VisionLabs, a facial recognition, data analysis and robotics company that is a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation, has created an open-source computer vision platform using funding from Facebook and Google.

The Russian company created the new resource by integrating two popular libraries for developers working on the study of neural networks and artificial intelligence: OpenCV and Torch. The project was launched jointly with Facebook and Google last year, with the U.S. companies funding the work carried out by VisionLabs and testing its results.

VisionLabs is a world leader in facial recognition. Photo: Imagine Lab.

The idea of integrating Torch and OpenCV had been discussed before - including by the two projects’ creators - but no moves had been made to implement the idea.

“We are already well-known and we are familiar with the research units of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other large-scale IT-companies,” said Alexander Khanin, general director of VisionLabs, a resident of Skolkovo’s IT cluster.

“When the closed competition to become the project leader was launched, we put ourselves forward and, in the end, we were chosen,” he said.

Khanin said neither VisionLabs nor Google and Facebook consider it to be a commercial project: the aim is the long-term development of the computer vision community. The creation of the combined platform will make life easier for developers and is expected to dramatically reduce the time needed by startups to launch projects in the field of computer vision and neural networks, he said.

“Google and Facebook financed our work, but I would like to reiterate that this is absolutely not a commercial project for us: all the funding, which was quite modest, was put to use,” he said.

“The integration of machine learning and computer vision resources into a unified tool for developers is an important step towards stimulating the creation of new technologies and products in strategic fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence,” said  Albert Yefimov, head of Skolkovo’s Robocentre.

“Working with these major U.S. companies - Google and Facebook - is an excellent form of recommendation for VisionLabs, one of Skolkovo’s most promising companies,” he added.

VisionLabs, which was named one of the world’s top three facial recognition companies in an independent global rating, now plans to develop and expand the open-source platform. 

The company was recently selected from among more than 300 companies to become one of 12 participants in ChallengeUp!, an international startup accelerator run by Intel, Cisco and Deutsche Telekom.