TonchiDot: Tagging your world one iPhone at a time

Sekai Camera (World Camera in Japanese) is an iPhone-exclusive social tagging service developed by Tokyo-based mobile application provider Tonchidot. The presentation (and following Q&A) was pretty hard to understand because of the language barrier but Sekai Camera turned out to be a crowd-pleaser nonetheless.

The key idea is to use the iPhone as a mobile information terminal, linking the real world with tags generated by Sekai Camera users, Tonchidot itself, and information scraped from other web services. Users walk around town looking at the iPhone’s display to get information on their surroundings. If you walk through a mall, for example, Sekai Camera tags will show you where you can find something to eat, additional information about a certain product tagged before or how many calories in a chocolate bar.

The video shows additional examples of what Sekai Camera is able to do. Asked what kind of technology is actually used by Tonchidot, Marketing Director Peter Anshin said the company doesn’t want to talk about details at this point. At least he revealed they are not using GPS pointing to some very interesting machine vision in this product.

Sekai Camera was surely a fan favorite and CEO Takahito Iguchi delivered a funny presentation but left many questions open: The panelists criticized they didn’t hear anything about the underlying technology and how Tonchidot, from a strategic point of view, intends to tag the whole world for all iPhone owners, which is the company’s ultimate goal.