Helping you make the most of that little thing in your life. Your smartphone camera lens.
What Can I Do With My Smartphone Camera?
If you're like me, and wondering why so many people are completely fixated on staring at their smartphones or pointing them in every single direction, oblivious to everyone around them — and taking photos of everything! Well, they could be doing a multitude of things — from the obvious to the not-so-obvious.
If you don't own a smartphone, you can still use the camera on your smart devices like tablets, notebooks and laptops, but not for everything below.
Taking Photographs, Selfies & Videos
According to Statista, the current number of smartphone users in the world today is almost 4 billion, and this means almost half of the world’s population owns a smartphone. * That figure does not include smart devices such as tablets, notebooks, and laptops.
Photographs: People love taking photos of any and everything. Bernard Marr, a world-renowned influencer and author in the field of business and technology reported that people took 1.2 trillion photos in 2017. 'Keypoint Intelligence' predicts that the number of photos that people will take in 2021 will be 1.44 trillion.
Selfies: Yes, we all (not all) love a selfie! Google reported that every third photo that 18-to-24-year-olds took was a selfie. In 2019, a Google poll concluded that its Android device users "take 93 million selfies per day", Some taking more than eight selfies a day.
Photograph or video criminals committing, or who have just committed a crime (without putting yourself in any danger).
Record legacies, wonderful memories for family and friends to look back on. + Record funny animal clips, bloopers, or your comedy or magic skills and generate revenue on YouTube, especially if they go viral.
Video Chat & Conferencing
Instant Messaging. We (or most people) are not content with just seeing someone while they're talking to them, they have to see them and why not!. And what better way to do this than with apps such as 'WhatsApp', 'Skype' and 'Facetime'.
Online video conferencing and online job interviews. Since the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, online job interviews and business conferences were cancelled. Instead, video conferencing tools such as 'Google Meet' and 'Zoom' has become popular, and an everyday necessity for employers and employees.
Webcam chatrooms have been around for decades to offer real-time online chat and online interaction with strangers from around the world. These have been a life-saver when I needed help with PC and social issues, and advice from a real person. The most popular (and free) are 'Camfrog' and 'Paltalk' chat where you can explore thousands of rooms with different countries, languages, topics and activities — and meet millions of friendly members worldwide.
Scanning QR Codes & Bar Codes
Unless you're living in the out-out-outback, or still stranded on that desert island, I'm, sure you've seen or used a code, but did you know...!
QR Codes: These are used to translate a black and white image into something that can be easily understood by humans. The QR code system was invented in 1994 by the Japanese businessman, Masahiro Hara. The initial design was said to be influenced by the black and white pieces on a Go board. It was initially designed to track automotive components during manufacturing.
Barcodes were invented by the Americans, Norman Joseph Woodland, and Bernard Silver. The invention was based on Morse code that was extended to thin and thick bars.
Security & Surveillance
Motion Detection app: turn your old smartphone into a security camera with a 'motion detector' app to detect any movement in your home or business and notify you in case of intrusion. Or monitor your kid's and pets' activity to notify you in case of danger. A better app would be the Alfred camera web viewer (below) which works like CCTV (remote monitoring).
CCTV: turn your PC or old smartphone into a 'remote monitoring security CCTV camera' with the Alfred Camera Web viewer Once installed on both devices and signed in, you can now view what your PC webcam can see on your smartphone. You can choose whic device to set as the viewer or camara. The 'motion sensor' will send you an alert and take a picture when it detects any movement. Features include two-way talk, night vision, and a siren. This is a free app and works on Android and IOS devices.
Playing Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go: You may have noticed people bumping into you in public who are fixated on their smartphone, they could be playing Pokémon Go, an augmented reality (AR) mobile game that combines gaming with the real world. It was developed and published as part of the Pokémon franchise and is popular worldwide. * The game works by moving around the places where you live or visit. Your smartphone will then vibrate to let you know when you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered one, you can then interact with it using the smartphone's touch screen. This game has had over 1 billion downloads by early 2019 and grossed more than $6 billion in revenue as of 2020, and It doesn't show signs of slowing down.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence to identify text and objects from a live view from your phone's camera. Simply point your device's camera lens to things to help you identify anything you cannot identify — such as plants, flowers, animals, buildings, and other objects.
