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Cellphone App Developed that Could Allow For 'Pocket Supercomputers'

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the putting-your-brain-power-elsewhere dept.

Communications 73

Jack Spine writes "A robotics researcher at Accenture has given a demonstration of a 'Pocket Supercomputer' — a phone behaving like a thin client. It can be used to send images and video of objects in real time to a server where they can be identified and linked to relevant information, which can then be sent back to the user. 'The camera on the phone is used to take a video of an object — such as a book ... By offloading the processing from a mobile device onto a server, there are few limits on the size and processing power available to be used for the storage and search of images.' To pinpoint the features necessary to identify an object, the image is run through an algorithm called Scale-Invariant Feature Transform, or SIFT, a technology developed by academic David Lowe. The software extracts feature points from a jpeg and makes a match against images in the database. If a match exists then the software on the server retrieves information and sends it back to the user's phone. A 'three-dimensional' image of an object can also be uploaded onto the phone, to look at the virtual object from different angles. The motion-tracking technology Accenture uses for this is a free library of algorithms called Open Computer Vision."

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24 (-1, Offtopic)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245482)

But I thought everything that happened on 24 was real and that we had this technology already. Now I don't know what to believe. Damn you Jack Bauer!

All boobies resemble lara croft!!! (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245484)

All boobies examined with the low quality phone cam will resemble Lara Croft.
Hell, it might make the same distinction if you take a picture of some melons.

Re:All boobies resemble lara croft!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22245648)

Is that a supercomputer in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

Re:All boobies resemble lara croft!!! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22250582)

Well, Slashdot nerds have long been able to apparently fit a pool table into their pockets, so why not a supercomputer?

Sounds familiar (1)

delta419 (1227406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245492)

Didn't someone already do this?

Re:Sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22245866)

James Bond's enemy Zao http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000333/ [imdb.com] (in Die Another Day) has a phone that does this!

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246460)

A Sony Ericsson P800 (in graphite, not the usual bluish colour), to be exact. But, IIRC, he uses the phone to snap a picture and receive intelligence about the person on said picture prepared (probably) by his minions. Also, his solution appears to work and do so quickly. Not what you'd expect from Accenture. ;)

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

filterban (916724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246716)

Actually, yes. This is not new. There are already many robots out there that use this exact same technology. The only difference is that this guy used a cell phone.

This is no more "innovation" than a port of an existing software application to a new hardware architecture is "innovation."

Great, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22245496)

I believe the original proof of concept [nimp.org] was actually done a few years ago. as ever, no real progress yet.

Re:Great, but... (2, Informative)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245558)

Mods please erase above comment. Link goes to site with hostile javascript, images.

Re:Great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22246312)

Newbie, please recognize the classics. Site goes to the oldest of 'em all.

Anyone falling to that SO deserves it.

Re:Great, but... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246818)

I suspect a few images are a break compared to slashdot itself, which has such an insanely complex javascript dependency that firefox keeps popping up complaining about it hanging?

Re:Great, but... (1)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248090)

Dear Lord, JAVASCRIPT AND IMAGES? Won't somebody think of THE CHILDREN??

"Miniature supercomputers"? (4, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245550)

By offloading the processing from a mobile device onto a server, there are few limits on the size and processing power available to be used for the storage and search of images

That's like saying my TV set at home can be called a miniature television studio.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22245582)

That's like saying my TV set at home can be called a miniature television studio.

So you're the one responsible for all the crap on TV! Get him, boys!

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245606)

I concur.. shouldn't this be "cellphone thin client developed"? Or is that not groundbreaking enough for the mods..

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (4, Informative)

Serapth (643581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245780)

I agree completely, the title is highly misleading. The cyclical nature of our industry does make me laugh though, its like every few years the balance of power between the network and the device shifts and WOW!!! a whole new way of computing!!! Repeat and rinse. How people fail to recognize its the same thing over and over, boggles my mind. Oddly though, the cell phone has basically been a thin client all along, and its only recently with Palms Treos, Windows smartphone, Apple iPhone's, etc... that things started trended towards thick clients again.

Lastly, atleast here in Canada, this idea is completely unrealistic anyways as the bottleneck is essentially the network not the device. A combination of high data charges, no flat rate billing plans and slow networks just doesn't mix well.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246020)

Nah it's the same in the UK as well, and most likely all other countries. Data prices are completely insane.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22246440)

In Finland: Fixed rate for any data transfer 10e/month.

Max speed 384/128, no servers or p2p allowed.

