The Bridget project made it possible to create an image search engine able to match photos and videos depicting the same scenes by tracking visual similarities.

BRIDGET: The visual European search engine of the future

Billions of images and videos are created every day, but people lack sophisticated recognition tools to quickly find the information they need. Having to find relevant content instantly from huge numbers of images or video frames is a daily struggle for content creators and owners, as well as the police, security services and developers of asset management systems.

Visual artificial intelligence (AI) can change the way we interact with this treasure trove of visual big data. The BRIDGET (‘BRIDging the Gap for Enhanced broadcasT’) project paved the way for the company Visual Atoms to develop ultra-fast visual search engines which can recognise and find monuments, locations, buildings, products, books, logos or objects.

Visual Atoms defined precise technology and product requirements, acquired financial resources and differentiated their products thanks to EU funding. The company created an image search engine able to match photos and videos depicting the same scenes by tracking visual similarities: it searches a database of millions of images at high speed and recognises landmarks, locations, buildings, products, books, logos and objects.

Broadcasters and users can tag content and link it to other material such as web pages, images, audio clips, and videos. Viewers of the content can then use an app to find related material. This has a wide range of potential functions: for example, in the event of an earthquake, people could synchronise the app with televised reports to quickly find images and videos on the same topic. Eye witnesses to breaking news stories could link live videos, images and interviews. The app could also allow people to watch an extended version of a documentary, overlaid with additional data and augmented with 3D elements beyond the scenes shown on television.

BRIDGET in brief

  • Total Budget: EUR 5,286,51 (EU contribution: EUR 3,547,278)
  • Duration: 11/2013 – 10/2016
  • Countries involved: United Kingdom (coordinator), Italy, Germany, Spain, France

Key figures in the European Union

  • Studies estimate that AI could contribute up to EUR 13.3 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
  • In 2017, only 25% of large enterprises and 10% of SMEs in the EU used big data analytics.
  • Around EUR 1.1 billion was invested in AI-related research and innovation in 2014-2017 as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, including in big data, health, rehabilitation, transport and space-oriented research.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is one of the most promising technologies for economic growth and addressing societal challenges in the years ahead. The new wave of AI-based innovations will profoundly impact not only digital products and services, but also traditional industry and the non- ICT sector, and will help to improve people’s everyday lives.

In April 2018 the European Commission presented a series of measures to increase public and private investment in AI, to prepare for socio-economic changes, and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework. The new Digital Europe programme that the Commission is proposing for 2021-27, with an overall budget of EUR 9.2 billion, also includes EUR 2.45 billion of funding for AI.

Download the full project success story.

Project website