Capture the Moment

So many ways to use your device camera!

  • Take a Snapshot
  • Take a Screenshot
  • Scan Documents
  • Scan Barcodes or QR Codes
  • Search Visually
  • Augmented Reality
  • Check Your Heart Rate
  • Translate Languages

Take a Snapshot

More than just taking candid pictures, you can use your smartphone (device) camera to/as:

  • Capture whiteboard or projected meeting notes so you can more actively participate in the meeting instead of copying notes.
    Then use the Skitch app to mark it up.
  • Describe something – a photo is worth a thousand words. Don’t try to script details when you can quickly send a picture to a friend via text or email - something you want advice about buying, an error message on your electronic,
  • Keep a record of important info or remember details instead of writing it all down – license plate, insurance info, prescription medicines, gift wish list, child’s class schedule, printer cartridge, where you parked your car, an OTC medicine that your doctor wants you to try, a billboard phone number or address, subway or bus route, DVR recordings when getting the box replaced,
  • Take something apart to repair it - take a picture of the fully assembled item and then a picture during each stage of repair. Now you have a guide to reassemble the item.
  • Beat the price - snap an item with the store price tag so you have proof of the purchase price. Then take the photo to get a deal at a different store. Some stores say 'We can beat any price!'
  • Document a damaged package through the mail or dented car after a wreck. Your new stove arrived with a dent...take a photo.
  • Get recipe ingredients at the store - instead of writing it all down, take a pic.
  • Travel reminders on vacation or business - take photos of landmarks so you can get back to your hotel, souvenir shop, parking spot, or hotel room. Photo receipts and luggage stubs.
  • Import business cards - use an app like CamCard
  • Digitize items - your child’s art work (then make a photo book at year end)
  • Screen shot important information from text messages (address, directions, to-do steps) that need referred to later so not scrolling through all the texts again
  • Remember items people borrow - take a picture of them with the item (pan, DVD, book,…) and when they return it you can delete the photo
  • View yourself - if without a mirror and want to see how you look, use the camera in reverse and check yourself out
  • Magnify small print – zoom in on a serial number or product label for better clarity
  • Take video - pics may be worth a thousand words, but video can be even more valuable. This is especially true if you are trying to demonstrate an action or document something. Take a quick video instead of many photos. For example, taking a home inventory can be done via video in a very short time. Or you could provide visual instructions on how to perform a task.
  • FaceTime or Video Chat – If you can’t meet with someone in person, the next best thing can be via FaceTime or video chat. Being able to see someone, changes a conversation dramatically.

Take a Screenshot

You can take a screenshot of ANYTHING that is on your smartphone (device) screen - a website, app, existing photo, posting, game screen... Then you can email, text, or post it to a social media site or make that image your screensaver or desktop.

To take a screenshot on an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch:

Zoom in/out to fit what you want onto your screen. Then press the home and sleep buttons simultaneously. These are the two main buttons on your device. When you do this correctly, you will hear a shutter noise and the screen will flash.

Your photo is now ready for you in your Camera Roll.

On Androids, hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. The image is saved to the 'Captured Images' folder in your Gallery app. That only works in Android 4.0 and higher though.

Examples of items you might want to screenshot:

  • Your friend just made a hilarious typo in their text message and you want to share it with your other friends
  • You got a high score in one of your games and you want to remember it.
  • You find something on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,... that you want to reference again later but don't want to try to find it again.
  • You need your Google map while traveling but keep losing Internet connection. Just screenshot it so you have the map along the way.
  • You find an app in the app store that you want to do more research on but need to move on looking for others. Screenshot it so you don't forget it.
  • You want proof of something you found online but know you won't find it again.

Scan Documents

No need for a large flatbed scanner. If you need to save important documents, use your smartphone’s (device's) camera to scan and organize them. There are lots of apps that easily let you do this, but CamScanner is a good one to start with. The app lets you scan a document, crop it, use OCR (optical character recognition) to view it as editable text instead of just an image, and share it.

