Two CVC PhD students have been selected to participate at Google Summer of Code 2017

Pau Rodríguez and Suman Ghosh are participating at this year’s Google Summer of Code within the OpenCV foundation. The Google Summer of Code is a program in which Google gives stipends to students in order to contribute to more than 200 open source.

Pau Rodríguez, Research member of the Image Sequence Evaluation team is implementing state of the art computer vision and deep learning algorithms.  Suman Ghosh, research member of the Document analysis team is working on text detection in images. Both, contributing with their work to the Open Source Computer Vision Library (OpenCV).

Specifically, Pau Rodríguez will be developing an API for recurrent neural networks into tiny-dnn, being his mentor at the project, Edgar Riba, who is also a CVC PhD student and has been working at Google Summer of Code for more than three years now. As Pau states “I’m working on tiny-dnn, which is smaller than other frameworks such as Tensorflow or Pytorch, thought for smaller hardware and for direct deploy”. “RNNs are now central to many applications”, he continues “from speech recognition to Computer Vision. Some examples are Image captioning, Visual Question Answering (VQA), autonomous driving, and even Lip reading.”

On the other hand, Suman Ghosh explains that he is working “to deliver a framework in OpenCV which can be used to detect and recognise text of any image”. A crucial task in order to give computers the ability to read text under different and uncertain circumstances. As Suman explained in his proposal, “End-to-end scene text recognition is usually divided in two different sub tasks: word detection and word recognition. Currently, OpenCV text detection does not use state of the art deep network(s), therefore my proposal is to implement a deep network for text detection”.

Edgar Riba is Pau Rodríguez’s mentor within the project. He is also a CVC PhD student who is currently at Arraiy, inc. at Palo Alto, California, within a research stay. After participating at Google Summer of Code for three years, he has now been elected as a mentor. Last year, he extended tiny-dnn to OpenCV, which now is totally integrated and hosted by OpenCV. In addition, he is mentoring two more students fully dedicated to tiny-dnn at this year’s Summer of Code.

“Tiny-dnn is a library that implements deep learning and is not intended for research, but for deployment, it can be suitable for limited computational resource, embedded systems and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and it is now supported by the OpenCV foundation,” Edgar explains. Edgar, Pau and the other students are working hard on preparing tiny-dnn so it can be deployed in Raspberry Pis, within Android devices, etc. Two more students are involved to make it work with GPUs to speed up inference during deployment and preparing a model zoo in order to import trained models independently from the framework used to train.

As the program announces itself, the Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development. Students work on a 3 month programming project with an open source organization during their break from university. The program started in 2005 and the statistics are astonishing, with more than 13.000 students involved.

 

Boosting entrepreneur projects within Smart mobility

In order to highlight the key technologies and thus respond to the challenges of smart mobility and promote entrepreneurship, the UAB Research Park (PRUAB), the Computer Vision Center and the UAB School of Engineering, have organized a course dedicated to smart mobility and enterpreneurship, the “Intelligent Vehicle and Business Opportunities” program, with the direct support of the Department of Enterprise and Occupation of the Generalitat of Catalonia (Departament d’empresa i ocupació de la Generalitat de Catalunya), through the Catalunya Emprèn Program.

The course’s Demoday took place on the 27th of June, and the whole program counted with the participation of 38 students with different profiles, such as researchers, entrepreneurs, engineering students, designers and various professionals. During six months, the students have received training on emerging technologies in the area of smart transport and business management and new business models. Concurrently, they have worked in their own project, designing new solutions accompanied by technology and business experts, who have been giving them support in order to bring their idea closer to the market. 

Innovative projects for sustainable mobility

The six projects developed throughout the Program were presented on Tuesday 27th  of June at the Eureka building (UAB Research Park) in a Demoday and evaluated by a specialized jury: Felipe Jiménez, Director of the Intelligent System Unit at the Institute of Automobile Research of the Polytechnic University of Madrid; José Manuel Barrios, head of the department of Innovation of the company Applus+ IDIADA; Eduardo Urruticoechea, Director of Innovation at IDNEO, Antoni Espinosa, associate professor at the UAB and researcher in the field of the autonomous vehicle, and Meritxell Bassolas, head of Technological Transfer at the Computer Vision Center.

The selected project and winner of the event was CheckUp, mechanism for the automatic diagnosis of damage in rented cars. Currently, car rental companies stil rely on the visual perception of their staff for the vehicle inspection, registering the damage manually and on paper.  The solution proposed by CheckUp is based on automating and accelerating this process through computer vision in order to maintain the customer’s confidence and the impartiality of the company.

This project has obtained a prize of 1,000 euros, sponsored by the accelerator mVenturesBCN.

The other developed projects are:

Apparka: a web and mobile platform for the management of shared electric bicycles, which allows users to find, rent and unlock a bicycle through a mobile application. Furthermore, the application analyses and manages the data registered in the routes in real time, such as distance, time, consumed calories or the state of the battery of the bicycle, proposing the users the optimal route. This project is born to offer a new concept of mobility, being a great complement for public transport and replacing private transport.

