WO2002015120A1 - Method and device for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image - Google Patents

Method and device for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2002015120A1
WO2002015120A1 PCT/DE2001/003059 DE0103059W WO0215120A1 WO 2002015120 A1 WO2002015120 A1 WO 2002015120A1 DE 0103059 W DE0103059 W DE 0103059W WO 0215120 A1 WO0215120 A1 WO 0215120A1
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WO
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Prior art keywords
server
characterized
device
decoding
information
Prior art date
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PCT/DE2001/003059
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Frank Müller
Jörg Küchen
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Gavitec Ag
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/45Management operations performed by the client for facilitating the reception of or the interaction with the content or administrating data related to the end-user or to the client device itself, e.g. learning user preferences for recommending movies, resolving scheduling conflicts
    • H04N21/462Content or additional data management, e.g. creating a master electronic program guide from data received from the Internet and a Head-end, controlling the complexity of a video stream by scaling the resolution or bit-rate based on the client capabilities
    • H04N21/4622Retrieving content or additional data from different sources, e.g. from a broadcast channel and the Internet
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/10Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by electromagnetic radiation, e.g. optical sensing; by corpuscular radiation
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/10Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by electromagnetic radiation, e.g. optical sensing; by corpuscular radiation
    • G06K7/10544Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by electromagnetic radiation, e.g. optical sensing; by corpuscular radiation by scanning of the records by radiation in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum
    • G06K7/10821Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by electromagnetic radiation, e.g. optical sensing; by corpuscular radiation by scanning of the records by radiation in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum further details of bar or optical code scanning devices
    • G06K7/1093Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by electromagnetic radiation, e.g. optical sensing; by corpuscular radiation by scanning of the records by radiation in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum further details of bar or optical code scanning devices sensing, after transfer of the image of the data-field to an intermediate store, e.g. storage with cathode ray tube
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/478Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application
    • H04N21/4782Web browsing, e.g. WebTV

Abstract

The invention relates to a method and a device for extracting information-bearing features. To this end, the information-bearing feature, which is recorded by an electronic camera, is extracted by means of a decoding device of a server, especially a service server or a decoding server.

Description

Method and apparatus for extracting information-bearing features from a digital

image

The invention relates to a method and apparatus for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image.

With the commercialization of the Internet in the mid 90's has years the importance of network services, in particular increased rapidly of Internet services. The ordering of goods and services, the retrieval of information, bill payment and the execution of banking transactions via the Internet is commonplace today.

To qualify for an Internet service makes sense to complete, the user has a Internet-enabled device must have, which usually also has an input unit and a display unit. The input unit is used to enter data required for execution of a service. The input unit usually consists of a keyboard and / or a computer mouse.

The display unit is typically implemented as a computer screen on which, among other things, a browser window is visible.

By entering or selecting a website through the input unit an Internet connection to a remote server is established, which in turn sends the contents of a web page to the terminal. The display unit of the terminal then displays the content of the web page in the browser window.

Such side contains informative on the one hand of play, but on the other hand controls that can be operated by the user via the input unit. These controls can be configured for example as menus, text fields or hyperlinks. The advantage of selection menus and hyperlinks opposite text boxes is that they allow control of the service by a pointing device, especially a mouse. This is much easier and less error-prone than typing on a keyboard. Text fields are at least required if the number of possible entries is very large. This is in particular for services, the case in which a database query is started by entering a key word. A typical example in which the entry takes place in text fields, are search engines, is by what you search eg for addresses of Web pages that contain this keyword.

The disadvantage of text boxes is the need of keystrokes that demand the user more effort than, say, "point and click" with a mouse. Especially in mobile Internet-enabled devices in which the alphanumeric keypad is multiple functions (eg WAP phones), the input can be so cumbersome alphanumeric characters that the user DES dispense with the use of an otherwise interesting for him because of service.

In many cases, the user is a string entered in writing before. This can be for example the item number of a device about which the user desires information. but it can also strings with respect to a personal customer number from a mail or utilities (electricity, water, telephone). However, it may also be the name of a company or its Internet address. The user must enter from the keyboard, in order to claim his desired service in such cases, the appropriate string.

