Occipital solves another hard image processing problem on the iPhone

Occipital, a Techstars 2008 company based in Boulder, has released the first accurate UPC/EAN scanning application for the iPhone, called RedLaser. Users can snap a picture of a barcode and search for online product prices. They can also email a list of scanned products to review later or share with others. It’s available on the App Store for $1.99.

What’s interesting is the hard image processing problem they had to solve to make it work. The current iPhones lack autofocus, causing images of barcodes to be extremely blurry and tough even for humans to read.

In RedLaser, the blurry barcodes are sent to Occipital’s servers to be analyzed, and the system mathematically compensates for the out-of-focus images. Occipital will be able to improve the accuracy of the system over time as they get more data.

Occipital is also releasing an SDK for their scanning technology, allowing iPhone developers to integrate it into their applications. Cor.kz, the leading iPhone wine application, will be integrating RedLaser technology to allow their users to easily search over 600,000 wines.

This isn’t the first time they’ve pulled off some cool image processing. I previously posted when they showed off this demo at CEA’s iStage competition. iSmashPhone covers RedLaser with screenshots and more. RockyRadar has a good writeup with some additional information as well.

file under: Blog