Helpful camera apps scan documents and old photos, enhance Zoom teaching

Technology

One of the best parts about a smartphone is how you can download a new app and completely change the functionality of it. Here are several notable camera apps that can be really helpful for scanning documents, old photos and even remote teaching and presentations.

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Google Stack

Got a stack of papers you’ve been meaning to scan?

Google’s latest experimental app is called Stack. It’s a fast and easy way to not only scan in pages but also organize them in seconds.

Just open the app and aim your phone’s camera at a document or import a photo from your camera roll. In seconds, Stack will turn the page into a high quality, searchable PDF.

It will then put the page into a suggested category based on it’s contents. Categories include bills, banking, medical and more.

Need to find something later? Just look in the category or type in a keyword to search contents in your documents.

This app is brand new and available from Google for free on Android only. For an iOS alternative, check out Scannable or Adobe Scan, but you won’t get the search functionality.

Overviewer App

Remote teaching and presentations over Zoom will never be the same thanks to an app called Overviewer.

“It is a very virtual Zoom version of the overhead projectors that, I, at least, grew up with using all the time” explained Charlie Chapman, a software developer who created the app.

He made it after watching his wife, a kindergarten teacher, struggle with a proper setup to present her lessons over Zoom to students.

The free iOS app turns your iPhone or iPad camera into an overhead viewer for Zoom and other video conference software.

“It’ll show whatever is on your cameras. So if you have it mounted you can point your phone down at a piece of paper and you can show what you’re writing,” explained Chapman, who I spoke with via Skype from his home office in St. Louis.

You can pair the Overviewer App with a holder like the $80 HoverBar Duo from accessory maker TwelveSouth. It will allow you to freely position your phone or iPad in a way that makes it easy to share over video. For something cheaper, there are plenty of gooseneck mounts on Amazon.

“Seems like [Overviewer has] found a niche of people who have find it really useful and so that it just makes me really happy,” said Chapman.

PhotoScan by Google Photos

Need a fast and easy way to digitize an old photo? Check out PhotoScan by Google Photos.

The app has been around for a while, yet no one seems to know about it.

It uses AI to help scan in photos so they look great even though they are a picture of a picture.

The app guides you through the process of scanning in a photo using your smartphone camera. It takes several snapshots of the same photo, then merges them together to get rid of any glare.

The result: a quick and easy digital copy you can share with friends or post to social media instantly.

PhotoScan is free or iOS and Android.

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