To bypass entering particular strings, are those strings, as well as beyond this information more often encoded in so-called bar codes, such as bar codes. Such codes are usually Sen eingele- with a special code reader, so that the emgelesene code can be decoded by a decoder of the code reading device and in this case the information is contained in the code for further application. However, having known code readers especially for a private user, the crucial disadvantage that they are very expensive and are therefore often used only for commercial purposes. Moreover, known code readers are to be used precisely because of their direct interpretation for only one purpose, namely for reading codes. All this provides, among other things is a major reason that coded information and related services of a private users are not at all or only very limited use.

The invention is based on the object to provide a method and apparatus, the or without a specially constructed Einrich- processing uses the information of a digital image and facilitates the entry of information in computer networks. As a solution, present invention proposes a method for extracting of information bearing features from a digital image, wherein the information-bearing features of the digital image are extracted by means of a decoding device of a server, in particular by means of a service server or a decoding server.

At an information carrying feature is to be understood according to the invention any of the markers, for example, on a package of a product, which is suitable to include information in a coded form. For this particular optical codes, such as bar codes, two dimensional codes, three-dimensional codes, color codes, matrix codes, human readable markings, OCR fonts and the like are suitable.

Generally it can be said that the part of a digital image which is extracted, typically contains relevant information for the user and / or for a smooth operation of a selected by a user application related information. An information-carrying features can here, for example to conclusions about the current drawn by recorder scene. For example, information-carrying characteristics are also; an existence and / or development of certain structures, the existence and / or the number and / or size of certain substances in a scene objects. Further, such an information carrying feature also from the decoded data of an optical codes consist, which preferably has been applied to an article or a document, said digital image at least partially contains an image of the object or of the document on which mounted the optical code is.

In order to have such information-carrying features, for example, in a usable for a data processing system form, is the information-carrying feature, as previously mentioned briefly, for example, a part of a recorded with a compatible device, digital image. It is understood that the digital image can be present not only as a frame in this case, but rather as a digital image sequence. A digital image sequence is obviously nothing more than a plurality of juxtaposed individual digital images which are seen for example in rapid succession. For example, the digital image sequence here is a video film.

The digital image is, for example, a two-dimensional image of a two-dimensional as well as a three-dimensional scene. A two-dimensional scene is for example a document that is an image of a microfilm, a document scanner, an X-ray image, a fax, or the like. A three-dimensional scene is here, for example a three-dimensional code that was stamped for example in a product.

It goes without saying that parts of digital images can be understood by the term "digital images" parts of digital images can individual areas -. Cropping -. Be, one image section in particular may well be at individual points ig but parts of digital images can also consist of any otherwise be characterized subset of image data.

Advantageously, it is no longer necessary in the inventive extraction processes that the object has to be decoded to be extracted or a special marker. This applies in particular to optical codes, a mark is arranged in the feed environment often used to facilitate, for example, locating an optical code on a surface.

Renouncing a marking is particularly advantageous if the inventive method is to be applied, for example, in an authorization by a fingerprint in an automatic face recognition or iris recognition. Also, in an automatic component recognition or an automatic size detection, this is advantageous.

The information-bearing characteristics of a digital image to extract needed a decoder. Such decoders take for example, before calculations that are necessary for example to decode a barcode. Usually the decoder is embodied here in a special hardware, which each have different information-carrying features need a special decoder. For example, a decoder that is specialized to decode bar codes a determined symbology not simultaneously able, identifying features of fingerprints to extract. If a user of a case before it digital image extract in an automated way, information relevant to him, he needs to a specially constructed for this decoder. Since such decoding means is adapted to predominantly only one type of information-bearing features, it is correspondingly expensive.

The decoding device extracts this example, information from the digital image and / or from a digital image sequence and provides the extracted information, for example in the form of metadata that describes certain characteristics of the image data, is available. "Extract" the term describes not only a "peeling out", arranged in a scene of a digital image information, but preferably also an associated decoding the information-carrying feature.

The term "decoding Server" refers to a server which preferably has at least one decoding means. The decoding servers can be operated in this case independent of the service servers and / or independent of an application. For example, the services (feature extraction) are bundled a decoding server or occasionally settled. In this way, for example, operators of decoding servers have the ability to decode yielded benefits to settle individually.

It is also possible that a competition between individual operators of decoding servers created and the service server or the application decides which decoding server is to be used.

