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 wondering why so many people are completely fixated on their smartphones and point them in every direction, usually oblivious to everyone around them. Or taking photos of everything and anything! Well, they could be doing a multitude of things, — from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, and not always taking videos or photos.
Note; 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
- Video Chat & Conferencing
- Scanning QR Codes & Bar Codes
- Security & Surveillance
- Playing Augmented Reality
- Google Lens
- Rear View Mirror
- Magnifying Things
- Star Gazing
- Secret Admirers - Spy - Perverts
- Night Vision
- NASA GLOBE Observer
- New Smartphone Camera Technology
- The 'Potential' Future of Smartphone camera Technology!
- Evolution of Mobile Phones
Taking Photographs, Selfies & Videos
- But did you know? According to Statista, the current number of smartphone users in the world today (2020) is almost 4 billion. This means almost half of the world’s population owns a smartphone. That figure does not include smart devices such as tablets, notebooks, PCs, and laptops.
- Photographs: People love taking photos. According to Keypoint Intelligence, 1,440,300,000,000 photos were taken in 2020. Images are big business and Internet companies like Shutterstock will pay for your photos.
- Selfies: Yes, we all (not all) love a selfie! A Google poll concluded that its Android device users took 3 million selfies per day, Some taking more than eight selfies a day. (cheesy, I know:)
- The danger of selfies: Between 2011 and 2017, nearly 300 people have been killed by selfie-related fatalities. Accidents included falling off a cliff or mountain. Being hit by a vehicle or train (while listening to music on their headphones), or accidentally stepping into a river and drowning.
When you have access to a device that can take photos and record video, the world is your oyster
Continued: Taking Photographs, Selfies & Videos
- Anyone with a smartphone can be a freelance news journalist. All you have to do is record newsworthy events. Such as criminals committing crimes. (without putting yourself in any danger) is always newsworthy. and TV and online media companies will buy the rights to use (license) your photos and video footage.
- If your good at photography, submit your photos to Unsplash or Shutterstock and earn a commission each time a customer downloads your images or video clips.
- Record funny animal clips, heartwarming clips, bloopers, or even you singing, cooking, or teaching makeup tutorials — or showing off your magic skills, and generate revenue on YouTube, especially if they go viral.
- Create legacies: The videos and photos we take of family and friends that are saved on our devices or uploaded online, are creating legacies — capturing and creating wonderful memories of family and friends for future generations to look back on.
Video Chat & Conferencing
- Online video conferencing and online job interviews. Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, online job interviews and business conferences were canceled in favour of video conferencing tools such as 'Google Meet' and 'Zoom' which have become very popular, and an everyday necessity for employers, employees, and the unemployed to communicate with each other.
- Instant Messaging. Many 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 free apps such as 'WhatsApp', 'Skype' and 'Facetime'.
- Webcam chatrooms have been around for decades to offer real-time online chat and online interaction with strangers from around the world. They have been a life-saver when I needed instant help with PC and other problems 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 chat to millions of (mostly) 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 the following codes, but did you know...?
- Barcodes are used to translate a black and white image into something that humans can easily understand. 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.
- QR Codes work on the same principle as barcodes. The QR code system was invented in 1994 by the Japanese businessman, Masahiro Hara. The initial design was initially used to track automotive components during manufacturing. THe design was said to be influenced by the black and white pieces on a 'Go' board game, aka, 'Go' or 'Weiqi', which is an abstract strategy board game. The game was invented in China over 2,500 years ago and is one of the oldest board games and still popular today.
Security & Surveillance
If you're ever worried about the costs and complications of trying to set up a home or work security system, all you need is two devices, internet or wifi, and a free app.
- Motion Detection App. Turn your PC or old smartphone or another device into a 'remote monitoring security CCTV camera' with the Alfred Camera Web viewer app. Once installed on both devices and signed in, you can view what your PC webcam can see on your smartphone. You can choose which device to set as the viewer or camera. 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. Perfect for keeping a 'camera's eye' on your room, home, garage, kids, pets, garden, and anything you like.
Augmented Reality Games
Augmented Reality Games. You may have noticed people of all ages bumping into you in public who are fixated on their smartphones, they are probably playing 'Pokemon Go', one of the many augmented reality (AR) mobile games that combines gaming with the real world. Pokemon, the most popular 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 in search of Pokemon characters. Once you've encountered one, you can then interact with it using the smartphone's touch screen. Connect and play with Pokemon fans and friends. Or look for other Pokemon players in your area with 'Catch ‘Em Go'.
