Augmented Reality – find it on your mobile device!


Augmented Reality is one of the exciting technologies around and has already made its way to apps on iPhone and Android.

Layar, a free App has got a great concept and a lot of potential, although I think it has some issues with the implementation. It allows you to progressively ad new layers like games, hotel, coupons, concierge etc. WordLens, another free augmented reality app, that we featured recently, translates between languages when you focus your camera lens on the text. Some paid Apps include Golfscape GPS rangefinder, Cyclopedia, SpotCrime (this one is freaky – it shows you what crimes have happened around you recently)
Qualcomm recently released Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (SDK) which will make it easier for developers to use virtual content with real content. Qualcomm also held a Developer (geek) challenge. Check out the winning entries in the video below. 
Apple is hopefully not far behind intergrating augmented reality features into the iPad or the iPhone. A recently filed patent indicates augmented reality integration into the iPad where the top half of the screen shows a live video of whatever the camera is pointing at and the bottom half shows the augmented version such as pointing out building names etc. It probably doesn’t sound useful to you right now, but its only a patent. 
If you haven’t yet checked out the Microsoft Kinect, you should. It’s basically a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360. I have to give it to Microsoft for this one. Well done Microsoft 😛 Since the Kinect has been out there have been several hacks. One of the hack turns the 3D data which has been recorded using Kinect into augmented reality video and audio for the iPad.  Isn’t that cool?
Qualcomm Augmented Reality Developer Challenge

Augmented Reality with Microsoft Kinect and iPad
Apple Patent Application

Here are couple of kool augmented reality apps which I like.

Google Goggles allows you to use a picture to search the web. Simply take a snap of what you’re interested in searching whether it’s a book, picture etc. It can even solve Sudoku puzzles. Check out the video below, it’s pretty awesome!

Another really neat app is the Wikitude augmented reality navigation reality app. It overlays the directions over a live view of the road which allows for you to always have visibility to the road even when you’re looking at the map! Unfortunately, it’s not available in the US. Hopefully, it’ll be available in the near future. 

There are also some funny AR games. SpecTrek is an AR ghost hunting game LOL. The goal is to run around hunting for ghosts. I bet it’s a pretty funny sight running around the neighborhood with your phone 🙂 If someone is playing this, please upload a video of it to YouTube. I’m dying to see it!


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