Spector makes discovering fonts and colors in print easy

spector designers font color easy pressshot01 fionaoleary 1200 1
Fiona O'Leary
Designing for print can be tricky if you are a true designer, the sort of person that is picky about if the font weight or spacing is a bit off or if the orange is a little too orange. It can be hard to figure out what the fonts and colors you are looking at on a printed page really are, but this new device called Spector makes it as easy as the eyedropper tool in Photoshop.

Ask any designer how they would normally hope to get colors or fonts into their computer? Chances are it would involve snapping a photo with their phone or camera and loading it onto their computer. But a student at the Royal College of Art, Fiona O’Leary, decided that was inefficient and complicated, which led her to develop Spector, a tool designed to make capturing printed fonts and colors for use in Adobe’s InDesign easier than ever.

Spector is a small device that houses a built-in camera with a mode for capturing text and a mode for capturing color. The user selects what they are trying to capture, places Spector over the color or font, and presses the lone button located on the top of the unit. It is still just a prototype, but as you can see demonstrated in the video — it works.

Once a user presses the button, Spector uses some built-in algorithms to identify shapes and color values, before sending the information to a database for final identification and validation. If the unit is connected to a computer, the user can select text or objects and have Spector automatically match the digital text or color with what it detects from the printed medium. This saves crazy amounts of time, and once fleshed out, could be a game-changer for designers.

Currently, Spector only identifies seven typefaces, but the plan is to continue growing the identification database to make it compatible with a wider range of fonts. The plan is to make the product into a tool for education, just as much as one for getting work done. Unfortunately, you will have to wait quite a while before you see any of these in stores. O’Leary is not in any hurry to bring the product to the masses, instead focusing on refining and making it more accurate.

Until that time, enjoy your design-related cell phone snaps and treasure them knowing that their days are likely numbered.

Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘Refabricator’ lets astronauts recycle 3D-printed tools to make new ones

The International Space Station just received a fancy new gadget in the form of a Refabricator, a machine capable of 3D printing using recycled plastic materials. Here's how it works.

Lost without 'Print Screen'? Here's how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Chrome OS has a number of built-in screenshot options, and can also be used with Chrome screenshot extensions for added flexibility. You have a lot of options, but learning how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is easy.
Emerging Tech

U.K. company sets a record for world’s largest 3D-printed rocket engine

U.K. startup Orbex has unveiled the world’s largest 3D-printed rocket engine. It's up to 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than other similarly sized rockets. Here's how it will be used.

These quick tips will help you get the perfect screenshot on a PC

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, and it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.
Emerging Tech

Words are so 2018. The Peeqo robot speaks exclusively in GIFs and video clips

Move over, Amazon Echo! Peeqo is a cute robot that will answer your spoken word questions by displaying a specially selected short video or GIF. Because, you know, it’s the year 2019.
Emerging Tech

Airbus will stop making the world’s biggest passenger plane

Airbus announced this week that it will stop building the world's biggest passenger plane in 2021. The maker of the double-decker A380 said a changing market and lack of orders gave it little choice but to end production.
Product Review

Yuneec’s Mantis Q will make you wish you bought a DJI drone

Yuneec’s high-end drones are arguably the ones to beat in terms of flight control, design, and their photographic capabilities. But the company has struggled to make a low-end drone that’s worth buying, and the Mantis Q is proof of that…
Emerging Tech

Exploding vape pen battery starts fire on SkyWest flight

A vape pen battery caused a fire in an overhead bin on a SkyWest Airlines flight on Wednesday. It's the latest in a string of incidents where faulty or poorly made lithium-ion batteries have caused gadgets to catch fire.
Emerging Tech

Photosynthesizing artificial leaf may be the air-cleaning tool we’ve dreamed of

Engineers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have invented an artificial leaf which could both clean up our air and provide a cost-effective type of fuel. Here's how it works.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Emerging Tech

China’s mind-controlled cyborg rats are proof we live in a cyberpunk dystopia

Neuroscience researchers from Zhejiang University, China, have created a method that allows humans to control the movements of rats using a technology called a brain-brain interface.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.
Emerging Tech

Underground volcanoes could explain possible liquid water on Mars

Last year scientists discovered there could be liquid water on Mars. Now a research team argues that for there to be liquid water, there must be an underground source of heat -- and they believe underground volcanoes could be responsible.