Nothing brings an idea to life more than seeing it with your own eyes, and at Fujitsu Forum 2016 last month there were plenty of chances to do just that.
We heard so much about various strands of digital transformation and disruption, from artificial intelligence (AI) to automation. But throughout the event there were also opportunities to see those technologies in action.
Here are three of the most exciting technology demonstrations I saw during my three days in Munich.
Of course we can’t talk about technology innovation at Fujitsu Forum without mentioning this little guy: arguably the star of the whole show!
In case you missed it, RoboPin was the little robot waving his arms about in the demo centre and drawing an even bigger crowd than the morning pastries.
But RoboPin wasn’t just there to provide somewhat adorable entertainment – it was demonstrating how AI could be used in a customer service role, provided it can display the right level and range of emotions.
RoboPin can display emotions such as liveliness, sleepiness, or even happiness or unhappiness. And the more people around it the livelier it becomes.
The robot could potentially be used to deliver information to people in a way more akin to natural human interaction. Watch this space!
— Fujitsu Global (@Fujitsu_Global) November 16, 2016
The robot DHL’s Dr Markus Voss brought on stage couldn’t have looked more different from our Robopin, but it was no less brilliant to witness it following him onto the stage.
“I’d like to introduce my colleague,” Markus joked. “The EffiBOT.”
The EffiBOT is a fully automated trolley that follows warehouse employees around and carries out physical work for them, assisting them with their picking and packing.
Once the trolley is full, the worker sends it off on its own to deliver the products to the right part of the warehouse and another trolley comes to replace it.
Impressive stuff, and another example of AI and automation supporting humans in their roles rather than simply replacing them.
Read more about how DHL became a digital disruptor.
Kozo Otsuka’s AI wristwatch
Anyone who has seen Dr Joseph Reger speak will know he’s never lacking in the wow factor.
At the beginning of his keynote talk on AI he promised a surprise demonstration, and we certainly weren’t disappointed when it arrived.
‘It’ in this case was Fujitsu engineer Kozo Otsuka wearing an accelerometer sensor on his wrist that ‘learns’ what action he’s carrying out and displays it on the screen.
Case in point: the word ‘Walking’ flashed up on the screen as Kozo entered the stage, quickly to be replaced by ‘Handshaking’ as he greeted Dr Reger.
So how does the device learn and display these actions so accurately?
It works by measuring acceleration and attributing different levels to specific actions – Kozo successfully tested out ‘waving’ and later ‘clapping’ to demonstrate this – and it can grasp these actions in around five minutes using machine learning.
That learning is also transferable, meaning once the AI knows the actions another person can use the device with no need for further training.
At the end of the demo Dr Reger suggested that he and Kozo could commemorate the moment with a selfie. As Kozo raised his phone the words ‘Taking picture’ appeared on the screen.
An entertaining end to a fantastic display of AI!
Watch Dr Reger’s full talk below for much more AI insight…
Fujitsu Forum 2016 - Artificial Intelligence
And that was just a taste…
I spent some time during the event walking around the Demo Centre and was amazed by the sheer range of technology on display.
From racing car simulators to virtual reality headsets and a mock-up of what our offices could look like in future, there was plenty to get excited about.
Here are some pics from inside the centre…
Check out the Fujitsu Forum YouTube channel for lots more action from the event.
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