Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

Niantic, the company that released “Pokémon Go,” just acquired Matrix Mill, a U.K.-based computer vision/machine learning startup, with the goal of expanding its augmented reality capabilities. Niantic chief executive John Hanke also stated that the company this year will release a “major update” to its “Ingress” game as well as a new AR game, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” and reveal additional games in the next few weeks. At an event, developers and journalists were able to try out the platform powering these games. Continue reading Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Several demos stood out at the 9th annual Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California last week. The most compelling involved a holographic display from Brooklyn-based Looking Glass Factory. Co-founder and CEO Shawn Frayne and his team have been working for a few years on a technique that “blends the best of volumetric rendering and light field projection.” Also compelling was a markerless multi-person tracking system that runs off a single video feed, developed by a Canadian computer vision/deep learning company named wrnch. And marking its first exhibit in the United States since launching its latest satellite office in San Francisco this April, Japanese company Miraisens demonstrated how a suite of effects could be used to enhance extended reality experiences. Continue reading The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Facebook has used Intel CPUs for many of its artificial intelligence services, but the company is changing course to adapt to the pressing need to better filter live video content. At the Viva Technology industry conference in Paris, Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun stated that the company plans to make its own chips for filtering video content, because more conventional methods suck up too much energy and compute power. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the company is building its own semiconductors. Continue reading Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

During this week’s Google I/O conference, the importance of Google Lens to chief executive Sundar Pichai’s AI-first strategy became apparent. Google Lens combines computer vision and natural language processing with Google Search, for a solution aimed at consumers. Lens, described as “Google’s engine for seeing, understanding, and augmenting the real world,” resides in the camera viewfinder of Assistant and, soon, its top-end Android smartphones. Lens recognizes people, animals, objects, environments and text. Continue reading Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

Nvidia’s New AI Method Can Reconstruct an Image in Seconds

Nvidia debuted a deep learning method that can edit or reconstruct an image that is missing pixels or has holes via a process called “image inpainting.” The model can handle holes of “any shape, size, location or distance from image borders,” and could be integrated in photo editing software to remove undesirable imagery and replace it with a realistic digital image – instantly and with great accuracy. Previous AI-based approaches focused on rectangular regions in the image’s center and required post processing. Continue reading Nvidia’s New AI Method Can Reconstruct an Image in Seconds

NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

In a keynote address at NAB in Las Vegas, ETC data & analytics project director Yves Bergquist described how the changing economics of media audiences require new measurement methods and metrics. For the first time, he said, the media and entertainment industry can leverage behavioral psychology, computational neuroscience and machine learning to understand the deep cognitive relationship between audiences and content. He pointed to director Alfred Hitchcock’s prescient statement that, “Creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

Google News Lab works with journalists and entrepreneurs around the world to drive innovation in the news industry, explained training/development manager Nicholas Whitaker. Established three years ago, the worldwide team focuses on trust and misinformation, local news, inclusive journalism, and emerging technologies. “Building a more informed world will require news organizations and technology companies to work together,” said Whitaker, in an NAB session that revealed some of the work being done. Continue reading NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

Zipline, the California-based startup that uses drones to deliver blood and drugs to remote Rwandan medical centers, is now using a fixed-wing aerial robot to make commercial deliveries at nearly 80 miles per hour. The company claims its fixed-wing UAV is the world’s fastest commercial delivery drone. In Rwanda, Zipline has already flown 300,000 kilometers in over 4,000 flights since its October 2016 debut, and introduced a similar service in Tanzania. This expertise will enable it to compete with the big players in drone delivery including Amazon’s Prime Air and Alphabet’s Project Wing. Continue reading Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Palo Alto-based startup Arraiy is developing methods for automating part of the often-tedious process of producing visual effects for movies, TV shows and video games. “Filmmakers can do this stuff, but they have to do it by hand,” said CTO Gary Bradski, who has worked with tech companies such as Intel and Magic Leap. The Arraiy team, led by Bradski and CEO Ethan Rublee, “are building computer algorithms that can learn design tasks by analyzing years of work by movie effects houses,” reports The New York Times. “That includes systems that learn to ‘rotoscope’ raw camera footage, carefully separating people and objects from their backgrounds so that they can be dropped onto new backgrounds.” Continue reading Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

Google and the Department of Defense are exploring the use of artificial intelligence to identify objects in drone footage. The tech giant has been working with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, an initiative focused on big data and machine learning. According to sources, when the pilot project became an object of discussion at Google, some employees were angry that the company was working with the military on surveillance tech for drone operations. Google’s Eric Schmidt admitted that the tech community is concerned that the military-industrial complex will use Google’s research to kill innocent people. Continue reading Google, Government Partner on AI to Analyze Drone Footage

Google Clips Camera Relies on AI to Capture Familiar Faces

The marriage of cameras and artificial intelligence opens the doors to all kinds of interesting capabilities. For now, however, Google is introducing its Clips wireless smart camera with the pitch that AI will enable it to take better pictures than a dumb camera. While the $249 Clips uses machine learning to automatically capture short clips (motion photos without audio) of people and pets, Apple’s latest iPhone relies on face recognition to unlock, and now startup Lighthouse AI plans to add intelligence to a security camera to analyze the results. Continue reading Google Clips Camera Relies on AI to Capture Familiar Faces

HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

T-Commerce, which allows consumers to buy items they see on TV shows directly from their set, is not new. Predicted since the 1980s, it’s appeared as Enhanced TV, T-Commerce and Shopification. The idea that a viewer could simply click on a sweater worn by her favorite sitcom character and purchase it is heady, but the difficulty of making items clickable frame-by-frame was (and is) a massive stumbling block. At the HPA Tech Retreat, RealNetworks described its T-Commerce solution, powered by computer vision. Continue reading HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

Google Offers Its AI Chips to All Comers via Cloud Computing

Google, which created tensor processing units (TPUs) for its artificial intelligence systems some years ago, will now make those computer chips available to other companies via its cloud computing service. Google is currently focusing on computer vision technology, which allows computers to recognize objects; Lyft used these chips for its driverless car project. Amazon is also building its own AI chips for use with the Alexa-powered Echo devices to shave seconds off its response time and potentially increase sales. Continue reading Google Offers Its AI Chips to All Comers via Cloud Computing

Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

After top Google and Facebook executives met with French president Emmanuel Macron, the tech companies vowed to invest artificial intelligence resources in that country’s capital. Google will create a Paris-based AI lab focused on research into automatic learning, language and computer vision. Facebook, which already has created an AI lab in Paris, plans to double its 50-person team there by 2022 and spend 10 million euros ($12.2 million). Both companies also pledge to train that country’s citizens on digital tools. Continue reading Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

Amazon Opens Its Mini-Mart Minus Cashiers to Seattle Public

After testing Amazon Go, the company’s mini-mart without cashiers in Seattle, the shop opened to the public on Monday. The market is in a 1,800-square foot building, with floor-to-ceiling offerings of prepared food, potato chips, drinks and other groceries. Customers gain admittance with a swipe of their Amazon Go smartphone apps, and Amazon technology keeps track of every item each customer picks up off or puts back on the shelf. The items are automatically added up in the customer’s online account. Continue reading Amazon Opens Its Mini-Mart Minus Cashiers to Seattle Public

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