Alright, admit it: you’re obsessed with the new Word Lens iPhone app too. If not, you’re about to be.
Word Lens is a free app to start, and what it does is uses the camera on your iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 to instantly manipulate words. In the free version, the app reverses the words right on screen, or erases them completely—your choice. If you pony up $4.99 each, you can upgrade to a Spanish to English or English to Spanish dictionary, which provides the magical instantaneous translation of (clear) words viewed by your phone’s camera. We held it up to a Kindle, and a page of Spanish literature, to demonstrate above. The real thing is on the left, and at right is how the Kindle appears in our iPhone camera, with the Word Lens translation.
Note that it’s not perfect, but it works best for reading simpler things, like menus at a Mexican restaurant or directions.
The technology at work here is amazing, though probably more simple than we imagine since it only take our phone to make the program work (and without network access once you’ve downloaded it).
Currently Word Lens only has Spanish language translation available, but the second they roll out Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Cyrillic or any character language similar, we’re declaring it travel app of the year. It’s that miraculous. The free word reversal and erasing is worthless really, but it does give a good idea how immediate and natural the Word Lens changes happen.
You can download Word Lens free from iTunes here, and upgrade to the Spanish functionality within the app. It’s perfect for shocking grandma (or your parents) with technology these days when you see her over Christmas!
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