An app connects devices to your printer through its camera

A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and two other schools created Snap-To-It, an Android app that hopes to make connecting your smartphone to other smart devices as easy as snapping a photo.

A video from the researchers demonstrates the app in action: a forgetful professor (or grad student) forgets his printouts. He finds the printer, photographs it with the app, and presses print directly on screen. No fussy software downloads or confusing cables.

The app broadcasts the photo of the device to all nearby devices on the network. A computer-vision algorithm compares the photo to stored images to determine which machine you’r trying to connect to. The app will also use data about where you’re standing and the direction your phone is pointing to try to identify the correct device; if it isn’t sure, it will present a list of its top five guesses.

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