Holiday Season Gift Ideas (1): 3D Greeting Cards

It is holiday season. Have you got a good idea to send a surprise gift to your love or your friends? Have you thought about computer vision and graphics technologies could help?

Snapily recently came up with a brilliant idea for your holiday gifts by using computer vision and graphics technologies. Users can upload your pictures, choose one of the special effects (3D, Morph or Flip) and have moderate user interaction, a customized card will be ready for you. Here is an overview of this technology.

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Best Visual Search Engines Review: (3) GazoPa

GazoPa is another image based visual serch engine (still in Beta). It is owned by Hitachi, Japan. Users can search similar images on the web based on image color, shape or faces. Similiar to Like.com, but GazoPa has interest of general objects rather than only commercial products. Different from TinEye, GazoPa does not focus on finding the same images.

Let’s first watch an overview video of GazoPa.

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LA Wildfire Could be Prevented by Video Fire Detection

The Los Angeles wildfire these days has destroyed about 200 multi-million-dollar celebrities’ homes along with 600 mobile homes, and is continuously sweeping the area near the Los Angeles National Forest.

In such a wide open area, the traditional fire and smoke detector used in a building usually do not apply here because it requires the smoke particles reaching to the detector before an alarm, resulting a significant latency. It is also not practical to install huge amount of detectors in a large open space.

Thanks to the recent computer vision technology in video fire detection, it enables large area monitoring with instant alarming system, with the help of volumetric sensors (cameras) and intelligent video analytics software. Mostly importantly, existing video surveillance infrastructure (cameras and network) can be leveraged for this application. 

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Best Visual Search Engines Review: (2) Like.com


Like.com is one of the earliest visual search engines. It starts from another visual search engine called Riya, which was originally used to search celebrity people, objects in the pictures, and faces in the photos. From the profitability point of view, like.com now changes its business model to high-end online shopping based on visual search. 

The first thing I would like to talk about is like.com’s business model. There are always cool computer vision technologies. However, how to leverage the technology to make profit is a different thing. Like.com is undoubtedly a good model for visual technology entrepreneurs. Visual search is high-tech, and online shopping is something popular and something you can make profit from. The marriage of high-tech search engine with online shopping will undoubtedly bring you venture capital and eventually gain profit for you. 

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Best Visual Search Engines Review: (1) TinEye

TinEye

From now on, a series of posts will focus on reviewing several of the best visual search engines in the world. These search engines represents the state-of-the-art developments and applications in the field of visual search and retrieval. Each engine will be evaluated based on technology, functionalities, searching speed and accuracy, and business model.

The first one to be reviewed here is TinEye, owned by idee, a Canada based company. Tineye provides image search by image functionality, and show where and how the given image appears all over the web. This is one of the most brilliant applications of computer vision.

Let’s first watch an overview video for this technology.
Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Blip.tv video.

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Visual Search Engines: The Future Search Engines

Text based search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft search engines, have become an important tool for us to obtain useful information through Internet. Interestingly, even you want to find a picture on the web, a text description of the picture has to be input to the search box. The search engine is then actually doing a text-context based search.

Imagine the following scenarios. Your girlfriend/wife came across a lady carrying a beautiful handbag on the 5th Ave of New York City. She quickly took a photo of that bag using her iPhone. Can she find similar bags instantly through iPhone? In another scenario when she came across a stylish Chanel handbag, which is too expensive for you to afford. Can you quickly find a cheaper one of similar style online?

Obviously, the current functionalities of major search engines are far from meeting our increasing demand. First of all, “Each picture is worth a thousand of words”, therefore, sometimes it is kind of difficult to describe what you really want using concise phrases. Secondly, even if you can describe the scene, many unrelated pictures are usually returned for you to manually sift what you need page by page.

Is there an efficient and automatic way to solve this problem? The answer is yes, I believe. Visual search will be the future and the ultimate solution for above scenarios.

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Killer Applications in Computer Vision

A picture is worth a thousand words!

As more and more consumer electronics products are equipped with cameras, visual analytics play a more and more important role for our computers to better understand the world. Breakthrough computer vision technologies are coming out of the lab to the real world. These technologies enable value added applications for the business, and revolutionized products for our daily life. Large amount novel applications have emerged, some of which are briefed as follows.

Visual Search: In spite of the fast development and wide applications of text-based search technologies (e.g., google, yahoo, microsoft search engines), visual search is still in its infancy. Due to the richer information in pictures, we believe, visual search will lead the next wave of search engine revolution.

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