LucSens, a Finnish startup, specializes in augmented reality and computer-vision programming. Their products include iPhone applications helping you have a better time in Asia. By better time, I mean you’re able to understand the language. They have five applications in their portfolio, but only two are out in the App Store at the moment. Lost in Japan and Japan Goggles are the applications that are out and China Goggles, Lost in China as well as Taiwan Goggles are still in the making.
Both Lost in Japan and Japan Goggles are able to recognize some 3000 characters. What’s cool about the app is that they’re able to do all the translating on the app itself, so when you’re abroad (where you’re most likely to use the app), it won’t use any expensive data roaming to translate the characters for you. The difference between Lost in Japan and Japan Goggles is the technology used to read the character from the image.
I took a test ride with the app. While I wasn’t in Japan, I was able to Google for some Japanese characters and see how it performs. Took one of the more simpler ones to test it with.
The app itself is really simple and easy to use. The only downside of this is that you cannot make groupings of characters to try and understand a longer piece of text. Iulian Florea, the founder of the company, told us that their Chinese version of the apps are better and further in development so they’ve probably taken care of a variety of issues in the chinese version of the translator.
While being extremely simple, I believe it’ll be exactly due to that and the easiness of use that will help popularise these sort of apps. The apps are free and you can find them in the AppStore.