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What if AR Navigation could help you find free coffee at Slush?

VimAI uses machine learning mixed with computer vision to bring on a new kind of augmented intelligence for indoor settings, all accessible on a smartphone and with no hefty infrastructure investment.
photo: Aleksi Neuvonen
photo: Aleksi Neuvonen

This article is part of a series showcasing six startups at Aalto University's at Slush Helsinki 2019.

VimAI was born from a crowdsourcing research project at Aalto University. As part of the project, the research team investigated if tourist photos from Temppeliaukio church that had been uploaded to Instagram could be utilised. They soon realised that a 3D point cloud model of the church could be created from the photos so the next thing to find out if that model could be used to identify the position of the photographer. This led to the idea that photos taken in a coordinated manner could be used as a positioning tool which subsequently became the VimaAI navigation and location-based augmented reality (AR) app.

In 2016, a team was created for a commercialisation research project at Aalto, which subsequently led to them being recipients of the Business Finland TUTL funding, which enabled them to start an official company.

VimAI CEO, Ismo Olkkonen, says that the company prefers the term augmented intelligence as opposed to augmented reality, ‘Even though we could be considered an AR platform, augmented intelligence is a more appropriate term as our solution is meant to enhance human intelligence and play more of an assistive role’.

VimAI comes as two separate mobile apps; one being a scanning tool that can be used to collect visual data from the indoor environments and implement scene understanding, the other being a navigation tool that enables high precision indoor localisation and navigation with dynamic data displayed in different physical locations.

With computer vision and machine learning techniques taking care of the data, the VimAI app only requires the use of commercial devices, like mobile phones, to do the scanning and navigation which negates the need for expensive equipment and infrastructure investment.

While similar products exist on the market, Olkkonen points out that a significant advantage of VimAI solution is its lightness. The positioning is done totally in the phone without the need for computing resources from the cloud, which makes the solution extremely scalable.

VimAI is currently in pilot-phase with several customers, with a focus on providing their product for shopping centres as well as for the industrial and real estate sectors.

VimAI, founded in 2017

Founders: Jiang Dong, Marius Noreikis, Vilen Looga, Antti Ylä-Jääski, Yu Xiao

VimAI has operated so far with bootstrap financing

Company milestones

  • May 2019 -VimAI launched its first products and has since made several pilots with customers in Finland.
  • October 2019 - VimAI made a remarkable deal with a global phone manufacturer.
  • November 2019 - VimAI got into an agreement with Singapore Airlines to pilot its navigation solution at Changi airport in Singapore.
    https://vim.ai/
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