Word Lens: translate in real time with just your phone's camera

By on December 17, 2010, 2:54 PM
This is the story of how augmented reality met optical character recognition and how the two fell in love. They then had a baby and called it Word Lens, which grew up to be an instant translation app.

To try the system for yourself, you'll need an iPhone 3GS/4 or the latest iPod touch, the app (you can grab it from Apple's App Store), as well as a $5 language pack. If you can't obtain those three, you'll have to live with being awed by the video embedded below, put together by the app's creator, Quest Visual.

The video is tweaked a little to make the app look better than it actually is, but it's still rather impressive, especially since it doesn't require an Internet connection to work. While the translation isn't perfect, it's certainly good enough to get the basic meaning across.

For now, Word Lens only translates to and from English and Spanish. Still, the video speaks for itself. The app will undoubtedly grow in popularity very quickly and expand to support more languages. Hopefully we'll see it come to more platforms as well.

User Comments: 4

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That looks totally awesome. It will make international trips either much easier, or will embarrass yourself. =o

Guest said:

I downloaded the app. It's not all that. The sign has to be big and clear and minimalistic.

Also it costs $4.99 for English to Spanish and another $4.99 for Spanish to English.

Not worth it imho.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

This is a first release and it is safe to assume the app and translation will get better and that more languages will be available in the future. 4.99 for a translation software is very cheap I don't think that even a dictionary is cheaper than that.

And by the way the headline should read "with your iPhone's camera"

AlienOverlord said:

I knew this day would come. I've been teaching English abroad for years but I've always known that the window of opportunity would close. I'm guessing I have two good years left and then applications like these will lessen the need for native speakers and the money will no longer be worth it.

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