It doesn’t take a genius to notice that more and more people own a smartphone. As a society we love the convenience that they offer, the entertainment value they bring us and arguably, the connection they provide to our social networks, whether that may be in the form of a phone call or text message, or via social networks. It’s almost undeniable that they have the potential to enrich our lives.
Lately, I’ve found myself reading about a technology that is still quite young but growing and developing quickly. A technology that eventually could seamlessly integrate information from our digital/online world and the real world and is readily available everywhere we go. What’s it called? Augmented Reality.
Sounds scary right? Like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, something that would only benefit the gadget lovers of society or the technologically adept … right? Wrong. It may sound technologically advanced or appear to require gadgets or systems that aren’t available yet but that is not the case at all.
The increasing popularity and accessibility of devices such as smartphones, and the relative ease to develop and deploy software for them has provided developers of augmented reality technology the perfect platform to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible.
Just recently, an application called Word Lens was released which showcases not only what augmented reality is capable of but also how it can use existing technology to enrich our life was released. The hardware involved is nothing out of the ordinary, a typical smartphone and its camera is all it takes for this interesting piece of software to recognise shapes, letters and colour to provide information in real time.
Launch the app, point your phone at a sign and you are able to reverse the letters or remove them (the app replaces them with a solid background) but that’s just a demonstration of what it’s capable of. The key feature of this is far more impressive, the ability to translate the signs you point it at in real time. It will overlay the translated text over the original text as if it was never there. At the moment it will only translate from Spanish to English and back and with a few hiccups here and there when it comes to hand writing but it’s an excellent proof of how augmented reality can enrich our travelling experience and help break the language barrier down just that little bit further.
Check out the video and see for yourself!
Yours in technology,