Baidu, the search company sometimes called China's Google, has announced a new augmented reality platform for smartphones. The new platform is called DuSee, and promises to use existing smartphone hardware to "understand" real-world 3D environments, allowing computer-generated characters and objects to interact with the real world.
Baidu said it was excited to integrate AR with speech recognition
Many existing AR apps — like current sensation Pokémon Go — simply drop computer-generated images into real-world pictures, but Baidu claims that DuSee uses "sophisticated computer vision and deep learning" to work out what's in a live image. The company says this allows real-time interactions with AR objects, as well as opening the door for more advanced interactions in the future. Yuanqing Lin, director of Baidu's Institute of Deep Learning, said that the company was "excited about future directions such as integrating AR with speech recognition and natural language processing."
For now, however, Baidu's example of DuSee looks ostensibly similar to existing AR apps. The company provided a demonstration of how the technology will work, showing how a 2D map of Shanghai turned into a cartoonish 3D image of the city when viewed through a DuSee-enabled smartphone. The short video above shows a more interactive example, the generated flowers covering the shampoo ad a little like a Snapchat filter modifies a human face.
The search giant has yet to give a date for DuSee's launch, but said that the platform would be integrated into its biggest apps — including its mobile search engine, which has hundreds of millions of users. This kind of base-level integration could mean that AR becomes a part of daily life for many, rather than just a particularly battery-draining way to play Pokémon Go.