Examples of documents to scan:

  • receipts
  • notes
  • whiteboard discussions
  • letters
  • invoices
  • certificates
  • business cards
  • photos

Scan Barcodes or QR Codes

Barcodes are everywhere you go. Apps like Scan, ShopSavvy, RedLaser, BarCode Reader (iphone), and BarCode Scanner (android) turn your smartphone’s (device's) camera into a handy mobile barcode and QR code scanner. These apps allow you to scan to get the best prices, compare prices between thousands of online & offline retailers, find bargains/sales at some of your favorite local stores, research the product, discover related products, and more. Most of these will also save the codes and links so that you can access them later. Some give you a great way to save your virtual coupons or even share the information with others.

Examples of how these scanners are used:

  • Before buying an expensive item, scan it (or even look it up through the search feature) to see if there's a better deal for the same item elsewhere
  • Not sure of places to buy an item, find it at one place (or use the search feature) and use that info to know other places to check. Nice thing is that you can check those prices without going everywhere!

Search Visually

Have you ever struggled to identify an object or landmark? You can turn your smartphone (device) camera into a powerful visual search tool.

CamFind is the most popular visual search app (replaced Google Goggles). The app’s recognition technology still isn’t perfect, but you might be surprised what it can recognize.

After installing, CamFind is easy to use. Open the app, snap an object, and let it do it's 'identifying'. Results will then appear.

For Google Goggles if you want to try it, install the Google Search app, launch it, click in the search box, and then a mic & camera button will appear. Click the camera button & focus the camera on the landmark, object, or object's product barcode. Give it several seconds while it is capturing, then you may have to click the 'camera capturing' button on the screen. Once it displays some info, click 'search' to find out more details about that object/place.

It works best trying to recognize:

  • a book or DVD by its cover
  • logos
  • landmarks
  • artwork
  • products
  • businesses

It doesn't work too well with:
  • animals
  • furniture
  • clothes

Augmented Reality

There is a fun, interactive way to learn more about the world around you and your smartphone (device) camera can help augmented reality apps do this. These cutting edge apps use your camera and sensors to overlay information. This new technology blurs the line between what is real and what is computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel, and smell. Augmented reality is changing the way we view the world!

Examples of some augmented reality apps:

  • Star Walk or Sky Guide (iOS) and Star Chart or Night Sky (both iOS & Android) are stargazing apps that can tell you which stars and constellations you’re looking at. Just point your smartphone to the sky and the apps do the rest.
  • Yelp Monocle - user-generated guide to local places as it uses your smartphone’s camera, GPS, and compass to display markers for nearby restaurants and other businesses in real time. Each listed location links directly to its Yelp review so you can read relevant ratings and reviews before you get there. It’s great when traveling to new cities. Note- To get to the AR Monocle part of it: after installing the Yelp app, you need to click 'More' in the bottom right of the app->choose Monocle->wait for it to begin->slowly pan the area
  • Wikitude World Browser is an augmented reality browser. This virtual browser works similar to Yelp Monocle in that it gives geographically-relevant information. It gives useful information in the form of Wikipedia articles detailing landmarks and/or directions to the landmarks.
  • ColorSmart from Behr - if you are thinking of repainting a room or house, this app lets you see what the new color would look like without actually painting.
  • Snapshop Showroom - capture an image of one of your own rooms and view it with top retailer's furniture

Check your Heart Rate

Need to know your heart rate? Just use your smartphone (device) to fire up the Instant Heart Rate app and press your finger to the camera or get the Cardio Buddy app and face the camera sensor towards your face.

The app measures the color changes in your skin to figure out how fast your heart is pumping. It’s not complicated to use, but it is cool. The apps will also store your data and also offer more information.

Translate Foreign Languages

Need to know what a sign or text says in a different language? In the past you had to ask someone else or type the text into a text translation program, but now you can point your smartphone (device) camera at the text and see the translation appear before your eyes on your phone. A few apps that work well for this are Word Lens ($), Photo Translator, and for text only you can use Google Translate (site link but available as app also).