Smarter Than You Think

How to turn your smart­phone cam­era into a util­ity ma­chine

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Sin­gal @nid­hisin­gal

at the rear of your smart­phone is a tool that can do much more than click scenic land­scapes and beau­ti­ful por­traits. Be it re­fur­bish­ing old doc­u­ments into sharp PDFs, swiftly sav­ing busi­ness cards into the phone’s con­tact list or be­ing a per­sonal trans­la­tor on your trav­els abroad – the en­hanced cam­era op­tics on the smart­phone can do these and more, when bun­dled with eas­ily avail­able apps.

To save your­self con­sid­er­able time and ef­fort, down­load the apps be­low and use the cam­era’s prow­ess to digi­tise your world. Scan with OCR: While it is easy to click a pic­ture of a doc­u­ment and send it on mail or save it on the cloud, it’s not the most pro­fes­sional way. You don’t have to have a scan­ning de­vice ei­ther. Scan­ning apps such as iS­can­ner by BP Mo­bile instantly turns your smart­phone cam­era into a mo­bile scan­ner. The app de­tects the bor­ders of the doc­u­ment, snaps a pic­ture and saves it in PDF or JPG for­mat. You can save the doc­u­ment in grayscale, black and white or colour for­mats; and can re­move noise as well. The scanned doc­u­ment is sure to look like a pro­fes­sion­ally scanned ver­sion, and is ready to be shared, emailed or printed in one tap. While the ba­sic ver­sion of the app is free, the higher ver­sion – priced at `400 for iOS and `320 for

An­droid – in­cludes a built-in doc­u­ment ed­i­tor that al­lows you to es­ign the doc­u­ment, of­fers pass­word pro­tec­tion of the scans and also recog­nises text with op­ti­cal char­ac­ter recog­ni­tion (OCR). It also of­fers un­lim­ited doc­u­ment scan­ning, cloud back-up, and file man­ager ser­vices. Abobe Scan is yet an­other app that has a built-in OCR fea­ture al­low­ing you to re­use scanned con­tent by cre­at­ing high­qual­ity PDFs to work on in Adobe Acro­bat Reader.

Busi­ness card reader: With vis­it­ing cards still in vogue, sav­ing them as con­tacts on your phone man­u­ally can be cum­ber­some. You can make use of apps such as CamCard that scan a busi­ness card and store de­tails in your phone­book us­ing your phone cam­era. It can do so with great ac­cu­racy – it reads de­tails and sug­gests you to cross-check them be­fore sav­ing. A dig­i­tal copy of the card is also saved within the app for fu­ture ref­er­ence. While set­ting up this app, you have the op­tion to scan your own busi­ness card and add a photo to it. The next time you run out of phys­i­cal cards, dig­i­tal busi­ness cards can be ex­changed us­ing the Card Radar fea­ture with an­other CamCard user. This app is avail­able for both iOS and An­droid users.

Dig­i­tal mem­o­ries: We all have pho­tos of our child­hood and the good old days that we so des­per­ately wish stayed blem­ish-free. Mak­ing a dig­i­tal copy is the best so­lu­tion. You can do it us­ing the free Pho­toS­can app by Google which con­verts phys­i­cal copies into dig­i­tal ones in a few sec­onds. This app de­tects the edges, straight­ens the im­age, ro­tates it to the cor­rect ori­en­ta­tion, and also re­moves glare. High-qual­ity scanned pho­tos are then saved to Google Pho­tos and from there can be shared and se­curely backed up.

Trans­la­tor in your pocket: When trav­el­ling abroad, your smart­phone cam­era can help you over­come lan­guage bar­ri­ers. Apps such as Google Trans­late can trans­late sign­boards, menu cards or any writ­ten text into your pre­ferred lan­guage in real time. All you need to do is down­load the Trans­late app, se­lect the lan­guage you are trans­lat­ing and the lan­guage you want to read the text in; point your cam­era at the text you want to trans­late and voila!

QR code scan­ners: QR code scan­ners may not be in fre­quent use, but do come in handy. These ma­chine-read­able codes made of black and white squares are of­ten seen at tourist des­ti­na­tions, on busi­ness cards, on ad­ver­tise­ments, events, etc. By scan­ning the code one is redi­rected to a URL for more in­for­ma­tion. It is also used as a des­ti­na­tion for et­ick­ets and coupons, or to give de­tails such as price and re­views about a prod­uct in stores. Although An­droid’s Play Store has sev­eral apps, QR Code Reader and Scan­ner by Kasper­sky Lab are the best ones. iOS users can opt for the Free QR Code Reader by Mix­erBox Inc.

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