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Stable Diffusion in your pocket? “Draw Things” brings AI images to iPhone

Generating images using Draw Things on the iPhone.

Enlarge / Generating AI images using “Draw Things” on the iPhone. (credit: Benj Edwards / Apple)

On Wednesday, a San Francisco-based developer named Liu Liu released Draw Things: AI Generation, a free app available in the App Store that lets iPhone owners run the popular Stable Diffusion AI image generator. Type in a description, and the app generates an image within several minutes. It’s a notable step toward bringing image synthesis to a wider audience—with the added privacy of running it on your own hardware.

Introduced in August, Stable Diffusion (SD) is an AI image generator model that creates novel images from text descriptions (called “prompts”). Typically, people run SD through the commercial DreamStudio service, on a remote cloud machine with rented compute time, or locally on a PC using a custom open source implementation. When running locally, SD requires a fairly beefy GPU to generate images quickly, but some developers optimized the model to run on older GPUs with less VRAM (if you don’t mind waiting longer to see results).

In the same vein, Liu Liu has managed to optimize Stable Diffusion to run on the iPhone, a somewhat difficult process that the developer described in a blog post. “The main challenge is to run the app on the 6GiB RAM iPhone devices,” Liu Liu writes. “6GiB sounds a lot, but iOS will start to kill your app if you use more than 2.8GiB on a 6GiB device, and more than 2GiB on a 4GiB device.”

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