Tesco builds 'world's first' visual search app for iPhone

Tesco claims it has built the world's first visual search application for the iPhone with its new wine app.

Tesco claims it has built the world's first visual search application for the iPhone with its new wine app.

The application allows customers to send a picture of a bottle of wine to Tesco's server, which then returns information about the wine with an option to buy it.

Tesco worked with Cortexica Vision Systems, which created a "vision system enabling intelligent image recognition using principles derived from the human visual cortex".

Tesco said Cortexica "worked out how the human brain interprets the scene the eyes are observing" and has used that process in the technology.

The database contains images of around 1,000 wine labels and the server analyses each picture to find the parts it recognises.

Nick Lansley, head of research and development at Tesco.com, said in his Tech for Tesco blog, "I'm excited about this application because of the opportunities that a visual searching mechanism could do." The application is available on iTunes and a demonstration is available on YouTube.

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