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OCR for your mobile phone

Now here’s something that I might have to go out and get right now. It’s OCR for your mobile phone.

OCR, of course, is optical character recognition, a technique used to turn words on paper into words in digital format, for manipulating on computers and such. Well, a company called ABBYY, out of Southern California, has come up with an application that lets you take a picture of a set of text with your mobile phone and convert that picture into digital text.

The demo we have is of someone shooting a business card and then converting that info-in five seconds, no less—into a contacts listing in the phone’s address book.

It’s only a matter of time until the full application of this functionality is realized. We already have OCR scanners and even pens. Soon, we’ll be able to shoot a book, page by page, and read it on our phones or PDAs, or iPods. Lots of squinting, to be sure, but you wouldn’t need to purchase that eReader that you had your eye on, either.

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