It’s not often that we are left speechless by a new piece of technology but Word Lens has done it.
Augmented reality and optical character recognition technology aren’t exactly new, but it is the way and speed with which the iPhone app, Word Lens, uses these technologies that is pretty mind blowing. While we can try and describe the speed with which Word Lens not only translates signs and images but photoshops in the translated phrases, you will only get a real idea of how this works by watching the video below.
Now that you’ve caught your breath after watching the video, we have to tell you about some limitations of this app. Currently it only translates from English to Spanish and vice-versa, is probably not as slick as it appears in the video and, well that’s about it. And we haven’t even told you the most amazing part of this app – it works completely offline saving your data costs as well as your battery.
The app is the result of two-and-a-half years work by QuestVisual, which was founded by Octavio Good and John DeWeese. Looking towards the future, Good told TechCrunch that adding more languages to Word Lens was the natural progression: “I wouldn’t be surprised if we did French next, Italian and since my mom is Brazilian, Portuguese.” Good also explained the app’s process: “It 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.” While it currently doesn’t translate phrases, this is surely something that could be incorporated easily enough in future iterations of the app.
The app is available from the App Store for £2.99 and you can try it for yourself here.