German technology start-up fund „Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen“ (TGFS) invests in 3dvisionlabs GmbH from Chemnitz. The company develops a novel camera technology that, in combination with AI, extends possibilities of digitalization. The founders are confident in a growing relevance of common AI technologies by developing new applications.
Whether it be future home automation, checkout-free grocery shopping or even recognizing emergencies and dangers in a public safety scenario; the digitalization of everyday life heavily relies on camera-based analysis of human actions. However, most of the available systems are too intricate or expensive to be applicable at the same time. For example, a camera-based fall detection for elderly people in a home safety application required a multiple camera setup connected by complex infrastructure for one room alone.
To overcome this challenge, German tech start-up 3dvisionlabs developed HemiStereo®, a novel 3D camera technology that is able to recognize objects and their movements with one single sensor. Inside, three extremely wide-angled cameras are installed, capturing a three-dimensional image of the surrounding area. The sensor then analyzes the image and monitors objects (e.g. customers, traffic) in real time. Besides, this capturing method offers a much higher precision in comparison to regular 2D images.
Data safety is of highest priority when combining AI and camera technology.
Many AI products and latest smart home components, like Amazon’s Alexa, depend on a constant internet connection, as data is evaluated by neural networks. This often leads to concerns about data safety in cloud-based services. With HemiStereo, no internet connection is necessary, as the sensor itself contains an efficient analysis unit. Lars Meinel, co-founder and CEO at 3dvisionlabs explains: „Our development kit already shows that HemiStereo is Privacy-by-Design. By implementing both 3D capturing and analysis of sensitive data in one single edge device, the user‘s privacy is preserved.”
Market entry is pending.
HemiStereo currently operates on a prototype level, where pilot users and partners are testing the latest model extensively in new applications. For example, one of these devices is currently monitoring the areas of self-service in a bank in Karlsruhe, and another one is being used to detect theft in a supermarket in Berlin. „Thanks to our partners‘ feedback we are able to test and improve the system thoroughly before its launch“ Meinel states. The Developer Kit will be publicly available in summer 2019.
With the newly acquired capital from TGFS, 3dvisionlabs first plans to recruit staff in its development and sales departments. The company further aims to prove HemiStereo’s economic advantages by introducing several more pilot projects. Additionally, the first commercial serial device is supposed to launch in the midterm.
Strengthening Germany as AI Location.
Germany is a pioneer in AI, especially in the academic realm. Inventions like Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) provide the base for modern language assistants, e.g. Google Assistant. But in order to arrive into people’s everyday life, hardware is still essential. However, because of the higher financial and temporal risk, local investors tend to be more hesitant with financial investments in hardware development rather than software development. Hence, those businesses are mostly located in Asia or the United States. „That’s why we are happy to have found a courageous partner in TGFS , who is willing to fund a German hardware startup“ Meinel says.
TGFS interim manager Thomas Dörffel adds: „We are delighted to support 3dvisionlabs as a young start-up that meets the challenge of expanding machine vision by combining it with AI. This unprecedented technology enables innovative and practical applications in fields like building automation, smart home, security and retail industry.“
3dvisionlabs is an innovative start-up company based in Chemnitz, located in the Technology Center Chemnitz (TCC). Their mission is to fundamentally expand the capabilities of machine vision, thereby promoting the digitization of society in as many areas of everyday life as possible. With its revolutionary HemiStereo® technology, 3dvisionlabs can fully capture a complete room with a single sensor in three dimensions and evaluate the data on-site and in real-time in a compact edge computing device using AI algorithms.
The TGFS (Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen, Technology Founder Fund Saxony) provides technology-oriented start-ups with equity capital in the seed and start-up phase. The fund was launched in 2008 with a volume of 60 million € and increased to more than 124 million € in March 2016. Target companies of the TGFS are young, innovative, technology-oriented founders and companies in the ITC, semiconductor and microsystems technology, medical technology, life science, environmental and energy technology and new media sectors. The TGFS is aimed at young companies based or operating in Saxony.