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Home / Tips and Tricks / Browse words and phrases with the iPhone in the real world «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Browse words and phrases with the iPhone in the real world «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Safari provides a handy search feature for finding specific words and phrases on a web page. Apple Books has a similar feature for e-books and PDF files. But they do not do anything for you if you search for text in the real world. Hardcover and paperback books are still one thing, as are paper-based documents, and all you have to do is set the camera of your iPhone on the page.

Imagine scanning through a long paper document a particular word or trying to find a specific reference on one of the pages in a large textbook. Sometimes the index helps if one is available, but otherwise you need to speed up the reading to find the one you are looking for. Everything ends now.

Thanks to the developer Omer Faruk Ozturk, we have an iOS app that instantly searches for words or phrases on a page in the flesh-and-blood world. All you have to do is to point your camera at the document and use the built-in function Ctrl-F (or Command-F for Mac users) to exactly determine what is required.

Step 1
: Install SearchCam

The Ozturk App SearchCam is available for free from the iOS App Store. Search for it either in the App Store on your iPhone or jump directly with the link below. To install it, you need to run at least iOS 11. And the app works with and without a data connection, since no interaction with and from a server is possible.

The user interface of SearchCam is not the most beautiful The banner was damaged by a banner ad at the bottom and was not updated to with newer screen ratios of the iPhone X and new to be optimized. However, this is easy and intuitive for most novice smartphone users.

Step 2: Searching Documents from the Real World

Open the SearchCam app, grant it access to your camera, and enter the word or phrase Search in the Search box. Next, you only need to focus your iPhone camera on the book, document, booklet, magazine, bill, or whatever you want to scan for text.

Because the SearchCam app is basically a real-time OCR (Optical Character Recognition) with an advanced propensity to actually read a moving image live, it works right away.

Immediately a series of yellow boxes appear on the screen overlaying the entered text and red arrows below. These are your found items. If there are no matches to your query, nothing will be displayed on the screen.

Step 3: Improve Search Results

The app has two Buttons on the top right for a flash and image search. The flash (screenshot below) uses the iPhone's rear True Tone flash to illuminate a document. This is helpful in dimly lit rooms because SearchCam needs enough light to search.

Image Search lets you search all images in your photo app that contain words or even PDF files (screenshot below right). , So when you first take a picture with a camera app, you do not have to worry about the words displayed on the screen, such as when scanning in real time.

SearchCam is great for colored text, colorful backgrounds, readable handwriting, and even tiny text that I found most useful. However, the text surface should be relatively flat so that the tool can operate at an optimal level.

There is a feature that is not mentioned on the SearchCam App Store page that she works for other languages, including French, Spanish and German (although I'm not sure how extensive she is). The app could use several other features to improve its usability, such as: For example, an export as a PDF button, a searchable index for each word on the screen, and a built-in camera option for capturing photos within the app.

Overall, students use books as a reference for essays and seniors, or for anyone unhappy enough to have poor eyesight, they can benefit from SearchCam. Note that there was an Android app that ran a similar service, but shut down for unknown reasons.

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