As already briefly mentioned, many industrially manufactured goods, including products of everyday life as well as their packaging, not only with lyrics in plain text, but include the effect also with machine-readable optical codes, in particular bar codes, be provided. In conjunction with special equipment to decode this code (hereinafter called Readers) the so-labeled goods can be automatically identified. To ensure the unique identification, internationally standardized bar codes in commercial trade (EAN, January, UPC) are used. These barcodes were originally developed to automate Sieren in supermarkets the flow of goods and to simplify the handling of the funds. Since codes of the EAN / UPC family (the so-called EAN number) is printed in plain text under the actual bar code and the content of the bar code, this number can be read without a special reader and are entered via a keyboard.

The disadvantage of using such services that the EAN code must be manually entered via a text box. Since EAN numbers represent bad-to-remember sequences of numbers that have no meaning for a human user, is entering the EAN number for the user significantly more annoying than, say, the entry of a same length natural language word. For the same reason, the input of an EAN-number also prone to errors (eg Zahlendreher), as the input of a natural language word. There are a number of Einlesegeräten that have a similar structure to the readers, which are used in supermarket checkouts. Since this bar code reader only provide a little added value for the user of the terminal, reading devices for this purpose are actually only much simpler constructed and correspondingly inexpensive offered and used. Usually, these readers are executed in stick form. These are performed by the user in one smooth motion over the barcode, so that a reading is obtained. But the handling of these wands requires some exercise. In particular, when the pin is rarely used, the exercise is missing and there are often several reading tests needed to achieve a satisfactory reading.

With the inventive method will be opened one example of a network service inte- ressierenden user the ability to use a network service by extracting information-carrying characteristics of a digital image and receive the extracted information corresponding services.

To prevent people to report, for example, do not belong to them documents, identity documents are often provided with passport photographs of their owners. In the example, but the passport photo is replaced with another image of the passport photograph protection can be easily bypassed in terms of misuse. Forgery in respect of such identity documents are often difficult to detect. For example, but can increase the likelihood of detection of such counterfeits in that the issuing authority extracts certain features of the passport photo, this in an optical code (eg. As a data matrix code) and converts these imprints optical code on the identification document. Such identification documents can be checked with the inventive process easy for their authenticity. For this, a digital image of the identification document, for example, added by a user of the extraction process and sent to a service server. The service server extracts, for example by means of a first decoding server, the relevant characteristics of the captured image and pass decoded, for example by means of a second decoding server that printed on the ID data matrix code. Preferably, the service server checks here whether the features provided by the different decoding servers match. If they match, the passport photo most likely was not subsequently replaced. If they are different, the probability that the passport photo has been replaced very high and there is therefore a forgery of identity document before.

The extraction process according to the invention can for example also at a recognition and identification of objects, are used to advantage. For example, use extraction method of the invention to an auto repair shop to simplify an order of spare parts. For this purpose, a workshop employee holding the defective portion of the original front of a camera, which receives from the original part of a digital image and, for example, transmits it to a service server, which then preferably coordinates the spare part order. The service server in turn queries via one or more decoding server identifying features of the digital image. Ideally, the component is here clearly identified, and then the service server to the user of the extraction process according to the invention communicates important information about this component. This may, for example data on the price and / or the delivery time.

The service server can also provide the user directly an order form, which is already filled largely so that the order can be placed easily.

Is the component of the service server is not directly clear to identify the service server may provide the user with sufficient information about the component further selection questions with the objective of uniquely identifying the component. May be sufficient information about the Year or the engine variant of the vehicle from already to provide the unique identification secure. The user can then manually enter into the system this retrieved data, for example. But it can also the motor vehicle permit, or other document identifying the vehicle stop in front of a digital camera, and thus allow the service server to procure the needed information, among others, using a decoding server itself. By the foregoing described object identification search, for example, significantly simplifies spare parts catalogs and simultaneously reducing the likelihood of field orders for specific entries.

It is particularly advantageous here is that the users with devices that were originally only for image acquisition and, if intended for image storage, Extract now information-carrying characteristics of a digital image decoding and may take network-wide services easier to complete, without this, a further investment with respect to special readers needed by the user.

The extraction process of the invention not only simplifies the entry of data on the use of network services, but also the input of data, for example, be simplified for use of local applications. For example, one can arrange for a word processing program to be printed an optical code in the footer of the document, which receives, for example, the location of the document and any additional information about the document. now have a document that is to be further processed, but whose name and / or its location is not known or not, a digital image can be generated by the document. For this purpose, a user takes the document for example, only in front of a camera to be placed so that is read by the inventive extraction method, the optical code of the document and decoded by a corresponding decoder. Here, the location of the file is known, for example, so the document can be opened for further processing with a matching program.

