This avatar can talk to you
Canadian startup Twenty Billion Neurons creates next generation virtual assistants
|Founded: 2015||Location: Berlin, Germany/Toronto, Canada|
|Revenue 12,5 M||Specialties: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Video Understanding, retail, avatars, retail technology, retail innovation|
Twenty Billion Neurons (TwentyBN), is a leading provider of real-time, interactive computer vision and artificial intelligence solutions. It is an AI company with the mission of instilling common sense into computers through video understanding and of turning inanimate devices into human eyes that can understand the world around them, assist humans, and ensure a safe and healthy lifestyle.
Founded in 2015, a company is building an artificial intelligence system that interacts with humans while “looking” at them. This enables the system to understand their behavior, surrounding and the full context of the engagement. This AI solution allows people to interact with technology and each other in new and exciting ways that will impact every aspect of their lives. In 2018 they designed Millie a life-sized intelligent avatar assistant who can see, understand, and interact with users in real time.
Meet Millie the world’s first AI powered avatar
Millie uses advanced computer vision technology to observe the world around her, detect what people are doing, and understand the context. At the core of Millie’s intelligence is human behavior understanding technology, powered by TwentyBN’s global video platform that collects high-quality, annotated data for deep learning. This avatar can detect when a person enters the store, make eye contact with them, and follow them around with her gaze. She can also detect which product people are looking at and respond by encouraging them to pick it up or show them how it works. Also, she can understand and answer simple questions and engage customers in basic conversation, thanks to built-in speech recognition and natural language processing software. Furthermore, facial recognition software allows her to remember people and address them by their name the next time she sees them.
The company uses NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and a cuDNN-accelerated PyTorch deep learning framework to train Millie’s computer vision system to detect and recognize physical actions. To achieve this, TwentyBN built a proprietary crowd-acting platform and used it to gather millions of human engagements, which were then fed into the system.
Company will develop more advanced companions in the future
The company says they are at the beginning of Millie’s journey towards a more robust human-like AI. In the future, they hope to increase her skill set and human understanding. They add that she might even be capable of serving as a workplace assistant, dance instructor, and even a child’s learning partner. In 2018 they raised a $10 million Series A funding round led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, with participation from Coparion, Creative Edge, and MFV Partners
TwentyBN is recognized as a CB Insights Top 100 AI startups in 2019 and a Gartner Cool Vendor in AI Core Technologies in 2018. Their technology is trusted by the world’s leading businesses in technology, automotive, and consumer products, as well as over 40 of the world’s top 100 universities.