Unique Uses for Your Phone's Camera

One viral video shows an appliance company's CEO using a blender to turn a mobile phone and its camera into dust. While that's pretty unique, you probably don't have any use for a powdered cell phone, except maybe as a conversation piece. You may, however, be amazed at the innovative methods creative minds have used to transform ordinary mobile phone cameras into remarkable devices that not only entertain, but make you more productive.

Digital Camera Technology

Photo sensors make it possible for you to snap a digital photo using your phone's camera. Used in one-third of phone cameras, space engineers spent decades developing small ones that could survive the most brutal conditions. Software developers who understand the technology create applications that do more than just take pictures.

Portable Scanners

You can't carry a full-sized scanner in your pocket or purse, but you can pull out a cell phone and scan a document anywhere using an app such as CamScanner. Snap a picture of a document that contains text or graphics and the app scans it into a PDF file or high-quality image you can print or share over the Web. Use your portable scanner to scan magazines, business cards or receipts you'd like to save.

Augmented Reality

Many mobile phones can blend what you see around you with what appears on your phone's display. They do this by using their cameras, GPS sensors and other hardware to identify objects in your area and display them on-screen. Imagine yourself in a new town searching for a good place to grab lunch. If your phone has the right app, you can hold your camera in front of a promising cafe and view reviews and other information about it. As technology advances, phones will be able to incorporate more realistic imagery into the scenes you see on your display.

Wireless Video Chat

If you've longed to video chat with friends over the Web but never purchased a webcam, turn your cell phone into one using an app with webcam functionality. Install the program, point your phone's camera at yourself—or anything you want to show off—and chat away. These types of apps convert your phone into a wireless webcam that works over a standard Wi-Fi connection, meaning that you are not tied to your computer while chatting.

Photo Credits: Kate Van Vleck/Demand Media

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