Apple Buys Visual Effects Startup Focused On Machine Learning

According to the report which has been revealed that Apple Inc. last year quietly acquired a Copenhagen-based machine learning startup which is known by the name as Spektral for $30 million.

It’s seemingly given credence by the fact that Spektral co-founder Toke Jansen, whose research at the Technical University of Denmark served as the basis for the startup’s technology, now lists Apple as his employer on LinkedIn.

Spektral launched in the year 2014 under the name CloudCutout with a service which has been used as  an artificial intelligence to speed up image editing process and other things. The offering focused on automating the process of cropping people and objects from pictures, which is a normally time-consuming task that designers have to do by hand. The AI algorithms developed by Janese and his team were described as precise enough to isolate individual strands of hair from their background.

In mid-2017, the startup rebranded some of their things and raised an amount of $2.8 million in funding to pursue a new mission and to grow: applying its technology to videos. Spektral’s website, which is still online, makes some bold claims about the software. It’s touted as efficient enough to process footage from a smartphone’s camera in real time at a rate of 60 frames and using only the built-in graphics card.

Spektral’s algorithms could potentially help in enhancing the augmented reality features in iOS, as well as enable app developers to build some of the more powerful services.

The original Børsen report about the acquisition claims that it took place last December. In the year 2017, Apple confirmed that it had bought SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH, which is a German maker of eye-tracking technology for augmented and virtual reality headsets.

More recently, the iPhone maker picked up a company which is called as Akonia Holographics LLC with roots in the famed Bell Labs research group. Akonia developed a specialized lens designed for use in AR headsets that it described as cheap to produce, thin and lightweight. The acquisition is particularly notable because Apple is said to be working on a homegrown AR system that could reportedly start shipping as early as 2020.

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