Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as “the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computers.” Such processes include learning by acquiring information, understanding the rules around using that information, employing reasoning to reach conclusions, and self-correcting.
Another definition understands artificial intelligence as “a machine’s ability to understand, think and act on a problem in the same way a human would in the same situation. But there is no limit placed on the form the AI will take. AI can manifest itself invisibly. Far away from the human eye, working on advanced problems, it can take the form of a self-driving car, parts of a factory, or even in the future some sort of advanced robotics. What is important to understand is that there is no limit on the forms AI can or will take, now or in the future, to interact with us.”
AI is seen as a new industrial revolution, with unprecedented ability to unlock the constraints of the human mind. Perceived as one of the most interesting and powerful innovations that will shape the next 100 years, EI’s potential for radical industrial and social transformation is on par with the invention of the steam engine, electricity, and the personal computer.
Even a brief market analysis of AI reveals some startling numbers from an investment perspective. The artificial intelligence market is expected to reach USD$390.9 billion by 2025. This represents a 46.2% compound annual growth rate since 2019.
A report from Fortune Insights has the North American market growing at a blistering 33.1% CAGR to 2026, with global AI revenues soaring 12-fold, to around $118 billion.
Growth areas are expected to be in natural language processing (programming computers to analyze human language), robotics, machine learning, and image processing. Major drivers also include the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), higher usage of big data and robotics in manufacturing, significantly more venture capital investment, and cross-industry partnerships.
Another report, published in 2019, says the growth of AI in manufacturing will be influenced by the largest players in the market including NVIDIA, Oracle, Microsoft, Intel and IBM. The Research and Markets report states that North America will dominate the AI manufacturing market until 2024, but that Asia Pacific will be the fastest growing region, due to increasing investments in AI technologies.
NexOptic Technology Corp. (TSX.V:NXO, OTCQB:NXOPF, Frankfurt:E301)
One of AI’s most exciting applications is taking place in the world of image processing.
The explosion in the number of digital photos taken every day is increasing the demand for more accurate and visually pleasing images. However, photos captured by cameras and image sensors are inevitably degraded by “noise” – in technical terms, the random variation of brightness or color information – which deteriorates the image quality.
How many times have you taken a shot with your smart phone, especially in low-light conditions, then immediately deleted it because the picture quality was so poor? Not enough light makes the photo look blurry or pixelated.
Noise reduction is a longstanding problem in the imaging industry, and an active area of research and development.
Classic “de-noising”, done to restore the photo, can blur fine details, or involve costly techniques that require specialized hardware.
These methods are limited by the fact that they don’t take advantage of developments in computer vision – an exciting new field that is helping to imbue computers with a high-level understanding of the information contained in digital images or videos.
Also, most low-light modes are unsuitable for video; this is especially true for smart phone cameras. They rely on taking multiple short exposures and combining them to create a single image.
By comparison, NexOptic’s ALIIS is perfectly suited to images and video.
Short for All Light Intelligent Imaging Solution, ALIIS is a “neural network” developed by NexOptic Technology Corp. (TSX-V:NXO, OTCQB:NXOPF) It uses artificial intelligence to embed itself into an image sensor, to instantly produce sharp, low-noise imagery.
Using any image sensor, photos and videos are corrected in a fraction of a second using machine learning and edge processing.
ALIIS learns from tens of millions of example images, including their edges, textures, lighting and patterns.
ALIIS stores this information in its vast neural network, applies its learning, then instantly processes the image. How does ALIIS benefit the user?
First, the technology radically improves low-light performance, allowing the user to see images and videos under extremely low-light conditions. ALIIS employs visible light to capture color and texture that other technologies cannot.
Second, it dramatically reduces both motion blur and image noise.
Third, it enhances long-range image stabilization by enabling faster shutter speeds.
Fourth, ALIIS significantly reduces file and bandwidth requirements for storage and streaming applications.
Finally, these end-use benefits are complemented by several production benefits. Specifically, it enables much more compact, lighter-weight, lower-cost optics.
Pioneered by NexOptic, ALIIS technology is applicable to multiple technology sectors – everything from smart phones, precision manufacturing, security applications, smart cities, drones, satellites, autonomous vehicles, video scaling, computer vision, facial recognition, object detection and more.
