updated 12:05 am EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
Uses Mechanical Turk crowd-sourced descriptions
Inventor Matt Richardson has developed a camera that, in conjunction with the workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk service, textually describes the subject and composition of a picture sent to the project and returns the description to the user. The results generally take between three and six minutes, are printed on thermal paper, and cost about $1.25 per image for the labor involved in the descriptions.
The camera is manufactured from the TI BeagleBone embedded Linux board. A USB Webcam, Adafruit thermal printer, status LEDs and a shutter button are attached to the main board. Python scripting define the LED response and integrate the input and output. A wired ethernet connection provides internet connectivity. The developer is interested in developing a battery-powered Wi-Fi model of the camera with a more typical digital camera look and feel.
Amazon's Mechanical Turk allows a developer to submit human intelligence tasks (HITs) for workers on the internet to complete. The developer sets the parameters, rules, response syntax, and price they are willing to pay for each task they submit. A feedback and reputation system ensures that the HIT workers are motivated to produce quality results.
The camera was designed for New York University's Interactive Telecommunications program and will likely be shown in the ITP Spring Show, a two-day exhibit of recent works by the program. There are no announced plans to develop the camera into a commercial product.