Wednesday 15 August 2007

Spellbinder project: mobile snaps revealing invisible art

A very interesting research project, unveiled at the recent SIGGRAPH 2007 conference, that has only recently come to my attention is the Spellbinder one, developed by Scottish researchers at the Division Of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. The main objective of the project is to turn to camera phones, an accessory available on just about every cellphone these days, to help bridge the gap between virtual and real worlds.

The essence of the project is that via the use of image-matching algorithms the real world is adorned with digital content. The technology developed has already been used to create a guide of Edinburgh that allows people to find virtual artworks (such as for example graffiti, pictured above) placed around the city using their mobile... Another related spin-off application derived from the Spellbinder project uses the same technology to automatically update a person's blog with their location. According to Dr Mark Wright who came up with the original idea "it's about using a camera phone as a magic wand".

A key component of the Spellbinder is the database of all the places that participants have added data to. Thus, people can query it by taking a snap of a location with their phone then using multimedia text messages to send it to Spellbinder. Moreover, again according to the creators, powerful image-matching algorithms are used to analyse the image that can deal with snaps of the same place being taken under different lighting conditions or orientations. Once the system has worked out the location of an image it consults the database and sends back an image with the extras added to it.

All in all this looks like a very interesting concept that very notably manages to combine virtual & augmented reality issues, mobile blogging, urban navigation & representation, invisible art and even location based services and could indeed have many extensions and forays in other fields too...

Below you will find a link for the original BBC News story on Spellbinder:

1 comment:

Nick Gentry said...

Not only is this a neat way to display artworks, it also shows that the internet is now becoming a powerful medium with which to create the art itself.

The days of the traditional art gallery could be numbered...