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Innovative Uses for Your Smartphone Camera

Smartphone Camera
Did you know that your smartphone camera is so much more than a
gadget for taking selfies? From filing insurance claims to helping you
choose your next beer, your phone’s camera is a versatile device.
If like me you are guilty of never putting down your phone, at least
make sure you are maximizing your built-in camera capabilities! 

Also Read: Smartphones will soon be able to share power by touching other devices


Use it as a mirror

While it doesn’t seem overly innovative, using that front-facing
camera as a mirror is one of my favorite uses. So simple and yet so
practical. You won’t always have friends around to tell you when you
have spinach in your teeth so thank goodness you have your phone to
check your pearly whites after dinner!

Use it as a pair of glasses

It wouldn’t be very practical to use this life hack for an extended
period of time but if you are stuck without your glasses, or even just
looking for your glasses, it can be very helpful. Hold the smartphone
camera up to your face and it will magnify everything for you!

Use it to file insurance claims

Filing an insurance claim can be a painful experience that involves
far more paperwork and waiting than feels necessary. That’s why
companies are taking advantage of smartphones to streamline the process.
Esurance, for example, has rolled out real-time video appraisals.
Sign in to the app to video chat with an appraiser using the camera on
your phone. Allstate on the other hand uses a QuickFoto Claim Guide as
part of their app to speed up the claims process.

Use it as an extension of your eyes

Your smartphone camera can quite literally be an extra set of eyes
for those tough to reach spots you want to see. This can be especially
true if you have an extension like a selfie stick to help you reach
around corners or above big pieces of furniture. Can’t remember what’s
hiding above your tallest cabinet? No worries! Hold your arm up, snap a
pic and voila, mystery solved.

Use it to scan documents

Don’t have a scanner at home? Now you do. Camscanner is a smartphone app that uses the phone’s camera to digitize paper documents with cutting-edge image processing technology.

Use it to remember your license plate

Snap a picture of your license plate so that you never have to run
back out to the car to check when someone asks you. Let’s be real, after
spending hours at the DMV you don’t want to be that person that holds
up the line because you have to go outside to double check your license

Use it to order prescriptions

Walgreens and CVS’s apps now allow you to scan your medicine bottle’s
barcode with your phone’s camera and pick up the refill within an hour.
Gone are the days of walking down to the pharmacy, physically dropping
your prescription and killing thirty minutes wandering the aisles while
they prepare it.

Use it to deposit a check

When is the last time you walked to a bank to deposit a check? In the
digital ages, many of us bank with companies that don’t have brick and
mortar locations anywhere near us, so getting to a bank to do anything
can be incredibly disruptive. The solution? All major bank apps now
allow you to take a picture of your check and deposit it directly
through the app.

Use it to pinpoint nearby locations

Yelp is one of the many companies taking advantage of the augmented
reality movement with its Monocle app feature. Point your smartphone
camera down a commercial street and Yelp will point out nearly

Use it to remember your coat check

Next time you coat check your jacket, take a picture of the ticket.
It is so easy to lose it and if the venue is of a certain size you might
be waiting for hours while they try to find your coat. It won’t happen
every time but the one time that it does you will be relieved you
planned ahead.

Use it to turn your recipe into a grocery list

Apps like BigOven’s Recipe Scan
let users scan photos of recipes with their smartphones and transform
them into a typed up version. This automation comes at a small fee but
it is safe to say that the days of manually copying out recipes and
shopping lists from cookbooks are on their way out.

Use it to journal your food

Whether you are trying to lose weight, stay healthy or just want to
remember what you ate, there is a food journaling app for you. If you
enjoy photographing your food, you might consider the Eatery,
a community-based app in which users upload pictures of their food and
the community comments, likes and rates the food from fat to fit.
Smartphone cameras can also double as barcode readers for a number of
apps like Lose it! or Weight Watchers that track the nutritional value of your meals.

Use it to log expenses

Tracking expenses on the go is easy when you have your phone with
you. Most major credit cards companies now have apps that let you snap
pictures of the receipts to track them as you go. This can be especially
helpful if you have work expenses you will need to file at a later
date. Want to log them now? Services like Expensify have an app that
allows you to photograph receipts and file expense reports on the go.

Use it to remember your passport number

Do you know your passport number off the top of your head? How long
would it take you to find it? Save a picture of it to your phone and be
ready for the next time you might want to be spontaneous and book an
international flight.

Use it to translate foreign text

Now that you’ve booked your spontaneous trip abroad and are exploring
new countries, you might want help deciphering all of those road signs
you can’t read. Google Translate’s phone app has an image feature that
will translate the text in an image you snap with the in-app camera.

Use it to track your favorite wines

When you try a new wine while out to dinner you can now log it into your phone using apps like Vivino
that have a label recognition system. Simply scan a photo of the front
of the bottle and log notes and ratings for later. If like me you know
enough about wine to recognize what you like and don’t like, but not
enough to be able to describe your tastes to a sommelier, this is the
perfect way to up your wine game!

Use it to find beer suggestions

Overwhelmed by the beer menu? SipSnapp
has you covered. Use your phone camera to take a picture of the beer
menu and the app will spit out a series of ratings, reviews and
recommendations written by fellow beer drinkers.

Use it to import business cards

Business cards are a cumbersome but critical part of networking. Apps like ABBYY Business Card Reader
are making your life easier by storing all of your business cards in
your phone. Scan the card using the in-app camera and it will import all
of the data. Bonus? You can hook it up to your Salesforce account
making it that much easier to follow up post-conference.

Use it to connect with friends and family around the world

With apps like Skype and FaceTime, your phone can become a portal to
another location and talking face-to-face with people on the other side
of the world is a reality. My immediate family lives in three countries
on two different continents so it’s nice to be able to pretend like we
are sharing a meal even though we are thousands of miles apart.

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