Xsights is an Israeli startup that develops interesting technology that allows for transformation of static objects like billboards, posters, printed images and more into interactive multimedia experiences using your cellphone camera. Theoretically, you could use Xsights to dynamically obtain more information based on e.g. words from a newspaper article, a landmark, a photo of an actor on a movie poster, a street sign, etc.
This bears some resemblance to augmented reality applications for mobile phones, except that it’s not really real-time, since camera shots are analyzed in the background after saving photos to the phone.
By pointing the phone camera to objects and saving shots to the program, users should be able to gain information such as directions, prices, videos clips, audio files but also purchasing opportunities, digital coupons, and more.
At least, the technology seems interesting on paper. In reality, there’s a big caveat: all the associated content needs to be preset by third parties on beforehand. That means it currently doesn’t recognize stuff I tried to test the app, such as company logos (Sony), pictures of celebrities (Jennifer Connelly, Brad Pitt) and a couple of movie posters (easily identifiable ones like the ones for Batman and The Godfather). All I got was a cryptic error message because no one has associated the images with anything so far.
It’s a far cry from what the demo and this video makes the mobile application look capable of. Xsights is looking to set up B2B partnerships with publishers, other content providers and advertisers to expand their database of recognizable items.
Xsights is today also launching a user generated campaign for individual users, basically giving them the opportunity to add creative touches to their interactive experience by “attaching” video clips to invitations, greeting cards, photos or videos – making the associated interactive content personal.
Xsights is giving 1,000 TechCrunch readers exclusive invites to be the first users to upload to the UGC Campaign. Just head on over here; only TechCrunch readers will be able to upload at this point.
Additionally, users will now be able to watch trailers for new movies currently showing in local U.S. theaters by capturing an image of a movie poster with their camera phone. In contrast to my experience with random images, analyzing the posters listed here worked just fine.
Xsights supports 3 ways of connections: Video Call (clientless), iPhone, BlackBerry, and selected J2ME handsets, and also works with MMS on all mobile handsets equipped with a camera.
Try it out and let us know what you think.