For example, it is also possible to provide business cards with optical codes in which at least a part of the present on the card in the plaintext information is coded. Is kept the business card, for example, with the optical code contained in it before a PC camera, preferably a program is started for address management, whereby the program that receives the data contained in the code. So a form for entering new contacts can be opened, for example, the fields are filled, for example partly or completely with the data of the business card.

With the inventive extraction method, for example, already en masse into private households located electronic cameras that still had neither the time of manufacture at the time of purchase, the ability to extract information-carrying features and which are not prepared by the manufacturer for such skills, so used that an extraction of information-bearing features of a digital image is made possible. This allows the application of such cameras is greatly expanded and the benefits of such cameras increased.

As described in the previous usage samples, according to a preferred variant of the method that the digital image of an electronic camera is recorded.

By means of this electronic camera is a real scene is converted into a digital image. This digital image can include this as an information-bearing characteristic example, an optical code, for example, in turn, contains relevant information for the use of a network service.

By recording the digital image by means of an electronic camera arise in particular for a private user versatile applications. Since in particular electronic cameras or general consumer devices that are able to receive digital images, nowadays mass products already are, they already inexpensive to produce and deliver. For example, among the digital consumer devices electronic cameras, video cameras, PC cameras, document scanners and fax machines.

By the inventive extraction method, the possible application, for example, a digital camera expands in such a way that almost any user an automatic traction Merkmalsex- is available and thus this group of persons, a plurality of Internet services is made more easily accessible. In particular, this therefore results that it is unnecessary to acquire a corresponding decoding means for different information-bearing characteristics of a digital image, respectively, which can then for example be applied only occasionally.

Here also, it does not matter if the electronic camera is only able to take up only the image and has no corresponding decoder. The decoder is in this case spatially separated from the receiving unit. Thus, so the receiving unit and the electronic camera is where the information-carrying feature is located. The decoder is but "somewhere".

This has the advantage that other readers are superfluous and thus additional cost ten be avoided for a special reader. Rather, all kinds of information-bearing features can be read using a standard electronic camera. Especially advantageous is that the cameras do not even have to be expensively retrofitted, but they can be used as part of their original function.

Here, the camera sends example, the information carrying feature-containing digital picture and the information carrying feature-containing section of the digital image over a network to a server where the information carrying feature can be extracted using a decoder and decoded.

Advantageously, information contained in these characteristics that lead to hyperlink the manufacturer of the product, to test reports or information about related products. It may be expedient to include the strings generated by the decoding server on a page in a browser window so that the user to control its input is enabled.

Manufacturers of products may in turn provide their products or their packaging, or their instructions additionally or exclusively for example, information-bearing features, which include information about an Internet address. The user is, examples play, via the service server directly to a corresponding website of the manufacturer, or a designated Vertriebs with the support company headed. So the user who reads from a container or the like, for example, an older code can be routed via corresponding links to the updated web pages, even though the code only contains data for an older website.

Furthermore, services are conceivable in which the user can identify by means of a printed code. So an invoice can eg contain a code that uniquely identifies next to an Internet address and the invoice. The customer can easily pay the bill in this way "online".

An electronic camera has the further advantage that it can be positioned relatively easily against a informationstra- constricting feature provided with a plain text document or another with a code or plain text provided object. The positioning is very simple achieved by the user "targets" for example, with the camera on the object. Thus, the reading of any information bearing feature not present any problems. Alternatively, the user as well as the object can hold before the camera.

It is particularly advantageous that the electronic camera is able to take other symbologies as EAN or UPC barcodes. Thus, for example, complete Internet addresses in the form of URLs (eg http://www.gavitec.com) as a bar code or two-dimensional code (eg Data Matrix) is applied to products, brochures, posters or other printed material and used for easy navigation on the Internet become.

Another great advantage is the one that with the example above listed digital devices and information-bearing characteristics can be read or recorded, the symbologies are not yet developed. Thus, the user can be sure that once attached schafftes device is suitable for example, for reading a new generation of optical codes.

