There aren’t many apps that come along and significantly alter the way we live or travel, but this is one of them. The future is here.
Word Lens, released yesterday by QuestVisual, is an iPhone application that analyzes text in either Spanish or English and produces live translations in real time on your iPhone’s screen. Just point your iPhone’s camera at a sign, menu, or document and the application will display the translated text on top of the given object; arguably the most useful iteration of augmented reality to date.
Founders Otavio Good and John DeWeese have been hard at work for 2 1/2 years to make this a reality, and promise to expand with more languages soon. The app is available for free in the iTunes store, but the Spanish to English and English to Spanish dictionaries each cost $4.99.
At the moment, the application only processes text word-for-word, so there is no grammatical evaluation. But this is still useful for deciphering road signs, menus, and the multitude of printed text that one encounters when traveling in a foreign country.
DeWeese commented that they are also looking into non-latin character sets such as chinese, which is (understandably) “a few orders of magnitude more complex”.
So if you have an iPhone, head on over to the app store and download it for free to try out the demo and believe the magic yourself. If not, check out the video below.