If you don't believe we're living in the future, this incredible-looking language translator may change your mind.
You know, it might be hard to realize it sometimes, but we are really are living in the future. With phones like the iPhone and Droid, we're carrying around devices in our pockets that have exponentially more power than our desktop computers did fifteen years ago. And no better is this demonstrated by this iPhone app, QuestVisual's "Word Lens." Word Lens uses the camera on an iPod Touch or iPhone to read signs in a language, and then nigh-instantly replaces the text with a translation.
Allow me to break professional decorum for just one moment, please: Holy crap that's cool.
It's true that it essentially duplicates the function of Google Goggles, but this is all done on the device; there's no need for a network connection. Besides, it automatically overlays it on the screen - and while this promotional video seen here is clearly touched up, live demos show that it still works fairly well.
Is it perfect? Certainly not. You need to purchase individual dictionaries for $5 apiece, and using your camera all the time is a sure way to drain your phone's battery. Besides, the dictionary-specific translations all have that awkward "Google Translate" feel to them - but you can still get the gist of it.
Limitations aside, this technology exists. It can only get better from here as kinks get ironed out. Now where are my road-legal flying cars?