Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Augmented Reality and Librarians

Very cool idea. Doesn't seem ready for prime time, but you can definitely see the potential. This app would be great for classroom and laboratory inventory.
Augmented reality app for librarians instantly shows which books are misfiled:
E-books, iPads and Kindles may be the way of the future, but most of the world's knowledge is still stored in millions of good old paper books on library shelves.

So researchers at Miami University have created an augmented reality app that makes all those books easier to organize. ShelvAR instantly analyzes an entire shelf, spots any misplaced books, and shows librarians the quickest way to put the books back in order.

ShelvAR consists of an Android app and a set of coded tags, representing call numbers, that are placed on books' spines. When a librarian holds a smartphone or tablet camera up to a shelf, the app reads all the tags at once, thanks to a new algorithm that can decipher multiple patterns even though they're small when viewed at a distance. Then the app uses a simple sorting method-at least for computers, which aren't fazed by complex letter-digit combos like Q164 .G72 2009—to figure out the correct order and the shortest number of moves needed to achieve it. The phone's screen displays red X's over any misfiled books, along with arrows that show where they really belong.

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