Apple Acquired Danish Startup Spektral for $30 Million

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Danish newspaper Børsen claims that Apple has acquired Danish computer vision startup Spektral. Apple has not confirmed its acquisition of the startup which is typical of its behavior.

The Danish startup was formerly known as CloudCutout and was acquired by Apple in late 2017. The co-founders of the startup, Henrik Paltoft and Toke Jansen, received over $US30 million as a part of this acquisition. The startup was initially started by them over 4 years ago and had secured a total of $3.3 million in funding. Both co-founders are now manager of computational imaging at Apple.

At Spektral we research in “machine learning for real-time compositing”. We’re devoted to pushing out new cutting edge technology that gives users superior opportunities to create and work easily with cutouts of images and video.

The startup has developed a technology which can intelligently remove people and objects in real-time from the background in photos and videos. The background can then be replaced with something else.

Machine learning algorithms are what makes the Spektral engine run across platforms. The solution is widely scalable and cuts out people and products in different settings. It’s hardware optimized and can run in real-time on a smartphone.

This is similar to what happens in movies and CGI effects where actors perform their scenes in front of a green screen and in post-processing, the background is replaced. However, the startup’s technology makes use of deep neural networks and machine learning to achieve the same effect.

Apple could possibly use the technology from the startup in iMovie for iOS or the camera app. After all, the company is heavily pushing the iPad as a PC replacement for many and by adding such video editing features, it could make the switch easier for many advanced users.

[Via Børsen]