Visual search technology firm Slyce today announced that it has acquired a computer vision technology developed at York University that quickly analyzes and aggregates similar images. Through the acquisition, Slyce also hired former York PhD student Dr. Ehsan Fazl-Ersi to lead the integration of the intellectual property into Slyce’s visual search Platform as head of research and development.

The Slyce platform allows customers to take a picture of real-world products with a smartphone and then find direct or close-matching products from a retailer's catalog, which they are able to purchase on the spot.

"Identifying and classifying an object captured within a scene is difficult due to the effects of background clutter, lighting variations and viewpoint changes on the object's appearance," said Fazl-Ersi, who designed and developed the technology with his PhD supervisor, Dr. John K. Tsotsos, a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member and former director of the York Center for Vision Research.

"This is a much bigger problem for mobile applications where the algorithm's speed and efficiency are the difference between losing a consumer or making a sale. Our technology will provide higher accuracy when quickly identifying retail items so that consumers can choose among similar items according to style, color or pattern using a mobile device."

According to the company, the researchers partnered with MaRS Innovation and Innovation York, York's commercialization office, to file patent protection on the initial technology, develop a commercialization plan, secure grant funding, facilitate business development meetings and negotiate the resulting transaction.

"Slyce is excited to reach this deal with York University and MaRS Innovation and add another piece of unique technology to our platform," said Adam Jarczyn, Slyce's chief product officer. "Visual search is experiencing explosive growth and has become a compelling way for retailers to engage their customers. York's technology provides us with another competitive edge in ensuring a high-quality consumer shopping experience."

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