-up authentication and identity verification are required. User enrollment is required and for it to be activated, the speaker must say the required phrase. 

  • Text Independent

On the other hand, text-independent voice recognition technology does not depend on a specific text. It relies only on conversational speech. The authentication does not require speaker identification using a set number or phrase. 

Advantages of Voice Recognition Technology

Businesses need to understand that voice recognition technology is already the trend. There are different benefits that they will be able to get from it when they include this to their own strategies. Here are the different advantages of voice recognition technology:

  • Reach Elusive Prospects

Today, the market consists of Millennial and Generation Z. With this, every business has to look into the characteristics of their prospect market to be able to sell. Members of these generations are considered as digital experts. Voice recognition technology is certainly a hit for them. 

  • Generate Personal Conversations

Every customer would appreciate a personal conversation. This is the best way on how they can easily present their needs without any difficulty. These personal conversations can be generated using voice AI. It will make people and prospect customers feel that they are given priority. This is good for business as it provides a connection between the company and the individuals. 

  • Reach Multiple Users at Once

Unlike call centres where the individuals can only talk to one person at a time, voice AI is something that can be more efficient. With voice recognition technology, it is now easier to reach different users all at once. This is something that makes it easier for businesses to increase the number of their customers and deal with multiple concerns. 

Voice recognition technology is continuously improving. As time passes by, it is becoming more and more sophisticated. Companies are not stopping in exploring different ways on how to improve it. In the next years, it will certainly grow bigger and most businesses will certainly depend on it for their marketing.

Also Read Benefits of Voice Assistant Technology


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Different Internet Connection Types and How to Choose The Best?




Whether you are moving to a new home or looking to change your current provider, you need to know the ins and outs of the internet industry to make the right choice at the right time. For starters, there are several internet connection types in the market at present, each of which has multiple providers offering hundreds of plans.

If you haven’t shopped for the internet before, then this variety may easily put you under a spell of confusion, wasting your time, energy, and resources. So, how can you make sense out of the noise? How can you compare the connection types accurately? And, most importantly, how can you reach the best possible verdict?

This post will serve as your guide in this process; shedding light on the top internet connection types one by one and helping you finalize the most suitable type for your home. Let’s dive in.

Cable Internet

“Cable internet is a common connection type, which is available to 90% of the U.S. population. It leverages the existing television wiring in a community to transmit broadband to people’s homes. ” 

The data travels in the form of radiofrequency signals through a network of copper coaxial cables, which withstand weather interferences and offer a strong reception. Cable internet employs the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver faster download speeds, starting from 100 Mbps and going all the way up to 1 Gig, depending on the hybridity of the network.

One of the top cable internet providers in the market is cox internet, which offers high-speed cable internet to its subscribers through an HFC or Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial system with a ‘last mile’ coaxial line. Here are the merits and demerits of cable:



  • Affordable costs as compared to fiber
  • Faster speeds than DSL
  • Bundling Opportunities
  • Available in urban and suburban areas only
  • Slower speeds during peak traffic hours
  • Upload speed < Download Speed

DSL Internet

DSL stands for ‘Digital Subscriber Line’ and is a type of internet connection that leverages the existing telephone wiring in a community to transmit broadband to people’s homes.

Like cable, it has a 90% presence in America, with a sharp focus on the low-lying suburbs. DSL is a descendent of the ancient dial-up network, but it uses a frequency that allows a simultaneous transference of bandwidth and audio data through the copper cables. Meaning, you can call and surf the internet at the same time.

The latest iteration of DSL is VDSL (very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line) which delivers home internet, HDTV, and phone in an integrated manner on a single line. AT&T Internet is one of the best DSL providers in the market, with an American Customer Satisfaction Index rating of 68/100 and a download speed climbing up to 100 Mbps, meeting cable head-on. Here are the pros and cons of DSL internet:

Merits Demerits
  • Affordable costs as compared to cable & fiber
  • No peak usage slowdown
  • Upgrade from dial-up
  • Available in urban and suburban areas only
  • Distance sensitivity
  • Slower speeds than cable & fiber

Fibre-Optic Internet

Fibre-optic internet is the gold standard in the whole market as of now. Instead of radio frequencies and copper infrastructures, this internet connection type uses ultra-sophisticated glass-based wires, known as fibre-optics, to deliver broadband signals in the form of ultra-fast light pulses to people’s homes.

