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Back in June 2016, Twitter bought a company named Magic Pony Technology. TechCrunch has a nice article here:

Twitter pays up to $150M for Magic Pony Technology, which uses neural networks to improve images

In a fraction of the time of TMMI’s existence, Magic Pony did what TMMI or Dimension never could: find a way to upscale images and video with decent quality. They got $150 million and more.

The idea is to use machine learning: a neural network is trained using a large set of image pairs. Each pair has a low resolution and a high resolution version of the same image, and the computer learns how to generate detail to do the upscaling.

But that is not all. In November 2016, Google announced RAISR, short for Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution. Google has a page here:

http://googledata.org/google-research/enhance-raisr-sharp-images-with-machine-learning/

And their research paper with the algorithm is available for free here:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1606.01299v3.pdf

 

There is a nice video explaining RAISR here:

 

If you prefer text, there are these links:

http://newatlas.com/google-raisr-image-upscaling-super-resolution/46434/

http://petapixel.com/2016/11/16/googles-raisr-uses-machine-learning-enhance-low-res-photos/

http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/11/14/google-announces-raisr-method-upscaling-images-machine-learning/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/google-raisr-upscale/

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2016/11/google-raisr-upscale-images-machine-learning/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/13649016/google-machine-learning-low-res-image-raisr

https://thestack.com/world/2016/11/15/raisr-is-googles-ai-driven-image-resizing-algorithm-dishonest/

The last link is perhaps the best because it goes into the algorithm more. There are also lots of images showing what the effect looks like; Google is not trying to keep anything secret.

RAISR is good, and it is fast. It is so fast that Google is positioning it for use in smartphones, which means it will probably be fast enough to also use in televisions. This is not the NEDI-style technology that TMMI was imitating last year, it is better. It is produced by a big company and it is open and free.

Whatever TMMI and Dimension are planning, they will need something that leaps ahead of RAISR, not just technically but also in terms of openness and zero cost. Given their history, it is unlikely. As all businesses know, the world does not wait. The future is finally here, and Google delivered it.

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