Author Archives: Bober Joanna

Sencrop – the future of agriculture

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recently, a French startup has introduced Sencrop – data platform and a service marketplace. As today, agriculture decisions rely more and more on data analysis, company claims that it wants to be a one-step shop for farmer’s digital needs when it comes to leveraging data. Stations measure humidity, temperature, rainfall, windspeed etc. It also gives farmers an ability to make better agronomic decisions (ultra-local weather information), and interact with their partners (streaming data).



“On the other side of the platform, there are people broadcasting services to farmers,” co-founder and CEO Michael Bruniaux told the reporter of Techcrunch. “For instance, we can predict a disease and the farmer knows whether they need a product or not to prevent the disease.”


Each station costs from $340 and $570 (you can install it by yourself – it’s very easy) and you can have as many as you want.
Then, you have to pay annual subscription to access the platform. The cost of this is between $170 and $340. Sencrop will predict the next steps that have to be taken to live regarding to sensors.



What the company wants to achieve is to create a full-fledged marketplace in which communication between companies and their cooperatives can be the most efficient. You could easily subscribe to an insurance product or order seeds.

Sencrop also wants to create a community in which all farmers have combined data points. If people around you are also using Sencrop, you will get a better forecast on what to expect. It also wants  to expand to the new markets (they started with potato crops, vineyard and cereals but now you can find all kind of profiles on Sencrop).



Sencrop won the top award for its high-precision agrometeorological station and platform at the 2017 SIMA Innovation Awards ceremony.


In Europe, over 5,000 farmers are already using the platform to monitor their farms. What do you think, will Sencrop be popular in a few years? Will it be a necessity for modern farmers? Or will it be replaced by some different innovation?





Is it finally time we accept smart glasses?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Although smart glasses already exists, most of them looks really extraordinary and funny.  Last year, Intel revealed their new idea of smart glasses called Vaunt which actually looked really good.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania intel smart glasses


Unfortunately, they gave up on their new device and here is Intels’ statement:

Intel is continuously working on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market. The Superlight [the codename for Vaunt] project is a great example where Intel developed truly differentiated, consumer augmented reality glasses. We are going to take a disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don’t support further investment.


But… here are good news for techno freaks. Start-up called North introduces similar idea of normal-looking smart glasses. They’re called Focals and costs around $1,000. You can use calendar on them, send messages and receive ones, use voice remote (it has Alexa built-in) to play music, check the weather or hear the news. A great option is that you can use a navigation on them, which will show you the right way in your line of sight. Company says that their new device will appeal the masses because of its simple design and looking just like normal glasses. 

“Focals integrate technology within the silhouette of a traditional eyewear frame. The result? Technology that’s there when you need it, gone when you don’t – hidden by design.” says North on their website (

You can interact with your smart device by using Loop which comes with it. It’s a 4-directional joystick which can be used for clicking – then you don’t even need to lift your hand to do anything.


The thing that distinguishes them from other smart glasses is that you can discreetly get the access to information you need and no one even have to know about it!

Lenses are custom made by North and design of frames is personalized, so you can decide how they look like. The included case has a built battery in it so you can charge them while not using.

North Focals



“The core philosophy of the product is about keeping you present in the world,” said Stephen Lake, North’s CEO and co-founder “It’s subtle and designed around the human experience.”



Well… What else can I say? In my opinion this device may be revolutionary and start a new era of smart electonics we use everyday. For now, there is nothing to do but wait what future will bring us.







Big boost for renewable energy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As you probably know, using solar panels is a great way to generate electricity with benefits to the environment due to their green energy and lack of emissions when running.

Nowadays, many companies from all around the world are working on new solar technology that could further boost the adoption of renewable energy. In September 2018, startup working with Oxford University called Oxford PV, received $3 million from the U.K. government in order to find new material to make solar cells.

On 25th of December 2018, U.S. company Swift Solar got $7 million to find a technology that can use new materials of solar cells and bring it into the market.

Let’s have a look at the efficiency of solar panels we already have.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania efficiency of solar panels

According to the most efficient are monocrystalline panels (pure silicon) which efficiency stands at 27%.


Perovskite cell – the new photovoltaic tech, uses hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material as the layer. It offers better efficiency in the conversion of light to electric power at a lower cost than existing technologies.


“Perovskite has let us truly rethink what we can do with the silicon-based solar panels we see on roofs today,” said Sam Stranks, one of the co-founders of Swift Solar, in a Ted Talk. “Another aspect that really excites me: how cheaply these can be made. These thin crystalline films are made by mixing two inexpensive readily abundant salts to make an ink that can be deposited in many different ways… This means that perovskite solar panels could cost less than half of their silicon counterparts.”


