BRAIN UP YOUR DEVICE WITH AI MADE BY SUNBIRD IMAGES
Applications (apps) are not only valuable software tools for mobile devices. They also play an increasing role in software built in other devices and machinery to fulfil helpful tasks where mobile phones fall behind. These can be as different as stationed electronic devices for monitoring purposes or software built in medical instruments. Often these applications include neural networks which help machinery work autonomously. Increasingly, mobile applications serve the purpose of steering or interacting with attached devices directly.
Sunbird Images Makes History
Sunbird Images has been a main partner in the development of the world’s first smart binoculars manufactured by Swarovski Optik, the AX Visio. It allows the user to automatically identify 9,000 birds, more than 300 mammals, 200 butterflies, and 50 dragonflies. It was first presented in January 2024 at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the most powerful tech event in the world, and created a lot of media attention since then.
The AX Visio combines high-precision analogue long-range optics with cutting-edge digital intelligence in form of a neural processing unit for enabling fast automatic animal recognition. Below we explain how Sunbird Images became a part of the world innovation.
Revolutionising Binoculars with AI identification – The Beginning of A New Technological Era
How Sunbird Images became a selected partner
On the 2017 Birdfair Sunbird approached Swarovski Optik personnel at their stand and proposed to them the idea of developing an optical device to automatically identify animal species.
After meeting with the Swarovski team at their headquarters in Absam, Austria, Swarovski was convinced of Sunbird’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. Several productive meetings later, a collaborative partnership was formed. In April 2019 Swarovski released the “dG Finder”, a monocular field glass. In conjunction with the accompanying app “dG Mammals”, later “Wildlife ID”, developed by Sunbird Images, the dG Finder is capable of automatically identifying mammals.
Following the success of the dG Finder, Sunbird Images was selected as a major partner in creating the AX Visio, the world’s first smart binoculars together with Swarovski Optik, developing and integrating the AI and app for the mammals, butterflies, and dragonflies.
In contrast to the development of the dG Mammals app, a so-called “outside app” running externally, the development of the new “inside” apps for the AX Visio were much more complex as it required processing real-time identification while the binoculars operate independently. This means that no internet connection is needed due to an inbuilt processor, demanding major developing skills of our developer team as explained in more detail below.
Also, out of thousands of European mammals, including such diverse groups as rodents, game, and marine mammals, butterflies, and dragonflies select the most relevant species by digging through analogue as well as digital databases.
SETTING UP THE AI ALGORITHM
1. Collect hundreds of thousands of images of the selected species to train the algorithm.
2. Carefully curate the collected images to ensure the correct indentification of the species shown in the image.
3. Label the images with the correct classifications.
4. Process the images to achieve standardisation regarding size, orientation and so forth to ensure that the AI receives constant input.
5. Extract features from the images to represent their characteristics in a numerical form.
6. Choose and set up suitable AI model architecture.
7. Train the model on the labelled data set.
8. Evaluate and test the trained model on a separate validation set to assess its performance and fine-tune hyperparameters if necessary and provide an unbiased estimate of its performance.
An additional feature implemented by Sunbird Images is that the app receives data directly from the SWAROVSKI OPTIK dG device, which means it must be connected to the device at all times. This is not only important for the immediate automatic identification of the observed animals, but also for the live stream. This innovative feature transfers the image the dG operator is currently observing to the phone or tablet with the device. Especially for tour and nature guides, this is a fantastic opportunity to show their customers animals in the wild on a tablet screen without having to explain on which branch or stone the animal currently sits or behind which leaf it is hiding. A very true example of “Digital goes Nature!“
In order to combine the various requirements with a user-friendly and intuitive framework, Sunbird Images created a UI that is simple to use, yet offers a user experience that reflects SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s