Research in action: tomorrow's technology

13 Sep 2007 View Comments
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Picture if the InnoVision software
InnoVision allows 3d models to be built from digital photos

Startup incubator St John's Innovation Centre hosted the Gorrilas of Tomorrow conference last week, showcasing the latest technological advances. Computing picked out five projects to watch for in the near future.

Supermodel
Typically, the creation of a three-dimensional model requires expensive and time-consuming laser scanning.

But Cambridge InnoVision has developed software that can build a photorealistic model of a location using only a handful of standard digital photographs.
The program calculates the angle of each picture and uses the information to draw an approximate representation, which is then refined using comparisons with the other images.

Potential markets for the technology include the property sector and utility companies needing to give their engineers an accurate guide to unmanned maintenance stations.

Where am I?
The AA’s Smart Travel Guide for London is intended to be the first in a series of interactive travel tools, distributed as a plug-in memory card.

Pre-loaded data provides colour maps with information relating to sites of interest, places to stay and relevant travel options. The maps can also be personalised with photos, videos and notes which can be uploaded to an online blog.

Give me a T
The GrIDsure identity protection system is 40 times more secure than chip-and-PIN because it generates a new code every time it is used, says the firm.

GrIDsure can be used anywhere that a user needs to input a code, including computers, phones or bank machines. But rather than memorising a number, the user picks a shape ­ such as a T or a tick ­ to be typed onto the keypad.

By randomly scrolling keypad values at the moment of authentication, GrIDsure creates a unique code for every transaction, reducing the likelihood of fraud.

ET’s home phones
Homeowners need never worry about leaving their house unoccupied agai n. The Alert Me monitoring system uses small sensors to detect movement and check on the status of doors and windows that may have been left open.

In the event of a problem, a text message is sent informing the owner. The system can also be used to see who is at home, via small identity devices attached to each set of house keys.

Like a bullet from a gun
The latest nanotechnology is behind Inkski’s printers capable of operating at about 20 times the speed of a conventional inkjet machine.
Minute dots of ink are arranged on a tiny spinning cylinder and then fired onto the paper using a laser.

Quality is on a par with professional offset printing, but can be done in a fraction of the time because an entire publication can be produced in one go. Inkski says the development is equivalent to the machine gun superseding the rifle.

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