An image-recognition system developed by European researchers can hyperlink reality. It’s true. The MOBVIS system can recognise individual buildings in a photo you take with your camera-phone. Then it can apply icons that hyperlink to information about the building. Simply by looking at a picture, the system knows where you are and can tell what you are looking at.
The system worked very well in demonstrators, enabling free exploration in a dedicated city area, but now the project is winding up and the partners are looking at what they can do with the technology in the commercial world. Some of the applications are fairly obvious, but turning them into a commercial product is another story.
One of the EU-funded project’s partners, Tele Atlas, is very interested in MOBVIS’ innovations to interpret mobile mapping images. Tele Atlas provides digital mapping and navigation solutions. As part of that work, it has a fleet of over 50 vans, travelling the world to gather data.
These vans take pictures and videos of the roads they travel, each of them equipped with six cameras. At the same time, they track their exact location via high-precision GPS. They want to use MOBVIS technology to detect roads, people, cars, signs, text, and other details from video sequences acquired from the mobile mapping vans.
“This is not a mass-market application; it is an industrial application that could immeasurably improve the quality of mapping data, by including qualitative information, while at the same time making it more accurate and economic,” notes Lucas Paletta, coordinator of the MOBVIS project.
But with this information, Tele Atlas will be able to apply concrete, accurate, qualitative information to the mapping and navigation services they provide.
Image recognition to multi-sensor applications
Other partners are looking at concrete applications in advertising, image analysis, and other indoor and outdoor applications. “Co-operation is already established for running feasibility studies to test various concrete commercial services,” explains Paletta.
Mass-market applications may have to wait, but they are unlikely to wait too long because the technology is just too useful. Travel guidebook publishers could exploit the service to provide interactive information relevant to the user’s location at a specific point in time. Instead of hoping that a tourist buys their guide at the airport, publishers will be able to sell their service whenever and wherever a tourist decides they need it.
Image recognition as a stand-alone service is not the end of the MOBVIS story. Multi-sensor information, such as from GPS and inertial sensors, are available in current mobile phone technology and ready to be exploited for innovative services.
Imagine simply by wearing a wristband, you could recognise the wearer’s activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, cycling, or running in real-time. This technology, as developed by the Darmstadt University of Technology, led by Bernt Schiele's team, could update personal geo-diaries with contextual information,
MOBVIS has just opened a window to previously unimaginable innovations for everyday uses of mobile systems. The mobile phone will just become our personal multi-sensor magic wand to discover unknown stories in intuitive interaction with our environment.
It will be a major advance for the science of image recognition, a branch of computer vision. Computer vision has been around for a long time, becoming a defined field of research in the 1970s.
The most famous aspect of the discipline is robotic vision, the field that tries to teach robots to ‘see’. It is a huge challenge, but steadily researchers are making advances into areas that are more directly applicable.
For example, image recognition is already used to sort fruit – machines can divide produce according to degrees of quality. Face recognition, too, is a big area of research, particularly since the increased security since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA.
But before MOBVIS, there were few prospects for mass-market applications. It may be a while before MOBVIS technology appears on a mobile phone near you, but it won’t be too long, mainly because MOBVIS was very successful telling the right people about what they have done.
Google, Microsoft, Nokia… big names
The project organised or attended more than six international conferences on computer vision and presented its work to hundreds of peers working in the same domain.
It also spread the word through its booth at the CHI 2008 trade show, which focuses on excellence in innovation. Over 100 attendees visited the MOBVIS team where they were introduced to the technology and given a demonstration. Visitors included representatives from leading industrial heavyweights like Google, Microsoft and Nokia.
The consortium published over 65 scientific papers, and generated enthusiastic interest from colleagues in the field. Industrial groups, too, showed enormous interest in MOBVIS work.
MOBVIS achieved some remarkable results, but the most remarkable impacts of their work are yet to come, when people, in the normal course of their day, take to hyperlinking reality.
The MOBVIS project received funding from the Future Emerging Technologies FET Open strategic objective within the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.
This is the final part of a three-part feature on MOBVIS by ICT Results.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further reports about: > GPS > ICT > Image recognition > MOBVIS system > Mobile phone > Multi-sensor information > camera-phone > dedicated city area > digital mapping and navigation solutions > high-precision GPS > mass-market appeal > mobile mapping images > personal multi-sensor magic wand > powerful image-recognition application
Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering