Can Cameras know what they are looking at?

It seems that a world where cameras will know what they are looking at has almost arrived. This is exciting stuff because it’s happened fast and it’s powerful.

Some 6 years ago I spoke with Roberto Chipola of Cam Uni Eng – who had created a demo of a camera pointing at Cambridge (UK) Regent Street and by “un-distorting” the street’s apparent perspective – could enable said camera to know precisely “where it was”. The thought of mapping the planet, so that this could be scaled everywhere seemed immense. Then within two years, Google’s street view arrived.

A flirtation 4 years ago, with Nick Kingsbury’s Cam Uni Signal Processing group’s complex wavelet transforms, also enabled a camera to pick out what shop in Burleigh Street it was looking at – but the scale up to global ambition was going to take a combination device software skills, communications skills and back end architecture skills – all in the same group. Now you’d have though that Cambridge would relish such a challenge but it stalled. Gameware Ltd were up for the challenge if truth be told and their time may have come.

Now we start to find a host of smart companies nibbling at the edges of this tasty dish… Xsight in Israel, Cortexica in London,

So now look at this Ted Video and others and see where the state of the art has moved to in just a few short years. You’ll see a map with 3d rendering and an in-built knowledge of its own 3d geometry – into which stills and video can be overlaid. This is huge. Other large software vendors have also spoken of pulling such frameworks together so that smartly mined information can be overlaid with location – in an easily publish/easy consume manor.

What would be great is to now see a slew of real/virtual world blends – with augmented reality character overlays – that make Layer look like child’s-play.

Lets see TBL & Nigel Shadbolt‘s open data initiatives intertwined with this new name space/framework and much much more.

The world, its location and it’s geometry have started to become an open framework for enormous amounts of application and fun. Lets use it.

A question to leave with – should this all be wrapped up in an application (or many) or should this be available through device primatives, and if the latter, how?

Amadeus’ Seed Fund – seeks to fund such early stage ventures.

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