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From crypto trading and home workouts to EV batteries and microLED displays, CES’ Taiwan startups cover a wide range of tech

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For the past three years, the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has brought startups to CES . This year, its virtual pavilion, organized with Taiwan Tech Arena, is hosting 100 startups, organized into five categories: Smart Living, Tech for Good, Cybersecurity and Cloud, Healthcare and Wellness, and Mobility Tech. During two press events, 24 startups previewed their CES presentations, giving a sneak peek at what the pavilion will showcase.

In a press conference on Sunday, MOST’s head, Wu Tsung-tsong, said the pavilion’s goal is to help startups expand into more markets and find international investors. “Investing in Taiwanese startups means investing Taiwan,” he added.

Startups that presented during Taiwan Tech Arena’s press conference on Sunday:

All Good Energy provides an open platform for electric vehicle batteries that enables IoT functionality and constant communication with the cloud. This allows users to monitor battery performance and how much charge is left. Its open platform provides access to battery data through APIs and has been integrated into cargo fleets in Taiwan.

Aiphas says on average, nurses need to take care of nine patients at once, answering dozens of calls. The startup makes a smart ward solution, with a plug and play smart nurse call system called Aipha Call that helps them respond faster. Another feature, called Aipha-Eye, detects emergencies like fires or falls. The system can be deployed in five days. Aiphas has developed relationships with six top hospitals in Taiwan and is currently used in National Taiwan University Hospital’s Bei-Hu Branch.

Crypto-Arsenal is a cloud-based automatic crypto trading platform that lets users develop, backtest, simulate and live-trade their algorithmic trading strategies. To reduce trader risk, it uses smart contracts on the blockchain so traders only need to pay developers when they get profits. The platform is in public beta, with 700 users so far, who have made $10,000 USD in profit in three trading competitons. Crypto-Arsenal is partnered with National Taiwan University and sponsored by Binance, and will officially launch in the second quarter of 2021.

Koup makes performance wear with the aim of “circularity”—in other words, it uses recycled materials that can be recyled back into usable material in the future. Koup launched on Kickstarter with the Cinnamon shirt. Each one uses material from eight plastic bottles that is turned into pellets before being spun into fiber and cinnamon as a natural antimicrobial to eliminate order.

Uniigym provides an interactive fitness service with more than 1,000 fitness classes that can be streamed online, through smart TVs or internet set-top boxes, and community features. It offers two products: Uniihome, fitness classes for home workouts, and Uniicube, which creates virtual environments with a projector. Currently available in Taiwan, it will launch internationally this year.

Startups that previewed during a keynote on Tuesday

Mobility

3Drens is a data-driven IoT platform for commercial fleet owners, including logistics and vehicle rental. It enables asset management, preventative maintenace, driver behavior optimization and itinerary management. The platform is customizable and includes open data to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.

GenkiTek offers driver monitoring system that can detect potential distractions like eating, drinking or phone calls and send alerts to companies and drivers to reduce accidents. It has collected hundreds of thousands of driver images to train its AI system’s deep neural net for analyzing driver behavior.

Dartrays’ WHUD II is a windshield HUD (heads up display) with a patented optical path design. It can project images up to two to three meters, and is small enough to be installed as an after-market device. It projects information to help drivers see information without taking their eyes off the road.

Spatial Topology Technology develops location tech for mobile. It claims to have the largest map pool for indoor positioning in the e-commerce industry. Its solutions help brands develop their offline-to-online strategies, since many people go window shopping offline, checking out products before buying them online. The platform analyzes repeating customer behavior and includes brand engagement tools like geotargeted reward programs.

Health care and wellness

CloudMed makes iCare, an 8-in-1 sensor that can detect eight biometrics, including body age, heart rate, pulse wave transit time, dialostic and systolic blood pressure, oxygen saturation and tiredness and stress levels, using PPG optical sensors and ECG electrodes.

