So, we have had an interesting journey thus far exploring “Mobitography (Part-1, Part-2)”. I thought I’d conclude this piece with a few applications that I have come across that makes use of the cell phone camera. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more interesting stuff to come and over time these apps will help wedge a wider gap between the conventional CCD camera and the cell phone camera.
Let’s start with conferencing. With the arrival of front facing cameras in several phones conferencing has now become more personalized – sharing your mug-shot is now a breeze and beware of nose-picking!. OK, what else?
How about something for the text-crazies? Texting while driving is a big no-no and I get that. How about texting while walking? In a big city like NYC, it would definitely result in some body-banging. But apps such as Type n Walk, Easy Walk & Type, iType2Go, Email n Walk, Road SMS, Text Bot, Walk n Write essentially integrate real time images from the cell phone camera and SMS, allowing for the user to text while walking. Is it safe? Not sure. I wouldn’t do it. I’d prefer to be stationary before texting or in the back seat of a vehicle.
How about Augmented Reality (AR)? Have you heard of it? If not, read on! AR apps integrate real time images from the cell phone camera with overlays such as maps to enable a dynamic interaction with one’s environment. It takes the user experience to another level. For example, the app “Travel Guide with AR” (Travel Guide on steroids), lets users point and pan their camera into the surroundings, while the app uses the information captured by the camera and lets you know of any interesting places (with directions, bus/train-routes) around you. Very useful in a place like Europe where all you need to do is stand in the Piazza and pan your camera around you to find cool places to visit or find that hole-in-the-wall eatery that the guide-books talk about. Savvy? That’s an example of Augmented Reality for you. Here are some AR apps for you to look at – iPhone AR apps, Android AR apps.
What about 3D on the cell phone? Well, that’s happening as well. While still in its infancy, 3D effects can be reproduced by taking multiple photographs and using ‘vibrating stereo’ effects to create virtual 3D. Some apps such as Camera 3D (Android) allow for multiple photographs to be taken and then overlays them to create 3D effects. At some point down the line, I would not be surprised to see smartphones with 3D cameras as an option. There are many apps as of today that allow for visualization for say photos in Flickr or Facebook in 3D. Spatial View Inc also sells a special protective case that contains a lens that allows for 3D viewing. But do bear in mind that these apps do not use real time capture from the cell phone camera.
Since, cell phone cameras have static lenses that do not allow for good zooming capabilities, there are gizmo’s out there that can be attached to the camera lens that allows for enhanced zoom. Check these out! Here’s a cell phone camera telescope from Brando.
Here are a few more telescopic attachments that allow for that extra zoom that you have always craved for.
Conversely, some of these attachments can also be used for super-zoom applications that enable the camera to be used as –get this – “microscopes”! This $10 DIY microscope has won a number of awards and the inventor of this gadget is now exploring opportunities in Africa to help analyze diseases in patients in a cost effective manner.
In addition to these attachments, for the Mobitography-buffs out there, there are additional accessories such as tripods and cases that allow for really nice photographs.
So there, that concludes this 3-part series on Mobitography. There’s more that I’d like to write, but for now I’ll hang up my pen on this topic. I’d be interested to hear from you folks of any ‘Mobitographic’ moments that you’d like to share.