Images of a Luxonis sensor device circuit board.

The spillover potential of urban innovation

Colorado-based Luxonis set out to build a technology that would help prevent collisions between bicycles and vehicles. DepthAI, an "embedded spatial AI platform" consists of a "complete ecosystem of custom hardware, firmware, software, and AI training - which combines neural inference, depth vision, and feature tracking" in a Raspberry Pi-type device costing about $300. But the founders recount, "in announcing this platform to the world (before it was even available), we got an enormous amount of requests for it for a slew of use-cases we could have never imagined... DepthAI is now used, practically speaking, in every industry." To speed up these spillovers, the company open-sourced the entire codebase.

This points towards the spillover potential for urban tech. The company leveraged an early success to seed a commons with an eye towards growing a much larger future market. It suggests opportunities for urban tech innovations to reach beyond their immediate use cases, and for startups to contribute outputs of these innovation processes as important pieces of public digital infrastructure going forward.

Information Technology
computer vision
open source
embedded systems
digital infrastructure