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Shopping Through the Lens of It


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An example of how the smart camera estimates geometry in a grocery store aisle.

Smart cameras eventually could guide visually impaired shopped to find the items they need.

Credit: Visual Cortex on Silicon

Pennsylvania State University (PSU) researchers are studying how smart cameras could eventually guide visually impaired shoppers to find the items they need.

The researchers are using a $10-million U.S. National Science Foundation grant to replicate the human vision system using information technology as part of the Visual Cortex on Silicon project. "This project brings together the strengths and efforts of technical leaders in multiple disciplines," says PSU professor Vijaykrishnan Narayanan.

Visual Cortex on Silicon aims to create sophisticated smart cameras that will replicate or surpass the abilities of the human vision system so they can can interpret complex scenes and complete complicated tasks while using less than 20 watts of power, according to the researchers.

Researchers are hoping the cameras will not only record images, but also interpret them. For example, the cameras will not just identify an item as a jar of peanut butter, but also be able to determine whether it is the kind the user requires.

The cameras will be used in mobile devices, meaning energy efficiency is key to fitting a complex system into a small piece of hardware.

The researchers are also examining using haptic sensors, which give tactile feedback through vibration.

From Penn State News
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