Say you’re in China and come upon a road sign in Chinese. The problem? You don’t speak Chinese. The solution: your cell phone.
That’s the idea behind new software being developed by David Doermann, a researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park, and part-time entrepreneur. Doermann is among the cadre of University of Maryland scientists launching startup businesses with the school’s help.
These faculty inventors and cutting-edge researchers are taking advantage of campus resources that fuel business development. Some are sticking with their consequent startups as advisers, but others, such as Doermann, are taking the riskier path of entrepreneurship.
Of the 50 startups that have spun out of the College Park campus over the past 10 years, most have a faculty founder or co-founder.
Doermann has co-founded Applied Media Analysis Inc., which develops imaging software for mobile devices such as cell phones or handheld computers.
The company is creating and patenting technologies that allow camera-enabled devices to capture a sign or document in Arabic or Chinese and translate it into English, decipher barcodes and read text for the visually impaired. Arabic document reading is being tested for the Army, ‘‘and the next phase is hopefully to develop it for other languages,” Doermann said.
Photo by Susan Whitney.