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Genderless voice assistants

The world’s first genderless voice assistant is unveiled, and it goes by the name Q. Also, detecting bladder problems; the internet of bats; the cocktail party hearing aid.

The world’s first genderless voice assistant has been unveiled to the public, and it goes by the name Q. Reporter Tom Stephens met with Emil Asmussen, associate creative director of VICE Media’s creative agency VIRTUE, who was involved in Q’s creation to discuss the voice of the future.

Detecting bladder problems
Dr Elfed Lewis from the University of Limerick and his team has created an optical sensor that can be inserted into the bladder, during other procedures, that monitors pressure in the urinary tract.

Internet of Bats
Professor Kate Jones from UCL has put up sensors in the Queen Elizabeth Park in East London to record the activities of bats. She talks to Gareth about how this information will in the future help to manage the ecosystem for the benefit of wildlife, including the bat populations.

Cocktail party hearing aid
One of the most impressive properties of the human auditory system is the way most of us can overhear or eavesdrop on specific voices in an otherwise crowded room. Most hearing aids can’t help with that: they can sometimes filter out noises that are not human voices, but cannot do the very human trick of sorting one voice from a sea of others. Nima Mesgarani from Columbia University reports in the journal Science Advances a proof of principle for a device that might be able to do just that.

(Photo: Man and woman talking to a smart speaker. Credit: iStock /Getty Images Plus)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

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27 minutes