On the other hand, a service provider who wants to use other than those established at this time symbologies, be sure that enough potential users to take its service to complete because the devices already on the market before the introduction of appropriate codes in the are able to read new symbologies or take.

it is (. advantageous that the electronic camera receives a corresponding decoding device by one of a server, in particular from a service server controlled download and thus temporarily extraction capable. In order especially to users who want to extract a variety of different information-bearing features that open possibility for extracting information-carrying characteristics of a digital image, it is particularly advantageous if a corresponding decoder is provided as "download" is available. This can beispiels- example take place in that one connected to the electronic camera service server checks whether the camera already contains a suitable for the respective information-bearing characteristic decoding means.

For example, if earlier a corresponding decoder has been loaded from a server, the electronic camera is also able to extract the information-carrying characteristic. If the server does in the review found that no corresponding decoding device is present, the electronic camera is provided a corresponding copy of a decoding device via a network.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if handwritten character strings can be recorded with the help of the electronic camera. Thus, the recorded information-carrying feature may be a handwritten character string. For this example, the service server to a corresponding decoder to recognize the handwriting. Thus, a rarely used decoding device from a single user need not be acquired, for example, handwritten strings itself and provided, but the corresponding decoder is preferably used only temporarily in the form of a service.

To accommodate texts in plain text and process, it is advantageous if the electronic camera can also record printed strings and, for example, the service server has a decoding device for recognizing these plain text and the user preferably provides temporary disposal.

It is also possible that the information carrying feature is not extracted directly from a service server and used, but the information carrying feature is first extracted from or using another instance, thereby, for example, to obtain a string of as an instruction for the use of network service can be used.

Advantageously, the service server doing a logical connection to a second server, in particular a decoding server on, so that the decoding server can provide a corresponding de decoding means available to the service server. For example, the digital image is fed at the input of the decoder, which has been recorded with the electronic camera. If this includes an information-bearing characteristic of a decoder supporting symbology decoding unit can extract this information-carrying characteristic. That is, after a certain time at the output of the deco decoding means to the extracted information carrying feature which includes, for example, information in the form of a string.

The service server can send the image to the decoding server and from the information-carrying characteristic recover (a string). It is also possible that the service server downloads the decoding means of decoding the server and then carries out the extraction of the information carrying feature itself.

It is also possible that the decoding means is on a terminal, for example, the electronic camera, executes. In this case, the service server determines when the connection to the terminal or at a later time whether a hardware located on the device on which the right to the service decoding unit is executable. If so, the service server calls deliver the right decoding unit on the decoding server and sends them to the terminal (upload). This allows the terminal itself is ultimately code readers capable. but the service server can even before such contact with the terminal contact and clarified by data sharing, is whether the terminal already has such an applet. the upload then makes depends on the answer to this "question".

Thus, the read-information-bearing features with the encrypted information can also be processed further useful, they must first be extracted and decrypted. This requires a decoder, which can be configured in either hardware or software.

If the decoder implemented in hardware, they can be executed on the decoding server. If the decoder implemented in software, it can be designed so that they can be executed on the decoding server.

but the software can also be configured such that it can be run on other platforms (called applets). In particular, it may be designed such that it can be run on the service server or the camera containing input device. Advantageously, an input device, by a server, in particular by a decoding server, decoding means are provided. Also in this case the corresponding server can check whether the input device is suitable for the flow of a decoding means. If so, could be checked if the input device is already a corresponding decoder available and if this is not the case, the corresponding server of the input device by downloading the decoder available.

Due to the fact that an input device or a terminal device, a decoding server, a service server or any other server is able to extract an information carrying feature is a complete and rounded system offered to the client, a corresponding network service in Claim to qualify.

A variant of the method provides that the service server according to an input of data provides a corresponding service and controls. Advantage here is that a user with a network service a service is provided on a particularly simple manner is.

It is also possible that the decoding server specialize in different tasks. For example, it can give decoding servers that are dedicated to the decoding of EAN bar codes, others can for example decode Data Matrix codes can being again read other decoding server plain text or handwriting or decode.

A preferred variant of the method provides that the service server controls at least a decoding server. wherein the controlling in this Ansprachnahme decoder server from a service server, or in particular also in an application example, there are several specialized decoding server.

For example, there can be decoding server that solve at least part of the feature extraction task. Such decoding server could, for example, detect whether a digital image a barcode, a data matrix code, or both. This information is in this case preferably sent to the service server, which in turn selects the appropriate decoding or the server, which then perform, for example, a bar code decoding or a Data Matrix decoding.

