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SW companies shine at CES 2019

The region’s leading tech companies are out in force at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. From AI to voice control, mid air haptics to the latest VR displays, companies are meeting partners and customers to show their latest developments.

Bristol chip designer XMOS is showing its far field voice capture technology at the show.

“We are one of many exciting tech companies flying the flag for Bristol here in Las Vegas at CES 2019,” said Mark Lippett, CEO of XMOS. “XMOS tech delivers accurate voice-capture from across the room – even in a noisy environment. We’re driving rapid development in microphone array, algorithms and artificial intelligence to bring a more seamless ‘human’ experience to our interactions with virtual assistants like Alexa. Voice technology is becoming mainstream in consumer electronics and our technology is at the heart of it.”

XMOS is demonstrating the world’s first voice-activated personal assistant device that listens to where you are – and then speaks only to you. Holosonics has combined its patented directional speaker technology with XMOS VocalSorcery microphone hardware to point an audio reply directly at the person who queried the device.

“The Holosonics team is thrilled about the partnership we forged with XMOS to bring together XMOS spatial audio capture expertise with Audio Spotlight directional sound to create what we believe is the next level in personal assistant device technology,” said Dr F. Joseph Pompei, CEO and founder of Holosonics. “By incorporating the option of focused sound into the existing available features of a personal assistant, we find ourselves in the very exciting position of creating the next chapter in the evolution of assistive voice-activated devices.”

Other products using XMOS technology at the show include Pillo (above), a healthcare companion from PilloHeath that was honoured in the 2019 Innovation Awards and ShadeCraft, a robotics and technology company based in Los Angeles that’s using XMOS technology for self-operating, weather-optimised, smart-home hubs in parasols for outdoor living.

Ultrahaptics is showing its mid air haptics technology for a wide range of applications, making physical buttons and touchscreens disappear in cars, and designing, developing, collaborating and learning using 3D environments with AR, as well as bringing magic to VR play.

After winning awards at last year’s show, it is working with distributor Arrow Electronics on an interactive installation that shows the services they provide through the life of a product using Ultrahaptics’ mid air touch tech.

Plessey in Plymouth has been honoured in the CES 2019 Innovation Awards, and is showcasing its microLED technology at the event. It is working with material supplier Nanoco Technologies to shrink the pixel size of its displays using Nanoco’s cadmium free quantum dot (CFQD quantum dots) nanoparticles.

Plessey will integrate the CFQD quantum dots into selected regions of blue LED wafers to add red and green light, shrinking the pixel size from today’s 30µm to just 4µm for smaller, higher-resolution, microLED displays in applications such as AR/VR devices, watches, and mobile devices.

“The nano-sized emitters with narrow band emission make them a suitable solution for Plessey’s microLED display roadmap, which will see pixels being driven down to 4µm in size by 2019,” said Mike Lee, President of Corporate and Business Development at Plessey.

In AR/VR goggles or head-up displays, Plessey’s microLEDs already offer ten times the resolution, 100 times the contrast ratio, and up to 1,000 times the brightness with half the power consumption, doubling battery life in portable devices.

From Graphcore, the region’s first billion dollar chip ‘unicorn’, Victoria Rege is looking at the technical definitions and use cases associated with AI and exploring its potential in the conference. As the head of Strategic Partnerships, she is expanding on the opportunities, fears and requirements of the consumer technology industry to support AI’s continued growth and evolution.

Silas Adekunle, CEO and co-founder of Reach Robotics, is also at the show to discuss the evolution of robotics.