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Banuba, a Startup Gets Huge on the Future of Augmented Reality

Banuba is a Belarus-based startup company which was founded at the beginning of 2016, and it has already established itself in the field of augmented reality (AR). Equipped with venture capital, Banuba has its eyes on big names like Instagram and Snapchat.

Yury Hushchyn is a co-founder and does most of his work on the R&D part of the startup, supervising a team of almost thirty researchers. Previously, he had worked with Viktor Prokopenya, another co-founder, on a high-frequency trading programme, using analytics constructed upon machine learning and artificial intelligence.

A photo with Banuba filters

They utilised the gathered knowledge to develop computer vision apps for mobile devices. Hushchyn said that they believed they could build something that was one of a kind and revolutionary in several aspects.

According to him, Banuba’s AR version is probably different from what people would usually relate with augmented reality like the extremely popular title, Pokemon Go. Hushchyn said that their version can be called SLAM AR, with SLAM standing for Simultaneous Location & Mapping, and it depends on feature points to identify scenes and objects.

Hushchyn also said that their definition of AR is their approach, in which they are focused on front camera-based augmented reality. It means that they augment selfies along with other objects and make mobile apps that are aware of the background. They concentrate on two major fields out of which, one is face tracking with high performance and the other is high performance and exact face segmentation. The second one indicates that they are capable of separating facial features such as hair, lips, eyes and brows.

The easiest way of describing the firm’s present product is that it has its similarities with the facial filters of Instagram and Snapchat. Hushchyn added that their product does more and is not limited to framing but also uses imitation and goes beyond the usual augmented reality.

One more advantage that this startup has is their designing of this technology for the most low-end and lowest-powered devices. Hushchyn said that they will be displaying the tech running on Android Go phones in a coming conference in Barcelona. They try their best to set the hardware needs as low as they can in order to make the tech accessible to all.

Since there is the need for stable and high-speed internet connection to stream videos, augmented reality can instead be used for video communication that is avatar-based.

According to Hushchyn, the group’s budding technologies consist of the capacity to develop a fully new category of applications. Some of them are practical like the Banuba features which allow a user to try fashion accessories such as glasses, whilst the others are for complete entertainment.

Depending on the proximity and angle of a device to the face, a selfie can come out as subtly distorted, resulting in a user looking different than usual. Hushchyn said that this can be corrected with the use of AR.

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