I've been holding off on talking about this ingenious app until it would be available in the Canadian app store. Low and behold, it is. Have you ever had a situation where an extra pair of eyes would have come in handy. Well, I wouldn't mind just a functional pair, but I digress. VizWiz helps in making this a reality. Point, click ask an wait for an answer.
Point and click:
After installing this app, launch it and you will be presented with a very simple interface. First step is to take a picture. This is done by double clicking on the "Camera" button. Find the object, or whatever you want an explanation of in your environment and double click.
Record your question:
It's as simple as clicking on the "Record" button and speaking your question. You will feel a slight vibration when using the IPhone. This is your cue to start talking. You have up to 15 seconds of recording time, so there may be a bit of a wait before it ends. Unless, I don't know how to stop it, which could very well be.
Sending the question:
Now, you get to select your sources to help you figure out what the picture is all about. You can choose human interaction, IQ engine technology or both. These are toggle buttons which you can turn on and off. There's a twitter field where you can put in your username and password, so you can receive your answers via the Twitter feed. At least, that's my theory.
Finally, double click on the "Send" button and wait a few seconds for an answer. Depending on the source you used and the quality of the picture, the waiting time may vary.
The last screen that you encounter is the Answer screen. If the app says "View Answers", this means that the picture is still being processed. Once it says "View answers available", this means you can start navigating the screen to see the description. As a test example for this entry, I used a magazine on my desk. I asked what the title was and chose human interaction for the answer. I got the following response.
I don't see the title, but there is a picture of a bike and the words "Gladstone Hotel" at the bottom of the page.
This app has a potential of being very helpful for many people. For example, there is an allusive can of coconut milk in my pantry back home and I'm tired of opening beats instead. I can now take a picture and ask a human assistant to help me find it. Yeah, I know I should label the cans, but I like the mystery.
Oddly enough, I was recently thinking that this sort of service would be handy. Just to show you how useful web humans are, check out the scenario below.
I had to recently label my stove. I set up my netbook on top of it, pointed the web cam towards the panel and called my dad. He walked me through all of the labeling. It was pretty cool. VizWiz does not have video capabilities at this point and I don't know if this will ever be a consideration.
For more information on VizWiz, follow this link:
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