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Circuit Breaker

This student-made gadget can detect fonts and capture colors

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Some people take photos of designs they see out in the world that inspire them. Others create mood boards for tracking inspiration. But having a photo of something isn't the same as being able to use it in your own work. Knowing this, Fiona O'Leary, a student at the Royal College of Art, developed a prototype called the Spector, so she could capture any font and color she sees in the world. If she loved the font London uses on its subway maps, for instance, she could use this device to capture that font and load it into Adobe InDesign. Spector takes a photo of the font and uses an algorithm to translate that image into information about the shape of letters and symbols. It then cross-references that information with a font database to correctly identify it. The Spector also captures colors and breaks them down into CMYK/RGB values.

Spector from Fiona O'Leary on Vimeo.

The prototype recognizes seven different font families and can identify type size, kerning, and leading. Font identification tools already exist, but not in a physical gadget, like how the video above shows a user walking around capturing bits and pieces of the world around her. This could be our eventual reality! Spector isn’t yet available for sale, but we can dream.