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Microsoft using Blender for AI training

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Microsoft says that it makes use of Blender to generate ‘synthetic 3D models’ and images of humans that can be used to train its AI models.

As a result, Microsoft has joined The Blender Development Fund, the arm of Blender software that accepts donations to support its free and open accessible services.

Such support activities include bug fixing, code reviews, technical documentation and onboarding, as well as providing grants and subsidies to developers on some agreed development projects.

Synthetic 3D models can be used to make labels on images that help AI recognise common elements despite the diversity of humans – from body shapes to clothes, all while also in a variety of different poses and actions – things that in the real world would be impossible for developers to label by hand.

Microsoft Blender labels for AI learning
Microsoft has explained how it uses synthetic 3D models of humans to help teach AI
Microsoft Blender hand tracking AI
The labels can then be applied by AI in realtime to recognise things like hand gestures

A great example of this is the generation of a parametric model of a human hand from a 3D scan, that can then have a variety of realistic colours, sizes, shapes, clothing, jewellery and textures applied to it, helping the AI to recognise key gestures that each is making during hand tracking in Mixed Reality – something Microsoft has called a Digital Wardrobe.

For the researchers, having access to Blender’s free/opensource 3D software has been of great benefit for such scientific projects. You can check some of the work here.

To express its support, Microsoft is joining the Blender Foundation’s Development Fund as a Corporate Gold member.

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This membership level is for organisations that want the option to monitor in more detail what will get funded with their contributions.

It additionally gives them direct access to the Blender team for strategical discussions, helping align Roadmaps and priorities.

The Blender Foundation in turn reaches out to Corporate members to discuss bi-annual planning for grants and review past supported projects.

“We at Blender are very proud of this support statement, it’s another important signal that the industry migrates to open source and finds ways to contribute to it,” said Blender Foundation chairman Ton Roosendaal of Microsoft’s support.