“ALIIS has the potential of becoming a foundational artificial intelligence layer in many of tomorrow’s intelligent imaging platforms, that is our objective. So, the upside to our shareholders is very big.
It really is endless for us, in part because we keep discovering new applications for our AI, for example, our recently created revolutionary AI that transforms Image Signal Processors, that’s an entire industry that we can disrupt. We just filed a new patent around this.” NexOptic’s Chairman Rich Geruson, famed turnaround specialist & successful former CEO of Lexmark, told AOTH in a recent interview.
An Image Signal Processor (ISP) is a type of media processor, used in digital cameras or other devices. It evaluates the color and brightness data of a given pixel, compares them with the data from neighboring pixels, and then uses a demosaicing algorithm to produce an appropriate colour and brightness value for the pixel.
NexOptic’s neural ISP technology allows the company to leverage the speed and efficiencies of AI accelerators, to provide full imaging solutions. It is available to NexOptic’s OEM customers through its alliances with leading semiconductor companies.
Other recent new features of ALIIS, include a turbo speed anti glare offering. Processed on-device in real-time, NexOptic’s advanced anti-glare solution is built exclusively for ALIIS and works on images and video. It is easily tuned for creating more artistic videos and photos, or for example when precision medical images are required.
NexOptic has also given binoculars – which haven’t changed since they were invented over 150 years ago – a makeover. The company’s DoubleTake blends binocular with smart phone technology, inviting the viewer to experience binocular vision in a brand new way. With 10x digital zoom and a wide field lens, DoubleTake delivers outstanding 4K video and high-resolution photos.
The company has made in-roads with two major semiconductor companies.
Recently NexOptic joined with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., as part of its Qualcomm Advantage Network, making NexOptic one of a very limited number of Platform Solutions Ecosystem members.
Qualcomm designs software and other technologies used in smartphones and other devices, including tablets, gaming devices, laptops, routers, data cards, as well as consumer electronics and vehicle entertainment systems. Its imaging customers include Samsung, Sony and LG.
“We’re becoming recognized by Qualcomm and its customers as having the AI solution that radically improves imaging systems. This is an ideal opportunity for us to gain footholds into several imaging sectors at once including the smart phone industry.” Geruson said in a recent Business Television (BTV) news alert.
Using the high compute, memory, and floating-point capabilities of the Jetson platform, NexOptic’s state-of-the-art image enhancing algorithms can run extremely fast. NexOptic’s ALIIS solution powered by NVIDIA Jetson Edge AI platform could unlock new applications in robotics, smart cities, industrial automation and healthcare, the company states.
“Our All Light Intelligent Imaging Solutions (ALIIS) products are now ready for deployment on our partner platforms with Nvidia and Qualcomm, and we anticipate customer deals for sales of ALIIS in the near future,” said Rich Geruson, Nexoptic’s chairman
Powered by AI, image processing is growing in leaps and bounds. In fact it may just be the next trillion-dollar industry.
NexOptic is well-positioned in the sector, with technologies that vastly improve both image/ video quality and the viewer’s experience. The company has recently been given a turbo-boost through its relationships with NVIDIA and Qualcomm, that should greatly extend its reach into sectors and customers served by these semiconductor behemoths.
NexOptic is on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence. The fact that it is being recognized by two NASDAQ giants – NVIDIA has a market capitalization of $310 billion, Qualcomm is valued at $130 billion – is a huge vote of confidence for the micro-cap start-up.
In a recent news release the company said they are opening an office and commencing operations in Seoul, South Korea. The company is exploring the siliconization of its algorithms – embedding AI directly onto a chip. South Korea, Taiwan and China represent the global hub of siliconized semiconductor supply chains.
By siliconizing ALIIS, NexOptic’s delivery points become economical to a much broader array of customers. This will allow for expansion into larger market segments beyond higher-end electronics, such as smartphones, robotics, and the automotive industry.
The fact that ALIIS has such a wide, and growing, diversity of applications gives it huge investment upside, earning NexOptic a place on my watch list.
NexOptic Technology Corp.
TSX.V:NXO, OTCQB:NXOPF, Frankfurt:E301
Shares Outstanding 145,525,380m
Market cap Cdn$139.7m
Richard (Rick) Mills
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