Confirmed: Magic Leap acquires 3D division of Dacuda in Zurich

Magic Leap, the augmented reality startup that has raised $ 1.4 billion in funding but has however to release a solution, has produced an acquisition to expand its perform in computer vision and deep learning, and to build out its operations into Europe.

The business has acquired the 3D division of Dacuda, a laptop vision startup based out of Zurich. One particular of Dacuda’s focuses had been developing algorithms for consumer-grade cameras (and not just cameras, but any device with a camera function) to capture 2D and 3D imaging in real-time , “making 3D content material as effortless as taking a video.”

Dacuda has confirmed the acquisition with a brief announcement on its website. It notes that the complete 3D team has moved to Magic Leap and that Dacuda’s founder, Alexander Ilic, is now leading Magic Leap Switzerland.

“Dacuda successfully sold its 3D division to mixed reality leader Magic Leap. The complete Dacuda 3D team joins Magic Leap to kind its very first European presence. The workplace in Zurich permits Magic Leap to further extend its leadership part in personal computer vision and deep learning technologies. Magic Leap Switzerland is led by Dacuda founder Alexander Ilic.

Under the lead of Peter Weigand and Michael Born, Dacuda refocuses its activities on its productive productivity options with major customers such as Sunrise, Crealogix, Unisys, and SITA.”

As you can see, no detail about what the two might be operating on. But when the acquisition was first rumored final week — Dacuda posted a note on its blog about promoting its 3D division, and then numerous Dacuda personnel updated their LinkedIn profiles as Magic Leap workers — Tom’s Hardware speculated that it could signal Magic Leap employing technology developed by Dacuda to enable space-scale, six degrees of freedom tracking (essentially to enhance its image capturing sensors in 3D environments).

This is Magic Leap’s first leap into Europe, but even more substantially, it is becoming produced by way of a country that has a robust reputation for pc vision research and improvement.

There are quite a few startups and academics working in Zurich and other Swiss centers on AR and VR technology, specifically the areas of computer vision and deep learning, and so a presence there will let Magic Leap plug into that scene more directly.

(The ecosystem there is attracting other huge-name M&ampA. Faceshift, a motion capture startup acquired by Apple in 2015, was also founded in Zurich.)

Adding more talent, and creating out far more connections into the pc vision ecosystem, could be coming at the proper time for Magic Leap. As you might currently know, the organization has hit some stumbles in current instances with unflattering leaks of its goods, executive departures, reports that the tech and hardware may not be up to scratch, and the lingering query of whether anything can ever meet the hyped-up expectations that a $ 4.five billion valuation confers on a startup, at least in the short term.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Dacuda has been around since 2009 and according to CrunchBase had raised an undisclosed round, plus $ 542,000 in crowdfunding on Kickstarter for one particular of its productivity solutions, the PocketScan handheld scanner, back in 2014 (we covered it here).

What is also not clear is how this acquisition will impact current organization development offers that Dacuda’s 3D division currently had in spot.

For instance, in October the firm had linked up with MindMaze, another virtual/augmented reality startup out of Switzerland, to create a platform they were calling “MMI”, “the world’s first multisensory computing platform for mobile-primarily based, immersive and social virtual reality applications,” MindMaze noted. MindMaze stated it planned to “deploy the technology for customers globally to address a void left by Google’s DayDream View for positional tracking and multiplayer interactions.” We have contacted Magic Leap for comment and will update this post if and when we find out far more.

This is Magic Leap’s second disclosed acquisition. The initial, in 2016, was of Israel-primarily based cybersecurity startup Northbit.

Featured Image: agsandrew/Shutterstock

Technology as a force for division — and unification — in politics

The functions of government outlined in the U.S. Constitution can be broadly broken down into the promotion of unity, justice, peace, defense and welfare. Practically 230 years later, in an age when software program rules the globe, these principles remain continual — but the way in which the typical citizen experiences and interacts with government and politics has changed immeasurably.

About the world, government solutions have been increasingly going online. In the U.K., a digital transformation campaign began in 2013, pushing through solutions that let citizens do items like claim certain welfare rewards, spend taxes and register to vote online. Indeed, the U.K. was ranked at the prime of the UN’s E-Government Improvement Index for 2016. The report located that “countries in all regions are increasingly embracing innovation and utilizing ICTs to deliver services, improve transparency and engage people in selection-producing processes.”

