Project Naptha Makes Image Text Accessible in Chrome

By April 23, 2014Newegg Newsroom

If you’re anything like me, you absentmindedly highlight bodies of text as you read them on the computer. You might be doing it right now. This habit hits a hard wall, though, when it comes to reading text in images. Up until now, interacting with the text in an image has been very limited. In modern browsers, trying to highlight text in an image results in dragging the image rather than the familiar white-on-blue highlight. Enter Project Naptha, developed by Kevin Kwok — it’s a Chrome extension that aspires to change the game by recognizing text in every image, in real-time and in your browser.

Adding Project Naptha to Chrome enables direct highlighting of text in images.

Adding Project Naptha to Chrome enables direct highlighting of text in images.

Recognizing text in images opens the door to many things: A little copying and pasting can let you translate foreign text into English and vice versa. Project Naptha goes beyond simply recognizing text. It allows you to translate text directly within an image, enabling you to see the translated text in the context of the image. This would be especially helpful when trying to interpret graphs and figures in another language, for example. While the translation tool is currently in beta and has limited accessibility, you can request early access by contacting the developer.

On top of text translation, Project Naptha is capable of erasing image text. This works by using a technique called “inpainting,” which functions similarly to Adobe PhotoShop’s “content-aware fill” tool. It detects the colors of the image surrounding the text and paints over the text area with these colors. The result is the appearance of “erased” text. The demonstration on Project Naptha’s website also teases the capability to replace image text, which could take things like internet meme generation to a whole new level of ease. Although it runs a bit clunky in certain situations, the result is often passable, especially from a distance.

Project Naptha is capable of deleting text from images.

Where did “Unscrambled” go? Project Naptha is capable of deleting text from images.

While Project Naptha currently only comes in the form of a browser extension, you will be able to apply the feature set to images on your hard drive by dragging them into the Chrome browser. Simply navigate to the Project Naptha extension in the Chrome Extension settings and enable “allow access to file URLs.”


Ticking “Allow access to file URLs” enables Project Naptha to work on local images.

While other OCR software may be able to do many of the same things, Project Naptha will enable you to do it comfortably. What will you use Project Naptha for?

Anthony Chen

Author Anthony Chen

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