OFLO is a cloud-based walkie-talkie created for frontline workers that can’t look at screens while doing their jobs. OFLO is what the company describes as the world’s first dual-bone conduction wearable device, and unlike traditional walkie talkies, covers longer distances, has unlimited channels and is connected to software with auto-logging, transcription and cross-platform communication features.

Pulxion is a “personalized mobile hospital” that detects the warning signs of strokes. Meant as a first-line screening device for patients, it uses motion analysis, monitors pulses and performs neck scans to gauge a user’s risk of stroke.

Cybersecurity and Cloud Solutions

ArcRan’s iSecV box is a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) cybersecurity solution that monitors radio frequency signals, including WiFi, Zigbee, cellular V2X and dedicated short-range communicaitons to detect abnormal behavior. It gives warnings if anything is amiss, and is meant to make smart cities safer without affecting existing infrastructure.

Avalanche Computing offers a performance-optimized workflow for AI experts at SMEs, helping them redesign algorithms and deploy AI models. It can train AI models in parallel or distributed models on multiple GPUs.

I.X R2’s product is a wireless secure ebadge with a cryptokey inside, combining physical keys and software. The 3-in-1 badge features log-in authentication, data encryption and door entrance. Users own their cryptokeys, so they can manage door entrances and security with one platform.

Tresl is an e-commerce analytics platforms for brands on Shopify, designed to give them the same kind of insight as larger retailers so they can increase repeat revenue. It features pre-built segmentation and actionable insights.

Tech for Good

Ganzin is an AI-based eye tracking solution for integration into AR/VR devices and smart glasses. The lightweight, compact module is powered by Qualcomm XR or Ganzin’s in-house processor.

NUWA Robotics Platform’s Kebbi Air is an AI-based social robot that comes with a development platform to let brands create interactive content for it. Aimed at kids, it is currently used in 600 schools in Taiwan for STEAM and language education. The robot recognizes faces, objects, gestures, sound sources, voice and environmental context.

PlayNitride’s micro LED displays boosts 60% transparency and can be used for automotive displays, wearable devices and monitors.

Honeywld’s MyGuardian is a wearable for automated fall alerts. It is meant to help nurses and personal assistants working with elderly people in nursing homes, care centers or hospitals provide 24-hour monitoring.

Smart Living

FiduciaEdge helps smart cities keep data private by enhancing the security level of edge devices. Use cases include smart city transportation systems and manufacturing.

Eleclean‘s Share disinfectant devices feature replaceable bottles that turn water into disinfectant with hydrogen peroxide and hydroxl radicals. The bottles are paired with an intelligent control base and has built-in NFC so users can check the disinfectant’s expiration date or how many times it can still be used by scanning it with a smartphone app.

Goama allows developers to integrate casual e-sport games into their apps to boost engagement, reduce customer acquisition costs and increase brand awareness.

Interxie creates energy storage systems for homes that integrates with new or existing renewable energy systems to manage power, avoid outages and adjust energy power usage. It can also help reduce energy costs by integrating with battery systems.

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Elon Musk says Tesla Semi is ready for production, but limited by battery cell output

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s 2020 Q4 earnings call that all engineering work is now complete on the Tesla Semi, the freight-hauling semi truck that the company is building with an all-electric powertrain. The company expects to begin deliveries of Tesla Semi this year, the company said in its Q4 earnings release, and Musk said the only thing limiting their ability to produce them now is the availability of battery cells.

“The main reason we have not accelerated new products – like for example Tesla Semi – is that we simply don’t have enough cells for it,” Musk said. “If we were to make the Semi right now, and we could easily go into production with the Semi right now, but we would not have enough cells for it.”

Musk added that the company does expect to have sufficient cell volume to meet its needs once it goes into production on its 4680 battery pack, which is a new custom cell design it created with a so-called ‘tables’ design that allows for greater energy density and therefore range.

“A Semi would use typically five times the number of cells that a car would use, but it would not sell for five times what a car would sell for, so it kind of would not make sense for us to do the Semi right now,” Musk said. “But it will absolutely make sense for us to do it as soon as we can address the cell production constraint.”

