Word Lens - augmented reality translation app - jumps platforms, is now on Android

Jul 09, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- Tuna with hot sauce. Beach closed. Please use caution. Apple users of iOS devices, drawing envy with their cooler than cool apps, have since 2010 enjoyed Word Lens, an application that instantly provides a foreign language translation of a menu or road sign just by the user hovering the device’s camera over the foreign language content in realtime. Now Word Lens is offering its translation app for Android too. The Android app will do translations between English and Spanish, Italian, and French using just the video camera. The nice feature of the app is that network connectivity is not required.

“No network required,” reads the promotion. “Results appear immediately on your video screen when you need it, anywhere in the world.”

Word Lens uses text recognition to work out what the word or phrase is, and automatic-translation software translates it into the new language. The translation is then pasted over the original location. “An optical character recognition engine works with the in-built real time translator to translate foreign phrases for you. The converted text is then displayed on the screen of the smart phone.”

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Otavio Good and John DeWeese from Quest Visual are the two developers behind Word Lens. According to Good, Word Lens tries to find out what the letters are and then looks in the dictionary. Then it draws the words back on the screen in translation.

The Android is offering for purchase translations between English and Spanish, French, and Italian. The introductory price is $4.99 per language.

Those testing out Word Lens for the Android platform think it has a way to go. One site said that their brief tests of Word Lens for Android showed it worked well except for rapid flickering of words going back and forth in the process. Others described the version as having a quirky interface and being shaky and bumpy. Also, said one critique, the app does not work effortlessly in that you need to keep the hand steady and scroll over sentences patiently. Also, phrases have strangled English language word placements, such as “Tongue Bolivian” or “sauce spicy of anchovies” but as a language support tool for visitors to foreign countries it is largely considered as useful.

The developers themselves caution that the app will best work with “clearly printed text“ and they note that it does not recognize handwriting or stylized fonts.

Good acknowledges weaknesses and says he would be the first to say that the app is not perfect, “but perfect was not the goal," he added. What is useful, he said, is that “you can get the general meaning.” (Whether it is a spicy sauce or a sauce spicy, you know what is coming.) The app gets good marks elsewhere for speed and useful accuracy.

Good says that future plans include introducing more languages. He is also considering a reader for the blind, which would read out loud the words that the app sees on signs.

Explore further: Blink, point, solve an equation: Introducing PhotoMath

More information: play.google.com/store/apps/det… c3VhbC53b3JkbGVucyJd

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Oculus Rift users to see Moon live through robot

38 minutes ago

A group from Carnegie Mellon wants to send a robot to the Moon to beam live pictures of the Moon to Oculus Rift headset users, reported technology reporter Jane Wakefield of the BBC. Andy the robot is intended ...

A blue Christmas for Amazon?

42 minutes ago

It might be a blue Christmas for Amazon. The world's largest retailer gave a disappointing forecast for the crucial holiday quarter. The company also reported a wider loss than analysts expected for the third ...

US tech firm fined for underpaying Indian workers

2 hours ago

A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labor regulators found eight employees brought from India were grossly underpaid and overworked while assigned to a special project in ...

Facebook goes retro with 'Rooms' chat app

2 hours ago

Facebook on Thursday released an application that lets people create virtual "rooms" to chat about whatever they wish using any name they would like.

User comments : 0