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Weekly Inspirations: July 1st, 2016

Sorry for the week off but I was enjoying a long overdue holiday from pretty much everything. But back in the saddle again and here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

How Anki Created A Pixar-Inspired, AI-Powered Toy Robot That Feels

Until now, San Francisco-based Anki, which topped our list of the Most Innovative Companies in Robotics last year, has been known for reinventing remote control cars. Its self-driving toys race around a track powered by artificial intelligence and onboard sensors and controlled by a smartphone. With Cozmo, the startup is unveiling a far bigger accomplishment today, says Sofman, “a new frontier,” not just in the rapidly growing sector of smart toys but in robotics in general. At $179.99, it’s both a pricey interactive companion (it starts shipping in October) as well as a bargain for an open-development platform featuring robotics, AI, computer vision, and animation.
Read the article here

Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York

An artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free, showing that chatbots can actually be useful. Dubbed as “the world’s first robot lawyer” by its 19-year-old creator, London-born second-year Stanford University student Joshua Browder, DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets in an easy to use chat-like interface. The program first works out whether an appeal is possible through a series of simple questions, such as were there clearly visible parking signs, and then guides users through the appeals process. The results speak for themselves. In the 21 months since the free service was launched in London and now New York, Browder says DoNotPay has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets.
Read the article here

Amazon’s Alexa May Soon Be Able to Pay Your Bills

Citigroup is testing Amazon’s voice recognition technology as part of an upgrade to its mobile banking app. Another gee-whiz feature that Citi is planning on adding to it app: the ability to log into your bank account using your face. Biometrics is one part of larger upgrade of its mobile banking app that Citi is planning on releasing in the fourth quarter. At first, though, the bank is only giving access to the new app to its Citigold customers, before rolling it out to the rest of its customers. Heather Cox, who runs Citi Fintech, said the bank also is close to inking partnerships with a number of fintech start-ups in order to add peer-to-peer payments and other functions to its app. Cox said she was not ready to announce what start-ups Citi might partner with.
Read the article here

How Fashion Brands Are Starting To Design Like Tech Companies

For a performance brand like Lululemon, which has large R&D department for testing new fabric and textile technology, selling their prototypes and analyzing the sell-through data makes sense. And as the technology of activewear seeps its way into everyday clothing, other brands have developed similar models. Instead of putting together case studies, these companies are making their customers the lab rats—essentially, letting the market play a hand in the design of their products.
Read the article here

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