Really, really cool. Not only the idea and the technology, but the cool 1.4 million Pounds Sterling, no less, invested in it.
Researchers in the School of Computing at Dundee are leading the £1.4 million project to develop new systems of image-based retrieval. These are systems which work like a sophisticated visual version of text-based search engines, using pictures instead of words to seek out new images.
The system can draw out comparable images across dozens of factors, providing everything from exact matches to more abstract choices that may provide a creative spark.
Fashion and Apparel Browsing for Inspirational Content (FABRIC) is a three-year £1.4M project funded by the Technology Strategy Board, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR), (formerly the Department of Trade & Industry).
Aimed at the textile industry, the goal of FABRIC is to design new technologies, techniques, and tools to make navigating images more intuitive, allowing user-directed browsing while enhancing creativity, design, product development, and marketing.”
“FABRIC brings together the School of Computing at University of Dundee as project lead; London collaborators Liberty Fabric Ltd , System Simulation Ltd, and the Victoria & Albert Museum; and a University of Dundee spin-out company, Calico Jack Ltd. Together this consortium will develop and evaluate software for both desktop, mobile phones, and handheld computers.”
Stumbling across something like this at the end of the day is like a jolt of strong espresso. I mean, it’s synapse-crackling cool. Really. By starting with textiles (and 1.4 million Pounds Sterling), image-based search might actually have a chance.