Techno Trends

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360-Degree Video & Photos with Smarter Smart Phone

A new product called Surround-See combines an omnidirectional camera lens with an Android app to give smart phones a totally new level of interactivity.

Panoramic cameras (such as Kogeto’s Dot) snap onto a smart phone camera, allowing users to capture 360-degree video and photos. For the most part, the associated apps provide functions for recording, playback and sharing. On the other hand, with the Surround-See app, a phone can be “trained” to recognize its surroundings and monitor activity.

Instead of mounting to the main, rear-facing camera, the panoramic lens is placed on the front, facing the user. If the phone identifies the interior of the user’s car, it can automatically block calls and texts as a safety precaution. If it senses multiple faces, as in a meeting, it can be programmed to send calls to voicemail. And if its owner walks away, leaving it on table, it will alert them. The system can even be taught to recognize gestures, for example, allowing a user to mute their phone with a sweep of the hand.

It’s been speculated that Apple won’t be far behind with a similar feature for the iPhone.

For information: Xing-Dong Yang, University of Alberta, Department of Computing Science, 2-32 Athabasca Hall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E8; phone: 780-492-3980; fax: 780-492-6393; email:; Web site:
Jeff Glasse, Kogeto, Princeton, NJ; Web site:

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