ecoATM (San Diego, CA, USA) has been awarded a Phase 1 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further refine and expand its research and development in advanced machine vision, artificial intelligence, and testing systems for used electronics.
The company has also announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) had granted its first patent on the ecoATM system, issued under patent number 7881965. The automated self-serve kiosk combines FireWire cameras, LED illumination, neural-network-based software, and networked PCs with a touch-screen user interface, creating a system to evaluate and buy back used electronics directly from consumers for cash or store credit.
"ecoATM's systems must quickly learn and then accurately identify thousands of different models of phones and other devices and then precisely assess any cosmetic or internal damage in order for the system to work," says ecoATM chairman and CEO Tom Tullie. "This requires us to continually push the boundaries on a unique combination of artificial intelligence and non-traditional machine vision technology. We are very happy that the US PTO has awarded these efforts with our first important patent and are extremely grateful to the NSF for their support as we refine and expand this technology."
Inventors named on the patent are ecoATM founders Mark Bowles, Michael Librizzi, and Pieter van Rooyen.
ecoATM also recently closed the first round of its Series A preferred stock offering. The aggregate amount raised is $14.4 million.
-- Posted by Vision Systems Design