Perovskite was incorporated into solar cells in 2009 by Japanese researchers but firstly was not efficient and suffered from lacked stability. It means that it wasn’t really used in manufacturing.

Luckily, over the past nine years researchers have improved both the stability and efficiency that these solar cells generate.

Oxford PV is now working on solar cells that could reach the efficiency of conversion at 37%.

I personally think that idea of Perovskite is really promising and deployed into everyday functioning can be a great step into sustainable world.





Will your phone tell you if you are depressed?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we are using our phone all the time, it is with us through all our daily moods. What if our smart device could detect symptoms of our mental health problem?

As we all know, depression is a serious disease and according to the World Health Organization 2018 research more than 300 million people suffer from it. When you’re dealing with depression, it isn’t all in your head. It can disrupt sleep, regular eating and being social and active.

AI algorithms in our phones (identifying faces, responding to voices) can now spot the early signs of depression and even help in getting treatment when it’s needed!

In study carried by Stanford University team, video footage of depressed and non-depressed people was fed into machine – learning. It was trained to learn from verbal and non-verbal speech (facial expression, spoken words) and detect whether the person is depressed or not. In testing, it worked more than 80% of the time.


“Compared to physical illnesses, mental disorders are more difficult to detect,” the researchers write in a paper that is being presented at the NeurIPS AI conference in Montreal this week. “The burden of mental health is exacerbated by barriers to care such as social stigma, financial cost, and a lack of accessible treatment options […] This technology could be deployed to cell phones worldwide and facilitate low-cost universal access to mental health care.”



The researchers say that the studies are in their early stage and caution that the technology wouldn’t be a replacement for clinician.


According to the article from 14th of January 2018 on TedFellows, there already is such an app that helps in monitoring depression signs.  It’s called HealthRythms and it uses mobile phone data and also gives doctors insight into their patient’s mental health. How does it work? The app monitors people’s way of using their phone (how long they sleep, where do they go, what apps do they use, what are their typing habits etc.) With such data, HealthRhythms detects when routines get disrupted, which can lead to depression.


There are more apps which are detecting mental health problems like “Purple Robot”, and these ones, which are helping with fighting already detected depression like “Moodkit” or “Talklife”.

Technology is definitely helping us with digitalizing and fastening the process of recognizing symptoms of diseases. I think that is a great way of using AI which can help people directly and raise their awareness of how serious our mental problem can be and how can it affect our life.




Social media limit data access for AI-powered California start-up

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Predictim is an app which uses machine learning in order to vet potential babysitters. It claims to use ‘advanced artificial intelligence’ to show babysitter’s suitability and sell it to the parents. It basically combs through individual Facebook, Instagram and Twitter history to find any posts, likes or comments that could be harming for others. Founders claim, that the app can predict whether the person Is drug user, is bullying others or even have a ‘bad attitude’.


Experts have criticized service as unscientific and unreliable when it comes to hiring real person basing on machine learning. AI may be good in connecting facts or recognizing objects in photos but it’s not advanced enough to get jokes or sarcasm. Experts in data policy also noticed that Predictim’s software doesn’t explain how it comes to decisions, so a babysitter can lose her job without even knowing the reason.

After last week’s report by BBC News revealing that the service broke social network’s rules on data privacy and surveillance, Facebook and Twitter had taken action and instantly limited Predictim’s access to user’s data. Spokespersons of both social media said that they launched an investigation into Predictim’s extraction of personal data.

CEO and co-founder of Predctim Sal Parsa said that reaction of social medias is due to its competitive rivalry over personal data use. “Twitter and Facebook are already mining our data. It’s right there, user-generated data. Now there’s another start-up that’s trying to take advantage of that data to help parents pick a better babysitter, and make a little money in the process,” he said. “I don’t know why they ganged up on us. It could be because there’s no benefit for them.”

Although Parsa says that app is working ‘perfectly legally’, Brad Shear – specialist in social media and privacy law from Maryland, said that giving access to personal media social account by job applicants may break the law in 26 states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“What they are doing is purely against public policy (…). If you talk to any lawmaker out there they’ll say it’s absolutely disgusting what Predictim is trying to sell,” Shear said. “The fact they would think this is okay obviously demonstrates they have some ethical issues”.

Is AI going to substitute job interview by checking applicants’ history on social media? Is combing through personal data going to be a determinant whether person is good for a job or not? I personally think it’s going too far.
People are not reflection of their posts or comments on social medias, although they should take into consideration that everything stays in the Internet and take responsibility of what they write online. Making serious decisions only by using algorithms seem like a misunderstanding and in my opinion Predictim should make huge changes in their company’s policy.