Samsung unveils realistic digital humanoid at CES 2010
08 January 2020
South Korean electronics giant Samsung today unveiled a realistic digital humanoid, developed under Project Neon by Samsung-backed Star Labs, at CES, in Las Vegas. Neon is a digitally generated human that can visually look and emote like a human that Star Labs calls an “artificial human”.
Neon’s human simulations are powered by Star Labs’ Core R3 (Reality, Realitime, and Responsive) platform while Spectra powers the Neon’s Intelligence, Learning, Emotions, and Memory.
Project Neon aims at building a robot that can be used as an artificial service representative or a concierge, says Samsung.
“In the near future, one will be able to license or subscribe to a Neon as a service representative, a financial advisor, a healthcare provider, or a concierge. Over time, Neons will work as TV anchors, spokespeople, or movie actors; or they can simply be companions and friends.
“You may also be watching a film with synthetic actors, in the near future,” according to Star Labs.
Samsung announces Project Neon, realistic digital humanoid avatars
Teasers and scenarios were shown at CES, (a bunch of them leaked on Reddit before the announcement – video below), and it turns out these videos were all done with actors on camera, and not computer-generated as they led us to believe.
However, Samsung made the ‘simulations’shown at CES using actors “fictionalised and simulated for illustrative purposes only”, say reports.
Star Labs points out that Neon is not an AI-assistant. “You can’t ask it for news, weather, or interface the internet.”
Neon would be able to speak multiple languages, carry a conversation, and even pass the Turing test. This basically means that a Neon’s conversation and interaction would be indistinguishable from the same interaction with a human. The company also mentions that a Neon is a unique, individual human and never an exact replica.
Project Neon plans to release a beta project for a small number of partners by the end of 2020 so we expect to hear more about Neon at least somewhat before CES 2021.
Announcing the “Age of Experience” at the opening keynote at CES, Samsung Consumer Electronics president and CEO HS Kim heralded a decade of human-centric innovation that, he said, seamlessly combines hardware and software to create personalised experiences that make life more convenient, more enjoyable, and more meaningful.
“The Age of Experience will transform how we care for ourselves and our family, how we can customize our homes to meet our individual needs, and how we can build safer, more sustainable intelligent cities.”
Samsung is showcasing its latest advances in intelligent robotics, AI, 5G and edge computing, at CES, Las Vegas, offering a glimpse into the not-so-distant future in which these technologies will come together to offer richer, more adaptive experiences for consumers.
“In the Age of Experience, we need to re-think the space we have to accommodate our diverse and evolving lifestyles,” said HS Kim, president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division, Samsung Electronics. “What makes Samsung’s approach unique is the fact that we have a very clear philosophy built around human-centered innovation. We build and create to solve problems and enhance people’s lives.”
During his opening remarks, HS Kim unveiled Samsung’s vision of robots as ‘life companions,’ and introduced Ballie, a small, rolling robot that understands you, supports you, and reacts to your needs to be actively helpful around the house.
Sebastian Seung, executive vice president and chief research scientist at Samsung Electronics elaborated on Ballie, explaining that its On-Device AI capabilities enable it to be a fitness assistant and a mobile interface that seeks solutions for people’s changing needs. It does all this while maintaining stringent data protection and privacy standards.
“We believe AI is the future of personalised care,” stated Seung. “We see on-device AI as central to truly personalised experiences. On-device AI puts you in control of your information and protects your privacy, while still delivering the power of personalisation.”
Samsung is also showcasing advanced and personalised health solutions. For example, the company has collaborated with Kaiser Permanente to develop a home-based, virtual cardiac rehabilitation solution that pairs a Samsung smartwatch with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Samsung’s HeartWise application sends reminders to the patient to exercise, collects activity data, and continuously displays the patient’s heart rate during workouts. This data is automatically uploaded via the smartphone to the patient’s chart so that clinicians, case managers and physical therapists can track the patient’s progress and engage with them accordingly.
The programme enables users to partake in cardiac rehabilitation at home without taking time out of their everyday lives to travel to a hospital or medical clinic. The positive results of the home-based cardiac rehabilitation program were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst last year. Going forward, Samsung will continue to develop human-centric healthcare solutions that cater to the unique needs of the individuals who rely on them.
Samsung also offered a peek into the future home. Federico Casalegno, chief design Innovation Officer of Samsung Design Innovation Center, stated that the home will offer unique, immersive experiences with cutting-edge innovations like AI, sensors and data analysis: “As a living organism, the intelligent home will be a deeply personal space, tailoring experiences for each of us, according to our personal needs.”
He highlighted how spatial boundaries of the physical and digital worlds are dissolving, transforming living spaces into bespoke experience-spaces, like an art gallery, yoga studio or other forms of imaginable space. Such blurring of the two realms, according to Casalegno, is what will transform the home in the next decade.
He led the first-ever immersive demonstration involving Samsung’s GEMS (Gait Enhancing & Motivating System) technology. The demonstration showed how consumers can use AR glasses to work out with a virtual personal trainer, climb a mountain or walk underwater, from the comfort of their living room, while GEMS aggregated and analyzed results to give personalized action recommendations.
Samsung also showed how a room can be transformed with a screen like its MicroLED display, a convergence of software, AI, IoT and hardware. “A screen is not a product – it’s your window to the world, allowing you to instantly connect to your loved ones and friends as if they are in the same room,” said Dr. Casalegno, emphasizing that smart rooms can provide boundless experiences. “People can see and experience almost everything in the world and even the unknown world through the screen.”
Further, Samsung discussed the evolution of the modern culinary journey where appliances become cooking partners – a personal chef, nutritionist, and shopping assistant rolled into one. Intelligent and innovative technology can customize the entire food experience for consumers—from thoughtful recipe suggestions and meal planning tailored to personal preferences and what’s on-hand, to seamless grocery shopping, delivery and cooking. The company also highlighted a growing station for garden produce at home, and Bot Chef, a robotic food preparation assistant.
Samsung also outlined its smart cities vision, where intelligent systems enabled by smart devices, platforms and data, will make city life much safer and easier.
With IoT technology expanding its reach beyond the home to all types of buildings, Samsung’s core vision lies in saving energy, cutting down emissions and helping to achieve sustainability as populations grow.