"Search and Retrieve" Engine on My Shoulder

Votes: 0
Views: 4510

I can see the requirement spec now:

"I want to be able to search through a stack of 'stuff' on my PHYSICAL desktop without having to move papers around. Oh, and it would be nice if I didn't have to type anything, if voice input would work".

Say you have a rolltop desk with lots of pigeon-holes, that you use CONSTANTLY. And they're kinda "full" of 'stuff'. FINDING things becomes an issue.

Use a sensor device which is able to SEE your desktop pigeon holes. Have a microphone tasked with listening to you verbally describe objects (like "water bill", "check from client XYZ", "skate keys", "invitation to the party", etc) while the sensor device TRACKS where you put the item.

When it comes time to retrieve an item, SAY what you're looking for, and your recorded descriptions are searched.
A 'matching tag' is found (kinda like valet parking).
That tag links into the sensor data, and a synthesized-from-fragments voice says "okay, left side of the desk", while the sensor watches your hand, in realtime now, giving you feedback (like "Hot/Cold") as in "up", "up", "no, back", "sideways", "left, not right", "one more", "in there."

Better, of course, would be a sensor-controlled (IR/visible-red combo) laser pointer -- just "throw the beam" out there, let the sensor tell IT sideways, up, down, etc.
In that case, you visibly go right to the known location.

This could absolutely work with a vision-based sensor of some type, embedded in a smart phone, maybe using Siri, eh?

You could use this device with book shelves, closets, file cabinets, garage storage, pantry shelves, refrigerator shelves, tool drawers, toy boxes, warehouses, etc etc etc.

Got it? Run with it.

Of course, to LITERALLY run with it you are talking a wearable computer, which is do-able, but outside the current scope of this application.

And the obligatory caveat: your performance would be limited by the viewing range of the sensor device. But with the right configuration, you could conceivably use this for guided-walk-through museum tours, for example, with a "follow the orange spot on the floor" pointer, some kind of recorded tour track, and a "look at THIS picture" laser pointer. Or for going through the supermarket hitting ONLY the items on your shopping list.

All this, sitting on your shoulder, assisting your efforts to maintain some kind of organization in your life!


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Dan Hunnel
  • Type of entry:
  • Profession:
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Dan's favorite design and analysis tools:
    (In no particular order and with an extensive "etc.")
    Internet, Matlab, AutoCad, SolidWorks, my brain, Excel, LabView, machine vision systems, scripting, etc.
  • Dan's hobbies and activities:
    Tech surfing, Speculative Fiction, metamaterials
  • Dan belongs to these online communities:
    Several, but I work for a living now.
  • Dan is inspired by:
    Inefficient complexity in everyday life! It helps, of course, to have a fairly full "toolbox" of things that COULD be applied as solutions to things encountered. Just have to avoid the "I've got a hammer, let's look for nails" trope.
  • Software used for this entry:
    database, search/compare routines, motion control (steering laser pointer)
  • Patent status: