Samsung’s C-Lab Incubator Champions the 2022 Startup Ecosystem
From a Bluetooth-compatible braille device to an LED-guided smart guitar, the entrepreneurs of Samsung's C-Lab are gearing up for CES 2022.
One of the highlights of CES each year is the demonstrations from Samsung’s Creative Lab (C-Lab), an incubator program that helps Samsung employees and outside entrepreneurs bring design concepts to reality.
Samsung initiated C-Lab Inside only as an in-house program for employees in 2012 and it has now expanded into a program for anyone outside of Samsung with C-Lab Outside. Image (modified) used courtesy of Samsung
While C-Lab started as a way to help internal employees develop hardware ideas, the lab has now grown into a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs to roll into 2022 with a full-fledged startup.
What is C-Lab Inside and Outside?
While C-Lab was originally an in-house incubator, in 2018, Samsung divided the program into two parts: C-Lab Inside and Outside.
For C-Lab Inside, Samsung employees submit concepts that are evaluated for their viability and marketability. The idea moves onto a peer-review poll and the few that garner the most votes can pitch their ideas to a final review panel. The selected finalists spend the following 6 to 12 months working on their concepts before showcasing their findings. The C-Lab program is fully prepared to back any well-functioning concept into spin-off companies.
For C-Lab Outside, the only difference is that non-Samsung employee can present their proof of concept through a startup acceleration program. The project will go through a similar evaluation before C-Lab provides entrepreneurs with financial aid, mentorship, consultation, and an established business infrastructure.
MoreDream offers a hybrid printed text-braille device that can be paired via Bluetooth to a mobile phone for visually-impaired users. Image used courtesy of MoreDream
In 2019, Samsung had eight artificial intelligence (AI)-based projects that successfully made it into spin-off startups. These C-Lab projects included an in-video virtual aid, an ASMR sound recording solution, an instant video-making service, an AI news analysis tool, a custom perfume maker, an auto-adjusting monitor, an AI desk light, and a hearing assistant. Each project was debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2019 and received many CES awards, paving the way for future concepts to go through C-Lab Inside and Outside.
Projects Debuted at CES 2020
Now, Samsung has 13 C-Lab projects to appear at CES 2022. This year, Samsung has four C-Lab Inside projects and nine C-Lab Outside projects.
C-Lab demonstrations from previous years at CES. Image used courtesy of Samsung
The four Inside projects come from:
- Piloto, an AI-based teaching tool to help children explore and self-regulate online use
- PROBA, AI-based exam administration
- Innovision, an IoT mobile to detect early signs of infant strabismus
- ZamStar, a smart electric guitar with LED guides and an app built to facilitate learning and collaboration
C-Lab’s Outside platform will spotlight nine projects at CES 2022:
- Petnow, an AI-based smartphone app to recognize lost dogs from nose-based biometrics
- Digisonic, a 3D audio platform for smartphones
- Verses, a music app that allows user interaction
- bitsensing, radar technology for autonomous driving, smart traffic monitoring, and in-cabin sensing
- SELECTSTAR, AI data crowdsourcing
- RGT Inc, a modular robot that can serve users in several capacities
- MoreDream Inc, a smartphone-compatible hybrid keyboard including both printed text and braille
- YellowKnife, a platform that customizes in-vehicle displays
- MONIT, a smart diaper sensor for babies and elderly patients
Spotlights From C-Lab: Dog Nose-print IDs and Smart Traffic Monitoring
One featured C-Lab Outside project is Petnow, an AI-based solution for obtaining a dog’s biometric identification through its nose print. This print, an alternative to tracking chips, is captured by a smart camera, which auto-focuses on a dog’s nose and controls the lighting settings at any time of the day. Using object detection technology, the camera recognizes and registers even the blurriest pictures. This is possible using a machine learning (ML) architecture: several images of a dog's facial qualities allow the appropriate data to be collected and processed.
Petnow uses deep neural networks (DNN) to identify a dog's unique nose print. Image used courtesy of C-Lab Outside
Another exhibit that will be on display at CES 2022 is from bitsensing, an imaging radar tech company that targets autonomous driving, ADAS, in-cabin sensing, and smart traffic infrastructure. To establish smart cities, bit sensing is proposing real-time traffic control. The 24 GHz AIR traffic device offers multi-lane detection and real-time traffic management. The AIR Traffic device can provide updates and travel times for driving routes and can restrict drivers from exceeding speed limits.
Another bit sensing offering, AIR 4D, combines radar, camera sensors, and AI to optimize ADAS. Image used courtesy of C-Lab Outside
Fully equipped with an FHD camera, this device can detect other vehicles in high-resolution without being affected by weather conditions or lighting pollution. The camera spans across four different lanes simultaneously and uses an accuracy radar to cover a 300-m range for nearly 130 vehicles at a time.
From Prototype to Spin-off Company
Although C-Lab Outside is relatively new, it appears to be a real contender for entrepreneurs seeking financial assistance, office workshops, and guidance on developing a concept into a prototype. Since 2018, each project has either become an in-house division of Samsung or has been supported as a spin-off company. Now, these projects are being recognized on a major global stage for consumer approval at three different CES events.
CES 2022 kicked off January 5th and will run through January 8th in Las Vegas, Nevada.