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Using a Phone’s Telephoto Lens as a Distance Camera

by Craig Mill

on Fri Apr 15, 2022

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Most modern phones, including Android and iPhones, have good quality cameras for taking close up and distance snaps. A telephoto lens on a phone can be used for capturing information on flyers, posters, and content on the class whiteboard.

Using the free app Microsoft Lens, photos taken from a distance can be easily converted into a more accessible and readable format. (I refer to mobile phones as not all tablet devices such as iPads have telephoto lenses).

Telephoto lens

In this article (and video below) I’ll explain how you can take a photo (from a distance) of an A4 worksheet and then convert the photo to a Word document which can be accessed, personalised and edited in Word/Office 365.

Montage of phone and word

Getting started

First of all you’ll need a phone with telephoto lens.  I’m using my iPhone 12 but there are many other phones on the market with powerful telephoto lenses that are much cheaper than an iPhone. 

For demonstration purposes I’ll be mirroring my phone onto my laptop. Reflecting or mirroring the phone to a computer helps to improve the visability of the phone. 

You’ll also need the following:

  • Microsoft Lens and/or OneDrive app, either for Android or iPhone.
  • A Glow account or a Microsoft 365 account.

The process

The video below explains the process.

A step-by-step summary of the video

First of all mirror your phone to a device, I’m using a Windows laptop. This will require either Wi-Fi or using the phone’s 4G connection (you can also use your phone as a hotspot to mirror to your laptop).

  • Take a photo of the flyer, a poster. I’m using a worksheet taped to a door.
  • On an iPhone there is an option to use the Speak tool in the Photos App to read text from images.
  • You can share the photo to either Microsoft Lens or OneDrive.
  • In Microsoft Lens there’s an option to use Immersive Reader.
  • To convert the image to an accessible and readable format, choose the Word document option.
  • Open the Word file either from Glow/Office 365 or from the desktop Word app.

Now you can edit the worksheet, use Immersive Reader to adjust or improve the readability or just simply use the worksheet to increase the font size and adjust and personalise the document.

For more on Scanning Apps see go to www.callscotland.org.uk/blog/apps-to-convert-printed-text-to-digital-format-which-one-is-best/

Tags: distance camera, visual impairment, call scotland

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