Business / Companies

Shenzhen entrepreneur sets sights on 3D sensing

By Zhou Mo (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-22 09:55

In the meeting room of his company, located in a high-tech industrial park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Huang Yuanhao talks about his ambition enthusiastically.

The 36-year-old entrepreneur aims to bring big changes to the world by enabling machines to look at and perceive the world like humans, making use of 3-D sensing and artificial intelligence technologies which his company specializes in.

"Robots, drones, smartphones and any other hardware that has a camera will be able to display three-dimensional images of what we see and also mimic us," said Huang, founder and chief executive officer of Shenzhen Orbbec Co Ltd.

Currently most of the pictures captured by cameras are flat images, or two-dimensional images, in which the indicator of "distance" is not shown. This causes limitations to the application of smart devices, Huang said. "Robot cleaners, for example, will not be able to identify obstacles lying a few meters away and avoid them."

Huang said 3-D sensing technology can be applied in various fields such as photography, fitting, education and entertainment, and believes there is a huge market for companies to explore.

"Many IT giants like Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and Google Inc have spotted potential opportunities and stepped into the industry. We can offer better products in this field and compete with those top players."

Huang's confidence comes from his decade-old experience in 3-D sensing and having a strong team, which consists of talents from leading IT firms including Apple Inc, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd and IBM Corp.

Favorable entrepreneurial environment in Shenzhen has also boosted the company's research and development capabilities, he said.

"There are still many lights on in the building late in the night. That is encouraging. I feel that I am not fighting alone," said the post-doctoral graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology who founded Orbbec in 2013. The Shenzhen-headquartered company has branches in Shanghai and the United States.

Since mass production of its 3-D sensor two months ago, Orbbec has already received orders worth of more than 100 million yuan ($15.5 million), Huang said.

Innovation and entrepreneurship have been gaining momentum in Shenzhen since Premier Li Keqiang visited the city's Chaihuo Maker Space and encouraged young people to innovate and set up their own business.

The Shenzhen government has set up a 200 million yuan special fund in an effort to develop at least 50 maker spaces every year and increase the number of makers, a term used to describe those do-it-yourself inventors and craftsmen, to 100,000 by 2017.

Ge Guoxing, deputy director of Guangdong provincial department of human resources and social security, said on Friday that Guangdong province will further increase its investment in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and guide social capital to participate in the cause.

"The province plans to nurture 50,000 university graduates to become entrepreneurs within four years and provide support for returnees to set up their companies," Ge said. Other entrepreneurs like veterans or people with job-hunting difficulties are also entitled to government subsidies, he added.

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