Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computer Security Can Double As Help For The Blind

Date:
October 16, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Before you can post a comment to most blogs, you have to type in a series of distorted letters and numbers to prove that you are a person and not a computer attempting to add comment spam to the blog. What if -- instead of wasting your time and typing something like SGO9DXG -- you could label an image or perform some other quick task that will help someone who is visually-impaired do their grocery shopping?

Images from a research shopping trip with GroZi a Grocery Shopping Assistant for the Visually Impaired developed by UC San Diego computer science professor Serge Belongie. On October 15, 2007 Belongie presented a paper at an interactive computer vision conference and described how people posting comments on blogs could provide data critical for this project.
Credit: Serge Belongie / UC San Diego

Before you can post a comment to most blogs, you have to type in a series of distorted letters and numbers (a CAPTCHA) to prove that you are a person and not a computer attempting to add comment spam to the blog.

What if -- instead of wasting your time and energy typing something meaningless like SGO9DXG -- you could label an image or perform some other quick task that will help someone who is visually impaired do their grocery shopping?

In a position paper presented at Interactive Computer Vision (ICV) 2007 on October 15 in Rio de Janeiro, computer scientists from UC San Diego led by professor Serge Belongie outline a grid system that would allow CAPTCHAs to be used for this purpose -- and an endless number of other good causes.

"One of the application areas for my research is assistive technologyfor the blind. For example, there is an enormous amount of data that needs to be labeled for our grocery shopping aid to work. We are developing a wearable computer with a camera that can lead a visually impaired user to a desired product in a grocery store by analyzing the video stream. Our paper describes a way that people who are looking to prove that they are humans and not computers can help label still shots from video streams in real time," said Belongie.

The researchers call their system a "Soylent grid" which is a reference to the 1973 film Soylent Green (see more on this reference at the end of the article).

"The degree to which human beings could participate in the system (as remote sighted guides) ranges from none at all to virtually unlimited. If no human user is involved in the loop, only computer vision algorithms solve the identification problem. But in principle, if there were an unlimited number of humans in the loop, all the video frames could be submitted to a SOYLENT GRID, be solved immediately and sent back to the device to guide the user," the authors write in their paper.

From the front end, users who want to post a comment on a blog would be asked to perform a variety of tasks, instead of typing in a string of misshapen letters and numbers.

"You might be asked to click on the peanut butter jar or click the Cheetos bag in an image," said Belongie. "This would be one of the so called 'Where's Waldo' object detection tasks."

The task list also includes "Name that Thing" (object recognition), "Trace This" (image segmentation) and "Hot or Not" (choosing visually pleasing images).

"Our research on the personal shopper for the visually impaired -- called Grozi -- is a big motivation for this project. When we started the Grozi project, one of the students, Michele Merler -- who is now working on a Ph.D. at Columbia University -- captured 45 minutes of video footage from the campus grocery store and then endured weeks of manually intensive labor, drawing bounding boxes and identifying the 120 products we focused on. This is work the soylent grid could do," said Belongie.

From the back end, researchers and others who need images labeled would interact with clients (like a blog hosting company) that need to take advantage of the CAPTCHA and spam filtering capabilities of the grid.

"Getting this done is going to take an innovative collaboration between academia and industry. Calit2 could be uniquely instrumental in this project," said Belongie. "Right now we are working on a proposal that will outline exactly what we need -- access to X number of CAPTCHA requests in one week, for example. With this, we'll do a case study and demonstrate just how much data can be labeled with 99 percent reliability through the soylent grid. I'm hoping for people to say, 'Wow, I didn't know that kind of computation was available.'"

This work incorporates recent work from a variety of researchers, including computer scientist Luis von Ahn from Carnegie Mellon University. His reCAPTCHA project uses CAPTCHAs to digitize books.

Soylent Grid?

The researchers call their system a "Soylent grid" and titled their paper "Soylent Grid: it's Made of People! Both the grid name and paper name are references to the 1973 cult classic film Soylent Green, a dystopian science fiction film set in an overpopulated world in which the masses are reduced to eating different varieties of "soylent" -- a synthetic food that suggests both soybeans and lentils. The line from the movie that inspired the title of this paper comes is delivered when someone discovers that soylent green is actually made of cadavers from a government sponsored euthanasia program -- prompting the phrase "Soylent green, it's made of people!" The computer scientists are playing off this famous phrase with their title: "Soylent Grid: it's Made of People!" The idea being that people from all over the world need to jump through anti-spam hoops such as CAPTCHAs, and the power of these people can be harnessed through a grid structure to do some good in the world.

Article: "Soylent Grid: it's Made of People!" by Stephan Steinbach, Vincent Rabaud and Serge Belongie 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Computer Security Can Double As Help For The Blind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015093548.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2007, October 16). Computer Security Can Double As Help For The Blind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015093548.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Computer Security Can Double As Help For The Blind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015093548.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inflation remains well under control according to the latest consumer price index, giving the Federal Reserve more room to keep interest rates low for awhile. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins