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Image Recognition on Mobile Phones 115

mysticalgremlin writes "In a recent presentation, Semacode founder Simon Woodside presents his company's bar code scanning technology that is used in mobile phones. Simon also discusses many places where bar code scanning powered phones are being used. Not bad for an 'image recognizer for a 100 MHz mobile phone processor with 1 MB heap, 320x240 image, on a poorly-optimized Java stack'"
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Image Recognition on Mobile Phones

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  • Not bad... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @07:35AM (#15824002)
    Beleive it or not this is pretty impressive. Computer vision gets quite difficult when you don't have a lot of pixels to work with, as the shapes are all "helpfully" smeared together by the imager. And with the cheap lenses in camera phones, edges can be smeared by more than one pixel. In some of my prior work doing vision systems for Sony Aibos for RoboCup, we had to deal with similar problems (find an orange ball in an image that may be only 3x2 pixels, while ignoring the boundaries between red and yellow objects). So, kudos for the technical achievement, and hopefully they find a better application than the cuecat :)
  • Other uses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HugePedlar ( 900427 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @07:37AM (#15824007) Homepage
    Some years ago, I read an article about the possibility of printing tiny barcodes in newspaper stories that would code for a website address. You'd use a special reader that interfaces with your PC to visit the referenced site. This was supposed to be easier than typing in a lengthy, complicated URL.

    We've got around this, mostly by having nice succinct URLs and for everything else, and who wants to carry a barcode reader with them when they're reading the paper?

    However, I wonder whether this idea may have some re-interest. If your mobile phone can read barcodes, we could print them anywhere - in papers, on billboards, TV adverts - and all you'd need to do is take a photo and your phone automatically loads the webpage in its built-in browser.

    That might be useful.
  • by NusEnFleur ( 460584 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:07AM (#15824106)
    My colleague once wrote a prototype doing the same thing (barcode recognition). This is also a nice solution for building tickets. THe main advantage is that you can give the guy at the entrance just one phone and he'll be able to scan entry tickets without the need for a computer or heavy equipment.

    We even have a video [] showing this technology being used for payment. Note that in the video you see the recognition engine in java run on a PC with a webcam, but the same engine runs on many MIDP 2.0 phones (like a nokia 6230) and is also able to find a barcode instantly. In this case the phone is only used as a client for the payment concept.
  • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:42AM (#15824244) Homepage Journal
    The temperature of the black bars must be different from the temperature of the white bars -- simple light/color theory. Therefore, using carbon nanotubules (because you aren't high-techy if you don't), we could set up a system of microscopic thermocouples across those black and white bars. Channel that energy to a central location, and voila! Barcode powered cell-phones.
  • Re:Other uses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:55AM (#15824294)
    I think the cell phone scanner has potential if the phone is connected to the internet. It could be used to buy things from vending machines, for example (I'd be surprised if this hasn't been tried in japan).
  • by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:09AM (#15824338) Homepage Journal
    Cuecat + cell phone = next big thing? I find it a little hard to believe, but with everything else that they have been throwing into phone I guess this makes some sense.

    My favorite use for this would be to conduct instant price comparisons. If I see something that I like, I would like to be able to check the price against Froogle, MySimon, etc.

  • by josecanuc ( 91 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:29AM (#15824427) Homepage Journal
    So are there any free to use (or even Open Source) software that does this on Windows or Linux? I would love to have some software that dumps out recognized barcodes (1-D or 2-D) from a live video source...
  • object recognition (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gr8dude ( 832945 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:56AM (#15824539) Homepage
    In some of my prior work doing vision systems for Sony Aibos for RoboCup, we had to deal with similar problems (find an orange ball in an image that may be only 3x2 pixels, while ignoring the boundaries between red and yellow objects).

    Could you tell me which approach was used in your project? I mean, I don't need an uber-detailed description, just some key facts; ex: "we used correlation", or maybe you applied some sort of scaling\rotation - invariant techniques, etc.

    As a student, I experimented with image processing last year, and I was amazed by all the cool things that could be done with different algorithms, but I never managed to write a tool that could recognize an object on an image. It sort of worked, but I haven't had time to finalize it and release a version that would work for others too, not only for me, only when launched with a debugger, and only at step-by-step execution :-)

    How reliable is object detection on a 3x2 sample? Looking for an orange ball on such a small image... Hmm, won't it be just an orange pixel on such a small image?

    Another question - was that pattern recognition? i.e. your program was fed with images of orange balls and it attempted to find them on the target images, or did you somehow define an orange ball (ex: "a closed curve, the color of which must be within the specified RGB range") and the program had to figure the rest by itself?

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein