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Google Glass app from Duke University recognizes people by what they wear

Google founder Sergey Brin poses for a portrait wearing Google Glass glasses before the Diane von Furstenberg  Spring/Summer 2013 collection show during New York Fashion Week

Google Glass has yet to even land as the “Explorer Edition” for developers, but devs are already fast at work on innovative applications for Google’s head-mounted computing platform. With Google I/O right around the corner, we have been seeing more and more concepts for potential Glass apps popping up– including this one from Google and another designed by JetBlue. We’ve seen concepts for apps such as GPS and navigation, photo and video, and weather and alerts, but today NewScientist (via Engadget) pointed us to a new app called “InSight” being developed to allow Glass users to easily detect friends and co-workers by learning and identifying the patterns and colors of clothing they wear.

Imagine a near future where humans are carrying smartphones and wearing camera-embedded glasses, such as the Google Glass. This paper intends to recognize a human by looking at him or her from any angle, even when her face is not visible.

A group at Duke University is developing inSight, and it focuses on allowing Google Glass users to recognize humans without using traditional face recognition technology. It would also allow users to spot people they are looking for in a busy crowd, even if their back is turned. The paper described Google Glass users being able to see a nametag for each person in a room, or, when names are not suitable, users could share a tweet such as “looking to share a cab.”

For instance, Alice may look at people around her in a social gathering and see the names of each individual – like a virtual badge –suitably overlaid on her Google Glass display.

Where revealing names is undesirable, only a tweet message could be shared. People at the airport could tweet “looking to share a cab ”, and Alice could view each individual’s tweet above their heads. In general, we intend to extend augmented reality [1, 2] to humans and the key challenge pertains to differentiating individuals. We explore options outside face recognition [3, 4]

The full paper on InSight from Duke University can be found here and is definitely worth the read if you’re interested in seeing how developers might leverage the unique form factor of Glass to create innovate new apps.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.