June 14, 2016 – Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, today announced that it has signed a non-exclusive worldwide licensing agreement and a consulting agreement with Lightricks for the development and commercialization of an imaging technology that improves digital image processing. The technology, invented by Prof. Raanan Fattal from the School of Computer Science and Engineering at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is called “Edge Avoiding Wavelets,” and it enables better and faster detail enhancement and preserves edges when sharpening digital images.
Image processing applications invest considerable computing power in attempts to enhance details in digital images, and to enable users to accurately demarcate a specific object within the image. Current state-of-the art technologies for enabling such image processing functions are overly sophisticated and suffer from various limitations. The new Edge Avoiding Wavelets technology is fast and uses explicit computations to obtain results traditionally obtained by implicit formulations requiring sophisticated linear solvers. The new technology avoids pixels from both sides of an edge, thus achieving a sharper, halo-free image. Its fast performance accelerates various computational photography applications by a factor of more than one order of magnitude.
Lightricks’ Facetune and Enlight – two of the most successful paid mobile apps in the world – enable a variety of high-performance image enhancing capabilities at the flick of the finger. Facetune enables capabilities such as smoothing wrinkles and eliminating skin blemishes, correcting and adjusting facial features such as smiles or the shape of the nose, while Enlight allows users to superimpose images, add double exposure and edit photos with deep precision. The novel technology licensed from Yissum will be embedded into these apps and will enable the performance of all of these changes quickly and intuitively, without the need for complex software.
“We are delighted to partner with Lightricks, a leader in visual processing with a user base of millions of paid users. Image processing has become a household technology, and faster, user-friendly applications are continuously sought for. The new image processing technology invented by Prof. Fattal is exactly such an application, and we believe that it can be extremely valuable for other image processing software packages,” said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum. “In addition, Hebrew University researchers have been developing a strong and diversified portfolio of innovative imaging technologies, including 3D visualization manipulations, real-time pattern matching, colorization of still images and movies and animation techniques, all of which are available for licensing.”
“Prior to founding the company, four of Lightricks’ founders were Ph.D. students at The Hebrew University. We founded the company with the goal of enabling consumer access to the kind of state-of-the-art technology that we were developing in academia,” said Zeev Farbman, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightricks. “We are excited to license this technology from Yissum in order to ensure our users have the best tools at hand.”
Lightricks created the successful mobile app Facetune, a powerful and fun portrait photo editor that enables everyday users to easily achieve professional-level results, and Enlight, the most comprehensive photo editing tool for mobile. Facetune and Enlight have both been the #1 Photo & Video app in over 120 countries. Facetune was selected for Apple’s Best of 2013, Google Play’s Best of 2014, was the #6 Best Selling Paid App for iOS in 2014 and #5 in 2015, and is currently used as Facebook’s case study for user acquisition. Enlight was named the Runner-Up App of the Year in the US in 2015, and App of the Year in other major markets including Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, China and more. After being entirely self-funded for two years, in August 2015, Lightricks raised $10 million, led by Carmel Ventures, in its first external funding round. Lightricks continues to deploy state-of-the-art technology to create the next generation of creativity tools for the mobile era.