The battle for the smart home is on, with technology manufacturers old and new seeking to make your home appliances as intelligent and connected as possible. LG's response? An AI processor that can process video and audio data to help it carry out its tasks around the home – all without an internet connection.
The AI Chip (opens in new tab) (that's literally its name) is based on a proprietary neural engine that attempts to mimic the way the human brain works.
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The comparison is still at a very basic level, but the inclusion of visual and aural data effectively gives your appliances eyes and ears in the home, giving them more information with which to carry out tasks effectively – even "detecting physical and chemical changes in the environment" to be aware of anything that might effect its use, such as a vacuum cleaner having to navigate a new piece of furniture.
By using an on-board chip, instead of an external server, the processing also takes places in the device itself, not requiring an internet connection to deploy any of its smart features.
LG has yet to announce any particular products with the chip, though cites "robot vacuum cleaners, washing machines and refrigerators" as appliances that could benefit from the technology.
Home is where the heart is
We live in a world increasingly full of gadgets, and the real challenge for manufacturers is going to be in making products that feel personal, despite the iterative nature of the market.
LG's AI Chip is just one step towards improved tools for home appliances. With the capability to understand voice commands, and even discern "the user's emotions [behaviors] and the situational context", we could soon be looking at devices that can really look back at us, and know whether we're cheerfully washing a shirt for work or cursing our household chores. Whether we want our devices to know our mood is another matter...