In the near future, every inanimate object we interact with may not only have the ability to see, but could also improve our lives.

In order for this visibility to happen, objects will need the assistance of visual sensors and cameras.

Though hotly debated in privacy sectors, experts agree that dozens of tiny cameras and eventually nano cameras will soon be built into objects, providing devices the ability to see from every angle and in real time.

As Serge Belongie, Professor of Computer Vision at Cornell Tech points out, “There may be significant barriers to social acceptance faced by always-on cameras everywhere. People may ask, what’s the point? Where’s the value? Why would I want cameras pointed at me all of the time?

“While I don’t know when the turning point of acceptance will occur, it will coincide with a broad realization that this kind of visual technology, combined with smart cameras in fixed locations at home and at work, can, in fact, improve our health, aid our memory, and provide us new ways to care for loved ones.”

Before you rejoice in technological advancements (or throw out your fridge in fear) it’s imperative to know how we got here and what it means for human progress.

What it means to truly see

I call this all-seeing market opportunity the Internet of Eyes (IoEyes), and it will empower and connect various inanimate objects – from clothing to mirrors, refrigerators to buildings… maybe even the paint on your walls will have the ability to see.


Similar to the Internet of Things, the IoEyes is a network of cameras and visual sensors connected via the internet enabling the collection and exchange of visual data on a scale unimaginable before.

The ability for these objects to see is only the beginning of a process that will have an exponential impact on all business sectors and, ultimately, the human race.

As part of a broader visual technologies market,which capture, store, analyze and monetize any visual content relating to consumers, the IoEyes is expected to have a horizontal impact on all business sectors as well as humanity.

Jan Erik Solem, whose company Mapillary crowd-sources street photos, believes IoEyes will only have a positive effect on society as a whole.

“At Mapillary we aim to understand places and how they change over time using crowdsourced photos, cameras and visual sensors, combined with computer vision. This automated type of understanding will improve anything from the future of automotive, building safer smarter cities, and understanding remote locations. I am excited for the Internet of Eyes to improve our lives as a key component in the future of our societies.”


This market is sure to be a catalyst for another technological revolution.

This is the core of why industry experts meet to discuss and inspire one another on how Visual Technologies and the Internet of Eyes at the annual LDV Vision Summit.

Love at first sight

The combination of different types of visual data from photographic, thermal, CT, MRI, X-ray, ultrasound, and white light with computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will deliver high-quality signals, unlike anything we’ve had previously.

Imagine performing a simple daily task and knowing what’s going on inside your body.

A real-time visual feed of you brushing your teeth will generate not just one visual signal but millions of layers of signals, including analyzing heart rates, blood conditions, DNA structure, temperature, and emotional state.

Bathroom mirrors will capture multiple types of visual data, giving us a health score every time we looked in it while sensors could detect how much alcohol we’ve had or tobacco we’ve smoked – and possibly project an expected lifespan as a result.

The intelligent health mirror
The intelligent health mirror

Sentiment analysis via computer vision will tell us if we are more anxious, stressed, or happy in real-time – acting as fitness trackers and giving us a daily health score helping us better understand our health trends over time.

Two companies who leverage computer vision to deliver sentiment analysis are Affectiva and Emotient which was recently acquired by Apple.

These simple actions translate into trillions of frames of potentially actionable data. The value lies not only in being able to see what is happening at any given second but also in having computers analyze multiple trends over time.

Sensors in your buildings will be able to manage energy costs more efficiently by seeing where people are in the building and learning their patterns of activity.

One unique company, Enlighted, enables this analysis through dense networks containing a combination of sensors including thermal data.

“From healthcare to retail to office environments, smart sensors are enabling building owners and operators to make strategic decisions rooted in data they never had access to before such as real-time occupancy and occupancy patterns,” says Enlighted CEO, Joe Costello. “Leveraging this sensor data will enable businesses to operate more effectively, environmentally, and hopefully, improve our lives.”

Data collected from Enlighted’s sensors can be displayed as motion trails; showing how people move through a space over time. ©Enlighted
Data collected from Enlighted’s sensors can be displayed as motion trails; showing how people move through space over time. ©Enlighted

Another company leveraging visual data from cameras is Placemeter which visually tracks the activity of people for retailers, real estate, and governments.

“Placemeter gives eyes to your city, enables it to understand how people move around, use its amenities and services, and consequently optimize resources and infrastructure to make our cities more efficient, safer, smarter. Internet of Eyes technologies like ours deliver useful data without compromising an individual’s privacy and hopefully will improve businesses and our lives,” says Alex Winter, Placemeter CEO and Founder.

Similarly in our homes, companies such as Canary and Camio are leveraging computer vision and multiple different signals to manage quality of life and security.

Keys for our home, car, and office have gone essentially unchanged since they were invented in 1861, but they will soon become a cute historic artifact, replaced by biometrics that analyze your face, eyes, and emotional characteristics.

Why it’s important to have a vision

The IoEyes will be a more accurate form of security, leveraging authentication techniques that rely on physical characteristics. More importantly, these signals will be able to be combined with other signals for better understanding.


Why it’s The IoEyes will be a more accurate form of security, leveraging authentication techniques that rely on physical characteristics. More importantly, these signals will be able to be combined with other signals for better understanding.

Eyelock, EyeVerify, and others are already working on biometrics to fill these needs.

The benefits of biometrics and sensors offer invaluable support.

From deterring people from driving when they are too intoxicated, to making sure your teenage daughter isn’t bringing home that boy you don’t like when you aren’t around. One day your house may sense that you’re tired after a long work day, automatically dimming the lights near your favorite recliner and instructing your robotic butler to pour you a glass of your favorite scotch.

IoEyes isn’t blinded by the future

These examples only scratch the surface of how IoEyes will empower businesses and individuals.

Other sectors that will benefit from IoEyes include virtual reality, manufacturing, E-commerce, augmented reality, fashion, publishing, gesture recognition, robotic imaging, importing and exporting, mapping, and financial markets.

Many business opportunities and life improvements will surface that we cannot yet fathom.

Cameras are no longer just for memories but are fundamental to improving our daily lives – both in our personal and professional lives.

Interested in learning more? Join us for the next LDV Vision Summit is May 24 and 25 in NYC.

This article was first published here . Reprinted with permission


Photo by photographerpandora

Author: Evan Nisselson

Evan Nisselson is General Partner of LDV Capital. LDV Capital is a thesis-driven early-stage venture fund investing in people building visual technology businesses that leverage computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze visual data. The Annual LDV Vision Summit in NYC is the premier global gathering in visual technologies.

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