Facebook has a 75 percent majority control over the London-based location precision computer vision start-up Scape Technologies.
The company has not publically announced the change in its majority voting control, as Facebook’s acquisition of the firm was first spotted by TechCrunch in a Companies House filing that shows that since late January Facebook now owns: “75% or more of the shares in the company.”
Essentially the firm has created a developer kit that uses visual imagery, latitude and longitude to determine a highly accurate device positioning that surpasses the accuracy of GPS. The software creates a 3D map in the cloud that helps to build persistent augmented images in the physical world that can be viewed through devices.
The 'AR-Cloud' will change the way we view the physical environment.
— Edward Miller (@TweetEdMiller) October 29, 2019
Scape Technologies have designed an SDK called ‘ScapeKit’ which helps developer’s provide a device with accurate geolocation measurements using computer vision. The firm has built a ‘Vison Engine’ that allows them to build and reference 3D augmented maps in the cloud so that any device can connect and view AR image that are anchored to the same point that they, or a different user, has placed it.
Importantly the ScapeKit handles the conversions from latitude and longitude to Euclidian space.
In a non-AR use of the its software Scape Technologies note that: “We are working on a public API that will allow any device to determine its location, given an image as an input, regardless of what use-case or platform you are targeting.”
Scape Technologies was founded in the start-up tech hub area of Shoreditch, London, in 2016. Currently they have a staff of roughly 50 people working out of their London offices.
The firm was founded by Edward Miller its CEO and its CTO Huub Heijnen. Miller previously co-founded the start-up Medical Realities which designs virtually reality programmes for training medical students. Notably he created the world’s first 360-degree news documentary designed for virtual reality, which covered the Hong Kong protests.
Last year the company raised $8 million (£6.1) during a seed funding event that was led by LocalGlobe, Fly Ventures, Entrepreneur First and Mosaic Ventures. One of the investors connected to LocalGlobe, George Henry, has been terminated as a director of Scape Technologies in a filling at the same time as Facebook’s acquisition filling.
Pili Mayora formally Scape tech lead and now listed as technical program manager at Facebook previously wrote in a blog post that:“ We, the data Acquisition team, have been designing the data platform and API designs to support Evolving Maps: Taking images that flow through the Localization API and exposing them to the Mapping Pipeline. As a result, we’ve had to understand the company’s entire pipeline and coordinate with several stakeholders at once. It has required us not only to refactor our code extensively without breaking anything, but also to understand the intricacies of dealing with media data like images and videos and their application to 3D mapping.”