Back in September last year, the social media giant Facebook announced that it is working on a new virtual reality-based social network. While the concept sure seems interesting, we still have to wait for it to be made available for everyone. In the meantime, the social media startup Octi has announced its own social media network, which is based on Augmented Reality.
The LA-based company started off with the aim of building AR tech that can better recognise the human body and movement. However, it seems like the company has found another interesting use case for its technology. It has also announced a new funding round and says its total funding till date stands at €10.8 million.
Octi had previously raised €6.76 million euros in seed round and with the latest funding round, it has secured another €4 million. As for the investors, Live Nation, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Peter Diamandis’ Bold Capital Partners, Human Ventures, I2BF, Day One Ventures, Tom Conrad, Scott Belsky and Josh Kushner are said to have participated in the latest funding round..
Octi: How AR social media works
Unlike standard social media, AR social media harnesses the power of your smartphone’s camera capabilities. Octi works when one opens up the app and points the camera at someone. If that person has signed up for Octi, the app will try and recognise who it is using face recognition and as soon as the person is identified, an ‘AR belt’ will start floating around that person. This belt consists of virtual elements like posts that feature images, songs, videos and more.
Friends on the Octi AR social network can also use stickers and effects on each other, change profiles and more. Users of the the social network need to meet up in person to fully experience the AR social network, however, they can also check out other people’s profile like regular social media platforms. Addressing the possibility of cyber bullying, the co-founder and CEO of Octi, Justin Fuisz, told TechCrunch that the AR belts are visible only to a user’s friends that are approved to view it. If one of your connections is doing something you don’t like, “You just say goodbye. That’s it. That’s a simple way of dealing with it.”
Leveraging neural networks for face recognition
The Octi AR social media platform works by recognising people. In order to enable this feature, the company developed a face recognition system that is said to be powered by a neural network. Keeping privacy in mind, the face data used by the app is processed on a device instead of uploading it to the cloud. As per Fuisz, the company has worked hard on optimising face recognition. One step was prioritising friends-of-friends rather than searching through the faces of everyone in the network, resulting in an app that can identify a friend in as little as 20 milliseconds.
Image credits: Octi
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