For example, a specialized to a Data Matrix decoding decoding server can take another decoding Server in claim, which first determines the existence and location of a Datamatix- codes in the digital image. The basis of the invention is solved by a device for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image, said apparatus comprising an electronic camera and a decoding device, and a network is disposed between the electronic camera and the decoding means.

To contain data, especially data that is information-bearing features to transfer quickly and cheaply over long distances, the Internet is here used as a network preferably. Another advantage arises from the fact that the Internet is available at any time day or night and can be accessed at almost any point of the earth on the desired data. While providing cost-effective use of the Internet and worldwide same standard of Übertragungsprotokol- len another advantage.

It is particularly advantageous that for holding the optical code an ordinary consumer camera can be used is. Since these cameras are designed as a mass product, they are available in almost all price categories. Thus, these devices are not a luxury. It is known that these consumer cameras in their original factory condition no means by which can be extracted a captured information-bearing characteristic of a digital image and decode. It is astounding that these cameras can now be used to provide a network service available to a user.

To be able to read not only different information-carrying characteristics using an electronic camera and feed this data into a network, but also to get the information associated with the extra--extracted information-bearing characteristics, it is advantageous if the electronic camera in a is disposed terminal which includes a network-enabled display unit. This is then preferably configured as a browser window.

Most electronic cameras are (a so-called area sensor) equipped with a two-dimensional optical semiconductor sensor shown in CCD or CMOS technology. The sensor is divided into light-sensitive cells (pixels) and generates a discrete electrical signal which corresponds to the impinging on the individual pixel light quantity.

Furthermore, electronic cameras include one or more lenses, which projects an image of the scene, which is located in the camera field of view on the sensor. The sensor is then read by a likewise in the camera electronics, after which produces a digital image in the camera, which shows a true image of the "seen" by the camera scene. It is advantageous that the electronic cameras are configured can these are, for example, cameras such as digital cameras, video cameras, Internet cameras or cameras that are part of a PC or a mobile phone and an electronic Terminkalen- are DERS to digitally process it without data and transfer this data via a corresponding interface.. All these devices are excellent in the inventive process used to be.

To accommodate the different information-bearing features, such as for example, color codes, the electronic camera preferably comprises a color light-sensitive area sensor for image pickup. but a color light-sensitive area sensor is also advantageous when taking black / white code, because the color light-sensitive area sensor is able to distinguish between a black / white area and a colored area. This allows a black / white code are much simpler detected by the inventive device in a colored area. This makes among other things, a reading of a black / white information-carrying feature much safer.

Further, the electronic camera may comprise means for image transfer, so that the captured images or sections of the captured images that contain the information-carrying characteristic, online over the network, particularly the Internet, are advantageously transmitted to a corresponding server.

If the online feature is not readily available, it is advantageous if the electronic see camera comprises a device for image storage. The camera is then connected at a later time via an interface with a web-enabled device, and the contents of the image memory, or at least a part of it is transmitted over the Internet, for example, to the service server.

This is especially advantageous in digital cameras because they have the possibility of image storage as well as an interface for transmitting data and a trigger. If the camera has a strobe light, this can be, for example, advantageously used as a lighting of the information-carrying characteristic, so that even under unfavorable lighting conditions sufficient illumination is available.

As another embodiment of the electronic camera, a video camera can be used, if this video camera itself is Internet-enabled, or if it contains an interface that allows an image transmission to a web-enabled device. The pictures contained the information-carrying feature, captured are then transferred to the same or at a later date, for example, to an Internet-enabled PC. an Internet service can then for example be availed from the PC.

Some Internet cameras can be separated from a PC, how to use a camera. They include a separate power supply and can therefore be used at any location. They also incorporate an image memory and a trigger. Is a corresponding image captured and stored in an image memory, the camera can be connected at a later time with a web-enabled device, and the images or sections of the images contained in the image memory is transmitted to this device. The transmission can also take place by wire or wirelessly via a radio interface or an infrared interface.

In the case that the apparatus or the electronic camera does not have a suitable memory, on which the software can be stored for extracting and / or is not a processor for extracting available, it is advantageous if the decoder on a server is, in particular arranged on a service server. If the extraction of information-bearing features is performed on the remote server computer, the captured image or at least one image section, which contains the information carrying feature, over the network to the server computer the information carrying feature containing is transmitted, which then performs the extraction. Here, a simpler and cheaper network access device can be used also instead of a computer.

