Sports teams search for early signs of exceptional talent so that they can sign the best athletes before competitors do. This is nowhere more evident than in soccer. Major teams begin intensive recruiting and sign players in their teens, but it's very expensive to take a potential athlete through an entire program, only to have them not pan out. Ilja Sligte, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam, of devised a cognitive test to predict which athletes have the greatest likelihood of success and at what position. Thus far, his company, BrainFirst, has several clients despite no empirical evidence that the product works. BrainFirst predicts it will be profitable this year.
The market for monitoring our senior citizens has grown dramatically since the days of "I've fallen and I can't get up" advertisements. Today, we have tools that can monitor everything from eating habits to sleep patterns and automated access systems. Many firms have offered products to enable concerned people to feel safer about the status of their elderly loved ones, but successfully establishing a market foothold has been elusive. The electronics retailer Best Buy has now entered the fray offering products, installation, and monitoring services.
While self-driven cars have garnered the headlines, they are not the only profitable niche for this type of piloting. Ships are also capable of being driven technologically. Companies such as Sea Machines Robotics are perfecting their products to autopilot large vessels from dock to dock. Rolls-Royce and BHP Billiton are working on designing ships that would not require human navigation.
Software and hardware are moving at great speed to use artificial intelligence in rapid iteration environments. One area that is particularly shows potential gain is that of design. New software from Autodesk Research has shown particular promise by modifying older designs to seek efficient solutions far more quickly than could be accomplished by drafting new plans. Despite these gains, experts believe it is still necessary to have trained humans coupled with excellent software to reach the best conclusion.
Gierad Laput, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon's Future Interfaces Group, has developed a sensor that resides in a room and relays information on potentially important changes in the room's environment relating to several appliances or units there. This is an improvement because customer won't have to have separate sensors for each unit. Funding to further explore the possibilities of monetizing this innovation has already reached $2.2 million.