Because of its state-of-the-art technology and a complex installation process, fibre internet is not yet available on a massive scale and has a mere 32% presence in all of America. Verizon Fios is a top-performing fibre internet provider with plans starting at $39.99/month for speeds that exceed 1 Gig. Here is an overview of fiber:

Merits Demerits
  • Fastest symmetrical speeds available 
  • Scalable technology
  • Resistance to electromagnetic interferences
  • Limited availability 
  • High installation costs
  • Speeds exceed an average user’s requirement

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is the best connection type for rural residents who can’t get access to cable or fibre networks. It works like this: A satellite provider transmits broadband signals to an orbiting satellite in the outer space, which in turn, beams them directly to a satellite dish mounted on the rooftop of a subscriber’s home.

Signals from the satellite dish travel to a receiver, which converts them into usable data for the connected devices in the area. All in all, satellite internet has 100% availability in the US, and its top two providers, HughesNet & ViaSat, are working on delivering 25 Mbps+ speeds to all homes in its coverage area. Here are the pros and cons of satellite internet:

Merits Demerits
  • Greatest availability nationwide – urban & rural
  • Passes FCC’s definition of broadband
  • More affordable than mobile data plans
  • Speeds need improvement
  • Signal stability prone to weather interferences
  • Low data caps

Final Verdict   Cable internet is a high-speed, low-cost option that is ideal for an average consumer. DSL is a low-cost, low-speed option, best for people who have basic web needs.

Fiber is a high-speed, high-cost option for people who have high-end web needs. And, the satellite is a low-speed, high-cost option, perfect for people who live in rural areas and lack wired broadband access. See where you fit on the spectrum and then, select the right connection type for yourself. 


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Benefits of Retail Merchandising for Your Business




As you might know already, merchandising is the process of designing and arranging all of the goods within your retail space. It helps create a better visual image, make the experience more fun, and attract more customers to your product. 

“Simply put, it’s not just about what you are selling – it’s also about how you present it to your customers. The same rules apply for both online and in-store selling. However, merchandising isn’t only about arranging products in a certain way.” 

It also involves various promotions, signage, the layout of the whole store, and pricing. If you’re thinking about doing merchandising, here are some of the benefits you should know. 

It Helps You Advertize 

Not all merchandising has to be done for the direct purpose of selling products or displaying their prices. Retailers can use it in different ways to promote themselves to customers and advertise. With the right retail merchandising, products, animations, and visual elements, you can simply showcase your brand or store. 

In case you are selling major brands at your store, you can use their appeal to promote your own brand. By combining these famous brands with your logo and other brand assets, you’ll be able to spark attention and make your store memorable.

Consider using technology platforms to integrate digital assets within your physical store. On the other hand, you can also do this for your digital store by creating layouts with added animations and special effects that don’t directly offer products. 

Merchandising Boosts Sales 

There’s a lot of research proving that merchandising increases retail sales. It improves the overall bottom line, and this is the goal of any store. All merchandising practices, including sales signs, promotions, events, product packaging, displays, and pricing, can increase sales. 

At the same time, your customers will have a better shopping experience, which means they won’t buy something once and never ever return to your store. Quality merchandising lets you maximize the potential of your space and boost sales. 

There’s no need to renovate the area or expand your space if you want to get more sales. When customers see attractive merchandising, your products will look more appealing to them. At the same time, they will associate it with your brand and come back for future purchases. 

Improved Customer Experience 

Merchandising has an important effect on the overall customer experience. First of all, it affects the whole ambience of your store and how it looks. The look of your store can have a great effect on customers. It’s not only appealing, but it can be logical and guide customers on their journey towards a purchase.

“More specifically, visual merchandising can help you with this. Humans are visual beings – we process visual information a lot quicker than text. ” 

If you create a store that looks nice, makes people feel comfortable, and clearly indicates what they need to do to finish a purchase, they will have a fantastic shopping experience. For this, they will repay you with their loyalty. 

Makes Your Products Look More Valuable 

As we mentioned at the start, it’s not only about how good products are, but also about how you present them. Arranging them properly with retail merchandising can make them look more valuable to customers. 

It can showcase their best sides and make them look even more special. At the same time, visual merchandising methods can be used to highlight products that are in low demand to help improve their sales. After all, customers want only the best. 

If they see that a certain product is displayed to stand out from the rest, they will think that it’s something special. Simply put, merchandising is a good option for making products stand out to customers and grab their attention. 

Modern merchandising practices also incorporate AI solutions that will showcase the right products to the right people. You can collect valuable information about customers and do “flexible” merchandising that’s personalized for every customer who visits your website. 

Tell Your Brand Story 

Retail brands need to have their own brand stories. Furthermore, they need to find as many ways as possible to share that story with their potential customers. That’s how you can build more relevance within your industry and stand out from so much competition. 

Merchandising lets you use a variety of visual elements for expressing your story and setting the tone of your brand. Through this, you can help customers recognize that you are the brand that they are looking for. 

Pointing out their pain points and giving solutions is the core of getting customer attention. It’s a more genuine and effective approach than pitching sales in a traditional and obvious way. 