That constraint points to the same conclusion for the possibility of Tesla developing a van, Musk added, and the lifting of the constraint will likewise make it possible for Tesla to pursue the development of that category of vehicle, he said.

Tesla has big plans for “exponentially” ramping cell production, with a goal of having production capacity infrastructure in place for a Toal of 200 gigawatt hours per year by 2022, and a target of being able to actually produce around 40% of that by that year (with future process improvements generating additional gigawatt hours of cell capacity  in gradual improvements thereafter).

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Pro-Trump Twitter figure arrested for spreading vote-by-text disinformation in 2016

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The man behind a once-influential pro-Trump account is facing charges of election interference for allegedly disseminating voting disinformation on Twitter in 2016.

Federal prosecutors allege that Douglass Mackey, who used the name “Ricky Vaughn” on Twitter, encouraged people to cast their ballot via text or on social media, effectively tricking others into throwing away those votes.

According to the Justice Department, 4,900 unique phone numbers texted a phone number Mackey promoted in order to “vote by text.” BuzzFeed reported the vote-by-text scam at the time, noting that many of the images were photoshopped to look like official graphics from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Some of those images appeared to specifically target Black and Spanish-speaking Clinton supporters, a motive that tracks with the account’s track record of white supremacist and anti-Semitic content. The account was suspended in November 2016.

At the time, the mysterious account quickly gained traction in the political disinformation ecosystem. HuffPost revealed that the account was run by Mackey, the son of a lobbyist, two years later.

“… His talent for blending far-right propaganda with conservative messages on Twitter made him a key disseminator of extremist views to Republican voters and a central figure in the alt-right’ white supremacist movement that attached itself to Trump’s coattails,” HuffPost’s Luke O’Brien reported.

Mackey, a West Palm Beach resident, was taken into custody Wednesday in Florida.

“There is no place in public discourse for lies and misinformation to defraud citizens of their right to vote,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth D. DuCharme said.

“With Mackey’s arrest, we serve notice that those who would subvert the democratic process in this manner cannot rely on the cloak of Internet anonymity to evade responsibility for their crimes.”

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Tesla is willing to license Autopilot and has already had “preliminary discussions” about it with other automakers

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Tesla is open to licensing its software, including its Autopilot highly-automated driving technology, and the neural network training it has built to improve its autonomous driving technology. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed those considerations on the company’s Q4 earnings call on Wednesday, adding that the company has in fact already “had some preliminary discussions about licensing Autopilot to other OEMs.”

The company began rolling out its beta version of the so-called ‘full self-driving’ or FSD version of Autopilot late last year. The standard Autopilot features available in general release provide advanced driver assistance (ADAS) which provide essentially advanced cruise control capabilities designed primarily for use in highway commutes. Musk said on the call that he expects the company will seek to prove out its FSD capabilities before entering into any licensing agreements, if it does end up pursuing that path.

Musk noted that Tesla’s “philosophy is definitely not to create walled gardens” overall, and pointed out that the company is planning to allow other automakers to use its Supercharger networks, as well as its autonomy software. He characterized Tesla as “more than happy to license” those autonomous technologies to “other car companies,” in fact.

One key technical hurdle required to get to a point where Tesla’s technology is able to demonstrate true reliability far surpassing that of a standard human driver is transition the neural networks operating in the cars and providing them with the analysis that powers their perception engines is to transition those to video. That’s a full-stack transition across the system away from basing it around neural nets trained on single cameras and single frames.

To this end, the company has developed video labelling software that has had “a huge effect on the efficiency of labeling,” with the ultimate aim being enabling automatic labeling. Musk (who isn’t known for modesty around his company’s achievements, it should be said) noted that Tesla believes “it may be the best neural net training computer in the world by possibly an order of magnitude,” adding that it’s also “something we can offer potentially as a service.”

Training huge quantities of video data will help Tesla push the reliability of its software from 100% that of a human driver, to 200% and eventually to “2,000% better than the average human,” Musk said, while again suggesting that it won’t be a technological achievement the company is interested into keeping to themselves.

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