For actual *data* price, 4e/25mb.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246864)

It's getting better... you can get a gb/month or so (subject to the usual restrictions, like no voip, msn, etc.) whereas a couple of years ago you were lucky if you got 4mb/month.

I still remember the £300 bill I got from connecting my laptop to the phone one day and leaving windows update still enabled.. aargh. That was when the excess was something like £5/mb.

Mobile data will become useful to me when it's at about the rate of DSL.. or even in the same ballpark would be nice.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

FireBreath (724099) | more than 5 years ago | (#22258608)

Canada is slowly getting better though. It wasn't that long ago that a $100 data plan with Rogers earned you only 100mb of wireless downloads. Now with the newly unveiled Flexrate data plans (mainly intended for their hsdpa laptop data card users) you can get 5gb of downloads for $100. That's definitely not garnished with an 'unlimited' label, but they're definitely getting closer. (more info: http://your.rogers.com/business/wireless/plans_services/business_plans.asp?plan=flexrate [rogers.com] )

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247972)

IMHO, "cellphone thin client developed" isn't really ground-breaking. Opera Mini [opera.com] is an example of prior art. Now, granted, it ain't supercomputer-like, but still, the concept is similar...

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248068)

Exactly. You also get Remote Desktop/Terminal services on WM smartphones. If you're gonna say stuff like that then you could say that anything connected to a network is a potential 'supercomputer'

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245658)

I was looking for the right analogy, and that one's good enough.

I just tried to tag it nothingtoseehere and it said: "If you disagree with hingtoseehere, please use !hingtoseehere instead. You can edit this text field in place and click 'Tag' right now.". So let's hope we never get any articles about The Sherrif of !tingham.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245806)

I was looking for the right analogy, and that one's good enough.


Nah, it needed to use pipes or cars :)

The biggest problem I see for these things, bandwidth. I will have no problems at all as long as my phone doesn't leave my 802.11g AP range, but outside that...

Heres a good story, I live in Australia, I have a nice shiny 3g nokia phone with all the trimmings, I have all data service providers except for my home AP removed from the settings. A friend gets a problem with his sim card, I test it in my phone (yeah it was dead) and then put my sim back in, this of course told the phone to re-load all the service settings back from my sim to the phone. I notice this after about 3 pages of surfing /. (added up to around 1M of data, or a little more) the cost for this failure to recheck my settings? $35 in data fees (roaming GSM data that is, slower than a normal 56k modem).

And you want me to stream data from my phone to my computer via its data service? My typical aussie reply to that of course, get knotted :)

How about a working phone network with reasonable data fees for everyone? Yeah, I would like to see that.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246626)

I can see the 1969 headlines now... "Entirity of United States of America emigrates to the moon, comes back" ;)

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22247374)

[quote]By offloading the processing from a mobile device onto a server, there are few limits on the size and processing power available to be used for the storage and search of images[/quote]

How is this conceptually different to the Shazam service that's been available for, oooh, years now, where you dial 2580, point your phone at a source of music, and then wait for them to text you back the name of the song and the artist?

OK, tfa talks about images rather than sound and mobile internet instead of phone call+text message, but either way you are submitting input to a remote database and getting a result back. Big wow.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248048)

Seriously. If the ability to talk to a "supercomputer" makes a cell phone a supercomputer, then I'm a supermodel.

Marketing note: Apply the laugh test. Tell someone who actually works with supercomputers that your cell phone app makes a "pocket supercomputer". If milk comes out their nose, don't run the story.

Re:"Miniature supercomputers"? (1)

NullSolaris (1068138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22254572)

Umm... bad analogy. TVs only display the pictures. A TV studio sends them. Your TV doesn't send video, does it?

Isn't this ... (1)

BigPaise (1037782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245608)

... the Borg system?

Uses for the blind (2, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245634)

Wasn't there a segment on NPR about a cellphone with an integrated 'reader' that did OCR on pictures taken with your cell phone? I could definately see OCR as something that you would want to offload to a server, potentially one designed just for that.

Re:Uses for the blind (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246666)

My HTC Tytn II phone has a built-in app called WorldCard Mobile that does something similar. You take a picture of a business card, and the software does OCR on the image & creates a Pocket Outlook contact record with the OCR text. It's not the best OCR I've seen, but it's not the worst, either.

Re:Uses for the blind (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246982)

the server software is smart enough to recognise the cover of the book -- it's not yet able to read text -- and can then, for example, return the price and history of the book, and details of where it can be bought.
The whole point of their thin client is to push your consumerism to the next level.

