Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Niantic has acquired 6D.ai, an augmented reality company that is building a 3D map of the world via smartphone cameras. According to Niantic chief executive John Hanke, the resulting dynamic 3D world map will enable developers to create planet-scale AR experiences. On the company blog, he stated that, “this means we’re even closer to an AR platform that will unlock the ability for any developer to make content for current and future AR hardware.” Founded in 2017, 6D.ai was spun out of Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab. Continue reading Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Last week, Epic Games revealed its plans to fund, introduce and market new multi-platform video games, under the new Epic Games Publishing division. Epic Games stated that it will fund “up to 100 percent of all game development costs … studios will retain 100 percent control of their intellectual property … [and] once costs are recouped developers will earn at least 50 percent of profits.” Epic games also acquired Cubic Motion, which offers automated performance-driven facial animation technology. Continue reading Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Microsoft Research Leads Team to Author AI Ethics Checklist

Microsoft Research, with almost 50 engineers from a dozen technology companies, created a checklist for AI ethics intended to spur conversation on the topic and raise some “good tension” within organizations. To that end, the list, rather than asking “yes” or “no” questions, instead suggests that teams “define fairness criteria.” Participants were not identified by name, but many are in AI-related fields like computer vision, natural language processing and predictive analytics. The group hopes to inspire future efforts. Continue reading Microsoft Research Leads Team to Author AI Ethics Checklist

CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Artificial intelligence is not particularly well understood, especially by consumers, suggested USA Today technology columnist Ed Baig, who moderated a CES panel on “Myth and Reality in Today’s AI.” One of the biggest myths addressed was that AI results in people losing their jobs. Foundation Capital partner Joanne Chen stated that, “nobody has lost their job due to AI.” Unity Technologies vice president of AI/machine learning Dr. Danny Lange agreed. “People will not lose their jobs but do other things,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Dynamic Branding: Ryff’s Quest for Virtual Product Placement

In the presence of decreasing ad rates and a growing SVOD media landscape, product placement has become an increasingly important revenue source. Ryff is looking to enhance this $11.44 billion market, according to data collected by Statista, by enabling virtual product placement. Their technology allows users to detect favorable locations in existing video and dynamically introduce photorealistic virtual products. On-demand product placement of branded goods has long been a dream of the advertising and marketing industry. As Ryff CEO and founder Roy Taylor said, “[It is] the only advertising format that can’t be skipped by the viewer.”

Continue reading Dynamic Branding: Ryff’s Quest for Virtual Product Placement

Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

Intel acquired Israel-based AI chip manufacturer Habana Labs for about $2 billion, to strengthen its offerings for data centers requiring such chips. The tech giant already stated that it expects to complete more than $3.5 billion in sales related to artificial intelligence, an increase of 20 percent from last year. The Habana purchase is just one of several that Intel has made in recent years in its efforts to grow new markets. Intel expects the AI chip market to grow to $25 billion by 2024, half from selling chips for data centers. Continue reading Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

Qualcomm Targets 5G, Mixed Reality With Snapdragon XR2

Qualcomm debuted Snapdragon XR2, which the company is dubbing “the world’s first 5G XR platform.” This second generation mixed reality chipset follows the debut of Snapdragon XR1 in May 2018, which provided “the minimum criteria for immersion” in mixed reality and was intended to lower the price of components for XR headsets (it was used in AR glasses such as Google Glass Enterprise). Qualcomm is presenting Snapdragon XR2, however, as more powerful than the Snapdragon 835 that powered the Oculus Quest VR headset. Continue reading Qualcomm Targets 5G, Mixed Reality With Snapdragon XR2

Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Google has streamlined its Shopping desktop and mobile portals in anticipation of the holiday season and unveiled a fashion recommendation engine for Google Lens, its AI-enabled computer vision search tool. According to Google Shopping vice president Surojit Chatterjee, the redesign is aimed at making it easier for users to “research and buy” what they are looking for. A personalized homepage offers product suggestions, and new sections allow re-ordering. Also more prominent are links to “nearby and online” stores. Continue reading Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Pinterest Becomes a Visual Discovery Engine for Shopping

