Islamabad - A project to develop an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Engine for Android is in progress to stimulate smartphones software development in Pakistan.

The project called - Smart Intelligence - An OCR Engine for Android Smartphone - intends to develop a state-of-the-art OCR Engine which can be used by developers to produce their own applications.  National ICT R&D Fund, a department of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT) is executing the project in phases in collaboration with Abasyn University, Islamabad at a cost of Rs. 13.33 million. The project is expected to be completed by June 2015. According to information, in the first phase the intent is to tackle the character recognition problem for constrained or structured document images and in the next phase character recognition problem for unconstrained or unstructured document images will be addressed.

Success of this project would not only result in research experience and related advantages for the developers inside Pakistan but will also stimulate the smartphones software development. It would also provide a great opportunity to the students and researchers to universities to work on top notch research problems in the field. Open source nature of the project would encourage collaboration from developers all over the world. It may be mentioned here that mobile computing is considered to be one of the most fascinating areas of research of the computing discipline these days.  Application development on the smartphones is comparatively a newer field. Only after the availability of iPhone and Android enabled smartphones, the world has seen the availability of the powerful APIs for smartphone applications development.  This was a big step as the future of smartphones market depends heavily on the availability of smarter and innovative applications. 

Mobile environment, though constrained, provides some interesting features and facilities not directly available on the desktop computers. One such feature is the availability of integrated cameras on most of the smartphones.

This feature can be used to provide many interesting applications related to Character Recognition but before these API/framework or engine should be there that can provide the basic building blocks for the development of applications related to Character Recognition.