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GrokStyle’s visual search technology makes it to IKEA Place AR app

GrokStyle’s visual search technology makes it to IKEA Place AR app

GrokStyle’s concept of ‘point your camera at a chair (or lamp, or table…) and find others like it for sale’ attracted $2 million last year. And now the functionality is being added to the IKEA Place AR app.

GrokStyle identifies any piece of furniture your camera can see; in your house, at a store, in a catalog; and immediately return similar pieces or even the exact one, with links to buy them. The growing is led by Sean Bell and Kavita Bala, who spun GrokStyle out of their work on computer vision at Cornell University — and it’s clear they know what they’re doing.

GrokStyle’s in action grabbing an image from a catalog. In December, Bell and Bala got a chance to present it to Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA’s “Leader of .” He loved it. It seemed as clear to Valdsgaard as it is to GrokStyle that the advent of mixed in all its forms necessitates a fundamentally different kind of search.

“To make AR work, that’s where you really need tech like visual search,” said Bala. “It lets you find things, cool designs and furniture, all in situ and visualize it in place.”

What’s more, she noted, images and video are just how people communicate and record things now. “People take pictures of absolutely everything. If you want to remember someone’s phone number, sometimes you just take a picture of it. That’s the world we’re living in now.”

Being able to search among a visual record is a powerful tool, and one few companies have unlocked in any kind of powerful way. GrokStyle could very easily have overshot to begin with and tried to offer consumers an app that categorizes and searches among your photos and others, but that way lies great cost and questionable utility.

For now the plan is to execute on IKEA and get the knowledge out there that this exists and works well enough to be adopted by a major retailer. “We’re inviting retailers to come talk to us, and as part of working with them we’re setting up pilots and things,” said Bell. APIs are also in the offing.

As a sort of cherry on top of all this, the company also recently secured another $750K in grants from the National Foundations. GrokStyle had received $225K as part of the Small Business Innovation Research program, and successfully competed for the other three-quarters of a million up for grabs in Phase II. That ought to keep the lights on for a while.

Credits: https://techcrunch.com//03/16/grokstyles-visual-search-tech-makes-it-into-ikeas-place-ar-app/

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GrokStyle’s visual search technology makes it to IKEA Place AR app
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GrokStyle’s visual search technology makes it to IKEA Place AR app
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GrokStyle’s concept of 'point your camera at a chair (or lamp, or table…) and find others like it for sale' attracted $2 million funding last year. And now the functionality is being added to the IKEA Place AR app.
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