Accsint: a system for helping the driving of electric wheelchairs for people with reduced mobility. The mechanism incorporates sensors and satellite connectivity to detect obstacles, slopes, holes, etc. and notify emergency services in case of an accident.

Urban Charge intends to make private electric vehicle recharging points profitable during the time frames in which they are empty. It is a collaborative platform that connects users seeking for parking and recharging their electric vehicle in available private charge points.

Drivvisor focuses on the driver and proposes a monitoring system in order to evaluate its state during driving. Their idea is to develop a mobile application based on computer vision that detects the tiredness and the distractions of the driver, issuing alerts in real time.

Finally, Smart Clean Technologies proposes to use autonomous vehicles capable of cleaning large surfaces autonomously. Its innovative characteristic is that the robot knows in every moment where is it located and thus reaching all points. Moreover, the system is flexible and non intrusive.

Continuous support

Although the course has reached its end, the projects will continue receiving support from the UAB Research Park in order to effectively reach market. Most of the projects have already developed a fist prototype and have attracted the interest of different institutions.

You’ll find all the Demoday pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pruab/sets/72157685506538076/with/35585348325/

Computer Vision and Robotics at Barcelona’s Maker Faire

The CVC was present last Weekend at Barcelona’s Maker Faire at the Italian Pavilion at Fira de Barcelona. The Center presented four projects: the first of them, an open source air hockey robot created by Dr. Alicia Fabregues, from the IIIA institute and UAB professor. This air hockey robot works with a simple app containing computer vision which detects the robotic arm and the player’s movements in order to planify the next move.

The second project was Memory Fields, a prototype that turns simple toys into useful tools, also using computer vision. With this, the camera located in the base of the prototype analises the user’s movements and interaction with the toys and thus gives a command to the computer. This project has been developed by Daniel García Pampín, and supervised by Dr. Fernando Vilariño, CVC’s associate director.

Thirdly, a self erasing board, called Erasinator 9000, created by engineering student Lakshminarayanan Sriram, which erases the board according to will by recognising hand gestures. And last, but not least, a robotic hand created by a group of UAB engineering students and presented by Daniel Herbón.

Have a look at all the pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146823557@N08/albums/72157682271563792

Xarxes project presented today to the archivist community of the Barcelona metropolitan area

The Xarxes project was presented today to archivists from different locations of the Barcelona metropolitan area at the Regional Archive of the Baix Llobregat region. The goal of the meeting was to explain the project and give archivists the tools in order to implement the project within their Archives, how to motivate volunteers and the final objective of creating a global historical social network.

The event was presented by Enric Cobo, Catalunya’s general archive Coordinator; Jusep Boyà, Catalunya’s general archive Director and Jordi San José, Sant Feliu’s Town Mayor. The project has been introduced by CVC’s director, Dr. Josep Llados, and has then been explained by Dr. Alicia Fornes (CVC) and Dr. Maria Joana Pujades (Barcelona Demographic Center), the latter being the co-directors of the project.

Xarxes is a project funded by Recercaixa, a research grant awarded by the Obra Social La Caixa and ACUP, the Catalan Association of Public Universities.

Find the pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146823557@N08/albums/72157681778068264

Related article: XARXES: Connecting The Lives Of Our Ancestors

The ICTA – CVC App Plant*tes wins a Research Prize from the Generalitat de Catalunya

The app Plant*tes, developed by the Aerobiological information point (PIA-UAB), the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) and the Computer Vision Center, has won a prize dedicated to Research, development and innovation from the Generalitat de Catalunya.

The app is a citizen science project which intends to inform about the existing allergic plants within cities and the phenological state of the plant. The final aim is to help comprehend in a more effective way the relationship between environment and allergic diseases, and contribute to improve the life quality of people within the city.

 

The app shows users different images from the most common allergic plants and offers them the information of how their flowers and fruits look like. The system allows the user to localize within a map an exact point where that plant is located, what type of plant it is, and the phenological phase (if it’s in flower formation, if the flower is closed, open or if it already has a fruit). This information can then be visualized by the rest of the users and can help them decide the most recommendable route within a city in order to avoid the places where these plants are more numerous.

The app has received the Environment Prize, according to the Generalitat “because of the scientific robustness of the project development and of its citizen oriented nature”. The app creators hope that this initiative might be of a general public interest and wants to also make it into a tool for schools, civic centers and institutions which will collaborate and promote its continued use. Citizen collaboration is essential within this project in order to ensure the information will be changing over time of how plants are flowering within the city walls and streets.

This text is a short translation of the full excerpt published by the ICTA press office which can be read here (in Spanish).

In the media (in chronological order):

La Vanguardia, 07/06/2017, ‘Cuatro grupos de investigación reciben Premio Medio Ambiente de Generalitat

Betevé, 07/06/2017, ‘Reportatge: Plant*tes, una aplicació per als al·lèrgics

El Periódico, 10/05/2017, ‘Una app permite a los ciudadanos ayudar a identificar las plantas alergénicas

Diari de Tarragona, 08/03/2017  Esta primavera traerá elevados niveles de polen a Catalunya