Monday, May 15, 2006

Product I Would Like To See

I have a page on my web site listing ideas for products. One I haven't put there yet, but that seems obvious, is a PDA with a camera and built in OCR software. Lots of PDA's have cameras that would be adequate for photographing a page of text. The high end ones have respectable processors, even if not up to current desktops and laptops. Think how convenient it would be if you could photograph a page, or part of a page, of a book, and have the PDA turn it into text.


Gabriel M said...

Check out
I'm not associated with them in any way.Only a trial client. (In the benefit of full disclosure.)

Off-topic: "the public" would really want to see more articles about theoretical economics issues. :-)

Anonymous said...

More Convenient:

A decent text-to-speech translator for Adobe. Imagine if one could convert those digital texts into decent mp3s. Read while you run errands, go to the gym, or drive long distances. Audio book in seconds!

Anonymous said...

I've often thought the same thing.


Glen said...

Regarding another item on your list, I maintain an entire blog devoted to fitness videogames at . It has an FAQ. Arcades such as GameWorks and Dave & Busters nowadays have so many games with some exercise component that one can barely keep track of them all. In addition to arcades with a lot of exercise games, there also exist fitness centers that rely primarily on games - what I called arcade gyms.
At home, in addition to pads for dance and drum games, there are movement-oriented games that use a camera for a controller. I'd look into the PlayStation 2 Eyetoy products, specifically Eyetoy:Kinetic and Eyetoy Play2. And there are oodles of ways to use exercise as the control mechanism for existing games.

But the best is yet to come; with Nintendo's Wii in the next few years we should finally have home versions of all those games you now have to go to an arcade to find, such as samurai swordfighting games where you hold up and wave around a physical controller in order to win the fight.

(I forsee a market for gadgets you can clip onto the controller just to make it heavier - to make it better exercise.)

Anonymous said...

If you have a mac, you can very simply turn any piece of text into an audio file. Using applescript, you type something approx like this (haven't done it for a while, might be a tiny bit different):

say "blah blah" saving as myfile.aiff

Then you can just convert that file to an mp3. Of course you can read that text from a file instead, or just paste it into a dialog box or something. If you're not using a mac, well then I dunno if its possible.

Mike Hammock said...

edgr, PCs can also do text-to-speech easily. Firefox even has a plugin for it, so it will read web pages for you.

And a Google search shows lots of text-to-audio file stuff:

Anonymous said...

Hitachi has apparently worked on this niche in re: camera phones. Apparently, there is some copyright paranoia about it.

Anonymous said...

Come on Dr. Friedman, how can you be so naive? The kind of product you're suggesting could only be used to violate the sacred copyrights of this nation's artists and producers. Why would the government or the corporate-capitalist oligarchy ever go for that?

Kevin Marks said...

Ray Kurzweil showed a gadget that combined the suggestions here at his Stanford talk the other night - you point it at some writing, and it OCRs it and reads it to you. It was designed for blind people to use.