Hooray for innovation!!1

The age old question (3, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245638)

We really need to stop throwing the supercomputer term around. How do you really define supercomputer? Is it based on number of calcs per second it can do? Size? Hell, my PSP has more power in it than room-filling monstrosities from the 50's...

Re:The age old question (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245794)

The Dept. of Commerce [fas.org] defines it as a machine with a composite theoretical performance equal to or exceeding 1,500 million theoretical operations per second.
I, for one, find this definition highly stupid and refuse to call a machine capable of less than two orders of magnitude more FLOPS than "enthusiast"-grade hardware of the respective timeframe a supercomputer.
Even though your PSP may outperform them, "the room-filling monstrosities from the 50s" remain supercomputers to me while a '08 supercomputer would need to outperform at least 100 Dual Core 2 Quad systems.

Re:The age old question (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245978)

I agree. We need to stop misusing these terms.

Plus, I'm concerned this software could brick my cell phone, requiring me to reboot.

highest order-of-magnitude computing rate (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248084)

40 to 400 Teraflops at current numbers.

Re:The age old question (1)

PDX (412820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22249484)

If a computer is linked to others and performs better than original specs indicate that it should, then maybe it earns the elite term of super. If I call a latte grande but its only half full it doesn't get called supersized. If clever compression algorithms condense and extract data from a device, ie.., USB Flash, Hard drive, Rewrite CDs, or math coprocessors in PCI slots then you have the possibility of doing more with less. If you add networking you still have to deal with buffers, transfer rates, and error correction. The term has been overused. If we calculate how much raw power is used and compare it the standard usage in business or science. The processors for the super colliders are obviously dealing with large amounts of data. The SETI program is also generating significant data. Both require external assistance to complete their tasks.
LOL
  If we term anything computational that requires extra effort to complete itself as SUPER. It would make an election recount the Super Election. This reminds me of Comedy Central's spoof of the Awards given out by President Bush. Any performance beyond mediocrity deserves recognition.

Meanwhile Microsoft announces its plans for December 2009 Party Plans. Hosted by Gates and Ballmer they will announce the buyouts of at least five major competitors in the gaming, cable tv, VOIP, and open source labs.

Re:The age old question (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22256718)

Accenture?? Isn't that the elections-rigging specialist that screwed up on the porno premier of Italy, Berlisconi, in his reelection campaign??

Yeah, if I recall, he hired them and he only "lost" by 25,000 votes while the exit polls clearly showed he really lost by well over 1 million. Guess Accenture screwed up on the details......

An easier way (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245672)

Or you could open the book, and turn its pages yourself

Is that a supercomputer in your pocket... (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245790)

...or are you just happy to see me?

Re:Is that a supercomputer in your pocket... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248856)

Maybe it's just a terrafloppy? BUTT, if it's a thing to brag, how many terrorflops can it wreak?

other reference (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245800)

Funny, I recently read a similar idea in a SF short story in Asimov's*. The character had built a supercomputer out of dumpster-dived wifi-enabled smartphones. Mesh networking, voice recognition, it's all included.

Anybody wanna try implementing it? :)

*Hormiga Canyon by Rudy Rucker and (?). Can't remember authors exactly, and Asimov's magazine website doesn't provide a bilbiography. In fact, their whole website is pretty shitty by today's standards. For an SF magazine, the irony is terrible.

Re:other reference (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245904)

It's by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling, and you can find the beginning here [asimovs.com] . (Thanks Google!)

Sarah Connor, Episode III (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246938)


The character had built a supercomputer out of dumpster-dived wifi-enabled smartphones.

Fox already did this on the third episode of Sarah Connor:


SPOILER

Kid drops out of CalTech, supports himself as a cellphone salesman, and, in his spare time, builds a sentient super computer out of commodity parts.

Best...Idea...Ever (1)

imyy4u1 (1222436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245840)

OK, so now we can take cell phone pictures of hot women walking down the street, upload them to the supercomputer, and have them send us back a 3-D image of what she looks like naked. Not to mention maybe we can get a video send back of what she would look like engaged in various sexual acts... You heard it hear first, this will probably be the first and most popular use of this application and technology.

