The Mobile Phone as Tour Guide

New technology uses object-recognition software to identify and provide info on points of interest in a just-snapped photo

eyePhone

Superwise Technologies

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.