French academic opens machine vision to makers

January 19, 2017 // By Julien Happich
With his JeVois Kickstarter campaign, French academic Prof. Laurent Itti aims to support all those with an interest in machine vision, computational neuroscience, and machine learning.

Prof. Itti first graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications in Paris before receiving his Ph.D. in computation and neural systems from Caltech. For over a decade, he has been teaching artificial intelligence, vision, and robotics at the University of Southern California (USC, Los Angeles) while publishing abundantly on these topics. But from his experience as a lecturer, he realized that his theoretical courses often lacked an easy to use machine vision component for practical hands-on experiments. ­­­­

Hence he started JeVois (French for "I see") as an educational project and the Kickstarter campaign is now turning it into tangible hardware, packing a 1.3Mp video sensor, a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU, a USB video port and a serial port all in a 39x31x23mm self-contained unit including the case and a fan.

According to Itti, it only takes users to load a microSD card with the open-source machine vision algorithms he provides and connect the module to their laptop or Arduino board to give their projects the sense of sight. Video is captured from the camera sensor, processed on the fly through some machine vision algorithm directly on the camera's own processor, and the results are streamed over USB to a host computer and/or over serial to a micro-controller.