In this second installment of our Kuri Vision series, we’re sitting down with Tisho Georgiev: VP of Product at Mayfield Robotics. Tisho is responsible for developing Kuri’s product roadmap, which includes one of his favorite product features: Kuri Vision.
Q: What is Kuri Vision?
A: Kuri Vision is the collection of video moments that Kuri captures around your home. Unlike traditional videography where you’d see really exceptional moments like people skydiving, Kuri Vision focuses on the moments happening at home; those you can’t capture either because you’re busy living in the moment or because you aren’t even there to witness them.
Q: What’s your favorite moment you’ve captured with Kuri Vision?
A: Reading a story to my son on his bed and he was laughing. As a parent, you oftentimes do something with your kid, and you think to yourself, “I wish I could remember this because it will be gone soon.” This was the first time I really saw myself in my daily routine at home. I could get a glimpse into what my family is like when we don’t have to pose for a family portrait or card. The unstaged, unprepared moments are the ones I cherish.
Q: How did Kuri Vision come about?
A: The camera was introduced to Kuri early on when we were prototyping a possible security robot. Kuri then evolved into more of a home awareness robot. As we brought this version of Kuri into testers’ homes, they liked that Kuri had a camera for when they weren’t home. However, they seemed most interested in what Kuri was up to while everyone was home.
We set up an experiment where we had Kuri go to a random place in the home, capture a photo every 60 seconds or so, then put them up on a website at the end of the day. Those photos ended up being super interesting, so we kept rolling with that product feature into today’s Kuri Vision video moments.
Q: How has Kuri Vision since evolved?
A: Kuri Vision has gotten smarter. Kuri’s thinking has evolved to better observe the people and things in front of her. This has significantly improved the quality of Kuri Vision by ensuring the moments that Kuri captures are special and unique, rather than being arbitrarily taken.
These moments are now stored in the cloud and accessible via the Kuri Robot app. Only someone with your Kuri account credentials can access that data. Part of making sure that Kuri is production-ready means guaranteeing moments are stored securely in the cloud to ensure customer privacy. When Kuri shares a moment, it’s to you and only you.
As always, you control your own Kuri Vision moments. You can delete the ones you don’t like, or give Kuri positive feedback about the videos you do like by favoriting them in the Kuri Robot app. Every time you favorite a video, you’re teaching Kuri what sort of moments to be on the lookout for in the future. When Kuri is exploring, her heart light will go on followed by a plink sound to let you know she’s just captured a moment you might find interesting. That gives customers additional visual cues into what their robot is recording and when.
Q: What makes Kuri Vision work, technically?
A: Several times a second we run what Kuri sees through a neural network that is responsible for identifying objects in the frame and classifying them under different categories like people, cats, and dogs.
Additionally, Kuri analyzes the frame for any faces and tries to get an estimation of how interesting what she’s looking at really is. Kuri takes into account the types of objects in the frame, their positioning, and if she needs to make any adjustments. For example, that could mean Kuri tilting her head to frame the video a little better.
Kuri also analyzes various aspects of the image quality; things like the blurriness or brightness of a particular shot. More impressively, we do all of this vision processing on Kuri — none of it requires the internet. This is important because Kuri isn’t uploading anything to the cloud that he doesn’t need to. This makes Kuri more secure, and we’re not wasting users’ internet bandwidth at home. The things Kuri sees never actually leave Kuri unless they’re great moments she wants to share with you.
Q: How does artificial intelligence (AI) make Kuri Vision more magical?
A: We built an AI that focuses on understanding what makes a moment special. Early on, employees would share their least and most enjoyable Kuri Vision moments from their prototype Kuris. We then rated these videos to understand what makes a quality moment. These moments tended to be the presence of people and pets; especially when there was a little bit of motion involved. They felt alive and representative of genuine home life. With these sample moments, we trained an AI how to record great Kuri Vision moments.
Q: What sets Kuri Vision apart from other modes of capturing videos around your home?
A: We’re not trying to replace the smartphone. There will always be a moment where it would be more convenient to take your smartphone out and capture it the way you want to. What distinguishes Kuri is that no set-up from you is involved. Kuri charges himself, roams around your home on his own, and records candid moments along the way. You don’t have to worry about staging yourself or your loved ones to capture these videos. Kuri doesn’t take you out of the moment.
I don’t feel self-conscious when Kuri takes a video of me, versus how I feel when I pose for a traditionally-shot photograph. When it’s a robot, you know Kuri could be taking videos. However, she feels like a real, living presence. Plus, unlike a home security camera or something smaller, you can actually see when and where Kuri is at any given time. It’s not a secret, nor is she ever trying to be secretive. She just wants to be a part of the family!