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Ian Ozsvald picture

This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, founder of the Annotate.io social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, co-founder of the SocialTies App, author of the A.I.Cookbook, author of The Screencasting Handbook, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and FivePoundApps and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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11 May 2012 - 17:40StrongSteam’s first novel OCR matching API (Python demo)

Here’s a preview of our first novel API in StrongSteam. We’ve been working with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for a while, we set ourselves the task of matching a noisy photograph of some text to a pre-seeded database of entries. If you follow my blog you’ll already have seen our example iPhone app for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London (developed in collaboration with Kasabi):

Now rather than having to re-label 10,000 Latin plant labels with QR codes Kew can now use our matching technology on their existing labels to enrich a visitor’s experience of the gardens (and it turns out that a lot of visitors have iPhones and use Kew’s official app).

With our API we can do the same kind of task with photos of plaques from the London Science Museum where we match against 836 entries scraped from the Science Museum website. In the following video we match against text from the information plaque of Old Bess (née ‘Beelzebub’) in the Energy Hall:

This is just a preview, we’ve sent the Python & cURL API to some of our alpha users and will be inviting more in over the coming month. Here are some more OCR videos and here’s a work-in-progress demo of our image matching (using PhoneGap on an Android):

If you’d like to get access to our RESTful cloud-based computer vision APIs please sign-up on our StrongSteam homepage. Soon we’ll be adding raw OCR (with co-ordinates and font size reports) and image matching (particularly for stuff like brand logos and beer labels).

We’re super-keen to hear about your use cases and needs – please send me an email (ian AT strongsteam.com) and tell me what you need. We used to work on these problems in my consultancy (Mor Consulting), now we’re working to make our IP more available to all.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

1 Comment | Tags: ArtificialIntelligence, Life, Python, StrongSteam

31 March 2012 - 5:17Demos for Botanical Garden Label Matcher from StrongSteam

After a fair bit of graft we’ve finished our first product using StrongSteam – a Latin Botanical Garden label matcher (AKA “OpenPlants”) which runs at Kew Gardens, Wakehurst Place and other botanical gardens in Europe that use the usual black rectangular labels. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then these 30 second demo videos should make it clear:

Update – I totally should have added that we built this app in partnership with Kasabi using their DBPedia dataset.

Update – a screencast showing how the API can match a photo from the London Science Museum‘s energy hall (with ‘Beelzebub’!) to the right web page is available.

 

 

As you can see you photograph the plant label, we use optical character recognition to read what’s on the sign and then we bring back relevant information from wikipedia about the Family and Genus including pictures and links to other resources. We’ll launch this as a free app in a few weeks.

Seeing as StrongSteam is a cloud based API it makes sense to show it being used from another platform. Here’s a screencast showing a webcam on a Linux laptop taking a photograph of a printed plant label using our Python API which is uploaded and recognised, with the results being shown in the local web browser:

We’ll launch the alpha OCR API for developers in April. Add your email to the email list on our homepage to get an announce. Once the iPhone app is available we’ll also announce it here.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, Python, StrongSteam

30 March 2012 - 15:532nd Data/AI Meetup – official SUP event at Santiago’s hackerspace next Wednesday

I’m very chuffed to say that our 2nd AI/Data/API meetup will take place next Wednesday 4th April  7pm at the Santiago MakerSpace at Avenida Italia 850 (map). The HackerSpace is a 15 minute walk south/east from the CMI office, just off of Bilbao.

UPDATE we’re meeting at 7pm (not 7.30pm) and we have an extra speaker – Skype co-founder Ahti Heinla will tell the “Real story behind the Skype success story” in an extra 30 minute slot. Here’s the Meetup announce with full details. Remember to Attend if you’re coming and do UnAttend if you realise you can’t make it later (the numbers are limited).

The event is free (but bring cash for the specialist beer – see end of this post). Our four speakers will talk for 15 minutes each:

  • Ian and Kyran with StrongSteam with live demos of optical character recognition (OCR) and artwork recognition mobile apps (angellist)
  • Tim of BackYardBrains – “Curious about how your brain works? With the help of our friends the humble Amazonian cockroach, we will teach you the electrical properties of neurons.” – will include demos and hardware you can buy (angellist)
  • Ashley of PaperHater will give a live demo of their receipt/paper scanning and OCR application and talk about how they created a spinoff
  • Javier Gramajo of SQMOS will give a live demo of their augmented reality Android app (angellist)

StrongSteam and BackYardBrains are Round 2, PaperHater is in Round 3 and SQMOS are staying in Santiago after Round 1. Stick around after to learn about the hackerspace and drink Ignacio’s specialist beers.

The Maker/Hacker Space is the first in Santiago, here’s some news about their launch and they have a circuit building workshop  on 6-8th April. In this space you will find:

  • 3D printers
  • Robots with legs and robots that fly
  • 8 bit computers
  • Pinball machines
  • Dirty work space (CNC lathe and other construction equipment)
  • Lots of creative equipment that you can use to build electronic, mechanical, art and music things if you choose to become a member

Ignacio Correa of ClubCervezas will bring along specialist Chilean beers (to buy) – he took us on a beer tasting night in Bario Brasil a couple of weeks back and introduced us to a whole range of lovely local beers (300 microbreweries!) that we hadn’t tasted before. Bring some money if you’d like to try unusual and hard-to-find Chilean beers (my pockets will be stuffed with cash).


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ArtificialIntelligence, Life, StartupChile, StrongSteam