Slyce this week announced that it acquired computer vision technology developed at York University.
The technology analyzes and aggregates similar images. Through the acquisition, Slyce also hired former York PhD student, Dr. Ehsan Fazl-Ersi, to lead the integration of the intellectual property into Slyce’s Visual Search Platform. Fazl-Ersi will be the new head of research and development for the Toronto-based firm.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Identifying and classifying an object captured within a scene is difficult due to the effects of background clutter, lighting variations and viewpoint changes on the object’s appearance,” says Fazl-Ersi, who designed and developed the technology with his PhD supervisor, Dr. John K. Tsotsos, a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member and former director of York’s Centre for Vision Research.
“This is a much bigger problem for mobile applications where the algorithm’s speed and efficiency are the difference between losing a consumer or making a sale,” he continued Fazl-Ersi. “Our technology will provide higher accuracy when quickly identifying retail items so that consumers can choose among similar items according to style, colour or pattern using a mobile device.”
The researchers partnered with MaRS Innovation and Innovation York, York’s commercialization office, to file patent protection on the initial technology, develop a commercialization plan, secure grant funding, facilitate business development meetings and negotiate the resulting transaction.
“Slyce is excited to reach this deal with York University and MaRS Innovation and add another piece of unique technology to our platform,” said Adam Jarczyn, Slyce’s chief product officer. “Visual search is experiencing explosive growth and has become a compelling way for retailers to engage their customers. York’s technology provides us with another competitive edge in ensuring a high-quality consumer shopping experience.”
“York University is pleased to support this deal, which will make Professor Tsotsos’ and Dr. Fazl-Ersi’s computer vision technology available to customers all over the world,” noted Dr. Robert Haché, York’s vice-president Research & Innovation.
“The Slyce-York transaction will allow a Canadian company to secure Canadian intellectual property and a highly qualified professional from a Canadian institution,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “This transaction reaffirms our capability to move technology from the lab to the market so that it benefits our members and their researchers in several ways.”