The July 27, 2013, issue of “New Scientist” had a story about Kogeto, a start-up firm in New York City, that has developed a $49 stick-on lens for a smartphone’s main camera that lets you shoot immersive, 360-degree photos and videos.
The Dot lens allows you to pan within the footage or watch all 360 degrees at once. Kogeto also makes a nifty panorama-only video capture device for a tripod that operates like Google’s Street-view cameras at a fraction of the price.
Now researchers in Canada have found that by placing the Dot lens on the user-facing camera, the phone can be programmed to monitor any activity or object in the user’s immediate environment, including the user. Once fitted to a phone, an Android app they built called Surround-See can be trained to recognize locations and gestures.
For example, if you walk away from the phone, it can call out to you and ask if you have forgotten to take it along. If something changes in the environments that Surround-See knows, it can alert the user by comparing the new scene with a library of scenes taken at the same location.
Paul Marks, the author of the “New Scientist” article, predicts that similar gesture-sensing technology will be built into iOS devices soon, based on the fact that Apple is in talks to buy PrimeSense, an Israeli firm that developed the camera and sensors in Microsoft’s Kinect.
Time to start brainstorming new mobile learning apps based on this emerging technology.
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