Descriptive Camera

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this… umm… “interesting” Descriptive Camera suggests that it’s probably nearer twenty.

The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera—point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene.

Wait. What?

Yes. There’s no picture here, just a brief description of what the picture would look like. So how does it work?

The technology at the core of the Descriptive Camera is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk API. It allows a developer to submit Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) for workers on the internet to complete. The developer sets the guidelines for each task and designs the interface for the worker to submit their results. The developer also sets the price they’re willing to pay for the successful completion of each task. An approval and reputation system ensures that workers are incented to deliver acceptable results.

Each “picture” costs $1.25 to “develop” and the process typically takes around 6 minutes.
The inventor, Matt Richardson, suggests that being able to file data about the contents of a photograph would be useful in searching, filtering and cross-referencing our photo collections. This rather clumsy (but still clever and innovative) system explores the possibilities of what being able to capture this data in this in the future might mean.

One thought on “Descriptive Camera

  1. If the descriptions where voice (and “printed” a bit quicker) it might be a very useful tool for the blind community.

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