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Israeli startup raises USD 5 million for facial recognition tech that can identify masked faces

Corsight AI’s system can perform facial recognition even when faces are concealed by masks and other protective gear.

Corsight AI's system can perform facial recognition even when faces are concealed by masks and other protective gear. Screenshot via NoCamels. Corsight AI's system can perform facial recognition even when faces are concealed by masks and other protective gear. Screenshot via NoCamels.

Israeli startup Corsight AI, which developed a real-time facial recognition platform, raised USD 5 million in a funding round led by Awz Ventures, a Canadian venture fund that specializes in intelligence and security technologies.

Corsight AI was established in late 2019 as a subsidiary of the Cortica Group, which develops autonomous technology.

Cortica, founded in 2007, offers solutions for autonomous platforms: its high-level tech creates a computer vision system based on the mammal cortex of the brain, with algorithms that mimic the way the brain processes information. It has a number of AI companies that leverage its tech, including Cartica AI in the automotive industry (which has drawn investors such as BMW and Toyota), Seetrue in the automatic baggage security, and Fintica in the fintech sector.

The company has raised over USD 70 million to date and runs offices in Tel Aviv, Geneva, New York, and Haifa. Its intellectual property portfolio boasts over 250 patents.

Corsight AI was established by Cortica founders Igal Raichelgauz, Karina Odinaev, and Joshua Zeevi. It employs 15 people in Israel and the US.

The new firm says its technology is capable of identifying individuals within population centers and contending with facial coverings and disguises, poor lighting, long-distance identification, and difficult angles.

The platform can recognize faces, even if they are hidden by face masks, protective goggles, and plastic face shields—a combination common among medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.

Corsight AI also offers a real-time facial recognition system able to process information captured on video cameras. This system, it says, “affords greater accuracy and provides solutions to significant environmental challenges, including difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic where a large portion of the world’s population is moving about with their faces partially covered.”

The tech can be useful for issuing facial recognition alerts of people in violation of quarantine orders, the company says.

“When detecting a COVID-19 patient in a public area, the technology can also help to identify potential transmission by sifting through the people who had been near to the sick individual, by time period and distance,” Corsight AI said in a statement.

The technology is also useful to the civil sector for contactless access to buildings and structures, for example, replacing keypads and card readers. Protective measures would not have to be removed either.

If a person is found to have COVID-19 within an organization, the system can quickly produce a comprehensive report of the people who may have come into contact with the sick individual. “This solution replaces the need to close down entire departments because it is unknown who came close to the patient and who kept their distance,” Corsight AI said.

The company’s systems are currently installed in European airports and hospitals, “smart” cities in Asia, South American police departments and border crossings, and in African mines and banks, Corsight AI indicated.

Corsight AI said the capital will be used to market the platform and for continued development.

“Cortica is pleased to launch its new subsidiary—Corsight AI,” said Raichelgauz, Corsight AI chairman and a Cortica founder. “As a world leader in visual recognition and search, Cortica focuses on verticals that have real needs and highly competitive markets. We then proceed to develop pertinent solutions that leverage our substantial technological advantages in terms of accuracy, cost, and scalability.”

“In these days of a global pandemic, the facial recognition world is especially fascinating and challenging, and Corsight AI is providing the ultimate response,” he added.

“Corsight AI’s unique solutions allow law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and civilian organizations to contend with safety and security threats, including those posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Together with Corsight’s talented and experienced management and team, we believe that the company will contribute greatly to enhancing worldwide safety,” said Yaron Ashkenazi, managing partner and founder of Awz Ventures.

Awz’s management and advisors include former senior executives from Israeli and Canadian security agencies such as the Mossad, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Canadian Armed Forces, the firm says. Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper serves as the advisory committee president.

This article first appeared in NoCamels, which covers innovations from Israel for a global audience.