Bruce, Weibel, and Frug: New Google Glass Legal App: Signtater

Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute (LII) has described a new Google Glass legal app, called Signtater, that he and LII personnel Wayne Weibel and Sara Frug have developed, in a new post: The Law of Where I’m Standing, Right Now.

According to Tom, the app reads legal citations that are written on objects in the world — such as signs in parks — and then retrieves links to the cited legal resources, from free-access-to-law services including the Legal Information Institute.

Wayne Weibel describes the app’s functionality as follows:

Signtater receives an image. The service can process any image, text file, or URL. updated #glassware next year […]

Here are excerpts from Tom’s post:

[…] Some weeks back, our friends at very generously arranged for us to have access to Google Glass. We weren’t at all sure how Glass fits into the legal-information world. We still aren’t, and that’s what motivates this post. But Glass is very, very cool, and it or something very like it will be transformative.

Because it was very, very cool, we wanted to develop an app for it. Like all garage-bound experimenters, we looked to see what we had laying around that might be made to work with it. It turned out that Wayne Weibel had done something very smart a while back […]. We have a tool called Citationer that extracts citations from documents, and it has a Tesseract-based OCR component that we use with image-based PDFs. Turns out that it’ll work with any image format, and Wayne had built that capacity out a bit, in the expectation that people would want to use it with document images sent from phones. And, as it turns out, from Glass.

So Wayne and Sara and I took two days out of the office to see if we could whack something together that would let you take a picture with Glass and send it off to a server-based application that would send you back a link or links to anything cited in the image. The result, almost entirely Wayne’s work, was an app called “Signtater”. It works well with documents and some signage, and it raises a lot of questions. […]

But for right now Signtater’s capabilities are limited to documents and signage that can be made to look like documents in the image — that is, mostly dark lettering on white backgrounds in an area that mostly fills the screen. We were disappointed by the lack of range… but Signtater is still really, really cool. […]

[…] Signs [in public parks] are an attempt to associate some part of the law with a particular place. Glass has geolocation capability, and could do all that through an application that understood something I guess you’d call the law of where I’m standing right now. But what is that, really? We’d need to know a lot more in order to find out, even though theoretically a lot of the data is retrievable. […]

That suggests that before a legal-information retrieval application asks “Where are you?” it should ask, “Who are you?”. And for those purposes I might be different people at different times. […]

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT @trbruce

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3 Responses to Bruce, Weibel, and Frug: New Google Glass Legal App: Signtater

  1. Pingback: LegalTech App for Google Glass | Josh Blackman's Blog

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