Microsoft Garage is perhaps not as prolific as it was back in its early days, but the division continues to send out the occasional gem. In its latest effort, the Microsoft skunkworks is debuting Trove, a tool that helps photographers and AI developers work together.

Specifically, Trove allows users to send images to AI projects to help artificial intelligence models train. In return, contributors can win gifts.

“Trove, a Microsoft Garage Project, is an app that gives people an opportunity to contribute to AI projects by submitting their photos to help train AI models. Trove supports access to better data through an experimental marketplace that values transparency, control, enrichment, and connection.”

Data Exchange

The accuracy of AI and machine learning tools depends heavily on data. These models use datasets to learn, so having access to an incoming stream of data is important. Photographers who submit images to Trove are automatically entered into a prize sweepstake. For their efforts they can win between $25 and $500 in Amazon gift cards.

All data is currently free to developers, although Microsoft says a fee will be installed when the Trove experience grows.

Microsoft Garage says the platform is currently looking for images of “inanimate objects and non-personal data for computer vision AI projects.” Eventually, the service will expand to include text, speech, and other data… so, this is not just about image in the long term.

People who are offering their photos get to have control over how they are use. For example, submitters can see who posts images, which projects are using their photos, and how they were used.

Trove is currently in preview but seems like the kind of Microsoft Garage project that will stick around.