Google sponsors handwriting recognition technology
by Jan Harris
Google is sponsoring an open source project called OCRopus, which is developing a handwriting recognition system to convert handwritten documents to computer text. The project has also attracted funding from German government agencies and other public and private organisations.
The open source document analysis and OCR (Optimal Character Recognition) system could be used to create electronic libraries, analyse historical documents and help vision-impaired people access information.
The OCRopus project is based at the Image Understanding and Pattern Recognition (IUPR) research group at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The research is being led by Professor Thomas Breuel.
The project is expected to last up to three years. The software will be based on two earlier research projects: a handwriting recognition system developed in the mid-1990s for use by the US Census Bureau; and newer layout analysis methods for character recognition.
OCRopus will be available under the Apache 2.0 License and a preview is available on the project’s website www.ocropus.org
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