With the recent boom in smartphones, people are now able to search the web and find information in a matter of moments. With the creation of their app PicClick, University of Pennsylvania graduate students James Hui and Menglong Zhu are making that search even easier.
PicClick is a text recognition software that allows users to simply snap a photo and click on any text contained within it. The selected text is then run through an algorithm that Hui and Zhu have created and a search result is produced.
The project, which was started in December 2012, differs from competitors such as Google Goggles or Bing in its ability to recognize text regardless of the contrast, rotation or perspective in which it is captured.
“We wanted to create a more robust application,” Hui said. “We feel as though if you can see it you should be able to extract it.”
Zhu also spoke to PicClick’s superiority.
“Other offerings can’t process text that is sideways or skewed,” he added. “But with ours you can do that.”
Hui and Zhu aim to have the PicClick API released by the end of the year and have been working alongside coupon website SnipSnap to hone the algorithm and service as a whole before releasing it as a stand alone app.
They have also drawn interest from local investors such as the Dorm Room Fund and Mentortech Ventures but Hui says the two are not looking for any money at the moment.
“Right now the technology doesn’t need much capital,” Hui said. “We want to be able to carry ourselves for as long as we can.