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April 11th, 2008
Tourist Information Wherever You Are

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PR – This novel use of satellite technology, created
by Ernst Pechtl and Hans Geiger, combines three of today’s modern
technologies: satellite navigation localisation services, advanced
object recognition and relevant internet retrieved information.

nformation on the buildings and scenery you see
on your travels? A novel mobile phone programme, able to provide
information on what you see when you see it, was a regional winner in
the European Satellite Navigation Competition, sponsored by ESA’s
Technology Transfer Programme.
 
This novel use of satellite technology, created by Ernst Pechtl and
Hans Geiger, combines three of today’s modern technologies: satellite
navigation localisation services, advanced object recognition and
relevant internet retrieved information.

Ernst Pechtl, and Hans Geiger are co-owners of the company SuperWise
Technologies AG, which has developed the Apollo image-recognition
system that lies behind the eye-Phone.
 
 

eyePhone, regional winner in European sat-nav competition
 
Pechtl presents eyePhone at the European Satellite Navigation Competition 2007 press conference

How
does it work? If you see something interesting while out walking for
instance, you take a photograph with your mobile phone, select the item
of interest with the cursor and in real time preprocessed information
on the object selected is sent to your mobile phone.

"It could be a building, a mountain, a tree, plant or a special event
such as a local festival,” explain Pechtl. “The amount of information
you receive depends on you, if you want to know more you just click the
‘more button’ and you trigger a more detailed search responding to your
profile of interest. Applications include tourism, education, remote
healthcare, security, science, etc."

Regional winner in European Satellite Navigation Competition

The eye-Phone won the regional prize for Bavaria, Germany in
the 2007 European Satellite Navigation Competition. This competition,
also known as the Galileo Masters, is sponsored by ESA Technology
Transfer Programme (TTP) to encourage the innovative use of satellite
navigation systems to develop new products and services.
 
 

eyePhone, regional winner in European sat-nav competition
eye-Phone on cellular phone
 

"The
eye-Phone is a good illustration of the potential of satellite
navigation systems when their positioning information is combined with
other communication and information technology. With the improved
accuracy of the European Galileo system in comparison to existing
systems, the prospects will be amazing," says Frank M. Salzgeber, head
of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office. "Galileo can create new
businesses in Europe and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in space
spin-offs."

The system has been developed using Apollo technology, an
innovative artificial intelligence system. "It’s a unique piece of
software that can carry out object recognition within images, a very
tricky task. It is self-learning and after a short and very simple
training session it can identify any object in the world," says Pechtl.

 
 
Apollo
technology can identify objects in a digital image regardless of the
angle from which it is taken, the lighting conditions or quality of the
image. To support object recognition, it uses navigation positioning
information.

It uses also an ‘angle-sensor’, a new function now being introduced in
digital cameras that identifies the angle from which an image is taken
and the direction in which the camera is pointing. Once the object in
the picture is recognised the system can then interface to any database
on the internet to select user-specific information on the object
selected.

"The key to the eye-Phone system is the object recognition
done by the Apollo software. Nothing in the world is able to do what
our software does," says Pechtl.
 
 

eyePhone, regional winner in European sat-nav competition
 
Ernst Pechtl and Hans Geiger

Concept proved – prototype on the way
 
SuperWise
Technologies plans to team up with mobile phone operators who would
provide the eye-Phone functionality as an additional function for
subscription. It will be partly located on the phone and partly in a
central processing system of a cooperating image archives.

“The Apollo software is basically ready, and there is already
one camera available with what we need: GPS, angle-sensor and on-board
processing power. All we have to do is to integrate our system with the
camera, i.e. load our software on the camera chip, to have a prototype
ready and working."

A prototype should be ready during the mid of 2008, then
Pechtl expects that it will take another 12 to 18 months to work out
deals with mobile phone operators, find partners and negotiate
agreements with database information providers, before the eye-Phone
functionality can be offered to mobile phone users.

If all goes according to plan, mobile phones could soon provide a mobile tourist guide.

 
 
European Satellite Navigation Competition, the Galileo Masters
 
The
European Satellite Navigation Competition was initiated in 2004 with
the aim to encourage small enterprises in participating European
regions to come up with new ideas for satellite navigation
applications.

Supported by ESA through its Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) and
the German Aerospace Center (DLR) it is run by Anwendungszentrum GmbH
Oberpfaffenhofen, together with the Munich International Trade Fair
SYSTEMS under the patronage of the Bavarian Ministry for Economics,
Transport, and Technology.

 
 
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)
 
The
main mission of the ESA TTPO is to facilitate the use of space
technology and space systems for non-space applications and to further
demonstrate the benefit of the European space programme to European
citizens. The TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and
strategy for the transfer of space technologies including the
incubation of start-up companies. For more information, please contact:

Technology Transfer Programme
European Space Agency – ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1, P.O. BOX 299, 2200 AG, Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Office: +31 (0) 71 565 3910
Fax: +31 (0) 71 565 6635
Email: ttp @ esa.int
Web site: http://www.esa.int/ttp

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