Article in Mobile Future category.
Mobile Text Translation With Augmented Reality
Image from washington post There are plenty of apps out there making everyone's lives easier. Quest Visual has definitely accomplished such a task with their…
Image from washington post
There are plenty of apps out there making everyone's lives easier. Quest Visual has definitely accomplished such a task with their new app Word Lens. Word Lens allows a user to point their iPhone at foreign text, whether it be a sign, a menu or something written on a piece of paper and show the translation using augmented reality. What's really innovative is that instead of adding onto the screen (e.g. adding a hat onto someone's head or an arrow pointing to a nearby bar), this app actually alters reality by changing text into a new language. The app itself is free but the language packs will run you about $5. Venture Beat notes:
Judging from the amount of buzz Word Lens is generating online this morning, I think Quest Visual has a hit on its hands. It’s also notable as a genuinely useful implementation of augmented reality, even more so thanYelp’s Monocle feature. Instead of being flooded with AR data, as many AR apps tend to do, Word Lens simply offers another way to view what’s directly in front of you.
iPhone Camera and OCR Limitations
It is amazing to watch this application change the text from English to Spanish or Spanish to English right before your eyes, but the app isn't perfect. It relies on optical character reading (OCR) technology, which is notoriously fussy. Those weaknesses show in the application, as there are few real-world situations where the app does not function well: poorly lit areas, small text and text that has a glare (such as on packaging). While the app still has few barriers to overcome, overall I am very impressed. As of now, it is fun to play with and show off to friends. I'm excited to see what future upgrades hold, as the app will only grow more impressive as the technology improves and more language packs become available.