The patent's assignee for patent number 8639034 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to information retrieval systems, and in particular, to a system and method of information retrieval that utilize progressive feature selection and submission. Still more particularly, the present invention relates to a visual search system and method that uses progressive feature selection and submission.
"The use of portable computing devices has become commonplace for millions of users. In addition to having a conventional desktop computer, many users also have some type of portable computing device. Smaller portable computing devices include a plethora of smart phones including the iPhone from
"These new devices are now often used for visual search. Visual search technology links the physical world to the digital world by matching the visual appearance of objects against a database. The most popular visual search architecture 100 as of today is client-server, as shown in FIG. 1: the client (typically a camera or smart phone 204) acquires an image 106 of a document 102, submits that image 106 to a server 108, the server 108 runs image matching algorithm (usually involves feature extraction, candidate selection and geometrical verification) and then return the closest match to the client 204.
"The problem with this architecture 100 is network latency. When the user submits an image to the server 108 it may take 5.about.10 seconds to finish the upload depending on the network. It is especially power consuming and slow to maintain an upstream connection over the phone network. While waiting for the upload to finish the user often loses patience and blames the program as not working. This is even worse if the search query results do not match, which is often the case because the submitted image is blurry, dark or empty.
"There have been attempts in the prior art to solve the above issues, but they have not been successful. For example, some have attempted to solve the latency problem with a new architecture that moves the feature extraction step to the client side. Instead of the server, the phone runs feature extraction and submits the extracted feature vectors to the server. However, some of the client side devices such a smart phone have limited computational capabilities so latency continues to be an issue. Furthermore, this architecture accelerates the submission only by the difference between the size of the feature vectors and the image itself, which in many cases is not enough to eliminate the problems of network latency."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the present invention overcome the deficiencies and limitations of the prior art by providing a system and method of information retrieval that utilize progressive feature selection and submission. The system provides a new visual search architecture in which feature extraction is performed on the client device, and instead of submitting image to the server, the extracted feature vectors are submitted progressively. The server starts feature matching before receiving the full feature set. Feature transmission is interrupted when a success matching is found and therefore saves time. The new architecture enables close-to real-time visual search and it is independent to the feature used for visual search.
"One embodiment of the system comprises a computing device with a client and a progressive feature server coupled by a network. The client of computing device includes a feature extraction module, a progressive sending module, a sampling module and a feedback receiver. The feature extraction module extracts features from the image and provides them to the progressive sending module. The progressive sending module divides the features into groups and sends them to the server. The progressive sending module is also responsive to commands from the feedback receiver. The feedback receiver is coupled to the progressive feature server and interrupts the progressive sending module to terminate the transmission of additional features if a match is found. In one embodiment, the sampling module is used to sample input received by the computing device prior to feature extraction. The progressive feature server is coupled for communication with the client and includes a progressive receiving module, a feedback generator, an image recognizer and a result delivery module. The progressive receiving module receives extracted features from the client and provides them to the image recognizer. The image recognizer progressively processes the groups of extracted features received from the client and provides results and hints for improved recognition. The feedback generator sends the hints back to the client and the result delivery module sends the results back to the client.
"The present invention also includes novel methods for processing captured information progressively, assigning extracted features to groups for uploading, and progressively performing image recognition to improve recognition speed.
"The features and advantages described herein are not all-inclusive and many additional features and advantages will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the figures and description. Moreover, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and not to limit the scope of the inventive subject matter."
For additional information on this patent, see: Liu, Xu; Graham, Jamey; Simbirsky, Michael; Hart, Peter E.. Multimedia Information Retrieval System with Progressive Feature Selection and Submission. U.S. Patent Number 8639034, filed
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