Top five smartphone superpowers for summer
June kicks off another season of imaginative mobile apps.
Despite rising concerns of app store overcrowding, many companies show no intentions of slowing down their application innovation. Plans for all-new apps have been announced, production is underway and each day brings smartphone owners one step closer to the “download now” button. Here’s a look at five incredible smartphone superpowers for iPhone and Android.
1. Count the calories in your Instagram posts
Google researchers are building an app that can detect how many calories are in your next meal—all from a picture of your plate. An app called Im2Calories will use sophisticated visual analysis algorithms to identify the food in your photo and provide matching caloric information based on a database of nutrition facts. It can even detect and account for portion size and condiment add-ons.
Although Im2Calories is still in the early stages, this initiative is a huge step for researchers interested in artificial intelligence… and a win for anyone who wants a convenient way to know how many calories they’re eating.
2. Repel Mosquitos
Forget citronella candles—the Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller app offers a new way to avoid bug bites this summer. The app scares off mosquitos by playing a high frequency noise that mimics the ultrasonic sounds made by their enemies. Although the pitch is inaudible to the human ear, it’s a full-fledged alarm for mosquitos within range of your phone. However, with thousands of different mosquito species (and thousands of uniquely-pitched predators), the app’s protection isn’t foolproof. If you think it’s worth a try, iPhone users can download the newest version of Anti Mosquito here.
3. Double as a digital scale
Simple Scale is an app that allows your phone to weigh small objects at home or on the go. But, since smartphones aren’t technically equipped with scales, you’ll have to make your own. Place your phone on an inflated plastic bag and stack the item you’d like to weigh on top of your phone screen. The app will use sensors to determine the phone’s change in height and a complex calculation to estimate your object’s weight.
With this portable scale, the possibilities are endless. You can take a quick count-free inventory of quarters, measure ingredients in the kitchen or ensure that your mail meets the weight limit without a trip to the post office. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but remember to be careful—only measure items that fit on your phone’s screen, and avoid placing wet objects near your device.
4. Amplify your shopping addiction
The popular Pinterest app isn’t new, but an upcoming innovation will officially bring the social sharing app into the e-commerce world. Items that were previously limited to wish lists and “what-ifs” will now be available for purchase directly from the app. Pinterest’s new buyable pins are predicted to debut by July with millions of products available from retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Jo Ann Fabrics.
5. Protect the planet from asteroids
Asteroid Data Hunter is an app that allows anyone with a telescope to track asteroids in outer space. Users can take photographs of asteroids and upload them to the app’s database for analysis. If the app’s algorithm determines your asteroid is too close for comfort, it will send a detailed report to astronomers. Although the app is not yet available for smartphones, super stargazers and galaxy defenders alike can try the desktop version.
From hunting asteroids to keeping bugs at bay, all five apps prove that smartphones are nothing short of superheroes. After this summer, it may finally be safe to say there’s an app for everything.