воскресенье, 17 сентября 2017 г.

Artomatix founder Eric Risser’s idea to use AI to create 3D worlds is not so crazy after all.

Dublin artificial intelligence (AI) company Artomatix has raised €2.1m in a seed round.
It is still the start of the journey for founder Dr Eric Risser as his company makes headway in enabling movie houses and games companies to create immersive 3D worlds.
But it could all have been very different.
“No, we have no money for your weird AI arts stuff,” Risser was told by a professor when he was a computer science student at Columbia University. He persevered, completed his PhD at Trinity College Dublin instead, and started a company.
That company, Artomatix, is now on its way to help define the future of entertainment and design.
Artomatix, a previous Siliconrepublic.com Start-up of the Week, counts several Fortune 500 companies among their initial clients.
The company is chaired by Dr Steven Collins, co-founder of Havok and a partner at Frontline Ventures.

3D vision enabled by AI

The funding round comprises backers that include Enterprise Ireland, several key angel investors (€600,000), and the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme for high-potential European companies (€1.5m).
The seed round follows €300,000 of pre-seed funding obtained through NDRC and various grants and awards, including Nvidia’s $100,000 Early-Stage Challenge.
“This funding will be devoted to hire engineers and researchers to help execute our product roadmap and to develop our technological competitive advantage further,” Risser said.
“We believe this funding will go a long way towards helping us realise our vision to enable 3D artists create immersive worlds faster than ever.”
Artomatix was founded in March 2014 by Risser, Neal O’Gorman, and Barthélémy Kiss, who joined shortly after. As of February 2017, the company employs 17 people.
Markets and Markets reports that 3D represents a vibrant €128bn global industry that is poised for spectacular growth. By 2022, the 3D market will represent €282bn.
Studios creating 3D content are already at capacity and are challenged to produce the current market demands.
That’s where Artomatix comes in.
Artomatix’s technology, known as ‘Example-Based Content Creation’, relies on Risser’s expertise in machine learning, computer vision and computer graphics developed over 10 years of research.
Fully implemented, this technology will give 3D artists the ability to speed up their workflow, thanks to a set of proprietary features tied to modelling (the ‘shapes’ of 3D models) and texturing (their ‘skins’).
“We are convinced that the future of 3D content creation lies in artificial intelligence,” Risser said.
In January, Artomatix elevated deep-learning-based content creation through its publication of ‘Stable and Controllable Neural Texture Synthesis and Style Transfer Using Histogram Losses’.
The company is using this technology to develop an offering that gives artists the chance to ‘recycle’ 3D assets to breath new life into old and unusable ones, by automatically updating the style and fidelity to match any need.
The company will be demoing its technology at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.

среда, 13 сентября 2017 г.

Sol Voltaics raise €19 million for their technology that enables cheaper solar panels

SME Instrument innovator Sol Voltaics has closed a record funding round of nearly €19 million, the largest finance raise for a European solar technology company since 2015. The financing will be used to bring its highly anticipated solar efficiency boosting technology, SolFilm™ on the market, which promises to increase conventional solar panel efficiencies by up to 50%.

SolFilm, a patented, low cost thin-film which is comprised of billions of highly efficient Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) nanowires, enables solar panel manufacturers to reach efficiencies of up to 27% when integrated as a tandem-junction module. Having recently confirmed the successful manufacture of nanowires using their low-cost process Aerotaxy®, Sol Voltaics is now in the final stages of technology optimization, with anticipated samples of its SolFilm being sent to partners by the end of 2018.
“This latest round of finance gives us the critical capital required to commercialize our efficiency boosting technology for the solar market,” said Erik Smith, Sol Voltaics CEO. “Having achieved our final major technology milestone with Aerotaxy earlier this year, we are now fully focused on reaching mass production of SolFilm. I’d like to thank our investors, both existing and new, for backing our vision and helping bring this revolutionary technology to the mass market.”
The company raised €14 million in a funding round in 2016. Sol Voltaics also received an SME Instrument Phase 2 grant of €2.48 million in February 2016.