By: Hillel Fuld
One of the big buzz words nowadays is Augmented Reality. It is also one of the most futuristic technologies I have seen in a long time. According to one of the many definitions I have found online “Augmented reality is one of the newest innovations in the electronics industry. It superimposes graphics, audio and other sense enhancements from computer screens onto real time environments. Augmented reality goes far beyond the static graphics technology of television where the graphics imposed do not change with the perspective. Augmented reality systems superimpose graphics for every perspective and adjust to every movement of the user’s head and eyes.” Confused?
Well, I would like to say I can explain this technology to you in simple words, however, that is not possible. It is actually a very difficult thing to explain, but basically this new technology enables you to take a phone with a camera and a GPS chip and receive real time information on your phone’s display based on the direction you are pointing the phone. Not getting it yet, are you? How about an example? One of the famous augmented reality apps, Layar blew my mind when I first used it. I pointed the phone in the direction the car was going (no, I was not driving), and in real time, the app displayed information using one of many available services, in my case Wikipedia, about the various cities in a 2 mile radius of my current location. I have seen apps that show all the restaurants in the view of the phone, and there are many many other examples of Augmented reality applications as well.
A few weeks ago I was privileged enough to participate in a pre-iPhone launch blogger’s event at Orange. Among the many scoops they provided that night, the coolest by far was a first look at their new augmented reality app that is being developed in-house. The app has the ability to display 3D imaging using the iPhone’s camera and a company logo or something similar. It also allows you to play with the 3D image. The app completely blew my mind, and at the same time left me wondering what it could possibly be used for. Well, today, they sent me the official video of the app in action, and it is continuing to blow my mind and still leaves me wondering what its practical uses are. In any case, there is no question that augmented reality, as a technology, has some serious potential for many industries.
The app, as I am told by Orange, is being used for internal research and is not available on the App store. Watch the video below, try not to think about it too hard, might make you go a little crazy, and share your thoughts about its practical uses in the comments. Whoever can come up with the best idea for consumer use of this app, will win a free download of Layar (OK, it’s a free app, but share your ideas anyway).