When Baidu first released the prototype for its tech accessory project “Eye” in April last year, many have speculated that the news was just one of the April Fool’s Day pranks. The company confirmed latter that the product is based on an actual internal project, albeit more detailed information was scare back then.
The Chinese search engine took the wraps off Baidu Eye today at Baidu Technology Innovation Conference this year. Since the design and functionalities of Baidu Eye prototype, as revealed last year, is quite similar to Google Glass, the product is inevitably compared with and considered as a clone with minor innovations. But Baidu Eye released today isn’t that similar to Google Glass after all.
Although Baidu Eye is still worn like glasses, it do not have LCD display. Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of international communications explains that the addition of a screen will impair vision and tire the eyes of wearers. Users can use voice or gestures to control the device. When wearers circles an object in the field with fingers or hold an object in their hands, Baidu Eye can recognize and analyze the objects by recognizing the gestures, and the analysis results will be sent to the connected smartphones.
According to the company, Baidu Eye is powered by Baidu Brain, Baidu’s artificial intelligence project that is led by Andrew NG, once head of Google Brain, the American firm’s deep learning project.
Baidu Eye is expected to find more applications in the fields of O2O, education, e-commerce, transportation. Intime Retail (HK: 1833), one of China’s leading department store operators, has entered partnership with Baidu to integrate its service into Baidu Eye and explore cooperation opportunities to provide new shopping experiences to customers.
The product released today is still not the final version and more features like syncing with social networks and picture/video taking will be included latter, according to Kuo. The company did not mention when the product will be available to the masses.
As hardware is becoming a hot spot in China, Baidu is also putting more focus on this sector. The company released four products for its hardware brand Xiaodu and launched a dedicated website for wearables last year. Baidu aims to attract more partners to adopt its cloud infrastructure and create an App Store-like platform, where users can upload data related to their daily life, once noted by Hou Zhenyu, chief architect of Baidu Cloud.
image credit: Anzhuo