Word Lens just came out today and the buzz is pretty crazy.  The fact it was on CNN could have something to do with it.   The app is pretty darn sweet, much like PicTranslator except it works with live video.  In other words as you look at the text on your phone, the letters are translated and replaced by new letters.  Looks cool right?  but how would this work in the real world where the text is composed of a more complex sentence?

The app requires 4.0 and I only have my 3G with me at the moment, so I could not test myself, but found a number of videos posted with people using it.  Must of the time, it works well. I have not seen anyone really test it on complex backgrounds, but that is not the point of the app anyway.  The real win here is the Augmented Reality part of it.  The fact that it replaces text with the detected background then overlays new text AND background colour is nothing short of amazing. There are limits. If the text is too small the app cannot read it in real time well enough. Right now it only iphone ipod, but it will be on the next version of the iPad which will have cameras.  I would also expect to see this on the Android platform by the end of Jan 2011.  Now, could you get the value by just taking a picture and translating that?  Sure, but what fun is that?

Well lets have a look.  First the ‘demo’ video.

Now lets see it in real life..

Nice eh?  Right now it only supports Spanish at a cost of 5$.  Cheap!  I’m sure other Latin translations are coming.  The next big challenge will be translating Asian languages.  Japanese anyone?

BTW, check out this stress test video.

3 comments on “Translate text in realtime on the iphone with Word Lens: a form of augmented reality

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