April 21, 2012, 7:26 AM — Microsoft has just unveiled the most practical use of augmented reality (AR) technology to date, at least for globetrotters.
The company has released an updated version of its Translator app for Windows Phone that lets you translate printed language simply by pointing your phone's camera at something--for example, a street sign, train schedule, or restaurant menu.
"Think of it as automatic subtitles for everyday life," writes Microsoft's Vikram Dendi, director of product management for Bing Translator, in a blog post.
The free app presents a continuous translation displayed over the original language, be it English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, or Chinese Simplified. A sample scenario: You're wandering the streets of Beijing and can't read the street signs. The video below shows how Translator could prove very helpful in this situation: