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Why Would Prosthetic Arms Need to See or Connect to Cloud AI?

Based on “Connected Arms”, a keynote talk at the O’Reilly AI Conference delivered by Joseph Sirosh, CTO for AI at Microsoft. Content reposted from this O’Reilly Media website.

There are over 1 million new amputees every year, i.e. one every 30 seconds – a truly shocking statistic.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 30 to 100 million people around the world are living with limb loss today. Unfortunately, only 5-15% of this population has access to prosthetic devices.

Although prostheses have been around since ancient times, their successful use has been severely limited for millennia by several factors, with cost being the major one. Although it is possible to get sophisticated bionic arms today, the cost of such devices runs into tens of thousands of dollars. These devices are just not widely available today. What’s more, having these devices interface satisfactorily with the human body has been a massive issue, partly due to the challenges of working with the human nervous system. Such devices generally need to be tailored to work with each individual’s nervous system, a process that often requires expensive surgery.

Is it possible for a new generation of human beings to finally help us break through these long-standing barriers?

Can prosthetic devices learn to adapt to us, as opposed to the other way around?

A Personalized Prosthetic Arm for $100?

In his talk, Joseph informs us about how, using the combination of:

  • Low-cost off-the-shelf electronics,
  • 3D-printing, and
  • Cloud AI, for intelligent, learned, personalized behavior,

it is now becoming possible to deliver prosthetic arms at a price point of around $100.

Joseph takes the smartARM as an example of such a breakthrough device. A prototype built by two undergraduate students from Canada who recently won the first prize in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, the smartARM is 3D-printed, has a camera in the palm of its hand and is connected to the cloud. The magic is in the cloud, where a computer vision service recognizes the objects seen by the camera. Deep learning algorithms then generate the precise finger movements needed to grasp the object near the arm. Essentially, the cloud vision service classifies the object and generates the right grip or action, such as a pincer action to pick up a bunch of keys on a ring, or a palmar action to pick up a wineglass. The grip itself is a learned behavior which can be trained and customized.

The user of the prosthetic arm triggers the grip (or its release) by flexing any muscle of their choice on their body, for instance, their upper arm muscle. A myoelectric sensor located in a band that is strapped over that muscle detects the signal and triggers the grip or its release.

Simple, Adaptable Architecture

The architecture of this grip classification solution is shown below. The input to the raspberry pi on the smartARM comes from camera and the muscle sensor. These inputs are sent to the Azure Custom Vision Service, an API in the cloud which has been trained on grip classifications and is able to output the appropriate grip. This grip is sent back to an Arduino board in the smartARM which can then trigger the servo motors that realize that grip in the physical world, i.e. as soon as the smartARM gets the signal to do so from the muscle sensor.

This is an adaptable architecture. It can be customized to the kinds of movements you want this arm to generate. For instance, the specific individual using this prosthetic can customize the grips for the objects in their daily life which are the ones they care the most about. The muscle sensor -based trigger could be replaced with a speech trigger, if so desired.

Summary

AI is empowering a new generation of developers to explore all sorts of novel ideas and mashups. Through his talk on “Connected Arms”, Joseph shows us how the future of prosthetic devices can be transformed by the power of the cloud and AI. Imagine a world in which all future assistive devices are empowered with AI in this fashion. Devices would adapt to individuals, rather than the other way around. Assistive devices will become more affordable, intelligent, cloud-powered and personalized.

Cloud AI is letting us build unexpected things that we would scarcely have imagined.

Such as like an arm that can see.

The AI / ML Blog Team

Kabbage: Line-of-credit product can boost channel margins

Kabbage Inc., a fintech company based in Atlanta, is bringing its style of digital disruption to the IT channel.

The company’s newly launched channel venture lets partners offer their small-business customers a Kabbage line of credit. The company said its financing product, which provides small businesses with lines of credit up to $250,000, boosts partner margins and provides a recurring revenue stream. Fintechs such as Kabbage are challenging traditional financial services firms.

Kabbage provides upfront commissions to partners that include the offering as part of a customer sale. The line of credit may be used to finance any product or service the channel partner provides. Beyond the initial transaction, however, the small business may continue to use Kabbage financing for any business need.

Partners receive recurring revenue based on a customer’s continuing use of the line of credit. Kabbage pays partners every time a customer uses the line of credit for the lifetime of the customer.

Noel Hillman, head of sales at KabbageNoel Hillman

Initially, Kabbage has primarily targeted telecommunications and unified communications agents and master agents with the financing product. Noel Hillman, head of sales at Kabbage, said the telecom orientation stems from his experience as a channel executive with a collaboration vendor. But he noted the Kabbage approach to small-business financing can also work with other types of resellers and managed services providers.

“What every company is really looking for is a new distribution channel,” Hillman said. “The IT channel was a good fit for Kabbage.”

Kabbage line of credit: Business, channel benefits

Hillman said the financing product helps channel-partner customers, noting that every small business “faces working capital issues day in and day out.” For partners, Kabbage’s commission structure provides incentives to offer Kabbage financing as part of their regular sales cycle.

The commissions add margin to a deal, and the potential for additional margin stems from the customer’s ability to purchase products and services through the Kabbage line of credit that they would not have otherwise.

The IT channel was a good fit for Kabbage.
Noel Hillmanhead of sales at Kabbage

The financing can help partners improve services margins, in particular. Hillman said small businesses’ typical financing options usually don’t cover services and apply only to certain products. This situation compels the channel partner to compromise on services in order to make the deal. But the ability to apply the Kabbage line of credit to services, as well as products, keeps margins intact.

“We can allow that agent to keep the margin and offer more services to the end customers,” Hillman said.

In the IT channel, distributors have traditionally played a financing role. Hillman said Kabbage can provide an alternative to distributor financing, but can also supplement what distributors offer.

“We can enhance that financing … if [agents] want to offer more services,” he said.

In addition to small-business customers, channel partners can also obtain a Kabbage line of credit. Partners may need funds to support a business model transition or a new line of business.

Qualifying for credit

Small-business customers can qualify for Kabbage financing in about seven minutes, according to Hillman. The company uses integrations with Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software and other financial applications to obtain a small business’s revenue and transaction data. The data is then loaded in Kabbage’s underwriting algorithm to determine the amount of credit for which the small business qualifies.

As of December 2017, the company had extended more than $4 billion in financing to small businesses.

“Our qualification process is extremely data-driven versus the old-school banking method,” Hillman said.

However, the finer points of financing arrangements will be left to Kabbage and not the channel partner.

“The way we set it up, we are handling the more difficult financial conversations that go along with the product,” Hillman explained, noting that agents can focus on the other products and services they offer customers.

Cambium Networks certified in Express Wi-Fi by Facebook program

Wi-Fi vendor Cambium Networks, based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., has been certified in a Facebook Wi-Fi program that looks to expand internet connectivity to underserved locations around the world. Express Wi-Fi by Facebook works with carriers, internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to provide affordable internet access in public yet remote places.

Currently, Express Wi-Fi by Facebook is live in India, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia. The program allows access point (AP) manufacturers like Cambium to build Wi-Fi hardware that’s compatible with Express Wi-Fi by Facebook.

Cambium, a global provider of wireless network services, is one of the first Wi-Fi vendors to join Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi certified ecosystem, Cambium said in a statement this week. Cambium works with service providers and enterprise network operators to build edge connectivity. It specializes in providing end-to-end wireless fabric of cloud-managed platforms.

In the Facebook partnership, Cambium is enabling network deployment with its Frictionless Wi-Fi cnPilot enterprise-access service, Cambium president and CEO Atul Bhatnagar said in a statement. The cnPilot Wi-Fi products feature indoor and outdoor APs that can be installed in new or existing wireless local area networks.

