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voxpixlAn app making its debut today on iPhone and iPad adds an entirely new element to pictures — your own voice.

The free app, called VoxPixl, lets users record up to 30 seconds of narration for each photo they take, and easily store the audio and pictures online for posterity. Users can take a picture from the app or select an existing picture from their camera roll, and press a microphone button to record audio. In addition to storing the audio, voice-recognition technology from Nuance automatically transcribes the narration into text.

Photos can be stored privately or shared publicly via Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, letting anyone else listen to the audio when viewing the picture. The ultimate effect is like a multimedia postcard.

Here’s my first VoxPixl post as an example of how it works.

The app is the brainchild of Paul Suzman, a longtime commercial real estate tenants’ rep in the Seattle region who first started thinking about the concept 16 years ago, when touring a Paleolithic cave called Niaux during a cycling trip through the Pyrenees mountains.

“As I surveyed the 12,000 year old bison, ibex and horses I wondered what the artists had been thinking and thought to myself how unfortunate it was that these images were not somehow annotated,” Suzman recalled. “The idea stayed with me and as cell phone cameras evolved as did the whole Cloud phenomenon as well as voice recognition, the idea behind VoxPixl became increasingly viable.”

Suzman’s company, OfficeLease, retained the technology consulting company CompuSight last year to move its files to the cloud, and Suzman at one point mentioned his idea in passing to Adi Saric, the CompuSight CEO. Saric loved the idea and asked if he and his team could run with it, and VoxPixl was born in partnership with Suzman.

The app is available for download here. They also plan to make Windows Phone and Android versions.


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