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Innovation: Robots look to the cloud for enlightenment
Plink has developed a cellphone app that can identify virtually any work of art from a photograph.
A lost robot would take a photo of its location and send it via the Internet to an image-matching server; after matching the photo with its map-linked image bank, the server would reveal where the robot is.
With the phrase "web 2.0" falling out of vogue, the most exciting new uses of the internet are now all about the cloud, a term for servers invisibly doing smart, fast things for net users who may be on the other side of the world.
But it's not just humans that stand to gain, as a recent corporate acquisition by cloud pioneer Google demonstrates. Google has snapped up British start-up Plink, which has devised a cellphone app that can identify virtually any work of art from a photograph. Plink's app will bolster Google's Goggles service, which uses a cellphone camera to recognise objects or even translate text.
Unlike most cloud start-ups, Plink sprang from a robotics lab, not a Californian garage. Its story demonstrates how the cloud has as much to offer confused robots as it does humans looking for smarter web apps.