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From the FOSE floor: Streaming video and robots

Day One of FOSE is gradually winding down here in Washington. Lots of folks making their way through lots of square feet of technology.

Among several cool products encountered today, a couple stood out.

Spent some time with officials from StreamerNet Corp., which was showing its technology for easily streaming video and audio across the Internet. StreamerNet's solution works with any Windows XP-based system connected to virtually any camera. In theory (and the demos, at least, were fairly impressive), if you had a notebook running XP, a Webcam, and a wireless cellular card, you could hit the road and transmit streaming video--either broadcast (via StreamerNet's data center) or peer-to-peer.

On the client side, there's no special software necessary, unless you consider Windows Media Player special (and for those who like to use a different media player, this may be an issue). The StreamerNet software encodes the video on the camera/system end and puts it in the Windows format. They showed a Samsung smartphone running Windows Mobile 5.0 streaming video from a live feed at the company's headquarters.

Could be a good, easy-to-deploy surveillance tool. And as long as it's used in peer-to-peer mode, none of the traffic goes through StreamerNet's servers. The data is encrypted, but not FIPS-certified.

Then there was the Kirtas Technology APT BookScan 2400. (See a demo here.) This is pretty niche stuff, but it's fun to imagine having one in the office. Basically, the BookScan has a robotic arm and a couple digital cameras and digitizes entire books at up to 2,400 pages per hour.

Officials at the booth said that when it comes to old volumes, if you'd feel comfortable turning the pages by hand, the BookScan can handle it without destroying the book.

This is no start-it-and-leave-it solution. Once the book has been digitized, you have a folder of hundreds of numbered JPEG images, depending on the size of the book--and they're all laid out sideways with various parts of the robot apparatus in the picture. You must use the Kirtas software to basically clean up an image, flip it and then apply a template to all the other images/pages.

Even then, you still have hundreds of JPEGs. You can OCR them all and pull them together into a PDF file, but again, it takes a little intervention. There's no end-to-end automated system just yet, but company officials said it could be done.

Oh yeah, and it takes some storage resources. A 400-page book, digitized at 300dpi and saved in the higher-quality TIFF format, would take up about 2.5GB.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Mar 07, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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