Image recognition technology uses algorithms (a set of rules used to perform a task in a set number of steps) in order to recognize an image. Because computers understand numbers, not physical pictures, they are presented images as mathematical and numerical data. By recognizing patterns in this data, a computer is then able to recognize an image.
Slyce is a Toronto-based start-up company using mobile image recognition technology. With their app, users can use the camera on their phone to look at an image like a shirt and then find similiar products online for purchase. As such it is a competitor to Amazon Flow, a similar app which allows users to get information about products seen at a store they might want to purchase on Amazon. The advantage that Slyce has over the Amazon app is that images are recognized whether the product is inside or outside of its package. The Amazon app only recognizes products in packages. This flexibility relates to Slyce’s ultimate goal: for its app to be used anywere a user wants to look at a product and find similar items for purchase.
Mobile image recognition technology is also used by companies like Autonomy, a British company bought by HP, leading to the creation of Aurasma. Aurasma is an augmented reality platform which allows users to create their own images. Users first log into the Aurasma Studio and then create a trigger image. After getting this image, they can then add an overlay. An overlay is an image or images added on top of the original trigger image, which is more dynamic. The overlay images can be obtained from the users’ computer or tablet or from an existing set of images. After this is retrieved then users can publish their content so that others can view it. Many media and entertainment companies use this technology including GQ, Universal Studio Music, Dreamworks and BBC Worldwide. Other companies and organizations like UK football team Tottenham Hotspur and Mercedes Benz, use this technology as well.
Productify from Swedish company OculusAI, is another mobile app for consumers. A user takes a picture of a product with their cell phone. They are then shown images of related items for purchase. Like the previous apps, this helps users comparison shop. According to CEO and cofounder of OculusAI, Siamak Ayani, rather than using terms, users increasingly are searching using images. This reality helps companies like Oculus capitalize on changing consumer habits.
Image recognition technology has other applications outside of sales and entertainment. One perhaps obvious use is in the security industry. Using facial recognition or fingerprint recognition allows companies to ensure that the right people have access to their facilities and information.
A potential use of image recognition technology is in the world of robotics. Robots can be used to recognize items in their environment as algorithms become more advanced. This will make robots more interactive and perhaps even able to interact regularly with humans one day.