Pinterest is now promoting itself as a “visual discovery engine,” where its 300 million global monthly active users can not only browse billions of images but also purchase the items they find there. For most of its users, Pinterest is a go-to place for home décor, gardening and personal style, allowing users to “pin” or post photos to create inspiration boards. According to Pinterest, its AI technology can accurately pinpoint 2.5+ billion objects in photos, millions of which can be purchased by clicking on the item. Continue reading Pinterest Becomes a Visual Discovery Engine for Shopping

Intel’s 3D Tracking, VR and Other Tech to Enhance Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be enhanced by a suite of augmented and immersive tools and experiences empowered by artificial intelligence, it was announced last week by Intel and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Intel will bring a host of innovations to the official games and to the new Intel World Open eSports tournament including 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT), which combines augmented reality (AR) and AI for real-time insights, VR broadcasts and managerial training, and NEC facial recognition for streamlined operations. Continue reading Intel’s 3D Tracking, VR and Other Tech to Enhance Olympics

Google Open-Sources Real-Time Gesture Recognition Tech

Google relied on computer vision and machine learning to research a better way to perceive hand shapes and motions in real-time, for use in gesture control systems, sign language recognition and augmented reality. The result is the ability to infer up to 21 3D points of a hand (or hands) on a mobile phone from a single frame. Google, which demonstrated the technique at the 2019 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, also put the source code and a complete use case scenario on GitHub. Continue reading Google Open-Sources Real-Time Gesture Recognition Tech

Fyusion Demos Photoreal 3D Imaging Tech at SIGGRAPH

Fyusion, a computer vision/machine learning company, is demonstrating a new 3D imaging technology this week at SIGGRAPH 2019. The technology, aimed at providing digital marketers with photoreal images of products and scenes, uses light field technology to attain greater realism. The company has raised $70 million, including $3 million from Japan’s Itochu trading company and a “strategic investment” from Cox Automotive. The software is already being used for commercial purposes in automotive, retail and fashion industries. Continue reading Fyusion Demos Photoreal 3D Imaging Tech at SIGGRAPH

Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Social video startup TRASH aims to make it simple for users to create short videos to share with friends. CEO Hannah Donovan, previously general manager at Twitter’s now defunct Vine video app, co-founder of music-discovery site This Is My Jam, and former head of creative at Last.fm, points out that research shows most consumers carry powerful cameras with them, but don’t know much about editing video content. So she set out to leverage computer vision technology to analyze video and synthesize the content into an appealing sequence. The free TRASH app does just that, as explained by its simple tagline, “You shoot, we edit.” Continue reading Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Walmart Monitors Store Registers with AI-Powered Cameras

Walmart is leveraging computer vision tech by Ireland-based Everseen and several other companies in more than 1,000 of its stores to more closely monitor checkouts. The surveillance program is internally referred to as Missed Scan Detection, and uses AI-powered cameras to identify and correct problems such as errors, fraud and theft during the checkout scanning process at self-checkout registers and those run by cashiers. The National Retail Federation notes that U.S. retailers lost an estimated $47 billion in 2017 to such problems. Continue reading Walmart Monitors Store Registers with AI-Powered Cameras

Amazon’s AI-Enabled StyleSnap Is Ideal for Fashion Market

Amazon, which launched its new StyleSnap feature to select iOS and Android users in April, will soon make the in-app tool widely available, said company worldwide consumer head Jeff Wilke at the company’s re:MARS AI conference in Las Vegas. Users can reach StyleSnap via a shortcut found by tapping the camera icon in the Amazon app’s upper right-hand corner. Based on image recognition, the machine learning-enabled StyleSnap (and Pinterest Lens competitor) will offer similar items to any photo or screenshot uploaded by a user. The algorithms also incorporate computer vision and deep learning. Continue reading Amazon’s AI-Enabled StyleSnap Is Ideal for Fashion Market

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