Translate foreign text in real-time. Find educational videos and results from the web for students to help with maths, history, biology, physics, chemistry, and more.* The Google Lens app is not 100% accurate (But what is!). Its artificial intelligence (AI) will improve as more people use it.
I discovered an ashtray I bought for a £1.00 in a charity shop came from the Plaza Hotel, and was rare.
Magnifying Things: Sitting in a café, I wondered what my friend was reading on his phone. Upon closer inspection, I discovered he was using his smartphone 'camera' to read the text of his newspaper because he is too embarrassed to wear glasses and use a magnifying glass in public. So instead, he uses his camera app and zoomed-in which made it look like he was looking at his phone. He told me, he also does this to read the very small print on supermarket's food packets. The built-in camera zoom feature 'works better than installing a magnifying app'.
Rear View Mirror
Rear View Mirror: Rear view mirrors and camara's are great for cars and bikes to observe what's going on behind them, but what about pedestrians in public who want to see behind them, some vulnerable, others plain paranoid who want to observe that strange person following them, and without looking too obvious by having to twist their neck to constantly observe them? What they do is either, video call a friend who can see and monitor them, as well as the person who is following them to be a witness (just in case!) if the worse was to happen!
Or they're pretending to be looking at themselves through their front facing camara to observe behind them.ou know, some people have to keep looking their best
Mirrors: Yes, many people are spending so much time looking at themselves in their rear-view facing camera. Women (mostly) no longer whip out their compact mirrors to check their make-up or checking to see if there's any spinach stuck between their teeth. The downside, it is more expensive to replace an accidentally dropped phone than an accidentally dropped mirror if it breaks!
Star Gazing: Not everyone's taking photos or video recording when pointing their smartphone towards the sky. They are probably using an app to identify the sky, stars, planets, galaxies, satellites — even NASA'S 'International Space Station' and 'The Hubble Space Telescope', which was launched into orbit by space shuttle Discovery in 1990. * This is a great app for people interested in astronomy, astrology, or who just want to learn more about the night sky. The Skyview app is on iOS and Android, but both platforms have a free version. Other sky-gazing apps versions are available.
Secret Admirers - Spy!
Secret Admirers..... This is not what you can do with your smartphone, but what others may be doing! Basically, people secretly staring (spying) on you without your knowledge! Yes, that person sitting opposite you on a bus, train or café, busy looking at their phone, could be looking at their phone, but probably watching you! — through their smartphone — zoomed in and sometimes recording which is just as bad as "up-skirting" - where "creeps" use their smartphone to secretly record or take a photo (creep-shot) of underneath females skirts. If you can see a smartphone camera lens, the chances are it can see and record you.
Night Vision: These apps lets you take videos and pictures in the dark and see everything lighter. Take selfies in the dark, and you add all sorts of effects. Top 10 Night Vision Apps for Android and IOS.
NASA GLOBE Observer
The NASA GLOBE Observer app is inviting everyone around the globe to contribute to a global database of observations to help tackle the environmental problems. Users can help by taking photos of clouds — recording sky observations, which are a critical part of the global climate system. The GLOBE Observer App is used to observe Clouds, Mosquito Habitat Mapper, Land Cover and Trees.
Face-changing apps use artificial intelligence to transform faces into weird and wonderful images. Have fun with your friends. Swap faces with your favourite celebrities. Add fun effects to your pictures and videos.
New smartphone camera technology
- Food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have come up with a way to use a smartphone camera to detect harmful bacteria in contaminated vegetables.
- Scientists develop TB test that uses a smartphone camera. Professor Alamgir Hossain, from Anglia Ruskin University Malaysia said, It is hoped that the app-based test will help bring down the death rate of more than a million people a year.
With smartphone camera and app technology advancing every minute, one day, we may be able to use our smartphone cameras to detect all kinds of illnesses and diseases as quick as a blink of a camara's eye.
Could smartphone technology one day be used as an X-Ray machine to see human or animals' bones and internal organs? — or even to see ghosts!
Perhaps one day, all those people who claim to have seen or been abducted by aliens can use their smartphone to prove it!
Until then, let us "smile" and make the most of all the useful things we can do with that little thing in our life... a camara lens.
© 2021 Tony Sky