Camera phones as mice

Never start a blog with a hangover.

Mobile phone cameras combined with pattern recognition software has killer app potential.

Semacode is phone software that uses pattern recognition to extract hyperlinks from 2D barcodes.

Spotcode uses a similar idea for circular codes that enables the user to shift, pan and rotate, essentially using a mobile as a pointing device. The phone interfaces with the display using bluetooth.

The people behind spotcode also see the phone as becoming a storage and authentication system, which is entirely rational - mobiles are the closest thing we have right now to a personal trusted computing base.

The first missing piece of the puzzle is a similar scheme for movement in 3D. Moving the phone back and forth, and tracking the phone rotation over all three axes.

Secondly, as far as I can tell, there's no J2ME API for camera access.

Lastly, both semacode and spotcode are proprietary :-) but that's just me wishing I had something to hack on.

I'd like to see phonecam-based interfaces become ubiquitous for things like public smart displays, info-points, (such as floor plans), etc. This type of interface has the potential to surpass touch-screen technology, which is normally the chosen solution in this kind of situation.

A camera phone that also functions as a normal bluetooth-enabled mouse would be interesting.

Use cases:

  • As with the spotcode website, bluetooth-enabled LCD displays for airport floorplans. Key points: "You are here" info, "Select destination gate" (a perfect example of throwing an interface) combined with route planning, flight information tracking.

  • Corporate floorplans, employee directories (access protected)

  • Supermarket product search (and suggestions)

  • Others I'll think up later.