Regardless of the U.S. not featuring in the top 10 of the E-Government Development Index, Barack Obama’s presidency has been underpinned by a true push toward the principles of e-government, exactly where details and services are produced accessible on the web as far as is possible. So the thought of government-as-a-service is nothing new — the concept that we can report concerns as minor as potholes or as main as corporate corruption using on the internet tools are familiar to us all.

But while the increase in digital government solutions has acted as a catalyst for people to become a lot more socially responsible and empowered citizens, technologies is changing how we act in a political sense — and not necessarily for the far better.

In terms of the news we see and read, some essential items have changed over the years. Whereas printed publications nevertheless have editors who dictate what the audience sees, with on the web news, items are extremely various. Yes they nevertheless have editors, but news web sites are pumped complete of content material that we arrive at in all sorts of ways — by way of social media, search, by way of an app — and the increasing personalization of this news signifies that we tend to see more about the items and individuals in which we are interested. No matter whether this has to do with sports, entertainment or politics, algorithms that present us with content material are — unwittingly — skewing our compass.

Technologies is changing how we act in a political sense — and not necessarily for the much better.

That “echo chambers” exist inside many on the web communities is anything that we have suspected for a lengthy time — and now have quantitative evidence of this, too. A study of Facebook users located a higher degree of polarization inside the social network, with users tending to interact most often with the individuals and narratives they agreed with — making an echo chamber.

Facebook also removed an additional human element from its platform lately. Staff tasked with curating news stories for the Trending Stories section were replaced by algorithms — and there were some nicely-publicized teething difficulties. The story selected to illustrate why newscaster Megyn Kelly was trending — a fake story, as it turned out — shows that algorithms aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be free of charge of political bias, even if that bias is completely unintentional.

Provided that so a lot of people now use Facebook as their main source for news, such political bias can further increase the polarization inside the web site, with this effect carried via into the real world, too. As Plato stated, “those who inform the stories rule society.” With the populist political movements such as the anti-EU “Leave” group in the U.K. and Donald Trump’s camp getting increasingly flexible with the truth, outrageous claims are hitting the headlines all the time, and are getting utilised as justification for more and more extreme political views.

Politicians from all sides use the web to push their own version of the story, and regularly it is not so essential to be seen as honest as it is to be pushing a populist message that fits in with a group’s current globe view — nevertheless untrue it may possibly be. And even though some sections of the media aim to get in touch with out other individuals they suspect of perpetuating lies, this method frequently descends into mudslinging that tends to make both sides appear negative.

Even although we have reached the age of post-truth politics, algorithms can assist us redress the balance. In October this year, Google announced that it was introducing a new feature to the Google News service that would highlight articles that had been rigorously reality-checked. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, was able to fact-verify the recent presidential campaign. Websites such as PolitiFact kept tabs on statements made by the candidates, ranking their relative level of truthfulness. But although these functions and solutions are useful, they are unlikely to alter the minds of these who have already been exposed to the echo-chamber impact for many years.

With discourse becoming increasingly polarized, it becomes ever harder — and less excusable — for citizens to be apathetic toward politics. To go back to Plato, “the price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil males.” Thankfully for us, it is now becoming less complicated to grow to be politically active thanks to digital solutions. Rock the Vote teamed up with theSkimm to produce an online voter registration tool, and there are a number of internet sites that can help you choose which way to vote based on how significantly you agree with crucial policies. Tinder’s Swipe the Vote was a particularly exciting — if somewhat gimmicky — innovation. CrowdPac goes a single step additional, not just matching your values to political parties, but crowdfunded person causes, as effectively.

But whilst governments and private enterprises need to continue to push to boost the lives of their citizens through the provision of digital services, we should be wary of the power that technology has over how we act politically. With a lot content developed to win clicks rather than market genuine debate, and numerous platforms accentuating biased opinions, reality-checking algorithms could be our salvation. Regardless of whether they can fully counteract the echo-chamber effect, even though, remains to be seen.

Featured Image: mingusmutter/Flickr Beneath A CC BY-SA 2. LICENSE