Product: Phone: Visual Throughput
Telephoto   (+17, -1)  [vote for, against]
Use a mobile phone's camera to read telephone numbers

To take a phone number from a billboard or business card, simply photograph it. OCR software on the phone searches for the phone number and gives you the option to call it immediately or store it.
-- david_scothern, Nov 11 2004

And capture criminals http://www.halfbake...ed_20Flash_20Moment
[theircompetitor, Nov 12 2004]

Put a VisCode on the billboard?
The OCR on a VisCode would be clear as a bell. (Or a Bell, inc.?) [not_only_but_also, Nov 16 2004]

Bar Codes http://www.gizmodo....ants-service-026198
Well, they've done it, D. [contracts, Nov 23 2004]

baked, by LG http://www.engadget...y/1234000893021931/
a phone with OCR (and apparently not the first) [neilp, Nov 30 2004]

That's almost sensible and logical.
-- hippo, Nov 11 2004

That, and a few more features like it might convince me to get a camera phone. [+]

(wish it had a more informative title, though)
-- st3f, Nov 11 2004

[david_scothern] this is a fine, fine idea, and entirely bakeable. General ocr would be handy to either email or SMS content.
-- neilp, Nov 11 2004

[drone employee of major telecoms corp dutifully takes note] [+]
-- DocBrown, Nov 11 2004

excellent. of course the police will be catching your registration plate on their mobiles pretty much after that. I said that like it was a bad thing!
-- po, Nov 11 2004

I have moral objections to your cameraphone. I'm going to have to confiscate it, and smash it. (Oh, and a tenuous [+] for the idea - - that would have to be some *damn* dynamic OCR software. Modern OCR engines still have difficulty with output even from scanners with a clear, flat image, scanned slowly, head-on, and under bright light.)
-- contracts, Nov 11 2004

[contracts] there's no reason why the OCR s/w need actually be on the device - it could send the picture away to an OCR webservice and use the response.
In fact.. if it could do this it might be useful for those mapping/ 'where the hell am I ' sites.
-- neilp, Nov 12 2004

You're completely right, [neilp], except for the completely wrong part. What software would they use? There isn't OCR available that is good enough. (Regardless, I bunned the idea, btw . . . it remains feasible. Perhaps if the images are sent to India, translated into something that resembles numerals.)
-- contracts, Nov 12 2004

Maybe the phone number could be stored in one (or two) of my VisCodes? (See link)

The OCR on a VisCode would be much clearer than text/digits.

-- not_only_but_also, Nov 16 2004

Wow! See the link. [David], they've got your oven tapped.
-- contracts, Nov 23 2004

it seems this is now baked (see link).
-- neilp, Nov 30 2004

random, halfbakery