The days of lugging around and pulling out hefty guide books could be nearing an end: The eyePhone, a program currently being developed in Europe, uses a combination of satellite information, object-recognition software and Internet data to provide information on landmarks in a scene captured through a mobile phone's lens.
The user snaps a photo, highlights a building or mountain or some other major site, then waits as the object-recognition program, developed by SuperWise Technologies AG, identifies this image and links it to the relevant facts. Initially, the search draws on pre-processed information, but by clicking on "more," you can gather additional details. The advantage of the Apollo object-recognition system, according to its developers, is that it can work in a variety of weather or lighting conditions, and effectively picks out objects regardless of the person's position. In other words, you don't need to be standing in a certain place for it to recognize a church or mountain peak.
Check out this promo video; but don't get too anxious, since the technology probably won't be available for consumers until 2009 or 2010.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.