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Eight surprising phone camera apps

February 23, 2011

The cameras in mobile devices can do a lot more than just take pictures for FaceBook. For example, the right app can tell you all about an object from a photo of a bar code. What follows is a diverse collection of smartphone software designed to represent the wide array of purposes that phone cameras can serve. As you read through the descriptions and explore the links, try to imagine ways we might tap into this functionality or extend it in order to meet learning goals in higher education.

  1. QuickCite – create a bibliography entry from a book bar code
  2. RedLaser – grab a product code while shopping and compare prices with Amazon
  3. FoodScanner – scan a food label and see the nutritional information
  4. Google Goggles – photograph and recognize a DVD, wine label, or painting
  5. Word Lens – translate text on the fly
  6. Star Chart – point your device at the night sky and identify the heavenly bodies
  7. Wikitude  Drive – overlay a route map on top of the image coming through your camera
  8. Sky Siege – play a game where aircraft are superimposed on the world your camera sees

These iPhone and Android apps are imperfect; some are not even considered best-in-class. That’s okay, I’m trying to get across the idea that a camera makes a mobile device even handier than you might have expected – and more tempting as a tool for higher learning. Any awesome ideas or examples of current applications?

BONUS! unconventional uses for still pictures

  • Reminder – location of your car in the lot
  • Archive – notes on the blackboard
  • Shopping – match a screw, chair leg, hubcap, etc.
  • Filing – receipts, business cards, and more
One Comment leave one →
  1. Chaz permalink
    February 23, 2011 9:30 am

    I think Google Googles will OCR and business card.

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