Monday, December 20, 2010

Augmented Reality: the best is yet to come

Last week, Word Lens, a new iPhone app, got a lot of attention because of the neat way it is able to translate words from Spanish to English and vice versa using the iPhone screen as a viewer. Check out their promotional video to see what I mean.



The app is an example of augmented reality, which just means augmenting the real world with additional information, an area that I am extremely excited about. Word Lens is not the first application of augmented reality or even the most prominent; televised football has been using it for years now with the yellow first-down line on TV and Layar created an augmented reality browser mobile app that is pretty neat (here is a video showing that in action).  But it shows that the area is picking up momentum.

I think that we are going to see a lot of amazing stuff coming in this space in the near future, especially now that smart phones are providing the means to do this everywhere. For example, imagine:
  • Having a heads-up display on your car's windshield with useful information
  • Being able to hold up your phone to the front of a restaurant and learn about its menu: pricing, dietary options, offerings
  • Seeing GPS directions on the streets in front of you instead of on a small, digital map 

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