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  • Cheryl Tan

Tech Round-Up Week 1 June 2020: SG’s First Virtual Food Bank App, Microsoft Turns to AI and Mo

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

DBS Bank is partnering with The Food Bank Singapore to better address food gaps for the vulnerable by connecting corporate donors to food support organisations via a food banking app. Food support organisations can submit requests in real-time and donors can share the type and quantity of food they have on hand to facilitate relevant food matching and support. Launching in Q4 2020, DBS Bank will be financing the development of the app.

Google has delayed the launch of the Android 11 public beta that was scheduled on the 3rd of June. A developer’s preview has been ready since February, yet there is now no official launch date for the Android 11 public beta. That being said, some Google Pixel 4 owners have actually been able to access the beta early. Although not stated, many believed that this delay is due to the ongoing unrest and protests in the US that were triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Youtube announces that it will be donating $1 million to the Centre for Policing Equity to portray “solidarity against racism and violence” and to support the efforts to address social injustice. The Center for Policing Equity is a non-profit research team consisting of research scientists and race and equity experts.

Last year, Youtube banned videos promoting the superiority of any group in an effort to prevent discrimination against others based on their age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Venue, Collab and Catch Up are apps that Facebook has released in the past week. Facebook takes on Twitter with “Venue”, an app to “bring passionate fans and expert commentators together to experience live events in a new interactive way.” Live streams have become popular during this global pandemic, and Venue is created for an interactive second-screen experience where fans and expert commentators can engage with each other.

Collab is a Tik Tok inspired music-making app designed to deliver a new approach to collaborative music-making, allowing users to create music videos split into three simultaneous parts. Catch-up is a new app released in the US, created to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to 8 people. Catch-up calls are audio-only and they have a feature that enables users to state their availability status, similar to HouseParty.

Sodar, a new app by Google, is created to help people maintain safe distancing using augmented reality. A two meters radius ring is a virtual boundary created using one’s smartphone camera. The boundary will be imposed on the actual surroundings of the user.

This technology is similar to games like Pokemon Go. This app is not available on the Google Play store but can be accessed using the Chrome browsers and on Android smartphones.

Artificial Intelligence will be soon curating stories from news organizations and selecting headlines and pictures for Microsoft. These tasks were done by contract journalists in the past. An estimated 50 contract journalists will lose their jobs, but a team of full-time journalists will remain.

The company stated that this decision is not a result of the global pandemic, but simply an evaluation of their business and an experiment to cut costs with the usage of robot journalism.

With the circuit breaker over in Singapore, CapitaLand Singapore is taking action to ensure the safe gradual reopening of the city. Disinfection robots are part of their new technological arsenal, these robots will be deployed at selected malls first before rolling out at the rest of the Capitaland properties. PhotoPlasma air disinfection systems will be installed in CapitaLand’s elevators in efforts to “energize atmospheric air into a plasma state and eliminate airborne and surface microorganisms such as virus and bacteria”.

An automatic escalator handrail disinfection system is also installed in one of the malls. Some elevators in the malls are also fitted with a QR registration device, this enables tenants and shoppers to scan a QR code and activate the lifts without contact with physical buttons.

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