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Point and shoot: AI generates location-specific photo inspirations 

New Velocity company Lookr maximizes photography inspirations in seconds 

October 5, 2023

At the stroke of a keyboard, internet searches can generate a myriad of inspirations.  

Lookr, a new company at Velocity, University of Waterloo’s startup incubator, takes inspiration beyond the search engine and uses on-location spatial information and artificial intelligence to inspire creators to capture the perfect shot.

Photographers, journalists, and content creators — anyone producing quality photography content — can point their camera to a desired backdrop, Lookr’s AI generates ideas, and the creator can capture the shot using angles and concepts that could otherwise be missed. The company joined Velocity earlier this fall as it looks to scale the distribution of its proprietary artificial intelligence-powered app.

Headshot of Yuki Li
Co-founder Yuki Li

“Lookr scans where the user is and understands the spatial attributes, puts that into an AI model and generates inspirational photos,” said co-founder Yuki Li (BASc ‘22). “Lookr’s core feature is search efficiency: instead of inputting keywords into a search engine, users can just scan their surroundings — the inspiration is directly related to the user’s reality.”

He said their user base ranges widely, but all struggle with the similar problems: generating ideas under tight deadlines and Lookr maximizes photography options in a matter of seconds. 

Co-founder Bill Chi is an artificial intelligence researcher whose work has been published in popular science journals such as Nature.

He said Lookr’s ethos is to empower creators to use AI to enhance their work, not to outsource creative work to computer models.

Headshot of Bill Chi
Co-founder Bill Chi

“Artificial intelligence is a useful tool for creatives and Lookr believes that it can be a powerful source for content creators,” Chi said. “Using Lookr, creators can get inspired in real time and increase their output — it doesn’t replace human creativity, it enhances it.” 

Read full story on Waterloo News.

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