Washington, April 12: Future cell phones may act as a mobile tourist guide, and provide tourists with information on whatever they see while journeying. The target seems achievable with an eye-Phone technology that emerged as a regional winner in the European Satellite Navigation Competition, sponsored by ESA's Technology Transfer Programme, recently.
Ernst Pechtl and Hans Geiger, who jointly own a company called SuperWise Technologies AG, are the persons behind this phone. The new technology is based on a combination of three modern technologies that are known as satellite navigation localisation services, advanced object recognition, and relevant internet retrieved information. To use the technology, all that a tourist needs to do is to take a photograph of a thing of interest with a mobile phone, and select the item with the cursor.
The pre-processed information on the selected object will then be sent back to the mobile phone in real time.
"It could be a building, a mountain, a tree, plant or a special event such as a local festival. The amount of information you receive depends on you, if you want to know more you just click the 'more button' and you trigger a more detailed search responding to your profile of interest. Applications include tourism, education, remote healthcare, security, science, etc," said Pechtl.
Frank M. Salzgeber, head of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office, said: "The eye-Phone is a good illustration of the potential of satellite navigation systems when their positioning information is combined with other communication and information technology. With the improved accuracy of the European Galileo system in comparison to existing systems, the prospects will be amazing."
The researcher revealed that an innovative artificial intelligence system developed by SuperWise Technologies AG, known as the Apollo image-recognition system, lies behind the eye-Phone.
"The key to the eye-Phone system is the object recognition done by the Apollo software. Nothing in the world is able to do what our software does," said Pechtl.
"It's a unique piece of software that can carry out object recognition within images, a very tricky task. It is self-learning and after a short and very simple training session it can identify any object in the world," added Pechtl.
SuperWise Technologies now has its eyes set on collaboration with mobile phone operators to provide the eye-Phone functionality as an additional function for subscription.
Pechtl said that a prototype should be ready during the mid of 2008 and, thereafter, it would take another 12 to 18 months to work out deals with mobile phone operators.