Yes, retail merchandising costs money. However, when done properly, it can give you a great ROI and boost your brand. It will help you create a stable base of customers you can always rely on for steady sales. 

Also, Read Tips to Create Online Profitable Store


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Facial recognition tech: risks, regulations and future startup opportunities in the EU




Facial recognition differs from the conventional camara surveillance, as it is not a mere passive recording, but rather it entails identification of an individual by comparing newly capture images with those images saved in a data base.

The status in Europe

Although facial recognition is not yet specifically regulated in Europe, it is covered by the General Data Privacy Regulation – GDPR – as a means of collecting and processing personal biometric data, including facial data and fingerprints. Therefore, facial recognition is only possible under the criteria of the GDPR.

Biometric data provides a high level of accuracy when identifying an individual due to the uniqueness of the identifiers (facial image or fingerprint) and a great potential to improve business security.

The processing of biometric data, which is considered sensitive data, is in principle prohibited with some exceptions, such as, for reasons of substantial public interests, to protect the vital interest of the data holder or another person, or if data holder has given its explicit consent, to name some.

Moreover, other factors such as proportionality or power imbalance are considered to determine if it is a valid exception, for instance, facial recognition can be considered disproportionate to track attendance in a school, since less intrusive options are available. Also even when the data holder has explicitly consented to the processing of biometric data, consideration should be given to potential imbalance of power dynamics between the individual data holder and the institution processing the data. For instance in a student and school scenario, there could be doubts as to whether the consent of the parents of a student to the use of facial recognition techniques, is freely given in the manner intended by the GDPR and therefore, a valid exception to the prohibition of processing.

One of the challenges in this field is that the underlying technology used for facial recognition, for instance AI, can present serious risks of bias and discrimination, affecting and discriminating many people without the social control mechanism that governs human behaviour. Bias and discrimination are inherent risks of any societal or economic activity. Human decision-making is not immune to mistakes and biases. However, the same bias when present in AI could have a much larger effect.

Authentication vs. identification

Obviously biometrics for authentication (which is described as a security mechanism), is not the same as remote biometric identification (which is used for instance in airports or public spaces, to identify multiple persons’ identities at a distance and in continuous manner by checking them against data stored in a database).

The collection and use of biometric information used for facial recognition and identification in public spaces carries specific risks for fundamental rights. In fact, the European Commission (EC) has warned that remote biometric identification is the most intrusive form of facial recognition and it is in principle prohibited in Europe.

So where is all this going?

What should prevail: the protection of fundamental rights, or the advancement that comes with invasive and overpowering new technologies?

New technologies, like AI, bring some benefits, such as technological advancement and more efficiency and economic growth, but at what cost?

Using a risk-based approach the EC has considered the use of AI for remote biometric identification and other intrusive surveillance technologies to be high-risk, since it could compromise fundamental rights such as human dignity, non-discrimination and privacy protection.

The EU Commission is currently investigating whether additional safeguards are needed or whether facial recognition should not be allowed in certain cases, or certain areas, opening the door for a debate regarding the scenarios that could justify the use of facial recognition for remote biometric identification.

Artificial intelligence entails great benefits but also several potential risks, such as opaque decision-making, gender-based or other kinds of discrimination, intrusion in our private lives or being used for criminal purposes.

To address these challenges, the Commission in its white paper on AI, issued in February this year, has proposed a new regulatory framework on high risk AI, and a prior conformity assessment, including testing and certification of AI facial recognition high risk systems to ensure that they abide by EU standards and requirements.

The regulatory framework will include additional mandatory legal requirements related to training data, record-keeping, transparency, accuracy, oversight and application-based use, and specific requirements for some AI applications, specifically those designed for remote biometric facial recognition.

We should then expect new regulation coming, with the aim to have an AI system framework, compliant with current legislation and that does not compromise fundamental rights.

Opportunities for startups?

Facial recognition technologies are here to stay, therefore, so if you are thinking about changing your hair colour, watch out as your phone might not recognize you! With the speed in which facial recognition is growing, we should not wait too long for new forms of ‘selfie payment’.

Facial recognition is already been used quite successfully in several areas, among them:

  1. Health: Where thanks to face analysis is already possible to track patience use of mediation more accurately;
  2. Market and retail: Where facial recognition promises the most, as ‘knowing your customer’ is a hot topic, this means placing cameras in retail outlets to analyze the shopper behavior and improve the customer experience, subject of course to the corresponding privacy checks; and,
  3. Security and law enforcement: That is, to find missing children, identify and track criminals or accelerate investigations.

With lots of choices on the horizon for facial recognition, it remains to be seen whether European startups will lead new innnovations in this area.


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