Ingenious New App Brings Old Photos Back to Life

Good news: You can finally throw out the scanner you never used!

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We really should've done this a long time ago.

Think about it: Our precious photo albums are irreplaceable mementos of the past that we'll surely cherish forever, yet we store them in physical photobooks—an archaic medium prone to fading and degradation. We owe it to ourselves to convert our old photo albums to digital.

Heirloom "Scanning"
Simply take a photo of... your photo, and Heirloom does the rest. View Larger

So why don't we? Because we're lazy, sure, but also because it's a horrendous chore.

Ever since Hewlett-Packard made bloatware a pillar of their business model, scanners have unofficially become everybody's least favorite piece of technology. They're slow, they never work right without tinkering, and scanned photos still need to be tweaked to look good. A process that should be an enjoyable trip down memory lane becomes a mind-numbing hassle.

Well, a new app called "Heirloom" hopes to change all that. The concept is simple: The app uses your smartphone's camera as a DIY scanner. That might sound like a half-baked, low-quality way of treating your most important photos, but Heirloom has a few tricks up its sleeve.

First off, the software is smart enough to recognize the borders of a printed photo, crop to discard the surroundings, and even compensate for the distortion caused by a less-than-perfect shooting angle. It also includes built-in filters (you know, to make those retro snaps look even more retro) and sharing to popular social networks.

Heirloom Social Features
Share captured photos with friends and family. View Larger

There's no waiting around for the dreaded scanner to finish its lackadaisical light show, and no need to place the photos on a special surface. In other words, there's no need to spend a whole day on the project. Just shoot, and your old photos are uploaded to the cloud, where they'll live for all time—or until Skynet brings about the end of the world.

Both iOS and Android are supported (free of charge), though of course you'll need a phone with a decent camera—think iPhone 4S or better.

Via: Digital Trends

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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