Apple has acquired Silk Labs, a privacy-centric startup that works on Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices such as smartphones and smart home devices for an undisclosed amount, reports IANS. Founded in 2015, Silk Labs was conceived by Andres Gal, the former CTO of Mozilla.

The company is best known for its February 2016 crowdfunded home monitoring camera Sense. Silk Labs cancelled the product in June that year and refunded all 774 backers who raised around $150,000. Sense was an on-device AI software that could detect people, faces, objects and audio- rather than relying on cloud server to handle all the processing. At that time, Silk Labs said that it was no longer going to build its Sense hub as a physical product. It would instead focus on integrating its software with other commercial manufacturers.

The company, on its website says, that it takes “great measures to ensure that user data on the Silk Intelligence Platform is fully protected at all times.” It says that it protects user privacy and data by using anonymized data that is not reversible to the original content.

Apple and AI

In April, Apple hired Google’s AI and search chief John Giannnadrea for its Core ML and Siri group. Core ML is the machine learning API which Apple launched last year to help native AI tasks and AI-focused apps and services from third-party developers run more efficiently on iOS devices. Apple’s AI enabled products like HomePod lags behind Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Globally, Amazon and Google accounted 70 percent of the smart speaker shipments in the first quarter of 2018.