Open Computer Vison Links are here - (4, Insightful)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245888)

While this sounds cool, it interests me more because of the fact that the Open Computer Vision algorithms [intel.com] are open sourced and in this case by Intel's research groups. While I might prefer if another microprocessor company was more dominant, there are some areas where Intel's interests diverge from the unholy Wintel alliance, and in these areas they do some really good stuff.

creators' planet/population rescue app kode free (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22245890)

it's user friendly (works with or without you) & newclear powered, so no gadgets required. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

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dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

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meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

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all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

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Barcode (2, Informative)

Taulin (569009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246108)

Something sort of similar already seen in Japan. Look in any Japanese magazine, and in almost every add you will find a 2D square barcode. Point your cell phone camera at it, and it will look up the information. Basically, it is just a URL, but it is a standard thing over there. Really nice.

Re:Barcode (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247320)

I agree that QRCode [wikipedia.org] is nifty, and hope that it and/or similar systems take off around the world, but this is a little different.

All the QRCode processing is done on-phone. This idea has a tightly-coupled client-server relationship, and is a step in the direction of distributed mobile code and data (overdue and welcome, in my book).

My biggest interest is how the trust model will work - if you subscribe to an image-processing service like this, do they own the picture, search metadata or profiling info? (Then again, I have trust issues.)

Re:Barcode (1)

Falkentyne (760418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248088)

I don't remember the name of the company but about 8 or 9 years ago I was offered an Intel webcam and a subscription to I believe it was Popular Mechanics if I would once a month use the webcam to scan a specially encoded picture/barcode on some of the magazine pages and give my feedback.

I told them it pretty much sucked and was a waste of time since the webcam was connected with a 6 foot cable and I have internet access. Why the hell would I want to hold up a magazine to scan the barcode image so that a website pops up telling me about it when I can just type the damn thing into a search engine myself?

They stopped asking for my opinion after a couple months although I was supposed to keep giving them for 12 months total. Using a cellphone camera makes a hell of a lot more sense since it's portable. Hmm - did a web search and came up with this site (sounds like it might be the same company) - http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7261612.html [freepatentsonline.com] . Looks like they may have come up with some more useful applications for the technology.

Re:Barcode Maybe you're referring to QR Code? (2, Informative)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248944)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code [wikipedia.org]

"A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. QR Codes are common in Japan where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional code.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context spanning both commercial tracking applications as well as convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users. QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that a user might need information about. A user having a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL."

But, in the good 'ol US of A, many stores would KICK OUT patrons who openly comparison shop. In Japan, it's the norm, otherwise QR would have flopped, I think. Even on the street, I was handed adverts having QR codes on them. Makes life a HELLUVA lot nicer to not have to type in or use a search engine when a QR will do either, and quickly.

More URLs:

QR-Code Generator:
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ [kaywa.com]

DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED
http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/index-e.html [denso-wave.com]

But, even USPS & UPS and such entities use them, too, seemingly to replace get around damaged bar codes. IIRC, QR Codes are multiply (plee) redundant, so damaging part of it still does not prevent extraction of information.

Re:Barcode Maybe you're referring to QR Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22255988)

There's an open-source J2ME QR Code reader available from Google, it's part of their Android platform:
http://code.google.com/p/zxing/ [google.com]

Phone schmone (1)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246128)

I usually keep my phone in my pocket. After even a short time, I bet they will have tons of data to analyze about the inside of my pocket. This is important research.

I AM a computer vision scientist. (3, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246154)

It's just a thin client on a mobile phone, and not an especially interesting one. They use SIFT, so they don't stand a chance in hell of doing anything useful on the phone. There are other, modern, much more lightweight ways of identifying features. It would be more interesting performing as much processing on the phone as possible (for instance to reduce bandwidth and/or latency).

Other than that, it's a neat hack.

Re:I AM a computer vision scientist. (1)

nickruiz (1185947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247500)

It would be more interesting performing as much processing on the phone as possible (for instance to reduce bandwidth and/or latency).

However, a cell phone has hardly the processing power to be able to perform image classification, let alone against a database of trained patterns. It might be able to extract one or two features from an image, such as RGB concentrations and hue/luminescence, but today's cell phones would have great difficulty extracting text from an image -- something that Accenture's "hack" can't yet do.

With the diminishing costs to maintain back-end servers, or the popularization of volunteering CPU time toward distributed computing, I'd recommend letting this kind of processing be done elsewhere, and to place some pressure on cell phone companies to lower the price their data plans.

In my opinion, I would rather focus using this technology towards language translation. It's really the same concept (n times more complicated, though). Transmit recorded sound to a back-end system which would be responsible for breaking the language into phonemes, eliminating noise, contextualizing the sentences, performing a rough translation, and localizing the sentence to the target vernacular. Of course, we'd first have to figure all of this out before employing the cell phone part.