The Express Wi-Fi network requires Wi-Fi vendors to support specific communications protocols to enable Facebook internet service provider partners to deploy Express Wi-Fi networks, according to Chetan Hebbalae, senior director of product management at Cambium. Facebook approves only Wi-Fi vendors that have passed its interoperability qualifications, he added.

As the goal of the Express Wi-Fi by Facebook program is to provide internet access to remote places, Bhatnagar noted approximately 3.8 billion people are unconnected around the world.

Nyansa provides free network insights

Network analytics vendor Nyansa Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., is making worldwide network data freely available. The data has been collected by Nyansa’s Voyance software-as-a-service platform that monitors hundreds of business networks with millions of end-user client devices. 

The free and public dashboard, called Voyance Live, is the first and only repository of network analytics, Nyansa said in a statement. The service was developed to help network professionals gain insight into the behavior of business networks that are not their own.

Voyance Live updates continually and provides insights into various network issues, service performance and client incidents. The aggregated network insights include the top Wi-Fi APs, best and worst performing applications, a breakdown of enterprise client devices in use by operating system, as well as the top issues affecting network performance.

Voyance Live does not share customer data but gleans anonymous insights and analytics from enterprise networks. The service can provide organizations with quantifiable answers to network issues by using real network data.

Voyance Live uses wired and wireless network data from more than 12 million client devices and hundreds of thousands of Wi-Fi APs under observation within Voyance, Nyansa’s commercial network analytics service. By using cloud sourcing, Voyance Live collects and processes petabytes of network data, analyzing billions of client events and detecting tens of thousands of incidents.

SevOne to add support for VMware NSX SD-WAN

SevOne, a Boston-based network and infrastructure management services provider, said its SevOne SD-WAN Monitoring Solution will support VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud. SevOne’s SD-WAN monitoring tool, released earlier this year, is designed to help managed service providers (MSPs) that offer network services over multi-tenant, multivendor networks.

The SevOne SD-WAN Monitoring Solution supports WAN infrastructures from Cisco, Huawei, Juniper, Nokia and others. It also supports Cisco SD-WAN. VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud provides bandwidth expansion, as well as access to data and enterprise and cloud applications.

MSPs need to view and access network performance data from the complex services running across their MPLS-based services, as well as hybrid WAN services, SevOne said in a statement.

The latest SevOne SD-WAN service, scheduled for release later this year, will provide real-time and historical insight into enterprise and service provider networks with customizable dashboards for network operations and engineering, product owners and business executives. MSPs can use SevOne’s SD-WAN monitoring tool for visibility across their entire service delivery path, including enterprise Wi-Fi from campus to branch and software-defined data centers.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – £200 laptop

Brother administers a Facebook page and is writing a book based on the material so needs to organise text and store images

He’s useless with tech and I don’t honestly see he can get anything useful for less than £350-£400 he won’t ultimately regret

Am I wrong? I’d sooner pick up something better spec and second hand from one of you fine people.

Location: DERBY

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Media PC Antec Minuet Phenom X4 8GB + 240GB SSD

I have an Antec Minuet Case based build with the following spec:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 955 3200MHz
  • Crucial 8GB (4X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory Kit CL4 2.0V
  • GA-MA78GPM-DS2H Motherboard with ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics (HDMI/DVI/VGA ports)
  • Crucial BX200 240GB SSD (+ 300GB HDD)
  • BluRay Drive
  • Windows 10 x64

Sides of Antec Case are scratched – as shown in photos. The front is not as bad.

Could also add a Asus Radeon R7 240 Passive Silent graphics card for £40 – I did do some light PC gaming with this card.

A fairly quiet PC (apart from HDD noise) – was used for a while as Media PC in living room in the TV cabinet. But once the better media players came out I stopped using it. I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and did a Reset on it with a view to selling it on.

£150 + postage (excluding the R7).
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Price and currency: £150
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT
Location: Ilford, Essex
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.