Thursday, December 30, 2010

Neat Tech Products

Writing in the New York Times, David Pogue has a roundup of his favorite technology products of the year. Many of them are pretty unsurprising, which doesn't make them any less useful--a wall plug that adds two USB jacks for power alongside the usual three-pronged 115VAC power sockets. But one I really love is an iPhone app that translates Spanish to English--not a big deal except that you input the Spanish by pointing the camera at a sign, and the output is an image of the same sign with the translation written in English in exactly the same font! What a cool idea. It shows the power that comes when lots of technology building blocks become mature--text scanning, translation (probably nothing more than dictionary look-up, but this particular application domain doesn't require more than that), and some simple image synthesis tricks.

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