Area of Research:
Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Data Analytics
With its ability to provide valuable insights and data analysis from remote monitoring, computer vision is more important than ever. Since 2015, ZEITDice has refined its weatherproof, wireless time-lapse cameras and cloud-based computer vision platform to document, measure, count, detect, and report on anomalies and patterns for a growing number of industries from construction to agriculture. Along with its cameras, the company’s flexible monthly subscriptions offer cloud-based delivery of photos, video, data analysis, and reporting.
As Autodesk Technology Centers Outsight Network residents based in Toronto, ZEITDice has gained helpful technological knowledge and insights from the curated community of not just startups, but also industry thought leaders and academics. Additionally, access to CNC machining capabilities and expertise in the technology center workshop has made it faster and easier than ever to prototype the cameras, which now include options such as solar panels and thermal vision.
When the global shutdown disrupted supply chains around the world, the company ran into obstacles getting certain parts in small quantities. Pooling orders with other companies to keep costs manageable helped, but even better, their ability to simplify the camera mold design using Autodesk Fusion 360 drastically reduced the cost. They were able to quickly draft revisions of camera enclosures, solar panel brackets, and most other parts, and to easily send the designs straight to suppliers.
The most recent result, the ZEITDice ZD Infinity camera, features 4K resolution, solar power, and cellular 4G LTE data, which simplifies installation for customers. The ZD Thermal is a ZD Infinity camera with the added capability of thermal vision. That enables things such as reporting insulation leaks on a construction site, or keeping customers accountable for maintaining certain regulations. The ZD Infinity cameras also integrate with Autodesk BIM 360 Construction Cloud so that customers can see the latest photos, videos, and other data straight from their BIM 360 dashboard.
Since the company’s founding, computer vision has matured, including its compatibility with the growing power of edge computing. One of the company’s innovations allows its platform to blur out personal identifiable information (PII), such as faces and license plates from photos before they are uploaded, making them privacy compliant. A combination of implementing more computing power that uses less energy and developing better algorithms continues to set ZEITDice apart.
Going further into multi-spectral vision (thermal, infrared, etc.) will also increase what information and patterns ZEITDice can extract. The company is now looking into how to build into its platform the reporting of the comings and goings to a site—whether it be people and vehicles to a construction site or bugs in a greenhouse—as well as looking at monitoring the differences between a site and its digital twin. With continuing innovation, ZEITDice plans to stretch the capabilities of computer vision in both what it can detect and what it can report.