Tuesday Tip: Cool New Uses for Your Phone’s Camera

by Tony Rushin


Network 1 Consulting | Cool Uses for Phone Camera - taking picture

Did you know you can use your phone camera for far more than just pictures?

I snap photos of stuff I want to find later and save them in Evernote – important stuff like my license plate, specialty lightbulbs for the house, bourbons I’ve tried, and the like. I also use Scannable when I need to scan a document with my iPhone. These apps got me thinking: what are some other cool uses for my iPhone’s camera? The Google found a few apps I didn’t know about and reminded me of some others. In addition to Evernote and Scannable, here are my favorites.

Google Translate

I used this in Spain a few years back when the translate-from-a-photo feature was new; it didn’t work that great. However, my son just got back from a three-week vacation in Italy and Russia, and he said it worked well enough to figure things out. With road signs or displays in a museum, it worked well. With menus, it didn’t work as well, but you could at least get a high-level understanding of the main dish (chicken or monkey brains?).

Online Shopping

Amazon and eBay both have a camera symbol to the right of the search bar. 

Amazon’s camera tool has several functions:

  • Scan a barcode while out shopping and quickly read the reviews
  • Scan the claim code on your Amazon gift card to quickly redeem it (one of my post-Christmas favorites)
  • Package X-ray: see what’s in your Amazon package without opening it
  • Product search

eBay simply has Image Search where you submit a photo of something you’re looking for and hope for a match, but it lets you crop your photo to specifically focus your search on the item you want. Since eBay has such a wide variety of items, I find their photo search function to be especially beneficial and sometimes humorous…or disheartening. The photo search I did to find more Atlanta Falcons glasses found Fresno State, UNLV, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, and Tony Stewart NASCAR glasses…but no Falcons.

Augmented Reality

Erin wrote about this in her recent tip: Virtual Interior Design with Housecraft. Many online shopping sites are starting to incorporate this feature. When my wife was looking for some new light fixtures on Wayfair’s website, it was extremely helpful to see how the fixture would look in our home. Here’s a stool I found: doesn’t look too good – plus it’s too tall – when I show it in my kitchen.


I would have loved this app when I was a student. Photomath scans a math problem, solves it, and also takes you through the steps if you want to learn.

I had fun with a simple math problem I did for a friend who has reserved a Tesla Model 3 and is not-so-patiently waiting for his new car. My friend – who waited in line on March 31st, 2016 to reserve his Model 3 – thinks he’s close to getting his car. He believes he’s about #15,000 in line (there are over 450,000 people who have reserved a Model 3…my friend is an optimist). Bloomberg, the financial news company, has built a Model 3 estimator that tracks how many cars have been made so far (7,468), along with the current weekly production rate (1,052). Based on this information, I wrote down a simple equation to test the Photomath app and let my friend know how many more weeks he would have to wait if weekly production rates stay the same.


Have you found these – or any other – camera functions or apps useful?


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Tony Rushin: In his role as VP of sales & marketing, he is responsible for hiring, managing and coaching the sales team and always staying on top of (and meeting) the needs of clients. Under his leadership, the company has steadily grown each year.

Network 1 designs, builds and supports the IT you need to run your business more securely, productively and successfully. Whether you want to outsource all of your IT needs to a reliable, responsive, service-oriented company, or need to supplement the work of your internal IT staff, we will carefully evaluate where you are now, discuss where you want to go and implement and support a plan to get you there with as little interruption as possible.

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