Researchers at Cornell’s Technology University and Ann S Bowers College of Computing and Information Science have received grants from Meta, totalling roughly $1.9 million USD, to improve augmented reality (AR) facial recognition technology.
According to reports, Meta awarded Cornell Tech $1.125 million to assist the institute’s prestigious XR Collaboratory (XRC) arm. Additionally, Meta gave the remaining $675,000 to Cornell Ann S Bowers College.
A grant from @Meta will support further research into augmented reality (#AR) and virtual reality (#VR) by @AbeDavis CS professor @CornellCIS and the @xrcollaboratory team @cornell_tech including @haraldsson.https://t.co/IrcaWrml0M pic.twitter.com/yHrc7UJ8Tf
— Cornell Computer Science (@cs_cornell) March 1, 2022
Meta will spread support and capital over two years to enable AR research, teaching, and diverse undergraduate opportunities for students and staff at each university.
Spark AR, an immersive research and development (R&D) group led by Meta, assists with university projects, namely as Meta Reality Labs engineers work with student-led R&D initiatives.
Sue Young, Head of AR Glasses at Meta’s Reality Labs, said,
“Support for pioneering efforts like Cornell’s is key to helping realize this vision fully and empowering the next-generation of XR builders, creators and researchers”
Leading research at each campus is Abe Davis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Ann S Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, and Harald Haraldsson, Director of the XR Collaboratory (XRC) for Cornell Tech.
The funding enables each university to explore AR-powered facial recognition capabilities and improve extended reality (XR) academia. Also, the $1.125 million will support XRC in its core focus categories, including instructional, project, and community activities.
According to Davis, modern facial recognition software recognises a limited range of colours, meaning Cornell R&D will improve AR recognition for faces of colour. Meta’s funding enables university researchers to raise the benchmark for AR-ready camera design.
What is the XR Collaboratory?
XRC division researchers are accelerating R&D in XR for use cases in vertical markets like healthcare, education, and architecture. Aside from Meta other XRC partners, Magic Leap and Verizon Media act as official facility sponsors.
Students at the R&D lab apply their soft skills from related computing courses, including computer vision, graphics, and human-computer interfacing (HCI) to create high-quality research projects.
Additionally, XRC researchers collaborate with specialist staff and students from other universities such as Weill Cornell Medical College to create applied immersive solutions.
The New York City-based institution supports various undergraduate and master’s courses such as AR/VR/MR research, computer graphics, applied machine learning, and virtual worlds.
Already, XRC researchers have completed and are actively working on numerous XR projects that enhance immersive interaction, with notable ones creating new locomotion and input techniques for VR applications.