Where 2.0: The World is Mapped – Now Use it to Augmented our Reality

O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 event is a tightly run ship. One track for all attendees, fast paced 20 minutes sessions, discussing laser focused topics.

Low tech location services at Where 2.0

Low tech location services at Where 2.0

I got my fair share (3 minutes!) to educate the audience about how AR could impact our life, as part of the Mobile Reality panel, covered by Rouli.

A show of hands survey confirmed that only 5% of the audience was familiar with the concept of augmented reality before the event. Not too surprising considering the percentage among the general population is less than 1%.

What came out strongly at the event is that unbelieveable amount of data is being captured about people, places and things around the world. This data combined with sophisticated models (such as Sense Networks) result in the existence of super intelligent information about the world that we still don’t really know how to use.

My point is not a shocker: all we need is to tap into this information and bring it, in context, into people’s field of view.


For some time now, researchers in the augmented reality community have attempted to leave markers behind and leap into the great world of outdoor AR (alfresco). These pioneers typically hit walls such as low accuracy of GPS, lack of 3D modeled environments, and the usual device-specific limitations.

Where 2.0 gave stage for two new approaches to map the world that may help overcome the traditional challenges: Earthmine and Velodyne’s Lidar.

Earthmine uses its own camera-based device to index reality, at the street level, one pixel at a time. They have just announced Wild Style City – an application that allows anyone to create virtual graffitis on top of designated public spaces. However, at this point, you can only experience it on a pc!

Why not take advantage of their 3D pixel inventory of the world to make these graffiti work of arts available to anyone on the street? All is needed is some AR magic and a powerful mobile device.

The second novice approach is Velodyne’s Lidar. Remember Radiohead’s funky laser (as opposed to video) clip?

They did it with Lidar.

Now Velodyne is embarking on a broader mission to map the outdoors. Check out this experiment.

Can AR researchers harness these new approaches to index reality?

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“I Think the Graphics of a Punch”

Predicted Mr. Yamazaki during this week’s Augmented Reality panel at the IT Business Pro conference in Tokyo.

The panelists were (from left):

Tsunoda Tetsuya  from AR Lab Asuka – about content production, NEC’s Yamasaki Zyuniti MAGUNASUKOMYUNIKESHONZU about application development for mobile phones, AR DNP (DNP) Goro Nomotai, Mr. Hamano Satoshi of Japan about application development, and panel Chair  Takebe Keniti from Nikkei Communications about the theory of media arts

The panel chair Takebe started with an introduction to the advancements in AR technology.

He continued with examples of applications possible Today: (1) in construction of health care, (2) navigate catalogs, and, (3) communication, social understanding and relationship building using “social AR”

The panel discussion revolved around the business challenges and expectations from this new technology and highlighted the important roles of GPS and mobile phones in its future.

Japanese applications using AR such as the Sekai Camera were brought as current examples.

The panel went on a tangent and mused about an AR scenario that could take place in the very panel discussion they were all part of.

What if we used face recognition software to overlay text on a screen in front of the panel members, that would reveal to us relevant information about individuals in the audience?

That thought triggered a concern about the implications of AR on social ethics,  which evolved into a full blown discussions about the issues surrounding AR: low public awareness, hardware complexity, software scalability, security, etc.

The undisputed climax arrived when Mr. Yamakazi summarized the future of AR with his prediction “I Think the Graphics of a Punch!”