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AI+AR: Baidu’s AR platform DuSee to augment your everyday reality

Tech giant Baidu introduced on Wednesday its augmented reality (AR) platform for smartphones, called DuSee, at the 2016 Baidu Smart Marketing Solutions Conference. The platform, combining artificial intelligence (AI) with AR, may bring a revolution to traditional ways of marketing.

“DuSee is a natural extension of Baidu’s AI expertise,” said Andrew Ng, chief scientist of Baidu. “The path to better AR is through better AI.”

As opposed to the AR of Pokémon GO – which simply pasted a cartoon on top of the camera image, without the program understanding contents of the live image – DuSee leverages sophisticated computer vision and deep learning to work out what is in the live image before augmenting it.

Through integrating AR with Baidu’s core AI technologies such as image and speech recognition, as well as natural language processing, DuSee can be applied to various fields including education, medicine, maps, and interactive marketing. For example, Baidu has developed a DuSee-based solution for natural hair care brand Ultra DOUX.

Instead of attaching too much importance to VR-related projects or developing AR hardware, Baidu focuses on developing advanced AR software for smartphones. In addition, DuSee will be integrated with Baidu’s flagship platform apps such as the search app Mobile Baidu. By that time, AR may truly become a part of the everyday life of hundreds of millions of Baidu users.

Zeng Hua, senior director of Baidu’s Key Account Department, described a scene that was only possible in a sci-fi movie, but may soon come true: When you want to buy a car, you tell your smartphone, and the cars that you like might “jump” out, and you can zoom it bigger or smaller to check its details – you could even listen to the sound of its engine.

Looking at AR in China from a broader perspective, things are beginning to move ahead fast, with more players – big and small – entering the market. For example, in February this year, Alibaba led a USD 793.5 million round of financing in AR startup Magic Leap. Tencent and Lenovo also led a USD 50 million investment in Meta AR this June. Baidu will clearly not be the only AR player in town.

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