Top Baidu scientist says search firm wants to make the internet 'your second brain'
BaiduEye shows how the Chinese search giant is innovating in areas outside of its core business, according to one of the firm's chief scientists.
Yu Kai, director of Baidu's Institute of Deep Learning (IDL), told the South China Morning Post that the wraparound headset, which sits atop a user's ears and can sync visual and oral cues and provide related information to the user's smartphone, could be adopted in professional and recreational fields including mine exploration, hospitals, and museums.
First announced in September, Yu said it could be fully commercialised in five years.
He gave the example of a museum guest wearing BaiduEye looking at a painting, the device can scan the image and provide information about it and its painter, as well as relevant historical data or suggestions of similar works of art.
"Through the device, the internet can become your second brain," Yu said.
"It's like your own personal robot."
Another potential use Yu raised was users travelling by train, the BaiduEye could analyse their ticket and display directions to the correct seat.
The development of BaiduEye will depend on the growth of other core research programmes at the institute.
Founded in 2013 and based in Beijing, IDL has focused on improving technology in Baidu's search engine, advertising, image and speech recognition businesses.
The institute has expanded quickly. Last May it opened its deep-learning lab in Silicon Valley, scoring a coup in hiring artificial intelligence scientist Andrew Ng, the founder of Google’s own deep-learning project, to be Baidu’s chief scientist.
Yu is personally familiar with Silicon Valley. Before joining Baidu, he worked as an adjunct faculty member at Stanford University, specialising in artificial intelligence.
He considers himself lucky to be able to follow his real passion, which he discovered while studying at Nanjing University when he came across a book on artificial intelligence.
“It’s like chemistry. I couldn't resist it,” he said.
Yu belives that artificial intelligence will lead to more advanced technological developments that can benefit people around the world.
"I foresee a beautiful future that one day even conflicts between countries can be solved by robots instead of costing blood and flesh of real human-beings,” he said.