writes "Like many people, I am trying to cut down on the amount of energy my family and I use in order to save both the environment and my pay packet. Since I want to do this in as scientific a way as possible, I'm taking meter readings every day and recording them in a spreadsheet (OOo Calc naturally). Currently, in the UK at least, neither gas nor electricity meters can be hooked up to any sort of device that can query the meter for its current reading. Rather than climb down into the cellar every day to read the meters, it would be great if I could simply position a webcam in front of each meter and have the value logged automatically each day. The problem is that while I am a software developer (Java mostly) I have no experience in image processing (dials from the electricity meter) and don't really know where to start with this project."
Does anyone have any advice for analyzing the visual data this reader would be gathering?