Although I’m a great believer in the old visually impaired saying, “You look with your hands, not your eyes”, sometimes being able to pull a pair of eyes out of your pocket to find something would be useful…
SuperSense is a new app that uses the rear camera of your smart phone to identify and locate objects around you. It can recognise a range of everyday items such as doors, trash cans, animals, various types of furniture and electronics and much more.
Have you ever thrown your backpack down somewhere and subsequently can’t find it, now you can just open up SuperSense, select bag from the list of items to look for and use your phone to scan around the room. When SuperSense ‘sees’ the backpack it will beep, vibrate and, in my opinion rather excitedly, announce the objects name such as backpack, backpack, backpack. I personally found it very helpful when I was trying to find the door into a shop. I just selected door as my object and waved my phone around in front of me until it found the door and I knew which way to go.
You can use SuperSense in 2 ways, locate or explore. In locate mode it will only scan the area for the object you selected from the list. In explore mode, SuperSense will announce any object it recognises as you move your phone around you, be it a sink, chair, toilet, dog or anything. Obviously, this can be useful in a room or environment you are unfamiliar with.
Currently available for Android, (version 6 and above), and stated for an iOS release in the near future, SuperSense was developed by Mediate Labs, a MIT spinoff which specializes in Artificial Intelligence. It’s this artificial intelligence technology that SuperSense uses to identify objects and, importantly, can do so without the need for an internet connection. You can try the app for free but then you will need to pay a monthly subscription of $3.99 US to use it.
Object recognition apps on your smart phone are nothing new, but using the technology in this way is interesting and can be very useful for us. In particular, I found the ability to locate doors and people very helpful in some real-life situations, and the speed in which it recognizes objects is impressive. However, in explore mode it did throw up a lot of random objects that I know were not in the room and when I used it to try and find a fork and a water bottle I dropped on the floor, it just failed to find them at all.
It’s definitely an app I would recommend people download and try, but as to if it’s worth a monthly subscription, well, for me, I would say no. I just wouldn’t use it enough to justify a monthly cost, but, of course, other people’s experiences and use cases may be different.
Co-host & audio producer on the Double Tap Canada radio show. Occasional contributor to Double Tap TV, full time shed resident.