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Dropbox recruits facial and object recognition technology firm KBVT founders


Dropbox acquired Columbia University’s professor Peter Belhumeur and UCSD’s professor David Kriegman, the computer vision and machine learning professors who founded Kriegman-Belhumeur Vision Technology, according to a report by TechCrunch.

Belhumeur and Kriegman have joined Dropbox as employees, however, the technology the two have developed and mastered for over a decade will remain at KBVT.

Belhumeur is a computer science professor and director of Columbia’s Laboratory for the Study of Visual Appearance, a role in which he researches computer vision, face recognition, and machine learning for visual recognition.

His research papers have received over 21,000 citations and he also developed the Leafsnap and Dogsnap iOS apps, which enable users to identify tree and bird species from images.

Kriegman has published over 150 papers on robotics, computer graphics, face recognition, and object recognition.

He has received numerous awards in these areas and is the editor-in-chief of the research compendium IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

With so much data – particularly photos — being uploaded every second to the cloud, machine learning tech is forced to organize all of this data.

This opens up a huge opportunity for Dropbox or any other company that can find a way to bring even more strategic value out of photos or extra benefits for those users who store photos.

“The rate at which we’re all creating memories is going up so quickly that the ability to organize, curate, and make sense of the memories we’re accumulating,” said Aditya Agrawal, VP of engineering at Dropbox.

Dropbox currently has 300 million users — a 200% increase in 18 months — with 80,000 paying customers.

Kriegman and Belhumeur’s facial and object technology expertise can help Dropbox implement new features that will recognize the subject matter of a user’s photos for the purpose of organizing them by commonalities, or scan all photos and tag them with metadata relating to what they contain, said Agrawal.

Dropbox has not yet decided on what duties Kriegman and Belhumeur will be responsible for, but it will consider their individual data sets and allow the academics to decide on how they will lend their vast amount of expertise.

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