New Visual Search Engine Debut-Works with a cell phone photo! Medical Uses Next?

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I have been following the consumer device CeBIT show in Germany.  Pocket-lint UK reports:

At the CeBIT show in Germany, Vodafone is demonstrating a trial service called “Otello”, which is a search engine that uses images, rather than words.  Rather than use a word as a search term, Otello users can send images via MMS from their mobiles and the search service which then returns the results to the user’s phone as an “ordinary” search result.

A picture from a newspaper, billboard, book cover or place are all examples of what can be searched for.

Vodafone is running trials with a German newspaper that lets users find out more about stories by photographing the images that appear in the article and MMSing the images.

There’s no word on breaking this out of trial phase at this stage.

I just had a meeting with reps from a major medical device company where I discussed the potential for smart image tagging and identification in medical imaging.  Just think of the potential when this smart technology could be applied to image pattern recognition for skin lesions, radiologic images, and pathology slides.  Rural medicine will never be the same!  Cell photo snap an image and link to a search engine to get a diagnosis (we know who wants that to happen).  Right now the system is prepopulated with images then recognized.  In the future neural net and patern recognition technology will take this a step forward.  Similar systems already exist for pap smear screening of cytologic abnormalities including a commercially available system papnet (made by Neuromedical Systems, Inc. who filed for chapter 11 and sold their intellectual proprty to Autocyte Inc). 

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