Technology Innovations

Posts Tagged ‘Gadgets


For the 220 million smartphone users in India, a Bangalore-based startup Street Smart Mobile Technologies has launched an app, SMS Sunami, to organize the deluge of transactional and promotional text messages we receive on our phones daily. The app, which is built using Android Studio, is based on an artificial intelligent platform that uses natural language processing to understand the context of messages and automatically classify them into predefined categories such as bills, entertainment, food, health and fitness, lifestyle, telecom operator, tickets, travel, and more.

According to a recent study, there are over two billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide who use the short message service (SMS) to exchange more than 350 billion text messages every month. Of these over 15% are promotional messages. The SMS Sunami app is aimed organizing and categorizing text messages of the Android smartphone users, making the messages in the default inbox easier to sift.

Street Smart Mobile Technology team (L-R): Prakhar, Prabhu, and Sudeep

Street Smart Mobile Technology team (L-R): Prakhar, Prabhu, and Sudeep

Incubated at Tata Elxsi’s Incub@ate, StreetSmart Mobile Technologies was founded in May 2014 by 27-year-old Prabhu SNM of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, with software engineers Prakhar Dighe (25) of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and Sudeep (24) of Narsapuram, Andhra Pradesh. The trio developed the SMS Sunami app as an offshoot of another app that was aimed at offering hyper-local offers to consumers on their smartphones.

The hyper-local offers app could not succeed but the research for it led the team to realize that consumers are receiving host of text messages directly from service providers and merchants. And besides these messages, people also receive transactional messages processed by banks and of course, personal messages as well. No wonder our message box keeps filling up. And as the name suggests (and refers to tsunami), to help the users clear their inbox without having to delete their messages, SMS Sunami automatically categorizes the overwhelming number of messages a user receives.

“Our algorithm categorizes all text messages except those received from 10-digit numbers, which are personal numbers. This feature ensures privacy,” explains Prabhu.

 

Key features

Besides organizing the incoming messages into defined groups, the key feature of SMS Sunami is that it is capable of reading promotional text messages to serve contextual offers based on the content. For example, if you have a confirmation message from an airline on your travel tickets, SMS Sunami will serve you a cab-rental offer on the date of your travel. The concept applied to smartphone is much similar to what Google does by reading your mailbox. 

SMS Sunami app screenshot-Lifestyle

Lifestyle category screenshot of the app

Addressing the privacy concern on messages being read by the app, Prabhu says, “The SMS Sunami app does not store any messages to read and understand them. The program is built to ensure that the app works offline, without the need for the Internet, and does not store any data on the server. Our program simply functions within the app, reads the message, and pulls contextual offer from the associated merchants. The only time when the app uses the Internet is to identify the message sender with the brand logo to serve the message to the user in a more aesthetic manner.”

Besides this feature, the app allows easy search through the message box that allows you to search through your messages, by vendor name or by keywords. It also allows you to delete messages in bulk. SMS Sunami also automatically identifies key information in messages, such as contact numbers, web links, PNR, tickets, and provides them as ‘call for action’ links, making it easier for the user to use the information instantly.

The free beta version of the app is currently available on Android Play store.

Asked about the release of the iOS version of the app, Prabhu says, “The message APIs [application program interfaces] in the iOS are restricted for developers. This means we cannot develop any iOS app that requires reading the user’s messages. In this matter, I have written to Tim Cook requesting the need for leniency. I am awaiting his reply.”

 

Next steps

The team is working on scaling up the app into free and premium versions. The beta version is in the pre-revenue stage with 1,000+ customers. The trio’s short-term target is to increase the user base to 10,000 customers by the year end.

Sharing his plans for the future, Prabhu adds, “In future we plan to introduce ‘personal’ as a category so that our algorithm can detect personal messages without intruding privacy and categorize them appropriately. We also plan to enable the app to both receive and send messages. The idea is to eventually replace the default messaging application on smartphones with the SMS Sunami app.”

Improved user interface and enabling the user to customize the categories are also part of the plan. The team is also mulling over the idea of patenting the app’s software in the U.S.

The SMS Sunami team can be contacted at ceo@smssunami.com and +91-9790949400.

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Indian-American Sahil Doshi, a ninth grader from Pittsburg, has recently won ‘America’s Top Young Scientist’ award for his innovative design of an eco-friendly battery that seeks to reduce carbon footprint while offering power for household usage. Sahil won the award at 2014 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Sahil’s prototype – the PolluCell – converts carbon dioxide into electricity, ingeniously helping to reduce carbon footprint while offering power for household uses. Watch the complete video for a detailed description of his innovation. Read more


Australian startup called GoFar has created a telematics system that tells you in real time how well you are driving and what it is costing you. The startup is run by its founder Danny Adams and a team of four including partner Ian Davidson and Indian maths olympiad medallist Imam Syed. 

