Apple filed a couple of patents this week and one of those showed Apple also has some augmented reality plans for its iPad displays. If this patent ever gets to production then augmented reality will quite literally in your face.
Augmented reality has been gaining momentum since smartphones with cameras met apps. With the newer more powerful tablets and phones, this momentum is set to grow.
The technology is generally shortened to be called AR which adds a digital layer on top of a real world view (not to be confused with VR or virtual reality which mimics the real world but in a totally digitised way). An example of Augmented reality would be looking at the views of a monument in a browser app and the digital layer would provide extra text, audio and video tourist information on it.
Augmented reality is changing the way we view the world — or at least the way users of AR apps see the world. Currently on smartphones today and possibly semi-transparent phones in the near future the future may well have us walking or driving down the street with augmented-reality glasses or windscreen displays.
Augmented Reality Examples
An app that is available across Android, IOS and symbian platforms that is a perfect example of what I described above. It is called Wikitude. The app utilised the camera to allow you to look around. events, tweets, Wikipedia articles, ATMs, restaurants, user reviews etc are loaded over the display,
A very general app covering AR, is Layars. Available for most mobile platforms, you first download the app and then download specific ‘layers’ that range through a wide different range of themes. You can also sign yourself up as a developer and make your own.
Up and coming in the field of advertising, Blippar is aimed at brand names and the inention is an app that brings brands to life – both the iOS and Android apps are due out soon
The area of Games, AR is popular.. Again a couple of examples, both IOS only that seem popular choices are ARInvaders and ARdefender. Both apps work in different ways. ARInvaders pits you against alien invaders and you have to twist around 360 degrees to find the attacking craft and shoot them down. ARDefender gets you to print out an AR ‘card’ (yes, like with the Nintendo 3DS) and then aim your camera at the card. Your desk will now be the playing area.
SpecTrek, for example, is an augmented reality game available of Android and iOS devices. You hunt virtual ghosts in the real world using your smartphone’s GPS and screen.
The UK police have released crime data so you can use your smartphone to view the crime that is happening around you overlaying the crimes over a satellite map of your location. The data is open for other developers to create their own apps.
Recent articles on augmented reality
Apple exploring iPads with translucent, synchronized displays for augmented reality – AppleInsider
Augmented reality: The past, present and future – TheNextWeb
The promise of augmented reality: Gaga in a living room – BBC Click
If anyone is interested in programming AR on a mobile device then this article on ZDNET will talk about Qualcomm’s sdk for AR in IOS and Android.