SBIR and STTR Success Story for
IQ Engines, Inc.

(Information Posted/Updated on 10/29/2012)

IQ Engines, Inc.
2501 9th Street
Suite 100
Berkeley, CA  94710

Contact:    Mark Kelsey
Phone:      510-859-3725
Web Site:

Project Title:  Mobile Search for the Visually Impaired
Related Award(s):  1R43EY019790, 2R44EY019790
Technology Developed:
VisionIQ is an application programming interface (API) that lets developers add image recognition to mobile phone applications and web services. VisionIQ combines automated computer vision techniques with real-time crowdsourcing to enable any-image recognition. The technology can be used to develop applications for the visually impaired in order to help them identify the objects they encounter, track the items they own, or navigate complex new environments. Key technologies developed as a result of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) include:

1) on-device (fast) and server-based (scalable) image recognition 2) advanced computer vision algorithms that improve the speed, breadth and accuracy of IQ Engines’ image recognition capability 3) continuous scanning (no button to press) for barcodes, currency and small image datasets, 4) any-image recognition with human crowdsourcing.

Key Words:  Image Recognition, Object Recognition, Mobile Visual Search, Computer Vision, Crowdsourcing, API, SDK.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
VisionIQ image recognition software can identify virtually any image or object, label and categorize that object, and enable instant searches for relevant information based on this data. This enables powerful new applications for the blind, especially when combined with accessibility features that read items on the phone’s screen aloud. Several mobile phone applications and dedicated devices for the visually impaired have been developed using IQ Engines’ technology, and more are in the pipeline.

* The IDEAL Currency Identifier is an Android app that enables people who are blind or visually impaired to denominate U.S. currency. It will be expanded to identify the Euro, Swedish Krona, Swiss Franc, Australian Dollar, and Canadian Dollar.

* oMoby is an app for iPhone and Android that combines visual search and barcode scanning to allow the visually impaired to identify products, places and things. With continuous scanning, U.S. currency can be identified quickly and easily, just by holding the bill in front of the phone’s camera. In addition, oMoby recognizes thousands of products and everyday objects at the press of a button and can be trained to learn new ones through human crowdsourcing and real-time learning.

* VizWiz is an iPhone app that lets blind users recruit remote sighted workers to help them with their problems in near real-time. Users take a picture with their phone, speak a question, and then receive multiple spoken answers from a network of crowdsourced workers.

* i.d. mate Quest is a portable “all-in-one” talking barcode scanner that aids visually impaired individuals with the identification of items via the product’s barcode or UPC. In addition, an on-board camera provides features such as currency identification and object recognition enabled by IQ Engines.

Benefit to Company:
NIH/NEI grants helped fund development of technologies that IQ Engines commercialized for applications in commerce, media and mobile. Our customers include retailers, media companies and mobile app developers who are using IQ Engines to power visual search, shopping, content discovery and other apps.

How Product Was Commercialized:
IQ Engines makes its technology available to developers through the VisionIQ application programming interface (API) and software development kits (SDKs) and delivers image recognition as a service to businesses. We provide a web-based, self-service model for smaller customers and use direct sales to reach large businesses.