Trending in the latest startup-tech news, Apple secretly purchased a Danish visual effects startup named Spektral. According to claims, this acquisition has cost Apple over a $30 million. This investment made by Apple may be aimed to boost the iPhone’s AR features for Memoji or FaceTime as the company plans to launch an AR headset soon.
Apple has been investing in Augmented Reality (AR) for some time and this new acquisition is a sign of further better advancements.
Founded as Cloudcutout, now Spektral has previously developed a solution that automatically extrapolates a cutout from one frame to the next. This solution makes it possible to create mixed reality content for video in real-time. It has also created cutout.ninja, a site for creating “webshop perfect” images from semi-professional product photos.
Spektral uses Machine Learning (ML) to image and video editing techniques to cut out people from video backgrounds in real time. The key feature of this company is, it can apply computer techniques on smartphones as well. The technique used allows a real-time green screen processing to separate people and objects from the background.
The technology can intelligently separate people and objects from their original backgrounds in photos and videos, overlaying a new background in something called a “cutout.” This entire process is driven by deep neural networks and spectral graph theory.
Representatives at Skeptral claim their methods provide a flexible trade-off between quality and computation time. With close customer interaction and in product learning, they thrive to create unique customer experiences.
Their process includes combining deep neural networks and spectral graph theory with the computing power of modern GPUs. In-turn allowing the engines to process images and video from the camera in real-time (60 fps) directly on the device.
Benefits to Apple by Acquiring Spektral
Spektral takes what was once a painstaking editing process and reduces the heavy lifting to a simple command. The implications are many for the iPhone, but perhaps more interestingly for Apple’s anticipated AR hardware.
Apple will incorporate the technology into the default Camera app on an iPhone or iPad, use it in Messages or Clips. Apple’s proprietary AR headset is anticipated to be one of the most advanced of its kind. The addition of Spektral’s intelligent green screen technology gives another hint about where Apple’s AR ambitions are heading.
The acquisition certainly looks to be a win for Apple, which is going all in on augmented reality technology. AR played a major role at the company’s recent launch of the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR devices. These devices are jam-packed with AI technology by virtue of the new A12 Bionic processor, the smartphone industry’s first seven-nanometer chip.
Further on Apple taking over Spektral, it has been stated that if Apple has the technology to cut out a person from any scene in real time, it is easy to imagine importing yourself into an augmented reality world instead of bringing imaginary objects into yours.
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