Realistically, enabling a cell phone for computer vision or speech recognition/translation is more of an IT-based integration effort than it is cutting-edge research. The real research is being conducted in universities.

Other ways of identifying features? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22249878)

Could you give a quick list of those? I would love to read up on them.

Thanks!

Re:Other ways of identifying features? (2, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22254658)

Sure! From the wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corner_detection [wikipedia.org] (not a great article, but a good place to start): the best bet is the FAST corner detector. Also on the wikipedia page, there's Trajkovic and Headly with their paper "called fast corner detection", which is different from FAST corner detection". It's very similar, so it might be as fast if it used the same tricks. There's also the venerable SUSAN detector which is somewhat older and slower, but still one of the quicker ones.

The wiki page is a good place to start because it has links to publically available versions of most of the papers, so it you want to read further, I suggest downloading a recent paper and playing the reference chasing game. The wikipedia page also has links to reference implementations.

Re:Other ways of identifying features? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22254838)

Is corner detection in the same league as far as doing object recognition in a real environment as SIFT?

Re:Other ways of identifying features? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22255166)

SIFT is part of an object recognition system. Sift finds "interesting" points, and computes useful features from the pixels around those interesting points. An object recognition system would then do something useful with SIFT points, such as matching in to a database.

SIFT relies on finding interesting points to start with, and the field of finding interesting points is "corner detection". The standard SIFT implementation uses a difference-of-gaussian detector which is pretty slow.

IOW corner detection is required for doing object recognition with SIFT.

If the phone software could find corners, it could then just send the surrounding patches back to the main computer, instead of the whole image. That would be a significant saving.

Re:Other ways of identifying features? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22256854)

Excellent point. I was looking at the corner detection as an alternative to SIFT, and I didn't see how that could be the case. I can see how it could be a great addition, though.

Thanks again!

Re:I AM a computer vision scientist. (1)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22251064)

What are some examples of other modern lightweight ways of identifying features?

3-D? Really?! (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246386)

A 'three-dimensional' image of an object can also be uploaded onto the phone, to look at the virtual object from different angles.
Have we lost the ability to turn or walk around objects to see them from different angles in real life?

That's Amazing (1)

silvertone (1230344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247674)

So if I understand the story someday I could use my phone and home supercomputer to identify a book. "Hey what's that?". "Hang on a minite". Click, beep, beep, beep, ring, ring, wirrrrr.... "It's a book! And I can buy it on Amazon, what a suprise!"

Use some imagination (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248720)

Or maybe you could walk around looking through smart glasses, with many things you see enhanced by unobtrusive tags. When you shop, it can tell you which items are made in sweatshops, or are cheaper somewhere else you plan to go later, or have a recall notice. When you drive, it can flag cars that have been identified as risky drivers. When you deal with people, you can see whether other people like you have identified them as trustworthy.

On a phone it's a little more limited, but at least you could get the product information while shopping.

Their use of a cellphone is pretty lackluster, other than as a proof of concept. The capabilities of SIFT are new to me, and impressive as hell.

How does it send things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22248104)

Through some kind of tube? Or just dump it on the back of a truck?

wow! the real news is (1)

hydrodog (1154181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22248706)

Accenture has people who do research?
My experience with Accenture is that they rob financial institutions by claiming to sell computing and management expertise.
Instead, they bill junior people learning Word at $1000/day, because they are Accenture (with a capital A) and the principal who made the deal went to school with some high exec at the firm being fleeced.

If there is any actual expertise at Accenture, that is indeed news.

Re:wow! the real news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22250836)

Yes, Accenture has a small wing which does research. I believe it's located in Bermuda...oh, no wait...that's their corporate HQ, my fault.

The Eyes of Skynet (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22249436)

*watches the evolution of Earth's first true AI's optical system*

Accenture? (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22250234)

I had no idea http://www.accenture.com/ [accenture.com] had robotics researchers. When I was working there, developing anything new was to be avoided if at all possible.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22255654)

Google developed an application that allows you to turn your desktop into a huge database.
It is available for general public @ http://www.google.com/ [google.com]

The phone network (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22256418)

...is the supercomputer. It has millions of (semi-)intelligent processors craniofacially attached to its nodes. Though parallelism is rampant, effective clustering and resource allocation are rare to be found, that with all those processors just idly blabbering away at each other most of the time...

With apologies to Sun, they were there first.
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