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Things You Can Do With Your Smartphone Besides Snapping Selfies

Updated on March 26, 2018
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Besides writing, Prachi is also into choreography and web development. She currently speaks Hindi, English, Spanish and a little French.


The smartphone has made life easier with its remarkable features, especially by helping us take HD quality photos. But besides the simple process of taking selfies, the smartphone camera serves much more than that. Here are some of its major advantages:

Translate the text into Native Language

In a typical process, we have to paste the unknown text in a translation app or website and ask for its translation in our native language. This is a long process, especially when a server is taking too much time to load, but it can be cut short through our camera. We have the option to scan the text or document by the camera and the translation will be right in front of us.

This can be done, though freely available Google Translate app (both for Android and iOS). The process is comparatively much easier. The only thing to be done is to download the app, choose the language in which we want to translate the content, point the camera at the unknown text and here we have our answer. That’s it.
People having Samsung Galaxy S8 or newer version of the Galaxy can do so using the Bixby Vision button. Tap the Bixby button and point the camera at the text and the content will be automatically translated on your phone.

Get a little closer to the night sky

Sky Walk 2 App
Sky Walk 2 App | Source

Looking at the stars during a clear night is amazing. To make the experience even better, we have certain apps available to us that can guide us about the stars. We have to point the camera at the sky and visual overlays will inform us if we have spotted the star or Space Station.

One of the best rated apps is Star Walk 2 (both for Android and iOS). The app has an amazing design and features. It works on the basis of the user’s present location and input received by the smartphone’s gyroscope sensor. These data help it to identify the constellations, satellites and various other objects. It also helps us show the changes in the night sky as we move in time either backward or forward.
Another highly rated app is SkyView. Though the app is not much remarkable in comparison to Star Walk 2, but it still has very helpful features to guide us about the natural and man-made cosmic objects. It also sends us notifications about the upcoming stargazing events.

Boost to Augmented Reality

Samsung's AR Emoji
Samsung's AR Emoji | Source

While Apple and Samsung have already initiated the use of AR (Augmented Reality) via "Animoji" and "AR emoji" respectively, here are some apps to help us avail some more benefits with our smartphone camera. The most known app is Snapchat, which has innumerable varieties of AR stickers. We just need to open the app, adjust our face and snap a photo or make a video by just tapping anywhere on the screen. Besides Snapchat, here are some more trending apps: "PGA Tour AR" (available only for iOS users) put golf like holes on the nearby surfaces, "Inkhunter" (both for Android and iOS) lets us know about various tattoos that we can get on our skin before actually going for one and last but not the least, here is Catalog App that brings out AR versions of furniture into the real rooms so we can check the look, before actually buying the stuff.

Digitize paper documents


Snapping the photos of paper documents is something each one of us do and know very well how to do it, but here are some apps to boost the digitization of paper documents. These apps not only scan the documents but also provide features to crop them and search for a particular word in the scanned documents. Though, there are many apps available, the best ones are Google Drive and Dropbox. Both of the apps have a plus icon, we just need to click on that icon and then, the document scanning process will start by itself.

Get information about the nearby objects


Google has done pretty much with its visual technology. One of its products is called as Lens Technology, which is built into Google Photos. Just snap an image of anything you like and get information about that object.
For this, use Google Photos to open any image of your choice and then tap on the Google Lens, available at the bottom of the app. The inbuilt software recognizes the object and delivers information about it. If you have Google Pixel phone, then it is pretty easy to do. By using Google Assistant, tap on the Google Lens button; point the camera at a specific object. Confirm the pictured object by tapping on the screen and related information will pop up on your phone screen.

Scan QR codes to receive information


QR code is the easiest way to act as a shortcut to a specific website; we just need to photograph them. QR codes are available on packages, brochures, menus, stationery, posters and many other items. By scanning the QR code with our smartphone camera, we can reach to the website of that item or can even look for a special online discount.

Use it as a security guard

ManyThing | Source

Our smartphone can also help us to keep an eye on our valuables such as property, pets and even more, when we are away from home. For this, we will need two devices, one to capture the video and another to watch it.
For this task, here is an app called as “Many thing”. The app allows us to watch the events live at any time. It also notifies us when any motion is detected in front of the camera. The created footage can also be saved in the clouds. It also has the option to set multiple cameras.
There are other apps, especially meant for baby monitoring such as Dormi and Cloud Baby Monitor. Dormi can connect the monitoring device (tablet or phone) with multiple other devices. The voice is automatically amplified, when crying is detected. On the other hand, Cloud Baby Monitor gives us a feature of watching a live video from any other connected device. It sends alerts when a certain motion is detected and we can also send the audio messages to the child sitting at a far place.

Which of these you think is the most valuable features?

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