For example, to an information carrying feature which is in the form of a manuscript extract, it is advantageous if the server includes means for recognizing a handwriting.

For example, to an information carrying feature which is present in the form of a plain text extract, it is advantageous if the server includes a means for detecting a plain text.

In order to use, for example, conventional digital recording devices, which do not have decoding means within the meaning of the invention, it is advantageous if the server includes a device for the extraction of information-bearing features from a digital image. Finally, it is suggested that the extraction device comprises means in said at least one decoding device can be temporarily stored. This is particularly advantageous when the device according to the invention or the electronic camera to be made capable of extraction per se. As a device on which the decoding means can be deposited, for example an image memory of the electronic camera or an interchangeable memory chip of an electronic camera can be used. Preferably, there is the means for storing the decoding means on the area sensor of the electronic camera as an area sensor, in particular an electronic camera, is excellent for recording of such a device.

Further advantages, objects and features of the present invention are illustrated by reference to the following explanation of the attached drawing, in which is shown by way of example an apparatus for inputting data in computer networks.

It turns

the figure is a device for inputting data in computer networks with an electronic view camera, a decoding server, a service server and, arranged between the e- lektronischen camera and the service server network.

The device 1 consists of an electronic camera 2, a network 3, a service server 4 and a decoding server 5 with a decoding device 6. In the embodiment shown the electronic camera 2 is a network-capable camera, which directly via an appropriate interface 7 with is connected to the network. 3 The camera 2 includes an optical system 8, on which an optical code can be photographed as a real image 9. To the camera 2, a positioning guide 10 is disposed, with the aid of the camera 2 can be positioned easily and accurately in front of the code. 9 The camera 2 also includes a color light-sensitive area sensor 11, with which the real image is recorded. Furthermore, a Bildverar- is arranged beitungseinheit 12, in which the real image is converted into a digital image in the camera. 2 The recorded data are transmitted via the interface 7 in the network. 3

further, there is a flash device 14, which can be used to illuminate the code optimal at the time of recording to the camera. 2

It goes without saying that a variety of suitable cameras are to get on the market today. These can also be used as a recording unit in the inventive sense. Examples are given a video camera, a digital camera, an Internet camera, an electronic diary and a mobile phone.

In order to use a video camera as a link in the inventive apparatus, this video camera only has to include an interface that allows an image or transmission to a internetfä- ELIGIBLE device such as a PC to be directly network-capable.

Another way to take a real picture for your so-called digital camera. In this variant provides a spatial separation between the digital camera and a web-enabled device is not a major problem. Because digital cameras have an image memory, the scene or shot by the camera of the received code can be stored in digital form. Here, the camera can then be connected at a later time via an interface with a mternetfähigen device so that the content of the image memory via the network is transmitted to a service server in particular the Internet.

Another network-enabled device may consist of a web camera, a home computer or from an internet camera and a console Internet.

An internet camera is generally composed of an image pickup part and a processing unit. The processing unit accepts log and transfer functions by means of an outwardly guided interface (eg, parallel interface, USB). The interface can also be performed wirelessly, such as a radio interface or an infrared interface. Through this interface, the Internet camera is connected to an Internet-enabled device.

Some IP cameras can also be disconnected from the PC used as a camera. They include a separate power supply and can therefore be used at any location. They also can store a scene in an image memory similar to a digital camera by pressing a trigger. At a later time the camera is then connected to an Internet-enabled device, so advertising transferred to this device, the images contained in the image memory to. The transfer of the stored data can thereby also be wired or wirelessly via a radio interface or an infrared interface.

Also, electronic diary, which are equipped with a camera and a mobile radio unit can be used as a network-capable device in accordance with the invention. Mobile phones are also suitable as a terminal. Mobile phones offer the one hand the possibility to connect to the Internet, on the other hand, mobile phones will be equipped with a camera in the future, so that they can be equipped to use as a network-enabled device. Especially with phones based on the new mobile radio standard UMTS, this will be the case because this new standard offers higher data transfer rates. This also multimedia applications are supported.

The devices exemplified above can all be used to position an optical code relative to a camera so that it becomes possible to receive the optical code by the camera. Thus the basis is created to be able to read contained in the code strings in a simple way, without having to type the string error-prone than a keyboard.

