Product: Camera: Digital
Automatic roadsign photographer   (+12, -1)  [vote for, against]
What was the speed limit ?

Many times you pass the roadsign before you can completely read /grasp what is on it. Today's digital cameras have face recognition, smile recognition on it, which means with a bit of modification, it should be possible to detect and store most roadsigns.

With this, you could have cameras on either side of the car/truck with enhanced motion compensation image stabilizers[^1] with built in roadsign detectors. These can be connected to a car computer/ in-car entertainment system/ laptop/ whatever which can store and retrieve these images on-demand.

Having a cache of last 10 or 20 signs might be usefull. You can have country/standard specific roadsign software that can detect and read out most signs, also warn loudly about dangerous things like "landfall ahead" warnings.

Number plates might pose a problem as they look like signs too. But probably there are workarounds, like detecting at what height it is.

[^1] the ccd is moved to comensate for the motion, to reduce motion blur. Image stabilizers are already in most of recent cameras, even in cheaper soapbox cameras. For our idea, we just need to enhance it to shoot passing signs. I hope it also handles the custard filled bumps well.

Update : Infra Red capability in the camera _might_ mean that the roadsigns will be visible and recorded even at night.
-- kamathln, Nov 20 2008

RFID road signs RFID_20road_20signs
[phoenix, Nov 21 2008]

That'd be even more helpful on city streets when negotiating unfamilar areas - you could ask it what the last cross-street had been. (Assuming that, like me, you're a luddite who refuses to carry a GPS.) [+]
-- gisho, Nov 21 2008

as you browse through missed signs, won't you miss the current and more pertinent signs, hence won't there be a never-ending need to browse through the signs??
-- samosa_pirate, Nov 21 2008

[samosa_pirate]: //won't you miss the current and more pertinent signs,//

When you realize you missed one or two roadsigns, you pull over and check them. Without the automatic camera, this would not be possible. You would have to back-up or get down from the car and walk back to the board.

The speed limit was just an example. The sign could have been anything.

Advantage over RFID road signs and GPS: how many places have been covered with these till now ?
-- kamathln, Nov 21 2008

How long would it take for some techie to hack the device to take a picture of every babe that's walking past or riding in the convertible next to you. Hey I'll give you a bun if it can shoot her buns.
-- theGem, Nov 22 2008

[theGem], I hope that would happen. That would teach people to start dressing decently.
-- kamathln, Nov 23 2008

random, halfbakery