By Andrew Liszewski
As if the sting of ebook readers starting to make places like libraries obsolete wasn’t enough, now a team of researchers from Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group have created an app that lets any schmuck with a camera-equipped tablet or smartphone be an amateur librarian. ShelvAR, seen in the video below demonstrated with a Galaxy Tab, reads a special spine tag that corresponds to each book’s call number and automatically tells the user which tomes are out of place, and where they need to go. The algorithm behind the app also automatically determines the minimal number of moves necessary to sort a specific row of books, and then marks the ones that are out of place with a red X.
At the moment beta versions of the app have successfully worked with shelves containing up to 12 books, but given a library usually holds a few more editions than that, the researchers hope it can eventually be scaled up to sort an entire shelf. But that will depend on the camera’s ability to differentiate the spine tags, which are limited in size to the size of the actual books.