Auto ID > Symbology > Biometrics > Photo Pattern Recognition
What is Photo Pattern Recognition (PPR)?
PPR is the ability to render a still photograph into an algorithm discernable identification symbol that then can be used for all of the cellphone applications that are being popularized in Japan and Korea to connect people, places, and things.
This method of taking a photo to create a unique symbology/identifier was first theorized in a paper introduced at an IEEE conference in 1996. The paper proposed that this “photo signature” approach would be best applied to the field of security identification and secure/restricted entry applications – but what do engineers know?
Microsoft Research has other ideas for this “photo signature” and is in an alpha test during development. This developmental program is called Lincoln and anyone can apply to be a part of the test.
In order to participate, one needs to register and then pick a photo to use as a test to be used in a database that can be accessed by all who are in the test. Microsoft, for its part, has scanned in over 850 DVD covers so that anyone in the test would be able to take their cellphone or a Pocket PC with a camera (programmed with the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS) and with a WiFi hookup or cellphone could run a demonstration.
With the programming downloaded into the device one could snap a shot of the DVD cover, and be taken to a web location that describes the content of the DVD (movie reviews, runtime, genre, and etc.).
The test is not perfect and will not run on all Windows Mobile 5.0 devices at this time.
Excerpts from the Microsoft Research Lincoln web portal -
Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation
What Can I Use Lincoln For?
With Lincoln you could...
- Link your band's concert poster to an MP3 download
- Link a postcard to your holiday photos on flickr.com
- Link restaurant signage to an online menu
- Link a CD cover to your own review
- Link your yearbook photo to your blog
Lincoln was designed to recognize photos of printed materials. The material should contain large text, pictures or graphics.
Lincoln will not work well on photos of 3D objects such as faces, although it would work on a photo of a photo of a face (like the yearbook example above).
Try Lincoln at Your Local Video Store Today!
To illustrate Lincoln's usefulness we've added images of over 850 DVD covers and linked them to movie reviews on Amazon.com.
That's about all the titles you're likely to find "on the wall" at the video rental store.
So feel free to take your Smartphone (and Lincoln) with you the next time you're in the mood for a movie and let the Amazon reviewers help you decide what to watch!
How Do I Search Using Photos on Lincoln?
There are two ways to search using photos:
1) Use the Lincoln mobile client (available for download) on your Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone or Pocket PC device.
This client allows you to capture a photo and instantly search Lincoln for related content.
2) Download your photos to your computer from your phone or digital camera and use the Search feature of this web site.
Just select one of your downloaded photos and Lincoln will automatically search for related content.
How Do I Add an Image to Lincoln?
To become an Author on Lincoln you first create an account for yourself (see opposite on this page) by simply choosing an author name and a password.
Once logged on you'll be automatically sent to the "Add Image" page. Then just select an image on your computer, provide some relevant information such as web links or comments, and you're done!
You can manage the images you have authored on the "My Images" page.
Why Should I Add an Image to Lincoln?
When you add an image to Lincoln you automatically own the "top" link for that image.
Your link (and comment) cannot be voted to a lower ranking, so other users will always see your link first.
On traditional search engines you need to pay to secure the top slot, but on Lincoln we're giving it to you for FREE !
Excerpts of a review from Technology Review - Physical World Hyperlink through photo pattern recognition or "photo signature". Image Credit: Technology Review
Mobile Web Searches Using Pictures
A new Microsoft application lets people search the Internet on their cell phones using a camera instead of a keypad.
By Kate Greene - Technology Review - Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Searching for information on your cell phone by typing keywords can be cumbersome. But now researchers at Microsoft have developed a software prototype called Lincoln that they hope will make Web searches easier. According to Larry Zitnick, a Microsoft researcher who works on the project, phones equipped with the software could, for example, access online movie reviews by snapping pictures of movie posters or DVD covers and get product information from pictures of advertisements in magazines or on buses.
"The main thing we want to do is connect real-world objects with the Web using pictures," says Zitnick. "[Lincoln] is a way of finding information on the Web using images instead of keywords."
The software works by matching pictures taken on phones with pretagged pictures in a database. It provides the best results when the pictures are of two-dimensional objects, such as magazine ads or DVD covers, Zitnick says. (See the accompanying chart to find out how compatible certain pictures are with Lincoln.) Currently, the database contains pictures of DVD covers that link to movie reviews uploaded by Microsoft researchers. However, anyone can contribute his or her pictures and links to the database, and Zitnick hopes that people will fill it with pictures and links to anything from information about graffiti art to scavenger-hunt clues. Right now, Lincoln can only be downloaded for free using Internet Explorer 6 and 7, and it can only run on smart phones equipped with Windows Mobile 5.0 and PocketPCs.
Lincoln is part of a trend to link the physical world with information on the Web, often with the help of cell-phone cameras. Nokia researchers are developing software and hardware that automatically hyperlinks buildings, storefronts, and certain people via a cell-phone camera. (See "Hyperlinking Reality via Phones.") And a handful of companies, including Mobot, based in Lexington, MA, are exploring the marketing capabilities of such technology by connecting pictures of real-world advertisements and company logos to the Web.
According to Zitnick, there are two elements that distinguish his technology from others. First is the fact that anyone can contribute images, links, and comments to the database. The second element is the type of image-recognition system that Microsoft researchers have developed, which Zitnick believes will be able to search through millions of images quickly.
At the heart of the image-recognition engine is an algorithm that analyzes a picture and creates a signature that describes the picture succinctly, using a small amount of data. This signature consists of information that describes the relative position of the pixels and the intensity of a certain feature in a picture, such as the Mona Lisa's smile. In order to make this information easily searchable, data triplets are created from groups of three features. For instance, a triplet might contain information about a close-up of the Mona Lisa's smile, cheek, and nose.
When a picture is taken, the algorithm quickly establishes these data sets and compares them with established sets for the pictures already in the database.
Symblogogy tried to have a Windows Mobile 5.0 developmental Enterprize Mobility unit from Korea get on board with Lincoln for demonstration purposes and was not successful.
As Microsoft developer Richard Hughes communicated to Symblogogy - "A few other users have reported a similar issue on the HTC Universal PPC (see http://www.modaco.com/index.php?showtopic=252971).
Our best guess at this time is that it is the WM5 phone API on these devices which is returning this error due to a problem in the underlying implementation (by the OEM) of the API."
We will wait until the Lincoln developmental team is able to overcome this issue with the API.
In the meantime, register and click away - this is another dynamic ripple in the world served through symbology.