Nvidia Announces Maxine, A Videoconferencing Solution For Developers
Nvidia has announced a new videoconferencing platform for developers called Nvidia Maxine. The company claims that the platform can fix some of the most common problems in video calls.
Nvidia Maxine works by processing calls in the cloud using Nvidia’s GPUs. It will also boost call quality with the help of artificial intelligence in a number of ways.
With AI, Nvidia Maxine can realign the callers’ faces and gazes so that they’re always looking directly at their camera. It will also reduce the bandwidth requirement for video down to one-tenth of the requirements of the H.264 streaming video compression standard by only transmitting key facial points, and upscale the resolution of videos. The company shared a YouTube video demonstrating the technology.
Maxine will also perform face re-lighting, real-time translation and transcription, and animated avatars during calls. Video compression and real-time transcription are not new. Apple and Microsoft introduced gaze-alignment in FaceTime and the Surface Pro X. The feature ensures that people maintain eye contact during video calls. However, the reports say that Nvidia’s face-alignment feature is a more advanced version of both.
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However, Nvidia Maxine is not a consumer platform but a toolkit for third-party firms to improve their own software. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if any established videoconferencing companies adopt Nvidia’s technology. Nvidia claims it’s in talks with many of the third-party firms that could adopt the technology. But, it has not announced any partnerships at the moment.
Nvidia’s general manager for media and entertainment Richard Kerris describes Maxine as a really exciting and very timely announcement, also highlighting its AI-powered video compression.
“We’ve all experienced times where bandwidth has been a limitation in our conferencing we’re doing on a daily basis these days. If we apply AI to this problem we can reconstruct the difference scenes on both ends and only transmit what needs to transmit, and thereby reducing that bandwidth significantly,” Kerris said.
The company says the secret to its compression feature is an AI method known as generative adversarial networks (GANs). It uses the AI method to partially reconstruct callers’ faces in the cloud.
GANs utilises the same technique used in many deepfakes. “Instead of streaming the entire screen of pixels, the AI software [analyses] the key facial points of each person on a call and then intelligently re-animates the face in the video on the other side. This makes it possible to stream video with far less data flowing back and forth across the internet,” the company said in a blog post.
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