Which startup is going to be the next big thing? Investors, bloggers, job seekers, and inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere are dying to know. Hundreds of startups enter private beta each month, and that’s far too many for any one person to keep up with. Fret not! Each week, I share one of the hottest new startups in this column, Best In Beta. Let’s discover the next big thing together!
My friends know that I appreciate natural beauty, which is a problem for me, because when we go hiking together they always end up asking me to name the birds, plants, and trees around us. My answers are never what they’re looking for – fast, ugly, tall, I think it’s… an oak? I venture outdoors for views and the experience, not to collect names. My object recognition system has serious flaws.
So I’m excited to load Spotter onto my phone. Called by some a “Shazam for objects,” Spotter is an app that recognizes objects in real-time by simply pointing at them with your smartphone.
Deep Belief Object Recognition
We’re not talking reading bar codes or processing language, here, but identifying objects much like humans do – by registering texture, shapes and patterns, even qualities like shininess.
And Spotter just might come up with proper names a bit more accurate than “fast, ugly, and tall.” Over a million photos were used to train Spotter to recognize common objects. Spotter can differentiate between dog breeds or types of plants. More proactive users can use their phone camera and the Deep Belief Teacher App to train their phones to recognize custom objects.
Imagine one day having a database large enough to cross reference and identify lost pets merely by looking at a stray animal using Spotter… Both the practical and the commercial potential for the app make it one to watch closely (Have a look at the video below for a better sense of what I mean).
A Crew to Believe In
Another reason the app warrants early enthusiasm is the team responsible for its creation. Spotter is the latest product by Jetpac, a versatile crew that finds solutions by combining knowledge and experience related to data, image processing, machine learning, and mobile technology. Spotter arrives on the scene close behind the Jetpac City Guides (visual guides to over 6,000 cities around the world, available on iPhone), which has been singled out as a 2014 Webby Award Winner.
Jetpac is co-founded by Pete Warden and Julian Green. The duo has worked for the likes of Apple and eBay and been responsible for building winning ideas such as Houzz, IronPlanet, ProStores, and, perhaps best known, StubHub. I personally always side with folk known to have found inspiration by doing things like camping out in a tree house in Alaska for months or swimming in the English Channel.