The network 3 provides in this case prepared in the inventive manner, the connection between the electronic camera 2 and the service server 4 and the server decoding. 5 Preferably, the Internet is here meant as a network. 3

However, it can also be used any other network which appears to be suitable to support the inventive method and the inventive device is sufficient.

An essential component of the inventive device 1, the service server 4. In the service server 4, the special network services are arranged. Thus, the user of the terminal 2 can be used in built-up connection between this terminal 2 and the service server 4, a service offered by the service server. 4 also connected to the service server 4 of the server 5 is decoding.

It goes without saying that the service server 4 and the decoding server 5 and the network-compatible terminal 2 with any number and other servers can be connected.

As the name clarifying located on the decode server 5 a decoding device 6. This allows the extraction and decoding of a certain symbology zugehöri- gene codes 9. In the decoder 6, a read by the user code 9 is decoded such that at the output the decoding device 6, an information is present, with which a corresponding network service can offer the user on a display like the output device information.

Thus, a device is used in such a manner by the inventive thought and by the inventive action, for the function of which was never intended. The user can with devices that would take to the Page Up and image transfer are provided various optical read codes, and thereby take appropriate network services.

Claims

claims:
1. A method for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image, characterized in that the information-bearing features of the digital image are extracted by means of a decoding means (6) of a server (4, 5), in particular by means of a service server (4) or a decoding server ( 5).
2. Extraction method according to claim 1, characterized in that the digital image by an electronic camera (2) is received.
3. Extraction method according to claim 2, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) by one of a server, in particular by a service server (4), controlled Download receives a corresponding decoding means (6) and thus temporarily extraction capable.
4. Extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that an information carrying feature of the digital image, at least one handwritten character string.
5. Extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that an information carrying feature of the digital image is printed at least one string.
6. Extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that by a decoding server (5) to a service server (4), a corresponding decoding means (6) is provided.
7. extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, characterized in that a decoding device (6) is provided by a server, in particular by a decoding server (5), an input device (2).
8. Extraction process according to any one of claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the information-bearing features from the digital image by a decoding means (6) of a decoding server (5), a service server (4), a terminal or another server can be extracted.
9. extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 8, characterized in that the service server (4) after an input of data provides a corresponding service and controls.
10. Extraction method according to any one of claims 1 to 9, characterized in that the service server (4) at least one decoding server (5) controls.
11. Device (1) for extracting of information bearing features from a digital image, characterized in that the device (1) comprises an electronic camera (2) and decoding means (6), and between the electronic camera (2) and the decoding means (6) a network (3) is arranged.
12. Extraction device (1) according to claim 11, characterized in that the network (3) is the Internet.
13. Extraction device (1) according to any one of claims 11 or 12, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) does not include a decoding means in the manufacturer-side delivery condition.
14. Extraction device (1) according to any one of claims 11 to 13, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) is arranged in a terminal which includes a network-enabled display unit.
15. Extraction device (1) 11 to 14, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) a color light-sensitive area sensor (11) micrograph for image comprises any one of claims.
16. Extraction device (1) according to one of claims 11 to 15, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) comprises a device for image transfer.
17. Extraction device (1) according to one of claims 11 to 16, characterized in that the electronic camera (2) comprises a device for image storage.
18. Extraction device (1) according to any one of claims 11 to 17, characterized in that the decoding means (6) on a server (4, 5), in particular on a service server (4) is arranged.
19. Extraction device (1) according to claim 18, characterized in that the server (4, 5) comprises means for recognizing a handwriting.
20. Extraction device (1) according to any one of claims 18 or 19, characterized in that the server (4, 5) comprises means for detecting a plain text.
21. Extraction device (1) according to one of claims 18 to 20, characterized in that the server (4, 5) comprises a device for the extraction of information-bearing features from a digital image.
22. Extraction device (1) 11 to 21, characterized in that the extraction device (1) comprises means in said at least one decoding device can be temporarily stored according to one of claims.
PCT/DE2001/003059 2000-08-18 2001-08-17 Method and device for extracting information-bearing features from a digital image WO2002015120A1 (en)

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DE2001193423 DE10193423D2 (en) 2000-08-18 2001-08-17 Method and apparatus for extracting information from a digital image-bearing characteristics

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