University Of Edinburgh Creates Invisible Graffiti

Researchers from the Division of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh have launched an “invisible art” project in Edinburgh using mobile phones to access digital content related to physical buildings (a couple of weeks after I was there, typical). People take a picture of a location and then MMS it to a database where “powerful image-matching algorithms” identify which place the picture is of and then sends back an image with extras added to it, reports the BBC. Although the Spellbinder project uses algorithms developed in Edinburgh the concept isn’t new: Nokia has announced plans for Point&Find, an ad system which uses a similar idea, and Geovector and Mapion have launched a similar service in Japan. There are technical differences though — for starters, the Edinburgh effort doesn’t need a special application on the handset — any cameraphone with MMS capabilities can use the service. The Geovector service doesn’t use images at all, but rather location and direction information to work out what the person is looking at.

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