Tech Roundup – Week #1 August 2020

Microsoft to buy TikTok

In a surprise move it was revealed this weekend that Microsoft are attempting to purchase the popular viral video app TikTok. News of this comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump announcing he will be banning the use of the app in the US. 

It is believed that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called President Trump personally seek his administrations blessing for the deal. 

At this stage it is understood that both parties have 45 days to flesh out the details of the deal, which is said to be in an early stage. Key details such as price still need to be agreed upon.


Ref: Bloomberg

AI Foundation raises to create “ethical” AI agents

The AI Foundation has closed a $17 million funding round to develop “ethical” AI agents. Conceptually, these agents will be able to mirror the user’s personality. COVID-19 has pushed companies towards virtual communication and interactions which is giving way to a new wave of AI tech potential. 

The ethical implications are called into question because of the convincing nature of Deepfake technology and the effects it could have on the world. 


Ref: VentureBeat

Volograms raises and receives Epic MegaGrant

Closer to home, Irish based volumetric capture studio Volograms have had a big week. First Volograms were awarded an Epic MegaGrant to develop their Unreal Engine SDK. With UE5 being revealed in the last few months, this will hopefully be a excellent partnership for Volograms.

In a second announcement for the week, Volograms also secured €1.5 million in funding to further develop their tech. This funding came from a combination of Sure Valley Ventures, Atlantic Bridge University Funding and Enterprise Ireland. 


Ref: Volograms

Ref: Irish Times

OpenCV AI Kit Kickstarted in 20 minutes

To celebrate the 20th year anniversary of OpenCV, a Kickstarter campaign was been launched to developer the OpenCV AI Kit (OAK), a MIT-licensed, open sourced software and Myriad  X-based hardware solution for computer vision.

Two models are available that provide spatial AI leveraging stereo depth in addition to the 4K/30 12MP camera. The models can be trained to detect anything but come with a series of pre-trained versions which can detect multiple objects, vehicles, people and poses.


Ref: Kickstarter

Huawei tops Samsung as world’s top smartphone company

Finally, the big news in the smartphone industry. Huawei has overtaken Samsung as the world’s no.1 smartphone company. While both companies have been feeling the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Huawei did manage to sell 55.8 million devices in the second quarter of 2020, with Samsung selling 53.7 million devices.

This success is largely in thanks to Huawei’s dominance in the Chinese market where 70% of their devices are sold. 


Ref: MarketWatch

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