Video: NRC demo - Nokia Image Space mobile client

Published by Rafe Blandford at 14:04 UTC, June 18th 2010

As part of Nokia's 'Open for Ideas' event, I had the opportunity to attend the Tampere Innovation Experience @ Demola day, which included a showcase more than 40 research projects that had been guided by open innovation principles. I teamed up with The Really Mobile Project's Ben Smith to shoot three videos of NRC (Nokia Research Centre) demos. The first video covers the Nokia Image Space research, with a demo of the Image Space mobile client on a Nokia N900.

Nokia Image Space

Nokia Image Space is a Nokia Research centre project that is exploring ways in which photos can be shared and viewed by showing them in a 3D visualisation of physical space. It is similar to viewing photos on a 2D map (geo-tagged), but with an extra orientation dimension added so that the view becomes 3D.

There are two key parts to Image Space:

  • Capture - capturing the necessary sensor information so that photos can be viewed in image space. In addition to the common location sensor (GPS), orientation information is collected through the use of compass and accelerometer sensors.
  • Viewing - viewing the photos in a 3D representation of the physical world so that location, orientation and contextual information can be displayed. Although it is possible to view just your own photos, additional value is apparent if you view the photos from many users.

The idea is that viewing photos in this ways provides better contextual information. For example, imagine seeing a collection of photos, captured from 50 different locations, of a building such as the Eiffel Tower. A standard list based album would be relatively uninteresting. However the same photos displayed in their 3D context would allow you to gain a much better appreciation of what you were looking at.

Nokia describes Image Space as follows:

Nokia Image Space is a prototype online community service. It lets you share your experiences, photos and other content about specific places as well as helping you understand their spatial relationships.

You can create content and access it seamlessly via the web or a mobile device. The service is a fusion of sensors and computer vision. It creates an exciting mirror world where users can collaborate in many ways.

The service is already, partially, available via Beta Labs, where there is also a good video that introduces the ideas behind the service.

Video from Tampere Innovation Experience @ Demola - Nokia Image Space mobile client

The current publicly available Image Space service limits the full Image Space viewing experience to a PC. The video below covers this new mobile viewer/client implementation of Nokia Image Space, which looks to replicate the full viewing experience on a mobile device.. 

Severi Uusitalo, from the Tampere Nokia Research Center, walks us through the client and explains how it displays geo-tagged and orientation-tagged images in a 3D representation of the physical world.

Key points:

  • When taking a picture, orientation (compass and accelerometer) information is recorded, in the EXIF data, in addition to location (GPS). Captured photos can be stored locally or uploaded to a service like Flickr. Beta Labs has an daemon for Symbian phones that does add this capture ability for existing phones, but it could easily become a built in feature in the future.
  • This extra information can be used to view photos in a new way - Image Space'. It is best thought of as an additional way of viewing photos that provides an alternative to existing viewing conventions (album and time-based views).
  • Image Space view, which places the photos on a 3D landscape map/visualisation, and allows you to access photos by 'flying' through the landscape. 

  • Photos can either be stored locally or come from a remote source (e.g. Flickr). In the case of Flickr, the mobile client allows you to add and view comments associated with the image. 

  • This can be thought of as the next stage on from geotagging. It allows people to see the context in which a photo was taken. Particularly valuable is being able to see photos in the context of others' photos that might have been taken in the place.  

Here is Nokia's description of the demo:

"Image Space Mobile Client makes geo-tagged photo browsing fun by presenting the photos in your mobile device in a 3D space. If you hook it to your flickr account, it also shows the photos from your friends."

The Really Mobile Project also has a post on this video, which you can view here. Thanks go to Ben Smith for his camera work and video editing skills.

We'll be publishing the second and third videos in due course.

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