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 is a powerful and must-have tool for every smartphone or device (with a camera). Google Lens uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you translate foreign text and help identify any object or thing. Simply point your device's camera lens 'and click' to help you identify any and everything you cannot identify. Including trees, flowers, animals, insects, or buildings. I discovered an ashtray I bought for £1.00 in a charity shop was rare and worth £55.00.
If it can't identify an item you own, it could mean you have something very rare or unique! You can also 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 AI is improving as more people use it.
Rear View Mirror
- Rear-View Mirror: Rear-view mirrors and 'dash/helmet' cameras are great for cars and bikes to observe what's going on around them, but what about pedestrians in public who want to see behind them — people who are vulnerable, and others who are plain paranoid. How do they observe that person or potential weirdo without looking too obvious by having to keep turning around to observe them? What they do is either, video-call a friend who can see, as well as monitor them (hold their metaphorical hand) so to speak — to be a 'camera eye' witness, just in case the worse was to happen! If you have no one to call, you could pretend to be making a video call. Or, why not log in to one of the 'Video Chat & Conferencing' rooms. That way, you'll have a room full of people watching (keeping an eye) on you.
- Mirror mirror on the wall... Yes, many people (males and females) are spending so much time looking at themselves in their 'front-facing camera' without the need to whip out a compact mirror 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!
And I'm sure others 'like me' use the reflection of the dark screen (when the phone is off) as a rearview mirror...to see behind, or to look at themselves!
Magnifying Things: Sitting in a cafe, I asked to read my friend's newspaper, because he was so engrossed in his phone. Upon closer inspection, I discovered he was using his smartphone 'camera' to read the text of his newspaper because he's said he's "too embarrassed to wear glasses or use a magnifying glass in public". So instead, he uses his camera app 'zoomed in' which made it look like he was looking at his phone. He told me, he also does this secretly to read the very small print on supermarket's food packets, which could make it look like he was scanning barcodes.
BTW, the 'built-in camera zoom feature' works just as good as the many magnifying apps.
Medical: Your doctor will see you now — but not face-to-face!. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many surgeries around the world now offer face-to-face video consultations which in turn, eliminates the need to travel and avoid meeting in person. This will save people a lot of time and travel expenses, and help stop the spread of infections during the pandemic.
And, if you don't have a doctor, or too embarrassed to tell your doctor about something personal, you can search for many online doctors (for a fee) who will see you, (virtually) regardless of what country you or they are in. luckily for me, I have not used them.
Star Gazing: Not everyone's taking photos, selfies, or video recording when they're pointing their smartphone towards the sky. They are probably using one of many stargazing apps to identify and give more information about the sky, stars, planets, galaxies, and satellites.
The 'Skyview' is a free app that is great for people who are interested in astronomy, astrology, or want to learn more about the night sky. Other sky-gazing apps versions are available. Including, the NASA app to watch a live view of the earth from the International Space Station. You can also keep up to date with all of NASA's current missions.
Available for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and Roku. Don't forget to have your device's location' switched on.
Secret Admirers - Spy - Perverts
Secret Admirers..... Warning! This is not what you can do with your smartphone, but what others may be doing with theirs! Basically, people secretly staring (spying) at you without your knowledge! Yes, that person sitting or standing opposite you on a bus, train, or cafe. Or that person on the escalator or stairs behind you 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 take a photo (creep-shot) of underneath females skirts. Be cautious around people using their smartphones.
Night Vision: These apps let 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.
Face-changing apps use artificial intelligence to transform faces into weird and wonderful images or videos.
Have fun by swapping faces with your friends or favourite celebrities. Add fun effects to your pictures and videos.
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 environmental problems. Users of all ages can help by taking photos of the land, clouds and trees, and record sky observations.
The app is used to help NASA scientists to understand the changes in the atmosphere and environment. By taking part, scientists can use your observations and information to help save the planet.
Note: When recording trees, your smartphone (or device) will need to have a built-in gyroscope to record the angle that you are holding your phone at.
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.
The 'Potential' Future of Smartphone camera Technology!
Could smartphone technology one day be used as an 'X-Ray and MRI' machine to see the inner workings and organs of the human body? — or even ghosts!?
And all those people who claim to have seen aliens, or been abducted by aliens can use their smartphones 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... our camera lens.
Evolution of Mobile Phones
© 2021 Tony Sky