Technology is changing in the blink of an eye.
The world of human augmentation and artificial intelligence (AI) is incredibly fast-paced, there’s no denying that. Technology is changing in the blink of an eye. When you think of human augmentation, you likely think of sci-fi flicks. We’re actually not too far away from the stuff we see in movies. And some of the key AI trends technology watchers are paying attention to include hyper-automated business processes, AI being used for the greater good and an emphasis on responsible and sustainable (or ethical) AI development practices. Learn how Steadiwear and Durham College’s AI Hub are poised for the future.
“The image of family members struggling with simple daily tasks, such as pouring hot coffee, was burned into my memory,” says Mark Elias, CEO of Steadiwear, the company behind the Stead-Two, a glove designed to reduce the severity of hand tremors in those with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.
Elias was having a coffee with his grandmother when her hand tremor flared and she spilled piping-hot
coffee, scalding her hand. This unfortunate incident inspired Elias, a structural engineer, and his aunt, who’s a doctor, to come up with a way to help people suffering from tremors. “With an engineering background, a common habit is to tinker with different concepts. From that moment, we began experimenting with weights, non-Newtonian fluid dampers, conventional tuned mass dampers and powered actuators. Nothing came close to the magnetic stabilizers we use today in terms of efficacy and simplicity,” he explains.
The Steadi-One, the company’s first product, sold out last year, and the Steadi-Two is currently in the pre-order phase. “The Steadi-One is the first-generation device that Steadiwear released. A first batch of units was produced and rolled out to early adopters,” says Elias. “It performed well, with significant tremor reduction and improvement in daily activities. However, invaluable feedback was gathered from those early adopters regarding form factor and function. All the feedback was incorporated into our second generation, the Steadi-Two. Its size was significantly reduced, and its function significantly improved to better meet user requirements,” he says. “The feedback for the Steadi-Two has been incredible and we couldn’t be more excited for its widescale release.”
Elias says the technology used for the Steadi-Two was inspired by engineering techniques used to keep buildings stable during earthquakes. “It is comprised of a disk, controlled by magnets, that move in the opposite direction of tremor to create and equal and opposite force, reducing tremor amplitude. The Steadi-Two will allow individuals with tremors to go about their daily activities with significantly less frustration.” The product will officially launch in April 2022. It can be used interchangeably on either the left or right hand, it weighs under one
pound, it’s machine-washable, battery-free, it’s non-intrusive and it offers significant tremor reduction — an 80 percent reduction of tremor amplitude in lab testing.
The team behind this life-changing technology are all about innovation. “Our team consists of talented and passionate engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. A sense of compassion has united us and fuelled our resolve to build the best tremor-proof device in the world and to provide tremor sufferers with the solution they deserve,” he says. “Drive and determination to innovate is at the core of our operation.”
When it comes to what’s on the horizon, Elias says the company’s full focus is on raising awareness for and the production and clinical testing of the Steadi-Two, but there will certainly be other products coming in the pipeline in the future.
The feedback for the Steadi-Two has been incredible and we couldn’t be more excited for its widescale release.
AI Hub at Durham College
Launched in 2017, Durham College’s Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions, affectionately known as the AI Hub, is housed within the school’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
It was designed to offer small- and medium-sized businesses an access point to the growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) — it offers businesses and industry partners access to their remarkable state-of-the-art facilities, their pool of ever-growing student talent and to the technical expertise of their staff. The aim is that the research projects worked on at the AI Hub will uncover exciting new insights and implement autonomous solutions to help improve companies’ productivity. AI certainly offers organizations a competitive advantage, and the AI Hub has helped businesses adopt machine-learning software into their daily operations.
The research and development coming out of the AI Hub is highly impressive. Ali Hirji is a project manager in the applied research department and according to him, their research themes are reflective of key areas of AI implementation. “We focus on sectors where we can help develop AI products that can integrate into existing operations. Our goal is to help clients see their return on investment in AI quickly and sustainably. Our three common themes touch on business applications, healthcare delivery and service enhancements — the common denominator is around using AI to enhance experiences, improve customer engagement and ensure businesses are deriving value from AI,” he says.
The team is currently working on about 16 projects — the details for some are kept under wraps. “Here is what I can say about all of them — there is no one-size-fits-all solution and each engagement places us uniquely within a client’s environment. I can say that we are not just building for function but scale as well — we don’t just show you how an AI product works, we help the client learn how to grow and scale it,” says Hirji.
It goes without saying but bears repeating that drive and determination are vital when it comes to the innovations coming out of the AI Hub. “We are driven to not only achieve new things, but we are also driven to overcome challenges. What drives us is seeing companies that previously didn’t think about AI realize their potential. And when students are driving this innovation, job growth, opportunities and economic development are stimulated. The AI Hub is the perfect marriage of people, process and technology.”
AI AT WORK
Projected global AI market value in 2025
Businesses that say
automating tasks (invoicing,
contract validation, etc.)
is the “second most crucial
use of AI”
Retail executives who expect
their retail companies will
adopt AI-powered intelligent
automation by 2027
Companies that don’t use AI but are interested and looking into it
CEOs who say AI is mainstream technology in their offices