Apple reportedly added one more AI-startup to its list of acquisitions earlier this year, but kept quiet about it. According to The Information, the Cupertino firm quietly acquired privacy-centric AI startup Silk Labs sometime earlier this year.
San Francisco based AI-startup Silk Labs takes advantage of personal assistant technology for both – home hubs and mobile devices. The startup was founded in 2015 by Mozilla‘s former CTO, Andreas Gal.
The company launched a smart home monitoring camera back in 2016 as a crowdfunded project known as the ‘Sense’. It raised around $165,000 in a Kickstarter to build and ship the device. The lightweight AI tech in ‘Sense’ included facial and object recognition which could recognize multiple faces and even pets.
‘Sense’ could also play music based on the user’s taste and pair with third-party gadgets like Sonos speakers and smart light bulbs, reports Engadget. The startup says its algorithm only sends “key” video moments to the cloud, instead of a constant stream, and their focus is on privacy.
Silk Labs is said to have a very small team of over half a dozen employees. The company reportedly received $4 million in funding before Apple’s acquisition. As of now Apple hasn’t disclosed any detail on the acquisition, and neither commented on press query.
It seems that Apple could use Silk Labs expertise for a range of smart home products to fight out with Google and Facebook. Both tech firms have released smart displays this year, but the tech world is still debating privacy concerns because of their track records.