If you’ve ever stumbled your way through a foreign adventure trying to dissect a map and used giant obnoxious hand gestures to communicate with locals, then it’s time you updated your apps. Japanese electronics company Omron has developed an augmented reality application that can instantaneously translate reasonable lengths of foreign texts perplexed tourists may encounter over the course of their travels. Simply open the app, point your camera at the text you need clarified and the app will swiftly generate a legible translation superimposed over the copy being translated.
As of right now, the app can handle English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. What’s especially exciting about this app is that users do not have to take photos of text they need translated, since translations are relayed to the user overtop live images. Omron ensures us that the app can handle text captured in bad lighting conditions and from difficult angles too, which is great news. How many of us are afforded the luxury of consistently great lightning and perfect proximity to signage throughout our expeditions? Although a handful of similar awesome apps do exist – like Word Lens (available for iOS) – it’s safe to anticipate a new addition will surpass the path-pavers in efficiency and supported features. The app is not yet available, but reports state Omron is working to have their app come pre-installed on smartphones released in 2012.