Alice Digicam blends high-quality optics, AI and your cellphone

Alice Digicam is a intelligent mix of AI, high-quality optics, and smartphone intelligence

Launching in summer season 2022, the Alice Digicam is designed to supply ‘the intelligence and consumer expertise of a cellphone however with the picture high quality of a DSLR’

For spontaneous images, the very best digital camera for the job is the one you occur to be holding. For the overwhelming majority of informal photographers, that digital camera is the one in your smartphone. The very first cameras appeared on industrial cellphones across the flip of the century (though as ever with tech milestones, there are a number of claims to the title of pioneer). The early work of corporations like Kyocera, Motorola, Samsung, and even Apple, opened the floodgates to what’s now finest known as ‘computational images’; comparatively small sensors and lenses, paired with massively refined algorithms and processing to ship the sort of photographs that even the very best DSLR cameras would wrestle to match.

One firm believes that cell images might be higher. Whereas many aftermarket units promise to boost or develop the capabilities of a smartphone lens system, Alice Digicam bypasses the built-in sensors utterly in favor of a bespoke lenses and sensor system. Billed because the ‘digital camera for creators’, the system makes daring claims for its skill to mix new and outdated {hardware} with AI-driven software program.

We spoke to CEO and co-founder of the corporate, Vishal Kumar, about his aspirations for the product, which is because of launch this summer season.

Wallpaper *: How lengthy has the Alice Digicam been in improvement?

Vishal Kumar: We had a proof of idea in June 2020, however I’d say that the Alice Digicam formally started improvement in September 2020, once we obtained an innovation grant from Innovate UK (the federal government’s analysis company) that turbocharged our improvement and allowed us to rent a group and develop.

W *: What impressed the gadget?

VK: We constructed the Alice Digicam out of frustration with the shortage of innovation and usefulness of conventional interchangeable-lens digital cameras. Digital cameras usually are not actually match for a fast-paced content material life-style and have misplaced out massively to an explosion in smartphone digital camera know-how. Smartphones leverage computational images with an easy-to-use design, however their small sensors won’t ever be sufficient for creators who generate a residing from their content material, as a result of these creators are inclined to care quite a bit about high quality.

W *: What are your aspirations for the system?

VK: Our group is made up of creators, photographers, and engineers and we wished a tool that had the intelligence and consumer expertise of a cellphone however with the picture high quality of a DSLR. We began to consider how a brand new era digital camera might be redesigned from the bottom up. Our resolution was to mix smartphone and mirrorless digital camera know-how with computational images into one system, our AI digital camera known as the Alice Digicam.

W *: Will it work with any smartphone? What does the app add to the same old digital camera software program?

VK: Sure, it’s going to work with most telephones, each iOS and Android. We solely use the smartphone as a show and management interface, the picture processing pipeline and computational images algorithms run on the processor contained in the Alice Digicam. There’s basically no distinction in performance when utilizing the Alice Digicam with totally different telephones, even comparatively outdated ones.

Operating the Alice Digicam app on the consumer’s smartphone provides the expertise of utilizing a latest-gen smartphone display because the viewfinder for knowledgeable interchangeable-lens optical system, and having the ability to add immediately to the cloud or social media is fairly helpful. Pairing the digital camera so carefully with the smartphone unlocks a bunch of consumer expertise enhancements and permits it to slot in extra seamlessly with the fashionable content material creator’s workflow.

W *: What had been the primary technical challenges?

VK: The design of the Alice Digicam is extraordinarily minimal when in comparison with a standard mirrorless DSLR digital camera. We have stripped out a whole lot of complexity; there aren’t too many bodily buttons and there are solely a handful of core digital elements. The Alice Digicam is constructed extra like a smartphone than a standard digital camera, which has meant that we’ve got redesigned the electronics from scratch.

It has been designed particularly to allow superior AI-powered computational images algorithms to be run on photographs collected by its micro four-thirds sensor.

W *: What are its specs?

VK: The Alice Digicam accommodates a complicated Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, just like these in lots of Android smartphones, with huge image-processing capability, alongside a Google Edge TPU, a devoted accelerator for AI algorithms, just like these present in some Google Pixel telephones. It’s a radically totally different design to a typical mirrorless or DSLR digital camera, with a larger concentrate on flexibility and computational energy.

AI is a transformational know-how for images, it allows many issues that had been beforehand unattainable and automates issues that beforehand required expert human intervention. It permits professional-quality post-processing to be utilized to video in actual time for dwell streaming, and it permits a digital camera to seize photographs with increased decision and dynamic vary than its optical system is able to.

W *: How does the digital camera use AI?

VK: [AI] is inflicting basic adjustments in how content material is created, shared and consumed, and the Alice Digicam is designed to harness it. We’ve got already collected over 5 million photographs from open datasets to coach our AI fashions. Now we’re constructing our personal proprietary picture database to additional prepare and improve our novel end-to-end AI pipeline for skilled imaging.

The worldwide chip scarcity has had a large influence on the entire market, and we did witness delays of six months. Nonetheless, we’ve got been in steady contact with our suppliers and have managed our provide chain for 2023.

W *: Who’s the goal market?

KV: The goal market is income-generating content material creators who produce, edit and share content material on a frequent foundation. Based on a current LinkTree report, there at the moment are 200 million creators around the globe who make an earnings from their on-line content material. These creators sometimes begin out their careers utilizing a smartphone to supply content material, however as they change into extra well-known and begin to tackle paid work, they have an inclination to make use of entry-level mirrorless cameras to supply content material.

The Alice Digicam worth proposition will strongly resonate with them as a result of our purpose is to offer them DSLR high quality content material however to drastically streamline their workflow. However, more and more, many small companies are additionally enthusiastic about utilizing skilled cameras to share content material, in truth, 30 % of the individuals who have pre-ordered an Alice Digicam are small enterprise house owners or video businesses. §

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