A smart speaker projector, an augmented reality (AR) headset, and an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) assistant were three of five concepts introduced at the Lenovo Tech World innovation summit.
Lenovo is mostly known for their laptops in the west, but over the last couple of years, they’ve made good progress on changing their corporate identity. Investing in new technology is among one of the biggest changes, and this summer it holds its third yearly summit for technological innovation.
First in the line of announcements is CAVA (Context Aware Virtual Assistant). As if the name wasn’t obvious enough, this is an assistant designed to compete with the likes of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. It uses deep learning for facial recognition and can interpret natural language to help you better manage your calendar events as well as remind you on your habits. If you have a scheduled appointment it can also provide relevant weather and traffic data.
Second in line is daystAR. This is the AR headset and it features a 40-degree field of view. Unfortunately, there’s not much information on what other features the headset features, but we assume it will have some kind of hand tracking capabilities in order to keep up with the competition in this field. It is equipped with several services though, including Cloud Object Recognition, Remote Assistance (not sure what this means), Multiplayer Interaction and 3D Content Manager through which you can upload and edit 3D content.
Thirdly, Lenovo showed SmartVest. Until this point, the company has shown remarkably little interest in wearable fabric. The last time they updated their Lenovo Apparel Facebook page was in February 2016, and that was basically for proud employees as “Lenovo” could be written across the chest. This latest endeavor monitors heart activity through 10 textile sensors. According to the company, this vest constantly records ECG signals and helps athletes understand when to, rather than run some extra ten miles, take a break and avoid cardiac arrest. It can identify abnormalities like tachycardia (when your heart is beating ridiculously fast) or atrial fibrillation (when your heart can’t settle on one rhythm). The vest is connected to an app that you have on your phone where the data is visualized.
Up next is Xiaole, an AI customer service platform. It learns from conversations and adjusts according to customer demands, it’s meant to provide a “personalized and customized user experience 24 hours a day.” This continues the trend of businesses using AI to connect with their customers. Some argue that you lose the human connection, but we’ll take an efficient AI over an FAQ page any day of the week.
Finally, the company announced SmartCast+, an interactive speaker and projector that’s also powered by artificial intelligence. It essentially projects an interactive display onto a surface, recognizes objects (which likely helps to interact with the virtual display) and can also recognize sounds. The company says it could be used to learn Chinese, by projecting both illustrations and Chinese subtitles while listening to the lesson. It sounds a lot like using a normal computer screen, plus some extra hassle, but these are simple conceptual designs so even if we do see the SmartCast+ in the future, both its design and functions may have changed drastically.
Ultimately, everything on this list is a concept. It’s unknown if any of these concepts are actually intended for commercial purposes. It’s likely that the company is still looking to rebrand its image to consumers, and though it’s made good progress there’s still some way to go. At the very least, it seems clear that higher-ups at the company are keeping their eyes open for the opportunity to expand into additional markets.