The digital photographs we take every day with our cameras are encoded with information about when they were taken and the settings of the camera that snapped them. But all of that information says nothing at all about the content of those photos.
Have you ever wished that cameras could capture not only an image of the scene in front of them, but also describe it to you in plain English?
Well, the impressive Matt Richardson has a project right up your alley. The Descriptive Camera is a clever concept that turns this notion backward, giving a printout of words rather than an image.
How Descriptive Camera Works
The Descriptive Camera is a relatively simple device really. The machine uses a BeagleBone, a tiny computer used to power prototypes and other experimental computers with an external power source.
After capturing a photograph, the camera sends the image to an Amazon Mechanical Turk worker, a service that pays humans to do tasks that computers cannot solve, like translating into words what is captured in a photograph. In three to six minutes , a description is sent back to the camera and then printed on thermal paper.
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An alternative option, which doesn’t require paying an MTurk worker, is to send the image via IM to a friend of the user for a description. This option adds a social aspect to the concept, allowing friends to work together on a fun and highly unusual project.
Descriptive Camera’s Results
Below are a few samples from the Descriptive Camera:
Richardson’s Descriptive Camera won’t be hitting the market soon, but it’s an entertaining step in a helpful direction — ugly cupboard and all.
Credit: Matt Richardson