Weekly Linkfest

This week seemed to be all about Layar. The blogosphere and major tech sites were all reporting about the “first augmented reality browser” (and we had our fare share in the coverage as well). However, there were some other AR releated news this week, even though the first item on this week’s linkfest is still about Layar:

Happy Father’s day! If you live in the united states and forgot to get something special for your father, don’t worry, you can still make him an augmented greeting card, thanks to internet developement agenct Mangrove:

Have a good father’s day, and a great week!

Layar is Out

Surely, you have already read about it at Gizmodo, at ReadWriteWeb, or at any other of the millions of websites which reported the news today. However, if you are avid readers of this blog, you already knew about Layar, “the first augmented reality browser” for at least two weeks (see link for further details).

So luckily, all that is left for me to do, is (1) embed this new video demoing Layar:

(2) Quote from the press release:

Mobile innovation company SPRXmobile launches Layar, the worlds first mobile Augmented Reality browser, which displays real time digital information on top of reality (of) in the camera screen of the mobile phone. While looking through the phone’s camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, jobs, healthcare providers and ATMs.

The premier launch is for the Dutch market. … Layar will be launched per country with local content partners in order to guarantee relevent results for the end user. SPRXmobile is planning further roll-outs, together with local partners, in Germany, the UK and the United States this year. SPRXmobile will continue with regular releases of new layers after each local launch. The Layar application will be available via the Android Market. Other handsets and operating systems are in development with a prime focus on the iPhone 3G S.

(3) Tell you that it will be available tomorrow on the Android Store
(4) And once again wish good luck to Maarten, Raimo and friends from SPRXMobile.

Layar is Online

Layar is a new augmented reality Android framework that comes from SPRXMobile. SPRXMobile, which previously brought us the ATM finder and this excellent post about the AR hype cycle, have kicked it up a notch with a full blown AR platform.
SPRXMobile don’t provide many details quite yet (they save it to Mobile 2.0), but here’s what was made public on their site:

  • It will be available for download on the Android Market before the first of July. However, at launch, the service itself will only be available in the Netherlands (one more reason to visit!)
  • Points of interest are shown on top of the video input using graphical symbols, their interpretation (the text describing them) is shown out of band, on the bottom of the screen.
  • You will be able to choose between different content layers. Companies will be able to create their own layers (e.g. a layer whose points of interest are Starbucks).
  • “Currently several companies have already signed up for Layar and will publish their own content in their branded layer soon.”

My educated guess is that they are using the compass+gps combo to identify points of interest. First, it works only on Android devices since “they are the only devices with a compass”. Then, “We have a little indicator showing you the accuracy of the location positioning”, which could be avoided using computer vision. If that’s the case, the main difference between them and Wikitude is having many content layers (which also justify their “first mobile browser” slogan).

Whatever is the case, seeing SPRXMobile previous projects, I’m sure this one will be a tight application with a lot of promise. Good luck guys! (Raimo, Maarten, feel free to comment).


Weekly Linkfest

That was quite a week for augmented reality.
The top article at Games Alfresco was “Augmented Fear of Heights” (with about 1000 views!), and on Augmented Times the top post was about Marco Tempest’s magic Trick.

There were so many news items this week, I couldn’t cover them all even if I wanted to (though, I might cover some of those next week):

Quote of the week comes from Joshua Falken (is that a WarGames reference?), as a comment to the “Augmented Comedy” post:

The widespread usage of standard AR toolkits for non-science by self-proclaimed “AR researchers” is the root cause for the bad reputation that AR has now. If one mentions AR / MR as an area of interest to, e.g., computer graphics or computer vision researchers, one immediately is flagged as a mediocre me-too person. Unfortunately, these stereotypes are now applied to good and bad AR researchers alike. Therefore, a funny clip, but the topic, unfortunately, is very serious. Just ask all the people who have found it practically impossible to acquire research funding for AR topics for the past several years already.

You should go read that thread. Have a look at the replies Falken got and express your own opinion!

Finally, to kick-off the coming week, here’s a fun little video of some guys putting the Living Sasquatch application to good use:

Have a nice week!