This app has to be the best app of this year. One word describes it: Stunning. A small design studio called QuestVisual that consists of only 2 programmers (apparently) has just released an app called WordLens. So what’s so stunning about it? You can translate anything into multiple languages with your iPhone camera and the translated text is embedded back into the image and you won’t even notice that something has changed, it’s so natural! Just in case, this is what Virtual Reality is all about, embedding artificially generated content into the real images.
This app does not even require any internet connection, everything is computed locally on your iPhone. WordLens reads the video stream coming from your iPhone camera and whenever it detects some text written somewhere in the images, it translates that on-the-fly and replaces the original text with the translated without you even knowing that anything has changed. What’s really amazing is that all the processing is done locally and even the latency (time between feeding an image and it’s translated image) is really low that you won’t even notice! Take a look for yourself after the break.
So imagine yourself travelling in another country, you cannot understand the road-signs, the menu in the hotels or anything for that matter, WordLens will become your eyes, translating everything for you in real-time. Yes, the app is not perfect, it cannot recognize handwriting or stylized text. This video shows how it might act crazy at times too:
But even then, it definitely has proved that even a low-power mobile processor is capable of doing Virtual Reality. Just in case you remember, there was another app that was launched sometime back that did the same thing but it was painfully slow in processing and instead of embedding the translated text back into the image, it displayed a dialog box showing the translated word (yeap, it translated word-by-word and not the whole text at once). Here’s the video of that app called WordTrans:
Currently WordLens supports only translating from English to Spanish and backwards but the language base is going to expand pretty soon considering the overwhelming response the app has got so far. You can also erase text from the image using their ‘advanced digital white-out technology’.
WordLens works with iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs or iPod touch 4 and requires iOS 4.0 or greater.
The app is free but you need to pay $4.99 for the English->Spanish language pack and an additional $4.99 for Spanish->English
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