I’m fermenting two digital-camera inspired programming ideas at the moment. I saw a commercial program for digitizing whiteboards by photographing them and post-processing. The company charges something like $250, which is pretty steep for a 2d warp, some filtering and a bit of color quantization. So I’ve been working on my own version, written in ocaml.
The second idea is to do OCR using a digital camera instead of a scanner. Clearly, if it works then it’ll be cool because cameras are much faster than scanners. Normally, OCR programs only need to correct for rotation (if you scanned the page squint) before splitting the page up into characters and matching them. If you’re working from a photograph, you might have to correct for perspective and non-flat pages too. There’s very few open-source OCR packages out there, so that’ll be an impedement to getting started on this project.
Gee, just think of the digital shoplifting implications!