Computer vision: AI learns to read time on analogue clocks

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Artificial intelligence trained on computer-generated images of clocks taken from different angles has succeeded in learning to read the time

Technology



25 November 2021

An analogue watch face

PjrStudio/Alamy Stock Photo

Reading the time on an analogue clock is surprisingly difficult for computers, but artificial intelligence can now do so accurately using a method that had previously proved tricky to deploy.

Computer vision has long been able to read the time from digital clocks by simply looking at the numbers on the screen. But analogue clocks are much more challenging because of factors including variation in their design and the way shadows and reflections can obscure the hands.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have developed a system …

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