IQ Engines has secured US$1 million in a Series A financing and added a former Apple exec to its board of directors: David Austin. At Apple, he served as, at various times: senior director, Engineering & Design, Professional Applications; senior director, Applications Business Development; and senior director, Applications Product Development.
The company plans to use the capital to support the public launch of its any-image recognition engine, an application programming interface (API) that enables retailers, handset manufacturers, wireless carriers, and application developers to build visual search, image labeling, and augmented reality applications for mobile phones. The IQ Engines any-image recognition API is now available via the company’s new developer portal at http://developer.iqengines.com .
The company also announced today that it has received a $119,000 research grant from the National Institute of Health, which will be used to support further development of its any-image recognition engine’s ability to provide accessibility tools to assist the vision-impaired, and a $200,000 supplement to its SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation to advance the development of 3D object representations for visual search.
“I believe that visual search powered by IQ Engines’ any-image recognition technology will change the way that people use mobile devices,” says Austin. “During my 17 years with Apple, our goal was to make every interaction with the computer elegant and intuitive, and IQ Engines shares that goal. Using the camera for search just makes sense — we’re surrounded by visual information all the time and now IQ Engines makes it simple for people to use that information to find what they’re looking for. What could be more natural?”
IQ Engines has also used its own API to develop oMoby, a visual search application for the iPhone, as a showcase for its technology. oMoby, available for free on the Apple App Store, uses the iPhone’s camera and Internet connection to search for shopping information and other relevant results.
The IQ Engines any-image recognition technology was designed to be flexible and highly scalable. Customers develop applications to submit photos to the API, and in seconds an accurate description is returned, which can be used to search any data source for relevant results. Numerous retailers, comparison-shopping sites, hardware manufacturers, wireless carriers, and software developers have been successfully testing a preview of the IQ Engines any-image recognition API over the past several months, with several of their iPhone and Android applications built using the technology slated for release in the coming months.