Friday, January 08, 2010

Augmented Reality in 2010, 3D View of News

I have been reading a lot about augmented reality this year. I first learned about it through the Layar app for Android and later found a great article in Wired explaining some of the pitfalls and benefits of the technology players. This is life-changing technology if done correctly.

Potentially, someone who is standing in any city or even a block can use the application to gain information about that area. For instance, the user could hold their Android or iPhone up and on screen would appear floating tags giving information about the direction and distance to public transportation, or a restaurant, or user-generated photos of the area, or real estate for sales, or any data that is available via EveryBlock or similar services.

There are any number of tactical and practical uses for this technology. However, I found the vision of Metaio to be extremely provocative. Metaio allows users to also place animated avatars on maps.

According to one Wired interview, one possible use is for "game developers to use Metaio’s and Earthmine’s technology to create realistic, non-gimmicky games that take place in real-world cities starting in 2010. An ad-supported model for AR gaming is easy to envision: local businesses could pay to have the game send players past their storefronts."

This short comment opens the door for an endless number of uses for the augmented reality for commercial purposes. For instance, maybe a local store could place special messaging in the augmented reality, such as an animated avatar outside their business that includes the announcement of a discount or coupon or sale.

In a breaking news event, users could see avatars of each other giving perspective and location to their views of the event. Near real-time reports and photos could be shared in the 3D environment allowing users to experience an event from many perspectives.

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