Infoscience

Conference paper

Cell Phones as Imaging Sensors

Camera phones are ubiquitous, and consumers have been adopting them faster than any other technology in modern history. When connected to a network, though, they are capable of more than just picture taking: Suddenly, they gain access to the power of the cloud. We exploit this capability by providing a series of image-based personal advisory services. These are designed to work with any handset over any cellular carrier using commonly available Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Short Message Service (SMS) features. Targeted at the unsophisticated consumer, these applications must be quick and easy to use, not requiring download capabilities or preplanning. Thus, all application processing occurs in the back-end system (i.e., as a cloud service) and not on the handset itself. Presenting an image to an advisory service in the cloud, a user receives information that can be acted upon immediately. Two of our examples involve color assessment – selecting cosmetics and home décor paint palettes; the third provides the ability to extract text from a scene. In the case of the color imaging applications, we have shown that our service rivals the advice quality of experts. The result of this capability is a new paradigm for mobile interactions — image-based information services exploiting the ubiquity of camera phones.

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