Nokia to turn cameraphones into foreign food finders
They'll help you shop too
Nokia has developed prototype cameraphone applications that’ll not only make ordering dinner from foreign restaurant menus easier, but which also promises to take window shopping online.
Point&Find: snap, order, eat
Dubbed Point&Find, the technology incorporates numerous elements, including GPS positioning, image recognition and artificial intelligence algorithms. However, the processing required to work out what you just snapped an image of will apparently be done on your network provider’s servers.
After snapping, say, a t-shirt in a shop window, or a film poster, the handset will connect to the internet and, hopefully, present the user with a selection of online purchase options or movie reviews.
The question is, does the service become more accurate the better quality of your camera? For example, if you snap a sports top with a one-megapixel camera, will you be sent to a website selling trousers?
Nokia’s also designing the concept to translate foreign menus too. So if you’re struck dumb by a French menu offering “Le steak and chips”, you can just snap a picture of the text and it’ll translate it into your native language. Nokia claims its prototype application can currently scan and translate 9000 Chinese words and 600 Japanese words.
Both the prototype applications are expected to be built into Nokia’s N95 handset.
The N95 already has a bar-code reader - but from what I can see it's only good for those fancy 2D barcodes that direct you to more information online.
What it DOESN'T do (as far as I can tell) is read 1D EAN / UPC (whatever - been awhile since I worked on that stuff) codes that we get on everything. I would have thought that being able to scan a barcode on a product in-store and have your app find out what the product is and subsequently get either alternative online retailer info or reviews or whatever would be a no-brainer! Obviously not.
Instead they think that I want to take a photo of a t-shirt and have the computer help me figure out where to buy it is a good idea...
I'm still utterly convinced that there's a big fat marketing strategy standing between us and a phone that is really, supremely, useful. We've had the tech for ages but vendors seem really resistant to putting all the pieces together.
re: A great idea
"It would be useful in NYC as well, there are often items in French and Italian menus I don't recognize, especially when chefs get creative and add obscure ingredients. Would be great to have a translator built into something I carry with me all the time."
Na. Thats not being creative. I do speek French and Italian (not very well) but so often these things arnt worth knowing about, it is just a posh way of saying "I added some seasoning" or "I grated it"...
Just remeber that most places that do that are just being prats, trying to look like they are clever to hide avrage cooking.
About the translation functionality
It would come in very handy for me. And 2D barcode readers already exist. The N95 has one, you just have to be very still when you use it.
next we will be wanting computers that only compute!?
The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (OED2) includes over 600,000 definitions
the average person degree educated person has @ 10,000 of these at their disposal
most people typcically have a day to day vocabulary of @4,000 words
your average english chav or american trailer trash typicall are limted to expresseing themsives through 400 words and infinate "grunts"
your average teenage boy expressess himself with 6 standard phrases and a single all encompassing grunt!
as for 2-D readable barcodes they are called " QR Bar Code " and are odd square patterns not the typical zebra stripes. they are quite widespread in japan for various purposes, often promotional or equivelant to a busienss card.
so what happens when with homophones, synonyms, similies or other figures of speech or colloquialisms? - any experimentation shows that direct translation between two langauges is fraught with issues with even the simplist of statements or labels!?
"We have this in Japan for years, the 2D barcodes are on most things. If you take a photo of the barcode with your kaitei it will normally translate into a URL where you get more information."
Probably faster & easier to just give a URL.