Monday, October 1, 2012

Control your computer with machine vision?

Is your webcam spying on you? According to this story on the BBC, it could be. But more to the point, could you use that camera for something useful?

Start-up Flutter thinks so. They’ve developed software that will use your PC’s webcam as an alternative to the mouse. The idea is that it will recognize your gestures and respond appropriately. (See “How Flutter wants to become the eye of the machine,” posted on the Gigaom website, September 24th, 2012.)

I understand some will ask, “Has it become too hard to use a mouse?” But I think there are some serious applications.

On the domestic front, I often leave Pandora playing on a laptop. That’s all well and good until it decides to ask if I’m still listening. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could just give it a thumbs-up from the comfort of my couch, rather than getting up to walk across the room?

Then there are the work applications. The factory floor is a tough place for a mouse and keyboard. Yes, touch screens are possible but they cost two limbs at least and still may not do all I want. Imagine just being able to start and stop by pointing.

And one last question for you. Is this machine vision or computer vision?

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