The GoFar is a pocket-sized device that is based on a Formula one performance meter. Using the device, drivers would know exactly how well they drive, the cost per trip and the savings they can make by driving well – both from an operational and insurance point of view. With GoFar placed on the dashboard, the driver is instantly informed if he or she does any of the following things: corners badly, swerves, over-brakes, overspeeds and/or over-accelerates.

The device plugs into the diagnostics port and shows the driver through a simple red and green display how he or she is driving. The driver subsequently “learns” how to avoid “wasteful” behaviour. The linked app also records and stores all the information on every trip, and gives a dollar value in petrol terms. So far the app has proven to cut petrol costs by between 13 percent and 23 percent.

This form of telematics is not completely new. However, most companies are concentrating on the adaptation of their products for the fleet ­market. Fleet cars are fitted with a black box and information is sent to a third party. GoFar can be used personally or adapted for fleet use.

The device can be adapted for insurance ­purposes in countries such as Britain where those electing to use telematics in their car have been offered discounts of about 25 percent. Young drivers, normally ­facing abnormally high premiums, have been able, through proof of good driving, to achieve ­substantial drops in premiums. Read more in a report by Adam Courtenay.


India-based technology startup PowerSquare is all set to launch Qi Wireless Charging Pad, based on the company’s patent-pending Adaptive Position-Free (APF) technology that allows users to simultaneously charge multiple Qi-compatible mobile devices.

Using APF system, multiple mobile devices can be wirelessly charge by placing them over the Qi Wireless Charging Pad without bothering about the position of placing the devices. The APF system enabled Pad is compatible with newer as well as older mobile devices, meeting the safety specifications (WPC1.1 FOD) of the Wireless Power Consortium. Read more

 

 


Indian tech startup CarIQ Technologies has developed a wireless device to allow users keep a virtual eye on their chauffeurs. The device plugs into the data port of a car and serves as a sort of nanny cam for the driver, streaming information to the owner’s mobile phone.

According to CarIQ’s founder Sagar Apte, the product is particularly helpful for folks with drivers. Along with car’s location, CarIQ can share information about how the driver is driving, whether the car is being misused.

 

 

Similar devices are used in the U.S. to monitor teenagers’ driving habits. But CarIQ is targeting Indian customers that want to make sure that their car isn’t being taken for a joyride while they are having dinner or are on a holiday abroad.

The CarIQ, which looks like a chubby, white memory stick, is plugged into a data port below the steering wheel of a car. It uses a SIM card and GPS to track the vehicles location and also collects data on how it is being driven. All that information is uploaded to the Internet so users can keep track of their cars through their cell phones. So, if your driver is racing the car somewhere far away, the device will pinpoint where the car is, at what speed it is being driven and even whether it is being driven rashly, as the CarIQ monitors sudden stops and acceleration.

The CarIQ also alerts users to engine and battery problems or the need for a tune up. It can also help drivers get better gas mileage. Read more


Singapore-based Rishi Israni and his wife Pranoti Nagarkar have invented Rotimatic, a first-of-its-kind robot to make chapatis. The invention has raked in about SGD $5 million in pre-sale orders from the U.S.

Rotimatic, which can produce about one baked chapati per minute, is a 17-kilograms breadmaker type device which uses robotic technology and combines 10 motors, 15 sensors and 300 parts to produce chapatis. With Rotimatic, chapati making can be customized to the thickness, softness, amount of oil and type of flour.

Priced at USD $599, Rotimatic is easy to use and can clean simply as it comes with detachable dishwasher-safe components. Read more


Chennai-based Mad Street Den startup has built a cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to enable any smartphone with a camera to identify faces, detect facial expressions and emotions, and react to facial and head gestures. The expression acts as a trigger for a certain action, for example, frowning at the phone when an unwanted call comes in could make it shut down forthwith, or lifting an eyebrow could send the caller a message asking ‘What now?’

This image-recognizing platform, called MAD Stack, can be used by app developers and companies to create a futuristic mobile user experience. Mad Street Den founders Ashwini Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran  explain that the idea is to make machines more useful by making them a bit human: fun, intelligent, and relevant.

The process of recognizing a human expression or responding to a gesture is simple for a human brain, but quite complex for a smartphone camera to do digitally. It is artificial intelligence that enables a camera to do this. What’s more, the app keeps getting smarter with use, through machine learning algorithms. Read more


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