HawkSpex Mobile, the spectral analyzer in your pocket

Believe it or not, a group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute have created an app that can examine various objects, the X-ray style way.

Named HawkSpex Mobile, the app is able to run a spectral analysis of the objects that are visible in your smartphone’s cam – without using any specialized equipment. Yes, the app works without using a hyperspectral camera! I’d instantly call these guys Pinnocchio’s relatives if they wouldn’t also be the inventors of the mp3 compression algorithm, for example.

HawkSpex uses your phone’s display to illuminate the objects that you are interested in examining. You could use the app to determine if your fruits and vegetables are truly organic, for example. If everything works as planned, the app will be released at the end of the year.


Google Maps gets a huge update

The Google Maps app has been recently updated, getting new “places”, “traffic”, and “transit” related features. This way, its users will be able to determine the weather conditions in their area, along with the way in which the weather will influence their transit schedules, etc.

With the new update, Google Maps will be able to provide commute information in real time. And to make the things even easier, its users can also receive Google’s recommendations for restaurants, ATMs, pharmacies, drug stores, gas stations, shops, and so on.

Google Maps will also provide info concerning the traffic conditions, which commute buses to get on, the trains’ timetable, and more. As expected, the new features have been launched for Android users at first, but they should be made available to iOS users within the following few weeks.


New app helps refugees find volunteer translators

It is a known fact that most refugees do not know too many foreign languages. For this reason, their journey to a safer destination can be very difficult. The good news is that a new app was created, with the goal of making them travel safer and easier.

Tarjimly can connect volunteer translators with refugees and immigrants that might need a doctor’s help, for example. The app uses Facebook Messenger as a base, providing rapid translation to people in need.

When an emigrant needs a translation, he needs to write the desired message, choose a foreign language, and then the app will try to connect him to a translator. People all over the world can register as translators using an online form, in which they specify what foreign languages they know.

The good news is that about 1,000 new people register as translators on a weekly basis; it’s about 20 times more than the app creators imagined. Right now, there are more than 20 million refugees in the world, and about half of them are children.