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Location-based SMS graffiti in Siemens' future

Researchers at Siemens have devised a system for attaching SMS messages to geographical points in space - and show up on cameraphone pictures.

If Siemens has its way, mobile phone users of the future will have the option to tie SMS messages to physical locations, akin to an electronic post-it note of sorts. Currently in development, research carried out by the company has resulted in the technical basis and development of the necessary software for what Siemens has dubbed 'Digital Graffito'.

With the new system, users can leave messages at any geographical point by means of SMS, allowing one or more recipients who approach the point to view the message when in close enough proximity. For instance, a user who agreed to meet up with a group of friends at a certain point could leave a Digital Graffito notifying the group that he's in the music store opposite and to find him there, as opposed to SMSing everyone to let them know.

A focal point of the research work was to develop different ways of displaying digital graffiti using standard commercial devices to enable the new message system to be implemented quickly. Thus, researchers also devised an Augmented Reality (AR) aspect of the service, letting camera phone owners snap pictures of locations and have messages superimposed on photos taken.

According to Siemens, the graffiti process can also function when users are indoors or otherwise prevented from GPS reception, applying wireless standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPRS. At present, Siemens' developers anticipate the graffiti system to be rolled out in some two years from now, most likely kicking off with applications for the tourism and exhibition sectors.


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