Getting those Google Maps directions you're viewing on your PC onto your smartphone might soon be as easy as pointing the phone at the screen.
Tsung-Hsiang Chang, a graduate student at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Yang Li, a Google employee, have developed a system that makes it much easier to transfer certain Web-based computing tasks between devices. To do this, one simply takes a photo of the computer screen that's showing the task. The phone then automatically opens up the corresponding application on the mobile device--at the corresponding stage of the task.
The same process can also work in reverse, moving data from the phone to a computer.
The system, called DeepShot, relies on the fact that many Web applications use a standard format, called the uniform resource identifier (URI), to describe their current states. A typical example of this is the link provided by Google Maps that transfers the exact current location or driving directions to another browser on another computer.
This link consists of a long string of symbols that contain URI-related information such as the addresses of the starting and ending points and codes that indicate their geographical coordinates and the approximate size of the map window. Though URIs are a common feature of many Web applications, the data contained in a URI can vary greatly and is sometimes harder to extract than in the case of Google Maps.… Read more