Recently, SPRXMobile launched a new technology for mobile phones called Layar. They describe it as “the world’s first mobile augmented reality browser.”
Well what is augmented reality? I discovered Layar through Good Magazine‘s website. They describe it like this:
Augmented reality allows you to see, in real time, data about your surroundings. It’s different from having the internet on your phone—you don’t actually have to look anything up, and you don’t actually have to know exactly what you’re looking for. Augmented reality is more like a having a sixth sense—and a seventh and eighth sense—that makes data a natural, passive part of how you see the world.
Here is a video showing how the technology works. The browser activates the camera in your phone and uses the internal compass and GPS to locate the points of interest.
It’s cool because it will automatically tell you where to find things such as ATMs or houses for sale near where you’re standing. There are (still in development) hundreds of layers you can switch to that can show you Tweets nearby, restaurants, or even jobs available.
They are getting funding by branding the layers. Maybe Starbucks will pay for a layer that shows you all the locations nearby. I’m interested to see where they can go with branding partnerships.
I think this is a better version of the mobile Google Maps because you’re actually looking at the points of interest rather than at a flat map.
Good Magazine also mentioned that the technology can be used for social causes. The example they give is if you’re in an area with depleted fisheries.
You walk into a fish restaurant. You point your phone at the door; it knows where you are, and it provides you with a list of fish that are the most environmentally friendly.
Cool. You can really act on something like that without even trying.
Right now, the software is only available on Android phones, but will soon move to the iPhone 3G S. Also, it’s only available in the Netherlands until later this year when it comes to the UK, Germany, and the US. I’m excited to see where this technology goes. What do you think can be done with it?